Wednesday, November 26, 2008

For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.
~Dag Hammarskjold (1905 - 1961)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy early "Turkey Day" to all my American friends....
Charlie Chaplin's Thanksgiving Meal
Ok...tell me this doesn't look like we had fun!

What a blast it was working with the Grade 5/6 students from St. Justin's Elementary School yesterday at the Jubilee Auditorium. The kids were great and believe it or not we finished the "fairy tale house project" in under 2 hours. Check out some of the students work...

I was so thrilled and amazed at the freedom the kids felt in experimenting with the techniques I demonstrated (and of course the teachers too). It really was a room full of creative energy. Thanks Jen (good friend and Manager of Community Engagement) for the gig and all your hands on help!). Also thanks again Tad for the use of your wonderful photos!

After teaching I met with a talented group of Book binders and Book artists at the Faculty club for dinner, a casual meeting and a book exchange. I have attended less than a handful of get-togethers in the last 4 years but have always felt so included and welcome by the group.

As I drove home from the meeting last night, I thought about how much I have worked the past 14 days since getting back from North Carolina — probably close to 10 hours a day(or more). There have been so many deadlines that I had already pushed to the limit by being away, that really I had no choice and believe me, my family has been so incredibly understanding and supportive.

I was reminded though of this wonderful quote from Vikki of the Waifs..."In the last 5 months I've been a part time mother and a full time touring musician. People always ask me "how does it work, mothering and touring?" Well, it doesn't, really."

...she's so right, in a way— that only a mother (or possibly a dad) can understand....

and so I have decided today I'm just going to be Mom...and Piper and I will have a fun day doing something while blasting this song while the boys are at school because it REALLY IS her favourite song...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mr. Pine lived on Vine Street in a little white house. "A white house is fine," said Mr. Pine, "but there are FIFTY white houses all a line on Vine Street. How can I tell which house is mine?"
~Mr. Pine's Purple House

When I was a child, my favourite book was Mr. Pine's Purple House. I thought about that book a lot today as i was gessoing the board houses for tomorrow's workshop.

The book is about a man who wants to make his house stand out from the 49 other white houses on his block by trying to do many different things (and his trials and tribulations along the way). I had the book memorized when I was little and still to this day can recite certain pages.

Its interesting how the philosophy in those pages is still a fundamental element in my life today and that I somehow recognized it in that book when I was 3 years old.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Life is like getting dropped off in the middle of the woods, and then year by year, gradually walking home.
~April Foiles

I will be doing this mixed media project on Monday afternoon with grade 5 and 6 students. They are part of the Jube School Program taking place here at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

The theme next week is "Fairy Tales" and so I decided to create a fairy tale house in the so many fairy tales have. The project is made using a children's board book page. The amazing tree photos have been generously loaned to me by my friend and wonderful photographer Tad Barney.

Well I'm off to the studio now to prepare 60+ houses, listening of course to some tunes while I work...

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm aching...

I called my oldest son a jerk today on our way to school. I really tied into him how he quite often acts like a jerk. Sure he was acting like a jerk to his brother, but I really have to stop reacting this way.

I hate it. I hate the fact that we never spoke again and he went off to school. I know that when I pick him up I will apologize and explain why I reacted that way and he will say its OK but that its one more of those moments in his life.

How is it that our kids can bring out emotions and reactions in us that no other situation in our life does?

Even though I have things I should be doing...I'm going to the studio to paint.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
~Bertrand Russell

One of my best talents in life is "wasting time"...or rather doing what I "shouldn't" be doing, when I "should" be doing something else. I've always done it. I was a dawdler, a daydreamer, and a doodler.

I'll spend hours emailing friends instead of doing my administration work. I'll do my administration work when I should be cleaning the house. I'll clean the house when I have a commission that I should be painting. I'll spend a day painting when I should be working on computer layout work. I'll spend all night working on computer layout work when I should be sleeping.

Yes, I'll admit its rather inconvenient when I then have to scramble at the last minute to get the stuff that I "should have" been doing done on time...but you know what, it always gets done.

I don't know why I need to work this way, but I do. I can diligently make out a map for the day but inevitably I always end up taking the scenic route...and in some strange way I'm ok with this...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

When one has much to put into them, a day has a hundred pockets.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

How I spent my 1440 minutes yesterday:

Helping with homework: 12 minutes
Laundry: 15 minutes
Juicing: 21 minutes
Phone calling: 22 minutes
Responding to children issues: 27 minutes
Taking kids to/from school: 32 minutes
Journaling: 36 minutes
Cooking: 43 minutes
Bed time reading/cuddling: 46 minutes
Eating: 59 minutes
Art administration work: 84 minutes
Duty mom at play school: 150 minutes
Computer design work: 240 minutes
Sleeping: 290 minutes
Procrastinating: 363 minutes...because well, my mind just tends to sometimes wander...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Feet, why do I need them if I have wings to fly?
~Frida Kahlo

...but then there are days when I'm too overwhelmed to fly...
so I just listen to music.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Wonders of Tissue Paper

For those of you inquiring about how to get the transparency in these pages...they are achieved by photocopying images onto white or cream coloured tissue paper. The way to do this without jamming up your printer is to cut a piece of tissue paper the same size as a piece of regular paper, then lightly run a glue stick on the top of the regular paper and place the top of the tissue paper evenly onto it. This should allow it to feed through your printer/copier.

It makes a fantastic transparent image that can then be collaged into your altered book using soft gel medium. First paint a layer of gel on the page and then gently place the tissue paper down onto it. I then paint another layer of soft gel on top. Because of the delicacy of the tissue paper, it does tend to rip sometimes but in my opinion it just adds more visual interest to the page. I absolutely LOVE the way it allows the text from underneath to show through.

I have also used tracing paper which works really well but is not as transparent.

I discovered this technique in the book The Art of Personal Imagery by Corey Moortgat. It is a FANTASTIC book of inspiration and mixed media techniques for anyone interested in creative journaling or altered book making.

Here's some sunshine for you...I'm just so happy to see that I'm not the ONLY person who happens to (sometimes) sleep in their clothes...

Monday, November 17, 2008

A clean studio, a fresh perspective, and of course more thoughts about Raleigh….

I spent a lot of the day yesterday cleaning and reorganizing my studio. As I was unpacking art supplies from my trip, I came across these leaves. Suddenly I remembered the walk I took on the second morning of the convention.

Although everything had finally worked out (amidst the canceled flight, the lost luggage, and the panic that I hadn’t actually registered), I was still feeling a little lost. I wasn’t quite sure what to do when I got up that morning. There wasn’t a session until 1 p.m. and I hated wandering through the hotel looking lost. Since I didn’t really understand the competition room upstairs yet— as in "where" exactly I was supposed to set up (since everyone seemed to have already claimed their “space”), or that everyone was just supposed to start drawing everyone else (and of course I felt too shy to ask people to pose for me), so I decided to go for a walk.

It was raining, which I love because then I’m automatically (but of course theoretically) allowed do all the things I love to do inside like paint, write, draw, or read. When its hot and sunny outside, I feel like I should be out windsurfing, even though I don’t actually windsurf. Anyway, as I walked in the rain, I suddenly felt lighter. The colours of the autumn leaves were vibrant and back lit by the water, and since “our” autumn leaves fell over 5 weeks ago, seeing them again was such a treat. As I looked for special ones to pick up, I automatically felt like myself again, doing what I love to do outside— wander, think and collect souvenirs of those moments for my journals.

While the intense caricature world that I had just flown into was very exciting, I was a bit overwhelmed by it all AND the fact that I only had 5 days left away from my family— to replenish my depleted mothering patience and enthusiasm. I walked and thought a lot about what I was doing in Raleigh and how I fit into this new world of obvious and remarkable talent. I found a coffee shop and sat for a while trying to figure out what I had really come for and what would make this the most fulfilling week for me. Then figured out a strategy that I could adopt to keep me a float the rest of the week.

All that I came up with was my automatic “default settings" plan— retreat and be alone. I figured the best thing I could do was to take the time to really enjoy my 'free' mental time (without my motherhood duties) and just draw and paint in my hotel room away from the competition. This way I wouldn’t add stress to a trip that was meant to de-stress my life. By spending the time alone, I would certainly have had enough quietness by the time I was heading home.

But that’s not what I did. What was so amazing about this convention was that as overflowing in talent as it was, everyone attending seemed to have some feelings of artistic insecurity on some level, and was open to sharing, experimenting, encouraging and supporting others in theirs.

In that atmosphere I slowly began to open up. I spent less and less time alone in my hotel room and by Wednesday I actually brought my art supplies down into the competition room and began to draw and paint. Eventually I didn't even want to leave the energy of the room as it was so enjoyable and addictive.

Now as I sit here breathing in the fresh “after convention” air in my clean studio, I feel so grateful, and really honoured to actually be a part of this community that acknowledges and encourages each other to grow in a helpful, honest and supportive enviromnent.

When I got home, my husband Mark said he was so happy I chose the new path. He was afraid after talking to me on the phone the first night that I would spend the whole week in my room writing and painting and not taking full advantage of what might be there. This experience has shown me that while being alone at times is important, connecting with others can nourish and balance me just as much, if not more sometimes.
and its only getting better...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thank You!

What a weekend! This past three days at the Stop and Shop Show was an amazing experience. I had the privilege to meet hundreds of people and talk about my art, my journals and altered books, my workshops and of course my caricatures. I really enjoyed all the stories that were shared with me about other's joys and struggles with creativity, with time, with journaling, with motherhood and with their art. Thanks so much for stopping by my booth to take a look, for all your kind words and encouragement, and a big thanks for purchasing something if you did. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Then, after a full day at the Show I had a very busy drawing gig at the Delta Inn South, for the University of Alberta, with the talented Rob Guthrie (thanks to my favourite Ohio agent ). It was my first time drawing adults at a long gig since getting back from the convention and I am loving how much my style has developed — feeling more confidence to "kindly" exaggerate and play with the drawings.

The strangest part was that when I heard Christmas music I thought "What are they playing that for?" Oh yeah, this IS a Christmas party. The season is upon us...

Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stop and Shop!
If you are in the Edmonton area, you might want to check out the Stop and Shop show this weekend at the Transalta Bus Barns. 85 emerging designers all under one roof! A great place to find some unique gifts.
I will be there selling my prints, cards, and some original artwork. I will also have gift certificates for Caricatures for sale. Stop by and say hi!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I live not in dreams but in contemplation of a reality that is perhaps the future.
~Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926),

So many my feelings, in my thoughts, in my paintings, in my drawings and in my life right now.
I am moving through the layers, moment to moment, darting in and out, avoiding anything extraneous on this path that I am stumbling down. My choices each day are random, rarely logical, and never overtly productive, but they consistently take me to wonderful and unforeseen places.

Two months ago when I registered for the National Caricature Network Convention that took place this past week in Raleigh, North Carolina, I didn't know why it was so important for me to go, but I knew that I needed to go. Of course, on an obvious level—I am a caricature artist and its a convention for caricature artists.

It turned out to be so much more. First of all, I learned more about caricatures and drawing than I really thought I needed to learn. (insert deflated ego picture here) Also, for someone who has been a professional caricature artist for 24 years you would think I'd have known more about the whole industry than I actually did. (insert light bulb image here) The icing on the cake though, was the amazing new friendships and fantastic memories that I am now enjoyably collaging into my life along with the thrill of being part of an international caricature community (albeit one that doesn't necessarily recognize me from day to day).

For me, the convention was also as much about "stepping away" from my life here as it was about "being there". How wonderful it felt to get up from my chair, walk away and have the chance to look at my life from a distance, just like I do numerous times with my paintings and drawings. Here at home, I have 3 young children and a studio in my house. My entire creative life exists simultaneously (yet not always cohesively) among the responsibilities, the demands, and the chaos. In Raleigh, my art was all I was required to think about for a week.

So now back in Edmonton, in the snow, with a bit of the post-convention blues, I really wish it could have gone on longer. However, as I get back to the gigs and the drawing board, I am relieved to see that my eye is sharper, my drawing is better and undoubtedly my life is richer. Just like a beautiful translucent glaze, my time at the convention has added a much needed layer to my career and brought some of my struggling creative elements together.

I really can't wait till next year...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Great Week Away!
Just got home last night from the National Caricature Network convention in Raleigh, North Carolina. What an amazing, humbling, inspiring and exciting experience. So many talented artists under one roof; so many styles, so much creativity, so many new ideas, so much alcohol...
I really enjoyed the opportunity to try merging my mixed media with my caricatures...something very new for me. I can't wait to see where this path will take me. This is a photo of my first painting with the Okie artist.
This morning I had a gig (happy birthday Sidney) and was right back at it.
On the long flight home I had time to reflect and make some notes for next year's cnvention...