September 30, 2012

A Birdie Sort of Giveaway (Closed)

It's a dark and gloomy day here. For some reason, it feels like a giveaway day. :) Leave a comment here and I will choose one name on Tuesday morning to win one of my new Blue Feather prints. There are more photos and details about the print here.

And because it is so very dark and gloomy, I'm going to add one of my new Chickadee note cards that are printed on real watercolour paper.

So the winner will receive one print and one note card (with envelope). Anyone can enter. Good luck!

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments. I appreciate your kind words so much. I will continue to accept comments up until 9:00 a.m. (EDT) on Tuesday, October 2nd. I'll announce the winner sometime during the morning.

September 25, 2012

Fall Frenzy

If you've ever wondered if I do a lot of tests before finalizing my prints. Yes, I do...about a million of them. (Well, it feels that way sometimes.) It can be tricky to get the printed result to look like my original painting, especially when what I see on my screen tends to be lighter than my printed output.

I've learned with time that I can squish several 'tries' on one piece of paper by reducing and repositioning the image just before printing.  That has been a big paper saver. The image at the right is my final version. The late afternoon light is making them look a little darker and less sharp than they actually are.  I hope to have the print in my Etsy shop in the next day or so.

The gorgeous feather is from an Australian Ringneck parrot. It was part of the beautiful collection of feathers and shells sent to me by my friend Cindy. The colours in it are amazing. I showed you the original painting before.
I am in an intense preparation period. I'm two weeks away from delivering prints and cards to an arts and crafts show that I have been doing for over 18 years now. You would think that with all that experience, I would be very good at having my materials ready well ahead of time. No, not really. This time of year, I don't sleep so well (my brain won't stop), family dinners don't always make it to the table and everything else has to wait for my show delivery to be over.  So, of course, because I really shouldn't be painting, it's what I want to do the most! But instead, I will work on doing more prints and making some new cards as well as framing and packaging what I have already.  And, because I am distracted these days, Meeko seems to be trying harder to get my attention--not necessarily through the best behaviour.

The past week has been an interesting dependency test. We had a 'boil water advisory' for two days. It's the first time it has happened to us. (A pipe in a neighbouring municipality broke.) Then, our cable company announced that there would be interrupted service over a period of 72 business hours (depending on how many hours they count in a business day, that's potentially a lot of days!). We had no internet for half of the day yesterday. It's back today--for how long I don't know. Do you want to know something? I found it easier to boil water than I did to be without the internet. Fingers crossed that our street is fine now and they are off working somewhere else.

September 22, 2012

Marvelous Mail

It was a 'good mail' week. I received the lovely 2013 calendar I ordered from Arounna at Bookhou. It is full of Arounna's beautiful brushwork and very happy colours.  And then, a day later, I received a crocheted stone from Margie at Resurrection Fern that I won in a lovely giveaway she held a while back on her blog. It is wrapped so prettily that I haven't had the heart to open it fully yet. A bit like Christmas, don't you think?  A beautifully wrapped present with the promise of its contents and a calendar that I can't use until 2013. Waiting can sometimes be delicious.

Don't they look like they belong together?

September 19, 2012

The Comfort of Cards

The past few days I have been working hard on a custom order of over 100 cards with my painting of the chickadee on them. I'm very touched by the order as it came from a friend who needed them for a special family mailing.

So I feel like I've been a card manufacturer this week more than anything else. It's been oddly comforting work. I've mentioned before that I ran my own wholesale card company full-time for about 7 years. I still have some of my inventory downstairs. Running a card company was wonderful in many ways but in the end I painted less and less as the administrative side of of my business grew.  Doing this order brought me back to the things I loved about my card business. First of all, I adore paper. I've printed the cards this week on actual watercolour paper and it's been a pleasure handling it. When I did my big card runs, I relied on a commercial printer. This week, I cut the paper myself with a Fiscars paper trimmer I bought years ago at Costco, printed it on my Epson R1900, scored it with a Cutterpede Straight Edge Trimmer (a nifty tool I just purchased) and folded it with a bone folder. I didn't have my bone folder until late yesterday so I folded some of my first samples out of the printer with the end of a wooden spoon! (It worked.) I learned through trial and error to use the bone folder on the back of cards when I am folding them just in case there are burnishing marks on the paper which happen every now and then. (I've just read about teflon folders and may order one for future projects as they apparently don't leave any marks at all.)

I used to make jokes when my girls were little that they would show up at school knowing not only how to count to ten but to twelve--because they were always around me when I was counting out dozens of cards to send to my retail customers. I find the task of repetitive counting, sorting and packaging to be very soothing. It allows time for thinking.

One thing I've thought about this week:  I sit on the floor a lot! With many of the flat surfaces covered with equipment (computer, printer, etc.), I put my paper trimmer on the floor and have cut the paper there. It's funny, I've often done crafts on the floor in the past. (When I paint, however, I do sit at a table!) I can remember when Emma and Chloé were babies, I'd be down on the floor or playground surface playing with them and look over and notice that other parents were sitting on benches or standing and talking together. I'm sure that says something odd about me.

This week has made me think that I may introduce more cards to my shop, both from my previous inventory as well cards created from my newest work. I think the chickadee card could work very well as a holiday card.

September 14, 2012

Pause and Enjoy

More than a week since my last post. Oh my. My sister-in-law emailed me today to ask if everything was okay as I hadn't posted in a week and she reads my blog on her lunch hour. Nice to know I'm missed. 

Yes, everything's okay but where did the time go? Bits and pieces:  getting used to back-to-school routines, dentist appointment for me (yuck), insomnia (yuck again), weeding the garden (I will win!), some new prints for my shop (here's one...I really like how it turned out).

And then there were new photos of some items for my shop (Christmas cards, yes already), walks with Meeko, a new painting, a visit with a wonderful friend drinking rosé slushies on the back porch (I left the rosé in the freezer too long but I plan to make this 'mistake' again), cool evenings and surprisingly hot, humid days.

Nothing all that earth shattering but the time went quickly and when I look back, I am happy with the week (maybe not the dentist and insomnia part).  Well actually if I'm being truthful, due to the dentist appointment which led to the insomnia, I saw the most beautiful crescent moon with Venus shining just to its left in the wee hours one morning. Silver linings.

Here's the painting I worked on this morning (still in progress but almost finished):

Based on these wonderful tomatoes from my garden:
Aren't they beautiful? Two of my pepper-shaped Opalka tomatoes decided that they destined for each other.

I thought of adding the heart-shaped rocks and berry and acorn pairs to the painting, but I'm liking the tomatoes on their own.

My garden is certainly showing the changing seasons. There is more green, some brown, less blooms. I like this time of year in the garden:  less boisterous, more subtle.
Picea abies 'nidiformis' - Bird nest spruce with dew drops
Grass and other weeds in the backyard with dew drops.
The garden is still beautiful and has about a month and a half before it goes to sleep. I was glad I spent all of the time weeding in the front yard. It looks so much better. Now I need to spend a day or two weeding in the back or maybe not. The weeds look pretty nice with the dew drops on them.

Meeko adores this time of year too. He enjoys walking on the days with cooler temperatures and just loves the smells in the air. When he goes out the back door, he pauses and sticks his nose straight up as if to drink in the lovely smells of the changing seasons. He spent hours lying beside me while I weeded in the garden, enjoying our companionship and the changing seasons. We should all take moments to pause and enjoy too. 

September 6, 2012

A Hard Week Soothed by Smooth Stones

I told you about the commissioned painting I did earlier this summer of a house in Cap Ferret, France. This week the doorbell rang and the friend who had asked me to do that painting handed me a gift bag. Inside it was a collection of beautiful beach stones. Shirley and her daughter Rachel gathered them for me on the beach when they were in Cap Ferret. They made sure to include several with heart shapes. I love them so much. The colours in these stones (they are called 'galets' there) are absolutely beautiful! Such a thoughtful gift.

I have to admit it's been an odd week. It started with a civic holiday on Monday followed by a school holiday on Tuesday for Emma and Chloé because there was a provincial election here. Not much time for painting. Wednesday, we woke to news of a shooting at the celebratory party of the winning candidate. Yesterday, I felt paralyzed with sadness and thoughts of how fragile society and individual life are. Was the shooter politically motivated? Some say yes. Some say no. Whatever the motivation, an innocent man, a technician working at the event, was killed. Elections do have a way of pointing out, emphasizing and creating chasms between people. It's so important for us, everywhere, to find ways to live together with respect and without fear. Today, I was sure it was Friday and I think it was maybe my brain suggesting that it would best for this week to be over.

But I did find something good to do.  I went upstairs today and started working on a painting.  It's still in progress.  I picked some of the beautiful 'galets' from France, an acorn from a walk with Meeko and some bush cranberries from my backyard. A couple of hours of painting smooth, beautiful stones and my frayed nerves started to feel soothed again. And because it is Thursday today and not Friday, I have another lovely day of painting ahead of me tomorrow. 

Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try
No people below us, above it's only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do
No need to kill or die for and no religions too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger a brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing for the world

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
Take my hand and join us
And the world will live, will live as one

John Lennon

September 1, 2012

Happy September!

I am a woman of few words today. I thought I would let Albert Camus speak for me. Love this quote. I have incorporated it into a new print.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.  And happy spring to my friends who are celebrating it today in the Southern Hemisphere. Autumn here doesn't officially start until September 22nd, so we are squeezing out the last drops of summer. 


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