Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Messenger



"The Messenger"
18"x18" acrylic and grease pencil on paper mounted board
$500

I was inspired to paint this portrait of my friend Eshu, after he wrote this beautiful piece of memoir from his childhood:

"The Monarch Butterfly has a special place in my heart. When I was a kid in Whitby, Ontario, after school I would often play in a small forest at the centre of a farmer's field. One year the field was fallow, growing among other things, Milkweed. One day I noticed that the farmer was out in the tractor mowing, and the plants were covered in the iconic striped caterpillars. I got a box and plucked probably hundreds of the caterpillars off the plants. I took them home and put the box in my garage. Every day I would go and find milkweed to bring to the box of caterpillars. My sisters thought I was crazy.
The caterpillars didn't stay in the box either. Oh no, they went all over the garage. By the time they became chrysalis, they were hanging everywhere! Off of shelves, even off of the side mirrors of the old VW Beetle my dad was trying to restore.
Then, one day I came home from school and opened the garage door and was greeted by the sensation of Butterflies fluttering past my face and hands. Even to this day I don't know if I can express this experience adequately. Utter freedom. This happened for several days in succession, as they emerged from the chrysalis.
It wasn't all beauty though. I learned some painful lessons. Non-interference, and controlling enthusiasm for example, simple patience. In my rush to "help" I even went so far as to use a blow dryer to "help" one of the poor creatures "dry" out it's wings quicker. It didn't make it. I was heart broken.
One thing I remember is that my parents didn't interfere. They let me do it all myself. I wonder what they thought.
When someone asks me what Zen is all about, for some reason, this is the story, and the feeling that I most want to share. It is the freedom of transforming, and finding the open air.
If I were ever to take an animal as a symbol, crest, or totem, it would be the Monarch Butterfly. A distinctly North American beauty." 

The concept sketch


The background, which is a layer of incised and embossed grease pencil sandwiched between two layers of acrylic. It's a painstaking and time consuming process that leaves me with blackened fingers for days!


Once I set the under painting skin tones in blue, I convert the image to black and white for a quick check on composition.



Starting on the orange and loving the balance of color.



An accidental giggle.



Monday, July 3, 2017

BlueJay

"She decided to free herself,
dance into the wind,
create a new language.
And the birds fluttered around her,
writing "Yes" in the sky.
Monique Duval




Monday, June 5, 2017

The Soul of An Octopus




I hope that someday
when I am gone,
someone,
somewhere,
picks my soul up
off of these pages 
and thinks,
"I would have loved her."

Nicole Lyons



Knit octopus brooches from kettle dyed merino wool. $45


I have found a myriad of ways to enjoy these diminutive five inch octopus brooches; from hair pins and sweater pins to hat pins and secretive guests.






Friday, April 7, 2017

Brave Little Rabbit Goes To The Beach

"Be brave, little rabbit.
Take a chance."
Cherise Sinclair




Have you ever heard the term, "madder than a March Hare"? Rabbits are known to go a little bonkers this time of year as Spring calls to them, stronger than it does to most animals. The normally shy and fearful rabbit becomes wild and excitable, reminding us to work through our fears with humility. I thought I might work through some shyness and fears of my own this past week, as I asked a dear friend to photograph me, wearing of course a rabbit printed dress I had recently sewn during the mad month of March.






















FYI

Photo credits: Jenna Davis.

Trusty sidekick: Echo, rat terrier extraordinaire.

Fabric designer: Kobayashi, Rabbits and Mushrooms
Dress sewing pattern: McCalls 6696, sewn in cotton/linen canvas
Bloomers sewing pattern: Plinka Pants by Tina Givens, sewn in 100% linen.
Sweater knitting pattern: Linney Cardigan by Amy Christoffers, knit in cotton/linen.







Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Vulnerability

"She threw away all of her masks,
and put on her soul."
Francesca Silvanna



"Insight" Vulnerability III

About a year ago I began exploring the power and beauty of vulnerability through a series of paintings that involved the technique of excavating layers; from the skin down to the background. I wanted to show that encounters tinted with despair and powerlessness required the awesome courage of vulnerability to navigate with; that our experiences with being emotionally hurt will leave beautiful scars on our souls. Out of our vulnerabilities, will come our strength.

In "Tame" (Vulnerability I), we see an increased and tentative awareness to a state of anxiousness.


"Tame" Vulnerability I


By the time we view "Little Bird", we can see that anxiety is inhabiting the subject in an unsettling way, but that the subject is also experiencing a clarity of vision.


"Little Bird" Vulnerability II


The octopus is the ultimate symbol for adaptability, intelligence and insight. In "Insight" Vulnerability III, the subject is experiencing the very courageous act of self acceptance.


"Insight" Vulnerability III








Monday, February 6, 2017

"Perdu", a steampunk raven.


“Hey," said Shadow. "Huginn or Muninn, or whoever you are." 


The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes.

"Say 'Nevermore,'" said Shadow.

"Fuck you," said the raven.” 

 Neil Gaiman, American Gods




"Perdu"
12" x 24" mixed media

$350