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Favourite: on collecting art

I spent a lot of my time through the morning and afternoon thinking about what I could share for “favourite”.  After all, there are so many ways a person could go with such an open ended photography challenge.  I thought about it while brushing my teeth, while running errands, while watering the plants…  It wasn’t until it was almost time to pick up the girl from kindergarten that I settled on my subject matter.  I would share my favourite piece of art.

I’m an art collector.  I love original art.  Due to lack of funds I often have to be creative to feed this particular passion.  Trading and bartering are wonderful things – and something I encourage even in my own line of work.  As a photographer I’m happy to trade time and skill with other artists and craftspeople.

My collection includes work by local talent, and those across the globe from me.  It includes digital works as well as more traditional pieces.  I’ll admit to the inclusion of a print as well – it’s an Emily Carr, and as much as it would thrill my soul to have an original of hers, purchasing one would put us out on the street…  where it’s especially difficult a collection.

And through all this variance, and all this beauty?  My current favourite piece of art is hanging on my fridge:

my fridge

An untitled, four part piece, in ink, glitter, and stickers on construction paper by Lily-Ann Smith and her Uncle, Wilson Yandt:

princesses, puppies, fairies, and a look into the ocean depths.

One of my favourite memories from our first month in this house was watching the two of them sitting at her art station shortly after my brother had moved in.  I loved listening to the back and forth, the love and genuine sharing.  It filled my heart in a huge way.  And I think what they created together is beautiful.  It is bright, vibrant and full of goodness.  There is a real possibility it may end up in a frame before the Winter is out.  I think it would break my heart if anything were to happen to it, so while it’s on the fridge now, I think it will be much safer behind glass.

Tomorrows challenge will be much easier.  😉

photo a day challenge for january

Craft Crazy!

This time of year I tend to be on crafting overdrive.  Far too many projects and not nearly the time needed to comfortably complete them all.  I love it anyway though.  🙂

MLP ATC

A My Little Pony Artist’s Trading Card for the Trading Post. The theme was “holiday specials”, which is why Frosty is stuck in the corner – clearly I didn’t feel adventurous enough to sketch him myself.

It used to just be me, crafting all by my lonesome… but now that Kid Kid is five, she’s in it right along with me.  It’s awesome to see how well she’s doing to, in so many mediums.  Embroidery, sewing, painting, drawing – and that’s just today.  We still have planting, baking, decorating, packaging, more painting, more embroidery, more drawing, and a buttload of sewing still to go.

paint covered pants

Paint covered play clothes. Crafting is a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

I wish I could share all the projects, but some of the folk who are on the receiving end of our efforts may stop by the blog, so we gotta keep it all under wraps.  I gotta say though, as artsy fartsy as we are, all this creative work is absolutely exhausting.  It is with great relief that we welcome bedtime tonight.

falling asleep on a bed full of stuffies

The girl and Sweets (the old man chi) drifting off to sleep as Daddy reads… a bedtime well deserved after a day of working hard.

New House Nerves and Medusa the Mean

Okay, ya got me.  I’ve been kind of a lazy blogger lately.  My posts aren’t really sounding like me, they are short and not nearly as engaging.  Yeah.  I know.

The fact of the matter is, with everything on my brain lately, I’m just not quite myself.  I’m stressed about the house…  packing up and leaving this place behind is tough.  I’m super excited about the new place and what it will mean for our family, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is our home.  We got engaged in the bathroom.  We first talked about having a baby sitting in this bedroom.  We’ve lived lots of places together, Damon and I, but this was the first one that was home.  Nine years here.  It’s a hard thing to walk away from, even if the place no longer meets our needs.

So yeah.  With the house on my brain, it’s hard to think of much else for long enough to blog about it.  …and I’m guessing you don’t want to hear me posting about the house every day.  😉

We take possession one month from today.  We already have so many boxes packed that it’s tough to move around in here.  We haven’t got even a small portion of the packing done yet.  There’s more than one reason we stayed here nine years (even though the intention was about three years when we bought the place).  LOL

It’s a good thing.  This is going to be such an amazing thing for us.  But that doesn’t take away from how difficult it is.

That said, here’s something cute and fun:

We’ve been reading Medusa the Mean (yep, another book in the Goddess Girls series).  Lily-Ann absolutely LOVED chapter 7, Kindergarten Buddies.  Of course, being IN kindergarten herself probably had a lot to do with it…  though it was a super adorable chapter that made her giggle and grin repeatedly (especially when she realized that there was a crush starting between Medusa and Dionysus, and then further imagined her Daddy as being like Dionysus and herself as Andromeda).  So tonight, before bedtime, she decided to draw Medusa and Dionysus – as inspired by the Goddess Girls books and the cover illustration of Medusa the Mean.  And for a five year old?  I was darn impressed.  😉

The cover art for Medusa the Mean, and the girl's interpretation of Medusa and Dionysus.

Medusa and Dionysus

Avatar Art by Kid-kid

I keep a wipe off marker board with four markers and an eraser in the car.  It helps keep the girl busy when she’s tired of being cooped up.  It’s got a number of slide in sheets that can give it a different look, and allows her to switch out the background whenever she likes.  The sheets have things like lines for practicing her writing, tic tac toe graphs, blank open space, grids…  and she can flip them out and around all on her own.  It’s a perfect thing for in the back seat.  I love it!

Today we were in the car for a total of about twenty minutes.  We had to get groceries and then stopped for slurpees at the co-op convenience store on the way home.  During this time she did four different drawings, and asked me to share them.  They are all of different members of “Team Avatar”.  And for those of you who are fans of The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, you should have no trouble at all identifying each character.  She still has a couple she’d like to add, but here are her creations thus far:

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I love all the detail she put into the Cabbage Merchant…  she even passed the board up to me in the front seat so I could add text into her speech bubble.  It says “My Cabbages!!”

Easy DIY Father’s Day Plaque

I’m in a pensive mood tonight, and realize it would be quite easy to ramble on about any number of topics.  So I turned to my iPhone for inspiration.  I began scrolling through all the photos and videos stored within my happy little device (yes, I imagine it’s a happy device, it’s well loved and frequently held, I believe it would feel cared for and treasured much like the old rocking horse or velveteen rabbit).  That’s when I realized, I never did share the Father’s Day project we came up with for Pop Pop.  I suppose it’s about time I gave up a few details on that one.  🙂

My Dad is a squirrel nut (pun intended, obviously).  He feeds them at the lake, and collects pictures, stories and the like.  I’m not really sure how his collection started – it’s really only as old as the girl is… so it’s not a long standing one.  One day we just kinda all seemed to agree that we should give him squirrel related gifts, and thus a collection was born.  I have to say, it’s a better idea than the Xena Warrior Princess figurine my husband and I jokingly gave him a decade or so ago – gotta love a scantily clad warrior princess, right?  LMAO

So I had this idea, that the girl and I should create a squirrel crossing sign for him, you know… for at the lake.  Problem was, I couldn’t find the materials I needed.  What I did come across though, was this cool tree round with the bark still on.  I bought it, not quite sure what it would become, but I loved it and knew I’d figure something out.  By the time we got home?  I knew it would be the perfect canvas for a squirrel picture.

Now, I’m not a cartoonist.  Impressionism I can do – in fact, I spent a number of years working as an impressionist painter and illustrator (sold quite a few pieces too) before I traded in my brushes for a camera.  So I’m not lacking in some skill, but cartooning has never been my strength.  I even tried my hand at some basic folk art, gave the results to my siblings (who were still wee things at the time)…  I see them all the time at my parents place and… well…  yeah…  cartooning/folk art?  Was not my strength even back then.  So clearly I would not be freehanding anything.

While the girl was occupied, I did some looking online for a “squirrel colouring page”.   Thanks to Bing (yes, I bing rather than google stuff) I found a few super cute little doods.  I asked kid kid which was her favourite, and we had our inspiration.  I downloaded it, resized it, and printed it out.

Now, like I said… I’m not a cartoonist – but I do have a pretty good eye.  So what I did was to hold the print out in place over the wood, and using the back of a paint brush (no, I didn’t trade them ALL in), I traced/etched a few lines to help with the proportions.  I etched six or seven little notches, but I imagine you could actually do the entire drawing if you can’t freehand at all.  Personally?  I have no patience for things like that – but if you can’t draw?  I think it would work just fine.  Then I took out one of my paint pens (just a plain black one) and sketched the line drawing out.  If you did etch the whole thing, you could then just trace over your etching to give you the black outline.  That gave me this:

A squirrel for pop pop

If you look closely at the paper, you can see where I’ve etched/traced a line here and there.  And comparing the two you can easily see the differences too.  LOL  But it’s not about creating an exact replica, it’s about having something that gives the impression of what you are creating.  Clearly, that doesn’t look like a REAL squirrel…  but you see it, and you know that’s what it is.  So whatever you create, the idea is for it to give the impression of the thing.  If you can tell what it is?  You’ve succeeded.  🙂  And for us, this particular squirrel holding a strawberry is significant.  I’ve called Lily-Ann “my strawberry” since the day she was born.  So finding a colouring page illustration of a squirrel holding one?  Pretty cool….  and I think that’s what swayed the girl to this particular free use image.

After the black ink was dry, I just let the girl have at it.  She painted it.  And to be honest?  I was actually downright shocked at how well she did.  She was only four at the time!  At one point she even had me stumped:

“Momma?”  she asked.

“Yes Lily-Ann.”

“Can I have the white paint again?”

“What do you need white for?”

“The strawberry.”

“Oh…  you don’t need white on the strawberry, do you?”

“Yes Momma, I do.”

So I dug out the white paint again (totally thinking she was going to make a mess of the very pretty berry she’d already created).  You can imagine my surprise when my girl, who doesn’t do anything gingerly or daintily, ever so carefully touched the very tip of her brush into the paint and dabbed a tiny highlight on the strawberry.  I shouldn’t have doubted her, or questioned her vision, but she showed me.  LOL  She knew exactly what she was doing.  And here’s the result:

The finished plaque - a pretty painting for Father's Day of a delightful little red and brown squirrel.

After it dried it just needed a couple of coats of sealant (which I did without the girl, don’t need her breathing in that scary stuff) and it was ready for Father’s Day.  All in all, a very cool project.  We had fun doing it, it turned out fabulously – and was well received.  A successful project to store in the memory bank.  🙂

She can dance and draw…

We spent much of our afternoon and early evening with my family.  Visiting, eating, playing…  it’s always a nice time.  🙂  I’m so thankful to have them near by.  I can’t imagine the wee girlie growing up without family all around her,  I’m happy she can grow up like I did, with a strong supportive extended family.  I really do feel very lucky.

I couldn’t decide between two images today.  One showing off the wee girlie’s drawing skill, and the other showing Lily-Ann and my sister Marie “getting down”.  LOL  So here’s both.

Balloon Boy

Lily & Marie playing "Just Dance II" on the Wii.

Lemmings

Okay…  so it’s not lemmings, it’s A lemming.  One lemming.

A fellow I chat with on occasion through twitter asked me to draw him a lemming.  So, I said okay.  LMAO  Didn’t have a lot of time, so here’s my quick ten minute sketch of a sweet little Norwegian Lemming.  Cute little critters.

Hope you enjoy her @silverpeanut.  🙂

felt tip, sketch of a lemming

Lemming

…who knows, maybe I’ll add more detail and actually finish the sketch if I ever find a few spare minutes.

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