Sunday, 30 September 2007

A Change of Plans

In my post on Friday night, the 28th, I was talking about attending our anniversary celebration at the co-op. Unfortunately, I ended up being sick and could not attend. I was still not well on Saturday so I did not try to post anything. I am better today, but still not back to normal. It wasn't anything serious -- just part and parcel of trying to treat the various problems I have.

Anyway, I have a quick drawing that I did some time ago of me and miz k.d. A friend took a photo of the two of us back in 2000 when I was having to spend a lot of time in bed. So, I thought it was perfect for sharing with you tonight. I actually spent a number of hours this weekend in a similar position! This drawing doesn't really have a title -- I just call it the one of me and miz k.d.

This next drawing is one I did last year from a photo in the newspaper and since this weekend was the Run for the Cure in Toronto, I thought it would be appropriate to show you this one. I call it "Let's Run for the Cure" -- which is good advice to us all. And if you can't run, like me, then wheel for the cure!

Now I want to show you a drawing that has no connection, whatsoever to my previous comments tonight. It is here because I came across it recently and remembered how much work I put into it and how it has been neglected ever since because it just did not turn out to be that appealing. I learned a lot doing this drawing so I am not sorry for it, but it is always unfortunate when something is completed and I know almost immediately that no one is going to be choosing it for a set of greeting cards. Anyway, I will show it to you.

The photo I worked from was one of a Catholic Church on Manitoulin Island (a place quite a bit further north than Toronto for those reading who are not from Ontario). A place where it makes sense to have a boat tied up at a dock for getting from one place to another. In my usual creative way, I call it "Church on Manitoulin"!

This next drawing was one of my favourites at the time I finished it and I really can't believe I haven't shown it to you previously. However, I can't find it on my list so I assume that it was just an oversight on my part. At any rate, I saw the photo of a so-called Japanese garden and I wanted to draw a picture of it. My main concern was how to show the sand and circles in the sand in a computer-drawn picture. I think that figuring out how I could do this sufficiently well enough so it looks more or less like the real thing, gave me more pleasure than the finished drawing. However, it has been chosen often by people ordering greeting cards from me. It is called "A Place for Reflection"

Now there is another one of my animal drawings. I keep doing these in the sincere hope that one day I will get good enough at it so that my animals are immediately recognizable to the viewer.

This drawing is called "Mountain Goats". And while the goats, themselves, seem to be recognizable enough, people have trouble figuring out what is going on. This is not good for an effective drawing, I have found! I will explain it. The goats have been drinking at the little pool of water in the shadow of the rocks. I am still learning how to draw water on the computer. It is so much easier with a paintbrush. Anyway, having lived in semi-desert country, I have actually come upon hidden pools of water like this and in a hot, arid place, they are truly a beautiful sight. One of these days I think I might try to draw this picture again... we'll see.

The final picture tonight is of a young girl eating my favourite dessert -- strawberry shortcake -- with fresh strawberries, homemade short bread and freshly whipped cream. Yum.

The other thing I liked about the photo that I did the drawing from is that the young lady looks a lot like I did at that age: reddish-brown hair and lots of big freckles. Her hair is redder and her eyes are greener, but my freckles were as big or bigger! By the way, the drawing is called, wait for it, "Strawberry Shortcake"!

As I am still not feeling too well, I won't say much more tonight. Hopefully, by tomorrow evening I will be feeling better and can show you some more of my early drawings from the archives.

Until then, be blessed.

Friday, 28 September 2007

The Celebration Begins!

Tonight is the first night of celebrating a very important anniversary of the co-operative housing building that I live in. Things start happening around 7 p.m. and will continue for quite some time -- so, I figured that I had better try to see if I can get a good start on this particular post just in case I get home too late!

This really is a great building I am living in -- in so many ways -- largely due to all the wonderful people who live in the building most of whom always try to do their part to keep things going the way they should. It is nice to live in an apartment-type building which is also like a small community in the middle of a huge city. I consider myself very fortunate to be living here. And best of all for me: my apartment is very accessible and I am allowed to have miz k.d. with me. God is so good.

So let me tell you about tonight's drawings.

This first one is called "Sticks in a Jug" -- not a very romantic name I will admit, but I have always liked those "whiskey jugs" as I grew up calling them. After seeing one used as a vase in a photograph several years ago, I knew I wanted to draw it -- and eventually did so.

If you happened to look at my entry for the 28th previously, you might remember that I had another drawing here entitled "Flowerpot Rocks --Fundy". As I said at the time, it was not a drawing that I was pleased with at all. When I came back and looked at the post again, I just could not stand looking at a drawing that should have been deleted. So, I deleted it from the post and put this one in instead. The is a simple drawing but it makes a really nice notecard. I entitled it "4 in 1" -- how's that for brevity!

Next is a drawing of a harbout soon after dawn. As I recall, it was one of my first attempts to draw all the different aspects of a small-town harbour. This is another drawing that I am not particularly pleased with mainly because I feel that the scene lacks the balance I like to achieve in my drawings. As well, I was still learning how to use the computer to provide certain types of shading, etc.

As you have probably surmised, the title of this one is "Early Morning -- Down East".

The drawing that comes next is one I rarely use -- not because I am not pleased with the finished results, but rather because of the confusion I have found most viewers experience when trying to figure out exactly what they are seeing!

It is, in fact, a scene from the Acadian part of Louisiana, pre-Katrina, and shows a church on stilts with other buildings close by with a lake in the front of the drawing.

This one is called "Acadia Louisiana".

Now there is a drawing I did last year before Christmas and which I ended up using for one of my Christmas cards. As I recall, it was also one the first times that I tried drawing horses using the computer mouse. It is entitled "Snowy Sleigh Ride."

Here is a drawing with even more snow than the previous one! This was my second effort to draw Alberta's Three Sisters mountains. As I think I have mentioned previously, mountains are very difficult to draw due to the shading they require. I continue to try to draw them and one of these days, I hope to finish a drawing of moutains that really pleases me!

And, finally, tonight, is a colourful drawing of a portion of a town and its dock down in the Eastern Townships. The title is "Docks and Houses -- Eastern Townships".
As you can see, I am up to my old tricks when it comes to interesting titles!

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful weekend.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Something old,new,borrowed & blue

Well, tonight I get to show you the drawing I was working on last night. As I mentioned when showing you another recent drawing, this is the first incarnation and I may yet make changes to it; however, I have reached a point where I feel it might be finished -- so I stop -- for now.

The title is "The Lady and the Tortoise" which is self-explanatory. One thing I would like to point out though is that I have always had a real fondness for tortoises/turtles. To be more specific, I would have to say that I have always had a fondness for toads/frogs and non-poisonous snakes! I have even been known, in the past, to keep all of the above as pets!

This next drawing is not new, but it is one that was done earlier this year. As I mentioned to you previously, I have a real interest in the situation of orphaned African children who are being raised by their grandmothers. This shows a young boy in South Africa who is not only an orphan but also is sick himself -- given the disease by his mother when he was born. This drawing is entitled "GoGo and her Grandson". (As I understand it, "GoGo" is the term commonly used in South Africa for grandmother.)

Now I want to show you three drawings that actually go together to make one long picture. These drawings were a commission of sorts. One of the "owners" of a web site sent me a photograph and asked if I could do something with it -- the idea being that the finished art work would be used in his web site to help create a particular impression. So when you are looking at them, try to imagine them placed side by side. Also, since they were created for a particular use other than for my cards or prints, I did not give them titles.


These last two drawings are ones I wanted to include because they are unusual -- both in the subject matter and in the way they look.

The first one is entitled "Potato Farm, P.E.I." In other words, this is one of those farms that grows the famous Prince Edward Island potatoes! A word of warning -- don't look at it for too long if you tend to have problems with dizziness!

The second drawing is of a rice boat on a river in India. The model for the drawing was a newspaper photo which was part of a travel article on India. I was so taken with the design that I ended up drawing the boat. So far, no one has ever asked for a card or a print of this particular drawing. Maybe you want to be the first! The title is obvious: "Rice Boat"

So, that is enough for tonight, I think. Hopefully my comments have made as much sense as usual! I say this because I am continuing to struggle with a new attack of health problems so I have a bit more difficulty focusing on what I am saying due to this awful medication I must take. I am sure that I will be feeling better soon.

Anyway, I wish you a day filled with peace and happiness.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Just A Quickie

I will have to take you on a very quick tour tonight as I am running out of time! I am working on a new drawing. After watching the evening news on TV, I thought: well, why not take just a few minutes and do a bit more work on my in-progress drawing! Suddenly, shortly before 9 p.m., I noticed the time. Where did the past 2 hours go?

So, we had better get started.

This first drawing is called "Maria, 2007". The reason for this title is because I have another art work -- a pastel drawing -- entitled "Maria, 1967". As you can probably guess, I used my original pastel drawing as the model for the 2007 Maria. The pastel drawing above, named "Maria 1967" was done in art class using an actual model way back in 1967!

This next drawing is of another model named Maria and was drawn in 2006. Just to demonstrate to you how clever I am when it comes to titles, I am sure you will be surprised to learn that I named this drawing "Another Maria"! See, aren't you impressed? Anyway, the model for this one came from Mexico -- at least that is what it said in the caption under her photograph.

Now, I have three flower drawings I found while looking through one of my archive files.
I am not certain what these flowers are as the photo I used for the drawing simply called them "new flowers". Having a way with words, I ended up naming the finished work "New Flowers"!

The next drawing is one I did without working from a photo -- just my imagination. I was playing around one day with different parts of some orchids when suddenly I realized that I had put the pieces together in such a way that I had created something that looked to me like an owl's face.
So, I just kept drawing until I had a vase full of these flowers and when the drawing was finished, I decided to call it "Owl-Faced Orchids" I bet that really surprises you!

The final drawing for tonight is of a real orchid; however, I have no idea what the name of it is. The photo I was working from did not call the flowers anything other than orchids. So, since they had no name and they did not really look like any kind of animal or bird, I ended up naming them for their colour.
The drawing is called "Passionate, Pink Orchids"

So, that is all for this evening as it is getting very late (for me) and I must get myself organized for bed. Getting ready for sleep takes a bit more work when you have disabilities so I try to give myself enough time so that I don't end up staying up too late. H!opefully, tomorrow I will not get distracted for quite as long as I did tonight, but with a drawing in progress, you never know!
I pray that you have a safe and peaceful night. Remember the people in Burma.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Something new

Well, today I want to start off with a brand new drawing that I just "finished" this afternoon. The reason I put finished in quote marks is because you may see some changes, additions or subtractions in the days ahead.

This is what happens with a drawing: I go through a period of days when I keep looking at the drawing and feeling that something is just not quite the way I want it. This leads to changes. Sometimes the changes are noticeable and sometimes not. At any rate, this is just a warning that you may see this drawing again in the near future and find that the youngster has decided to wear an orange shirt instead of a blue one!

The working title for this one has been "Boy and Butterflies"; however, I am thinking about calling it "Discovery". We'll see....

This next drawing of a nattily dressed young man was actually inspired by a photo of a young model showing the latest in fashion. In spite of being posed, I really liked the look of his face and decided make a drawing of the photo. I call this one "A Really Cool Guy".

Now I want to show you one of my favourite flower drawings. For me it ranks right up there with "Poeticus Recurvus" which I think I showed you in my very first post.

Hopefully, you can tell that is is a drawing of poppies! As you probably know, here in Canada Remembrance Day (November 11th) is celebrated by the wearing of a paper poppy in the lapel. In late October, the Veterans start selling them and you see that bright, orange-red colour almost everywhere. The difficulty with these "remembrances" is that unless you bend the attached pin in a certain way, the poppies tends to fall off your coat or jacket and so a number of them end up on the sidewalk! Of course, this means that you quickly buy another one which may be what is intended! The drawing is entitled "Poppies".

Next comes a drawing that I showed you last night. At that time I said that if I could find the "mates" of this drawing, I would tell you why I had drawn them and who the children are. So, here goes....

As I mentioned last night, this one is entitled "Lenny" and is of a young girl in Africa.

The the next one is entitled "Myka" and is of a young girl in the Philippines.

And the third one is entitled "Sandra Elizabeth" and is of a young lady in Guatemala.

So, who are they and why did I do the drawings in the first place?
They are my little girls! Not mine as in being my children, but mine as in being the children I sponsor. I have the privilege of being able to make certain that they are able to go to school and I hope I am helping them to have a better life. I started sponsoring them at different times with Lenny being the youngest -- both in age and time I have been her foster parent. The wonderful organization that enables me to do this is called Christian Child Care International. It is a Catholic group but like all the other church-sponsored groups, anyone can participate. They have a web site at if you are interested. By the way, the reason for the highway behind each one is to remind them that they are on the highway to a good education and a happy life.
This next drawing is not one I did because I was so captivated by the subject matter. In fact, the only part of the drawing that strongly appealed to me was the tree. I have a special fondness for trees and I really miss the ease with which you can paint trees with a brush; however, I do the best I can within the limitations of my mouse-drawing techniques. The photograph of this tree reminded me of the Canadian artist, Tom Thompson and some of the famous trees in his Algonquin paintings. Once I had drawn the tree, I needed to do something else with it -- so, since at that particular time I needed a greeting card to send to an engaged couple, I added the lake and the couple on the shore. I entitled it "Couple at the Lake".

Then we have a drawing where I paid more attention to the colours than to the subject matter. I do love the colour, orange, and kind of got a bit carried away in using it in this work. It was inspired by a photo in another one of those mission magazines I have mentioned before and shows a mother starting to pick up a water jar which she will place on her head! I named it "Water Jars".

Here we have a drawing of a dock on a small Ontario lake. If you look closely, you can see the first star of evening reflected in the still water -- you know how still the water can get at dusk. The people who were playing on the dock and in the water have left -- probably gone to the cottage to fire up the grill. I called this one "The Wishing Star".

The last drawing in today's tour is called "Gift from China". This is the daughter of a dear friend as she looked about 8 years ago dressed up for Halloween. She looks so perfect in her Chinese outfit that no one would ever guess that this is not how she dresses every day. The reality is that she is just a normal Canadian girl -- albeit an especially lovely and intelligent one!

You may have noticed that there is a public service announcement at the top of my most recent post. This was placed there by Google after I gave them permission to do so. I understand that there will eventually be actual ads on my blog. I just hope and pray that they will be for things that I am comfortable advertising! We'll see how it goes.
God willing, I will be posting again tomorrow. I pray that you have a safe and restful night.

Monday, 24 September 2007

A Mixed Bag

Tonight's tour is truly a mixed bag of drawings. As I try to pull my work from here, there and everywhere, I tend to just grab things as I find them. I am still trying to make certain that I don't duplicate things, but that is sometimes very difficult to accomplish as a number of drawings have more than one name! Very confusing....

Anyway, here goes.

This first drawing was actually inspired by another painting that my mother did as a young woman. This is one of the few occasions when I tried to work from memories instead of an actual photograph. You see, the original painting was stolen from my sister's (Betty) home in Florida many years ago. It was one of my favourite paintings so all I have are the memories. I entitled the drawing "Mama's Lady".

This next drawing is another one of the man I call John Paul the Great. There were so many photographs taken of him which gave me a powerful, intuitive sense of what it means to be loved. I entitled this drawing "God is Love".

Now I want to show you a drawing of a very special young friend of mine from Africa. This drawing actually is one of three drawings and I will show you the other two as I come across them. When I find the other two, I may show you this one again and explain who these wonderful young ladies are. For now I will just tell you that the name of this drawing is "Lenny".

Do you recall in last night's post that I showed you a drawing of a girl dancing with a dolphin? I mentioned that while that particular drawing had never been requested, I did have another drawing of a dolphin that people seemed to like a lot more. This is it. It is called by its obvious name: "Kissing a Dolphin".

Next is a drawing of a young friend of mine. This is what you might call an age-enhanced drawing made using a current photo of this young girl. She is going to grow up to be a beauty and so I call this drawing "A Young Beauty".

Now, here is a total change of pace. A drawing of a horse and rider in the deep snows of winter. The model for this was actually a photo in a magazine spread and, as usual, it was the horse that first attracted me! It is entitled "The Woods in Winter".

Next is a drawing of a young boy. I am no longer certain as to where I found the photo I worked from, but I think it must surely have been a magazine. Wherever it was, I remember being attracted by the look of expectancy on his face. I call the drawing "Ready for Anything!".

The inspiration for this next drawing came from a news photo of Haitian women and children who had been gathered together to listen to the words of a visiting politician. To me, the look on this woman's face said "give me food and shelter, not words". I call the drawing "Haitian Heartache".

I like the juxtaposition of these two drawings -- the one of the Haitian woman and child next to this one of a young, beautiful and privileged child of North America. It is not her fault that she is living a comfortable life while the child of the Haitian mother probably goes to sleep with hunger pangs each night. It is just a good reminder to me that I live in the land of the privileged and so I need to do whatever I can to share what I have with those who have so much less. This drawing, by the way, is entitled "Golden Girl".

So the above drawing is followed by one of a young girl living in another troubled part of the world -- Somalia. Even so, I tried to draw hope in her face and in the beautiful shell in her hands. It is entitled "Gift from the Sea".

Surprise! Here is the other new Christmas card that I was mentioning to you the other night. This is another one of those drawings to which I added Christmas decorations in order to use it as a Christmas card. Without the additions, it is entitled "Papa takes the Night Shift". In its transformed state it is now entitled "Twas the Night before Christmas".

Here is another snowy drawing. I think I may be trying to psych myself up for what lies ahead.

Anyway, as usual, I was attracted by this big, gentle bear of a man holding his tiny, precious daughter so easily in his big hands. I kept the title simple and called it "Father and Daughter".

Finally, this evening is a drawing of one of those people who has truly been a gift in my life. Her presence has added a richness and joy to my experience of living that I am grateful for every day. I have been blessed by the presence of some wonderful women in my life and this is definitely one of them. I considered calling the drawing A Polish Beauty; however, I finally decided that the best title would be "Dearest Friend".

And, so, I come to the end of another virtual tour of my art work. I hope you have enjoyed it along with all my comments. Please continue to send me your comments. I need your feedback in order to make this blog a pleasant and happy place to hang out.

Blessings and peace.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Questions Answered

I have gotten a couple of questions recently from people who have been looking at my blog and so I thought I would start off tonight by answering one that I have gotten from several people -- what are my prices?

Well, first of all I guess I should mention the greeting cards since those are what I sell the most. An individual card cost $3.00 but you can get 10 cards (with envelopes) for $25. If you are getting 10, you can select up to five different drawings. If you just want to buy a few cards, the minimum is two of the same design.

Prints for framing are usually $25 for a 5x7, $50 for an 8x10 and $75 for a 9x12. Anything larger would be a negotiated price. And, of course, an individual order for a drawing from a favourite photo of yours starts at $50 and goes up from there depending on how much work will be involved. I occasionally am asked to supply sets of cards for a silent auction and then you get to keep whatever you make over my price. All my work, even the cards, are signed by me.

So, I hope that is not too confusing.

The next question was a very interesting one to me as an artist as someone asked if I ever complete drawings that I don't use or I don't like? The answer, of course, is yes -- frequently. In fact, tonight I will even show you some of the drawings that have never been requested by anyone. But first, I would like to show you one of the new Christmas cards that I have been mentioning for the past couple of days. Actually, this drawing is a recent one which I entitled "Thinking Outside the Box" and then decided after I had finished it that it might make a cute Christmas card. I added some holiday type things and now call it "Unexpected Gift".

These next few drawings are ones that people have requested on greeting cards but they show a certain aspect of my work that I have mentioned previously... my love for detail.
This first one is called "My Toronto" and it is the familiar skyline of my city as you view it from Toronto Island.

Then, going inside the city, I have a drawing entitled "My Neighbourhood" which was drawn using a photo of Toronto's version of the Flatiron Building.

Next is a view of some buildings in a Polish City which are part of a neighbourhood called Old Town (only there it is in Polish, of course!). I used "Old Town" as my title for the drawing.

Then there is a drawing of what appears to be a European city neighbourhood but which is actually taken from a photo of a city in Sweden. When it came to naming the drawing, I decided to call it "European Skyline" since it looks like so many places -- even Quebec City!

Now begins the viewing of some of the drawings rarely, if ever, requested.
This first one actually has been requested a few times but the subject matter is such that it has been chosen by people who have some special liking for Buddha statues. I actually entitled it "Dragon Flowers."

Now, the following ones have truly never been requested by anyone who has seen my portfolio and I think you will understand why. I do like dolphins and I have a drawing of a dolphin and a girl that people have actually requested on greeting cards; however, this is not the one! The title is "Dancing with Dolphins".

This next one was drawn for a particular purpose related to a local co-op. I based the drawing on a not-very-good photo taken of a mother duck who had chosen a rooftop garden as her nesting site and would not be deterred. After the babies were hatched, the animal control people were able to move them all to a better location. What amazed me about the mother, after years of identifying ducks in the wild, was the way she would elongate her neck when she was watching over her babies. It made her look almost like a goose -- something I had never witnessed previously. The title is "Co-op Squatters".

Now I will show you a really strange drawing. It was my first attempt to drawn Asian architecture. It ended up, after much work, looking like a doll's house and so I surrounded it with Bonsai trees. When viewing my drawings, people tend to skip over it very quickly! It is called "Bonsai Garden".

Staying with the theme of Asian architecture, I did this drawing from a newspaper ad for a Chinese festival. The ad included an actual photo of a Chinese dancer. What made me want to draw it was the position of her fingers! I really love trying to draw different kinds of hands and from the position of her fingers, I would guess that she may be what we used to call "double- jointed". I had a friend in grade school who could position her fingers like this dancer and I always thought it was so cool. I used to make frequent, painful efforts to make my fingers do the same, but all to no avail. This drawing is entitled "China Festival".

Another defunct drawing is my first and only effort (so far) at drawing an Arbutus tree. I saw a photo in a magazine about British Columbia and as I looked closely, I could see the image of a standing bear in the peeling bark on the tree's trunk. Trying to draw it and make it look natural was really beyond my techniques using a computer mouse. Maybe some day I will try it again. It is simply called "Arbutus Tree".

And, finally, there is another drawing I did because of hands. These are the hands of a wood carver and the drawing is entitled "A Carver's Hands". So often, after capturing the expression on a person's face, I move next to try to capture the expression in a person's hands.

I hope I have answered both questions to the satisfaction of those who enquired. Please feel free to send me more comments and questions. I really appreciate your feedback.
Wishing you all a restful night. May God bless you.