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: www.tirolese.com/jazz

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 (http://robotnine.blogspot.com/), 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 www.bitsandpeaces.com as well as bitsandpeaces08.blogspot.com.

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 cbc.ca/obamasplaylist

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.