Trying to get better pictures…

Photographing paintings is very challenging. It’s hard to get a good representation of the real thing. Individual computer monitors, lighting, contrast, brightness, glare…. it’s something I’m really struggling with.

My brother was kind enough to come take pictures for me today but his computer died before he was able to finish burning them for me so I only have a few to post.

I’m finding this one is looking a little dark on my monitor…

painting, Two Ravens  on a birch branch full moon

Looks really dark on my monitor.

I never did post any close ups so here are a few that I took with my iphone, so not the best quality but it’s what I have.ravens, birch, full moon, moon, night, branchmoon, raven, night, crow, birchraven, night, moon, birch, carylic, paintingraven, branch, birch, moon. I haven’t named  this painting and would love to hear any feedback on that.

It’s been much longer between posts than I had hoped it would be but you know how it is, life gets busy sometimes. I have managed to get a bit more painting done on the piece I posted about last. I wasn’t happy with the neck on one of the birds and ended up changing that and in the process I made the background much more vibrant. I love bright green. My house is bright green, my studio walls are bright green and Atreyu’s room is bright green. With spring finally peeking at Nova Scotia I am craving colour! This painting should fit the bill!bright, spring, green, ravens, crow, branch, work in progressHere is a little close up of the heckyl and Jeckyl 🙂bright, spring, green, ravens, crow, branch, work in progressThe guy on the left is the one I adjusted the neck on. Here is what it was before in case you were wondering…

raven painting

before

and the guy on the right now…bright, spring, green, ravens, crow, branch, work in progress

 

I’m planning on adding some apple blossoms next. But first I am off to take Jaxxon for a walk with my friend Sydney and her gorgeous, huge doodle named Finnegan. I’ll post later with an update after I start the flowers. Hope you are all having an awesome long weekend!

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NIght Owls, Unite!

I have come to realize I’m a night owl. It takes me all day to get ready to be productive. Trey is gone with his Dad and Glenn is back in Alberta. I thought I’d get a lot done today but had a discouraging start in the studio today. Just couldn’t get the background quite right for a painting I wanted to start. I took a break in the early afternoon and made vegan seitan donair meat. Whooo boy! For anyone not from Nova Scotia, donair is a spicy meat, shaved thin, placed on a greek pita, with red onions, tomatoes, sweet garlicky donair sauce and mozza cheese. It’s generally seen as a greasy fast food best eaten at pizza corner on your way home from a heavy night of drinkng. I’ve never really been one for drinking but I used to love eating donairs back when I was an omnivore. I am a reluctant vegetarian and have been for the better part of ten years. I like meat, I like the taste, smell and texture of meat. I like how satisfying it is.  I’ve been exploring the wonders of home made seitan, aka “wheat meat”. It’s awesome. high in protein, chewy, tasty and very satisfying. So today I decided to try this recipe http://vspot16.wordpress.com/tag/vegan-donair/… it’s awesome! I can’t wait for Glenn to come home so he can try it too. Step daughter is making it tonight for her BF who is a chef, wonder what he’ll think. Ah, he’ll love it because she made it 🙂

Anyways, back to the real reason for posting, after a donair break to recharge my creative drive I finally made some headway with a painting. Still have a way to go but I’m off to a good solid start.

Here is the background with some outlines taking shape

ravens, crows, painting, acrylic

outlines of ravens

 

ravens, crows, painting

Just starting to block in some tones

raven, painting

bit more done

raven painting

getting there

crow painting

still needs lots of work

 

And I think that’s it for tonight. Trey comes home tomorrow and I need some rest. Going to join this creature….

Poodle, sleeping, dog

Let it ALL hang out!

 

I’ll post more tomorrow and hopefully get caught up on all the blogs I follow. It’s been too long….

I’m done!

I think I’m done 🙂 Here are some not so good pictures. I *really* need to get my brother ( http://www.novascotiadreams.com/ ) to come take some good pictures. Bring your camera next time you visit, big brother!

ravens, full moon, night, birch

Finished but I’m having trouble getting a good picture. It’s not this blue. The birds don’t have blue on them, that should be grey…

Poodle, standard poodle, ravens, crows, birch, full moon, night

All of our paintings undergo rigorous inspection before getting the poodle seal of approval.

ravens, full moon, night, birch

Better colour here but it looks grainy and blurry.

I’m thinking of putting this up on etsy as I’m running out of wall space! What do you think?

raven, painting, night, moon

I’m baaaaaaaaaack!

Ok. So my husband was home for three days and is gone again. I love having him come home but three days isn’t enough. Although I must say it makes the time we do get together extra special (and extra spicy – nudge nudge, wink wink. Say no more, say no more) And at the same time I certainly accomplish a lot more when he isn’t around. So it’s all good I guess. Trey is gone with his Dad for March break so it’s just me and the poodle beast.

Poodle, rescue, standard poodle

Jaxxon the rescue poodle

I’ve been running errands, getting lots of exercise and eating the super healthy things I like and no one else does, helloooo red beans and rice! And most importantly, I made it back into the studio! Huzzah!

I’m just on a quick lunch break, although it’s closer to supper, oh well – time flies when you’re having fun! So I thought I would post some progress pictures 😀

just chalking in the outlines…

raven, painting

chalk outline

starting to block it in…

raven painting, moon, night

stage 2 of ravens

Adding more paint….

stages of painting, raven, night, moon

stage 3, adding more paint

starting to add some definition and body to the second raven…

acrylic, painting, ravens, moon, night

mostly blocked in

other guy….

raven, painting, moon

close up of other raven

Now I’m going to do a quick little spark exercise video and then back to work! I’ll post more later 🙂

 

 

 

 

Greetings from the dark side of the moon

Ok. I’m not really on the dark side of the moon but it feels like I might have at least fallen off the face of the earth for a few weeks. It sometimes feels like some mysterious force is determined to keep me from blogging . I wonder about what this could be and then I realize its the dreaded… *gasp!* procrastination monster! Also related to the perfectionist monster that likes to make sure *all* the housework is done before you even look at your studio. She’s a sly one because even when you do make it into your studio she likes to stress you out about ruining your canvas and wasting paint. But I have a secret weapon! MyVery sweet husband bought me a…. wait for it…..ROOMBA for my birthday! YAAAAY! Now I realize some women wouldn’t be happy about getting a vacuum cleaner for their birthday but to me it was one of the most thoughtful gifts he could have given me. He knows I hate having dirty floors and with the dog and his sand trap fur and Atreyu’s penchant for mucking about in the chicken coop and then tracking wood-shavings into the house, keeping the floors presentable was a big time sucking EXCUSE for not being productive in the studio. And he wants me to be productive because he knows it’s important to me and he’s awesome like that. So there’s one less excuse. And it’s been so helpful! I’m getting more done. Yay!

Now I know, I got the roomba on the 17th and I just started getting productive but I swear sometimes something is working against me. Between doctor’s appointment’s for myself, my son, my Mom and big productions like shaving the dog or changing bedrooms or painting walls, It often feels like there is no time to make art, let alone blog. But I think I’ve got things under control for now and I’m finally back in the studio.

Joe cool poodle

Hipster poodle disapproves of your excuses

I’ve just been working on a bunch of backgrounds for the past few days as I like to have supports ready so I can work whenever I am ready without spending too much time in the prep stages. I did finally finish my full moon one I started waaaay back in November. Raven on a Birch tree,

Shameful really. I kind of stalled after my friend that I was meeting with decided she doesn’t have time to paint right at this point and I understand what she’s saying but I really need that support and accountability that meeting with her every other weekend gave me. I’ve put an ad on Kijiji but haven’t gotten any responses : \ Sometimes my studio feels like solitary confinement. I need to meet other artists in my area. I’m thinking about putting a sign up on a bulletin board. I’m desperate!

And I’m *full* of ideas- they even keep me awake at night some nights, although sometimes my ideas are beyond my skill level which is frustrating and can be bad for self esteem. But I know if I don’t try new things and I just stay in my comfort zone, I’ll never learn and grow as an artist. I really want to take some adult ed. classes at NSCAD but I just don’t have that option right now. Most are evenings or afternoons and I have no one to watch Atreyu. So maybe next year when Mom is living with us. Do you ever feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew artistically? How do you deal with a painting you just aren’t satisfied with? Do you give up?Burn it? Paint over it?

Why the crows gift?

I decided to call my blog the crows gift because I feel crows have given me a great gift. Something no one else could have given me.

IMG_9634

I’ve always loved birds. Growing up we always had budgies and as a teenager I had a menagerie of small parakeets, lovebirds, cockatiels, budgies. And I loved the individual personalities of all these little feathered creatures. 25 years ago a psychic told me he could see huge glittering wings behind me and that crows were my totem. Even now I love my chickens, each one with a distinct personality. They bring me great joy. I’ve always loved all animals but birds and dogs have always seemed extra special to me.

IMG_9635

For a long time I wanted to paint but didn’t. I wanted to, but, I wouldn’t let my self. To be fair, it really was only me that was stopping me from painting. I’ve had time and supplies and supportive family so there is no real reason I have never really worked at painting. Self-doubt and voices from the past told me I couldn’t. It wasn’t safe to try. After all, as my grade 12 guidance counsellor told me 20 odd years ago, I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t a *real* artist. But, somehow last year I got the courage up to try. I was inspired by a photograph of a crow and as an exercise I decided to try painting it. And it turned out. Better than I expected. My brother and husband were encouraging and so I chose to paint another crow and this one turned out even better. And so I kept painting crows. I worked on learning about how acrylics work. I started giving greater thought to shading, texture, expression, light and shadow. (I am still learning about all of this with each painting). My successes at this point were giving me a much-needed boost to my artistic self-confidence. I started to believe that maybe I could be an artist. Somehow it felt like this was a gift given to me by the crows themselves. I felt and still do feel a strong connection to my subject. It’s like an artistic life line. I try to give them a presence on my canvas, a voice, a face. Individuality. To see them. And I feel like they are giving me so much in return. They are like signposts guiding me towards the way back home. Somehow they have given me back myself. And for that I am truly thankful.

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Summer chaos

There is no denying it. It is most definitely autumn. I finally brought the last the garden had to offer into the house yesterday. Two zucchini, one tomato the frosts had somehow missed, two tiny but sweet ears of corn and a smattering of rebel sugar snap peas. The winter squash are still out but the frost is still light enough to leave them.

This was my first vegetable garden and it was spectacular! What a great introduction to gardening for sustenance. I can’t wait to do it all again next year – but BIGGER and better 🙂 I’m definitely hooked.

Don't you just *love* bees?

Don’t you just *love* bees?

My son went back to school September 5th. Grade 3. Time really does go by much too fast. I always feel like I don’t do enough with him during our short summers.

Big Brown helping Trey and I put in a new flower bed.Hanging out along the river

Hanging out along the river

My partner was home with us for two months which was great. Although I must say it definitely added to the chaos. You never know what is going to happen until it happens when he is around. Sudden trips to one end of our province or another happened with no more than 5 minutes notice it seemed. Hard for an eight year old who needs routine and even harder on a 42 year old who needs routine and lots of time to shift gears. Not much painting happened between the garden, swimming and unannounced road trips. But it was so nice to have him home every single night. That’s one thing with him working out west, it’s lonely once the boy and the animals are all tucked in for the night.

The late Mr/ Fawkes with some of his lady friends

The late Mr. Fawkes with some of his lady friends

We lost a few chickens over the summer. Three hens died of peritonitis which we traced back to our lovely Mr. Fawkes. The vet figured it was his chronic vent gleet that was infecting the girls cloacas.

Bubble BathTough guys have bubble baths too...

Tough guys have bubble baths too…

After months of daily baths he was the sweetest and calmest rooster which made it even sadder that he had to be culled. We were lucky enough to have the handiest handy man ever working on our addition. Jack killed him for us and buried him by the river. The girls have been directionless ever since Big Daddy died last year. They were just starting to accept Mr. Fawkes. Since his untimely demise, my favourite hen, Breeze, has stepped up to the plate and assumed cock of the walk position. She has become quite ornery with me and pecks my legs viciously now instead of gently when she wants to be cuddled. She still stretches to be picked up but immediately attacks when she is set back down. She’s even growing spurs! I haven’t seen her mount anyone yet and I can’t imagine how the two young roosters will make out with her once they come of age. She is one ferocious chicken!

My transgender chicken, Breeze, looking for blackberries and legs to peck

My transgender chicken, Breeze, looking for blackberries and legs to peck.

Breeze angles for a ride to the tim horton's drive thru

Breeze angles for a ride to the tim horton’s drive thruTurn your back for a minute with the car door open or the window down and you may have a stow away on your next trip for groceries...

Turn your back for a minute with the car door open or the window down and you may have a stow away on your next trip for groceries…

We had major renovations completed this summer which also added to the chaos. Our front deck is finally done. Hooray! And we knocked a wall out between the original house and the addition. Only took three years to finally make it happen. It was two months of daily renovations and I think I handled it very well. Certainly better than I would have two years ago. We still have painting to do and more renovations once Mom sells her house and makes the move from the big city to join us. But for this year I think we are done.

So with Glenn back to work and Trey back in school, I have almost no excuses to avoid painting. I’ve joined forces with my very talented friend, Lisa Sullivan and together we are challenging each other to get more painting done. It’s going very well and I’m so glad to have her encouragement! I’m working on a facecrack  facebook presence and will link to her art page when I finally take that plunge. I still haven’t figured out how to photograph my paintings but I will be working on that soon. My brother, Phil Bourgeois (http://philbourgeois.zenfolio.com/ ), has kindly offered to help me when I am ready. In the meantime, here are some rough photos of what I’ve been up to…

Work in progress. Working on this today.

Work in progress. Working on this today.

Chief Sitting Bull and three wise men. I was really pleased with the way the ravens turned out in this one. It's only my third ever portrait and I'm quite proud :)

Chief Sitting Bull and three wise men. I was really pleased with the way the ravens turned out in this one. It’s only my third ever portrait and I’m quite proud 🙂Working on this today. I'll post an update when it's finished.

Three wise guys

Second in series

Second in series