Mathilda The Red

Mathilda The Red, oil on canvas, 14″x18″. Sold.

Revisiting my love of lady pirates today.  Don’t let her pleasant demeanor fool you, she’s got poison darts in that pretty parasol.

 


Newsy Bits

 

My apologies for jamming and cramming a number of recent events into one post, but the month has flown by so quickly and there are a few things I wanted to share. The English version of my first children’s book, Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess was released this month and it can be purchased here or if you would prefer a signed copy, you can purchase one from Fanfare Books in Stratford and they are happy to ship internationally. I was delighted to be asked by the Globe and Mail to be a part of their ‘Drawing With’ video series in which I painted a quick version of Miss Moon.  Here’s the link if you would like to see how she is created. And what an experience that was. I’ve never been filmed painting before and I was super nervous. Nevermind talking while painting.  Does my voice really sound like that? Ugh.

I also want to mention that I’ve been working on a 2017 wall calendar. I know, I’ve really taken my time doing this.  A calendar just seemed so daunting. What if I mess up and get the days of the month wrong and it wreaks havoc on everyone’s social schedule? These things haunt me, which is why I avoided it. So there may be a sticker on the outside of the calendar seeking indemnity from date mistakes etc….buy it for the pictures.

Lastly, I was well chuffed to be featured in Little Thing China’s ‘Girls Love Illustration’ edition. It’s a super cool magazine full of so many striking visuals that it doesn’t matter that I can’t read it.  Also, Flow magazine featured some of my images as cool tear out dividers in their recent German edition.  The talent being explored and promoted in these international magazines is really inspiring.

Oh and last but not least, that is the brunette version of Extraordinary Chickens on the cover of the San Diego Reader (I’ve had a few emails asking me if it was). It features a story about a front yard farm which makes me want to replicate it, but my front yard is a little bit covered in snow at the moment.

 


The Etiquette of Blackmail

 

The Etiquette of Blackmail, oil on canvas, 18″x18″.  For sale on etsy.

Lets talk blackmail. The first time I ever heard the term, I immediately imagined a sinister black envelope. Probably with red handwriting and maybe a red and black stamp. It scared me. And I think I had good reason to be scared as it seemed to be an epidemic, at least that’s what Hollywood wanted me to believe. I was certain that one day when I was much older, and very rich, and possibly blonde, I would be lounging by the pool, and my cabana boy would present me with a morning Mimosa and the mail, and in that pile of mail, would be the dreaded black envelope. I would be done for.

Yet in real life, it seems blackmail doesn’t happen very often, and when it does, it’s likely not very dramatic. But in the rare event that it were to happen, I believe that there should be an etiquette to it, just as these two ladies are teaching us here.  Blackmail served with tea (something strong and smoky like Lapsang) and lots of little cakes and sandwiches with the crusts cut off would really help to make the experience a much more pleasant one.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW PAINTING ON ETSY.


Lady In Waiting

 

Lady In Waiting, oil on canvas, 11″x14″. For sale on etsy.

The entire time I was painting this, I was intending the giraffe to be actually stealing the pearls.  Then everything changed when I realized that a giraffe would probably be quite helpful with dressing.  Excellent with hats, zippers, scarves, necklaces, so she got promoted from thief to personal assistant.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW PAINTING ON ETSY.


A Miss Moon Christmas. Lesson Five: Handmade Gifts Are A Wonderful Way To Show Just How Much You Care, Even If They Don’t Turn Out Exactly As You Imagined.

 

A Miss Moon Christmas. Lesson Five: Handmade Gifts Are A Wonderful Way To Show Just How Much You Care, Even If They Don’t Turn Out Exactly As You Imagined. 12″x16″, Oil on Canvas.  For sale on etsy.

I had wanted to get this completed before Christmas, but the dark forces worked against me.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW PAINTING ON ETSY.


The Northern Christmas Llama Was Elusive But Generous In Nature

 

The Northern Christmas Llama Was Elusive But Generous In Nature, oil on canvas, 8″x10″. SOLD.

To be honest, I don’t really know if this is really a llama, never mind a proper ‘Northern Christmas Llama’.  I was studying quite a few pictures of llamas before I started painting this and I was left very disorientated and confused.  Physically, they don’t make any sense, and each llama is very different from the next. I doubt two are the same. And what is the difference between a llama and an alpaca?  All I know is that I want one now, just so I can study it further and possibly cuddle it.  But, do they bite is my only worry.

And speaking of biters, I really thought this week we were going to lose Daisy (our 20 year old cat).  First off, I want to mention that I did not name her.  Not that I have a problem with the name Daisy, but it never suited her.  She appeared on John’s doorstep sixteen years ago, a stray, and quite pregnant.  John and his ex took her in, and someone named her Daisy. But, she’s really more of a Joan, or a Betty, or a Jean, or maybe even an Eliza.  She’s more of a dame than a flower.  We took her to the vet with a bladder infection and she basically came back with a terrible cold.  I didn’t know that cats could get colds- at least the kind with snorting congestion.  It was terrible to watch, not to mention listen to.  She stopped eating, stopped sleeping and sat in an uncomfortable crouch position and looked like she wanted to end it.  Then the vet shot her up with steroids and she’s moved on to her 55th cat life. In fact, she’s happily eating leftover brisket as I type this.

So in a very long winded way, this is also an explanation as to why there isn’t another Miss Moon Christmas painting yet.  I’ve been so busy being a nursemaid which included force feeding stinky fishy cat food through a syringe, only to have it expelled back onto me, as well as bouts of cat mind reading, trying to suss out whether or not she wanted to continue on in this world or not. Fortunately for us, we have her for a little longer.


The Peppermint Family Christmas Balloon Ride

 

The Peppermint Family Christmas Balloon Ride, oil on canvas, 12″x16″.  For sale on etsy.

This is what happens when you let the Peppermint family run amok. There is so much that is wrong with this picture (and possibly wrong with the Peppermint family) but they always seem to get away with it, likely because it’s considered to be only a little harmless festive fun. But is it really? Once again, we find them littering.  And this time, they are littering big time.  No longer are they tossing candy canes out of car windows, but they are dropping candy canes and other heavy objects from quite a height.  Imagine that you live in this pretty miscellaneous European town and you are just sitting in the park enjoying a hot beverage when you get clunked in the head by a gingerbread man.  That would put me off Christmas, and possibly parks, for quite a while.  I think the Peppermint family needs to rethink their gift giving strategy and take it down a notch.

Also, does Mr. Peppermint have two wives? No, that redhead is just his sister, Miss Moon (no, she’s not really Miss Moon).

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW PAINTING ON ETSY.


BLACK FRIDAY

 

It’s that time of year again!  We have put the shop on vacation to prepare for our annual Black Friday Sale!  Enter the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout to receive 20% off your order.  Please remember that the code has to be entered in the coupon code box (not the message to seller box) in order to receive the discount.

This year the sale runs from Friday Nov 27 at 9:00am and will end on Sunday at 11:00pm.

Happy shopping!


A New Room

 

I thought I would share a few photos of what consumed our lives for the entire summer. Seriously, I have no clue how I produced a single painting, as my mind was completely focused on windows, floors, and soft furnishings.  Our house was originally built around 1868 and is technically a Victorian style bungalow, and although it’s full of charm and character, it was very small.  So small that when we transferred our mortgage to our new bank they had to follow some sort of special procedure to ensure that we weren’t mortgaging a shed. No kidding.

Our main source of inspiration came from a Hooked On Houses profile on THIS HOUSE. Sigh. That ceiling. It’s really all about the ceiling.  Here in chilly southern Ontario, you don’t see a lot of ceilings like that, possibly because they tend not to be winterized? Clinging to that vital piece of inspiration we contacted Build, who happily rose to the challenge of creating a space that both fit into the style of our existing cottage, but also gave a great big nod to our inspiration cottage.  We are so happy with the result.

So aside from the ceiling, here are a few design sources if you are interested. Oh and one more thing, our ‘before’ wasn’t really that bad.  They had already pulled off the white siding, giving it that ‘fresh shack’ look.

The fireplace tile is Touareg from Tabarka Studio. Teal sofa is from Southern Furniture Company– I think it’s the Grace sofa.  Console, dining room table and chairs, Cornerstone Furniture in Cambridge, Ontario. Jute rug Ikea.  Wall colour is Cloud White from Benjamin Moore. Oh and my dad made the fireplace mantel and bookcases!

FOR MORE PICTURES PLEASE CLICK HERE.


A Miss Moon Christmas. Lesson Four: Festive Reindeer Antlers Are Meant For Wearing, Not For Chewing.

A Miss Moon Christmas. Lesson Four: Festive Reindeer Antlers Are Meant For Wearing, Not For Chewing. Oil on canvas, 12″x16″.

To celebrate the first snowfall of the year here in Southern Ontario, I thought I would release the next Miss Moon Christmas painting.  This lesson is an important one for all those chewers out there.  I’m talking to you Mr. Finnegan Elliott Woodward, whom we thought had passed through the chewing phase years ago only to recently discover evidence to the contrary: freshly nibbled corners of a Christmas card.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PAINTING ON ETSY.


Portrait Of A Young Millicent Brown

I’m likely one of the few artists that decides to paint large-scale paintings when illustrating a book.  This portrait of a young Millicent Brown which appears in chapter four of Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House is 24″x36″.  Not exactly small.  It really held up chapter four (only five more paintings to go) and was fairly frustrating- ie, painting a cat is really hard.  They tend to look demented if done poorly, so I’m not sure if this cat looks demented in a bad way, or demented in a good evil and aloof kind of way. I was going more for evil and aloof.  Anyway, here is your teaser for chapter four. I hope you like it.


Wild Boars And The Stratford Pumpkin Parade

The day after Halloween is always a sad one for John. There is such a long build up for him, with his carefully curated ‘Shocktoberfest’ (a scary movie every night for the month of October), and then Halloween comes and it rains and only two children arrive on our doorstep. Crestfallen, John and I watched Night Of The Living Dead and pathetically went to bed at 10pm.  The following day I went over to my parents’ house and my dad mentioned that he was going to the town bandshell to drop his jack-o-lantern off.  It was a comment that almost slipped past me, but didn’t.

‘Why are you taking your weird unibrow pumpkin to the bandshell?’ I inquired.

‘It’s for the pumpkin parade. For the wild boars.’ My dad replied.

‘Huh? What? Are you having a stroke?’

At this point my mother clears up the confusion and explains that for the past several years, Stratford stages a pumpkin parade of hundreds, possibly thousands of lit jack-o-lanterns. The following day they are all donated to the wild boars as apparently wild boars love pumpkins. It’s weird, isn’t it? It’s not just me-right? But, I decided that it was all for a good cause, so I ran over and donated our pumpkin (there is no excuse for how shoddy my pumpkin is….I studied sculpture at university, and that was the best I could come up with -apparently yes.) I then surprised John with a quick drink at our favourite bar then headed to the pumpkin parade where I watched my 40-something husband turn into a five year old again. It was a fitting end to another Shocktoberfest.

ps- top right is Miss Moon’s favourite jack-o-lantern.


Pasadena Housewife

Pasadena Housewife, oil on canvas, 20″x24″. For sale on etsy.

I’m going to start by saying that I’ve never been to Pasadena so this is entirely fantasy.  Also, I can’t really explain why I think a woman from Pasadena would smoke those pink Sobranie cigarettes and wear a green kimono robe.  It’s just one of those crazy things that I’ll have to work out on my own time.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW PAINTING ON ETSY.


The Hollow

The Hollow, 11″x14″, oil on canvas. Sold.

And if you haven’t had your fill of witches yet, may I recommend watching American Horror Story: Coven if you haven’t already. It’s such a delight to find a show that embraces more seasoned actresses such as Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, and Francis Conroy. These women are powerhouses and know how to push the boundaries between horror and camp. I mean just watch Angela Bassett and Jessica Lange as they exchange pleasantries here. Toss in a guest appearance by Stevie Nicks and it really doesn’t get much more magical than that.