Sunday, August 31, 2008

poetry everywhere

Saw two really great films from Iran today at the film festival. I love Iranian films! Every year I make a point of seeing an Iranian film and I am never disappointed. The first one, Be Calm and Count to Seven, was a film shot on video which gave it a documentary feel. Quoting the schedule blurb: a lyrical portrait of a remote Persian fishing village where smuggling of consumer products - and people - has changed the traditional way of life. The second film, The Song of Sparrows, by the great Iranian film director Majid Majidi (who directed The Children of Heaven), was a particular favourite of Jerzy's and mine. I loved it for its poetic images, glimpses into everyday life, and humanistic message. But what does my image above have to do with the film festival? Well, nothing really... On the way home from the film festival, we stopped at the company that Jerzy works for so he could check on the plants! While he lovingly watered the bananas (which have made their way to the office cafeteria because they outgrew our ceiling at home), I poked around outside with my camera and was attracted by the tree shadows. Et voila! A photo montage!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

vellum and celluloid

I'm a bit overwhelmed. There have been a lot of things going on - mostly good - and there are so many of those things that I want to share with you, but I'm absolutely running and haven't had the time. I have just returned from my monthly ATC meeting in Dunvegan and had a delightful time there. I am sharing more of my vellum works as these are the cards I traded today. I made most of these in the car while returning from our trip (which I will tell you about on another post). I had a great little set-up: small plastic container with vellum pieces soaking in water; lapboard with large plastic container lid as a work surface; kit with scissors and my stylus tucked nearby. I just worked away as the highway unfolded. I did get a little nauseated as time went by so had to stop at one point. How we suffer for our art!

I am now heading into Montreal to the World Film Festival. I absolutely live for this festival every year and as I was away, I missed the beginning of it so now I'm playing catch-up. Over the last few days I've seen 4 feature films (Finland, Poland x2, Germany) and 2 shorts (Belgium, Canada) and now I'm heading out with a friend who wants to practice her Spanish so we will probably see some South American films. I bought two "carnets" of 10 tickets each so will be doing some film marathons on Sunday and Monday, the last two days of the festival. Will tell you more later! Gotta go!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

i love your blog

Isn't this music to a bloggers ears! Shayla Perreault Newcomb honoured me with this award and I am so very delighted. Shayla, I love YOUR blog! Thanks so much for this acknowledgement. I am touched! Now I will pass it on to other award-worthy bloggers! Here are the rules:
  1. Please put the logo on your blog.
  2. Link the person from whom you received your award.
  3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
  4. Put the links of those blogs on your blog.
  5. Leave a message on their blogs to tell them!

There are so many blogs that I love and visit regularly. This list of nominated blogs includes some great blogs that maybe you haven't discovered yet. I nominate:

  1. jeane at art it...because of her hilarity and the documented progress of her amazing artwork
  2. uschi at papierwelt...because of her gentle approach to art and life
  3. thinker online...because of his thought-provoking quotes on art and philosophy
  4. kathy at waking up...because of the inspiring way she delves into self and art
  5. arnold at the butterfly effect...because of his sensitive and compelling black and white photography
  6. jo at ...because of the beauty and spareness of her images and text
  7. diana at please sir...for her evocative studies of art and science

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

wing details

In today's show and tell post on "the pulse", I shared my wings again because they are such treasured objects. Here are some details...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

tool tuesday: spray bottle

Another opportunity to highlight an interesting artist who loves her tools! Check out Jeane's blog, art it, where you will be treated to a video tour of her studio and see this particular tool hanging about. Thrilled that you are participating in "tool tuesday" Jeane! Here's what she had to say about her trusty spray bottle:

About ten years ago I was making a video of an artist in residence at a local art center here. She was painting a mural and she had a spray bottle attached to her belt. She used it constantly. I thought, hmmmmm. I think I'll try that. I use acrylics and the spray bottle seemed a good idea. I had this old Shaklee bottle under a sink so I filled it with water and have never looked back. I actually didn't realize how much I counted on this little bottle until my art partner, Lisa Johnson and I were teach an art class last year. We had a huge supply table filled with everything you could think of. As I started to demonstrate, I realized I didn't have my spray bottle. It felt like someone had cut off one of my arms! This is my "absolute can't do without" tool. I spray my paints, I spray my work surface, I spray my fingers, I spray my brushes, I spray my paper towels (my second can't do without tool). It's my fav.

Monday, August 25, 2008

more red

And here's another scheduled post. You may have seen some of these on a green post I did In July. Time passes...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

scheduled red

As I am away for a few days, I thought it would be a good time to try out the blogging feature of a scheduled post. It took me awhile to figure out how to do it. I kept saving it as a draft, thinking if the date was set ahead, it would automatically post it on that date. The trick seems to be to press the "publish" button (after setting the date ahead) rather than the "save" button and then it is saved as a scheduled post. So I am posting a photo of another porch inspiration and keeping my fingers crossed that this works.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

the pulse

If you normally visit my blog and notice that not much is happening over the next few days, it's because I'm away for a bit. So now that you have a few extra minutes of time on your hands, go on over to the altered page where seth apter has put together "the pulse", an amazing collection of artist responses on a variety of topics. It's fascinating stuff. And very inspirational. I urge you...go there now!

Friday, August 22, 2008


It's haiku friday and friday is almost over! But I still officially have a few hours of friday left so I am squeezing in a late post. And dedicating my haiku to lynne and kathy who have touched me deeply with lovely pieces of themselves that they sent in the mail. I will elaborate on this in further posts when I can give it the time and thought that it deserves...

opens possibility
in realms unthought of...

Thank you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

fig family

A few from among the hundreds of fig leaves of the 20 fig plants that Jerzy has nurtured for 15 years and counting...all from the same seedling. The family hangs out in our driveway in the summer months and in our basement over the winter. We even get a few edible figs!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

green shoot

inspiration from my porch...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

tool tuesday: spatula

Another "tool tuesday", another tool. This time from an art school buddy of mine, Lesley. An educator and mixed media artist, Lesley makes conceptual art using non-traditional materials. And sometimes using non-traditional tools! Here's what she had to say about one of those:

Lately my favourite tool is an angled spatula, typically intended for cake decoration. I have no problem re-inventing the function of tools as a means of experimentation, often with really pleasing results. To that end, I’ve been ‘icing’ Styrofoam cakes with various wall compounds to appear as if iced like a traditional cake. This is the initial construction step of my latest sculptural works. The fact that I’m using building materials blurs the lines between cake decorating and renovation and the traditional roles of male and female therein. The spatula has the right amount of control and spontaneity to muck about in order to achieve a look that isn’t too contrived. The fact that I’m a cake decorator as well helps me push the techniques beyond buttercream. I find that using a familiar tool as a jumping off point to play around with some not-so familiar materials is a comfortable point of entry for creative exploration.

Thanks Lesley! Bloggers...I am in need of a tool to feature next tuesday. Send me a blurb on your most valued tool and it will be honoured in these pages!

Monday, August 18, 2008

full moon

Saturday night I took Luka for a midnight walk and noticed how beautiful and clear the full moon was, so I decided to take a photograph upon my return home. A quick photograph turned into an experimental session. I jiggled and jerked and swayed and darted and lurched while taking the photographs and got some interesting stubby little shapes of the moon. I then pieced some of those shapes like a jigsaw puzzle (using Microsoft Publisher) to create these doodly images. Strange what the full moon makes you do!

And don't forget to drop by Seth's blog, The Altered Page, for something very special today. There are 90+ artists participating and I am excited to be one of them. Quoting Seth: Join The Altered Page on Monday August 18th for the third edition of The Pulse: an artist survey. This month long (!) project will introduce you to new artists, help you get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

running stitch

Inspired by a post at million little stitches, I am posting an image of a sample I did awhile back using the running stitch on japanese paper. I love the simplicity of the running stitch. Subtle and elegant.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

recycled art

I had to cancel a workshop planned for today due to low registration. Everyone is busy in the summer! It's a shame because it's a really fun day! The workshop involves watching a presentation on assemblage (to situate its place in art history and for inspiration) and then receiving a package with $3, a map of local garage sales, and some scavenging guidelines. We go out to garage sales and find our treasures (within our $3 budget) and then come back to the studio to create assemblages. I did a trial run with my friend Carole a few months ago and here is what I purchased: a collapsible vegetable steamer and a string of IKEA lights with colourful candy-like disks. The items cost me $2.50 and I made two pieces with them! I took the steamer apart and used the base for my piece above, my favourite of the two pieces I made. I used an X-acto knife to strip away the plastic and expose the fine wires from the string of lights (a very tedious and tricky business) and attached them to form a nest-like structure (surprise, surprise). Eventually, when I have some extra time, I will add more of these wires to plump up my nest, but in the meantime it just sits on my work table catching the light and making me smile. Below is another piece I made using the the other components of the vegetable steamer and one of the colourful disks and a wire piece from the string of lights. It's mounted on a scrap piece of wood painted black. I'll keep them around as examples of what you can do with a few garage sale buys!

Friday, August 15, 2008

perfect laundry day

In honour of haiku friday...

gentle breeze wafting
textured sun grazes white sheets
perfect laundry day if technology could only allow me to share with you the wonderful smell of fresh laundry right off the clothesline.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I'm heading off to a potluck this evening. As this potluck is for artists, I decided to make something colourful. Here is my offering. It's Roasted Asparagus and Yellow Pepper Salad. Yummy!

And while I'm enjoying my potluck, Jerzy will be eating the mushrooms he picked earlier today on his walk with Luka.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

clickables 101

Recently, I ran into difficulty posting images that could not be enlarged when clicked and Lynne kindly came to my aid and did some blogging research to find a solution. Honestly, at the time, I thought that I was the only person who was having this difficulty because anytime I clicked on anyone else's images, the full size popped up in another window. So it didn't occur to me to post the results of Lynne's research. But I have received a few questions about it so thought I would post what I know. And this is what I know now: When you click and drag the photos in the "compose" window they somehow lose their capacity to be clickable. That is where I ran into problems. I was clicking and dragging all over the place. I didn't know that there was another way to move the photos into place once I had uploaded them. If you move them around by cutting and pasting their html code in the "edit html" window, their clickability remains intact. I sometimes find it tricky to know where one code begins and another ends, but have more or less gotten the hang of it now and it has worked for me. I do notice that when you click on my images, they are HUGE, and when I click on the images of others they are less huge. I guess it has something to do with the format of the original uploaded photo (or not?) but as I am technologically challenged, I have no idea how to alter the format. I just take the photos on my digital camera, reduce their file size using photoshop (and I suspect I'm not even doing that correctly), and then upload them as is. And that is all I know :) Hope this is helpful for some. If anyone has further knowledge about any of this, please don't hesitate to leave a comment.

I have posted a photo for you to click with abandon! It's a grapevine tendril from our garden.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

tool tuesday: hand tools

As artists, we often feel that our tools are part of us and in this week's "tool tuesday" that sentiment has a literal significance. Many thanks to Marlana, doer of many things, for her unique submission this week. Learn more about Marlana on her website, Fortune Workshops, and on her blog. Here is what she had to say about her most precious tools:

My favorite tool is this pair of hands. They work quite well separately but they are at their best together. I got them 57 years ago and I am amazed how much they have changed in size and appearance over time. Right now they are stained, calloused, tanned and warm. In the winter they are pale, soft and cool. In the last 10 years or so they have gradually become covered with veins, wrinkles and “age spots”. They will probably last for another 30 years or so even if they get too worn out for the really heavy work they have been used to for many decades.

Here is a photo of my favorite tools resting on a cashmere sweater. Their main function is touching/ feeling/ sensing and they do not work well in soapy hot water or icy liquids, so I protect them with rubber gloves. I need industrial strength garden gloves when they are used to rip weeds and roots out of the ground or to carry wood and rocks.

Why I love this pair of tools? It would be easy to take them for granted because they are always there for me. Thanks to Kate’s Tool Tuesday submission request, I was inspired to write an ode to these hands. I love them for their ability to create a bridge from my inner world of imagination to the outer world of reality. My hands are never at war with each other. They can think for me when I am confused, self repair with time when burnt, cut, or bruised and I’ve been told they can heal.

There is not enough room here to tell you what I do with these tools. One day, I promise, I’ll write a book about it. They are so incredibly multi-purpose and versatile that I need them for just about every waking minute of the day. Wow, what would my life be like without them? Yes, I could use my feet for some jobs and my voice for others, but they are just so perfectly crafted for my needs that I would be an altogether different person without them. As a child I had nightmares that my hands were swollen like balloons and I couldn’t do a thing with them! However, I will be happy to place my hands in my lap one day when they are retired from active service.

Here are some of the things I make with my favorite tools: bouquets, cakes, clothes, collages, cookies, drawings, gardens, gestures, hairdo’s, headstands, journals, love, movies, paintings, photos, presents, sandwiches, sculptures, suppers and rock walls.

Monday, August 11, 2008

1001 pots

Yesterday Jerzy and I went on a mini-road trip to the Laurentians, a beautiful mountainous region just north of Montreal. Specifically we were going to Val David, about an hour and 40 minutes away, where they have been hosting 1001 pots for 20 years. It's the largest exhibition of ceramics in North America and it is special because it's held outside under the trees. It was truly a joy to be there. A feast for the senses. Inspirational. Relaxed atmosphere. And the ceramics! Behold!




a beautiful setting under the trees

ceramics galore

the Silica Garden, where broken ceramics are recycled in metal "cages" which form a maze

and quiet places of contemplation...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

hanging stuff

I like having pristine white walls in my studio. People tell me I should hang my work so others can see what I do, but I prefer the vast white wall space around me, which gives me a sense of calm even when my working surfaces are chaotic. When I do workshops it's also great to have space for my students' work. I hang a string across the wall and clip on their work with brightly coloured clothespegs so we can take a look from a different perspective. But I am participating in a studio tour in September and will have to display my work. I gave it some thought and then a few weeks ago I splurged big time and bought a track hanging system for my studio. I found this great company in Montreal, AS Hanging Systems, and they were very efficient and helpful and kind when I visited and spent time trying to decide which system to choose. I chose the click rail system. It's not too obtrusive and will give me a lot of flexibility. I can hang my work, change it around, hang student work temporarily, or keep my pristine walls, all without hammering nails in the wall. It's very cool! And yesterday it was installed. It was quite easy. Especially since I hired someone to come and do it for me :)...when plugs are involved, I lose all my confidence and it probably would have taken me three times as long to do it. There are small plastic clips that you attach to the wall with a screw and then you just click the track onto the clips. Then you pop in the cord and attach hooks by sliding them onto the cord and tightening. I chose the transparent nylon cord for subtlety and because my work is small and light but you can get stainless steel cords which hold more weight. I am thrilled to have them installed and now I have to get busy creating work to hang on the system. In the meantime, I've attached binder clips to my big sheets of paper and hung it on the hooks. It's a great paper hanging solution too. Here are some views of the hooks and cords and please scroll down to see what else I did to make my studio more functional, when I had a handy person available to help me with it.

Aren't they rather elegant looking just on their own?

Here is one of my paper hanging solutions.

And here is another, for my more drapable paper. Blatantly stolen from s.kaye. It's a simple system of eye hooks and wooden dowels. I like it because you can actually see what you have. Before, all my paper was kept in a giant box that I had to dig through and I really didn't know what I had and things got munched up. I'm not completely sold though. The paper is quite fiddly to drape, especially when you are layering many sheets on one dowel. And although you can easily see what you have, getting one out without messing up the others, may be a challenge. I'm giving it a try though and it's definitely an improvement on my old system, which wasn't really a system at all.

Hooks for the bathroom and furnace room doors, inside and out. Extra coat space. And umbrella space!

I've had these two floating shelves from IKEA for about nineteen months and have been too intimidated to put them up on my own. Now they are up! You can barely distinguish them from the wall with all the white on white. I put my plaster bandage masks on them for Jo! I like organizing stuff as much as I like making stuff so don't be surprised if sometime in the future I share my favourite shelving and storage solutions. Hint: IKEA.