November 30, 2007 · BAH!

I have been sick ALLLLLLLLLLL freaking week and it’s just getting OLD, people! Bah! and making me very very grumpy. I start feeling better for an hour or two, and then wham! I’m right back where I started. Make it stop!!!

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November 21, 2007 · ink tree


it’s grey and raining this morning. They are promising snow tonight. Not much and it will vanish on Friday when the sun reappears. But I can feel the snow coming in the hush of this wet morning. I am tired. I am worn clean out. But it’s the pleasant sort of tired that comes of hard work. I have been going non-stop for five days now. Installing my new iMac, all new software, backing up and retrieving everything off my old hard drive and then a flurry of new jobs demanding to be done before my American clients take off for Thanksgiving has just about done me in. But it’s good. It feels like a fresh start. A new page. Alas, new beginnings are exhausting and the learning curve is steep. And I’m not even at the half way point yet. I’m not yet at the top of the hill, preparing for the coast down the other side. My thighs are screaming, my breath is fast and shallow, but I’m getting there. I’m trudging along determinedly and the top of the hill is in sight.

Whilst (whilst!) cleaning out my old hard drive, I came across a series of ink trees I did eons ago. If I remember correctly, I got the idea out of an old Martha Stewart Kids Magazine. Blobs of india ink blown to branches with a straw.

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November 14, 2007 · pain and pencils


yesterday morning I threw my back out and my first thought was “O no! I’m going to miss my last drawing studio!” actually, I’m lying. My first thought was “O crap! Ow! Ow! and Ow!” My second thru 99th thoughts were probably pretty similar, but embroidered around the edges with complete bafflement and curses. And also a lot of inelegant grunting.

And to be sure, I’m not certain that ‘threw my back out” is the right phrase as I think what I’ve done is somehow strain, tear or pull the muscles attaching to the spine directly beneath my right shoulder blade. But I’ve never done anything like that before and man, it hurt like hell. And made getting out of bed a pretty tough proposition.

But after all the screamy yelly ow ow ow thoughts evacuated, my brain latched on to the grim possibility that I wouldn’t be able to go to my last life drawing studio this evening. And that made me feel wholly pathetic and deeply ancient.

After inhaling a bunch of muscle relaxants and slapping on one of those stench-licious icy hot patch thingies and doing some careful stretching, I feel much better now and am confident I can tackle the last class. Which is good. Because I really, really love them. They make me feel all artist-y and erudite and stuff, plus I really enjoy seeing how other artists in my class work. I will be signing up for the next session in January for sure and I’m hoping a lot of the same people from this session do too.

The sketch above is the model we had three weeks ago. Her name is Devon and she has a wonderful light and effervescence about her and exquisitely sculpted hands. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good view of her hands while she was posing and the class was packed that week so I couldn’t really move to a better position, but I did manage to capture a reasonable fascimile of her merry expression, I think. Her natural default expression is one of gentle joy, with her lips turning up at the corners and a happy lilt at the end of her nose and the corners of her eyes. With her clothes and her glasses on, she reminded me of Lisa Loeb, but as soon as she disrobed, she put me in mind of Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies I could easily imagine her perched on the leaf of a raspberry branch, tiny wings twittering between her shoulder blades, or tiptoeing to the edge of a lily pad to peer at her reflection.

It’s boundlessly interesting to me how each model brings their own atmosphere into the studio and how markedly individual each of them is. And how the different atmosphere seems to influence each artist’s work, their approach. It seems to me the model is creating something as much as the artist. It’s an intriquing relationship. I can see why artists get hung up on their models, and how deeply a model can function as a prompt. Like Andrew Wyeth and his muse Helga, or Salvador Dali and Gala. Or Vermeer and the girl with a pearl earring.

Last week, in sharp contrast to the buoyant spirit and light of Devon, we had an older model with masses of dark hair and beautiful legs, but a heavy mantle of sadness shrounding her entire being. She immensely intriguing, mysterious, and I found myself absolutely compelled to draw her, look at her. At the same time though, I felt somehow guilty about it, as if I was encroaching on some kind of private pain. That’s really the first time I felt that way, as if I were taking advantage of a model’s vulnerability or somehow insulting them. Still, I think I got some good work out of that session (I’ll post those sometime later… still haven’t scanned any of it in and the drawings are lying in a pile under my drawing table).

I could talk about this stuff for forever, but alas… I have a major deadline this afternoon and much work to do after spending most of the day yesterday convalescing. sigh.

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November 7, 2007 · Excuse No.#964

So I know you have been tossing and turning late into the wee hours, wondering why why why I never manage to update more than once a week despite my best efforts and I think it’s about time I told you the real truth.

The truth (which in fact is not so much the truth as it is an outright flaming blue lie) is that I am hard at work on my first novel titled Me by The Sea. It’s a dark and gothic tale about a bitter, brooding, blonde, navigationally challenged Canadian-American illustrator who journeys to the sea to investigate mysterious goings on of the sort which are mysterious and also, unnervingly, going on. Aided by her one and only friend, a one-eyed, one-legged, two-armed, six-toothed, half-witted sea captain named Phil, she discovers the true meaning of life, love and friendship and also that the big body of water she thought was the sea? Is actually a lake. A big lake to be sure, but not big enough to be called a sea. And further? That it is fresh water and that smell she was sure was all salt air and gull poop and therefore naturally curative of all that ails? Is actually ordinary lakeside air, tainted with the sweet tang of factory emissions from Buffalo, New York.

It’s sure to be a best seller, don’tcha think? And win all those fancy literary awards… the Booker, the Giller, the Nobel Peace Prize…. speaking of the Nobel Peace Prize, I loved this shot of a staggered Doris Lessing learning the news that she had won it from reporters gathered at her home. She had been out grocery shopping when the news broke and simply sagged to her stoop with the shock of it, groceries still in sacks. This is not the picture I liked best, but the only one I could find on the net (courtesy of The NY Times).


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November 6, 2007 · autumn leaves


Hello chick-a-peas! um, so… how ya been? I’ve been swell. Truly. Well, mostly. When I’m not tearing my hair out over technical issues and decisions. The time has come, alas, for me to get a new computer and I’m currently engaged in the painful process of transferring over my hard drive contents to a newly purchased external hard drive so that when I finally do make the leap to a new computer, I will have all the stuff I need at my fingertips. Woo-hoo.

I’ve been waiting for the new Leopard OS to come out, and now that it’s officially out, I find I’m really torn between getting a new iMac and having to bite the bullet and get a ProMac. I would prefer to get the iMac because it’s more compact, cheaper and plenty powerful enough for me to do all the stuff I need to do and then some … but I’m concerned about the glossy interface. Why why why did Apple go glossy? Sure, it looks all super sleek and stuff, but it’s much more reflective then I had anticipated (finally went and looked at it in 3-D this past weekend) and I’m concerned about eyestrain and such.

Any new iMac users out there?!!! Is the glossiness a problem? Any words of wisdom?!! Calling all Mac geeks…. I need your input!!!

And man, this has been one busy fall. Tons of work, lots of deadlines, and then two evening classes a week (yoga and the life drawing studio)… it’s all playing havoc with my schedule. But it’s all good. It’s been a productive time creatively and I’m feeling good. Just a little winded. I like to take things at a leisurely pace most of the time. I’m a dawdler by nature. I don’t like to be rushed about. I like to savour. But this tortoise has been compelled to pick up the pace these past couple of months, make hare-like haste. Which makes for one tired tortoise. And a much neglected blog. I’d make apologies and stuff, but really… examine the content of this most recent post. Look at the header on this little post, for example. Autumn Leaves. How original. How stunningly creative. How staggeringly evocative and engaging. (mm… NOT!) Do you really need to hear more of this?! yeah… no. That’s what I thought. So really… let’s look on my lack of posts as a good thing. Let’s look on it as a public service!!! I should be sainted.

Hmm… if I was really clever I’d lie to you and tell you I’m part of the Writers’ Guild and therefore out on strike with all the other writers of the world. Only I realize that you’re clever enough to realize that this blog has been less than stellar for going on like eleven months or something and the Writers’ Guild has been on strike for what? Three days or something officially? And less than 24 hours practically.

Oh well, at least the pictures are pretty.

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