Friday, 24 April 2009

We're Up To 7 Volunteers

Our count is up to 7 people who have agreed to try a coloured pencil drawing or at least pretend they are interested in doing a coloured pencil drawing if I post one. I was looking at the list of bloggers who have volunteered and see a lot of artistic people who contribute a lot to the internet through their art. Have you visited any of their sites?

Adventurer is an award winning photographer and also draws, writes, sews, cooks and does a hundred gazillion other things. Adventurer has three upcoming exhibitions of her photographic work. You can probably find details on her blog at I know a bit more about her because I've actually met her, have worked with her and call her a good friend.

Serena is a painter in Australia. She has some of the most beautiful stuff on her blog and has a very talented family member who has just started creating hand sewn dolls. I find her blog to be very uplifting and I'm a regular visitor there.

Patti has a blog called Writes for Chocolate and is a writer whos blog I have been reading for years. She homeschools her kids and that in itself takes an amazing amount of creativity!

Kurt is at Other People Exist. He is another blogger whos site I've been visiting for years. He is a cartoonist and does ocassionally post one on his site. He puts out an OPE zine which I've yet to purchase a copy of. Why haven't I yet? I'm not yet convinced he exists. I enjoy his quirky blog. My 9 year old still talks about "the guy with the bacon on his blog." I won't explain further though.

Shoreacres is a new addition. I look forward to checking out her blog!

Thursday, 23 April 2009


I was just reading Bella Rum's post over at Red Umbrella. It got me thinking that nothing is ever easy for the elderly. You'd think after you've lived long enough that life would go a bit smoother. (No pun intended Bella. I'm sure your dad was wishing for less smooth, more chew!)

My Grandmother, yes the 96 year old rockin' to Billy Idol, decked out in leather Grandma, threw a wee tantrum the other day in the nursing home dining room. Apparently they changed the seating arrangement and refused to allow her her regular table. The table that has been hers for eons.

She threw dishes and let out a string of curses that would make a sailor blush.

They've (the nurses) asked for a psychiatric assessment.

As a registered nurse I worked for a time in "Family Medicine" and in the "Geriatric Assessment Unit" with many elderly people. They are set in their ways, like what they like and don't appreciate what we consider progress and change the same way as we do when we're younger. Especially the confused ones! You have to be understanding of their need to feel in control, respect their need to maintain their self-esteem, work with them to encourage change gradually or make them believe that the change was their idea in the first place. If not then look out, you're gonna be wearing their dinner plate. I've taken my fair share of lumps in the past from trying to ignore this in the interest of saving time in the workplace.

When I've gone to visit I've seen bruises on my grandmothers arms. She doesn't remember how they've gotten there. I'm getting suspicious. My Grandfather was physically abused years ago by one of his caretakers and had his finger broken. (Different nursing home.) He did remember how it happened! The elderly can be frustrating but I'm glad that my Grandmother doesn't let anyone push her around. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, eh?;-)

Bella sounds like such a wonderful person for the sacrifices she's making and the care and love she's providing to her Father. I admire her and her husband for that!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

White Mocha - New Artist Born

Okay all of you doubting Thomas'. This apple was created yesterday by "White Mocha" (my very kind guinea pig.) We worked step by step together on each of our own paintings. I'm not posting a picture of mine because, hey, they look the same. It took us approx. 3 hours to do this painting. That's pretty quick for coloured pencil art.

White Mocha has never taken an art class. She doesn't draw (or so she says!), or paint and this is her first time doing a coloured pencil painting. She had no problem at all. She did so well that it leaves me wondering if she is a closet artist painting behind closed doors.

She did suggest that it is easier to work along with me while watching rather than just following instructions. Has me thinking of posting a video instead. Hmmmm.....

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Free Coloured Pencil Painting Lesson

I've been hearing how untalented the general population of visitors to my blog tend to be...according to them. At least when it comes to art. I don't for a minute believe it. It's like anything else, the more you practice the better you get. If you never try you will suck at it!

Is there anyone interested in doing a step by step demonstration with me of a simple item? If so, I can do a very simple, but realistic looking painting using just a few of coloured pencils (maybe as little as 3 or 4) that involves a very simple contour drawing. An apple. Everyone can draw something resembling the shape of an apple! If not I can even provide the contour drawing to print out. You can see how talented you really are!

If there is enough interest I'll do it. Leave a comment so I can see whether or not it's worth doing.

If I do this I will do it from start to finish in one post so there will be no waiting for the next step. Most pencil artists charge a fee for a lesson kit, but you'll get it for free! I have to have at least 10 people who are interested for it to be worth my time to create and post it. Why if it's free do I need to have at least 10 people? Because it does take time and I want to know there is actually someone trying the exercise with me.

Friday, 17 April 2009

"Breeze" About 2/3 Complete

For every 10 minutes I spend colouring I spend another 50 contemplating. After I come back to it I have a eureka moment and I can continue. Makes for slow art.

If this were acrylic I could paint on the splashes last. If this were water colour I could mask the white out. Since this is coloured pencil I have to colour around the splashes as much as possible to keep the paper white. Now onto the bubbles. HA! A whole new challenge awaits!

Bella, that's 20 celsius not F. It's supposed to go up to 68 F. Unfortunately it doesn't actually hit that temperature until around 4pm. Makes for a couple of nice hours in the day at least. It's funny. I've seen more people this morning in shorts, tank tops and sandals even though it started out at about 39 F. in the morning and doesn't actually start to warm until at least 11 or 12. That's a Canadian for you. When we hit in the 90's or 100 F in the summer we tend to not do so well.

Grandma C, don't say the S word! Hope they've made a terrible mistake! If it snows here again I think I may start crying.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

My Bike - My Death Wish

I have a carbon bike. I can pick it up with just one hand with no effort. Probably a couple of fingers if I tried. It has the ability to go really fast. If there is a cross-wind I can feel it give a bit under me. I feel like it's going to blow out from under me.

I have clip-less shoes that physically attach me to said bike. If I'm not moving fast enough I have a hard time clipping out of the pedals when I'm trying to stop.

I can't find my bike helmet. I wear my daughters ill fitted one instead.

Our bike paths have been swept, but still remain littered with branches, sticks, stones and glass not to mention slick sand and damp leaves.

I've seen bears, deer, chipmunks that dart out in front of bikes and crazy people on the bike path I regularily travel.

Just wondering......think I might have a death wish?


Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Cranky.....yes, again!

I've been cranky of late. No kidding you say? Yes.

I caused a 15 minute tie up at the grocery store in the express line because their new computer system at the cash charged me for Anjou Pears. I was buying an onion. The difference was 20 cents. I kept my cool, but made them fix the problem.

I called the city to complain about a 38 cent interest charge on our water bill. They refused to remove it and so I plan to turn it into a campaign. They charged me for what they thought I might have used that month and I paid for what I thought I actually used. They charged me interest on it since I wouldn't pay their estimate instead of mine. Stupid city won't read the meter more often and want me to overpay until they actually do. (Three times a year they agree to actually come and read it.)

Yesterday two gentlemen at our local Starbucks started to get into a shouting fight. I was itching to get into the middle of it. They were irritating me with their argument during what was supposed to be my happy time! But I was good, just this once.

I'm not sure why I'm so angry of late. I suppose partly I'm tired of getting taken advantage of. Everyone wants everything for free but wants me to pay them for crappy service. Prices go up and service goes down. Maybe I'm taking the wrong approach. Maybe I should happily just laugh at them while I refuse to let them take advantage of me. I think I'll give it a try.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


"Well now. That completes the first phase of the braces." the peppy hygeinist notifies me with regards to 3 of 4's teeth. She had her upper braces removed today.

"Um, how many phases are there exactly?" I ask. I was told originally and a few thousand dollars ago that there was an upper, retainer and possibly lower later when she's older if need be.

"Well," she states nervously looking like a deer caught in a headlight, or a hygeinist caught in a lie "those were the ones to correct the crossover bite. She may need braces again in the future up top to correct any problems if the rest of her baby teeth don't come in straight." she says now relieved by the end of the sentence because I haven't lost it yet.

"huh. More braces. On the top again possibly you say." [insert scoffing, hysterical laughter here.] Yah, right! Once they've got you hooked they've got you for life.

Recently an orthodontist told White Mocha to save every extra penny for the foreseeable future because she's going to need it to fix her kids' teeth.

Funny thing is that they actually brace themselves (no pun intended) for the blow up when they mention the fact that there may actually be cause to put braces on again in the future up top.

When the Dr. first consulted with us he obviously gave us a watered down version of the steps. I guess they figure once you get started there's no turning back and they've pretty much got carte blanche with your bank account. WRONG! As long as the ones that show when she smiles are straight, then anything else is just gravy baby.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy.

We had two visitors this weekend.

I tell my children a giant rabbit carrying disgusting amounts of candy and chocolate will come to our house while they are asleep, break in, leave said candy and disappear into the night like a bandit. All for free! Why does this not disturb them? I don't normally let them eat candy from strangers!

I tell my children that a strange lady that is of the fairy species will also break into our home and leave a gift or money in exchange for a used, discarded, pulpy, bloody little tooth.

"Why does the fairy do this?" my daughter asked.
"How the heck should I know. Maybe she's just a sick, sick, repulsive little creature that likes to collect used teeth." I reply.

They've heard the tale of a fairy using teeth to build her castle. One I personally always found repulsive, but passed on just the same. They know the story, but ask every time anyhow. Why are they okay with this? Normally they wouldn't accept gifts or money from strangers. Especially weird people that want a body part in exchange for their gift.

It has always surprised me that the older ones don't spoil the fantasy for the younger ones once they find out. Goodness knows there's been a few times when I've wanted to!

Friday, 10 April 2009

New and Improved

This may look like the same one, but it's actually a new one started from scratch. It's slightly smaller than the first and I've varied the colours slightly in the clothing. It's coming along quite quickly. Now comes the most difficult part. The splashing water will be the most time consuming part.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Bad Art Day

Adventurer has told me in the past to keep making art. Even if it has to be bad art. If it's a bad art day keep doing it anyways and get through it so you can start making good art again. Today was one of those difficult art days.

I went to my "Expressive Figure Drawing" class. It's the last one this session. The model was an hour late, but the time was spent productively viewing an art show in the schools gallery of whom my instructor was the feature artist. When the model arrived the work proceeded and although I was making positive progress, my frustration level was high and for the first time ever, I packed up and left the class early. Why was I frustrated? Why was my charcoal not doing what I wanted? Who knows. I think it just would have been one of those days regardless of what I was doing. The art wasn't going much better at home. I was afraid my bad art day would spill onto my current painting and potentially do irreparable damage. I put it aside with my temper and did laundry instead.

Just as Grandma C promised the nice weather is on the way from her part of the country, I just know the good art days are too! I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm suffering from a Vitamin D deficeincy much like many others around me. And no, not the kind you can get from a pill.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Canada Day Cookies

Take one kid
Add one maple leaf shaped cookie with red icing
Add one artist with a camera
Also add a set of unsuspecting parents
and..... VOILA!
You get a painting called "Canada Day Cookies"

Still snowing. Blahhhh! When will summer come? In the region of Canada we're in we really only have 2, occasionally 3 seasons not 4 as many believe. We often go directly from winter cold to summer hot. I miss those days. We are actually getting an old fashioned Canadian Spring with unexpected snowfalls, rain and a sunny day about one day every 2 or 3 weeks.

April showers bring May sours. At least sour is how I'm feeling right now.

At least I finished another painting today! The snow stops my hapless wanderings through the hood in an attempt to exercise thus increasing my overall productivity level.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Snow....Yet Again. Yippppeee.....NOT!

It's snowing here again. AGAIN...and AGAIN!! The sun's not supposed to come out until Friday. What flippin' happened to global warming? I was looking forward to that!

White Mocha informs me that the maple sugar season is pretty much over for this year. There was not a big run this year so if you like real maple syrup it's going to cost you! We only had a couple of good days for the sap to run. The temperatures need to go below zero degrees C at night and above zero during the day. The trees won't run if it's windy or cloudy or warm. It needs to be sunny but not too hot. Picky trees. How does she know all this? Her family's in the business. Why don't I call her Maple Syrup instead of White Mocha? I dunno.

PLEASE! PLEASE GOD! Bring us some warmth and sunny goodness!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Day After April Fools Day!

I didn't post on April Fools day. I don't like April Fools day. If you've read any of my other posts lately let me ask you, do I need help looking like an idiot?

2 of 4 got a skateboard. I've tried it and I haven't killed myself on it yet.

I went for my first bike ride of the season the other day with my clipless, clip-in shoes. I didn't fall that day.

I went to my expressive drawing class yesterday and left with a charcoal nose but no other injury.

I went to "Framed!" yesterday and put together my last project. I didn't glue, nail, or break anything in any way than how it should be dealt with. Well......okay, maybe I glued myself a little bit, but it was only white carpenters glue not that crazy stuff.

My family KNEW I was not in my happy place and quickly discontinued their plotting. Smart people.

I appear to be on a roll. Why jinx it by participating in April Fools day. Whether as a joker or jokee, I would always land up coming out the fool.