Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fare Thee Well, Summer

This picture, 'Spider Says Good-bye to Summer' is about endings.

Unlike Spider I'm not saying good-bye but I am saying that I probably won't be as active on my blog as I have been.

The reason is that I have started a new page on face book called 'Francie McGlynn Art'.  It is allowing me to post my pictures and follow other artists from around the world.  Unfortunately I'm simply running our of time.

I'll check in with everyone when I can and I'm not closing down a North End Journal because I've learned these things wax and wane and by next summer I may be back here posting five times a day.


I'm off to Ottawa this week-end for a National Remembrance Day that may be very, very different from anything we've seen before.

Freedom, especially for women, has never seemed so precious.

Till next time,


Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Good Man

I was about a block from the funeral home when this picture was taken.  Cpl Cirillo's cortege has just appeared.

Two Canadian soldiers were murdered last week, 

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl Nathan 

Cirillo.  Both are a terrible loss but Cpl Cirillo's death 

has affected us at a very deep level.  That's because

at the time of his death he embodied the archetypal 

'good man' actively protecting everything we hold 

sacred whereas Warrant Officer Vincent was simply

going about his daily life when he was killed. 

The archetypal 'good man' or 'good father' or 'hero' 

has not been a large part of our western society for 

while.  Many of our 'heroes' are rich, greedy and 

tend to debase and abuse women and children.

Cpl Cirillo has become a symbol that resonates in 

all of us. The protector/defender role model children 

need, particularly boy children learning what it 

means to be a good man.

I'll watch Cpl Cirillo's funeral and cry but I'll also 

know that he was a hero and in a way he could 

never have expected he was there when we needed 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thank-you, Cpl Cirillo

He was shot in the neck and bleeding heavily, a

young First Nations soldier named Flock out of 

Stony Creek.  He had hit Juno Beach on

D Day+1 with his fellow Argyll & Sutherland 

Highlanders of Canada. Somehow  his buddies got

 him to the ambulance.  They took off but in the

chaos the ambulance got lost and he bled out.

I know about him because my Dad, his friend

and fellow Argyll was with him when he died. 

The Argylls went on to be part of the liberation of

Holland and helped bring about the fall of Nazi


Many more died.

In their memory Cpl Cirillo of 

the Argyll& Sutherland Highlanders 

of Canada was standing guard at the National 

War Memorial yesterday by the tomb of the 

unknown soldier.

We won't forget.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

He Dances

Sometimes Death rides a horse.

Sometimes he simply drifts down a waterway like Twelve Mile Creek.

He's kind of a goofy looking fella but he always brings a gift.

He brought bubonic plague and famine to Europe.

He brought cholera to the Irish canallers on the Twelve.

He brought small pox to the indigenous people of North America.

And now he's dancing through north Africa.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrim

Americans are a patriotic bunch and as the first 

Thanksgiving happened on what is now part of the 

USA and is often depicted as occurring under a flag 

pole that flies the stars and stripes we often assume 

the Pilgrims were Americans.

Not true.

There was no USA when the Pilgrims landed.
No 49th parallel.

Even the Toronto Maple Leafs didn't exist in

those far off days.

It was British North America and therefore we have 

as much right to those sanctimonious, self-righteous 

bigots of old as they do. 

So you can rest easy on the Pilgrim front, Canada 

and have a great Thanksgiving!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Along the Twelve

Just as the mighty Niagara River flows into Lake Ontario so do a number of creeks that are found along the south-western shores of the lake.  The early settlers named them according to the number of miles they were from the river.

The community that eventually grew into present day St. Catharines, Ontario was on Twelve Mile Creek and was sometimes simply referred to as "The Twelve".

You can see Twelve Mile Creek in the centre of the picture.  Parts of it were incorporated into the first three Welland Canals.  Lake Ontario is in the upper right. Along the bottom are the colours of the abundant harvest that comes from our rich farmland.  The urban areas along The Twelve are represented by the houses at the top.

The 406 Highway that runs through the peninsula and joins up with the Queen Elizabeth Highway - Niagara's link with Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal and  New York runs parallel to the waterway in the picture.

This is where I live. It's home.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Song of Creation

Artist's Statement

I'm interested in symbols.  Not mainstream cultural symbols but personal images as they come to me in dreams or intuition when I'm sitting at my drawing table. 

I am influenced by North American Aboriginal art, Medieval art, the Symbolist movement, Celtic design, Jungian psychology (or my understanding of it) and many other art movements and artists.

My work often revolves around spiritual issues. I'm trying to find God but not in the traditional sense of being saved from my sins. I try to capture the resurgence of the Divine Feminine as She appears to me. 

I use oil pastels.  They look like crayons but consist of pigment mixed with a non-drying oil and a wax binder.  They are clunky, can be very messy and don't allow for too much detail.  

Before I use the oil pastels I prime water colour paper with India ink and a clear polymer glaze.  I start each picture with a single line or 'thread'.  Eventually an image comes to mind and I build the picture from there, section by section.  I cover the finished work with another glaze.

My art is a joy to me.  It is the first time in my life I've been free to investigate the inner landscape of my own mind.  I believe my mind is joined to all of humanity in what Carl Jung called "the collective unconscious" and so even though my symbols may seem obscure and personal they often resonate with other people. 


Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Smell Winter

This picture is called, "The Scarf".

You can see mittens at the top and cardinals on the right but mostly it is about the scarf.


I smell winter coming.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Back Off, June Cleaver!

Just finished this one which I have named 'Feeding Frenzy" for no particular reason.  As a matter of fact the picture was done just for the joy of watching it grow.  No hidden meaning, (or obvious meaning), that I can see.

But I have a problem today.

Tomorrow I'm having my ancient floor replaced.  And right now I'm sitting here trying to resist the urge to wash the old linoleum.  

Why do I feel my floor has to be clean?  It is going to be torn up tomorrow and thrown in the dumpster by a crew of workers I'll never see again.

These guys don't qualify as 'company' to anyone but my inner June Cleaver.

But she's stronger than I am.

Getting the bucket.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Letting Go

Here I am.  

All four of me.

A part of me has weathered the storm, 
some parts however, are still trapped in the 
drama of it all.

But my nest is moving into calmer waters

and I'm grateful.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How can I Open My Eye When There is a Fish In It?

A few years ago I had a dream that a large fish came out of the centre of my forehead.  

I spent a lot of time massaging the area the next day and my "third eye" is still a sensitive area.  I often find myself rubbing it.

I'm not sure if the design part of this picture is finished.  It probably is - it is just that I hate to leave bare naked parts without anything in them and it is costing me to just let this one be.  

Anyway I'll glaze it tomorrow and sell it for $10,000.00

Oh wait - that's in a parallel universe -

I mean I'll glaze it tomorrow, put it away and start a new one.

Heh heh.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Bird of Prey

My new picture started with a pair of bird feet.  

I had been looking at one of Mark Elderkin's astonishing photos of a bird of prey last week, blackriverlakeblog.blogspot.com and was mesmerized by the creature's power.

I suppose this is a picture of the bird of prey in me.

Or you.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Usurp the King!

Labour Day Parade in my working class hometown 

At first it seemed like divine justice.

An American corporation is moving its headquarters to Canada to escape paying high taxes at home.

I mean how many times have American parent companies shut our plants first in hard times?

But to tell you the truth the more I think about it the more the whole thing gives me a sick feeling.

This company is likely run by guys who earn more money in a day than their minimum wage employees earn in a month.

But they are deserting their homeland and refusing to carry their share of their country's tax burden.


Do we want scuzzy corporations like this in Canada?

Take a stand on Labour Day, spread the word -

Boycott Burger King.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm a Little Teapot

Last year I read a book about the history of tea.

I was totally surprised at the thievery, trickery
and bloodshed it took to get the stuff on 19th 
century grocery shelves.  

Which is a fact you may or may not find mildly 
interesting but which has nothing to do with why
I made this picture. 

I am practising shading using oil pastels.

You might see any number of teapots in
the near future because heaven knows seeing 
one teapot is never enough, is it?

And I need the practice.  :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

For Those Who Fall Overboard at Mid-Life

That's you in the ship.

The first ship.  

Poor sap.  

You've been sailing along the surface of life
for decades

not knowing what is churning below the waterline.

What needs your attention.
What needs to be fed.
What needs to be healed.

You're going down my friend.

The old you is going to die.

Not everyone seems to have a mid-life crisis 
but I certainly did.  I felt as if I was shattering
into large chunks. And to my embarrassment 
dropping them everywhere I went.
Like Humpty Dumpty I couldn't put myself
together again.

Eventually the chaos did clear somewhat 
and I've found the second half of life to be 
fertile, creative and spiritual country full 
of endless possibilities. 

And wrinkles.  :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Crown of Cerridwyn

Hoinouring Cerridwyn, the Goddess of Inspiration today.

Thanks to Debra She who Seeks, (link), I know that the word 'inspiration' means 'breath of the Divine'.

And that's what I was missing in the last two weeks.

I wasn't leaving any room for inspiration I was all 'plan, plan, plan'.  As if I was in charge.

No plan to this picture.  I started with one line and went with what it suggested.  I let the picture grow the way it wanted to grow.


Interesting to see how the Goddess was hidden 

in the guise of the Virgin Mary for thousands of years.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It Isn't Me

I spent yesterday destroying every bit of work that I have 
done in the last 2 weeks.

It was all such a pile of shit.  

There's no art work in progress pinned up to think about.

My pastels don't look alive.

They look weary and tired.

I made light of the Gods and forgot it isn't me 
- it is what they give me.

Going to the gym.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

And Now for My Dark Side

There is no accounting for the human psyche.

I am totally obsessed by 'Vikings'.

The combination of sex, religion, survival and the supernatural in this Canadian/Irish production is just too much for me.  

I'm hooked.

I'm sitting here waiting for some glaze to dry on a new piece of paper and with nothing better to do I thought I'd share a trailer.

Ah Ragnar, you can lie your shield under my bed anytime! 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Adrift on a Sea of Sand

This picture isn't finished but I like it and I posted it to 'Francie McGlynn Art' on face book so I'm posting it here, too.

I suppose I was about six when this was taken.  

We are at a mystery beach.  

It isn't likely Lake Ontario because it is 1955 and my parents think Lake Ontario is full of polio bacteria just waiting to lock their kids into iron lungs.

I'm adrift on a sea of sand but I am also watchful - the way kids who are never sure which way the wind is going to blow, are watchful.

It's hard to be small.

Friday, July 18, 2014


My newest mixed media picture.

It is called '1934'.

It is the middle of the Great Depression.  My mother is about 17 and she is the figure in the centre.

Times are tough but the great thing about the picture is the 'attitude' they have.

Cheeky teenagers!

Some things never change.  :)


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sacred Blood

According to MotherPeace 6 is 'a peak number on the scale of experience' and it usually points 'to good feelings'.

Which well describes how I feel about the Travelling Women's Art Journal so my contribution includes 6 female figures based on the prehistoric Venus figurines.

They float on the cosmic sea encased in ribbons of blood which represent the flow of time.  

There, in Time, the blood that has flowed from their (our) bodies is mixed not only with each others but also with the blood of our mothers, grandmothers, grandmothers grandmothers grandmothers back to the beginning.

And so my part is over.

The journal will be mailed on Monday.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Women's Travelling Art Journal II

 I decided today would be the day I prepared the paper.

First the India ink.

Next came the gel.  

I've found if I put this down I can actually erase if I make a mistake. I sketch whatever I'm doing with a neutral coloured oil pastel so the pictures are usually big - I'm already wondering how I'm going to work so SMALL.


After the glaze it was time to measure - and that's when I found this!


Secret letters from one woman to the next.  I can't look at them now as my hands are all mucky but I can't wait.  Notes of encouragement and good will I'm sure!  

Ana this is a marvelous experience, can't thank you enough for being the one to set it n motion!

My new canvas is sitting on the left next to a picture I have been working on off and on for awhile.  

Quite a difference in size.

eek (again)

Four more days.

This will be interesting!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bee Cause

This picture started out full of symbols of creativity.

I was thinking of calling it "Birthing Instructions for the Post Menopausal Woman." 

But then I heard more bad news about the bees and my picture started to change.  The tiny passage to the womb closed - you can see it in the bottom right.

Three bees became impaled on the spikes that protrude from the fish. 

Mother is suffering.

I've seen one honey bee this summer.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Women's Travelling Art Journal

The Women's Travelling Art Journal landed on my door step today.  

Actually it was handed to me by a man in a red station wagon at 7:30 am just as I was letting the dog out and wasn't really awake - but that's another story.

To be a link in a circle of creative women from all over the US and Canada is spine tingling and once I had seen the book I understood there were many messages in it that I was meant to see.

Two examples:


Now it is my turn.

I have seven days.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Unquiet City

Canada Day Celebrations at Niagara-on-the -Lake

I took my dog for a walk after I returned from the 

Labour Day Festivities that go on every September in 

my home town of Merritton.  I expected my street to 

be quiet in the old Sunday sense, i.e. businesses 

closed and everyone relaxing.

But a large garbage truck rumbled and clanked to a

stop in front of me and a man jumped out and 

started emptying the recycle bins into the back of 

the truck.

I was shocked.

"I'm surprised your union let's you work on Labour 

Day!" I said to him.

"What union," he said grimly.


Today isn't Labour Day.

But it is Canada Day which is a national holiday.

It should be quieter than the normal work day.

People who aren't essential workers should be 

gathered in groups to celebrate.

But it wasn't quiet. 

Non-union workers were everywhere.


The noise of a city at work continues 7 days a week

in 2014.


The unions are dying and I'm beginning to think

they may take our sanity with them. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Buffaloed at The Garrison house

My friend Nadine, who is another retired teacher told me about a restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake that she had seen featured on the Food Network.

It is called 'Gartrison House' and she wanted to try it.

I said I would go with her.

As we were looking at the menu I noticed a dish that had Buffalo cheese in it.

"Well," I said to Nadine, "the best chicken wings in the world come from Buffalo, they must make good cheese too."

Nadine said, "Francie, mozzarella cheese is made from buffalo-the -animal-not-the-city milk."

I squinched my eyes at her."You mean to tell me somebody hooks buffaloes up to milking machines?"

"Well, I'm sure I don't know," she said slightly offended, "all I know is what I told you.

Now my understanding of buffaloes is that they a big, hairy, dirty, smelly beasts that live and defecate  on the Saskatchewan prairie.

I passed on the dish with buffalo cheese.

Nadine did too for some reason.  

She had the halibut which she said was yummy.

I had the chicken curry.  I forgot to copy down the name of that giant potato chip but it started with a p and was really spicy good!!   

The curry was great and the amount I was served was just right.

Nadine had the cheese cake with rhubarb topping for dessert. 

She said it was delicious. 

I had to choose between the raspberry creme  brulee and the strawberry tart.

A choice no woman should have to make.

I had the tart!  ♪♪♪☺

And this, ladies, was our waiter.

Thought I'd celebrate Canada Day with a picture of a handsome young Canadian man.



The next morning I was talking on the phone to my friend Jane.  

"Nadine says mozzarella cheese is made from buffalo milk," I said.

She googled it while we were talking.

"It is," she said, "water buffalo milk, although because water buffaloes are only found in a few strange places like Bulgaria, most of what we get is made from cows milk.


Water buffaloes.

If I had only known, eh?

The Garrison House

You really should eat there!



Thursday, June 26, 2014

I Love VistaPrint

Ain't it great??

My business card!

(Oh the bottom isn't really all smeary - I did that so that cyber ax murderers won't find out where I live.)

It is beautiful and I am very proud of myself.

But of course being a teacher I never read instructions and ran into a bit of a problem when I sent VistaPrint the wrong address for my website.

I was in a total panic when I realized what I had done and decided to go back and read the directions.

The directions said that once I pushed the final button there was no turning back. I had to live with what I had ordered.

I decided to throw myself on their mercy and wrote a pitiful letter that would make tears come to the eyes of Gunga Din.

But I didn't expect clemency.

Good grief my cards arrived the next day with the corrections made and a wonderful e-mail from one of the workers!

I'm so not used to good service and a company that goes out of its way to assist its clients.

If this is online business, I like it!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Taking the Falls

One of my cousins from Scotland came to visit for a few days this week.

She was a huge amount of fun and because she was here I decided we should do something I've wanted to do since I was a kid.

We took a boat ride to the base of Niagara Falls.

The Niagara River turns up in a lot of my pictures. It has always rolled and roared across the backdrop my life. But it doesn't ever take centre stage.

This picture, however, is all about the river and the legend of the "Maid of the Mist".  I've already blogged about her, how she went willingly over the Falls in a canoe to save her people so I'll just give you a link to one version of the legend:   The maid of the Mist

The maid Lelawela can be seen in the water at the base of the Falls, the Thunder God is on the right. 

The healing and fertility of their love is represented by the canoe.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Maleficent - a Commentary

Spoiler alert: Don't read this if you don't want to know.

It should have been much darker.

But the truth runs so close to the surface of this movie
you can almost see the version that should have been made.

Maleficent is a powerful faerie.  She lives in an idyllic world and loves a young human man whom she trusts.

One day he sees a chance to gain worldly power and steals her wings.

Maleficent's  grief is unbearable. 

She withdraws from the world and vows revenge.

The young man becomes king and has a daughter.

On her christening day while the other faeries are blessing her with beauty and happiness the dark side of the Goddess, oops, I mean Maleficent turns up and curses her.

But 16 years is a long time, (maybe 5,000 years in our time),and as the princess approaches her birthday, Maleficent realizes her mistake in cursing all women, oops, I mean the princess, whom she loves. 

She tries to undo the curse but of course she can't and the girl pricks her finger on a spinning wheel and will sleep forever unless she is awoken by the kiss of her true love.

The handsome prince rides up and kisses her but she doesn't awake.

It isn't until Maleficent speaks of her own love for her daughters, oops, I mean the princess, and kisses her, that the princess awakes and the battle to defeat the evil king, who is by this time quite mad takes place.

I don't like fantasy as a rule, and I really don't like cutesy wootsey Hollywood muppetty creatures unless they are in an actual Muppet movie.  

But this is a Hollywood movie and it was made primarily for the kiddie market, so I guess you have to accept that part of it.

Because really, the underlying message, sent chills up my spine.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Am I Saleswoman of the Year Yet?

The last few weeks have been a time of

High  anxiety.

But I've finally, (thanks to a very kind woman named Sally), been able to see some of my work for sale online in the form of glicleé prints.

They are expensive so don't be shocked.

(I had some cheap prints done at first but the
quality was poor and I stopped selling them.)

Fortunately, I don't have to live on what I earn
from my art work. 


Sally's awesome store can be found at  


PS For all that I write and considering it is my own
art work you'd think I could come up with a better
sales pitch! I'll have to work on this marketing stuff.

And hey, I added some big words and colour.  
That has to count for something!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Yin of It, the Yang of it

I'm sure this makes perfect sense to you so I'm not going to bother explaining it.


Actually for once I have no words other than to say that maybe it is about fertility/creativity or maybe it's about how sometimes events seem to happen because they have to happen and we are just ticket holders trapped on a strange cosmic merry-go-round??

Or maybe I just like drawing fish.