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.
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, 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.
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.
Witchcyle, oil on canvas board, 8″x10″. For sale on etsy.
I had two more witches on bikes paintings but I lost them. I may be able to revive one, as it took a turn for the better yesterday, but it’s too early to tell.
Lisette vs The Skunk. Oil on canvas, 12″x16″. For sale on etsy.
I’m pretty certain that Finnegan is being stalked by a skunk. It could be a Pepe Le Peu situation or perhaps it’s just enjoying tormenting him every night at 3am by spraying up a storm in our backyard. Finnegan is technically a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that we are fairly certain was a stuffed toy that came to life one day (possibly a child wished it so). He has little to no natural hunting instincts (the other day a cricket chirping in our neighbour’s garden terrified him) and what he has learned about hunting he has learned from our ancient housecat who most days can’t be bothered moving. But this skunk has tapped into the 1% of Finnegan’s inner hunter and Finnegan wants to destroy him. I want to destroy him too thanks to Finnegan’s 3am race around the house and howling fits. So I sympathize with Lisette here and commend her for her creative use of expensive French perfume.
The new cover for Lucy Crisp! In chapter four things get a little darker for poor Lucy so I’ve shifted into a slightly moodier blue/green colour palette. I don’t know exactly when chapter four will be ready but I have passed the half way point with the artwork. Hopefully in time for Halloween!
Here are snippets from three really random paintings on canvas panel that I have for sale in my shop. It was a hectic week and my mind was all over the place and then ‘poof!’ they appeared out of my head. I think initially there was more of a story between them, but then it got weird and nonsensical. Like me. Oh and speaking of stories, I’m still working on visuals for chapter four of Lucy Crisp and I should have the new cover ready in a couple of weeks.
The Majorette, oil on canvas panel, 7″x9″. For sale on etsy.
I’ve been working on some oil on canvas panels lately…Here’s the first one.
I want her hat.
Saltwater Mermaids, oil on canvas, 12″x16″. For sale on etsy.
Only saltwater mermaids hide their tails in expensive couture.
Gone For A Spell, oil on canvas, 12″x16″. Sold.
This is one of those paintings that you can almost hear. Nothing but crickets, birds, frogs, water, and her own thoughts.
Freckle Face, oil on canvas, 10″x14″. For sale on etsy.
Whiskey Sour High Kick. Oil on canvas, 20″x24″. Sold.
“Drink wine. This is life eternal. This is all that youth will give you. It is the season for wine, roses and drunken friends. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
Wine or whiskey sours that is..
Acting like an idiot in public is something that I really enjoy. Especially when it involves painted wooden food cut-outs. There’s something quite thrilling about nonchalantly walking up to a child sized wooden hot dog and crouching down awkwardly to put my face in the hole and snapping a photo. Looking back on this, I realize that a selfie would have been even more deliciously absurd. Sometimes people don’t notice, but sometimes they do. Usually it’s an older woman trying to enjoy her pralines & cream in peace and quiet. The last thing she wants to see is me reliving my seven year old self.
On a more serious note, I do have another painting coming up called ‘Whiskey Sour High Kick’ but it’s kicking my bottom with all the fiddly parts so it likely won’t surface until early next week….if ever….
Left: Mint Mercury, oil on canvas, 10″x12″. Right: Grey Gardens, oil on canvas, 12″x12″.
For a couple of months John and I have been living in a construction zone. I’m not really sure who was aware of my studio situation (and it was a situation, believe me). It was a bright but cramped spot, relegated to the back hall alongside the washer and dryer, and a little too close to the kitty litter box for my liking. The few people that got to see it, were either left speechless, disappointed, or even just plain angry. On the plus side, it was by the back door and in the summer, I could paint while under the curious stares of rabbits and birds which made it more tolerable. But enough was enough. So this spring, John and I decided to expand the tiny cottage into something that would better suit our needs.
This now means that I have a normal human-sized studio and a proper office located in the original part of the house (see photos). The addition will be the living and dining space with a covered veranda thrown into the mix. That’s smug me in the construction zone, acting as if I’m responsible for building the structure. In actuality, we hired Build, a Stratford based company that specializes in heritage homes. I’ll get more into their awesomeness when we do the official before/after in a couple of months once it’s completed and somewhat decorated.
So far the process has been fairly painless, which I understand is rare given the fact that we are actually living in the construction zone. But the one aspect that I hadn’t anticipated was how distracted I would be by the reno, creatively speaking that is. Partly it was because my studio moved, and the light moved and for about two weeks I didn’t like painting in the new studio. It felt off, like I was wearing my shirt on backwards. Or maybe it was the lack of kitty litter box. Fortunately, I was able to work out the lighting situation, and now the space is right. However, my headspace is still unsettled. I’m used to being alone all day, and anyone who spends a lot of time alone can go a little mad. This is good though for my creative process. But now, I’m preoccupied with decisions on windows, flooring, fireplace tile, light fixtures, and furniture which surprisingly takes up a lot of time in a day, especially if you don’t know how to time manage and can’t tear yourself away from inspiring images on pinterest.
Due to my preoccupations, I haven’t been updating my blog with the latest info, not that there is much, but there are a few things that I’ve posted on facebook that I’ve neglected to post here, so if you aren’t a facebooker, then here’s the catch up:
Note: There are clickable links below but they appear in regular black text and I have no clue how to fix this.
Miss Moon: Wise Words From A Dog Governess is slated for release in January from Tundra Books (Penguin Random House Canada). The book is very similar to the French version, comprised of the Miss Moon lesson paintings, but we have altered some of the lessons to be more appropriate for children. If you are a Miss Moon fan, it can be pre-ordered on Amazon, or if you want to support a local independent, Fanfare Books in Stratford, Ontario is taking pre-orders and they ship everywhere.
Lucy Crisp And The Vanishing House. Running behind on Chapter Four. Really running behind. I would say that it has suffered the most from my reno distractions. It’s also a longer chapter and heavy on the visuals, and some of the paintings are larger and more time consuming. There will likely be at least fifteen images and to give you an idea on progress, I’ve only completed two and a half. I knew when I started it that it would likely be a three year project, and I’m going to try my best to stick to that goal. All I need is another hard Canadian winter, stuck indoors, barely clinging to sanity, and I will get caught up.
Society6: You can now purchase phone cases with some of my images. As well, I am offering a small selection of canvas prints in my Society6 shop. Yay!
Quicksand, oil on canvas, 18″x24″. For sale on etsy.
When I think about my childhood fears, I would have to say that quicksand was at the top of the list. Along with volcanoes spewing molten lava, radioactive vegetables, whirlpools, and giant spiders living in caves. Of course, I’ve since realized that these fears were entirely born out of watching too many Gilligan’s Island episodes (cue canned laughter).
I have six plates up for sale in my etsy shop. I’m calling them ‘Picnic Plates’ as they are made from melamine, and somehow picnic sounds a lot nicer than plastic. I made them through ‘Shutterfly’ and they are food safe and dishwasher safe and they look pretty spiffy. I’ve also signed the back of each one just to make them extra special. This is all I have, and there likely won’t be more as they are too costly to make on a regular basis.
I have three small original oils available in the shop!
The Villainess. Oil on canvas, 12″x14″. Sold.
Let’s talk lady villains. I’ve always had a fascination towards villainesses (I’m not even sure if that’s a word, but who cares). Particularly if they dress like Joan Crawford, own wild animals, and wear a monocle. That’s another fascination of mine, women with monocles. My favourite Slim Aarons photograph is Monocled Miss. She’s so glamorous and mysterious, lounging in bed with her newspaper and her honeydew melon breakfast. Also captured in that one image is the memory of my favourite board game ‘Clue’– Colonel Mustard perhaps? Anyway, I’m off to enjoy a martini and plot someone’s demise.