Tuesday, May 27, 2008


My sister has a new football team they are naming The Valkyries. For those not familiar with Norse lore:
In Norse mythology the valkyries (Old Norse Valkyrja "Choosers of the Slain") are female deities, who served Odin. The valkyries' purpose was to choose the most heroic of those who had died in battle and to carry them off to Valhalla
I envisioned a warrior, goddess-type typically seen in comics complete with bustier armor. This is what I came up with:

Sketchcrawl Anyone?

I've been inspired by a number of things lately - Danny Gregory's blog and books, several books on art journals, working on doing regular mandalas with the help of a mentor, and blogs that have led me to discover something called a Sketchcrawl. Seems there is a worldwide "movement" if you will, bringing folks together across the globe on specific dates to sketch and share and discuss and inspire one another over coffee for the day. The idea was inspired by what most have experienced in some format - the pubcrawl. Except, this results in lovely artwork, perhaps new friends, and no hangover! What fun - community, art, coffee, friends - I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon. The global group is now "officially" on event #19. So, with the growing community of artists here in Airdrie starting to gather and share through various events, I decided it might be fun to start a Sketchcrawl right here in our city. The good folks at Benjamin's Coffee House, who are always helping to promote the arts in our community, have accepted my request for the group to meet there on June 21st at 10am. So, those of you who see this who are in Airdrie or in the Calgary area and would like to join in a day of fun and creative sketching and general kibitzing, please just show up at Benjamin's on Saturday morning. 207, 304 Main Street Square, Airdrie, Alberta. No artistic experience of any kind is required!! Bring whatever material you like to play with: pencils, pens, watercolors, colored pencils, felt markers, a journal or other suitable paper, etc. For more information on how to participate and for clarity on what the whole thing is about see the Sketchcrawl website, blog and forums to see what the fuss is all about. Hope you will come!

"Le Cadeau Du Cheval - The Horse Gift"

I've recieved my mural panel in the mail....a couple of weeks ago actually. I just have not managed to get this up here. This is the "before" shot. So, add to my growing list of projects I have currently on the go. Certainly no lack of inspiration in my house at the moment. For those of you not familiar with the marvelous Mural Mosaic projects being organized by "Northern Alberta Boys", Phil Alain and Lewis Lavoie - you must check out the projects underway and those completed at: www.muralmosaic.com
I have had the pleasure and honor of participating in 3 previous murals of theirs: the Alberta / Saskatchewan Centennial, "Buffalo Twins", a CPAWS fundraiser, "Earth's Treasure Chest", a mural for the town of Cochrane, "Trust", and now this one - A celebration of the horse, "Le Cadeau Du Cheval - The Horse Gift"

Sunday, May 4, 2008

That Darn Dog

We are very fortunate to have the most extraordinary little dog in our lives right now. Her name is Mollie. She is a border collie cross (we think crossed with spaniel perhaps), and she has the most wonderful disposition. She's one of those rare creatures you wish you could clone over and over just to enjoy her company forever. I guess the next best thing to that would be to paint her. And, for some time now I have wanted to have a friend of mine do a watercolor portrait of her. And, eventually do the same myself - maybe in acrylic and also a few sketches in pen as well. So, for the past year or more I have been trying to get some reference photos of her.....and she's having none of it. It seems she is absolutely petrified of the camera and the moment she hears the sound of it turning on or even of the Velcro closure on the case opening, she's off and running, tail between her legs.
This is the best I'm managed so far. Grrr......

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Still Painting

Despite all the other things going on right now, and thanks to my Monday afternoon painting group, I do still manage to have a paint brush in my hands for at least a few hours each week. Without this lovely group of women (and Keith) in my life, I wouldn't have the discipline to keep at it. Too many other things seems to be "more important". Not sure why the priorities get so skewed like that. But regardless, I am grateful for the fire under my butt afforded me by my painting buddies. I've got a couple paintings on the go here, this one is a 36" square large mandala-to-be honoring the earth. This is just the background so far. Not sure that much of it will still be visible after I add all the elements....perhaps a shame, as the colors are so vibrant and rich. Dan (my husband) thinks we should hang it in our bedroom as it is. Hmmm.....maybe another like it is in order. Anyway a WIP it is at the moment

The Real Distraction

So, what really kept me out of the studio as the entire month of April blew by? Hard wood flooring. Yes, yet another do-it-yourself project. Slightly large one though - 2000 sq.ft.: 3 bedrooms with closets, one bathroom, living room, dining room, entrance, hallway, kitchen, sun room, and yes, stairs! Whew! Can you say "CRAZY?" So, why would we attempt this on our own you might ask? (any sane person would ask this) Well.....because we can, I guess. Can't come up with a better answer than that. I'll blame this one on my dad again - that old "jump in and dig your way out" attitude I inherited. So, even though we don't have the foggiest idea how to lay hardwood, we figured - "how hard can it be", and in we plunged. What have we learned? It's relatively easy, like putting together a puzzle....when all the walls are square. We, however have angles galore and one room connects with another and the living room is sunken one step, etc. So, it can get a little overwhelming. We also didn't realize when we set out that just doing the flooring would lead to painting all the walls and replacing the baseboards (which also require painting) and then setting up all the rooms again. This means getting rid of lots of stuff we've accumulated over the years. And, I can't throw anything away (too much wastefulness in the world), so looking for places to recycle or reuse things is required. And on the project grows!
I think the bottom line is this - don't have any expectations on how long it will take. Accept that the daily accomplishment might just be completing one stair - we' aren't finishing carpenters after all. Here's a few shots of some of the rooms so far:

The boys helping to rip the carpet out of the living room.

"Yay! My room is done!" Kienan and his new room complete with his choice of wall color - "Kermit The Frog " green.

Our newly "Zen-like" bedroom.
So....while I'm out of the studio more than I like, I know it will all be wonderful in the end. It just would be nice if this project end would come sonner than later.

Catching up

Whew - the pressure to keep up with the blog! Not that I've obviously posted anything since setting this up, but the nagging I do in my own head is ridiculous at times. I don't know how people manage to keep it up. So.....what have I been up to? Well, for starters I did actually attempt my first self- portrait in white and black charcoal pencils. Never done a portrait of any kind before. The result?

Lovely portrait ....of someone - just doesn't look like me. Great lesson in how the most minuscule of changes to the features can result in a drastic change in likeness. So after goofing around changing facial features several times, I decided it was a sufficient first attempt and left it at that. The next one - using the same reference photo I think, will be in color...I think pastels again. Should be another good exercise. We'll see....I've got other things on the go for now.
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