three books

three books

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

winding down

We've had a bit of snow the past couple of days which makes my dog ecstatically happy. Today as we went on our long midday walk he was trotting along like a puppy stopping frequently to snuffle in the leaf piles under the crusty snow. One street in particular, just a few blocks south of my place, is lined both sides with huge barren trees and I appreciated Boo providing me the opportunity to enjoy their stark white beauty while I pondered what I was going to write about today. It was the first mild day after a stretch of fierce cold so we wandered a little further and a little further and whoops, the better part of the day is gone. Boo, now warm and dry, is fast asleep at my feet and I am reconciled to the fact that my endless list of to-do's will have very few check marks today.

I have always been just a little bewildered by the speed at which December skates on past me. I always felt so busy all the time and that I had so much to do. This year I finally recognized the truth, it's not moving fast, I'm moving slow.

December is a wrap up month, the time to finish up the things I have started throughout the year, reflect on what has been accomplished and look forward to what is to come. But it is also time to curl up in a warm corner and read or knit or chat on the phone and I confess to all of the aforementioned in abundance over the past two weeks. If I have learned anything over this passing year it is to relish this time and to celebrate not only the season but all of the accomplishments of the passing year. I plan on making a habit of it and, as they say it takes 28 days to form any new habit, I'm really going to enjoy the next two weeks.

making confidence a habit - 24 x 36 inches - encaustic

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

regrets - I've had a few

It is cool and grey outside this morning. Clearly autumn has settled in but I have no complaints about it. This has been the most astounding fall season we have experienced since moving to this part of the country twenty and some years ago. The clearest, brightest, most colourful, most stunningly beautiful one perhaps ever - and I did not take a single photograph. There have also been dozens of varieties of the most unusual and often beautiful mushrooms sprouting here, there and everywhere - and I have not taken a single photograph.
I was musing about this one day as I was out walking the dog on a glorious, sunny morning. While Boo stopped for a sniff I stood admiring a particularly stunning bit of fall finery up and ahead. Thus distracted I was startled by a cheerful voice saying "good morning". I turned to reply but there was no one there, just a solid wood fence about 6 feet high running at least 15 feet behind me. I turned forward to see that it continued an equal distance or more ahead of me. I must have looked completely bewildered because I then heard, "up here".
Just on the other side of the fence and about 20 feet in the air there was a man standing, quite comfortably, in a tree. Just standing there, one foot on a limb to either side holding on to nothing and no ladder in sight.
This was no ordinary tree to be sure, it was a radically sculptural Yew Bonsai tree and he appeared to be occupied with trimming its unruly top bits into tiny tufts with pruning sheers.
He had a cheeky grin on his face, clearly pleased with his little joke. We both had a chuckle as I returned his greeting and I then Boo and I carried on our way. It was one of those singularly unusual, surprising and delightful moments but of course I didn't have my camera and so I DIDN'T GET A PICTURE!

I swear I am going to start duct taping the camera on to my wrist so I remember to take it with me everywhere I go.

the best of intentions

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The why of it

I've been preparing for a show next month and find myself a little worried, not about the task of getting work ready but by the thought of having to stand by the work and the feeling of having to explain myself when someone says, "what does it mean"? One school of thought regarding the presentation and sale of artwork is that an explanation should never be offered. After all, it is much more important that the viewer (and potential collector) of my work find their own meaning within a piece than be limited by my stuttering summation. True. However, I think that it is important that I know, and am able to articulate WHY I do what I do and that is what has been occupying my mind lately.
I believe that the desire to create is inherent in many of us but I know, for myself, that that desire lays largely dormant unless driven by a secondary desire to reach out and connect with other human beings. Yes, there are times when painting can be just about painting, or colour, or texture...and that can be satisfying in and of itself but what really motivated me when I got down to work in the studio this month was the essential need to express something more personal. To reveal something of how I think about things, and maybe tell a story (or invite the viewer to make one up). I hoped to initiate an interaction that would encourage people to notice our commonalities and perhaps share a word or a smile. Maybe many people will accept the work at face value and never trouble themselves to look for a deeper meaning and that's okay. But maybe someone or two will take the time to peek beneath the surface, and ponder a little.

Julia's story

what can I say

we could be happy here

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

gone, gone, gone, been gone so long

Where does the time go?

My days are filled to the brim and there is never enough time to do all the things I would like to do. Last month flew by with holiday visiting and visitors, a birth, birthdays and anniversary celebrations. All good, and all time consuming. With September gone it is time to get it in gear for a show next month and I feel like I am slogging through mud. So much to do and so little TIME!

H. Jackson Brown once said:
"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein."

Agreed, but I have to ask, did any one of them have to fit their day around frequent dog walking and endless household chores? Did Michelangelo stop painting the chapel at 5:00 p.m. every day of the world to go cook dinner for the family? I'm thinking NO. I'm also guessing Leonardo didn't have to step over the dog in front of his easel or walk him four times a day and Albert clearly didn't take time out to style his hair in the morning so I'm going to cut myself a little slack and stop thinking I should be accomplishing more than is possible for a normal, non-genius kind of human on an average day.

I'm not complaining mind you, I have a pretty good life and I am grateful for it. The busy days are good days, I just need to squeeze a little more into them so I've started this week using the time block method to break my days down into reasonable chunks for all the things that I need (and want) to get done. This chunk is "blog" time and so I have a guilt free hour to catch up on reading some of my favorites and jotting one of my own. Oops, almost up, next I have two 90 minute blocks of studio time, guessed it. Dinner, For which I have allotted one 90 minute time block for the prepping, cooking and eating thereof. Just kidding, I'm not quite so disciplined as that - yet!

This is one of the cartoons from my 90 minute sketching block this morning.
Have a happy, productive day.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Alphabet Soup

Next week I will be heading over to Vancouver Island for a few days to hang out with my grandson and wait for his new baby sister to come home from the hospital, so that has been on my mind this week. I was also thinking about this week's drawing challenge - order/chaos - as proposed by Barbara of .
Which means I happened to be contemplated 4 year old boys and chaos at the same time which seems like a fairly natural pairing. It occurred to me that he is at that stage where, although he can sing the alphabet and point out the letters, the concept of putting those letter symbols into order to form words is still swirling around in his brain, occasionally gelling when he recognizes the order of them for important things like cats, dogs, cars etc.
I decided to take him a little painting that might make some fun out of picking out letters and words. I started by tossing the first alphabet on randomly, then I added a second and third alphabet and placed them to makes a few easy words for him to recognize, including his name. Then I confused it all a little further by overlaying some old letraset text on top so he'll have to look a little harder to make sense of it all and discover that those letter symbols sometimes arrange themselves into words. Order in the midst of chaos.

I hope he enjoys it and, since we are going to be working on putting those letters and words in order, I am really looking forward to visiting the library while I am there, it has been far too long since I treated myself to the mind numbing repetition of children's story books. Aren't those ones always their favorites?
Through three cheese trees three free fleas flew...yikes.

Go see Barbara's lovely blog for other participants in this week's challenge.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


The amount of enthusiastic comments regarding my last post has me convinced that you're all a bunch of tree hugging nature freaks - which I highly approve of  - BUT I hesitate to offer fuel for your passion for fear that the squirrels will not have enough walnuts in their diets this winter. On the other hand I cannot resist sharing some info on an artist who does incredible things with nature's bounty.

Allow me to introduce you to India Flint - how cool is that name?

Ms. Flint is the author of  two related books "Eco Colour" which is specifically about botanical dyes and "Second Skin" which relates to repurposing  textiles with natural dyeing techniques. I haven't been able to get them at the library yet but I believe they can be ordered.

You can check out her website at and her blog titled - not all those who wander are lost - .

The work you will see (and salivate over)  is on both fabric and paper. I think the principle is the same and the outcome, utterly luscious regardless. I wish I could share a photo or two but since I haven't asked permission I will simply implore you to go and see for yourself.

Here is a closer look at my simple efforts - a couple of pages from last week's challenge to whet your appetite.

and after visiting India Flint -  if you aren't filled to the brim go see some more eye candy here - I think somewhere in the midst of that may have been where I found the simple instructions for paper bundling.
Have fun nature bunnies!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Trite but true

The theme of this weeks drawing challenge, hosted by the ever fascinating Nadine at is "NATURE". While the weather is still warm and lovely here in Vancouver the quality of light has begun to change and there are subtle signs here and there that summer is mostly behind us. That had me waxing nostalgic (if you'll pardon the pun) over the change of seasons in my place of origin - Ontario - where autumn reigns supreme. It seemed an apt time to experiment with a little trick I saw on Pintrest - with apologies because I can't find the one I saw again to give credit to the person who shared it - there was however several others so you will be able to track down the process if you want to try it.
Eco-dyeing - essentially all it means is using natural things - leaves, nuts, etc. to make marks on paper or fabric. In this case I made a little bundle of hand made paper alternated with watercolour paper with leaves in between each layer. I used several different kinds to see what colours they would produce. I squished them all together between two pieces of door sheath (which transferred some colour of it's own), tied it with string and put it in a vat to boil for a couple of hours.
I probably should have left it bound longer than I did but I couldn't resist sneaking a peak. Maybe that is why they were so vibrant and lovely while wet but faded considerably when dry - no worries - I dipped them in wax which enriched the colours permanently. Yum! I chose a simple, Japanese style binding to lash them together.
Then I wondered what I wanted to say in my autumn book but everything I thought of was kind of trite and I didn't want to bore anyone with my sticky sweet memories. My solution? I wrote all those memories on little squares of paper and permanently embedded them in the waxy leaves.
What a fun project - now off to see what everyone else has done to rise to tiny woolf's challenge. Visit here: to see the rest.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Yay PicMonkey

Okay yes, my lovely friend Carole told me about this website quite some time ago but did I go there? No, of course not. I thought it just did photo collage things and I wasn't ready to get into that kind of fun until today, when I finally took the time to go and put together a little collage and realized it could also straighten and clean up all my sloppy photos. OMG I am so happy. I will of course be spending the next three days tweaking and obsessing over pictures but here are some of the most recent "Nixie says" florals at their almost straight, almost focused best.

Be Happy - encaustic on board - 8 x 10

bloom study - yellow - encaustic on board 8 x 10

bloom study - encaustic on board 8 x 10

Go Wild - encaustic on board - 16 x 10

Just Be - 6 x 12 encaustic on cradleboard

Bloom study - red - 8 x 8 encaustic on cradleboard

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Poo Fairy

It is a glorious day in Vancouver. The sun is shining, there is a sweet, cool breeze from the ocean and so many shade trees in the area that Boo and I walked through green dappled light on our afternoon stroll through Shaughnessy - an area of glorious houses and manicured gardens. He paused to sniff something on the "devil's strip" (isn't that a great term for the grassy space between the curb and the sidewalk).
The object of his fascination turned out to be a bright blue, tightly sealed bag of dog poo.
The crazy thing is, this isn't unusual. We see these everywhere in a myriad of colours and I have to wonder about the people who stoop, scoop and seal the poop - often in non-biodegradable bags- and then leave them as gifts to the gardeners and carry on their way.
What the hell is that all about?
I have not yet had the chance to inquire directly as to the cause or purpose of this strange behavior since I have only seen the evidence, never the actual deed, and so I am left to ponder. Yes, it is a law, or at least a bi-law that you do have to pick up after your dog and no, perhaps there is not a clear directive regarding the second step in that procedure but you have to assume it to be the logical disposal of said product. What on earth would be the purpose of picking up a fully biodegradable substance and sealing it for freshness in a non-biodegradable plastic container just to leave it on some strangers lawn?
Once, while walking with my friend Julia and her pups, we saw no less than three within a single block - all within a half block of a garbage bin! We postulated optimistically that perhaps these inconsiderate schmucks could mistakenly believe, since the bags do tend to disappear eventually, in the existence of a Poo Fairy who comes along to collect their leavings. We further considered pursuing a municipal contract for the position of Poo Fairy since we walk four times a day and pick up our own doggy droppings along the way but, while it was entertaining to exhaust our supply of puns to describe what sort of a job that would be, in the end we just couldn't figure out a way to spin it to the politicians as budgetary necessity.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Time out - in the studio

I needed a time away from writing about writing and so I hid out for a few days in my studio. My sister-in-law Penny has opened a new little shop in Ingersoll Ontario and I promised to send her some small paintings. I didn't really know what I was going to paint so imagine my surprise when I was inspired to paint flowers - not usually my favorite subject but must say it was a pleasure to revel in colour and play with natures wonders. These are all a continuation of my "Nixie says" series and use all of the tips and tricks of encaustic that she taught me.

do not fear - encaustic on cradleboard 8 x 10

be bold - encaustic on cradleboard 8 x 10

colour outside the lines (line inside the colours) encaustic 8 x 10

just play - encaustic on cradleboard - 8 x 10

stay loose - encaustic on cradleboard - 8 x 10

I just got a new torch last week and WOW what a difference. This puppy is a major flame thrower and can fuse the layers of wax in less than half the time of my other one.  Now I can take on some bigger formats with serious weaponry. All fun and games until somebody sets the curtains on fire.

Now if I could only learn to take a decent photo.........

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Tao of Boo

 For the past month I have been entirely engrossed in writing my first book and I have to say that it has been one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had. I enjoyed every part of it right up until now, this moment when I am challenged with the task of actually trying to sell it to a publisher or find an agent willing to take the time to look at it. Most of them will not accept unsolicited manuscripts and justifiably so I expect since everyone and their aunt Nellie would be sending in their musings if they could. Ah well, I'm sure if it is meant to be there will be a someone out there to connect to and, in the meantime, I am basking in the warm glow of a completed project that has thus far amused and delighted my family and friends. I will also share a bit about it here before I climb down from the stratosphere and get back to work in my studio where another jumbo canvas awaits completion.

I call it The Tao of Boo. It is a true story of transition and growth - with cartoons!
Any of you who have been with me over the past year know that I had to give up my day job for health reasons and find a new path. I was blessed with the opportunity to work in my studio every day and explore a wide range of techniques and materials. During that year (and a bit) I've had a lot of time to ponder over things and make adjustments to a new stage of life.

Those of you too young to have experienced a massive hot flash that soaked straight through your clothes and plastered your new perky hairdo to your forehead while being introduced to the new boss/client/sexy new neighbor will not need to read this book. And if you have not yet reached a period where your life feels like it is spiraling out of control or suddenly realized that absolutely nothing you are doing at this point in time is the slightest bit meaningful to you - you're still okay. But, if you have reached that moment when you recognize that your time on this earth is more than half over and you are thinking "shit, I wasn't paying attention", I wrote this book for you - for all of us who have reached that third stage of life without directions on how to face changing times and aging with grace, humour, compassion and cheerful acceptance.

The anecdotes touch on Buddhist philosophy, Jewish wisdom, Amish simplicity and some Boo-isms to make statements about simplifying, learning to like yourself, stretching, growing and remembering how to laugh, at everything.

I'll let you know if the publishing gods smile upon it and make it available some time in the future. In the meantime I'm already cooking up ideas for the next one. It was so much fun!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

why not?

I've been out of the loop for a couple of weeks partly because of friends and relatives visiting for one reason or another but also because I've been working on a project that is so new and scary for me I've had difficulty articulating the idea. I've decided to try my hand at writing a book. So what’s so scary you ask? Anyone can write a book, setting aside the judgement of whether the result is good or bad of course. There are plenty of instructional courses online and/or books that make the method clear, the questions then are what do you have to say and perhaps, why do you feel compelled to say it?

The answer to the first question will have to wait until I am a little further down the road and ready to share thoughts that are still swirling. Today I want to talk about the second question because it relates to my painting as well as writing and I’m hoping to invite response should anyone have a thought or opinion to add.

To my mind all forms of art whether they are presented in images or words are about communicating with other human beings, sharing knowledge, insight, thoughts, feelings, inspiration or opinions. I would go further to say that it is about raising our own consciousness and opening pathways of thought for the consideration of others also. If this is so then does it really matter what form creativity takes or is it more important to remain open and flexible?

I am inspired by the courage of Sue Bender, author of ‘Plain and Simple’ and ‘Everyday Sacred’ who said that although she had no experience with writing and certainly didn't consider herself a writer she felt compelled to listen to that inner voice that demanded attention.

No, not the one that says “what the hell do you think you’re doing?” I’m pretty sure she meant the kinder, gentler one that says "why not?" and sets our feet on strange new paths that result in personal growth.

I am also greatly encouraged by my super supportive friend, Susan, who says it can't be any scarier than a big blank canvas can it? I don't know, can it? I guess I'll find out, wish me luck.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Scratch and Sniff

Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived. The odors of fruits waft me to my southern home, to my childhood frolics in the peach orchard. Other odors, instantaneous and fleeting, cause my heart to dilate joyously or contract with remembered grief. Even as I think of smells, my nose is full of scents that start awake sweet memories of summers gone and ripening fields far away.

-- Helen Keller

I came across that quote years ago reading a fabulous book called "The Natural History of the Senses" by Diane Ackerman - a good read overall but my favorite part was the chapter about smell. Here is the introduction.

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary, and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the Poconos, when wild blueberry bushes teemed with succulent fruit and the opposite sex was as mysterious as space travel; another, hours of passion on a moonlit beach in Florida, while the night-blooming cereus drenched the air with thick curds of perfume and huge sphinx moths visited the cereus in a loud purr of wings; a third, a family dinner of pot roast, noodle pudding, and sweet potatoes, during a myrtle-mad August in a midwestern town, when both of one's parents were alive. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines, hidden under the weedy mass of many years and experiences. Hit a tripwire of smell, and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.

The subject of this week's drawing challenge is smell and that made me hyper aware of all the magical scents I came across this week while the husband and I were off on a little journey to the Okanagan Valley. The term "spring is in the air" holds true while everywhere is fresh with new growth. I was thinking how odd it is that "good" smells can sometimes be bad and vice versa. For example my mother hated the smell of lilacs because she said they smelled like death. On the other hand she was an avid gardener and loved the smell of rich compost which, she said, smelled like new life. Go figure. I love the smell of the earth after rain (wet dirt) and the beach at low tide which, come to think of it, is mostly dead and rotting sea life and plants. And I love the smell of lilacs. Go figure.

So, as we left the sandy beaches of Skaha Lake (lovely swimming area for dogs) and headed on down the highway through beautiful Manning Park I realized that what I was smelling then, a shock to the olfactory receptors I can tell you, was one of the happiest scents in the world. Our soggy, sandy, satisfied dog had transformed that delicious NEW car smell into BOO car smell - making a lovely memory association that would last well beyond the holiday.

For more on the theme of SMELL visit Barbara's blog at

Saturday, 4 May 2013


The theme of this week's drawing challenge, proposed by Tania is a cheeky one (pardon the pun) - burlesque. I admit I was stumped. I tried first to do a cartoon of the queen of burlesque - Gypsy Rose Lee but she turned out cute and I'm sure the lady would have slapped my silly for portraying her that way. Then my sigot suggested that I look up the actual definition of burlesque. I discovered that it had little or nothing to do with what Hollywood had led me to believe. Why should I be surprised?
A parody or comically exaggerated imitation of something, esp. in a literary or dramatic work.
Cause to appear absurd by parodying or copying in an exaggerated form: "she struck a ridiculous pose that burlesqued her own vanity".
noun.  parody - travesty - caricature - skit
verb.  parody - mock - travesty - mimic

That sent me off in another direction that wasn't nearly as fun so I came back to audacious women and that led me back to the Mimis. I gave this one some gold stars because we all need a little approval (especially while strutting our stuff).

That seemed a natural segue to the books I have recently read by author Sue Bender and a quote that struck me solidly when I read it, "Maybe one of these days I'll be able to give myself a gold star for being ordinary, and maybe one of these days I'll give myself a gold star for being extraordinary - for persisting. And maybe one day I won't need to have a star at all."

My mimis are strong women and they don't need no stars to prove it so take it off Mimi, take it ALL off.

See Tania's blog for more participants in the weekly challenge.

Friday, 3 May 2013

freedom at last

And by freedom I actually mean wall space because I've had this big 48 x 48 canvas on the wall of my studio for, quite literally, years. At least two for sure and maybe more if I wanted to think about it which I don't. Suffice to say that I have been stumped on it for a very long time. The reason - 'cause I'm a dumbass sometimes and don't listen to the advice I would give to anyone who found themselves stuck on a canvas that isn't working because there is some aspects of a painting they like and so try to paint around it - gesso that sucker and move on. Thanks to my lovely friend Carole , who I called in fit of despondency, I ended up doing just that. Not only did I smack out the parts I had been clinging too but  I used a different approach to beginning anew, whacking on a bunch of black until some new forms started to take shape. Okay, I admit those forms didn't survive to the end but they helped direct the process and move it forward rapidly. And yes, I couldn't resist sneaking in some shadow of those bits I was attached to at the end but now they are a whisper rather than a shout.

Is it my best ever painting? No, I can already see a bazillion flaws but it was a breakthrough for me in terms of learning to paint large in a couple of ways. First, I realized that I was being far too precious with paint. Working from tiny tubes of expensive paint is inhibiting when buckets are required. Second, going back and trying to rework something I did ages ago could never have worked anyway because I'm not there anymore. For me to accomplish a large abstract it needs to be attacked with great enthusiasm and a sense of immediacy or it gets lost along the way.

Anyway, for good or ill, this one is done and gone, leaving a gaping hole that I can't wait to fill with another BIG problem oops, I mean canvas.
48 x 48 inches - mixed media on canvas

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Dancing Queen

The theme of this week's drawing challenge is DANCE and what a lovely one it is. I took some time this week thinking about some of the most amazing dance routines I have seen and looking up video clips of some of my favorites from movies and television. What fun! But how to choose a favorite? Then I came across this clip which embodied the power of dance and made me smile for hours.

I confess that I am a secret dancing queen being less than truly graceful on the floor but I can totally relate to this woman because when you've got music in your heart sometimes you just have to bust a groove.

For more on the subject of dance visit Patrice's beautiful blog at

Monday, 22 April 2013

Recovering Control Freak

I was out walking the Boo last night when I happened to notice a fellow pull up and park his car right on the corner of the street we were approaching. He was blocking the sidewalk but not, I should mention, my path since we were on the other side of the street. Never the less I had this almost uncontrollable impulse to point out his misdemeanor. Seriously, the words almost flew out of my mouth, "hey, you can't park there", as if he may not have noticed that very large and vivid NO PARKING sign beside his car or maybe couldn't tell that the arse end of his car was blocking the clearly defined pedestrian walkway. Honestly, you would think I had some kind of vested interest in this total stranger who may or may not get a ticket for his transgression and/or who may or may not inconvenience someone I don't know by causing a rift in the natural flow of pedestrian traffic in a quiet residential area in the middle of the night.
Ostensibly I was trying in some weird way to be helpful whether to him or to some other complete stranger I'm not sure but on another level I'm pretty sure I was simply incensed at this guy's complete disregard for the rules. I had to laugh out loud at my ridiculous attachment to something so clearly out of my control not to mention completely unimportant.
So, my lesson for the week - the Art of Allowing - in Zen philosophy there is a whole lot more to it then simply learning to keep your mouth shut but I'll start there and maybe I can stretch it to being a little less attached to potential outcomes by Wednesday and non-judgmental by the end of the week.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Tiles, tiles, tiles

This week's drawing challenge as proposed by Ariane of Rose is tiles and I happen to be extraordinarily fond of tiles so I couldn't resist sharing a couple of favorites. First a piece from way back when clay was the substance of my days. I made probably dozens of molds that made shapes I then applied to garden pots and things but my favorite was the simple little rose (appropriate yes?) that I used in countless ways including as a tile. Here is one example of it's use.

Last year, in Sicily, I stayed in a little town by the name of Santo Stefano di Camastra which is famous for it's ceramic works. It seemed like the entire town was made of tiles inside and out, walls, floors - everything.

 It was so very beautiful I wanted to bring a piece of it home and I did. This was a very old tile salvaged from the floor of a demolished building. It is my very best souvenir of anywhere in Italy because it is so typical.

In honour of this week's challenge I decided to incorporate something of my lovely tile into the encaustic I am working on so I made a stencil inspired by a portion of it and used it in a section of wax. I had hoped to be further along on this piece before showing it but it went a little sideways on me and I had to back up before moving forward. No matter, here is the first layer of the stencil done and I will show what happens to it from here in a later post. Happy weekend all. For more tiles visit

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Beauty eh?

This week's drawing challenge, hosted by Nadine of tiny WOOLF is Beauty. And a ponderous one it is. While walking the Boo a couple of days ago I was admiring the glorious gardens in the chi chi part of town as we walked down block after block of blossoming trees. At a high point I stopped and looked out over the city.  The sun was sparkling on the water in English Bay and beyond that the snow capped mountains against a clear blue sky. This time of year Vancouver shines and I think it must be the most beautiful place on earth but photos can never fully capture this glory so I shifted my focus to smaller things.
My sister has a pillow on her couch that says "all things are beautiful if you love them". I noticed it when I was there visiting a couple of weeks ago and it stuck with me because I brought home from there a gift of an old grate Maggie had found and saved for me. She knew I would love it and I do. As I sit here looking at my mantle I can see it mixed in with a variety of objects that are beautiful to me - a mermaid weather vane, a candle stick made from a broken chair leg, another on some brass thingy that I have no idea what it was originally, a chunk from an old door, some salt glazed bottles, a couple of ducks and so on.

Beauty really is an ill defined and completely subjective concept so when I tried to figure out what all these things have in common the only term I came up with was sincerity. When it come down to it there is an honesty to all the things that I love, with all their bumps and flaws - I think that may be applied to people too.  It is also the reason I continue to be enthralled with the process of encaustic. My most recent piece could have been done in acrylic in an afternoon and it would have been clean and precise. Instead it took me three days and the surface shows every scratch and scrape. It is a little nasty and flawed and as nearly perfect as I will ever come to producing true beauty.

But then you have to ask what, if anything, is "true" when it comes to beauty? I did a little poking on the internet and stumbled across this caption that has been showing up in public washrooms for a while now. I don't know who to attribute it to but I hope they don't mind my adding an image and passing it along as food for thought.

Have a BEAUTIFUL weekend all and visit the tiny WOOLF's blog for more pondering on this weeks drawing theme. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Vernal Equinox

It's the first day of spring and darned if we don't have some sunshine. Yay! I've had a nasty virus take me out of commission for the past few days but no way am I going to miss out on those precious rays. We get so little sun this time of year here in Vancouver we can't afford to miss a moment. But before I make a run for the great outdoors here is my daily drawing just to wish you all a happy springtime.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

ich habe genug

Someone asked me today about the little drawings I've been posting lately and I had to admit two things. First, that I actually started using these kinds of images about 20 years ago - as lino cuts on cards, as Sgraffito in clay on cups and plates etc. Oh so much fun I have had with them BUT, confession number two, I stopped using them for quite some time because I became self conscious about the stuff that fell out of my head. Oh, and maybe the fact that while most people thought it amusing, few people actually wanted to buy a mug with a dancing naked lady on it. Which brings up a whole new discussion about the relationship between the sale of art and the ability of the artist to continue making it. Not only in terms of the reality of paying rent but the confidence to remain true to self without regard for public acceptance - all of which I will save for another day's rant but I would love to read some discussion around that. 

Anyway, recently this text based almost art form returned to me when I started participating in the weekly drawing challenge and it happened, as it often does, that the images needed a word or ten to complete the story. As synchronicity would have it I came across a book in the library last week called "more things like this" which is a collection of text based art in a wide range of styles. Among them my hero Leonard Cohen who has always produced quirky little drawings with comments, and another artist who's work I should have been more aware of so I looked her up - Maira Kalman and found a delightful inspiration although I can only dream of being so prolific or so free to express the blurvage (new word - blurt/verbiage) in my head. I also came across a video where she makes reference to a favorite Bach cantata "ICH HABE GENUG" which translates to I HAVE ENOUGH or, as I have painted, posted and seriously considered tattooing on my forehead, I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED. Isn't it lovely the way thoughts and ideas float freely around the world and come back to you in so many different ways?
Have a lovely, creative weekend all. Fame and fortune coming your way.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Weekly DC

The theme for this weeks drawing challenge, as proposed by the inimitable Sus of Flying Dog Studio, is Glass. I had some fun pondering the wide range of possible definitions and all the lovely images that spring to mind but this is what fell on the page.

See more entries to the weekly dc by visiting Flying dog studio at

Friday, 15 February 2013

Nice Shoes

I haven't actually done anything "serious" all week but I have been keeping up, and having fun, with my daily drawings so I thought I'd share one or two just because.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

off we go...

I finally got back on track this week, well sort of anyway. The significant other is still recovering from hand surgery but he's gone back to work so I can too. A visit with my lovely friend Carole last week was an inspirational delight and I have been challenging myself to daily sketching and creative exercises. So far I haven't missed a single day - all three of them! Long journey, single step, blah, blah.
Thank goodness it was easy to hop back into painting mode with this addition to the "Conversations" series.

I got stuck on these checks and had to do a second version today in a horizontal format (no picture yet) before I could let go of them. Now I'm done, maybe.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Drawing challenge

I decided I absolutely needed some sense of normality to start happening around here so I am grateful to Stefanie for proposing a fun drawing challenge. The theme is "Crown" and here is my beauty queen:
See Stefanie's blog for more entries to this week's challenge.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


I just downloaded Nelleke's Verhoeff's free wallpaper which is fabulous (thank you Nelleke) and could not possibly come at a more perfect time. As the tiny Woolfe has gone off to hibernate it set the husband and I to talking, as we often do, about the difficulty and the necessity of maintaining balance in life. I'm a bad one for fussing about the past, what I could have or should have said, done, thought...blah, if history could be changed by the wishing. He worry's more about the future, projecting a zillion possible outcomes for things he has little or no control over. We both sometimes forget to enjoy the present. Of course plans must be made and history ruminated over just a little (so we don't have to repeat it) but we too, are going to renew our efforts to live a little more in the present. My new red cheeks wallpaper makes me smile and will remind me every morning to  "just go with the flow".

Having said that here I am rummaging around in the past and resurrecting some old stories I wrote years ago. I don't know who originated the idea of  postcard stories (stories literally short enough to fit on a post card)  but I love the concept because it is the perfect format to capture the intriguing little random snippets of  conversation that drift into my ear and sometimes lodge there as if they hold some personal significance. Usually I am only conscious of a line or two but often they conjure up an image that sticks and so I have to make up the rest of the story. I like the idea of them getting "stuck" in wax.

the skies were blue that day - 12x12 - encaustic

it never occurred to her that he might leave - 22 x 10 - encaustic 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Happy New Year!!!

The month of December flew on by as it always does and this one even more so with family in town to celebrate with us this year. Today is the first lazy day on my own to catch up on my favorite art blogs and ponder the year gone by online.
Last year there were several "daily" projects that I followed with interest such as Carole's lovely circle journal and Mano's wonderful box series I do admire such tenacity in others and considered adopting the concept. Ha, Ha, this from a person who almost needs a sign on the bathroom mirror to remember daily tooth brushing. So then I started wondering what kind of "resolutions" I would like to aspire to in the upcoming year.
The year ending was a marvelous time of change and new beginnings for me. I had some much needed rest and nest time which makes my apartment feel more like a home and my studio more workable so I was able to explore a wide variety of artistic endeavors. I learned new things, visited interesting places... I really feel that it was a time of rapid growth and expansion.  So this year I'd like to do...MORE! Yes, more please. I've really only just begun.
Starting off my launch into 2013 with two pieces from the Hand Made Home series.

8 x 22 Encaustic on Board - Home  Sweet Home

Another Cup of Tea - Encaustic (and teabag)  on Cradle-board 6x6 inches