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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nugget Article & A Snippet

Hi again everyone. Good Thursday to you all. I really wanted to show you all the most excellent newspaper article my lovely and talented friend Maria Calabrese wrote.

It was in our local newspaper 'The Nugget' (for which Maria is a reporter) and in Saturday's issue. I love the photo she took of all of us working (here is a better version just in case your interested)...

In the photo from left to right is; Arlington Hoffman, Mandy Saile a.k.a. me a.k.a. Bijou, Joanne Comerford and her twin sister Janet Comerford.

It was so exciting to see the article taking up the whole page like that and I am honoured that she choose one of my photographs to use as the feature image...and I am tickled pink (yes again) by being given photo credit and at also being quoted in the article itself, the whole thing just really made my day. You did a beautiful job Maria, thanks a million times.

To read the full article please click here.

And now I just have to show you the adorable little glass critters that Maria surprised me with last week....

Maria, they will forever live happily on our fridge (the magnetic side that is....tee-hee!), thanks. Today, I also thought I'd show you a small snippet of a new image...I can't show you the whole thing yet as I am not quite sure yet if it'll be done in time for the exhibition but just to add some whimsy and colour into your day...

Sorry the quality isn't too great, the photo was taken in a dark room and I am feeling too lazy to turn on my full spectrum lights etc. but I am too anxious to share it to wait till tomorrow for a sunny time to snap another photo. Now, I am off to another busy studio day, but oh how lovely it is that I can indeed spend my whole day in my studio...I am truly blessed. See you all next week and don't forget to enter a comment and your name for the giveaway draw (see yesterday's posting for details). Caio and Happy Creating.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My 100th Post

Today is my 100th post and I am celebrating it with a giveaway. So here is the deal; anyone who leaves a comment on this specific posting over the next two weeks will be entered into a draw to win this signed and titled print by moi...

I will have a trusted friend draw the lucky name on Sept 9th 2008. Then I will ask for your mailing address and promptly get the print into the mail and on it's way to the winner. Good Luck.

In other news today...I purchased some Main Showcase spots on Etsy this past week and it always tickles me pink to see my work among other talented artists. (My 'Pink Jinny' was the main image for this showcase spot).

and for those non-Etsy browsers out there, here is a look at what it looks like when you click on my square...

I have already noticed a jump in viewership over at the shop so that makes me happy. Tune in on September 4th where I'll be in the showcase again...this time most likely featuring the felt stars.

Time to get on with things...I need to recuperate from just having spent almost 200 bucks on framing materials, yikes! I know the old adage of 'you need to spend money to make money' but it doesn't make it any less painful to know that that adage is indeed true! Be Well everyone, Happy Creating and hopefully we'll 'see' you all here again tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Busy-ness & Belly Splotches

Hi Everyone, I can't believe I didn't post last Thursday! I don't know what happened to keep me from posting that day...but I must have been busy somehow! sorry about that. I am up to my ears trying to get my piece/s ready for the carousel exhibition and at this point I think I've succumbed to the fact that I will most likely only get one done...but I am hoping it's a magnificent one...let me show you the sketch for it...just as a sneak peek...
I was recently busy creating some new things for my studio...just this and that which is easier to get done outside in the garage when it's not -40 out. This is one of them, which I love. I have loved this old antique ladder for some time, so my honey sanded it down for me and reinforced it, I painted it white and voila, it makes a most perfect spot to hang my stars and greet any studio visitors through the studio door (which is hopefully the next house project, I have my eye on one perfect door and ohhh boy I hope I can manage to get it).

Here is another side project which I'll be playing with once the exhibition pieces are done.

Whiles our friends Judit and Ed were here we stopped by some yard sales in the next court over from ours and I was happy to purchase this mirror for only a buck...well actually Ed was the one who bought it for me, since my pockets were empty and my purse at home...thanks again Ed, I think I know already where it'll live once it's painted up. As much as I love colour in my images, I love white accents around our home, so I think the mirror will be coated in a nice glossy white paint..sometimes simplicity is the key.

So I am quite sick...I think I have a stomach flu or some kind of viral infestation (oh that sounds gross or bad doesn't it, ha ha!!!) I've been feeling awful for 3 days now and I have my usual tummy rash. It's weird, the last 5 or 6 years, this rash has started to show up and only when I am really sick with flu or cold. It's so cute though (and yes I can even find joy in a rash!) when I am laying in bed moaning and groaning (no no...I am pretty tough I think, ha ha) Jonathan will lift up my shirt to look at my rash and depending on it's severity I'll hear 'Oh boy you are really sick aren't you' and even that little bit of validation when your sick makes one feel better, ha ha!!!
So with that being said I am getting back to work to get as much done as I possibly can because the evenings are usually more turbulent than the days. I think I am going to drag all of my supplies and picture outside today, it's a beautiful day and the bunnies are out there and my honey is home from work early and he too is toiling away out there, so I think that's going to be the perfect place to be...plus the sun will soothe my slightly achy body. Wish me a speedy recovery and I'll see you again here tomorrow. Be Well.
p.s. Join me tommorow and you'll learn of a speacil giveaway from yours truly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It Doesn't Take Much & A New Sketch

I always pride myself on being a complicated person who enjoys simple things...Jonathan always says it doesn't take very much to entertain or make me happy and I think he's right. As artists, I think we gather visual inspiration for our creations from a myriad of things. And as a very visual person, I believe in surrounding myself with beautiful things, great colour and things that make me smile inward or outward. Well this week, I am being thoroughly entertained and filled with joy by 2 new studio items....

This adorable and fun watering can, apparently hand-made and painted in India.

And though I plan to spray paint it white to blend into my studio abit more...I just love this new display easel I got the other day....

Oh I know I know....the old adage that things shouldn't bring one joy...but heck they do and I am not ashamed to admit it. A fancy new display easel to hold my Miss Penelope Posy, or a favourite new creation...perfectly positioned to greet studio visitors into my world, why wouldn't that make one happy, ha ha.

So I am trying a new thing here this week, because I've been feeling so neglectful with showing you all new imagery on the regular basis in which I planned to do so. I am going to try to get a new little sketch done everyday for you...teasers before the colour work is done. So here is today's quick sketch....

So I'll see you all here again next Tuesday...I am still only posting 3 times weekly, especially since I am so busy with an upcoming group exhibition and a new client. So Be Well everyone and until next week, take good care, xxoo, Mandy

Carousel and Exhibition is Coming.....Come One, Come All

I promised my fellow carousel artists that I would help advertise not only our work on the new upcoming carousel BUT also the exhibition we are all involved in...If your local, please do come on out and support your local arts. The artistic community we have in North Bay is a lovely and vibrant one and as strong as it may be, us artists always need your support and interest.

At the Exhibition's Opening, the painters of the newest carousel will be working on the new horses, hopefully outdoors if the weather permits...so come on out and take in some of the whimsy and magic of this wonderful project.

I was out visiting the horses the other day and I snapped this shot of them having been just freshly primed. Arlie and I can't wait to start our colour work and we welcome visitors as we paint...I'll let you know the schedule and location as soon as it's pegged down.

Thanks everyone and pop in again tomorrow for more artistic news from yours truly. Be Well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A New Photo, Beautiful Wallpaper on a Table and a Sneak Peek Sketch

Hi Everyone...I've been missing my blog and have felt my absence from it more than I expected too but aside from being away Monday's and Fridays still for summer holidays, things have indeed been abit crazy around here.
So today's post will be a short one. I just wanted to share a few things.

This is one of my favourite new photos. I saw a moth flying around our gazebo so I caught it in this little jar and put it outside on a bench, I guess it tuckered itself out because it decided to just sit inside and take a rest...just long enough for me to run inside grab my camera and snap this shot of his cute little face.

With this shot, I am toying with the ideal of introducing some of my photographs as matted prints in my Etsy shop, because I've been getting so many compliments on them. That will come soon if I decide to do it I think.

My best friend Judit and her partner Ed came to visit us this past weekend and we had such a wonderful and excellent visit with them. Judit was happy to see that I used her wallpaper on some recent projects like this little coffee table for my studio...
This koy fish design is one of Judit's most popular designs. For the table I just added hints of my studio's green and blue paint to help tie it in more. I am happy with how it turned out.

Also, as many of my friends who've recently visited my studio can vouch for, I've been sketching up a storm and have alot of new and exciting imagery planned out and ready to emerge into colour. I like to keep most illustrations a secret till they are 100% done but for the sake of showing you something new, I'll let this little sketch show itself, it was inspired by the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics...

Expect the coloured version very soon...in the mean time however I am going kind of crazy trying to get pieces done for an upcoming exhibition and that is currently taking most of my concentration and time as I know the calibre of work in this show will be extremely high.

Today included an interview out at Edna Scott's Studio and Home. It was an interview for the Carousel project I am involved in. It was a lovely and relaxed interview followed by coffee and cake made by our gracious and kind host and a group of ducks pecking at the kitchen door screen because it was apparently their snack time too! Moments like that just make my day.

Thanks for dropping in, I know the new schedule is abit silly but hopefully we'll get back to 5 posts a week once things settle down and I am back into the studio 'full-time' in the fall.

See you here tomorrow..Be Well and Enjoy Each Day. XXOO Mandy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Wednesday, A New Bird Feeder & A Brillant Sunset

So my honey disappeared into the garage (yet again!) the other day and when I went into see what he was doing I was greeting with a lovely little surprise that he spur of the moment decided to make for us...this excellent little bird feeder.
Which he wanted me to decorate and make colourful and unique, so I did just that and here's how it looks after I got my hands on it....(the side says "Dreaming Gives You Wings").

And here is where it lives in our yard. I am hoping it delights the birds as much as it does me every time I walk by it.

Also let me introduce you all to my buddy Chapman....a lovely and polite squirrel, who Ella and Roo do not like one bit but whom I just adore. He and I spent the day together yesterday, puttering to and fro in the yard and I sat gazing and enjoying our water fountain, he took a rest on the fence just above the fountain and seemed to be gazing at it too.

Also... I just had to share this photo I took of the evening sky the other night...the view from our kitchen porch...it's my favourite new thing, I crawl up on a chair, rest my chin on the railing and just watch the storms coming in from the North or the sun setting brilliantly like this....ahhhh....and even better still, if we walk about 10 minutes in this lovely direction we hit the lakefront. I am just so in love with our cozy little home at the moment, can you tell! ha ha.

That's all for today everyone...meet me back here tomorrow for some more glimpses into my little world...a.k.a "Bijou's Whimsy Land".

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Old Illustration to Suit the Day

Good Tuesday all. Everything here is lovely in my world and I am hoping it is so with all of you. Of course everything isn't perfect but in the grand scheme of things, I have not one complaint in the world today. Why am I so chipper you may wonder? Well, I had a headache all day today so I allowed myself to take it easy and just mostly putter around the yard, from rocking chair to chair, from gazebo to gazebo, from fountain to other fountain...I just enjoyed the day, the sun, the wind and the multitudes of birds enjoying the new feeders I just put out. With me enjoying the day was our precious Ella and Roo as Jinny and Hazel napped inside, just having them close by, munching on grass and digging in the soil was enough to quickly remind me that it was a blessed day indeed. So to celebrate this lovely day, I picked this older illustration of mine to share. And with a quick hello for today...I am off to enjoy the dusk outside with no mosquitoes (finally!)

Friday, August 8, 2008

New Carousel Project & Some Inspiration

So the other day I had a meeting out at one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. The meeting was for the new carousel project I've been invited to work on. The leader of all of North Bay's amazing carousel projects is very dedicated local artist Edna Scott and the meeting was out at her house and studio on the lake, all the carousel painters discussed the new project and picked out our horses and colour schemes.
My dear friend and talented local painter Arlington Hoffman (who've I've just recently blogged about) is the head painter and I am his under study and I am so pleased and happy to work along side him again and on such an enchanting project.

Here is the horse that we ended up with...it is to be a speckled grey and white kind...

Here are the other 3 horses that will accompany ours on this 17th century style push carousel...

After our meeting, we all strolled around the beautiful and immaculate grounds with admiration and awe...I wanted to snap abunch of shots of the house and studio etc but I didn't feel like it was appropriate to ask to do so...but I did ask if it was okay to shoot this beautiful creation which greets you as you pull in the drive (and you can glimpse part of the adorable studio in the distance)...

Edna's husband made this horse before he passed away a couple years ago and can you believe that it was his first try at cement fondue. As we strolled about the lakeside and took in more beautiful vistas and explored Edna's gourgues garden paths etc...I spotted this fella in the water...

He decided to come out of the water and follow close to my heels to rest of my visit there...I was so enchanted and wanted to bring him home to our own little garden and pond, ha ha. I never ever tire of ducks, they are one of my most favourite creatures and I am blessed to live in a place where they are pretty plentiful. I take tons of photos whenever I see them and I can never take enough...people seem to not understand why or how I can sit for hours on end just watching a group of ducks...I think to me they symbolize peace, beauty and the complex yet very simple connection to our substrate, the earth.

As we were about to leave, we heard this squeaky cry coming from the end of the dock...and just a few seconds earlier I had seen something long and lanky swimming in the water out of the corner of my eye. Well I snuck to the end of the dock, listening and interested in what was making such a sweet little cry and to my amazement it was a mink... He actually crawled up the side of the dock to check me out as I checked him out, and I felt so lucky to be able to snap this shot...my heart was just soaring at this point. Later on we saw him or her and it's babies running from the water into a distant flower bed. I wish I could have taken more photos to show you all...maybe next time. It's truly an artist's paradise with every step and every turn as beautiful as the next. A place where you never feel like you want to leave. So anyhow, after the Carousel meeting at Edna's place, Arlie and I drove back into town. I joined him at his place for coffee and a chat and again I was inspired and just feel in love with his garden...I couldn't help but take some photos...

Their Koy fish were plentiful and beautiful. There were little colourful benches and secret paths all over, just adorable and sweet little sitting spots which called to me and a pile of books for sure. Little sculptures were hidden all over and well the teapots were just my absolute favourite bit I think...they made this whole yard seem that more inviting. Thanks for inviting me into your enchanted and lovely worlds Edna and Arlie...I was freshly inspired with every blink. It was a wonderful day. You know, I was thinking and found it interesting to come to the conclusion that my artistic life in this small city of ours is so so so much more richer and fuller than it ever was when we lived in Toronto for 5 years. I think it's because life here is simpler for everyone, and artists draw on that and take advantage of that to create inspiration all around them, not just on their easels or drawing tables. The artists here welcome you into their worlds much more wholly and they share their trade secrets more readily. The artists here are also supportive of one another...it's like a close knit community with an open embrace and attitude that the more artists and more unique you are, the better. I just love that and as many times as I think about moving away from this home of ours, my heart just feels so happy and light when I come to realizations like this. Well that's all for today...my work (and garden!) are beckoning me. Be well and Happy Creating.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Favourite Weekend Photos

Good Thursday Everyone...I hope this post finds you all having an excellent day. I've been in my studio all day so far with my favourite sky.fm station blasting, amongst my colour and inspiration and so I am having an excellent day myself...and yes even despite a small headache. I really wanted to share some of my favourite photos from the long weekend. It was busy and fun and we took well over 200 photos but I'll just share a few with you today. Firstly, we hit North Bay's Festival with our dear pals Lisa and Jon and their two boys Noah and Ben (I won't post photos of them, because I haven't asked yet if it'd be okay). I loved these two rides, they are so beautiful somehow...and check out the paintings of Venice on the roundabout one, they were just lovely...

I loved the fact that Jon was playful enough to climb the 30 foot rock wall, even though he's afraid of heights...

I debated for a while whether or not I'd post this following picture because as an animal advocate I am against petting zoos. But I found in this years version, the animals were not able to be pet or overly fed etc so that made it abit more bearable for me to see. Even though I know it's not possible nor will ever even remotely happen, I just believe every wild animal should be exactly that...wild and free. That being said, I was heart-wrenchingly drawn to the Patagonian Cavies from South America, and I was drooling and head over heels in love with them but also with their beautiful and mind-boggling special babies of which there were 3. The Patagonian Cavie has always been one of my most favourite animals...so when we were walking by the cages for the boys to see the bunnies (I won't even start here about my urge to jump in the cage and rescue all 4 but they did seem to enjoy the company of their cellmate...a kangaroo) and we passed the Patagonian Cavies and my head whipped back around, I couldn't believe that there 2 feet away from me was a real live couple and it's brood...I was overwhelmed, they were even more lovely then I thought they'd be. So the day was weird for me after that being a mixture of sadness at seeing these creatures out of their natural habitat and not being able to run their fantastic 40 mph...but also I was brought to me knees by their preciousness and beauty. Oh I am not expressing myself well here, but I am sharing this photo with you because I hope that they jar just even one person out there reading my blog to appreciate and love animals and care for them even more.

That same night we ended up spending the evening with my old pal Bruce and his fiancee Linda. They were house sitting and his parents have an excellent place on the lake, so we just b-b-cued, caught up, and sat by the dock, here was the view...

The following day Jon and I grabbed a delicious sub and falafal and went to one of my favourite parks...

The company could not have been better but I think the food was made even more delicious by the lovely view of our little city...

Then we went with Lisa and Jon and the boys up to our beautiful waterfalls. It's becoming a beloved tradition, to do this hike and spend the afternoon up there whenever our dear friends come to town to visit. We got so many beautiful shots of the boys and of the adults with the kids etc...But let me share some of my favourite non-human shots...

And with that...I shall say caio...I have yet another busy day, I want to get a new drawing finished up and transferred to the substrate and I must clean as my little niece is coming for a sleepover this evening and she's allergic to dust...like her Auntie Mandy! Be well everyone...and happy being (sky.fm's world station helps out).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just a Quick Hello, A New Photo and Some Inspiration

Hi Everyone. I am sorry that I wasn't able to make Tuesdays post, I have no excuse other than just have a crazy busy weekend and previous week and Jon and I decided to take that day off together to do absolutely nothing but veg out (except for when I snuck out for an afternoon matinee with my mom to see 'The Mummy').
I just wanted to touch base, say hello and promise new artwork very soon...I've been busy with studio business but boring stuff that well simply no one would want to see or hear about....balancing my books, grant writing etc, necessary but dull none the less. But since this is a visually inspirational blog, I want to share something visual with you every time I post, so today I'll share one of my favourite new photos...just a flower shot taken on the little deck where I eat my breakfast every morning...don't worry, no more squirrel tales at the moment (but I did indeed find the chocolate wrapper from my stolen chocolate neatly tucked underneath the deck stairs!).
So with a very short post I'll be heading out to my busy day...I honestly cringe because this week includes a couple of meetings and well I really just want to hang out in my studio and get back to my colour and make some new pictures. I'll try to post on Friday since I missed this Tuesday. I hope your all well... Oh one more thing, I feel like I should mention my lovely blogging pal Vanessa Valencia over at A Fanciful Twist....her whimsical and other-worldly doll creations are featured in Art Doll Quarterly. Check it out, I am sure they will delight and enchant you. I am going to pick up my copy as soon as I make a trip to a bigger city that has them! I can't wait.

Seeing Vanessa's work always inspires me to dive back into my own unique creative world....and of course to try my hand at some doll's ha ha! But seriously, I love being visually struck and inspired and Vanessa really does share her talent and creative journey openly and I just love that. We are all unique and different, our creative voices and pulses and all our little nuances are different than all the other million of artists out there and that to me is just a mind-boggling thing.

Be well, happy creating...and please don't be scared of showing support towards other artists or indeed opening up and sharing some of your secret world...I am quite sure you'll be embraced and nurtured more than you could have ever imagined.