Monday, June 30, 2008


Lately I haven’t had any time to devote to my blog or doing art because I’ve been going back and forth to the hospital to see my dad, and some nights I’ve been staying overnight with my mum. Most days everyone in the family manages to get in for a visit and I think it cheers him up because he’s getting better every day.
Before Dad was moved to a private room, he had a jolly roommate who only had one visitor a day: his wife. She would come in with a take-out coffee, and before she’d even finished drinking it she would leave. I was thinking about her today and wondering if she is the kind of person who has a phobia about hospitals. But it’s kind of hard on her husband, I think. (Then again, maybe he doesn’t mind).
David told me yesterday that he has enjoyed seeing everyone in the family regularly for the last ten days because Dad’s hospital stay has turned into a marathon bonding experience for each one of us. Without actually discussing it, we all seem to agree that Dad is far more than his physical problems and that our reason for visiting him is to celebrate this. Whatever is going on seems to be agreeing with him because he really perks up when you go into see him.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Moo #13

Summer is the theme at Make a Moo or Two this week. Because time is at a premium right now, I only managed to complete one. But as it turned out, taking a mini art break was more rewarding than thinking about the fact that I needed way more time and deciding not to do it.
To me, summer is sun and color, so I scanned a glass slide I’d decorated with Ranger Alcohol Inks, intensified it in Photoshop and then added a diagram of the sun from an old French map.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I haven’t posted for several days now because my dad is in hospital and everything else in life has been put on hold. Or I guess when it comes right down to it: forgotten about.
Emma and Bryan arrived home this afternoon and were so happy to be back. They hadn’t slept for two nights having spent the first one trying to catch some sleep in Bangkok airport after flying in from Hanoi, and the second on the plane from Tokyo to Toronto. After three weeks of eating exotic (and not so exotic) food, Emma was in the mood for raw carrots, apples, tomato soup and Kraft dinner, so I made sure I sure I had everything that might possibly tempt her in the house beforehand.

On the way back from the airport we stopped into the hospital because she wanted to see her grandfather. Dad told me he felt badly about what he was putting everyone through, and I immediately said: "It’s an opportunity for us to show love." He seemed to like that and gave me a sweet little smile.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Word Clouds

If you like playing with words both in terms of their meaning and how they look visually, you'll enjoy spending time on the Wordle website. What you do is enter some text into the wordle generator, and then it creates a word cloud for you with a choice of fonts, colors and layout schemes. All in all it's a pleasant way to waste time when you should be doing your taxes, cleaning the kitchen, working etc.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Make A Moo #13

I don’t seem to use images of men in my art much for some reason. I guess it’s because women are easier to work with. There’s all that girly stuff going on for one thing, so certain things automatically come to mind. However, since the theme this week at Make A Moo or Two is men, that gave me a good excuse to dig out a Paper Artsy stamp and some scrapbooking paper I’ve been promising myself to play with.
Speaking of scrapbooking paper, I have to buy at least two of any design that appeals to me: one to actually use, and the other to remind myself of what it looked like in the first place.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Marketing Thing…

I never think twice about promoting someone’s work I like, but whenever I consider doing the same for myself, I always go limp. I can think of a number of reasons why I’m the way I am, but the bottom line is: I just have to get over it. That’s why it’s good that Carmi has given me a helping hand by offering buttons made from my digital work in her online store. These buttons are just the coolest. You can use them as ephemera in your art, wear them, or as David wants to do: decorate the fridge. When I went to Artfest a couple of years ago, Brenda Shackleford had the niftiest button trades, and it makes me want to go back next year so I can hand my own out.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The “To Do” List

For years I’ve been keeping a weekly to do list. John finds this hilarious because he’s much more spontaneous about planning than I am. Last night he asked me if I ever managed to get all the items done on my list, and it was embarrassing to admit this has never happened. In fact, I usually end up carrying over a goodly number to the next week.
When I got up this morning and looked at my list, I felt like going right back to bed and just chilling out because I know as soon as I complete one thing, a new task will suddenly materialize to take its place. I don’t like the feeling of being constantly under the gun, but it’s really my own fault. I try and do too much in a week and then end up being disappointed in myself when I can’t keep up. Maybe less actually is more, so I think I’ll try to lower my expectations for this coming week, or as John says: Be an elf to myself.

P.S. I almost forgot! Sandy took some great pictures of ATC night and our Asian trades, which you can check out on her blog.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Two “techniques”

Since it’s our ATC trading night at The Hive, I thought I’d incorporate a couple of techniques from Mixed Emulsions for Jen’s monthly challenge: using handmade mulberry paper and ink on embossed paper.
But I was leery of the Asian theme to be honest. Even though I love eastern art—Chinese brush painting, Tibetan sand mandalas, Indian yoga paintings, and so on—I shy away from using Asian elements in my work. While I feel free to play around with images from the western canon, I’m not comfortable altering elements from another culture, especially when I don’t know the rules. To get around this, I chose a Japanese theme with Japanese papers, and even though I took a conservative approach, it was inspiring to work with something new.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mixed Emulsions

After I finished reading (and pondering) Mixed Emulsions: Altered Art Techniques for Photographic Imagery by Angela Cartwright, I found myself wishing that I’d had this book years ago when I first started doing collage. There was a lot I sensed I could do with my work then but I wasn’t exactly sure what, so the value of a book like this is that it presents you with lots of inspiring options. This is a lot more than a how to book though; it’s an exercise in what if, and I’d recommend it to anyone who experiments with digital imagery like I do.
Jen Worden’s challenge for this month is to take a book like Cartwright’s and try working on every project/technique it includes. This is a tall order obviously, but Jen reminds us not to beat ourselves up if we don’t finish. Because I’m starting late, I’m keeping this advice firmly in mind.

Dale has chosen to work on Mixed Emulsions too, and you can check out her blog for a list of the techniques involved. Whew …the idea of attempting to do this doing this is insane, but inspiring. Looks like I’m going to have friends with my inner tortoise, pronto!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Emma’s Adventures

There were stars out last night and they reminded me of Emma and how transported she was by the night sky as a toddler. I’m sure she must be experiencing some of that magic on the islands off Thailand that she and Bryan are visiting right now.
I had an email from Emma on Sunday and she told me they were on Ko Phi Phi, which I immediately checked out on Google Earth. It looks just gorgeous, but Emma says it’s very hot and humid there—not too different from some of the weather we’ve been having here lately, but it’s obviously way more interesting in Thailand than Brampton!

Emma told me that she and Bryan had just completed a diving course where they got their primary diver’s certification. Then they did a couple of dives at a depth of 12 meters. She wrote that they saw all sorts of crazy fish, sea snakes, and a sea turtle, which was swimming right along beside them. Their instructor Angus was from Scotland, and they’ve been hanging around with a guy they met from Thornhill. Their next stop is Krabi in Thailand and then they head off to Vietnam.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Moo Challenge #11

I had fun with the Make or Moo or Two theme this week: cats. As anyone who has ever been a cat companion knows, there are plenty of clues as to how your feline is feeling—rubbing up against your legs (hungry), hissing (mad), purring (happy), kneading (nesting) and so on. Cats also have a whole constellation of thoughts and opinions they convey via their facial expressions …i.e. “Of course I have natural poise. I really am king/queen of all I survey.” And, “Don’t interrupt me. I’m at a crucial point in my treatise on flight mechanics.” I know I could have continued on in this vein, if only I’d had more cat images.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

My Second Colette

In an email to Ronna yesterday, I said that the first thing I’d do if I won the lottery would be to stock up on original art. We already have a lot in our house. There’s my stuff, of course, and David’s glass, plus watercolors by John’s grandfather—and many wonderful cards and trades from art friends.
We also have quite a few reproductions of paintings we like. But there’s nothing like having an original. That’s why I treated myself recently to another piece of art by Colette Copeland. One of the reasons I like this piece is that she incorporated my digital doll’s head into her painting. I’m a big fan of what she does because I’m fascinated by her tender and spontaneous style. When I look at her work, I feel liberated from usual ways of approaching art, and that’s inspiring.

If you haven’t already visited her blog, you’ll enjoy it. And check out her Etsy store too.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Meeting my quota

This is the 29th digital ATC that I’ve posted here since January. I haven’t done as many as I did in 2007. But since my goal this year is to complete 50, I seem to be ahead of the game, and will probably meet my quota by the end of December.At some point I’d like to gather the ones I like into a book, so I usually print out my ATCs to check the color. In fact, I’d say I’m more interested in making this work than how things will actually appear on my blog. For one thing, people have different monitors so you can’t know in advance what your art will look like on theirs. Also—and I know I sound like a Luddite here—but what if the poles shift and everything you’ve posted online suddenly evaporates? That’s why I like a hard copy just in case.
Speaking of hard copies, I spent some time rereading the latest issue of ATC Quarterly last night. Ronna has done another bang-up job of artist networking and education. It’s always fun to see what different groups are doing with the format, and how it liberates them creatively. There were also some fab ATCs crafted from metal—something I’d like to try myself one of these days.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Moo Challenge #10

I have to admit I wasn’t that enthusiastic about this week’s Make a Moo or Two challenge. The theme is brown/beige/crème—colors I’m not usually drawn to. But since it’s a challenge (and challenges are there to be met), I gave it a go anyway.
I chose to work with vintage photographs of Venice, Pisa and Florence in Photoshop, and ended up finishing all three. I guess this proves there are times when I’m not only able to meet a challenge, but to bring a little more to it too.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Relating to Fred

John and I have never had a fish as a pet, but we’re babysitting Emma’s for a month and enjoying him. John feeds Fred in the morning and I’m doing it at night. A couple of days ago a food pellet stuck to Fred’s tail after John had dropped it into the fish bowl. But when he dipped a finger in the water to dislodge it, Fred turned around and gave him a good head-butt.
Since Emma talks to Fred several times a day, we’re doing this too. If you get close to his bowl, he comes right over to listen. On Saturday I told Fred about Emma and Bryan arriving safely in Bangkok, the movies they’d watched on the plane and how Emma had called that morning at 5:30 a.m. Fred seems to find information like this riveting, so I’m going upstairs now to tell him that I just received an email from Thailand.