July 30, 2010

A Note From the Garden

We have peas! Lots and lots of peas! They started being ready 2 weeks ago (when these pics were taken) and we’ve been picking a large sandwich container full about every 3 days ever since. They’re mostly finished now, but the beans are almost ready!

Anyway, I thought since I took them and haven’t done a garden post in a while, I’d post these pictures. Right now the front garden isn’t doing a whole lot. Last week I paid each kid $3 to go out there with a pair of scissors and “deadhead” all of my bachelor buttons, which they did with gusto, so as things stand, the cosmos at the front that should be in bloom within the next two weeks should coincide with the 2nd round of bachelor’s buttons and I’ll take pics of the whole works then.

On with the pictures!

The kids picking peas.

Madison picking peas.

Peas & beans.

Baby peppers that are now significantly bigger.

Bobcat tomato which is also now significantly bigger.

Cherry tomatoes which we have LOTS & LOTS of.

So that’s the state of the garden right now. The peas taste like nothing I’ve ever had from a store, but then again, I’ve never seen these kind of peas in stores before anyway. I haven’t tried the beans yet because I jumped the gun in picking the few I did two weeks ago thinking there were more that were ready than there actually were so those ones are still in my fridge because there’s not enough of them to really have with a meal. All of the beans should be ready to pick in about another week I’d say and then I *think* they’ll actually make another batch of beans in September but don’t quote me on that because I’m just going by memory of when I grew this type before and honestly, things are a bit foggy,

Alright as I said in my previous post, it’s the long weekend here so it’s time to turn my brain off and get my Warcraft shit in order! Have a great weekend!

Canada is a multicultural country.

And it’s always been my goal to reflect that in my paintings. Now I’m a little bit closer with thanks to Tam for the inspiration to quit humming and hawing and standing there with my mouth open and just try. Like really really try, not just a half-assed attempt.

So what I did this week was I got up early on Monday morning, watched Tam’s videos for this week for her World of Whimsy 2 class which included a video on how to shade girls with darker complexions that was a result of me asking Tam how to do so and directly after watching I took 3 sheets of watercolour paper, drew lines on them cutting them into quarters and started drawing girls in each box. Then I painted my ass off all week until my hand ached from holding a paintbrush.

Admittedly, the first two pages were a bust with a lot of shading mistakes and poor colour choices, but the last 3 girls did I were pretty good so I figured I’d share those ones with you guys now, plus a 4th girl who was intended for a full painting but I’m not sure I’m going to because I’m not sure I like her shading.

This one was done using a dark brown watercolour pencil to do the shading, then painting over it with a mixture of acrylic paint and acrylic glazing medium. The tricky part in doing all of these girls was in trying to get their complexions even and as you can see, this one’s complexion, especially above her nose and between her eyes, is pretty uneven so that particular paint mixture wasn’t optimal. A final wash of the same mix, but thinned with water was put over this girl before I called her “done” and that helped even out her skin tone a lot. She has a beauty mark because some kind of black schmutz got on the page and it wouldn’t come off.

For all of the girls’ hair I had two options for black:

  1. Premixed “metallic” black acrylic paint called “Black Pearl
  2. Mixing my own metallic black using black acrylic paint and DecoArt’s pearlizing medium (available at Michael’s)

I went with the latter because I thought it looked more authentic in that it appears a little texturized because the pearlizing medium does make it a little bit texturized. The Black Pearl paint would have been too smooth and is also a real bitch to draw on after the fact if you need to do touch-ups on the lines in their hair, which is the main reason I don’t like to use it.

Anyway, the girl above was definitely better than the first 2 pages of girls I did, but she still wasn’t there. The first 2 pages of girls were basically experimenting with colour and getting frustrated that I couldn’t get their complexions even. By the 3rd page I figured it out.

This is the one I personally like the best because her skin tone is even, her shading is a lot more apparent than in the other examples I’m going to post, I like her expression and I like her hair style/colours (the reddish brown colour is called “Royal Ruby” and is a dark metallic red that isn’t showing up well in the picture – trust me though, it looks cool). How I got her skin tone even was that I used the watercolour pencil to do my shading, then I went over it about 50 million times with a mixture of acrylic paint and glazing medium that was really thinned down with water. Like, too thinned down. The next time I use this shade (which is the same shade as the last girl, but she had her problems which I’ll explain when we get to her) I’m going to thin it a little less so I don’t have to do as many coats.

Obviously with this 3rd girl, I was going for a darker complexion and an even one at that. I think I was mostly successful, but I think if I were to do this colour again (I have a lot of practice left to do!) I might try using either a dark purple or possibly even a black watercolour pencil to do the shading because with how dark the skin tone is, a lot of it was lost. In person the shading sows up a lot better, but when I took pictures in natural light you get what you see here. Again with this one, I used the thinned down mixture of acrylic paint and glazing medium, but because this particular colour is a highly pigmented one, she only needed 2 coats to be considered finished. If I did any more, all of her shading would have been lost.

So those were my practice girls, which I’m pretty proud of. Of course I’m not showing you my other 2 pages of mistakes because they were REALLY awful, just know that I made them and we’ll move right along…

This girl was supposed to be “the real deal”, the one I made an actual painting out of, but now I’m not so sure because I don’t really like her hair and her shading got washed out by having to do so many layers of watered down paint. (Granted, her shading doesn’t look as ashed out in person as it does in this picture, but still…)

Originally I painted her to be a white girl that looks identical to everything you see here, but for her skin tone obviously. In the finished piece, she was going to have a black petticoat with red underskirts and a large red bindi jewel on her forehead. The background of the canvas was going to be red, black and gold splatters on a crackled white background with red and gold “chunky” glitter sprinkled over top. But now I’m thinking…should I go through all that effort¬† and use all those supplies on a girl I’m not even sure I like? I have two weeks until The Square Foot Show so realistically whatever I paint right now should be my 3rd painting for the show and I’m not sure I’d want to put this one in because I’m not sure I like her. At the same time, I’ve not liked girls at this stage before and the finished product has ended up being some of my favourite pieces so I should probably just keep going with it.

Being the August long weekend here in Canada, my plan is to forget painting for the next 4 days and play WoW with Blake so in that time I’ll give it a lot more thought and by the end of the weekend I should have my answer. I didn’t mention it but the paper I’d be using for her petticoat (I don’t even know if that’s what it’s called – the outside part of her dress) is black and embossed with vine-y flowers. I think at the very least I should give her a dress, even if she’s only going to be put in my sketchbook as a failed experiment.

Anyway, as far as art goes, I think I have the women of colour thing pretty much worked out and out of all the paint I have, I have 3 main complexions I can do: sort of a honey brown like the 1st and last examples shown, the darker one shown and one I haven’t actually used yet because I just found the bottle of paint this morning, but it’s actually called “Chocolate Brown” and that’s exactly what it looks like. All 3 of these colours can be darkened or lightened. (I have like, 10 different shades of browns, not counting metallics, but these 3 were the only ones that look like realistic skin tones.)

My next art objective is to figure out how to draw and paint Asians without them looking like bad caricatures, but I think that’s going to be something that’s kind of on the back burner while I perfect my women of colour. I cannot even tell you how excited I am to be able to, after the stupid Square Foot Show is out of the way, go back and recreate some of my favourite pieces with girls of darker complexions. And I keep saying “darker complexions” or “skin tone” or “women of colour” specifically because my girls don’t have a race necessarily.¬† They just have colours. Like, the one that may become a painting? She could be Indian or Black or Hispanic or even a multicultural mix of races. I’m not gonna specify. Does it matter? No it does not. I’m just happy to be able to paint them and have them be beautiful, that’s all.

So that’s what I’ve been up to this week and what I intend to be up to for quite some time.

Posted at 3:33 pm in: Art , artists , Canada , Creativity , Summer , Sunnyland , Tutorials , Women
July 27, 2010

12-Year-Olds Are So Much Cooler Than Me

Thanks, E. <3

Posted at 1:23 am in: Kids , Music , youtube
July 25, 2010


So obviously, “She’s Like A Rainbow” is finished and I’m really really proud of her because in person, she just looks amazing but now I’m thinking about future projects and the things coming up and I’m becoming completely overwhelmed by it all. When I become overwhelmed, I’m unfortunately the kind of person to just sit down wherever I am and cry and I’m trying very very hard not o do that.

I really wish they made a suitable paper planner for me to keep everything straight because right now, my TELUS calendar is just not helping me. I miss my Big Fat 5-Star planner. I don’t know why they stopped making those, they were great.


The drop off date for The Square Foot Show, which Blake says I should submit to just to give me the exposure AND the option of going to the gala if I choose to, is 3 weeks away. If I don’t submit, that’s no longer an option. Also, there are prizes because it’s a juried show and it’s not like I think I would actually win something but it’s like the lottery, you’re not gonna win if you don’t play, so I might as well play. But what I’m stressing over is what to submit. What is representative of my work *and* what don’t I mind giving away for only about $100? (They sell the pieces for $200 & change but keep 50 friggin’ percent.) I’m allowed to submit up to 3 pieces and since I paid $20 to be in this show, I feel I should submit the maximum allowed. Right now I’m thinking “Sparkle“, “Shimmer II” and “Five O’Clock Abortion“. What do you guys think of that selection? I was thinking of maybe putting in “Turquoise Love Fairy” instead of “Sparkle” but I dunno. I just think it has to be one or the other because I don’t want two fairies in the same show. Personally, I like “Sparkle” better, but she’s been in my Etsy shop for the last 7 months & hasn’t moved so maybe I could sell her at Sq. Foot, is what I’m thinking.

Then there’s also the fact that there are 3 weeks left until the submission date which means I have enough time to do 1 more painting for consideration, 2 if I really haul ass and get productive. I have ideas and I’m going to start 1 tomorrow, but the 2nd idea is going to have to wait until I learn a specific technique in my art class on Monday and really, if that one goes as planned, I’d rather have it in my Etsy shop than Sq. Foot.

This is the shit that keeps me up at night, seriously.

Also keeping me up at night is the fact that Touched By Fire has already sent out their call for entries and I don’t know if I’m going to submit this year or what I’m going to submit this year. I think I have until October or November to decide, which is nice, but that also crosses into my Xmas season issues. I’m told, and I’ve seen this with my own eyes, that in October/November, Etsy kinda goes crazy with Xmas sales, so I want to have my shop as full as possible. That’s only like, 2 months & change away. It takes me about 2 weeks to do a painting and I can do 2 at a time. That means I have a lot of work ahead of me and I’m not sure if I can do Touched By Fire *and* stock my shop for Xmas.

Honestly though, Touched By Fire kinda pisses me off. The show is put on by The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, which is why I call it “the remedial art show” and the first year they accepted me, my first year submitting, they chose “Mania in the Key of Psychosis“, which is apt, and they juxtaposed that with “Hope” and “Dream“, which also makes sense. But when I submitted last year, I submitted a ton of paintings, including my “The Devil’s in the Details” which I thought was appropriate for a show called “Touched By Fire” and they didn’t accept me. That’s cool, I can handle rejection, but the thing is that almost all of the paintings I submitted were shiny, happy paintings and I almost feel like I wasn’t accepted because I got better. My meds are working (for the most part) so I make shiny, happy paintings now and that’s not what they want. They want tortured, moody depictions of mental illness and to me, that kinda seems like defeating the purpose of the Association, don’t you think? I mean, isn’t the goal here to help people get better? So why isn’t that represented in the show?

So that’s why I might not bother submitting to that show this year. I don’t want to paint something dark and moody specifically for that show because if it’s not accepted and if it IS accepted and doesn’t sell, then what the fuck am I going to do with it? My online audience of customers don’t want that shit and I kinda don’t know if it’s right to paint outside of your own headspace/mood just to get in a show, does that make sense?

The Two Sunnies” would have been perfect for the show, but I gave that one to my shrink, partially as a “thank you” because she HAS helped me immensely but also to show her “hey, this is actually what I do for a living so quit telling me I don’t have a job” (and she hasn’t done that since, as a point of fact, every session she asks me if I’m painting because if I’m not painting it’s probably time to adjust my meds).

You can submit work to the show that’s not for ale, but I’d kinda feel like a dick asking her for it back, if only for a few weeks. Especially if something happened to it (the Touched By Fire people were NOT gentle with my work when they sent it back to me…).

And then there’s just trying to get my shop as full as possible for the Xmas season. Of COURSE I want to sell things the second I put them up, that would be great! But at the same time, I need to have a full shop by like, mid-October which means that I need to start painting my ass off (which I’ve been doing, I finished 3 paintings this month!). And that’s fine, I can do that, but things like Camwhores and WoW are going to have to get to the back of the line. And YES WoW is totally a recreational thing and I can see how the outside observer might be like “well not playing a video game is pretty easy” but when you’re an officer in a guild, especially, it’s a little more involved than that. People count on you. Camwhores? Well that’s just another can of worms.

For someone who “doesn’t do anything”, I sure seem to have a lot on my plate right now and I don’t really know how to make time for everything. I think painting has to be my #1 priority, WoW on weekends, Camwhores when I can’t sleep.Oh and there’s yoga too, can’t forget that…the art class I’m taking too….

When the kids go back to school, I’ll have more time to get things done, which will help a lot, so I have that to consider as well, especially when it comes to fitting Camwhores into my schedule.

Anyway, as I said, this is the shit that keeps me up at night. Hopefully now that it’s all out of my brain I can finally drag my ass to bed and sleep like a normal human being. Maybe?

July 24, 2010


Blake made a new friend when he went to get the lawnmower out of the shed.

I was inside and heard him yelling “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!” and various things in that vein and before he even told me, I knew what he was swearing about because I’ve had the same reaction MANY times because when I lived in Uxbridge, I’d get bats in my apartment all the time and there’s just a certain tone just about EVERYONE gets when they encounter a bat and I know it well.

Anyway, sorry for the sort of blurry pic but I was using the zoom. I tried getting closer and the bat started flying all over the place and I booked it the hell back inside and am now making this post.

Now I’m going back to bed because I got up stupidly early this morning.

Posted at 11:31 am in: Animals , Summer , Sunnyland

She’s Like A Rainbow

“She’s Like A Rainbow” is finished and for sale in my Etsy shop!
Check her out! (There are more pics of her here!)

Honestly, I think she’s probably my top two favourite paintings that I’ve done.
(My #1 being “Just Like Honey“.)

Also, you may not have noticed, but my site & LJ are pink again.
I just wasn’t feeling the grey anymore.

Posted at 10:28 am in: Art , Etsy , website


So I belong to a street team on Etsy for Canadian Etsy discoveries and promotion called Oh Canada and they have a blog.
Well last night I got a message on Etsy saying that they featured me on the blog, which was very cool of them!
So check it out!

Also, expect an art post from me later today.
My rainbow girl is finished and awesome and I’m waiting for the sun/light (it’s overcast today) to come through the kitchen windows to take pictures of her

So that’ll be this afternoon at some point…unless I get distracted playing WoW with Blake since we haven’t played all week.
We’ll see.

Posted at 9:19 am in: Advertising , Art , artists , Etsy
July 23, 2010

Ya win some, ya lose some.

Congrats to Brighton for winning The Kraft Whatever Thingy!
Elmvale obviously put up the best fight we could, but in the end, the big dog won.
Oh well, it was still really heartwarming to see our community come together the way it did.

Posted at 6:50 pm in: Advertising , Summer , Sunnyland

Team Elmvale!

I’m so sappy and ridiculously proud of my community both online and meatside right now, I could honestly cry. Thank you so much to my online friends for voting for a town you’ve never been to or maybe even heard of, being a 1700 population town up against a 10,000 population town, we REALLY needed your votes!

Here on the ground, the town had 24 hour voting stations set up at the community centre, the rec centre, a couple of restaurants and the library and everyone was up all night voting, eating together, listening to music and just being a great community.

Here at Sunnyland, Madison and I started voting at noon yesterday and she went to bed this morning around 5:30am, which I made it to about 7:30am. Madison set an alarm to be up for the last hour & a half of voting because once I explained to her about town pride, not unlike the lemon tree episode of The Simspons, she really got into it and I couldn’t be more proud of her. Blake voted from work and again between after dinner and his bedtime yesterday and again this morning.

So what happens next? We have to watch TSN tonight at 6pm EST to see who won. The whole town is gathering somewhere to watch apparently, but I’m not sure where. Probably a few places. We’ll be watching from home.

Anyway, that’s the scoop! Thanks again for everything, you guys are awesome!

July 22, 2010

Elmvale Needs Your Help!

So the itty bitty town I live in (population 1700) is in this contest by TSN and Kraft where they could win $25,000 to upgrade our rec centre’s facilities which we are in DESPERATE need of.

How it works is that for the next 24-hours (voting started at noon, my time and ends at noon tomorrow) you can vote for either us (Elmvale) or another town called Brighton (population a lot more than 1700) which I’M TOLD ALREADY HAS A TOWN POOL SO TO HELL WITH THEM and whoever gets the most votes win.

And that’s where you come in. We need your votes! And the beauty of it, my lovely internet-addicted friends? Is that you can vote AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WANT between now and noon tomorrow. As long as you’re not voting by mechanical means (prevented by a captcha), you can vote as many times as you possibly can and WE NEED YOUR VOTES!

So please, vote once, vote twice, vote a million times! Our community deserves it.

Thanks in advance! I’ll update everyone on if we won or not after the contest is over. :o) GO VOTE! VOTE VOTE VOTE!

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