Thursday, December 30, 2010

Amazing buttons

While things have been quiet on the painting front over the last few weeks, I've been filling my evenings with knitting.

I've shown you the neck warmers that I've made... well, I had a few more that I'd finished but these were waiting for some amazing buttons that I found on Etsy.

The buttons are made from oak and I absolutely love the rustic look of them, complete with bark and moss. Stunning! The green you can see in the moss, goes perfectly with some wool I found a few weeks ago. A couple of balls made two neck warmers. One for my sister in law for christmas

and one for me.

I wore it today with the temperatures at around 20 below and it is sooo warm. I love them so much, I want to go and get more wool to make a few more. If it wasnt so cold, I'd be tempted to run out straight away to get some to knit up tonight.

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve - a time for reflection and resolutions. I have had an amazing time experiencing the last few months of this year. I dont think I'll find it hard to think of things to wish for and draw into my year for 2011.

Time for me to put little people to bed... have an amazing New Year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


the sky on Christmas morning.

Again, with the slackery. Or the busyness... well, it is Christmas.

I havent been downstairs to paint for a while .. so last night, I made myself go down to get the creative energy flowing. Even if just to paint a few petals on the sunflower I've started. Just to get me moving and to see what would come. I thought the lack of commissioned pieces would open up the floodgates to get me moving.

Seems I'm panic stricken and afraid to lift a brush and that is no way for an artist to be. Funny how your mental stuff can so easily get in the way.. of, well, everything. I've been reading my good friend Monika's blog and I love that she is always creating. It really is inspiring. I thought about the notion of just allowing, getting out of your own way. Of just letting it be, whatever it is that wants out!!

I've been imagining a few things that I want to paint, so after I added a few petals to my sunflower, I grabbed a scrap piece of paper. With a palete full of wet yellow paint, this is what materialised.

She is a prairie spirit, floating in the grass. I have been trying to find a reference for her face - and I've had no luck at all. Nothing matches the image in my mind. Anyway, as I was just noodling around, I gave myself permission to just play. And what came out was an ethereal, watery face that didnt need the detail that I thought it needed. I realised my own mental gymnastics were going in the wrong direction. Not only did they stop me from painting altogether, they were over thinking a painting who's energy is spiritual and flowing and moving. And for that, there really wont be a lot of detail. What I want to convey is movement ... and I had a great time doing that with this little sketch.

One little step at a time - but always lots of learning to be had if we just let go and and allow.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

What I've been up to....

Wow, its been about three weeks. I've been thinking about the blog and I've been reading lots of other blogs.. but I havent had two seconds to sit down and type on my own.

So, here goes the catch up...

What have I been up to? Baking!!! Well, it is that time of year.

I was having one of those weeks with my little three year old. He is becoming very precocious... ok, thats being nice. Anyway, I sat down to read a blog that my friend Anno had written. It was filled with words about grace and patience and the love of small people. haha. It reminded me how much I love these little people. So, after I took Autumn to school
I got out the brown sugar and chocolate chips and Halyn and I baked a whole whack of chocolate chip cookies.

This is the little fella inspecting the dough!
And this is him blowing kisses into the baking. Thats the special ingredient - LOVE!!

It turned into a great afternoon - reminding me that even when you want to pull your hair out, you can find the most precious moments.

This is the taste test as we go back up to the school to get the kids.

And while I'm talking about baking, I thought I'd post some pictures of the christmas baking we did today. I get all three kids on stools and we get a baking in our tiny little kitchen. It is a big lesson in patience and letting go... and so worth the effort. The cookies the kids make are sooo cute.

My new haircut - still wet so you cant see the new colour in it.

A mountain of cookies!!

Just one of the tins full of finished cookies. mmmmm.

And what else... well, I've also been knitting like crazy. I'm waiting for some wooden buttons that I ordered on Etsy - alas, the christmas rush has slowed things down. I have a few neck warmers that are waiting for a couple of little buttons. I havent taken photos of them yet... so stay tuned for the finished product.

One thing I do have a picture of is a little tutu that I whipped up. A friend of mine had promised to make one for someone she knew and then forgot about it. She had to work the day she was supposed to deliver it, so she brought around the tule and away I went. These things are so sweet, I really want to make one for myself. I joke that seeing as I dont have anywhere to wear it, I might have to put it on when I do the vacuuming.

So, as well as the crafts and the baking, I've also done another painting. This one was for a couple in Australia - the inlaws of a good friend of mine. I've never met them and what I enjoyed about this painting was the way I could feel their energy despire the distance. I could sense that I was picking up the nuances from two people instead of just one. I could also feel that they were an older couple - all things I knew intellectually but things that I could sense from the painting when it appeared before my eyes.

I love the lines in this chakra - so fine and flame like.

That finishes all the commissions I have for the moment ... there are a couple of things on the books for next year... but now, that quiet time that lets me paint.. well, whatever it is that my heart wants to paint.

And that will be the fodder for another blog entry.. hopefully not three weeks from now!!

Enjoy the solstice my friends. And have a wonderful Christmas.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

experience and perspective

Last weekend, I was involved in a light hearted debate with a friend of mine, back home in Australia. He made a comment on one of my facebook pages - he was referring to Deepak Chopra and I was quite suprised that he was so well read. Anyway, after sending him an email telling him as much, he gave me his opinion on Deepak - so I thought I would stir the pot and ask him his opinion on vaccines.

Typically, I dont get involved in those debates. My kids havent been vaccinated - lots of reasons and at the same time, just one. I dont belive in them for my family. But I thought it would be interesting to see the response from my friend - and man, did it stir the pot!!

He also included some comments about homeopathy and science, scientific research and ... well, a lot of other things. I had to laugh - it was nice to hear someone so passionate about their opinions. I replied - but really, who can argue articulately via email. You always forget what you were going to say and go off on a tangent.

Anyway, I thought about how rusty my brain was and how I was finding it difficult to articulate my point of view. I guess that is what happens when you take a break from school for a year. So, I thought that I would write here - after all, this was one of the initial reasons for having this blog. To record my thoughts and musings. And so, I shall muse!

My first thought is that it is interesting that the spelling for muse (the thinking if over, mulling and ruminating meaning of the word) is the same as that for muse - the inspirational, creative power behind an artist or creator of some sort. Speaks to the inherent, inspirational abilities of the mind - to create and to inspire oneself. Perhaps the ability is within all of us to think and dwell upon something, and if we do so for long enough, we would perhaps, unconsciously come to another place. A new place, the one with the answers!

more on that later...

Because at this point, this line of thinking conveniently ties into my original contemplative thought and one that I wished I could articulate a little better in my email debate with my friend in Australia.

I was actually thinking this same thought a few months ago, and found this quote on a friend's facebook status update. It beautifully captues EXACTLY what I was trying to verbalise = and of course, I dont believe in coincidences. So, I copied it down and I know it will play a big part in my thesis.

"Bring a bit of loving doubt to everything you are told... but radically trust every nuance of your direct experience." (Jan Henrikson, Yogini)

I love it - it captures the entire essence of what I think may be the basis for my thesis. I know what I see and feel to be true, I know it because I feel it. My skin and my senses feel it, my heart knows it, my mind can not doubt it. And so, because I have experienced it - I know it to be.

But of course, in the scientific community, the gold standard of the double blind study will always prevail.

Of course, not being the most mathematically enclined person, quantitative research based on statistics was never going to be my cup of tea! Qualitative research has always been the direction I intended to walk in. And the more I think about my final research project, the more I see that my own personal voice needs to come through. And it is this point that I wish to explore.

I have felt it and I know it to be real - and if this is the case, then by default, it is real.

And by the 'it' that I feel, I refer to many things. I think about the intuition that led me here, the energy or qi that I sense through my finger tips, the prana that moves around us all. I see 'it' when my paintings materalise and I have a feeling or a knowing about what a certain sway in the paint might mean.

I can imagine myself, with a passionate voice, describing the process behind my paintings and the knowing that I feel. But with equal certainty, I can imagine the perspective of those that read it - with a different epistimology - a view of the world.

I can understand that - for most of my life, I've been the one with a different perspective. So, I speak the other world and I translate what I hear into my own understanding. So, how will what I have to say translate to those that dont believe?

What I really want to know is, do they not hold what they directly experience up with ultimate faith? Do they discredit their own feelings and sense of things if these thoughts do not come with external scientific proof? And can I ever communicate with those that view the world as black and white? I guess that is the purpose of my thesis!

Anyway, these are my thoughts today - the basis for a lot more contemplation. I feel like I should find a picture to go with these words - always my favourite part about blogs that I look at. The beautiful pictures...

this is one I've used before. But I love it - something about the bright colour and juxtaposition of the snow and the summer flower. This does a good job of summing up my alternate perspective and how it might look odd against the snow of a quantiative world. But the two can and do exist... and boy, they look amazing together.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

button making

This week saw me knit some more, finish another painting and start another. I also made some buttons for some of the knitting. I used a fallen branch someone had put in the back alley and my darling man whittled it down and dried it out for me.

I then cut off pieces and sanded them down - little round coins that were perfect button sizes. I then rubbed them with olive oil to bring out the grain and drilled some holes in them. Voila... buttons and beads for my neck warmers.

This is the painting I finished - again in the chakra tradition. It spoke so clearly to me of my friend, a homeopath that works with intuition and energy.

I put a sign up in her office advertising my work - I've called the whole process 'intuitive renderings' - a process where I express the individual vibrations and nuances of those who commission the piece. I can see and feel these energetic patterns as they become manifest through the painting and I imbue the work with healing energy.

It really is a humbling experience. Without fail, I stand back after a painting is done and I can not believe that my hand took part in its creation.

I am sure I have more to write, but it seems my kids have woken the sick baby up.

more later.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the creative muse and neck warmers

I've been laying low for the week - I will blame it on the weather!! It has snowed here and then got quite chilly and instead of painting, I've been knitting!!

I got the hankering for a neck warmer - like a scarf, just smaller. There are some beautiful pieces on Etsy, which is another past time I enjoy when it is chilly and I find myself with cup of tea in hand trying to keep warm.

But then I got to thinking, I do know how to knit. How hard can it be to knit a scarf? Well, not that hard at all really. And now that my little people are a little more independent and I can put my knitting down and not have one of these little people pull it off the needles, what was I looking on Etsy for?

So, I've been knitting. I made one for me out of some beautiful wool I had been given years ago. It was a skein of hand dyed, hand spun alpaca/merino wool. Gorgeous.

Then my darling daughter wanted one...

and then a friend of mine who owns a consignment store in town, said she would carry them. And before I knew it, I've spent the week with the click clack of knitting needles. I love that sound - for me it is very comforting because it reminds me of my mum. She has always knitted and I loved falling asleep with my head on her lap with the rhythm of the needles as they moved, clickety clackety.

So, here is what I've done after a week!! My fingers actually hurt!! Next project - to make some wooden buttons to add as decorations for future creations!

It really is interesting what happens when you invite the creative energy of the universe to flow through you.

(Autumn wants to keep them all!! My hands will be busy if I have to keep her in neck warmers as well as make some to sell)

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This is the view out of our front door the other night, just as we were sitting down to dinner. Of course, I had to grab my camera and take a couple of shots. So beautiful.

I'm painting today - but feeling a bit restless. My star sign says to get detail orientated things done before lunch and then to give in to the wanderlust this afternoon.

Might be a good plan.

What adventures shall I have? MMMMMmmmmm????

But in the mean time, I just had to share these photos.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

feeling blah - but look out the window

Today I'm officially on lazy duty. I have to have a small procedure tomorrow - a colonoscopy. And that means a total clean out of my colon! Not so fun. About an hour ago, I would have said the worst part was the no eating. I am so hungry and it isnt nice to have to feed the kids while being restricted to a clear fluid diet. But now that the bowel prep is doing its job and I have said goodbye to last night's dinner, that is now my least favourite part of the day. Of course, there is still dinner to be made and lucky me, I get to eat jelly. !! But JP (lovely man that he is) has promised to pick something up for him and the kids. Something deep fried and delicious smelling. Bastard!! I'm salivating at the thought of it now.

Perhaps I will hide out downstairs when they eat.

And in the mean time, to take my mind off how dreadful I feel, I have a frivolous magazine that arrived in the mail today. Full of design and pretty pictures. I never read a single word - I just look at the pictures. And for when I'm feeling a little ill, there is the view outside. Lots of sloppy wet snow. Even after 8 years in Canada, I still love watching the snow.

So, really, it is all about the perspective.

Have a wonderful day.

Paper Making

On Saturday morning, I found myself wanting to finish some projects. The ones on the 'to do' list - you know that list. So, I got all of the stale bread out of the freezer and turned that into breadcrumbs. I also made a batch of granola - enough to last about 8 weeks. mmm. And finally, I attempted the papermaking I have been thinking about for so long. All in all, a messy day.

With camera on hand, I jumped on in. I figured that photos of the adventure would be much more interesting that a dialogue on the mess!!

I used an old photo frame that I had and a piece of fly screen that was left over from a summer project.

After I banged it all together, I pulled out the blender - old choppy and I filled it with torn up paper.

- and what better paper to recycle than my statistics notes!!

I knew that the ink from the notes would come through - but I wanted to see the effect before I started ripping up good white paper that could still be drawn on.

There was one minor glitch - remember the blender came with no lid. I had a tupperware lid over the top, but I very quickly learnt that you need to hang on pretty tight. Old choppy has quite the kick.

My first try was very thick - I just dumped all of the pulp into the screen.

Then I played around with some colour and my flower petals. To my second batch of paper, I added the sunflower petals, the blue cornflowers and some yellow food colouring.

The yellow food colouring didnt really take - might need to start with yellow paper to see it in the final product. But I really liked the little blue cornflowers - they worked perfectly.

Seeing as the paper was so thick, it didnt dry fully in the first 24 hours - so I put it on the dryer. This worked really well and the paper was good to work with after another day.

The paper is very stiff now =- and thick like cardboard. So a little more room to play with the consistency. And there is the slight issue with mess. At least working with watercolour, everything is contained and easy to clean up. I just tip out the jar of water when I'm done. Perhaps I need a little more room that just the corner I currently occupy. Do you think the kids would mind if I took over the computer table? mmmm

Now, to make something with the paper. !!