Friday, December 31, 2010

In Full Bloom

I played around with it a bit more last night after posting here and then decided on a name:
"In Full Bloom"

In Full Bloom - 24" x 24" on stretched gallery canvas

Happy New Year Everyone!
2010 was pretty's to a fabulous 2011

Thursday, December 30, 2010

International Women Celebrate

Here's my submission for the International Women Celebrate Exhibition taking place in Ayr, Ontario in March/April 2011.
I decided to just have fun with it.
Now I'm just trying to decide what to call it...

24 x 24 (acrylic on stretched canvas)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Outfit #5: Lucy Claus

We decided not to wait until tomorrow to show off this festive little number.

Lucy's thrilled enough about the season for the both of us.
(Then again, maybe she's just excited about wearing a fluffy hat.)

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Outfit #4: My Little Rudolph

Lucy's far more excited than I am about all of this Christmas cr*p, so today she asked me to show you her Rudolph outift.  (I told her she'd have to wait until the 25th for the one that she REALLY wants me to post.)

Determined to make this outfit work, when her bell-bedazzled antler headband kept falling off her wee little noggin she decided instead to wear it as a belt .

I'm particularly fond of the way she's fashioned the red nose.

Jingle all the way Lucy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The past couple of days have been a little frustrating. 

My painting for the International Women Celebrate Exhibition is not coming along as well as I'd hoped.  I haven't given up on it yet, but am not ready to post it so thought I'd indulge myself for a moment here by posting a couple of paintings that I do feel good about...even though they are more than 20 years old.

Mala (16 x 20 acrylic on canvas board)

Ben (acrylic on canvas board)

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favourite Things: Mom's Chewy Ginger Cookies

Welcome to the first official entry of the all-new "My Favourite Things" portion of this blog. 

Today I am highlighting my mother's recipe for the best Ginger Cookies I've ever tasted.  Listen up and make notes people (if there's actually anyone reading this)...this is good stuff.

Mix together in a large bowl:
3/4 cup shortening (can use regular or golden butter flavour Crisco)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg (beaten)
2 TBSP water

In a second bowl, combine:
2 cups flour
1 TBSP ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice (can substitute with nutmeg, if you prefer)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Sift dry ingredients together before adding to wet mixture.
Combine and form into walnut-sized balls (I usually flatten them a bit before putting them into the oven)

The recipe calls for 10 minutes at 350F, but I find that makes them too dry/hard in my convection oven (yep - that would be the immaculate one), so I set the timer for 7 minutes...8 at the most.

NOTE: These freeze well, but they also disappear quickly, so you might want to do a double batch ;)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Emerging from My Creative Void

Sheridan's Illustration program was wonderful, but it took the love out of drawing and painting for me, so after graduating I just didn't do it anymore. 

Drawing/painting had been a great source of joy my entire life up to that point, but now I had no desire to do either.  I had no drive at all and no ideas...and I then grew afraid to even try.  I went full-time into an office job and didn't look back for many years.

It was at least 7 years after graduation when I did this for my sister:

Ginger Kitty (acrylic w. pencil crayon on wooden plate)

It was several years after the Ginger Kitty that I did this for my cousin's daughter:

Bunny for Abby (acrylic w. pencil crayon on wooden plate)

The next one (a couple of years later) I did for myself.  Whenever I've drawn or painted a face with an expression of any sort, I've found that I make the same expression myself pretty much the entire time I work on it.  (It turned out a little Joker-like, but painting it did make me smile):

(acrylic on canvas board)

I've done a few more paintings since then, but my aim is to do them more frequently.  I am still struggling with the ideas and fear, but the desire to paint is back and the drive to sit down and do it is, well, coming along. 

I am slowly...FINALLY...crawling out of the creative void that's had a hold on me for so long.

Oh joy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Outfit #3: Longjohn Lucy

It's going to be a busy day today so I'm having Lucy fill in for me again.

These little red longjohns are an absolute favorite of Lucy's. 

She wears them to the office;

out on the town (paired up with her camo jacket);

 hanging out on the couch watching TV;


and napping.

Having no thumbs (or fingers, for that matter) makes using a trap door difficult,
but no one ever said fashion was easy.

And now, the song that gets stuck in my head whenever Lucy dons her longjohns:
It's a little ditty that my sister Tracey and I used to love singing - over and over - in the car on road trips when we were kids.
(Note to self: apologize to parents)...

Bye Bye Longjohns
(sung to the tune of Bye Bye Blackbird)

I have lost my underwear;
I don't care, I'll go bare;
Bye bye longjohns

They were oh so good to me;
Tickled me (hee hee hee);
Bye bye longjohns

How I miss that little trap door behind me;
If you see them you know where to find me

I have lost my underwear;
I don't care, I'll go bare;
Longjohns, bye bye!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Yes, these daisy-like flower paintings are simple. 
They are not technically "correct" or structurally accurate
by any means,
but I don't care about that.

They were not done to meet anyone's standards but my own,
although I must admit it does make me happy
when someone likes them.

I'm even happier when people hang them up in their homes!

To me, the best thing about these flowers is the fact that
I had fun painting them.

Amanda's Flower

Blue Daisy for Mom

Red Flower
(acrylic on canvas board: 11x14)

Big Sunny Daisy
(acrylic on streteched canvas: 24x24)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are You Having Fun?

A few months ago, my friend Dawn and I signed up for an "On-the-Spot Sketching" series of workshops instructed by John Wood; a brilliant artist who taught us during our first year in college more than a few years ago. 

We were very excited to have the opportunity to learn from John again, and with good reason.  We both loved the workshops and left each one of them smiling and feeling a renewed (and new) enthusiasm for drawing.  Not only did John aim to teach us about perspective in drawing, but also in attitude...and it was liberating.

John's classes in college were highly informative, but also rather intimidating.  If you weren't up to snuff you did not get off easy, and Dawn and I had both feared it could be the same way this time around. 

That wasn't the case at all.  Along with a great deal of encouragement and support, there were many times when John would ask us: "Are you having fun?"...and an honest "yes" was the answer he hoped to hear. 

That was the point of the whole thing and a big part of what he wanted to teach us.  Having fun.  Not worrying what others think or how well it turns out (if it turns out at all); just learning from the experience, enjoying the process and having fun.  How wonderful to hear this from a man who's talent we so admired.

It's a simple concept that makes a lot of sense, but not an easy thing to actually do.  I'm going to have to work against years of self doubt and anxiety, but this is a lesson that I really do want to learn so I'm going to give it my best.

Blind Contour Drawing - September 2010

This is a blind contour drawing that I did of Dawn during one of our workshops, and I'm happy with it for these three reasons:

When John saw it he said "Sh*t!  I LOVE it!!" (and then apologized for swearing);

Dawn and her husband (both talented artists/designers) have it hanging in their dining room; and most importantly...

I had fun doing it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Binky and Daisy Mae Have Left the Building

Completed a little while ago, Binky and Daisy Mae have spent their time here watching over Lucy's dining area.

I have finally arranged for them to go to their rightful home, and so they will be saying goodbye to Lucy this week...with little regret, I'm sure, as Lucy tends to be a bit of a noisy gobbler and has probably been grossing them out with every meal that she's hoovered down.  Sweet little bunnies that they are, they've been pretty polite about the whole thing and never voiced a complaint.  Not even once.

Happy trails you two!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Outfit #2: Lucy Newton-John

Lucy feels pretty confident in this little "Let's Get Physical" number, and it shows.  When she goes out on the town in her fur-tight pink workout suit she doesn't walk, she struts.

Work it it...!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Many Outfits of Lucy...Outfit #1

I really went overboard when I adopted Lucy two years ago.  There are just too many cute outfits available for dogs, and I'm guilty of buying a few of them.   More than a few of them.  To the point of being a bit of a joke from what I understand.  (Fair enough.  I guess not everyone buys a cabinet to house their dog's attire.)
I've decided that I want to challenge myself to post here more regularly.  A few times a week, if not daily.  The problem since I started this blog over a year ago has been not feeling that I had much of anything "worthy" (paintings, cooking attempts, rambling stories...) to post, so I'm going to have the Lovely Lucy stand in for me on my quiet days, sporting an assortment of her many little outfits.  Though I am proud to say that I am no longer a dog-outfit-shopaholic, thanks to my addiction in our first year together Lucy will still be able to fill in a LOT of quiet days for me here!

Today Lucy is sporting the first sweater that I bought for her.  A bit of a Charlie Brown meets Bert and Ernie throwback, this purple number is perfect to accentuate Lucy's petite sausage-like figure.  The jaunty pink harness, playfully worn off-centre (a favourite fashion statement of hers), won out over the purple one this time.  It usually does.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Balls of Fun

Ginger Cookies (pre-oven)

Oreo Balls (pre-chocolate coating)

Sweer and Sour Meatballs
A double batch of sweet and sour meatballs, double batch of ginger cookies, oreo balls, banana bread, walking and bathing the dog and four loads of laundry.  All of the things I did *instead* of working on any of the paintings I need to either begin or complete.  Funny how much I can accomplish when I'm procrastinating.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Roxy in Progress

I'm at a standstill on this one and have been for a little while - not sure how to add the feathery fur on top without losing the looseness that I like about what's there now...

Part of the problem, perhaps, is that I hung it up on my wall and have grown to know and even like it as a "finished piece", even though it clearly isn't when compared to the photo. For myself I'd be fine to leave it as is, but since it's purpose is to end up with Roxy's Mom, I really do need to figure out how to add the fluffy stuff that is so unique to this sweet little dog. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

G-Lo Sports A Cool "Do"


This is George-Louis; an adorable Coton de Tulear who is very well loved by his daddy...who on occasion likes to give him some fun fur-do's, so that's how I opted to paint him. My challenge now is to paint my Dad's dog in time for Christmas. That, and a painting for the International Women Celebrate exhibition in Ayr this winter. 

Hmmm...I don't know which one frightens me most!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mona Lucy Smile

Oh wow! I *DO* still remember how to log in to my more excuses I guess.

Nothing "new" to add at the moment, so for today I'm just posting a painting I did of my favourite fur-girl: Lucy.

Lucy poses with her portrait