Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ana with Dolly

My friend Dianne has a booth at the Western Fair Farmers' Market where she sells Tupperware. She has gone out of province for the summer and asked Mary (who sells Avon) and me to take over her booth for the summer so she would not lose her prime spot.

The Farmers' Market has a flea market upstairs and that is where the booth is. There are three other artists up there, besides me. However, I am not convinced this is the best venue for my work. I will finish up the summer but will think hard about continuing after the summer.

While at the market (Saturday's only) I started the following portrait:

I worked on this portrait mostly while at the market. People seem to enjoy watching an artist at work.

This portrait is of me when I was a baby. I was about 2yrs old in this portrait. I had been playing in my front yard on the island of Sao Jorge in the Azores (Portugal). I had had strict instructions NOT to leave my front yard. However, I wanted to go to a neighbour's house to get some candy (she always had candy). I was told that the neigbhour was not home, that it was rude to ask for candy, and that I was NOT to leave the yard.

My aunt went into the house to get a camera and I took the opportunity to escape. When I arrived at the neighbour's she was not home so I sat myself on her front stoop to await her. This is where my frantic family found me. My aunt took the photo. The worried look on my face is because I knew I was in big trouble for disobeying.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Adventures

At the end of July we went to Ottawa to see the SMV Thunder Tour concert at the Ottawa Jazz Festival.

We were up early in the morning to leave by 4:00 am. We had an awful time driving in Ottawa, itself. There was construction, tons of one way streets, and tiny little street signs that we realized "that was the street we wanted" as we passed it. It was most frustrating.

Anthony had a diabetic sugar low and was feeling faint while we were at Confederation Park (where the festival was held) but a very nice young lady at one of the food booths was kind enough to get me some orange drink with lots of extra sugar. Turns out her mom is also diabetic so she knew exactly how to help. It was very nice of her.

On the good side, we had wonderful accommodations at the Carleton University residence. We had two side by side private rooms and an all you can eat breakfast buffet the next morning.

The concert was FABULOUS! Alexander had been invited by Victor Wooten to attend and he got Alexander all access backstage passes. This was very exciting for Alexander. He not only met Victor Wooten, but he also met Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller! Alexander was on top of the world.

All three of us enjoyed the concert.

On July 11th our friends Pauline and Yves were married in Sudbury Ontario. We had never been to Sudbury, but let me tell you, the driving was a lot more pleasant than driving in Ottawa. The drive to Sudbury was interesting. The landscape really changes from southern Ontario to northern Ontario.

The people in Sudbury were warm and friendly. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting Pauline and Yves's family and friends.

Anthony and Alexander played music for the wedding ceremony. They did a wonderful job. They played Doyle Dykes's "White Rose for Heidi" for Pauline to walk down the aisle. They played it so beautifully and sweetly that everyone applauded when they finished the piece. They played a Bach piece and a Simon Fox piece as well. I was very proud of them. They did such a great job.

All the decorations were hand made and set up by Pauline's friend, Carol Bisson. She did a marvelous job! She even hand made all the chocolate decorative pieces (and they were delicious!).

The wedding and reception were wonderful. Anthony made a heart-felt speech for his friend, Yves. It was a beautiful day and evening.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Photo Restoration

My friend, Laura, asked me to try to restore this photo of hers. She had found it, and it is one of the few photos with her great-grandmother in it. It was pretty badly damaged. I told her I could not promise anything, but I tried to do some retouching to restore as much as I could.

This was done using the premium version of Picnik on my laptop. It took about two hours. I was unable to fix the boy's mouth (by the father). However, overall, I am pretty pleased with the results. AND, more importantly, Laura is pleased.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Meshy Produce Bags

Strong enough for a dozen apples

Have you switched to reusable grocery bags but find yourself still using those clingy plastic produce bags at the supermarket? Now a Canada-based company, HotSacks, sells reusable mesh bags for your fruits and vegetables. They are recyclable, can be reused countless times and come in four fabulous colours.

They are available at Home Outfitters ($4.99 for a set of eight) or online at

Use them for:
  • various fruits like apples, lemons, avocados, grapes, etc.
  • various vegetables including potatoes, onions, peppers, turnips, etc.

  • bulk items such as wrapped candies or nuts in shell, etc.
And, when you use these, you will be the coolest shopper around. Everyone will want to know where you got them!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


According to the Posemaniacs's site: "Pose Maniacs supports all artists, including art students and people who study illustrations and mangas on your own. This blog is for uploading variety of poses for nude sketching, and introduces other FLASH training tools for drawing."

Someone on one of the groups I belong to posted this some time back. I really got a kick out of it. It is an excellent site for reference. I love the fact that you can see all the muscles. It is somewhere between an artist's dummy and a live model.

This can be used for gesture drawings (30 second drawings), for practice drawings, and for reference for art pieces. There are so many possibilities!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I won't apologise for defending the arts

It’s not charity or empty philanthropy. It’s an investment in jobs and our collective soul
by Kevin Spacey

Open any newspaper or turn on the TV and you are confronted with the realities of recession. So it is perhaps inevitable that there will be some who frame the arts and culture as luxury items and accept that they will have to survive on shorter rations. And in the grand scheme of things, what does it matter, they say.

I believe that, far from being luxury items, arts and culture are a necessity in our lives, as individuals and as nations. Culture is the the whole article

(Originally Published in TimesOnline on May 9, 2009)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Every Day in May

Élena Nazzaro has challenged artists to draw every day in May, and several artists have taken her up on her challenge.

I first became aware of this challenge through the Every Day Matters group (that I have often mentioned on this blog). It looks like a wonderful challenge and the participants seem to be having a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately, this year, I will not be able to participate. However, there is always next year.

There is a Flickr group set up for this challenge that you can view here --> Every Day in May

Also, here is a partial list of participants for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Recycling an Old Book as a Watercolor Sketchbook

I belong to a group called Every Day Matters. While reading the posts, this morning, I came across this post and just felt I had to share it. Shirley recycles old books into watercolour sketchbooks and she shows us how she does it in a post on her blog. I am thinking of following her instructions and creating my own sketchbook (not necessarily watercolour paper, but perhaps using my favorite drawing paper du jour).

You can view Shirley's full post on Shirley's Blog.

You can also view a related post (from following a link on Shirley's blog) to a wonderful post with with illustrations by Martha of Trumpetvine Travels. Martha "reloads" Moleskine sketchbooks.

The idea of recycling old books into sketchbooks is appealing to me. You now have some wonderful instructions to follow if this appeals to you too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Coffee Clatch

Revelle Taillon has created the marvelous caricatures that she posts on her Coffee Clatch blog. I got a real kick out of these posts and thought I would share. Please feel free to go see her work by clicking on the link.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Art Show & Blogapathy

I know it seems like I have been suffering from blogapathy, but in reality, I have just been busy dealing with life.

The Westmount Branch Library called in late March and asked if I could have a show up for April because the person they had scheduled canceled out on them. Luckily I had enough work hanging around the house to make up a small show. There were three new pieces since the November show at Williams Coffee Pub (all the other work I did since then were commissioned pieces that were shipped to the clients). I am scheduled for a show at the library in September. I should have more pieces by then.

We had the reception for the show on April 11th, 2009 which happened to be Easter Weekend. It was not the best weekend to have a reception as most of my friends and family were out of town or busy with family events. It was not a great weekend for library patrons either. However, we did have a few people show up and I met a few very interesting people. Despite the low turn out, I did sell three pieces, so far, and I also sold some cards and prints.

Alexander played bass guitar for me, using a loop station. All his band mates were also busy that weekend.

We have been dealing with health issues in my family and that is the main reason I have not been posting. However, things are looking better and I should start posting regularly again.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Portrait of Raven and Minnie

Raven O'Keefe
8" x 10"
Graphite on Strathmore 100lb Bristol Vellum

This was part of a portrait exchange from one of the art groups I belong to. Raven did a portrait of me. This was a lot of fun to do. You can see a quick slide show of the work in progress, below.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pencil Drawings - A look into the art of David J. Vanderpool

I picked up David's book some time back, but only finally had time to sit down and read it from cover to cover.

The book is well written and has lots and lots of photos of his work (my favourite kind of book!). There are many step by step photos of several of David's pieces with insightful text explaining how he got the effects.
Messy looking hair is much harder to draw than hair that is combed. Light must be able to bounce through that careful styled ‘mess’, as well as the shadows that help some of it stand out. Take your time by tackling one section at a time. Much like muscles in a hand or chest, hair needs to be drawn in sections too.
It is a great way to get into the head of the artist, while picking up tips for your own work. His style is a little different than mine, but I love his realism and his technical skill. I have tried a few of his techniques in the latest piece I am working on (will be able to post it soon) and I find that it works well for me.

Here is what is said about the book on the site:
Pencil drawings - a rare and often over-looked art form in today's art scene. This collection of masterfully crafted graphite pencil drawings shows the step-by-step process it took to complete over 26 dynamic drawings in less than a year. With over 350 illustrations, see the portraits develop and read the artist's thoughts and views on how he crafts each incredible work. This "journal style" book gives the reader unique insight into the creative mind of the artist and takes the reader on a journey from blank page to masterpiece.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for tips and techniques, or likes to get inside the head of an artist. I give it 4½ stars out of 5.

If you are offended by human body, this is not the book for you. There are a few images that portray full male and female nudity.

To see more of David Vanderpool's work, please go to

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Portrait of Ana By Raven O'Keefe

Ana Tirolese
By Raven O'Keefe
8" x 10"
Graphite on Paper

My friend, Raven O'Keefe, did this lovely portrait of me as part of a portrait swap in one of the art groups she and I belong to. I am thrilled with the portrait. My guys have already been figuring out where to hang the portrait once we get it framed.

Raven O'Keefe is a very talented artist. Please view her sites by clicking on the links below.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kelly and Chris Lanktree - 1st Wedding Anniversary

Kelly and Chris Lanktree
8" x 10"
Graphite on 100lb Strathmore Bristol Vellum

This is the commissioned piece I had been working on. It was a gift for Kelly and Chris's first wedding anniversary, also known and the Paper Anniversary, it was a perfect choice of a gift. I heard from the client that Kelly and Chris loved the piece. (It is always nice to get feedback from clients).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tree Peony (VSD0908 & EDM#76)

Tree Peony
5" x 7"
Graphite on Strathmore Bristol Vellum
February 2009

I did not get a chance to do the Virtural Sketch Date (VSD) in September 2008. The tree peony was that month's challenge. It was generously provided by Sharon.

I really liked the image and so I decided to do it now.

Call me the Queen of Multi-Tasking! This is also going to be my Every Day Matters (EDM) submission for #76 (draw some flowers). And, I am making this a gift for some dear friends of ours.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last Piece of Birthday Cake

This is a quick sketch of the last piece of my birthday cake, minutes before being eaten. This was done in my small Moleskine sketchbook with pencil and Koh-I-Nor woodless coloured pencils.

EDM # 169 (draw a piece of cake), # 195 (draw a fork) and # 209 (draw a shadow)

My friend, Angela Fisher, just started her own blog. She is an amazing artist. Please go check out her new blog and her website.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ana's 47th Birthday

Today was my 47th birthday. In the photo above, you see me with the gift my husband and son gave me, a 132 count Prismacolor set of coloured pencils, with Ann Kullberg's painting on the front of the tin. I was absolutely thrilled to get this.

This morning my friend, Laura, and her mother, Beverley, called and sang Happy Birthday to me. That was so nice. I also got a call from my Godmother Laurinda and my Aunt Olimpia (both in St. Catharines, Ontario), a call from my mother, and a brief visit from my brother, Emilio (the computer genius).

My friend, Jill Hammond, came by at noon today, and spent the day with me. She brought me a lovely ceramic cockatiel statuette. I have to still photograph it and will upload it at another date. It is beautiful. We had a great visit. It had been a long while since we had a face to face visit. She is the beautiful red-head that I did a portrait of earlier. She is concerned that she has put on some weight, but I think she looks more beautiful than ever. The weight suits her and makes her sensuous and curvy.

Anthony and our son treated me to supper at Under the Volcano, a local Mexican dining establishment. The food was wonderful, as always. I am still way too full. I had my yearly margarita too. Yum

When we arrived home, we had some strawberry Boston cream cake, coffee, and opening of gift.

All in all, it was a wonderful birthday. Click on picture below to see more photos.

Ana's 47th Birthday

I have also finished a black and white commissioned portrait for a 1st anniversary. I will not be able to post it until after the gift is received by the recipients because I do not want to spoil the surprise. I will share it here as soon as they get it. I am working on a portrait of a little boy next, plus I have some other ideas to do, and Jill has asked me to do a portrait for a friend of hers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Day In The Arts

I just subscribed to this wonderful new art magazine: A Day In The Arts. The first issue is fantastic and very interesting. It is well written and well designed. I know I am going to enjoy getting this daily magazine. It will be both informative and inspirational. What a great way to get your daily dose of art!

I copied the following from the home page:
The FREE daily art magazine.

For many, the art world can be a very intimidating place, filled with musty art museums, high-end art galleries and modern art that they can't seem to grasp the meaning of. For others, it is filled with great masterpieces that inspire the imagination and bring color and joy to their lives.

We want to make the exciting world of art accessible to all. We want you to enjoy the art, the theory, the practice and the history in a way that you never have before. Come join us on our daily journey through the arts. You'll examine classic works as well as contemporary art. You'll learn about the old masters and meet the modern and up and coming artists as well. Together we will review new books and materials and seek out the latest exhibits. Join us each day. The journey won't cost you anything but a few moments of your time. Your reward will be great.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gift Baskets by Design & Flowering Tea

A flowering tea, or blooming tea, is a small bundle of dried tea leaves and flowers bound together into a ball. When steeped, the bundle expands and unfurls in a process that emulates a blooming flower. Flowering teas are fragrant, aromatic teas that do not tend to get bitter with extended steeping. Flowering teas are often prepared in a transparent vessel for easy viewing. I didn't have a nice transparent tea-pot so I used a 4 cup measure so that we could see the beauty of the flowering tea. It was the only transparent thing I had big enough to make tea in. My husband, Anthony, and I spent the evening enjoying this tea while watching Laurence of Arabia followed by Casablanca.

For the last several years I have been driving by Gift Baskets by Design, on Wharncliffe Road, almost daily on the way downtown or back home. I have often wondered how a storefront could be supported by gift baskets alone. Today, I had the pleasure of going inside and meeting with Angie Wilson (owner) and Bonita Stevenson (associate).

First, let me tell you, all my preconceived ideas were dashed on the spot. The nondescript exterior belies the beauty of the interior. The interior was not only tastefully decorated, but warm and inviting. The fragrance upon entering is heavenly. There was so much to see that my eyes kept wandering over the displays, seats, tables, and teas...oh the teas!

And, to my surprise, there is a lot more than just gift baskets inside the shop. There are all kinds of wonderful gifts and gift ideas. I cannot even start to list them all. Angie also has a whole selection of wonderful and exotic teas. You can purchase them by the ounce. That is where I got the flowering tea. I had heard about this tea but had not come across it in my daily travels.

Angie and Bonita were saying that they hope to open a tea house in the future. However, for now you can go in person (or order online or by phone) to get these wonderful teas. Another thing you can do, is have them supply a variety of teas for your special evenings, book club meetings, spa night, or whenever you are having a group of people over for an occasion.

It was a pure delight to go in today. I wish I had made the effort to go inside sooner. If you live in the London, Ontario area you must drop in and check out this wonderful gem on Wharncliffe Road.

Gift Baskets by Design
315 Wharncliffe Rd South
London, Ontario

There is free parking in the rear
They deliver.

When I came home this afternoon and showed Anthony the tea, he was very excited about it. He had heard some women at work talking about this tea. He had wanted to try it too. He is enjoying it as much as I am. It is deliciously mild and relaxing.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Artwork Coming Soon...

Clip Art from MSN

I know many people are waiting patiently for me to post some new artwork. Currently, I am in the process of working on three commissioned pieces, two are for anniversaries and one for a baptismal. I cannot post these until after the recipients receive them, as they are surprise gifts.

My favourite framer, Vince Tedesco, of London Picture Framing (1041 Gainsborough , London, ON 519-473-7557), called me yesterday and said he had recommended me for another commissioned portrait. So, if the person calls me up, I will have a one more commissioned piece to work on. I love doing commissions, but quite often, I cannot post them until after the recipient receives them.

Hopefully I can get a few smaller pieces done in the mean time to post here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Rainbow

Your rainbow is intensely shaded indigo, blue, and gray.

What is says about you: You are a tranquil person. You appreciate tradition and wisdom that comes with age. You depend on modern technology and may feel uncomfortable without it. Friends count on you for being honest and insightful.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Several EDM Challenges

Most Monday nights, for the last little while, I meet with my friend Patti Murphy at Williams Coffee Pub for a coffee. Patti comes into my end of London (Ontario) from Lucan (Ontario) on Monday nights so that her son can attend a soccer practice at a local high school. It is great seeing her once a week.

Last night I arrived a bit early so entertained myself by drawing in my new moleskine sketchbook. I drew what was in front of me on the table. The sketchbook is 3½" x 5½" so this is a pretty small drawing. Since so many things were incorporated in this drawing, I decided to use this as a submission to several EDM (Everyday Matters) challenges (listed above). The above sketch took about an hour to do. I started it while I waited for Patti and finished it later, at home (added the shading). That is a lipstick stain on my mug.

You can see the bleed through from the first page (the pen & ink) that I did. Although I liked the way the ink laid down, I did not like the bleed through. The graphite worked very well and smoothly.

Tools used on above sketch:
  • Moleskine sketchbook
  • 2B Mechanical pencil
  • Kneaded eraser

Monday, February 2, 2009

The 4th Annual Juried Miniature Show

I have two pieces entered in this show. If you click on the above image it will take you to the site, where you can see the images online. Mine is the Tobias Cat and the Parrot.

EDM#205 & TAD#2

This image is doing triple duty. It is my EDM#205 (Everyday Matters) assignment, it is my post for TAD#2 (Thing-a-Day), and it is my inaugural drawing in my new Moleskine sketchbook.

This was a quick and dirty sketch that took me about 15 minutes to complete. It is just a basic line sketch done in pen & ink. I wanted something to start off my new sketchbook. My sketchbook is 3.5in x 5.5in so this is not a very big image.

Do I like the moleskine? Well, yes. I like the slickness of the page and how the ink went on smoothly. I was a little disappointed that the ink bled through the page a little bit. However, it was not too bad and I can work around it.

This sketchbook is mainly going to be used as a traveling sketchbook since it fits nicely into my pocket or small purse. I like having a sketchbook with me at all times for when the mood hits me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Date with My Sweetie

I used this photo for Thing-A-Day 2009. I had all intentions of creating something artistic today, however, it did not turn out that way. So, I added the above photo from my date with my Sweetie. It was our first "Date" of 2009.

The best part of my day was that My Sweetie, Anthony, and I had a lovely “date”. We went to Chapters (a Canadian bookstore chain, similar to Barnes and Noble) and had a great time. We had a latte and cookie each at Starbucks. Anthony picked up a book on birds (Audubon's Masterpieces: 150 Prints from the Birds of America) and he got me a pocket sized moleskine sketchbook that I can carry around in my purse or pocket.

We saw someone that looked exactly like Ron James, the Canadian comedian, walking around Chapters. I said we should go ask him if he is Ron James, but we were afraid to intrude (if it was him) or embarrass ourselves (if he was not). I told my husband I would ask, but I did not see him again. It turns out IT WAS HIM! I checked his performance dates online and he is in London Ontario today and tomorrow! Ugh. I wish we had said hello and told him how much we enjoy his work.

I am very excited about my new moleskine sketchbook. I can barely wait to start using it. I had filled up my last pocket sized sketchbook and needed one to carry around.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Son, the Musician

My son, Alexander is a gifted musician. He has been playing instruments since the age of 4, and only because we couldn't deny him any longer. He was humming recognizable tunes before he could speak and could read music before he could read words. He wanted to play violin so badly that we finally put him with a private teacher. He learned quickly and well.

Now, he plays a whole variety of instruments. I often say that the only instrument he cannot play is the one he has not had the chance to get his hands on yet. His current love are all the saxophones, especially the soprano and alto, and the bass guitar. However, he plays so many other instruments, sings, and even teaches guitar.

For a long time he wanted to be an opera singer. He does have a beautiful tenor voice and did take professional lessons for a few years. Now he is really into jazz and is thinking of making that his career choice.

I could go on for pages about Alexander and his music. We are so proud of him. I just wanted to share that he played three Sundays in a row (January 11 to 25, 2009) at Williams Coffee Pub. It was well received. Many people came out to see him and were impressed with him and his jazz band. People were shocked to find out that he is only 17 years old. He plays well beyond his years.

View photos from Jazz in the Afternoon. (Photos by Walter Zimmerman.)

Alexander's website:

He and his band are available to do private parties and corporate functions.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Clementine - January VSD

5" x 7"
Coloured Pencil on Stonehenge Paper

This clementine was created for January's Virtual Sketch Date. The image was provided by Jeanette Jobson. I really enjoyed working on this piece. It is also my first still life since high school.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Robot Nine

When I arrived home, tonight, after a long and eventful day (at a Marketing for Artists Seminar) I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from Alan of Robot Nine! I have won Picture Puzzle 5 contest!!!

I am giddy with excitement. I have chosen The Presidential Doodles book as my prize.

If you are not familiar with Robot Nine (, then perhaps it is time you acquainted yourself with this very interesting blog. Alan puts up series of 9 related, and interesting, items on a regular basis. He also has the fun Picture Puzzle Contests.

Thank you, Alan!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's Playlist The Top 49 Songs

My post is in honour of our friends to the south on this historic day in U.S. history.

From January 5th-16th, 2009, CBC Radio 2 invited Canadians to help select the top “49 songs from north of the 49th parallel” that would best define our country to the incoming U.S. President Barack Obama. Please take the time to click on each link and listen to some wonderful music. You may rediscover some old favourites and discover some new loves. Here is what we voted for:

  1. Affairs of the Heart: Marjan Mozetich
  2. American Woman - The Guess Who
  3. Barber: Violin Concerto: James Ehnes
  4. Bobcaygeon - The Tragically Hip
  5. Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell
  6. Brother (Watching) - Shad
  7. Canada's Really Big - Arrogant Worms
  8. The Canadian Dream - Sam Roberts
  9. Canadian Railroad Trilogy - Gordon Lightfoot
  10. A Case of You - Joni Mitchell
  11. Closer to the Heart - Rush
  12. Dégénération - Mes Aïeux
  13. Democracy - Leonard Cohen
  14. Departure Bay - Diana Krall
  15. Évangéline - Marie-Jo Thério
  16. Four Strong Winds - Ian & Sylvia
  17. Goin' Up a Yonder - Measha Brueggergosman
  18. Goldberg Variations - Glenn Gould
  19. Hallelujah - k.d. lang
  20. Helpless- Neil Young
  21. The Hockey Song - Stompin' Tom Connors
  22. Home - Michael Bublé
  23. Hymn to Freedom - Oscar Peterson Trio
  24. If I Had $1,000,000 - Barenaked Ladies
  25. J'ai quitté mon île - Daniel Lavoie
  26. Jolie Louise - Daniel Lanois
  27. La complainte du phoque en Alaska - Beau Dommage
  28. Mario Takes a Walk - Jesse Cook
  29. Mon pays - Gilles Vigneault
  30. Montréal -40C - Malajube
  31. Northwest Passage - Stan Rogers
  32. One Great City! - The Weakerthans
  33. Ordinary Day - Great Big Sea
  34. Oublie-pas - Karkwa
  35. Place St. Henri (from Canadiana Suite) - Oscar Peterson Trio
  36. Pour un instant - Harmonium
  37. Quand les hommes vivront d'amour - Raymond Lévesque
  38. Rebellion (Lies) - Arcade Fire
  39. Rêver mieux - Daniel Bélanger
  40. Rise Again - The Rankin Family
  41. Rise Up - Parachute Club
  42. Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young
  43. Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
  44. Swingin' Shepherd Blues - Moe Koffman
  45. Universal Soldier - Buffy Sainte-Marie
  46. We'll Gather Lilacs - Ben Heppner
  47. Wheat Kings - The Tragically Hip
  48. Wondering Where the Lions Are - Bruce Cockburn
  49. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Art & Poem by Jim Kogelheide

Last Sunday (January 11th) was the first day in this series of Jazz in the Afternoon performances. I had sent out a Facebook invitation to several London, Ontario residents, hoping they would come out and enjoy a lovely afternoon of delicious coffee and desserts and hot jazz.

Imagine my surprise and delight when one of my online acquaintances, and fellow artist, showed up! I finally met Jim Kogelheide in person. He introduced himself to me. I was thrilled to meet him. We had a short chat (I was sitting with a friend of my husband's and the noise level was a bit loud for my already compromised hearing). Jim gave me the above print of his work. That was quite an unexpected surprise, pleasure, and honour! Jim brought his lovely wife, and he said that both of them thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon out and the jazz. He was unaware that the young man playing sax is my son. (I'll brag about Alexander in a later post).

I have scanned in the image (with Jim's permission) so that I may share it with you on this blog. Here is a close-up of the image, followed by the poem:


Come driving with me
and witness a range of mountains
structured sturdy but free
as they wave upon the land
past the farthest tree
and on...
towards the sea.

Let's share a ride together
on this sunny day.
Beware the doubts in our minds
as we leave them behind
in the dust
and drive merrily away.

As we traverse this sun splattered scenery
more than just peaks
also valleys will we adventure to see
throughout this shining world within a nation
deep in the hear of this province B.C.

--Jim Kogelheide

If you look carefully at the above image, you will see that it is a man (Jim) sitting in the driver's seat, driving his vehicle through a British Columbia (B.C.) scenery. You have to view the negative space as positive space to see it. I have included the image (below) with the colours removed to make it easier to see.

On the back of the package the image is in, Jim wrote the following:
Anyone who has gone for a drive with a passenger with a camera has a photo just like the one that inspired this pen and ink art piece. Look closely and you will see the outline of my nose, lips and chin as I steer our Cherokee Jeep Pioneer along a road at the base of a stretch of mountains. There are, also, a few farm fields between the mountains and the road that is lined with a fe trees.

I've had some people tell me that they thought I had really changed my art style and that I had painted a twisted version of some kind of sail boat. I didn't realize that it was so difficult to see the obvious.
Well, I had to admit, I did not see it right away, but once I did, I cannot stop seeing it. However, everyone I have shown this to always blurts out "It's a sailboat" before I show them that it is not.

Here is the piece with the colours removed. I am sure you can see Jim more clearly now, driving his vehicle.

Jim Kogelheide is a visual artist, poet, musician and activist. You may learn more about him, and see his work at as well as

Art Creations by Jim Kogelheide is exhibiting at Grooves Record Shop in Downtown London Ontario (on Clarence just south of King) from January 12, 2009 to January 31, 2009.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Picnik Online Photo Manipulation

Picnik is an online photo manipulation program that allows you to do quite a few "fixes" and "effects" quickly and easily. It can be used as a free program and you do not even have to register. Of course, you can also get a paid version with a yearly subscription that gives you a few extra effects. However, if you have a photo that you want to do a quick fix and are not on your computer with your photo manipulation program, you can quickly and easily do it in Picnik. It is the most user friendly online program I have found. Even the free version is more comprehensive than most other programs.

I did a quick red eye fix in the following photo using the free version of Picnik:

When I saw how easy that was, I thought I would try some other things. My friend, Walter Zimmerman, took several photos of my son's jazz performance with his band at a local café. (I will be writing about that more in another post, including photos, but I still have to view all the photos -- 3 CDs worth -- and choose which ones to upload). I did take one of the photos and played with it. It is one of the nicer photos I have come across of my son and me. I cropped it, added the polaroid border, and some text:

Having a lot of fun with this, I decided to try a few more effects and fixes. I have a photo that I may be working from as a reference for a portrait (I have not decided which of the dozens of photos I will actually be working from). I purposely scanned it without cleaning my scanner bed so there were some glitches on the image. I then cropped and cleaned up the image in Picnik.

Original photo

Blemishes fixed

Vibrance added

Sepia added

There are many more effects and fixes that can be used in the free version. If you want to upgrade to the full version, it is only $24.95/year and it gives you a few more things to play with.

All in all, I am pretty impressed with application. Of course, you cannot compare it to Photoshop or other high end applications. However, for quick fixes and a few fun effects this is a pretty powerful and accessible application. It gives you several options for saving your final image, including saving it directly to Picassa, Facebook, MySpace, and others, and, of course, back onto your computer.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama's Playlist

CBC is putting together a playlist of songs for Barack Obama. This is a gift from USA's closest and largest neighbour. The songs are all Canadian in nature. One hundred songs were nominated. We are now voting for the top 49 songs. We can vote once a day, per computer, per category (there are four categories).

This is what it says on their main page:
49 Songs from North of the 49th Parallel

Canadians choose 49 songs from North of the 49th parallel that defines Canada to the new President.

Beginning Monday, January 5, CBC Radio 2 invites Canadians to help select the top “49 songs from north of the 49th parallel” that would best define our country to the incoming U.S. President Barack Obama.

His playlist could definitely benefit from some Canadian content, especially given the depth of our musical offerings – spanning a wide variety of genres and representing our culture from coast to coast.

“One of the best way to know Canada is through the depth and breadth of our artistic expression,” says Denise Donlon, Executive Director, CBC Radio. “We're excited about the new President and we want him to be excited about us, so we're asking our audience to help compile the list of our most definitive Canadian songs!”

Thank you for all your nominations, we have tallied them down to 100 songs. You have until Friday, January 16 at 11 p.m. ET. to vote for your favourites.

So, what Canadian music do you think is the most definitive 49 songs from North of the 49th parallel?
If you are Canadian, and want to vote, you can go to

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tobias Cat Miniature (EDM#185)

Tobias Cat Miniature
3" x 4"
Coloured Pencils on
90lb Stongehenge Paper

This is the second piece that I created for the I created it for the 4th Annual Juried Miniature Show & Sale here in London, Ontario at The Art Exchange.

For some reason I find cats very difficult to paint/draw. I like cats but have rarely been around them, except at friends' homes. We used to have cats when I was young and living with my parents. However, both my son and I are allergic to them so we don't live with any cats in our home. Therefore, I am not as familiar with them as cat owners are. We live with four birds, so, that may explain why I enjoy drawing/painting them so much. I am able to study them up close all the time.

This cat ref. photo came from Buck's Blog. He was kind enough to allow me to use any of his kitty photos to help me get over my cat-drawing-phobia. Buck and I have been friends since 1978-79. We were inseparable friends as teens. He is really into public transportation and you may also enjoy his Buck Tracks Blog. I enjoy his photos.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Parrot Miniature (EDM#125)

3" x 4"
Coloured Pencil on
90lb Stonehenge Art Paper

The Art Exchange art gallery in London, ON is having it's 4th Annual Juried Miniature Show and Sale in February. I am entering the above image. We are permitted to enter up to two pieces of original art, so I will be creating one more piece before the January 20th deadline.

This little parrot is my first piece for 2009.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Making a Mark by Katherine Tyrrell

As I was blog-hopping I came across a wonderful blog by Katherine Tyrrell. She offers an amazing amount of useful information for artists and bloggers alike.

I am relatively new to blogging, both as a blogger and as a reader. Until recently I had not found any reason to have a blog for myself, and any blogs that I had come across in the last few years did not hold any interest for me. It was not until I started finding artists' blogs that my interest was peeked. Also, many of my friends and colleagues kept urging me to start my own blog. I did attempt a few in the past years but they all sputtered and floundered. I really had nothing to say.

What I really like about Katherine's blog, Making a Mark, is that she shares all kinds of wonderful information about art, computers, blogging, etc. It is more than just a passing few sentences. These posts are in-depth articles and tutorials in themselves. She has fabulous links to online resources on her blog, as well as to interesting topics and other interesting artists. I am particularly thankful for the following posts:
There are many more posts that I also enjoy, but there are too many to post so it is best if you just visit the Making a Mark blog for yourself. I can spend hours going through Katherine's blog, following links, noting ideas, etc.

Katherine's own work is beautiful to behold. She could have easily just had a site to show off her work without sharing all the good info with the rest of us. However, I am thankful that she has chosen to share what she discovers with us.

This is a site I would recommend to anyone interested in art, the business of art, and in blogging.

Also, a quick note:
I added our family Christmas photos to my Christmas Message of December 25th, and you are welcome to go view them.