December 22, 2008 · Have yourself a really cool yule…

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Yes, Darlings… time to fold in the blog for some merry making and stuff. I may be back before the New Year… then again, maybe not. Regardless, I wish you a season of good cheer, health, love, laughter, friendship and cookies. And mayhaps also some really nice stripey sox. Merry, Merry!



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December 12, 2008 · small ways 3

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December 9, 2008 · december delivers

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wow. Something happened today that almost NEVER happens. I scanned in a painting I wasn’t completely sold on and actually ended up liking the on screen version of it better than the actual painting. hmmm. Interesting, very very interesting. I’m thinking it’s probably the nature of the screen (being backlit, of course) Anyhoo…

Something has switched on inside me in the past three weeks and all I want to do is paint. I mean I am FULLY jazzed about it, 24 hours a day. I am bursting with ideas and the energy to try them out. I haven’t felt this way in… well, I don’t quite remember ever feeling this way. Maybe back in art school. Problem is that, of course, there are like 900 other things for me to do right now, none of them having to do with painting. sigh. But I’ve been carving out the time whenever I can (and stealing time from other areas of my life ie: laundry which explains why I am wearing the same sweater I have been wearing for the past three days. Same socks too) and just pushing the paint blobs around. Because I’m afraid if I don’t act on this energy now, it’s going to fizzle out entirely and I’ll miss the opportunity to get my inner artist on.

I have this plan to paint a representation of every month of the year. This is December. There may be another December in the works too, as this painting was not what i had pictured in my head at all. Rather, it was the picture that I felt I had to get rid of before I could do the “real” one. See, I have a major tendency toward overworking and over “decorating” everything I paint/illustrate and I’m trying to break that by using reverse psychology on myself and going full bore (boar?!) and completely indulging my tendencies instead of battling it, thinking that I can work it out of my system. It’s kinda backfiring though because while I’m not 100 percent satisfied with the results (I’m hovering around 72 percent on this one) , I’m having a BLAST painting this way, trying out new stuff (like I’ve never painted a horse before. I’ve drawn a couple, but never attempted painting one). so hmmmm… I dunno. Maybe I will just go on indulging myself and see where that leads.

so what do you think? I’m asking for honest feedback here. Please don’t just tell me it’s pretty. Tell me if you think it’s too juvenile, too overworked, too cliche. I can hack it. Promise. I really want to know what you think… and I don’t care if you’re an artist or know anything about illustration/art at all. I’ll give you my own thoughts about it after I hear yours. Here’s a detail (the actual painting is about 18 inches wide by 13 inches high and I had to scan it in in four parts and tile it together in photoshop. My kingdom for a huge flatbed scanner). It’s painted with acrylics on illustration board by the way and really cheap paintbrushes because I completely savage paintbrushes so there is no sense in buying the good ones!)

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December 5, 2008 · candlelight

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It’s been a long, fantastic, frenetic, unusual week for me and I’ve skittered from one thing to another, almost manic with excitement. I feel like a helium balloon with an untied end. I let go at the beginning of the week and have been spinning wildly, and now, out of gas, I am flopped lifelessly in a random corner. I’m not deflated exactly, but I am tired and need to refill. Good things loom on the horizon, shining opportunities, stuff that’s too early to talk about. Boring things too, stuff that needs to get taken care of… laundry for example. Piles and piles of laundry. Certainly, I am done talking and thinking about politics for awhile. It gives me a headache.

We’re getting our tree this weekend. Early for us, but I need it more this year, the twinkle of lights and scent of pine needles. I need candlelight and red red berries, clementines and a lazy day. That stuff.



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December 4, 2008 · my fellow Canadians…

Apologies to my American friends and readers, and those of you who live overseas… you’re likely completely oblivious that this morning, Canada is neck deep in a Constitutional crisis and none of this is gonna make much sense to you. And apologies in general to all… I usually try to avoid politics here, but you know? I built this soap box and I’m gonna stand on it. Because I’ve got something to say.

Dear fellow Canadians…

In less than an hour, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is going to take a jaunt over to ask Governor General Michaelle Jean to suspend Parliament so that he can avoid a vote of non-confidence (and I’m sorry, but I have to say this… a measure that HE himself provoked!) next Monday, a vote that will witness the fall of his Conservative minority government if it is allowed to progress.

The truth is that I’m not sure what to hope for here. I’m not sure what’s best for the country at this time of economic crisis. I’m not sure whether I want the Governor General to grant Harper his “time out” or whether I want her to turn to the majority government and offer them the chance to put forward their coalition. I’m twisting in the wind as I’m sure many of you are, unsure whether a coalition government will be able to steer us clear of economic disaster or whether it’s better just to swallow hard and stay the course. We’re caught between a rock and a hard place, on that we can all agree I’m sure. What I am clear about however – CRYSTAL clear about – is that the Conservative party (and Stephen Harper in particular) is deliberately muddying the waters here and feeding the Canadian public a whole special brand of twisted propaganda. And I’m afraid too many of you are buying it.

So time for a little Canadian Government 101.

1) We have a PARLIAMENTARY system of democracy here folks, not a Presidential system like they have in the States and further…

2) We did NOT elect the Prime Minister in the election on Oct.14th, we elected a Parliament. Our system does not allow us to directly elect the leader of the country. It only allows us to elect the representative in the specific riding in which we reside. That’s all. That’s it.

3) Stephen Harper’s government is a MINORITY government. 65 percent of Canadians voted for representatives from other parties, primarily the Liberal, NDP, Bloc and Green parties.

4) The coalition government being proposed now is NOT a “Separatist” party as Harper has repeatedly characterized it, folks. It is a coalition between the Liberal and the NDP parties ONLY, with support from the Bloc on a few specific issues. Together, these are the MAJORITY parties currently sitting in our Parliament. The Bloc will have no more influence over our country and its unity then it did before.

5) The NDP-Liberal coalition government being put forward now is unusual, but fully and completely LEGAL within our Parliamentary system of government.

I have loads more I could say. I have many vehement opinions about this and about Stephen Harper in particular, and very few of those are positive. I understand that many of you, many of the people I love and treasure, hold completely different political views and I respect that. Further, I don’t really think voicing my decidedly left-leaning opinion is useful to my purpose here. My purpose is only to say this much:

We are in a very difficult time in our country and I’m sure we can all agree that we want what’s best for our Canada’s unity and economic strength. We want what’s best for our economic lives, for the protection of our families and livelihoods and freedoms. And we are incredibly blessed to reside in a strong and peaceful democratic country. Just, please! Please understand that we live under a parliamentary system of government and don’t be misled by the Prime Minister’s desperate (and one could argue irresponsible) distortions of this system and the completely legitimate option of a coalition government being but forth by the majority government.

Be smart, Canada. Listen carefully. Listen wisely. Don’t just blindly buy the rhetoric being spewed by all sides here. Our future depends on our ability to remain calm, united and open minded to all options. I’m crossing my fingers, hoping for the best, and wishing you all peace and love and the kind of Canada we deserve.

Peace,
Melanie

UPDATE: so the Governor General granted Stephen Harper’s wish and dissolved the Parliament. There will be no opposition coalition government and he will avoid the non-confidence vote. So now we get to wait to see what the Conservatives come back with in late January and hope that they opt to provide true economic stimulus and a real plan to guide us through these rocky economic times. I’m in total wait-and-see mode now.



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