Another knock off.

Unfortunately, there appears to be another knock off making the rounds. This one is from my painting ‘The Duchess’.  As you can see they have copied the figure and the dog, but what makes this knock off so special is that they have also taken the bouquet of flowers from another painting of mine ‘The Runner Up’ and supplemented it for the purse. Two infringements in one!

This knock off was spotted in a large European retail chain called ‘Leroy Merlin’.  They have been unresponsive to my request to have it removed from sale. While I figure out what the next step will be, I wanted to let customers know that this is not my painting. From what I can tell this is likely Chinese sweatshop art, just like the last group of infringements in 2013.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m complaining or seeking sympathy, as I have accepted that this is now an unfortunate part of my business— dealing with sweatshop knock offs and the corporations who support this form of ‘art’. However, I wanted to bring attention to this just in case there is confusion.  I don’t dumb down my work to have it mass produced. I also really appreciate (and rely on) all my savvy supporters who inform me of potential infringements by snapping a quick photo when they spot something questionable.  If it looks like one of mine, but something is a little off (usually simplified backgrounds or no artist credit) please take a photo and let me know. Sometimes it’s the only way I can find out where these copies have ended up.

Lastly—and this is a direct message to retail corporations who sell these ‘paintings’:  I register my copyrights with the US Copyright Office and I have successfully enforced my copyrights through legal means in the past and I will continue to do so in the future.  Be aware of copyright laws before you purchase art from Chinese art factories who have little to no knowledge or respect for intellectual property laws.  If you are selling it, you are liable.


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.


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.


This is becoming a thing.

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….

 


Under construction (and other newsy bits).

 

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.

India Knight.  I was honoured to supply the British author and columnist with images for her website.  She’s a cool lady and she loves dogs and knows how to decorate with pink.

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!


Picnic Plates

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.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW PLATES ON ETSY.


BLACK FRIDAY SALE

 

It’s that time of year again!  We have put the shop on vacation to prepare for our annual Black Friday Sale!  The shop will reopen on Friday at 9am and the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY can be applied to your order to receive 20% off.  Please remember that the code has to be entered in the coupon code box in order to receive the discount.

This year the sale is only for one day starting at 9am EST on Friday and the coupon will expire at midnight.  The discount can also be applied towards original art in the shop- yay!

This is pretty much the last chance for Christmas orders to arrive in time for Christmas (outside of Canada).  We still can’t guarantee arrival time but generally to the United States  it can take anywhere between 7-20 business days.

Happy shopping!


Taking Time Off And A Big Sale!

It’s been a hectic summer so John and I are putting the shop on vacation mode until Oct 6 so we can have a little down time.  The good news is that when we reopen, we will kick things off with a big sale!   Every year we have a Black Friday sale for 20% off all prints but last year it turned into a nightmare because there was only a scant four weeks between American Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This led to more than our fair share of nail-biting moments as four weeks is often not enough time for orders shipping outside of Canada during holiday season.  In an effort to gain the upper hand with shipping, we are attempting an earlier sale (although we still will likely have a Black Friday sale too), but this sale is a special 25% off all prints.  Here are the details:

Sale begins Monday October 6th at 9am EST and runs until Wednesday October 8th 11pm EST.  The discount is given through an etsy coupon, so please be aware that the price listed is not the sale price.  The coupon code is:  JUMPSTART (all caps) and you enter it at the etsy checkout in the coupon code box (not the convo box to the seller) to get 25% of the listed price.  If the code is not entered correctly or not at all, we may not catch it, and you may not receive your discount.

See you in October!


Instagram

I recently joined this century and bought a phone.  Actually, I really didn’t- it was John.   He was frustrated with my lack of communication and went out and got me one.   I stared at it for a long while and eventually picked it up and sniffed it…no I didn’t but I came close.   It was that kind of suspicion that went on between myself and the shiny black thing.   But now I think it’s okay.   I like Instagram -did I spell that right?   I have no idea what I’m doing with it and I still don’t quite grasp what a hashtag is- or how I’m supposed to use one as it sounds more like a bad rash than anything else,  but I’m sure I will get the hang of it at some point.  So if you are on Instagram and haven’t had enough of my foolishness on my blog then feel free to check out more of my nonsense here.

I promise that I will stop playing with my phone and get back to painting next week!


Winter Wonderland

It truly has been a winter wonderland here lately.   I like snow.  It’s pretty to look at, and Finnegan loves it (he’s a snow baby- born December 23) but I’m getting a little tired of the relentless downpour of it.  I even had to shovel my own driveway today and did a spectacularly terrible job of it.   It’s so bad that it’s kind of good.  At least I tried to convince myself of that.  Didn’t fly with John when he came home from work but he understood as my arms are apparently made of sock monkey stuffing- his flattering description, not mine.

I’m hoping to finish two more Miss Moon paintings this month but I will be taking a little time off over the Christmas holidays.  Lots of family stuff.  Lots.  In the new year I will finish up the Miss Moon series by early March and I’ll keep you posted about the book.  I seem to recall that the release date will be in September but I could be mistaken.   I will also be getting back to some more interior pieces and style based paintings too.  It can’t be all about dogs now can it?   And for those of you who might miss my series work, I have something special coming up after Miss Moon ends.  It’s a fable- or fairytale.   A short story told through paintings.

Wishing everyone a happy and creative holiday season!

 

 

 


BLACK FRIDAY SALE!!!

We’ve stumbled upon that special time of year again!  I’ve put the shop on ‘vacation’ until this Friday to prepare for our Black Friday Sale.   The prices listed are NOT the sale prices.  In order to get the 20% off, you have to enter ‘BLACKFRIDAY’  (all one word) in the coupon code box at the etsy checkout.   Every year there is confusion with this- some people type it into the comment box rather than the coupon code box.  I try my best to keep an eye on all orders and make sure that they all have the discount, but I can miss some depending on how busy it is so it’s best to enter the code correctly.   Also, remember that we are located in Canada so if you are looking to do some Christmas shopping this is the best time to do it so that you will receive your order before Christmas.

The 20% off sale begins on Friday at 9am and runs until Monday at 11pm.  It applies to everything in the shop!

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SHOP.


Here we go again

If you haven’t already heard, there has been yet another major copyright infringement story hitting the news .  This time it involves a number of artists including Lisa Congdon whose artwork was allegedly ripped off by a wholesale company called Cody Foster and used for folk-style Christmas ornaments without their permission or awareness.   You can read about the story here.   It appears this Cody Foster company has been stealing from artists for years and getting away with it.  Fortunately- or unfortunately for them, Lisa Congdon has an epic social media following and isn’t going to let them get away with it this time.   Not only is she ‘lawyering up’ as she calls it, but she is also getting a stunning amount of media attention on the infringements and by the looks of it, Cody Foster is losing many of its big name retail clients as a result.

To be honest, Lisa Congdon makes me feel a little ashamed.   I feel that perhaps I should have been more outspoken with what happened to me and how utterly wrong it all was.   I think partly why I didn’t go into too much detail was because of how widespread and complicated it got.   Also the company that actually did the initial ripping off was not American- it was Chinese.   It’s kind of hard to get the media all riled up over another knock-off factory in China that goes by five different names.

What I found to be the most troubling in my situation aside from the obvious thieving was the common attitude that I deserved it because I have a website and I sell my work online.  It was also mingled with ‘don’t bother fighting it- you won’t win’.  This came through loud and clear from all sorts of people- including a couple artist friends of mine (they are no longer friends).  The belief was that I put my work ‘out there’ and of course it will get stolen and used for profit.  Never mind the laws that should protect you- just move on and ignore it.

Perhaps one of the darkest times came when a shop in my own city of Stratford, Ontario started carrying the knock offs.   Having them removed wasn’t easy or pleasant.  This is an independent store with a long history in my city- not a chain store.   The owner’s attitude was not remotely reflective of a community-minded business person.   She was particularly concerned with being able to supply affordable artwork to her customers.   I should have told her that images stolen and repainted in Chinese sweatshops is not art.  It is despair stretched on a piece of canvas with a $17 price tag.

In the end, I did have to ignore some of it- but I pursued litigation where I could afford it.  I was happy that I did it.  I feel like I stood up for myself- and in a way stood up for other artists because the more of us that make a fuss,  the less common this will hopefully become.   Ignoring it is not the answer- it is the problem.    This past year I feel as if I took a crash course in copyright law and I’ve learned and experienced quite a bit as a result.  I’m going to do a follow-up post in the next week detailing some of what I learned in hopes of helping anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation.


Shocktoberfest 2013

Let me start by saying that this is really a filler post.   I had to take three days off from painting because of my wacky neck issues.   I think I’ve got it under control now so I’ll return to the studio tomorrow and hopefully do something more useful with myself other than nonsensical Shocktoberfest activities.   This year I’ve enjoyed it more than normal- likely because I’m not fighting it and rather adapting to the tradition.  I’ve been happily using my black cat vase/pencil holder even though Daisy seems frightened of it (silly superstitious cat), and I enjoyed my tea today in my macabre hanging pilgrim mug.   Finnegan also got in on the fun with his new mask, although he really doesn’t need it as his beautiful sweet spaniel face easily contorts to a terrible visage when he fights with Daisy.  Think evil clown grimace. I have to leave the room when he gets it out.   I also made an enormous batch of Shocktoberfest cookies and as you can see, my painting skills don’t go beyond the canvas.  However, I do think that adds to their frightening allure and they taste pretty good too.   Lastly and most importantly,  I’ve been enjoying wearing my diaphanous blouses and dresses in the spirit of the 1960’s vampire lady movies and wandering around the house late at night trying to frighten the family.

 


Learning to ride a bike again

John and I ran away to Niagara-On-The-Lake for a few days for our annual wine haul.   Although there was a little less wine hauling than usual due to some unexpected fun on bikes.   We stayed at the gorgeous Charles Inn and woke one morning with a shared enthusiasm for bike riding.  Neither of us had ridden a bike since our early teens but something about the day (likely too much delicious coffee) beckoned adventure.   It was shaky at first- imagine awkward knee wobbling peddling and a near death experience for John as he almost went down a ravine, but before long we learned to ride again and went on a three hour trip along the Niagara river- stopping only to buy fresh peaches and cherries and admire the breathtaking view of the water.  Afterwards we were really thirsty and visited Lailey– one of our favourite wineries and indulged in some much needed wine sampling.

The following day we headed to the Beamsville Bench area for more winery hopping but we got lost.  We always get lost in that area even though we had two maps and have been visiting wine country regularly for six years.  We must be idiots as I can’t blame it on any wine consumption as we hardly had any.    However getting lost in that area is fun and pretty- since we inevitably end up on a winding little road that is lush with overgrown foliage and wide enough for only one car.  We had lunch at Vineland Estates where we were married six years ago to the day and toasted the fact that we still never argue- only laugh when we find ourselves lost in wild wine country.


Magic Miniatures

I’ve been working on some teeny tiny paintings lately and I’ve taken to calling them ‘Magic Miniatures’.  They are little (palm of your hand little) and pretty quirky.   I have so many ideas for paintings and quite often these ideas go nowhere.   Either they don’t translate well- from brain to canvas or their stories aren’t really stories- rather only a sentence or a blurb.  So I decided to see if they worked better on a tiny canvas and much to my surprise they did (I think).  I have around fifteen on the go and the subjects range from kidnappings, ghosts, cats, teachers, and other odds and ends.   If you are interested in acquiring a ‘magic miniature’ then please check my etsy shop on Wednesday July 10th at 4pm EST when I will be listing the lot of them.   They are roughly 2.5 inches square and will likely be around $50 each.

 


The Wayward Wife

Lately I haven’t felt much like working.   I think it’s spring or something.   All I feel like doing is reading books, drinking rose wine and pretending that I’m in a French film- a la Catherine Deneuve.   Here is a montage of my recent days spent as a ‘Wayward Wife’.   Lots of lounging, snacking, napping, a little painting,  keeping a messy kitchen.   Sheer bliss.  Then John discovered my book and now I’m back to work.

The good news is my canvas prints are returning to the shop in a few hours  and I’m working on a large scale still life with crazy birds and turtles -see picture of work in progress- just above John’s angry head.   .


Storyteller

Storyteller, 18″x24″, oil on canvas.  Sold.

This is a slightly larger piece than normal.  I just felt like being a wild woman and painting beyond my usual little comfort zone.   Don’t ask about the mouse- she (or he) just decided to make an appearance and gnaw on the phone cord a little.   Remember crackly static phone cords?   Those were the days.   I had a super duper long one that could probably wrap around my bedroom twenty times.  Of course, it used to crackle like no one’s business and drive me nuts, but never stopped me from talking.  Now, I don’t even have a cell phone.

By the way, if you received a weird email from me on Friday, please disregard it, as it wasn’t really me.  My email was hacked and used for spam.   There was an upside to this though as many friends contacted me who I hadn’t heard from in ages to tell me that my account had been hijacked and we managed to get caught up.  See, there’s a bright side to everything.

Also, a special thank you to Frankie magazine for featuring my work in their March/April issue.  Yay!