October 30, 2012

Stormy Thoughts

What a strange night it was watching the storm from a distance through social media (Twitter mostly) as it descended upon the East Coast. Despite severe weather warnings here, we were very lucky. There were thousands in Quebec without power this morning but damage was minor. In our neighbourhood, everything was intact.

I found it odd that we were looking at a beautiful and serene Hunter's Moon while the weather was so ferocious elsewhere. I took this photo this morning. I would have taken more but Meeko somehow got it into his head that the tripod was attacking me and wouldn't stop barking at it. Or at least, I think that was what he was thinking.

Then, he spent a good part of the morning staring out the window. I'm curious what he was thinking about then too (apart from squirrels and maybe the tripod).

I know what I was thinking about last night and this morning. I was thinking how lucky we were not to have been affected by the storm. We were evacuated from our home for 10 days during the Ice Storm of 1998 and we felt the effects long after the storm had faded away. There were good things, as families spent more quiet time together because of not having electricity, and there were bad things, that even children who were in the womb at the time suffered long-term effects from the stress. Emma was three at the time and we stayed in three different homes over the course of 10 days. My heart goes out to those who have been affected and displaced by the storm. It will take a long time to recover from the physical and psychological effects of Sandy. And there's stuff that isn't important in the scale of things but I know that there are little kids sad to be missing school and maybe even trick-or-treating.

I was also thinking about a chihuahua and her owner last night as I knew that little dog who was lost three weeks ago now in Brooklyn would be top of mind for Danielle during the storm.  Little Myrtle is in my thoughts every day.

And I thought about how odd it is and not really right, that we are hit harder sometimes when we know the place that is devastated in a natural disaster. I guess it's because it deals with the familiar. It's not that we don't care about the disasters that occur far, far way. I donate to international disaster relief when and if I can, as I'm sure you do too. It's just harder somehow when we know and identify with the landmarks, the geography and the people.

Meeko perked up a little this afternoon and then resumed his contemplative mood. It was just that kind of day.

October 24, 2012

Leaf Lover

Some people are tree huggers. I am most definitely a leaf lover. Here's a grouping of leaf paintings from the past year. I love painting them so much.

It's hard to take group shots of paintings and get the lighting right on all of them. The burgundy leaf in the back is showing much darker than it is. Kind of like taking a family photo. There's always someone with an odd look on their face (usually me).

My love of trees and leaves goes WAY back. In grade five, I participated in the 'Tree Bee'. This was a Toronto-wide tree identification contest for elementary school children. Our team didn't win but we were runners-up. To this day, I am pretty good at identifying trees although I won't pretend that all of my grade 5 knowledge has stayed with me.
My stash of elementary school badges in a lovely sweetgrass basket my Mom gave me when I was a little girl.
There seems to be good energy surrounding my painting efforts these days. Someone who saw my prints at the craft show I did recently is coming to my studio next week to look at originals. That means I need to get my studio cleaned up! It's good to have the motivation as I am famous for putting it off. I'll post a photo of it for sure. I also have been commissioned by someone who found my work online to do a flower painting as a Christmas gift. Another lovely opportunity.

With the recent interest in my originals, I have found the motivation to put some of them in my Etsy shop for the first time. Up until now, I've only had prints and cards there. I'll be adding more in the weeks ahead.

I used to sell a lot of originals in the days when I was doing trade shows with my Florescence card line.  I often would decorate my booth with framed paintings and fresh flowers. Shop owners would ask about buying the originals for themselves or they would ask if they could sell them on consignment in their shops. Original paintings of mine are in homes in Canada and the United States. But, I guess because I didn't paint for a long time, I'm having extra trouble letting go of them recently. I get so attached to them! It makes so much more sense for them to be loved and appreciated somewhere and not just live in a drawer in my studio. Lots of thinking lately.

Since we're on a leaf theme, I'll close with a sweet gift that Emma picked up for me on the way home from school today. The yellow maple leaf actually fell right onto her as she walked, so it was begging to come with her. Then she found the little snail that looks like it was made for the leaf.  Maybe another painting?

October 15, 2012

The Beauty of Autumn

It's hard to beat the beauty of autumn. As much as I adore spring and get excited each and every time that my garden comes to life again, I find autumn to be so 'stop me in my steps' beautiful.  Freshly fallen leaves with their impossibly bright hues. Crispy, faded leaves with their more subdued palette. I love them all.

On Friday, I finally got back into my studio to paint again. The dried leaf I used as a model was a little work of art in itself. So delicate and yet full of detail and colour. I posted an 'in progress' version of my painting on Facebook and Twitter and got myself tied in knots. I had so many nice comments that I was almost afraid to finish it and ruin it somehow. (Each painting is full of a hundred moments of insecurity. I turn a corner and another and another.) But I did finish it and I really like how it turned out.

Here are some of the autumn photos I've taken the past couple of weeks of things I've seen on my walks as well as leaf bouquets and collections that have found their way home.

October 11, 2012


There are butterflies everywhere lately. In the garden. Along pathways. In fields. It makes for wonderfully lively walks. Add to that swirling leaves. Autumn is bursting with movement and colour.

I was very lucky to get a few photos of these gorgeous butterflies (Painted Lady or Vanessa cardui) when they visited my garden a week ago. They are very shy and would flit away as soon as I got anywhere near them. I finally ran into the house and got my long-range lens. It's so heavy that I had to stay very, very still and try not to shake (no time to run and get my tripod) but I am so happy with how these photos turned out. I have never painted a butterfly before. I am definitely going to try one.
And then I found this beautiful quote:

The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower is a tethered butterfly.

Ponce Denis Échouchard Lebrun (translation)

No wonder I love them both.

A special note:  With these butterfly images, I am also sending love to my brother-in-law Alan, sister Nancy and nieces Erica and Sydney. Alan's brother Mark passed away this week at the age of 50 from melanoma. We are thinking about you all. Mark's obituary recounted his life as a pilot but mostly as a husband, involved citizen and devoted dad of three girls. It ended with this simple, poignant message: wear sunscreen.

October 8, 2012

Pumpkin and Maple Leaves

It was a long weekend in Canada for our Thanksgiving holiday.  I worked for almost all of it on my arts and crafts show that I need to make a delivery to on Wednesday. You'd think I would learn. I have participated in this show for 18 years. I have missed part of every Thanksgiving weekend during all those years because of last-minute preparations for the show. No matter what I have prepared, I always think I can add a little more. Trust me, I'm not that much fun to be around on Thanksgiving.

But I am really happy with what I have prepared. I have new cards and new framed prints of my work. I am particularly happy with some small framed prints I did this weekend.  I am not finished. Tomorrow will be a very long day, but I knew I needed to do something today to make me and my family feel a little more like it was Thanksgiving. So I extracted myself from the computer and show preparations at 5:00 p.m. and made a pumpkin pie. It was delicious. We ate it warm with whipped cream. Definitely something to feel thankful for.

Chloé arranged the table for dinner. The 'martini' in the background is cranberry juice with a blackberry floating in it.

My 'Maple Leaves' print had an exciting weekend. It was featured on Etsy's Facebook page on Saturday and was posted on their Twitter feed on Sunday. What a thrill.  A tear-worthy thrill.

I added a Maple Leaves card to my shop this weekend.
It's one of the cards I've created for the arts and crafts show coming up next weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

(In the photo at the very top: my pumpkin pie, a pumpkin bought from a local charity drive, cinnamon sticks and a Bookhou tea towel.)

October 2, 2012

Giveaway Winner

I am happy to announce that the winner of my giveaway is Carol of 'Yankee Girl' Art. Meeko drew your name. He did! I put everyone's names on pieces of scrap paper, put them face down on the floor so I didn't know whose they were, put a treat on each and chose the one Meeko went to first. (Maybe a silly method, but it was more fun than using a hat.)

Thank you everyone for the heartwarming comments you left for me. It means so much to me that you like my paintings. Thanks, as well, for the comments on my photography. I love taking photos and I'm learning more about my camera every day.

I wish I could have sent something to each and every one of you, but stay tuned. I will have another giveaway near the end of October to celebrate my first year on Etsy.



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