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Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday in the Garden/Painting Room

On this very gloomy Monday afternoon....this is what I am looking forward too. Being outside in the sunshine with Ella-Luna, Roo, Hazel and Jin. Ella and Roo adore the back deck, and our normal routine is to wake up nice and early, open the back door for them and they come in and out as they please. Often times I will bring my work out there with me and those are some of my most favourite days...just being in the yard, being creative and having the furry babes run around happily..though I often have to get up to stop them from digging to big of a hole or chomping down an entire plant!
This summer our sweetie-pies Thodan and Noo will be greatly missed. I spent many glorious days with Thodan outside in the gazebo. Here you can see him napping away on the couch out there. I just loved that...stretching out in the sun with him either stretched out around my neck or curled up in a ball on my chest...every so often he'd look up, with a little twinkle in his eye, yawn and then through himself back over...ha ha...those are wonderful memories that will always fill my heart with gladness.

Today however, it is raining with a mixture of wet snow, but I don't mind...these days are cozy to me for the jazz stations sound even better on rainy days. KPLU from the itunes radio section is growing to be one of my favourites. Today I am working away on the book illustrations, 2 finals will be done today and 2 more sketches need to be approved after that. Here is where I am spending my day and most likely much of my evening...

These photos are somewhat old but it's still basically the same....I've just added a little desk where I can work on watercolours, lino-cuts and smaller paintings. I work up here on days when I want to spend abit more face time with Hazel and Jinny. This is the room I share with them...it is deemed 'Studio 2, the Sun Room, The Girls Room, The Painting Room, The Front Room and now the Garden Room' I find it humorous that one room can have so many designations.

I have also decided that though I will continue to make 3 mini-lino-cuts a week, I am going to post them all at the same time...either on Fridays or perhaps through a Saturday posting, we'll see what works best. Making the prints can be time consuming and it just makes better use of my time to do them all at once...less clean up etc. So I did do my Monday stamp this morning but you'll have to wait to see it.

Today as I work away at my little garden table, with Jinny constantly trying to move my boots, because she seems to think they are in her way! I am really enjoying the podcasts found at the Creative Thursday Blog...for all you artists out there I think I must deem them as a 'must check out'.

Cheers Everyone and Happy Creating. Mandy

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday's Stamp,Some Favourites & a Sickie

Hi All. I think that I have to admit that I am getting sick. Serves me right for running around feeling all superior and proud that I was one of the only ones who didn't get sick, ha ha. Extra vitamin C here I come. I am not sure how much work I'll get done today as my stomach seems to be turning around and around like the wash cycle...actually yes that's exactly what it feels like. Not to mention every time I sneeze I get the chills and I also admit to be just a bit of a suck when I get cold. That's hard for a Northern baby to admit too, ha ha.

Anyhow I wanted to share a few things with you today. First being my favourite Easter Cards of this season. The smaller one is from my lovely friend Maria, it is by an unknown artist from the 19th century, it's just such a soft image and was a delight to recieve. The brighter one is from Germany, I just love getting cards from my family there because they are always in this blocky, bold coloured style, always with lots of gold edging...I can't understand a word on them, ha ha but I love them none the less.

The little gold rabbit charms are from Etsy, just in case you were wondering.

Whiles I was surfing my favourite blogs yesterday I came across this rabbit wall decal ...which instantly struck a cord in my heart, I love it when that happens, don't you? I could immediately envision the most wonderful place to put this decal in our house, where it would add the most wonderful bit of whimsy.

This can be found at http://www.stickmeon.com.au/. I just find it wonderfully inspiring.

Let me not forget to show you my mini stamp for this Friday...

I am not super happy with it, but it is what it is. I think it may make a nice addition stamped on to a floral pastel perhaps as an edging, we shall see.

I also want to mention this blog I came across which I really enjoyed yesterday http://www.creativethursday.com/blog/. If you scroll down alittle bit you'll find an article called 'My Creative Thursday over at Design For Mankind'. If your like me and really enjoy getting glimpses into different artists work process and daily creative lives, give this a read. I just love the way Marisa writes with such openness and humor, having your furry babies be a major part of your creative routine is defiantly something I can understand and appreciate. This was just a blog that warmed my heart and also inspired it because she seems to be doing quite well on Etsy, etc...good for you Marisa.

Well I think I've taken up enough of your time today. The weekend is here, I was suppose to have my 5 year old niece come for a sleep over but I think I may postpone it to next weekend as I can rapidly feel myself going down hill. Don't worry though, I'll be here Monday ready to post and with new creations to show you.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wednesday Woes & A Stamp

Good Afternoon everyone. I've had a rough couple of days....dealing with contracts and payment problems etc etc...having to dig that extra mile to find my creative side, yikes! Once in awhile I go through this and I am always way to hard on myself. But it was nice in a way, even though I went to bed yesterday out of sorts and just feeling all jumbled, I woke up this morning much more clear headed and with renewed strength and determination. If any of you out there want to share on how you get over your mental hurdles please feel free. I think it's an innate part of my personality that just will never give up or lose hope. But also, I owe thanks to my best friend Judit and my sweet unwavering Jonathan...who patiently listened to me over the last 2 days and gave me great counsel.

So onto the creative bits...I have given myself the project of making atleast 3 lino-cut stamps a week. Just teeny weeny itty bitty ones, I think they are less than 2"x2". They are challenging to cut because they are so small, but it's a great way to relax for me because I have to concentrate so much on the cutting and on not cutting myself that I don't have time to think of anything else and my brain gets abit of rest, ha ha.

So here is my Wednesday stamp...
I have just been so inspired by stampers work, collage' and various mixed media often using stamps that I fell in love with the ideal of eventually doing similar things, but with my very own stamps. This one is hand-burnished on a lovely blue handmade paper from Thailand. So, think of it, if I am doing 3 stamps a week that will be 156 stamps in a year...I'll have to start my own stamping business, ha ha...one never knows, I guess that is part of the beauty of our creative businesses. Have a great day everyone and Be Creative.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Patrick Mok Teapot

I am abit perplexed as to what to post on today and the rest of the week in all honestly. I don't like to show people the sketch/linear stages of my work, although perhaps that is something I'll get used to doing. I don't want to post too many photos that are non-art related. But it takes me awhile to create a piece so I won't have new work to show as often as I'd like. Hmmm....I'll figure it out I am sure. I do know that I love the blogs where the artist/crafter shows lovely tidbits of their life/house/inspiration. Where they don't give too much personal info, because we are after all open to all prying eyes here on the web, but they still manage to show enough to give you a sense of their being and daily lives or creative spaces. I do know that I want to share an image every post...being so visually inspired, I'd like to try to pass that along. So for a lose of knowing what to write about today, I will show you one of my most favourite and cherished items...a Patrick Mok teapot.

I have admired and wanted one of mr.Mok's pieces for some time now and the last time we were at the One of a Kind Craft show in Toronto, my husband and I both fell in love with the same one, so we indulged and bought one. I believe this teapot is in a collectible series called 'Gems in the Bush'. They are functioning teapots/miniatures, but I don't think I could ever take the chance that it'd get broken during practical usage. So it's not always 2-d imagery that inspires me and cheers my heart...sometimes it's something 3 dimensional and whimsical like this teapot.

I am quite sure that Patrick Mok's enchanting work is available at the following gallery shops in Toronto, Ontario: The George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art; The Guild Shop; CN Tower; and Prime Gallery.

Easter Weekend Come & Gone

Hi everyone, I hope your weekend was wonderful, relaxing and fun. Our Easter weekend was filled with a relaxing 4 days off, with good company, excellent food, lots of movies, lots of rabbit snuggling and also a nice baptism.
Also at our house the Easter bunnies decided to strike. They demanded to put down their egg baskets, and instead lounge around all weekend long, stretched out in the sun and taking long naps. Who were we too argue, as animal advocates we were obliged to take their side...luckily there was no picketing involved.

This past week, I tryed my hand at 'Pysanky', which is the traditional Ukrainian way of decorating eggs. I have to admit it defiantly was not my thing, I couldn't get the wax to flow through my kistka at the right rate and the wax kept coming off my egg. Regardless it was fun and interesting to try a technique and tradition that is over 4000 years old.

Here are my 'attempts'. The pink bunny one was my favourite but I didn't have time to finish it, and I also dropped it once I got home! As frustrating as I found Pysanky, I'd like to try it again next year.

I am looking forward to this week and to getting lots of things done; to getting back to my blog entries and to just enjoying the days. Although today I do feel abit sad because we'll have to go pick up Noo's ashes. Be Well Everyone and extra kind to one another.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Judit Gueth Designs

I have to bring some attention to my best friend and very talented designer Judit Gueth. Judit has her own line of wallpaper and hand-tufted rugs. Please do check out her website at http://www.juditgueth.com/.

Judit did a wonderful article about me and my work in her October 2007 blog, http://prettystylish.blogspot.com/2007/10/illustrator-mandy-saile.html check it out.

Here are some photos of Judit's work and for all of you local people, don't forget that I sell a small sampling of Judit's fabric cards here in my studio. I think her designs look so elegant in frames and I have about 6 or 7 hanging throughout our home.

Judit's wallpaper is a fast growing success and people are using her koy fish designs often for such things as spa's or as seen below, in a chiropractors office space. Judit welcomes custom work and will work with you to come up with exactly what you desire. Give her a call soon however because soon she'll be too busy to entertain all commissions, she's been getting alot of press and exposure which is wonderful for this very talented designer.

For more info about Judit Gueth, please visit her website or her blog www.prettystylish.blogspot.com or simply click on the link in my 'other great blogs'.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

F.A.M.E Art Card Donation

Good Morning Fellow Artist/Art Lovers. Last night we got a few hours of snow, which was great because the flakes were as big as they come and it just made everything feel quiet and cozy. Today however the skies look threatening with rain and I was woken by the neighbours contractor throwing house parts into the rented garbage bin and I admit to getting up on the wrong side of the bed. My general rule is to please be polite and wait atleast till 9am! C'est La Vie.
Today I am making this short as I need to get straight to work and tonight and tomorrow nights are busy with a Pysanky workshop, which I am really looking forward too.
Today's News: F.A.M.E which is Family Association for Mental Health Everywhere, hosts a grand fundraising gala once a year, called "Simply Divas" in conjunction with the Etobicoke School of Performing Arts. Apparently it is a wonderful evening and really entertaining with the talented students singing the likes of Aretha Franklin, Alanis Morissette, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Gladys Knight, Diana Krall and many more. The Gala is on April 27th, at the Great Hall in Toronto. Check out their site at http://www.fameforfamilies.com/ if your interested. I am mentioning this event because I have been asked to donate some of my 'woman power' art cards for their silent auction, I hope they raise a decent amount for them. If I get photos of the evening I'll surely post them. Thanks Everyone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two Watercolours

Today let me show you something quickly, since yesterdays post was abit long. Two of my favourite magazines and biggest inspirations are "Somerset Studio" and "Cloth, Paper, Scissors", there's just so many different and unique techniques. I love the ideal of collaging and scrapbook techniques being used in artwork..such as rubber stamps. I thought I would play with two watercolours I have and try to 'alter' them beyond what I normally do.

The first is a watercolour from some of our deck flowers. The 2nd is another watercolour from a photo I took long ago of the underside of an Oleander leaf.

I am giving myself the project of altering these two images into collages, using some words and possibly stamps....and I'll post and show you what I've come up with in my first attempts at collaging.

I am interested if any of you are doing a similar thing...show me what your doing. Thanks everyone and have a wonderful day despite the gloomy skies.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Marvelous Monday

Hello there on this marvelous Monday. I am getting a late start today, as our duvet (synthetic of course) kept me hostage, I was treated very well during my capture however, ha ha. I am not a morning person and it is, I admit, always a struggle for me to get up and get right to work. I usually have a tea and read whiles I hang out with the bunnies and I also try to get onto the treadmill before I start my work. But I realized yet again today, how lucky I am to be able to concentrate on my work full-time. I have the chance to be creative all day long and not many people get to do that. Usually this 'epiphany' stirs me to quicker action.

Today my attention must go to the book illustrations I am still working on after 3 months, but my client is very laid back and for my first book, I think that is a good thing.

I think as artists, it's important to find something that pulls you to your studio or daily work routine, just that little something that gives you a spark or that extra little jump out of bed in the mornings, because let's be honest, sometimes the work itself isn't always enough. For me it's the jazz station. I used to be obsessed with the Toronto 91.1 jazz station, and it is still my favourite, but for some reason it doesn't stream very well to our city in the North any longer. But I've discovered the free radio stations through itunes and KPLU World Class Jazz....I can't wait to turn that on every morning. It weaves it's way through my day and just pulls everything together in a cozy, calm and enchanted way.

This weekend, I had the very strong urge to go buy some new plants. Now my studio worktable is filled with lilies, hyacinths, and hydrangeas. It's a simple but joyful pleasure to look at them and know that a new bud will soon bloom here and a new root is poking up from the soil there. This morning not only did I look forward to turning my jazz station on, but I had my new flowers I looked forward to as well. An artists creative space is so important, make it your own and fill it with wonderful energies and your favourite things.

Anyhow, I don't have any artwork to share with you this morning but let me share with you one of my favourite photos. I just love taking photos of our house when the sun is shining in just that perfect way. My strawberry tea, two apples and bowl of chocalate/vanilla cereal await me...then 5 final illustrations. Have a wonderful day and week everyone, Be Well.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Plain Ramblings For Today

Good Afternoon Everyone, I admit to getting a very late start today and almost not getting to my blog. Today I am really missing our Noo, so I thought I'd post another photo of her, this one was taken the week she passed. She had a window bench and she would spend hours up there just watching the world of the front yard, enjoying the air when we'd crack the window open, or laying all stretched out in the sun like a cat. She sure knew how to enjoy the day.

I am not 100% sure yet but I might be switching all of my entries over to another blog system. There is apparently a problem with my account, I can not upload any kind of graphics for the blog header, etc which doesn't really work for me because as a creative person I need to be able to make my blog somewhat distinctive. I hope things get resolved soon as I am already used to and enjoy the blogger system. I have been waiting to spread my blog address around, until it's fixed up the way I wanted and I am just not quite sure how much longer I can wait.

Aside from doing all of my art and illustration, I also love crafts. I am by no means an expert but I do know how to crochet a pretty decent 'granny square'. I usually do the bulk of my crocheting/knitting in in the winter. Or when one of the furries is sick. This blanket was made sitting by Thodan and Noo when they were ill. I am happy with it, what do you all think. It's for our den so I am thinking of putting a lining to it.

That's going to be all for today, sorry all...I am off to the coffee shop for our usual Friday cake and coffee hour with my lovely friend Maria. Have a wonderful weekend. Be Well.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Some Paintings

Hi Everyone, on this rather gloomy and chilly day. Thank goodness for the warmth and lovely flow of our studios/creative spaces. Today I have two of my littlest fans coming to the studio, Noah and Ben, respectively 4 and 2 I believe. Their mom sits them on her lap and shows them the pictures on my website and apparently they just love the colours and guessing the animals etc.

Yesterday morning I had a wonderful rush of ideals come to me, so I spent sometime getting them down, I think 11 in total...to add to the large pile I can never seem to catch up with.

I thought today I would post some photos of my latest paintings.

This is "Keep Your Eye On Your Goals" from a smaller coloured pencil done years before. It is a mixed media so I still have to find the proper way to seal it. Below is a detail...

Here is "Sundance" in progress, it is by far one of my favourites...keep in mind I am quite new to painting with acrylics. It has sold and I am so happy for it because it's going to the home of a fellow rabbit lover who will defiantly appreciate the message of the painting. If you look closely at the photo you'll see my sweetie-pie Thodan running underneath he easel. He was such fun and just thought that having a 'painter/artist as a mom was the coolest thing' ha ha. And, here is the painting that I am working on right now, it has progressed alot more than shown here. Now it is almost finished, a couple more solid days on it and I'll be able to show you the final product.

Be Well, and remember the artistic impulses/juices are in us at all times....sometimes it just takes abit of digging. Happy creations to my fellow artists.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Sketch and a Portrait

Good Morning All. It's another brilliantly blue day and only -26 I believe with the windchill. I guess I'll have to bundle up later this afternoon when I walk to the cafe for a client meeting. I am just not a morning person but I am making an effort to get into my studio abit earlier now so that I can get my blogging done.

I thought I would share a new sketch with you. This is just a quick life drawing of Hazel and Jin, sitting in their beloved house. The two are sisters (Noo's sister's) and are thick are thieves. It's been a long journey to get them to trust me, but I am slowly seeing some progress which is heart warming.

Also today, let me show you another recent portrait I did of my parents late dog Tassie. This one is done completely in pastel. She was a beautiful dog to draw.

That is all for today, short but sweet. Once again your comments are welcome. Cheers All.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Cards, New Store

I wanted to let everyone see the 6 new cards designs that are now available. They will soon be available for order through my website, but for now what people do is just send me an email telling me which ones they want etc. You can also order sets of my art cards and boxsets through my new Etsy Shop, please check it out at http://www.bijouswhimsy.etsy.com/.

People don't always send the cards, they often collect them and keep them for themselves. I've seen them framed quite a few times also. I think they look really sharp in frames;

A new store in town is selling my cards also. "The FrameMakers" is a great gallery/framing shop with two excellent and lovely ladies, Anna and Michelle. I just love going in there to check up on my cards because I get to hang out with the two of them for abit.

If any of you out there owns a store and you interested in my cards please give me a shout and we'll chat, I am always looking for new venues. Thanks everyone, 'see' you tommorow.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Good Monday Morning Everyone

This morning we woke to a beautifully clear sky...and of course to us Northerners in the winter that usually means it's extra cold...but the sun seems to be in short demand this winter so today it is very welcomed, I instantly felt like running down to my studio turning on one of my beloved SKY.FM stations and getting down to business.

This week my lovely friend of almost 30 years Lisa is in town with her two boys and I'll get to spend some time with them. Also with my niece who is also on March Break. I am thinking that this week I will also drag some work over to my mom's and work on her big dining table, I do that alot in the summers, sometimes once a week but I haven't done it since I've gotten my new studio (photos to come soon). My heart is still tender from missing Noo but I think it will indeed be a good week, with lots of work getting done also.

I thought I would show you a portrait I did recently which I am really happy with. I love doing animal portraits, espeacially ones of our own furry hearts. This one is of our Ella-Luna, our gourgues 4 year old New Zealand Lop.

I also just adore re-painting things...furniture, ceramics, etc...I can't help but go into a friends house and see abunch of things I'd like to get my fingers on to re-paint...not that the things look bad as they are, in my mind they'd just be fun to paint in my colours. So I do this once in awhile in our own home when I have time.

We bought this lovely wooden carving from Bali and though I loved the carving itself, I really didn't like the colour of the wood, it was too dark...

And here's what it ended up looking like after I took my acrylics to it...abit better I think, just because it actually brings the lovely carving out.

Well that's all for today...I should get back to my book illustrations. Be Well Everyone.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Missing Our Snicker-Noodle

Our sweet little Noo passed away on March 2nd after a very tough and brave battle with a very aggressive cancer. She was 6 years old but we only had her for 2, it just wasn't long enough. The night before she passed away in my arms, we watched a beautiful sunset together, during this precious time her eyes told me that she was ready to go see her partner Hobbs and her best buddy Thodan (who left us just this past November). The beauty of that sunset mixed with the beauty of her little spirit and soul was something I could almost not take in completely, that is the only way I can describe that moment. Noo was a bunny full of strength, heart,appreciation, forgiveness and sweetness. Now I could go on and on about our sweetie pie but all I'll say is that some of the best life lessons can indeed be taught by a small little rabbit. Thank you Noo for all that you gave us, you loved us so well and your with us every minute of every day.

Noo used to run around my painting room, under my easel, pulling on my pants as I worked because she always wanted snuggles. This weekend, I think I will spend some time in there and rearrange things...right now it's hard to be in that room to paint, I just end up standing still and missing and thinking about my little friend. So I thought perhaps if I switch things up abit, it'll make the room abit easier to be in. Which will be good for Hazel and Jin...Noo's sisters who miss having me in there all the time. So that shall be my weekend plan I think. I hope all of you have a great weekend. Take Care and I'll post again on Monday.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hi Everyone,

This is my very first ever blog posting, how exciting since I've wanted to start blogging for awhile now. Bear with me as I customize the page, it needs a more 'artsy' feel I know this. I honestly did not get the point of blogs at first but now I find myself drifting to my computer early each morning, long before I am ready to work, browsing my favourites with a cup of coffee. What a great way to start my day because the blogs always leave me feeling inspired and just that much more connected to the world.

In my daily ramblings I hope to share with you some of my favourite websites and blogs as well as showing you my recent work and tidbits of my enchanted life. I will try my hardest to update at least 5 days a week, but we'll see.I am a gal who just adores letters, I mean snail mail letters...not email! but in this day and age those adored letters are quite sparse in frequency. So, I am hoping that blogging will be a lovely way to fill that gap.

I am also really hoping to get involved in the wonderful world of ATC's, this has fascinated me for some time now and I would be so excited to get involved with some swaps...so for all of you into ATC's add me to you lists.

Well this is all for now. I could write on and on, as all of my friends well know, ha ha. I know every ones time is precious however so I'll keep my entries short and sweet...Thanks everyone and come back again.