Monday, January 30, 2023

Cover Reveal--Arthropoda!

My adventures in publishing so far have been quite interesting! I saw the call for entries for Arthropoda by Perennial Press in summer 2021.

I was thrilled when it was accepted and it was a pleasure working with JW Stebner of Hexagon to edit the story and add the extra bit of polish.

Then came the waiting...the waiting...and wait no more! Pre-orders for this speculative fiction anthology are open right now!!.

Being a horse and bird lover, well, I just never imagined I would be writing about insects, but here we are! :-)

Arthropoda book cover

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Parrot Palooza!

So, back in September I was fortunate enough to attend a local Parrot Palooza as a vendor. It was a wild time and I even met local celebirdies, such as Max the Moluccan.

Originally the show was supposed to be in a community hall, but they switched it to the new VCA vet hospital down the road from us. Somehow I didn't factor in that I would be in a room of screaming parrots for seven hours. It was like "SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM SIREN SCREAM I love you SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM BARK BARK hello", but once people arrived, talking balanced out the noise. All the parrots there were club member parrots--no outside birds allowed. There were so many! Cockatiels, conures of all kinds, cockatoos, one blue and gold macaw, an African grey, a few caiques, several different types of Amazons, a parrotlet, two Quakers, and a grey parrot who someone told me the name of, but that I didn't recognize. I'm so happy with how the portraits of Birdzilla and Yoshi turned out.



Thursday, December 15, 2022

A Great Way to End 2022!

I'm thrilled to share my short story, "A Foot in Two Worlds", was accepted into this anthology :-) My dad came to Canada in 1960 and navigating two cultures has always been a part of my life.
Cover reveal

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Tony! Tony! Tony!

For years now I've done pet portraits at the local comic expo, but COVID has put the kibosh on that. I was able to attend a parrot show called Parrot Palooza at the end of September though and here's one of the subjects, a French bulldog named Tony.

I found it very hard to cartoon Tony and it actually took two tries. Click through for larger.

Tony Toon Take 1   Tony Toon Take 2

His human also ordered a realistic portrait which was done on pastel paper with assorted pastels. I loved how this one turned out!


Thursday, October 27, 2022

This Post Grad Life--Tying Up Loose Ends

I'll admit I'm not the speediest artist, but I began this trio of dog portraits in 2019! It was hard to find a good chunk of time to finish them while I was finishing up school. Naturally there was a lot of things to do and I was only able to sit down and finish the final portrait this month.

Each portrait is 4x6" and was rendered in pencil crayon, marker, and PanPastel. Click through to see the larger version on Flickr.

Angel Pupper Trio

Saturday, August 27, 2022

This Post Grad Life--I'm A Winner!

One of the things about being a new grad is that it takes a while for it all to sink in--you've crossed the finish line--but there's so much work to do. In my case, I've spent the last few months cleaning, organizing, donating and recycling where I can. It's nice to not have to step over things and vacuum the carpet. Best of all, I get to make art for myself again. If you have been following my Facebook page or my blog for some time, you know I was a regular entrant to the Calgary Stampede Western Lifestyle Arts and Crafts Show. The show is a quiet, dim respite from the excitement of the fairgrounds but also a great place to see local talent from cakes to quilts.

I wasn't sure I would be able to complete an entry before the end of the semester and the June 20th deadline. It's probably true for a lot of grads, but once the semester was done, I was done. I could not make anything and the pressure was on. Instead of worrying about what the finished item would look like, I just simply got started!

About ten years ago I was making miniature tapestries with embroidery floss and revisited the tapestry idea by snapping a piece of aida cloth into a small embroidery hoop. Strand by strand, the landscape began to take place. Click on any photo for a larger view.

Work in progress tapesty
Making a mountain was the hardest part. I used a wedge of cardstock to weave the sky around it.
Once the tapestry was done, it got a haircut and a layer of glue around the edges.
Work in progress tapesty

Then it was time to make the front. I printed my drawing, "Little Horse on the Prairie", onto a piece of cardstock, snip snip snipped and assembled! There was no way I could weave the horse in on such a small scale. I was already having trouble seeing and ended up buying clip-on magnifiers for my glasses.

My frenzied work paid off because I won third place! My friend Luba kindly shared the news. Regrettably I did not get out to the Stampede this year to see the other works.0 I'll definitely be back at the show next year with something bigger and horse-related, I'm sure :-)

Thursday, June 9, 2022

#TBT: I Did It! I'm A Grad!

I can’t believe this happened two weeks ago—I graduated! My art school held convocation on May 26 in person. It was an exciting day with a couple of obstacles at first, but I made it. I did it! To recap, I started my BFA part-time through Cont Ed in 2003 and the Alberta University of the Arts was called ACAD, or Alberta College of Art + Design. I made mplans to graduate in 2009...2013...2016...2019...but life just got in the way and it was hard to give up well-paying jobs with benefits when one has bills and a mortgage today. I even took a five year break because I couldn't keep up with work and school.

Here are all the happy grads before the ceremony. The reason there are so many is that grads from 2020 and 2021 were invited back for their chance to walk the stage and fist bump the university president.

AU Arts Grads in gowns

The ceremony opened with a Treaty 7 land acknowledgement, a blessing from a Treaty 7 elder and a Métis Region 3 elder along with some short speeches and introductions. For the non-locals, Calgary is situated on the traditional territories of many Blackfoot Confederacy nations. Two former grads received honourary art MFAs, which was nice to see. Her Worship, our Mayor, was the commencement speaker and she gave a great speech about the importance of creative industries, which was pretty heart-felt. Then there was the student speaker, who I didn’t know. One of the downsides of being a part-time student is that you never have time to be involved with school activities.

Then, it was time for a lot of clapping. A lot of clapping! 2020 and 2021 crossed the stage and when it was time for 2022 grads, Ceramics and Fibre were called first. It’s amazing how a moment you have been waiting for and daydreaming about comes and goes so quickly. It was akin to being married back in 2004–-afterwards it’s like, whew, all that work for one minute? But it was great! I walked across that stage, fist-bumped the president, then paused to get hugs from my teachers. They gave all the grads a little card and inside was-—a needle! Awwww! What a touching little gift.

The whole ceremony was touching for its inclusivity. Indigenous students received an eagle feather from the Treaty 7 elder and Métis students received a traditional, red woven sash from a Region 3 elder. It was so wonderful to see the celebration. Students were encouraged to wear traditional dress if they so chose, but only a few did that I saw. One grad wore a Korean outfit and a Romanian grad wore a traditional dress under her gown, which she doffed when receiving a special award at the end.

The ceremony went on for a total of two hours and we scattered to the wind as we were ushered out. My classmates and I hoped for a group photo, but that didn’t happen. There were just so many people and we scattered to the wind.

I cried and hugged my mom. “I did it!” I said and she was red-faced and crying. Dad felt he was too old to go to the grad and my brother had fears about catching COVID. So it was just Mom that showed up for me. I cried in the washroom afterwards, whether from sadness or relief or hunger or hormones I don’t know. It was just a lot in one day and all jets were running on fumes. Hungry. Thirsty. Tired. So many feels!

I returned my gown, kept my cap and we had some more snacks outside. The day was picture perfect—-just sun, no wind or grey clouds. A perfect day for graduation. We ducked back inside for the grad show and found my picture hanging on the wall. Mom said it was very nice (of course Mom would say that).

It was hard, seeing all those happy families hugging and celebrating their grad. Grads are a bigger deal now in the social media age than 1997. There was an acknowledgement and validation that yes-—your child can go to art school and it’s not an embarrassment anymore. That they can have a successful life and career in the visual arts. It had been so, so long since I had seen so many happy people hugging and loving that it was like I had forgotten what joy meant.

I cried all night. The day was overwhelming and even two weeks later--it doesn't feel real. I did it!