Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mother I love you so.
Said the child, I love you more than I know.
He laid his head on his mother's arm,
And the love between them kept them warm.
~Stevie Smith (1902-1971)

Born in the snow, and yet you hate the cold...

I can't even begin to describe the colours you have brought to my world...

Happy Birthday Kieran Amedeo, born Dec. 23, 2001
... you were my best Christmas present ever...

Love, Mom

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Observe Everything.
Communicate Well.

Draw, Draw, Draw.

~Frank Thomas, Disney Animator, When asked to give advice to young animators
(...and something I try to do at every gig— as fast as I can!)

This past weekend I was hired to draw at the "The Ultimate Staff Party" on both Friday and Saturday night in Red Deer, Alberta. I was one of the 5 "acts" performing each evening.

The events were HUGE...On Friday night there were 1200 guests and on Saturday night there was a whopping 1700 people (by far the largest event I have ever drawn at).

For three hours each evening I was on centre stage with two huge video screens projecting my drawing hand as well as the person I was drawing. What a blast! As much fun as it was for me, I guess it was especially entertaining for the crowd (as I was told, I was the sleeper hit of both nights).

Thanks to all the guys providing my technical assistance and a special thanks to Jeff for taking some pictures of me drawing Saturday night. Also a very special thank you to the organizers, Richard and Deborah Popovich for making my final 2 gigs of 2008 an amazing finale and giving my family and I a great reason to get out of town and stay in a hotel for a couple days of some pre-Christmas relaxation.

With the temperatures still hovering around the minus 30's it was wonderful to stay at the Red Deer Lodge and have a swimming pool and hot tub only 10 feet from our hotel room door in a beautiful open "inside" courtyard.

After 6 weeks of gigs and freelance work, it was so wonderful to stay in my pjs all morning on Saturday, then head straight to the hot tub and back to laze around in our hotel room some more and play Are you smarter than a 5th grader?. When I got home from my gig on Saturday night, the kids and I watched our Christmas classic Elf and ate cheese popcorn and popcorn twists.

We arrived home today to a very messy house but that still has to wait a couple more days. Now that I'm finished art work and gigs till January... its time to think about Christmas shopping. So I started it at 2:30 this afternoon and finished it at 7:30 tonight and now I'm just wrapping presents up, with a glass of wine and listening to some Christmas tunes...

PS...after I published this, I reread how absolutely perfect I made the weekend sound. In many ways it was, but it was also a weekend with 3 kids and for those of you who don't have children and think that having children is all relaxing and romantic like that, I think I should add some of the normal moments too ...
... like the arguing in the van almost the entire way to Red Deer, or Piper's melt down at the restaurant during our late lunch on Saturday because well, who knows, she just has issues with eating food that isn't made as perfectly exactly as bland and simple as she is used to at home, or my intense discussion with Ry about his attitude towards everybody AGAIN, and then of course there's Kieran's constant negotiation about everything...

...I could go on, but that should give you the idea :) ...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Be Authentic
Be light



Even the fear of death is nothing compared to the fear of not having lived authentically and fully.

~Frances Moore Lappe

Monday, December 15, 2008

(From Wikipedia)
Cold refers to the condition of having low temperature, it is the absence of heat relative to the concept of warmth. The color blue is associated with cold. Many things are also associated with cold, for instance ice. Absolute zero is the coldest temperature that can be reached which is 0 K on the Kelvin scale, which is a thermodynamic temperature scale, and -273.15° on the Celsius scale. Absolute zero is also precisely equivalent to 0 °R on the Rankine scale (also a thermodynamic temperature scale), and -459.67 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale.

Cold places
* Jupiter with a temperature of -166 °C at the cloud tops.
* Mars has a temperature of about -180 °C (-292 F).
* Saturn with a temperature of -180 °C (-292 F) at cloud tops.
* Neptune with a temperature of -218 °C (-360 F) at the cloud tops.
* Uranus with a temperature of -218 °C (-360 F) at cloud tops.
* Edmonton, Alberta this past weekend... with a temperature of -31 °C ( -38 with the windchill)

I'm feeling cold. Outside is cold, inside is cold, even my thoughts are cold...they are kind of hunched over with their hands in my pockets scurrying to the next idea to see if they can find a little warmth there. So much going at this time of year, this time in our family, this time in our lives, this time in the world especially. Lots of cold thought spots and I just can't stay in one place too long...

On the drawing side...a very busy gig weekend, lots of great faces...especially the kids....and here's a group of cartoon portraits I did last week for the City of Edmonton's Asset Management department for their web site...

I think I'll just bundle up my thoughts and listen to some blues...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is there

to life
than getting
and then getting
of it,
BIGGER of it,
FASTER of it,

what you can't use now

so you can use it

If this is so...
what a sad routine.

How really very, very sad

On the other hand...

Know for sure
that you are

when your
hunt for alternatives

I bought a card with that written on it, about 10 years ago. At that time we were still living that kind of life. Mark and I approached everything from our "traveler mentality" and so it was really easy to refrain from collecting stuff. When your "home" is a backpack, the lighter you live, the better.
How I would love to say that we live as simple as that now. We don't. Unfortunately Mark and I still haven't quite figured out how to handle the amount of stuff that owning a house requires, not to mention how much stuff 3 children can generate in your life.

With Christmas coming, I can't help but get a bit stressed thinking about even MORE stuff entering our small home. I do love to sort, organize and declutter, (its actually something I'm VERY good at), but I can't keep up. It takes so much more time when you have to do it for 5 people, a lot more time than I have in my life right now.

Mark and I are both taking time off around Christmas, so this is going to be at the top of our "To Do" list. I spent my drawing time yesterday...
(one part of a "Thank you" to Nora for helping Mark with our kids while I was in North Carolina)...

...while listening to this amazing song
from one of my favourite movies....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

By the time I'd grown up, I naturally supposed that I'd be grown up.
~Eve Babitz

This cartoon was hanging on Mark's fridge when I met him and then it hung on our fridge for years. It made us laugh all the time.

I found it the other day while searching through an old photo album and it still makes us laugh. I remember having it on our fridge about 7 years ago and some "grown up" friends were over and saw it there. They didn't find it funny at all. They actually didn't get it. I remember the difficulty in trying to explain it to them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all an advocate for immaturity. In fact I really do have issues with some of that kind of behaviour. I guess it has more to do with the assumption that some people act or just seem more grown up than we do.

I do think that some people feel grown up eventually. I also think some people are just born that way. My son Ry was born more grown up than both Mark and I, and that is what has caused all the difficulty. He's always been "older" than us. At 3 —he was lecturing us on driving too fast, at 7—he was lecturing us on ancient Rome and Greece, at now at 11—he reads the paper in the morning, checks the stock market, and lectures me about the news and the government... oh and refers to his younger brother and sister as "the kids". Parenting him has never been easy.

However, he is still a child and is actually very naive in many non-intellectual ways. I have learned to understand his unique perspective a little more in the last few years. This happened the day I realized that he is almost as uncomfortable being a child as often as we are parenting him as one.

Perhaps some other people just know how to do the things that "grownups" do when they are "supposed" to do them (whether they feel like it or not), like register kids for swim lessons or make sure that there are groceries in the house.
..maybe I could take a class on that...

Oh and here are some things I've been working on (in between thoughts)...

...and of course always listening to music...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Something else you can do with tissue paper...

Its kind of a known fact around here that my kids can do almost anything (that's not harmful to themselves or other's) if they just let me get my drawing and painting done. I don't even mind them creating a huge mess (most of the time) as long as we can get it all cleaned up before dinner.

Yesterday, Piper spent the afternoon creating elaborate tissue paper creations while I managed to get another commission drawn and out of the way. She just comes up with the greatest things.

While I'm loving how my "live" drawing is right now, I have to admit I'm still struggling a little with some elements of my gift caricature work. There are areas that I know need improvement, always have, but I haven't spent the time and effort to figure out what is really wrong with those elements.

I know part of the problem stems from seeing my commission caricature work and my paintings as having separate artistic rules. On a conscious level I know the rules are the same, but I still come up on big hurdles in my head when critiquing the caricature work.

However, I'm very inspired now to get to the bottom of it and figure some things out...

Monday, December 08, 2008

At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;

But like of each thing that in season grows.

~William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), Love's Labour Lost

We have very little snow here right now, (absolutely none in Edmonton's downtown), which if you are unfamiliar with this part of the world, it is a little unusual. Yesterday afternoon I was drawing at a fabulous Christmas party for the La Chance Real Estate team. Its a wonderful gathering of people...and always with a beautiful Christmas feel.

This year it was held at the new restaurant "100". What a wonderful place! Written right on the windows is "innovative dining, seductive nightlife". If you live in or around Edmonton and would like to try something new I would recommend trying there. Its located on 100 street and Rice Howard Way.

So it turned out to be the same enjoyable and beautiful party this year sans snow. (And I remembered to bring my camera!) Thanks to everyone for waiting patiently again this year— I really enjoyed talking with you and drawing your faces. I just love my job!

Here are a few more of the caricatures that I was able to remember to take pictures of....

Sunday, December 07, 2008

"It smells like Christmas in here..." ~Ryllan, my 11 year old son

Thanks to Shanna for sending me this photo from a gig I did last week. It was my favorite drawing of the night and since I always forget my camera she kindly offered to send me photos from hers.

I'm enjoying drawing caricatures MORE than ever this Christmas season and I feel really fortunate to be able to do this for a living. Thanks to everyone who has hired me so far and for all the gigs I have still to draw at.

Yesterday, we bought and decorated our Christmas tree. The kids thought of it and insisted on it, otherwise it probably wouldn't have been done until much closer to Christmas. I'm always so busy in November and December with Christmas party gigs and Christmas commissions that I am often unable to slow down long enough to think about our own Christmas celebration.
Since there really is no other room in our home, except the studio, that can support a huge temporary addition like a tree, that's where it had to go.

It looks really nice in there, and I'm glad its up because it does smell like Christmas.

Friday, December 05, 2008

...we have left our thumb prints in the thick, moist clay of each other's lives.
~Hugh Elliott, Standing Room Only weblog, May 6, 2003

I always have SO many chew on, to digest and to express. I guess its because I have always been fascinated by the psychological side of life. Every single day I see and understand something that I did not know the day before and I am constantly surprised and excited about it. My husband Mark and I often joke that the epitaph on my tombstone should probably read "You know I was thinking..."

The main quest of my 20's was to be "enlightened". However in retrospect, I think it was more to "appear enlightened" not really be enlightened....regardless, I was very passionate about the search. I remember barging excitedly into my parents house one evening and announcing to them that I had truly figured out life (I think I was about 23 at the time). My theory was that from then on ...I was just going to "BE"...(whatever the hell that meant.) They said..."Oh good, we're really happy for you", and then they went back to sleep.

Now 21 years later, I'm starting to think that learning to just "Be", at least in regards to "Being yourself", is probably one of the most important things that we can actually learn to do in our lives. But its not
the easiest thing to do.

Not only is it
challenging to discover our own voice —what it is that we have to offer the world, but to then have the courage to express it, is an even greater challenge. Allowing ourselves to really open up and reveal what we have inside is not easy, comfortable or always approved of, and it requires a huge amount of courage and trust.

The people around us and the
circumstances in our lives often have a huge influence on how open we let ourselves be and the parts of ourselves that we feel comfortable expressing. Sometimes you don't even realize that you have been keeping a part of yourself hidden until you find someone who recognizes it, validates it and then reflects that part back to you thus encouraging you to open up more.

Those are the people that leave lasting impressions on our life. Perhaps even inspiring us to learn how to eventually live continually in a state of aliveness, openness, confidence and trust.

That must be where the saying "you impress me" comes from...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"tis the season to be...busy..."

Lots of fun Christmas gigs so far (and many coming up...)

I'm always so busy I never get a chance to take photos of the pictures that I draw at events but here is one that I managed to snap since they were the last couple I drew on Friday night. I think they made a great cartoon portrait! get to all those commissions I need to get done.

...and of course some music to draw to...

Monday, December 01, 2008

At first glance
I loved you
with a thousand hearts
~Mihri Hatun

17 years together...
24,901 miles traveled,
5205 days filled with laughter,
4765 hours of conversation,
3536 bottles of red wine shared,
1768 dinners of spaghetti,
984 items lost (and later found),
657 books read,
239 times you've hit your head on something,
57 Fringe festivals we've survived,
15 years of (a fantastic) marriage,
6 guitars to play,
3 beautiful children to raise,
2 motorcycles to ride,
and a budgie named Snowy.

I still adore you with all my heart Mark....happy anniversary!