Monday, December 31, 2012

It's the End of 2012

It's the last day of 2012 and I have a few minutes to reflect on the past 365 days before I get ready to celebrate the beginning of what is going to be one incredibly busy and eventful year.

It seems like the past year was about endings.  After lots of planning and waiting for the right time My Farmer has ended being a farmer. 

That doesn't just mean the end of a life time of work but for us also the end of the stress and the worry of trying to seed, grow and harvest in some very questionable weather. 

It means the end of living in southern Saskatchewan.  It means the end of living on our little acreage.

 It is the end of walks along a country road and getting pelleted by gravel and dust when the drivers refuse to slow down when they go past.  No more do I have to drive to the next little town to pick up my mail.  It's the end of being 45 minutes away from the convenience of doctors, dentists, grocery stores and shopping malls.

 It's the end of strapping the patio table down to the deck with lag bolts to keep it from blowing away in the wind. 

It's the end of my pretty little gardens and the yellow finches that entertained me while eating at my feeders.

It's the end of long prairie sunsets out of my living room window, some of them would take your breath away they were so amazingly beautiful.

It's the end of some of the loneliest days of my life but don't be to sad for me because those lonely hours gave me so much time to make Art. 

 Hooray for 2013 and a Year of New Beginnings.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Day of Ever?

The calendar my son gave me to bring south is telling me that it's the 20th of December, 2012 and according to the Mayan calendar there will be no tomorrow.  I thought that was a pretty good reason to write a blog post and if this is the last one I ever do, well, thanks for reading and I hope that what ever is in store for us all, once the world ends, at least we had some great times.

We had an amazingly full year in 2012.  One daughter graduated from university, one got married, a tornado tried to blow our farm away, we put in and took off our last crops without a hitch and then auctioned away all the farm equipment. 

My former farmer and I moved all our worldly possessions into our little piece of Northern paradise near Nipawin, Saskatchewan.  We got to spend 2 very cold and snowy weeks at our cabin  in November before we left for the warmth of Winter in Brownsville.  When we get back in the spring we plan to start building our retirement home but until then we are enjoying our family and friends here. 


It doesn't always look this tidy!

Sorry that the lighting is so bad.
I have the greatest little creating space, My winter Stu-Dee-O.  For some reason I just feel so creative here.  Maybe it's the sunshine, maybe it's the fact that I'm not as busy as at home or maybe it's because I have all my favorite creating things all around me where I can see them, reach them and be inspired by them. 

Meet the Queen!
I have made at least 10, maybe 12, of my cute 9 x 12 quotes.I have signed up for Letter Love 201 starting in February and I just know that all kinds of interesting and creative things are going to happen during that class.  Joanne Sharpe has a so many great ideas and is an excellent instructor. 

I have great Artist Plans for 2013.

Where ever you are this supposedly Last Day Of the World I hope that you are making the most of it.  

I'm going to go do some doodling while listening to the TV, that is my favorite thing to do in the evenings. 

I am going to go out on a limb and say that December 21, 2012 will come and go with nothing crazy happening and that we will have all the time we want to keeping making Art in 2013 and for years to come. 

Merry Christmas and may your New Year be filled with many great pens and paint brushes!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Almost there!

We left the snowy north in Saskatchewan and are on our way to our home in southern Texas.  To me it's like driving backwards through the seasons.

We left inches of snow and - 20 Celsius temperatures, defiantly winter.

Driving through South Dakota I noticed that the snow was gone, everything seemed brown and dull.  The trees were bare of leaves and the harvested corn fields of Nebraska full of grazing cattle enjoying the leftovers.  Fall.

Yesterday I started to notice some green grass in Kansas and then in Oklahoma the trees had leaves, mostly brown but some were still green.  We stopped for the night in Denton, Texas and roses were blooming in front of the hotel.

I got an email from my wonderful neighbor, Sherry, and she says that my bougainvillea bush has grown right over my house.  I will get to see it for myself today when we finally arrive to summer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What a busy month October was.
It took weeks and weeks, months really, to get ready for the farm auction sale.  My farmer came home exhausted every evening not to mention dirty and sore. Decades of "save that, we may need it one day" were stacked and sorted and laid out in the pole shed on pallets.  There were 148 pallets full of good junk and a whole yard full of farm equipment, some really new and some pulled out of the tree row where it has sat since Pearson was Prime Minister.

While he was busy doing all that work I was preparing the food for the canteen.  I turned 300 pounds of ground beef into hamburger patties, made dozens and dozens of oatmeal raisin cookies and shopped for coffee, cups, creamer and all the other things that were needed to keep the shoppers fed and watered.   Then, with some great helpers, we turned the workshop into a lunch counter. Near as I can tell we fed over 600 people in 7 hours.

Oh, and because all that wasn't enough work I decided this would be a wonderful time to set out all my old paintings and mosaics and have a silent auction.  I hauled my artwork to the workshop and laid it all out nice and neat with a bid sheet beside it.  Because Cancer has been such a prominent part of my families lives, I picked the Canadian Cancer Society as the benefactor of any proceeds and when all was over I sent them $360.00.  Then sold a few more paintings the next day for $75.00  making the total $435.00.  It's a drop in the bucket but every bit helps, right.

Today, the 31st while the rest of you are preparing for trick or treaters or picking up the pieces that Hurricane Sandy left you I will be putting the final boxes into the moving trailers, wiping down the baseboards and turning off the power and water. We have finally reached the end of this chapter of our lives and are excited to start the next one.

First thing we are going to do is haul our stuff up to our old cabin and try to find somewhere to put it all.  I hear there is over 6 inches of snow up there already so there will be no running water in the old shack.  Kettles on the wood stove for washing up and an outhouse will be a just fine for a little while.  We will try to get some rest but there are lots of things to do up there too.  When the weather gets too cold and we are ready we will start our migration south.  This Snowbird is going to spend the winter in Brownsville, Texas.

I am booked into an Art show and sale on South Padre Island at the Art Space on November 24th so guess we will be in Texas by then.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to get rid of 200 paintings FAST

At the end of October, my farmer and I are going to start our Next Chapter.  He is retiring from farming and we are moving to a piece of paradise we bought a couple of years ago and now finally get to make our home.

This means one massive farm auction sale, emptying the house, barn, old school house, shop and of course my Stu Dee O.  That is a ton of packing, sorting and deciding what to take and what to leave.  

A lot of our stuff will have to be stored while we build our new house and we will be living in our old cabin while we build.  It is really little so there is no room for extras.

I have so many paintings, over 200 actually,  mostly acrylic on canvas but also some mosaics and watercolors.  

They take up so much room and I don't want to have store them while we build.  The risk of them being damaged is just too great so I would rather give them away....almost!

I have decided to have a silent auction during the farm auction and donate the proceeds to the Canadian Cancer Society in honor of my family and friends that are fighting cancer or have lost their lives to this disease.     

I hope to get new homes for a lot of paintings, make room for new work and make a nice donation all at the same time.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cute Poop Journal

I was wandering around in Lumsden, Saskatchewan the other day, a beautiful community in the Qu'Appelle Valley.  Such a pretty little town, old houses, big trees and the little river running through.

I enjoy snooping into all the quaint shops and found the Acorn, eco-boutique.  If you are interested you can see them here.
or on facebook here

Since I am always look for books that I can use as journals or play around with my art in, I was thrilled to find something that I have never seen before at the Acorn.
It's a little scratch pad made from recycled Moose Poo!  

This is what the PooPoo Paper says about their product and why they decided to make paper from Poo.
POOPOOPAPER™ products are natural, recycled and odorless (!) paper products made from poop from a variety of different fiber-eating vegetarian animals such as elephants, cows, horses, moose, pandas, and donkeys. That right! Go figure!
Here’s the scoop: these fiber-eating animals eat lots of grass and vegetation everyday and they poop almost as much. Since the digestive systems of these specific animals don’t really break down the vegetation all that well, their poop has plenty of fiber even after their meal is consumed. Knowing that fibers are the base material used in making pulp for paper production (albeit tree fibers typically), we figured there was a high probability that making pulp and quality paper from poop was not only achievable but that the case for poop as an alternative fiber source to tree-based pulp was a compelling one!
 Ok, I was compelled and had to try it as an Art Journal.  I love it!  

Do you want to see some of the little, the book is only 4 x 4 inches, sketches I have done so far?  
These are colored with my Copic's.  I had to learn to use the bleeding that this paper does to my advantage.  Once I figured it out I got better at  blending.

I see many amazing stamp patterns but I like to try to draw them myself.  These are my version of some cute little monster stamps I saw in the internet.

 Notice how much bleeding there is on the back of the page.  I think I  have to do something with all that beautiful color.  Maybe I will work my way back through all the back sides of the pages once I reach the end of the book!

On this page I put down some watercolor and then Gesso before I added the pen.  I used a Micron pen, probably a .01 and a .05

Have you seen Cindy Angiel's FREE e-book?  She has lots of ideas so check her out when you get a chance.  That is where I learned to draw these 2 little birds.  
 You will find her on her website

Well if you made it all the way down here to the end of this blog post then you are in for a little treat.
When my blog post hits reach 5000, and we are almost there, I am going to give away an Elephant Poo Paper journal.  Stay tuned! 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Harvest is almost over and I better get busy.

Acrylic painting  "taking in the go"  done in 2010  sold
Acrylic painting from 2010  " Chad in the Swather"  Sold
My farmer, his brother, nephew and cousin, (it's a real family affair) have been busy every day, often until the wee hours of the next morning harvesting their crops.  Peas, wheat, canola and today they are bringing in flax.  Together they have approximately 10 thousand acres and four great big, yellow combines.  It's September 14th and they are almost done.  This may be the earliest I have seen harvest finished since I came to the farm, but that was only 7 years ago.  

Acrylic painting  "Swaths"  2010  Sold

It's a lot of work and coming to an end really soon.  

That means....I better clean up my art supplies~! 

You see, this isn't the type of operation where the women folk spend all day cooking pies and turkeys then haul it all out to the field for the men folk to have a big meal.  These guys get started and don't stop.  I pack my farmer a bunch of sandwiches, some raw veggies and fruit, maybe a cookie and a muffin or two, just make sure it doesn't make a mess and he can eat it and still steer the combine.  Easy peasy!  And that means I have lots of time to get creative.

To spark my imagination I decided to sign up for another on-line art class.  I enjoyed Joanne Sharpes classes so much I though I would check out a few other instructors.  I stumbled across Dirty Footprints Studio and her 21 Secrets Art Journal classes.  21 different teachers, 21 different ideas and 21 different ways of teaching.  I hit the mother lode!  So far I have worked my way through 15 of the classes.

I have tried my hand at painting flowers with credit cards, had a great time cutting up magazines and turning them into some interesting collages and watched Jane Davenport draw her amazing ladies and put together the most beautiful journal pages.  I cut up some of my art and turned them into a book of pockets and 7 postcards for my niece.  That was Dale Anne Potter's class called Personal Acts of Kindness and it was just choc full of wonderful ideas.

I think the best thing about these 21 classes is that I am finding something in each and every one of them that is interesting and the art I'm making now is a combination of many of those ideas. 

With harvest coming to an end so will my uninterrupted hours of creative time.  I better get busy with the last 6 classes, I'm sure I'm missing out on some more wonderful ideas.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Inspiration Deck

I was doing a little blog hopping 2 days ago and came across an art project called an Inspiration Deck.  I had to make one.

I started with a full deck of cards and covered the number side with white gesso.  Then I let that dry.  I didn't worry about being neat but purposely made sure there were brush marks and non-gessoed spots.  The different textures added to the finished effects.
 Then I dabbed and brushed acrylic paint on the dry gesso.  I didn't worry to much about coverage or cleaning my brush but just let things happen.  That is the kind of project this is, don't worry about these steps to much, don't over think it, just let the brush and the color go where it wants to go.
I spread the cards out and splashed some water color sprays on them. Again, anything goes.

Next I sat down with a couple old magazines and started cutting out the pictures that interested me.  I tried to cut them a little smaller than the cards.  I also went through some old scraps of paper, tissue paper and some pieces of my art that I would not be sad to see cut up and reused in this project.  When I had 52 or more things I got busy and started gluing them to the front sides of the cards.  

The edges of the cards were too perfect so  I decided to mix up a little gesso with some paint and quickly brushed it down some of the edges.
I always find that some black makes everything else really pop so smooshed some black acrylic paint on some of the cards in just a few places.  

The next step was to head over to the internet and do some searching.  I wanted quotes, sayings and little messages of encouragement or helpful tips.  There is no shortage of those on-line.  I wrote the best ones down, making sure that I didn't go wider or longer than the cards with my writing.  Then I started gluing these on the cards.  This is when I discovered that some of the cards had "art" on them that I just didn't want to cover up so I picked the side that I liked the best and glued the quotes on to the other side.  The white paper looked out of place so I made some very thin watercolor washes and brushed that white away.  I also dabbed my finger into some Distress Ink and rubbed that over the edges.  

 I added some stickers, cut off the tab of some buttons and glues those on some cards, took my correction pen and did a little doodling, added some stamped images, you get the idea.  Anything goes.

I still have some cards without quotes glued on them and I think I'm  going to write directly on those with my markers or white pens.  That way more color will show and I can experiment with different pens.

So now I have 52 Inspiration cards, one for every week.  

I can toss them into a bowl and pull one out every Monday to give myself
something to think about during that week. 
I can punch a hole in the top corner and slide them onto a ring to flip through 
when I need a little inspiration or 
I can give them away.  

Want one?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Workin on getting my groove back.

I have mentioned it before, when I take a break from drawing or painting I have to practice to get back into the creative groove.  Then when I am being creative I need to play at it every day.  Does that happen to you too?

Drawing zentangles is a great way to practice.  Control of your pen is so important, lots of tiny little lines, balance, composition, repeat, repeat, repeat.  All good for getting back into Creative Shape.

Another thing I do to get back in shape is Pinterest!  Who hasn't found it yet?  It's been called the biggest time suck on the computer but I still love it, especially for ideas.

Find a few like minded people on Pinterest that love to share their pinterest posts and repost them to your page.  When you need inspiration all you need to do is look over your boards.  Just be sure not to copy, that isn't nice.  Oh, I know that they say there are no original ideas but at least try to make it your own and give the artist who inspired you credit for the style.

Another thing I like to do to get inspired is to go through my favorite blogs.  There are so many great ideas, wonderful artists and many of them are so generous.  And a bonus, many have posted  tutorials on how they make their art so I can see all their newest ideas.

Check out for a great tutorial about drawing mandalas. is another blog that I go to for inspiration.  She posts a drawing challenge every monday and zentangle artists from all over the world post links to their drawings.  Her challenge this Monday was to use 2 zentangle patterns, Mooka and Assunta and make a drawing with them.  I took her challenge and created my fish at the top of the blog.  Mooka are the fins and Assunta are the scales.

I sat down on the couch last night with my old Zentangle pattern book, a piece of 9 x 12 bristol paper and a fine point Sharpie.  The fish happened and it felt great to get my groove back.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It' ain't pretty but it's home.

It's been a great summer and I kept very busy though not so much with my Art supplies.  Instead I got creative with a hammer.  We put an addition on our old, old cabin. Then we finished off the inside and added some charm. I think it will work just great as our little home while we build our new house next summer.  It isn't pretty but we are going to call it home.

We started with a 12 x 20 foot bedroom/storage addition and that turned our one-room cabin into a 3 room cabin!  
 That is me putting the sheeting on the roof of the addition.  It was a very hot day but at least the mosquitoes couldn't find me up there.

My farmer is taking some measurements to fill in the top of the addition walls.  It's an odd way to do the roof but that is how the original cabin was done and we decided to keep it the same.  Near as we can tell the old cabin may have built back in 1940's.

I'm such a fashion statement when I'm working!  But baggy pants are comfy when you are up and down a ladder and the boots, well they help my old feet from getting sore with all the climbing.  I'm putting the last board up on the wall in the bedroom.

We made the boards for the walls with the trees that had to be cut down in order to make our road.  One of the first things we did when we bought the land was set up a little saw mill.  What we don't use for lumber we will use for heating our home.

When we bought it, the walls in the cabin were an assortment of old, used wall panel.  It was so ugly, put up in any and every direction, nothing cut to fit but laid one on top of the other to cover any holes.  Once we covered it with our pine it all looked great!

                                                         We love to Reuse and Recycle.

The wood stove was thrown out by it's last owner because the glass door had broken. Bernie fixed it with a piece of metal.  The old microwave cupboard got new pine boards in the back to hold it together.  We salvaged the carpet from an office building.  Bernie thinks the chrome kitchen table may have belonged to his Grandmother and I added some color with a blanket we bought in Mexico. I dyed some lime green curtains I found at Value Village blue, now they match my old denim quilt so we used them in the bedroom to close off the closet and cover the door and window.  Actually there is very little that was bought to furnish this place.  It's amazing how much stuff you have once you start looking.

Konrad and Elizabeth, My farmer's Great, Great Grandparents.

We found these old pictures while cleaning out one of the old building on the farm.  It seemed a shame to see them all covered with dust and neglected so after a little cleaning we hung them in the dining room.  We want to do some investigating and find out as much as we can about them. It will be a mystery, history quest for us.

This is a pretty small space compared to what I'm used to in a kitchen.  No stove/oven so I will have to make do with a bbq, hot plate, crock pot and electric fry pan while we are building.  

Anyone have recipes they want to share? I need to get pretty creative or we are going to be eating a lot of bbq hamburgers for the next year or more! 

I didn't take a picture but I did set up an area in the back storage room as my Stu Dee O.  If I get any time next summer I will at least have a place to be creative.  I have a feeling though, that my creative energy will be directed at making our new home unique and interesting.  Ideas are already running through my brain!