Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Das Haircut

My father wasn't one to spend money when he didn't absolutely have
to spend money. 

Before my brothers were old enough to care how they looked this
was a common enough scene at our house.

The red in the picture isn't blood.  It just signifies my own alarm
at the predicament of my sweet baby brother.

Fortunately my mother and I went off to the local Merritton Beauty
Parlour which was in those days like going into a private club just
for girls and women. 

No boys allowed!

On the surface the 1950s were so innocent. 


Friday, January 24, 2014

My Brother, My Sister


I've recently started reading Anne Baring's Book  

The Dream of the Cosmos, A Quest for the Soul.

She speaks of the soul as a cosmic web.

Not something we 'have' rather something we,

(meaning all living things: men, women, animals,

plants, water air, the earth), are a part of.

She says it is an ancient idea that

needs to be resurrected if we are to survive.

The pink blanket behind the two figures

represents that cosmic web of souls. 

The figures are part human, part animal

part spirit.


The title of the picture is "My Brother, My Sister".

It is about 20 1/2" by 14




seeing as I haven't had a contest in awhile

I think I'll have a Valentine's Day Draw.


If you would like to be the proud owner of  

this strange, unframed, unmatted sketch

you just have to follow my blog and leave

a comment or tell me how talented I am

on my face book wall.  

(Don't leave it on Google+

as I've never figured it out.)


Good luck.

Hope somebody enters.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

There's a Blind Fish on My Head

There's a blind fish on my head.

Every thought I have is swallowed by the fish

and comes out the other end as words.

My words cannot be caught or taken back.


Damned old fish.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Little Girlfriends

That's me on the left.

Heather is in the middle and Wendy is on the right.

They lived 2 doors down and were my earliest friends.

As I was working on this picture I started to smell their house.

It smelled friendly and comfortable, like toast.

Other memories of three little girls who were loved and protected

surfaced as I sat at my drawing table.

But I was also aware of the shadow that was looming over us that day.

It got into bed with me later and I tossed and turned for hours reliving ugly

events that I still don't like to think about.


In those days divorce was illegal and very rare in Canada.

Their father took his new wife to Ohio in the USA and raised a second



The girls and their mother eventually moved away from Merritton

when I was about 10.

It was the beginning of the end of my childhood.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Crossing the River Styx

I received a letter from the University of Guelph a few days ago telling me
that my veterinarian had donated a sum of money to the School of

Veterinary Science  at U of G in memory of my little cat Claude.  I was
very touched by this but it set me thinking about death and the two cats
I lost in 2013. 

I think it would be very arrogant to assume that we will only encounter
other human souls when we leave 'this vale of tears'.  I also suspect that 
it is wrong to think that our life force is of greater importance to the
universe than the life force of any other creature.

From that thought came this image of the deer, the cat, the bird and the
person sitting on the edge of eternity together as equals.



Because I borrow so heavily from medieval art and nursery rhyme illustrators I figured the picture had to impart a moral so along the top I supplied one.  It says:


Which is always good advice but actually has nothing to do with the picture.

And besides sketchbooks should always have mysterious musings that no one understands. 

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Forbidden Apples Sold Here

The subject matter isn't important here.

I mean anyone can tell at a glance that it is Adam, Eve, Yahweh and Ishtar in the Garden of Eden and the serpent, (Yahweh hasn't taken its legs away yet), is selling forbidden apples for $5 bucks each.  


Of greater interest is the fact that I may have solved the problem of muddy glazes!!!!


I decided to lay a glaze over the ink before I put down the colour.

Then I glazed the picture a second time.

Absolutely thrilling to see the colours stay so true.

♪♪♪  How I love my sketchbook  ♪♪♪
PS I forgot to mention the hungry birds who want to steal the apples from the serpent. Too obvious?

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Buying into the Establishment. Finally.

I've never been one for a sketch book.

Sketchbooks always seemed like a tiresome means to an end work of art
which, if it was planned, wasn't real art anyway so why bother.

Maybe it was coming of age during the time when the ideas of Carl Jung
coated the universities like sticky fly tape.  Maybe I identified sketchbooks
as being 'establishment'. Too reminiscent of the old way of doing things.   

Or maybe (and most likely) I was just too lazy.  Who's to say?

But I've changed and here's a picture of my new sketchbook.


Pretty cool, eh?

I think the idea that I might like to have a sketchbook started percolating in my brain when I first saw the lovely paintings that Ana does in Introverted Art.


They are as light and bright as a soul set free.  And Ana talks about her sketchbook freely, not as an extra unwanted appendage forced upon her by a pitiless society with preconceived ideas of how an artist must act, but as something very special to her.

Then serendipitously when I was in pricing paper in November I saw that the art store had a 2 for 1 sale on sketchbooks.  Big sketchbooks.  Big enough for me to get inside and scribble on the walls.

So I bought one, (two).

But I didn't really get it.

I tore all of the pages out of the first book and used them as individual sheets.  And like Humpty Dumpty I found that when I came to the end of the book I couldn't put it together again. It was very annoying but I was in the process of discovering something and I suppose the lesson was worth it.

Somehow as the new year was almost upon me I began to see my sketchbook not as a tiresome means to an end but as my final product.

No more wall art for me.

I'm all about sketchbooks now.

Thanks, Ana!
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Thursday, January 2, 2014

White and Protestant

So here we are.

My brother and I were fighting all the time in those days.  I mean we still don't understand each other and have little contact  but in those days it was an out and out physical war.

We have a huge bench upon which to park our bottoms but for some reason we have chosen to sit as if we had to share a stool at kresge's lunch counter. I am purposely taking up more space than I should have and am smiling at the camera enjoying my brother's discomfort. 

My mother who is far better educated than my father and secretly longs to be on the stage, looks dowdy and heavy, her fist is clenched in her lap, her legs pinkish with varicose veins.  She stares grimly over our heads as if she is looking for an escape route.

Her next pregnancy probably isn't the escape route she is dreaming of, but at least it will give her something to do.

It is 1956.
My world is white, Protestant and traditional working class.
Like that was going to last.