Friday, August 31, 2007
I promised a Carp Market vendor, and a mutual customer of ours who collects cat things, that I would have fresh cats for market tomorrow and I decided to pull this old design for them out of my bag of cat tricks. I like them. They've got real character. The size of the head seems to make all the difference in the cat's character, as does the tilt of the head, but these two are straight forward and direct. I am sure they're just waiting to be fed anytime now.
These were some of the original cats I used to make. I liked to contrast the colours and to put unnatural cat colours together, like the bright green and the confetti patterned cat on the far right. I rarely make this style now. Not sure why; guess I am always just looking for the thing I have never made before you know? But like I said, I am fond of these guys. I'll probably make a bunch now that I have made a couple.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
The days, my friends, are just not long enough.
This is a transition time for me and with it comes extra duties that I have to clear up. If I am away from my blog for the next few days it's cause the world is pressing in on me and I have to attend to business. It's school stuff, and work stuff, and family stuff.
So really this is a heads up to my loyal readers that I will be posting erratically for the next week while I sort things out. Thanks for your patience.
I went to a drive in this summer. I haven't been to a drive in since the old "Highway 69 Drive In" of my misspent youth in Sudbury. I was looking for an image of the 69 Drive in (named for the highway that ran alongside it not for the activities that may or may not have occurred during a bad movie*ahem*) Instead I found this entry from IMDB: Corpse Eaters 1974
Produced in 1973 by Lawrence Zazalenchuk, who owned "The 69 Drive-In" on route 69 outside of Sudbury, Ontario. He had saved $36,000 from working at a nickel mine and decided to write and produce a horror film to screen at his own drive-in. Director Donald Passmore was hired, then fired four days and replaced by Klaus Vetter. Once finished, Zazalenchuk found he could not afford the lab costs to have film developed, but finally saved enough in drive-in proceeds. The film premiered at "The 69 Drive-In" in 1974 and went on to a long local run before it was bought and shelved by a New York distributor in the market for a tax write-off.
1974 was a bit before my drive in days, but as a rabid fan of very bad movies in general I cannot believe that this one from my own home town has escaped me! Could it be worse than my all time favorite bad movie Shriek of the Mutilated??? (no shrieking, no mutilation just a man in a bad furry snowman suit and a college professor with some students-- I shan't say more lest I give away the plot.)
But this post is not about the past it's about this past June when we went to Sandbanks and it was FREEZING cold and we discovered the Mustang Drive-in!
Let's all go to the lobby!
Let's all go to the lobby!
Let's all go to the lobby...
Hey! Where's the lobby?!
It was a promising start as we drove up and found the ticket booth to be an old bus. Awesome. And the price? $6.00 for a double feature that ended up being a TRIPLE feature! We saw Evan Almighty (ugh. boo hisss) and Knocked Up (I'd have loved it more 20 years ago but it was still way way better than feature #1) and the third, surprise movie was some horror movie that we passed on as it was already 1am and the thought of driving down dark, winding country roads around 3am to our campsite in the foggy night after seeing a horror movie was, well, not something we wanted to try.
The snack bar was fairly run down but they had a good selection inside.
That's going to be one long movie.
Actually everything was run down but, really, does it matter? You sit in your cozy car anyway. And to see the movie you put the seats right back, almost flat. Very odd. The old speakers were still on some of the stands. For those who remember putting the speaker on your window and then rolling the window up, ah, nostalgia. Now you tune in on your FM dial.
She'd done this before she said.
Note: IMHO this picture's worth clicking on
Cars now have those daytime running lights that are always on so when they shine toward the screen they can ruin the movie and so you have to deal with that somehow. I think ours turned off so we didn't have to figure that out. But they did mention what to do over the radio. Oh yeah, you put the emergency brake on and the lights go off. That's what you do.
There's a movement I was reading about called Guerrilla Drive-ins. They are run by DIY folks who want to show movies to their communities. I would love to do this. Here's a great little page to inform you. Click here for further instructions... Why not have a neighbourhood bbq and movie night? Ottawa was doing this with the movies downtown series. But since I no longer live downtown, I don't know if they did it this year.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
This was my second time at the Women's Festival. I think it's been two years since I was at this show. We travel from Ottawa, about a 2 hour trip, so we got there around 8:30am. All the spaces seemed to be spoken for, but after a few tours with an organizer we found one, at the base of a hill, and in front of a tree. We hoped our tent would fit and it did. It turned out to be a great space with plenty of shade. Perfect for a sunny summer's day. The weather started off cool, with the threat of rain in the air, but reached a very pleasant temperature by late morning.
I worked very hard and completed a few large pieces for the show. This one was a big hit generating many comments and the ultimate nod of approval: a buyer!
One of the most interesting booths there were the paper hats. Made entirely by hand, out of paper, were these incredible large brimmed sunhats. You could paint them yourself if you wanted to. I am incredibly careless with things so I didn't get one, though I didn't get the impression they were fragile, I just though I'd wreck it, but I still want one. At least I got a picture.
The show went by very quickly. Oh the food! I forgot to mention it. It's as if I created the menu. This has to rate right up there of all the shows I've done in terms of variety of food to buy. They offered salads like chick pea and thai noodle and veggie wraps and nectars and juices and bbq sausages and hotdogs and GIANT cookies and squares plus coffee and tea. It was great and totally unexpected.
As a fundraiser for women's groups, I wish Ottawa had one of these events. This one is 26 years old. They fund all kinds of organizations and I felt good about giving them my booth money.
On the way home I took these shots from the car. I have a ton of car-ride images. I think they may warrant painting, perhaps as an assignment this year for school. Maybe just as an experiment. Inspiration is all around us.
Monday, August 20, 2007
As for the subject matter, I've been a cashier in training many times. I've felt all the things in this little book. I think we may have gone into the Tim's that morning and seen some poor soul struggling to keep pace with the customers, the co-workers, and the bosses. It looks easy but only once you know what you're doing.
Why am I choosing to post this book? I think it's a way to wrap up my summer selling season. The Kingston show was the last of my summer shows on the road. It's all local farmers' markets now and school starts in a few weeks and, well, I'm just reflecting. Last year Cobourg was one of the big road shows I was looking forward to that, while enjoyable, was not worth a return visit. We did spend three great nights at a local campsite for about $30.00 or so and we camped right near a stream, or was it a creek? The water was really loud when we first got there but by the end of our visit we hardly noticed it. But I digress.
This is another of my one page books, #23 in the series. Print it onto a sheet of paper, fold, cut and re-fold, and enjoy this word snack. If you don't know how to do this see making one page books.
Friday, August 17, 2007
This one's a classic.
Squid Thing came about as a joke and to my surprise people liked it. The squid is anatomically backwards, but somehow it works. All that really matters is the one big eye. And the pointy beak. It's pretty minimal but it's a squid thing for sure. No mistaking it for anything else.
I always wanted to expand Squid Thing into a comic book or cartoon. There's a personality there ready to be developed. I haven't made Squid Thing in quite sometime. I think I'll make one soon.
Here's my first painting based on a You Tube video called Dramatic Prairie Dog. View it here:
My guy said the prairie dog was giving you "the stink eye". Now this is a term I've never heard before. He was amazed. "What, you've never given a stink eye to someone!? Or gotten a stink eye?" Probably people have given me the stink eye, and probably I've given them the stink eye, but I never called it that.
It just makes me laugh.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 very ripe bananas
10 slices buttered bread
Blend the peanut butter with the banana until creamy. Spread the mixture over 5 slices of bread. Top with the remaining bread.
In a skillet melt enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the sandwiches in the butter and grill them until the bread it slightly toasted. Flip to grill the other side. Drain on paper towels.
Makes 5 sandwiches.
Recipe from Fit for a King - The Elvis Presley Cookbook
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
A friend of mine just rescued a picture frame I'd made for a client years ago from the Salvation Army. It was a Harley Davidson, (I remember working to get the rims right and the handlebars), and a rabbit with a caption that said "Joanie you're a wild thing!" or something like that. This isn't the first time something I made ended up at a second hand store. It's kind of a back-handed compliment in that it wasn't wanted anymore but it wasn't something that someone was going to throw out either. I have seen pieces of work done by fellow artists that I know at the Salvation Army myself. After years of making and selling things, it's bound to happen.
Today's image is from my archives. The brown used in this composition is no longer made by the manufacturer of friendly plastic, though the heavily patterned, and generally unusable, red and gold colour still is. Go figure.
I really enjoy making women. I especially love giving them little purses and big hair. These are two things that I don't sport myself but I can fulfill that side of me through my art.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
>We were seated at a table in a restaurant. Our waitress walked by and dropped the bill off for us. I reached to pick up the tab and realized I didn't have any money.
There is a story about how Picasso loved to show how famous he was by giving his signature as payment for goods rendered. I am sure this is where my subconscious got that image from.
As an aside, Chris and I had a brief discussion as to who in the world today would be so famous that they would be able to pay for something with their signature alone. Who owns the most collectible signature today amongst the living? I have no clue. And it would have to be worldwide fame, not just niche fame. We wondered this as we walked to the local pizza place. Who could walk into your local pizza place and pay for a sub and a salad with a signature?
Monday, August 13, 2007
And I did make this at about 5am Sunday morning.
BTW why am I making something on a Sunday morning before having to do a show in the heat? Because with all the work I had to do all week I FORGOT to make this special order and when my poor Chris was filling in for me at Carp while I was at Strathcona Park, the nice school nurse from Texas, (who's on a plane this morning flying back to Texas), dropped by to pick up her order from me at Carp that wasn't there.
She ordered it last weekend.
I totally forgot.
I called her Saturday night, we arranged a drop off point for me to get it to her before I went in to Carp market on Sunday, and all I had to do was make it.
This is the first nurse I've ever made. So to familiarize myself with the archetypal "nurse" I searched google images to get a feel for it. I didn't realize that there are so many fantasies involving nurses out there. Some of these images were certainly interesting but not good for a mirror going into a school.
I did get to see variations of the nurse's hat, which was requested, and noticed what nurses are paired up with. Their "attributes" I like to say. In art history when you are looking at pictures of saints for instance, you can tell who they are by their attributes, what they have with them. St. Peter= keys etc. Nurses have needles (nope) stethoscope (maybe) clipboards (dull) and I thought, oh band aids!
So I was off and running.
Here's the nurse getting ready to be cooked:
After the plastic fuses together and it's warm and malleable I can shape it, but at 5am, after being out in the sun the day before and dragging myself around from the work of the previous week, I had some trouble. It was the "thumbs-up hand". I have a weird dyslexia where I reverse hands and fingers. I had to keep looking into a mirror to see how the hand actually looks when it's doing a thumbs up. My brain just wouldn't turn the image for me. On top of that, the arm position looked wrong, it was out too far and the upper arm was too long as this is actually an image requiring foreshortening, but I really couldn't get that at all. The first time I tried to shape it, I figured the thumb needed to be more pronounced and so I shaped it, pushing it against the background of the white dress but it looked more like a peek-a-boo nipple. NONONO! Wrong! Perhaps my initial search for nurse images was affecting me... So I pushed it over and figured I should emphasize the outer fingers and as the plastic was by now starting to harden (you have at most 3 minutes, if that, to work your design), every line for the fingers created a corresponding line in the white dress and it looked as if she was clutching her chest. Heart Attack! Again, NONONO! In the end I re-heated the surface with my heat gun and re-worked the surface, removing extra "clutch" lines on the dress and re-shaping, once more, the hand. Had I had the time, I would have re-done the arm probably, but I had to get it done. And, knowing how tired I was, I didn't have the confidence to believe I could do it better next time round. I really had to work this one out. In the end I added a few embellishments; simple shapes that make all the difference.
I let the school nurse harden up and glued her to the mirror background with the caption and the stars.
I was very happy with the final outcome. My nurse client was as well. I did hand it to her flat, instructing her to keep it flat so the images don't shift around until the glue dries in about a day. Usually it's okay after an hour but as she was planning to pack it in a suitcase I figured better to be safe than sorry.
Here's the finished mirror for the school nurse. Her attribute? The Golden Band Aid.
The lady with the duck hat was back again. Her hat makes a duck-like sound, I guess Donald Duck-like sound to be more accurate when you squeeze the brim. I just love that hat. This year she kindly posed for me.
Across from me were "the glass girls" Nicole and Claire of Juicy Designs.
I think they did okay as did my friend Dina, who has just returned to making things for art shows.
She arrived at 8 am, too late to find a spot near me and my friend Tim, of Mobius T-Shirts, so she was very far away at the opposite end of the park. I got there at 7:20 am, late, and luckily Tim managed to grab our spots. It was already 1/2 full by then.
And I reserve the last word for this picture of the best dog I saw all day.
The lady with the bird in a bag was a no-show. (see my post about Strathcona 2006 for more details)
Friday, August 10, 2007
Ah! Nothing says Elvis like shiny! I love making The King. Elvis makes me feel all happy and light and airy inside. I have a very vivid memory of my favorite uncle, Uncle George, coming home from the store one day when he was visiting, asking to borrow my record player because he'd bought a K-Tel compilation 2 record set of Elvis songs. The joy he showed, singing along to The King in the bathroom while he shaved getting ready to go out drinking with his old buddies just made me feel all happy inside. He was the only fun relative I had and I loved him and he loved the King and so I wanted me some of THAT!
Long Live The King.
Many of the cat paintings I have done since I started painting are represented in this one piece, just completed for Strathcona Park. I have had an extraordinarily busy week this week and I meant to do more paintings, but you know, I didn't and that's the way things go sometimes.
I do have a companion piece to this one, representing all the dogs over the past 7 years as well. I'll be working on that at the show. I expect to be painting all day, using my time at the park to get ready for the Kingston Women's Festival next Sunday.
Stop by if you get a chance.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
This is a favorite mirror of mine. I love the way the moose bodies hug the curve of the mirror and the tiny pine trees along the bottom seem perfectly placed to me.
You don't often see moose in a composition of this sort. The stars seem to be the right transitional points between the trees and the moose. I just really like it.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
This bunny looks like he's already got the Big Prize yet he's still dreaming of something more... hmmm... not what I intended! And I gave him a lady's mouth. Odd.
It's funny what happens when you make things. Stuff sneaks in there that in the moment is the right decision and only afterwards do you think "why did I do that?"
This is what happens when you work a part time job while getting ready for two shows over one weekend.
You forget things except what's in front of your face to do.
Plus it was cheap movie night here ($4.20) and my other half and I made a pact to get out and go see a cheap film, (surely I can spare a couple of hours?) and so off I went to the theatre right after work and watched Bourne Ultimatum and then came home, worked a bit more, and went to bed exhausted. It didn't help that it was super humid again here and hot hot hot.
I didn't even think about posting.
I guess that's going to happen.
Not often I hope.
Monday, August 06, 2007
When I used to make barrettes, I loved to do one called "Amoebas in Luv". Basically it was a single amoeba involved in the process of cell division. It was great fun to science types, and they like barrettes too. This design was placed on tie clips, and made into earrings and brooches. I really enjoy all the science based designs. My favorite was when I made the family tree of the fish, from the ancient fishes branching off to whales and sharks and all the modern varieties. It was huge. I'd guess about a foot tall and 6" wide. I labelled it with the proper names of the creatures. These were also worked into the pin design beneath the arrows branching off into one area or another along the evolutionary paths. There was a pin on the back in case someone wanted to wear it. Unfortunately I don't have a picture to show you. But for those of us who remember it, well, we remember it fondly.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Often I get asked to make a custom piece for someone.
Many artists hate custom work. They find it tedious and tense, knowing that what the client envisions and what you make, often diverge greatly. I am lucky as my customers know my style to begin with and that's what they want. 9 times out of 10 they leave me be and just encourage me to do "whatever" and that's what I do.
When I make something special I like to ask a bunch of questions to get a feel for who the intended recipient is. It's almost a psychic thing for me. I need to really feel their personality, their likes and dislikes, and then I just file it away in my brain and let the whole thing work itself out. Often I don't even know what it is I am making until I start.
It's all kind of nebulous but for me that's the creative process. It's all about trusting the gods to give me what I need when I need it.
This was given to a new lawyer by her close friend. I was thrilled to do Blind Justice in friendly plastic. Who wouldn't be?
And here's a terrible image of the whole mirror, with the caricature of the receiver swinging from the scales of justice.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
I've been making viking ladies since the beginning. I enjoy the strength and the character of this pin design. It always causes a fuss when people see it, and everyone knows someone who either is a viking warrior-lady, or someone who needs strength for the battle ahead. To this end, this is a design that is often given to someone recovering from an illness, or someone who is changing something big in their life. It's a reminder to keep going no matter what. Remember, the only way out is through.
I've been told that many a viking lady adorns the lapels of women going into a Big Meeting with a Big Someone, or if they aren't wearing it, they're putting her on the door to their office. Beware!
Friday, August 03, 2007
This is one of my most favorite friendly plastic creations ever. It combines several things that I love: ladies carrying dogs, high fashion, bright colours, painting, mixed media, a quote and shrink plastic.
The quote says: Love is an emotion a woman always feels for her poodle, and sometimes for a man.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
I hate it when they do this.
Inevitably they end up chopping a plant or two of mine down.
What I've discovered though, is if I allow all my plants to grow grow grow, they don't know what's a weed, and what's wanted or unwanted so they get kind of confused and just cut the grass growing between the patio stones. That plant life is clearly not where it belongs in between those cement stones.
That's fine with me.
So when I heard the guy out there I rushed out to bring Kitty X inside and she was in this great shady spot, completely away from everything, with a leaf that totally covered her big body from head to toe.
A real retreat if there ever was one.
I left her out and she ended up moving to behind the bbq, but she didn't ask to come in. It's way too hot in here, and even as I write this, hours later and with the moon high in the sky, it's still way too hot.
But it's August, my favorite month, and I like it to be hot in August, so bring it on.