Monday, January 28, 2008

THE STORY OF ST-JOSEPH...

Let me tell you the story of my St-Joseph, who has been guarding the garden for the past 15 years...

A friend of mine lives besides an old church on a small street in Eastern Montreal. He is an illustrator, who has decided to make a turn and switch to painting full-time now. He is doing very well, paints humongous canvas paintings in oil, I am talking BIG size. He paints in a hyper-realistic style a diversity of funky montage of pop objects, or flower assemblage or other very interesting subjects. He is now spending his winter in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where he is represented in a gallery.

Anyways, he is walking back home one day and he sees this strange human form peeking out of the pile of garbage besides the basement of the church. He moves the stuff away and discovers this beautiful all-marble sculpture of St-Joseph, there among the trash! This thing was so heavy, he managed to twist and pull and push and roll it in his yard. He later discovered that some of nuns working at the church to help had decided that the Holly Manger was no longer needed and decided to throw in the garbage the character adorning during Christmas, planning on getting rid of them one by one weekly. Can you believe it? They later changed their mind and just kept the rest of the sculptures.

Well, this St-Joseph felt lonely in my friend's backyard so one day I mentioned to him that I thought he would be beautiful in my garden in the country. He gave it to me at the condition that I would move him!!! Francois managed to embark him in the trunk of our old Volvo, with the help of many other arms and hands, and so was the beginning of a new life in paradise for old St-Joseph.

He is now the focus point of my garden. He can be viewed from everywhere, he guards the chicken coop, stands in the canopy of shade gourds and Scarlet Runner beans created climbing up the trellis I build from our the metal frame from the tent we used three times in Mexico. He stands alone covered in snow in winter and surrounded by flowers in summer. He is here to stay forever and ever... When my son was very young, he went to him one day, planted a cut flower in his hand and kissed him on the cheek. This is a sweet memory that I will cherish forever. We love our St-Joseph and I think he loves us too...

Friday, January 25, 2008

FRIDA LA MARIPOSA

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for sale on eBAY !!! I am out of time tonite, I am sleepy and I must finish a commissioned painting for tomorro. I have been going to bed so late this week, 4 a.m. 3 nights in a row, then waking up at 6 a.m that I feel I am turning into a creature of the dark... It is alright, tomorrow is Saturday, youppi ! I can stay in bed later, like 6:30 intead of 6:00, I can relax in front of my computer to read ya'all's blogs, leave comments and chat a bit via email. I love my Saturdays...

Ohhhh, I am having a good old time with this new way of painting. I am so inspired these days, I could paint the entire world one canvas after another! I have put all my heart in this new Frida Kahlo painting I listed tonite on eBay (maybe on Etsy too later), painted it with bright Mexican colors and added all kinds of collaged bits and pieces. I had done the sketch a few months ago after reading a short text written on Diego's loved one. The author said that Frida was a pinned down butterfly and that if she did not have strong feet she did have beautiful wings to fly. So I added the words Tengo alas para volar which means I have wings to fly and Soy una mariposa herida which means I am a hurt (or broken down) butterfly ...

SCHOOL MEMORIES...

I love old style educational illlustrations. And I love anatomical and botanical old-Europe illustrations. And I particularly ADORE old school posters. The teacher would pin them on the wall above the blackboard or in a space between windows. Some were fashioned like window blinds, you would roll them down to show the image and would roll them up after when you where done. Some were used to teach the alphabeth, some to talk about everyday life good manners and some others were just meant to decorate the class. They were illustrated mostly by European artists and their talent was just incredible...

After school, I went to the library with Ulysse to get a stack of comic books and a few adventure novels. Our library is small, nothing like the BIG old National library I used to go to every Saturday with my mom and brother. It is rather modern and at the entrance there is a large room that is used as a gallery to exhibit the work of local artists. And the current show was a collection of old school posters!!! I took pictures of them all, they were unbelievable! And large too! They were saved by this lady who happened to find them in a trash bin a few years ago when an old school was being renovated. Can you imagine throwing these jewels in the garbage!

All week has been work, work, work to make up for the lost time of last week. And it is a week during which working is easy and fun and satisfying. Being sick and taking a break was good. I distanced myself from what I was doing artistic-wise and just shed my old skin! So I was able to finish 2 paintings today, my new Frida and another, maybe the last, Valentine girl. But the light was not good enough by the time I was ready to photograph them, so I will do that tomorrow and post them on eBay and maybe Etsy. I love being in this space of mind, no need to force ideas to come out, I wake up and they are right here, next to my pillow, waiting for me to grab my first cup of café au lait and jump start a new day...

CAN YOU BELIEVE SOME PEOPLE ARE BORED AND DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO TO MAKE THE TIME PASS ?

Not me....

Oh! before I forget, thanks to you all for visiting my blog and leaving comments and buying my paintings and being interested in what is happening with my art and my life. I read yours too daily (or almost) but have not had the time to leave as many comments as I would have liked to. But I read you all and enjoy it a lot.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I WILL BE YOUR QUEEN FOREVER...

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Yep! I am definitely staying with manustahlopinetin...It is so much fun!!! And thanks for ALL the positive feedback you have been sending, either via my blog or through Etsy convos and emails. I feel so recharged now, I am ready to paint the world !!!

I finished this Valentine Angel Queen this morning and I am so proud of it! I did all sorts of collage on this one, even added real red ribbon bows. It is available on eBay. I am finishing a large one tonite, a NEW FRIDA KAHLO painting that I should be able to post tomorrow on eBay and Etsy. No wonder I have only been painting angels and fairies, I feel like I have a set of my own!

Brrrr, it is so cold tonite and the sky is so bright, it is beautiful outside. I just went to close the chicken coop's door and turn their heating lamp on and the snow sparkles like in one of these fairy tales movies. You know the sparkles you see in commercials, when teeth are so clean and white that TING ! They sparkle! And it is so quiet in winter here, you can hear the sound of what nothing sounds like... if you know what I mean ;-)

Ohhhhh, my husband has been working hard in his welding shop and when I passed by today, I was forbidden to enter... I smell Valentine creation in the air! Ohhhhh, I love it!

Hey! How's your YEAR OF THE RAT ART EVENT piece coming along ?

LOVE GIVES WINGS...

Finally, here is a new painting, third in my Valentine serie. I really enjoyed making this one, had great fun using red paper doillies in two corners of it and overlapping color over color on the background. Mon coeur est léger ... It is now available on eBay and I might post it as well on Etsy. I am trying to finish painting no. 4 tonite, will post it as well on eBay tomorrow.

Not much more to say tonite, it is late, I am trying to work but the cats are driving me nuts, they are all running after each other and screaming war signals. No wonder they say hospitals are full of nuts on full moon! My house is full of crazy cats! 5 minutes more and they will all be turned into little Davy Crocket's hats!!! Well, this is my husband's famous saying when the felines are running wild and he is getting ready to wring their necks! Oh, do not fear, I love my cats dearly, but I guess, sometimes cats gotta be cats....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

OH ! YOU LITTLE DEVIL YOU ...

One of my resolution for the year 2008 is to cross out one of the 7356 little things on my "to do" list EVERY DAY. I am such a procrastinator that if I do not anchor myself with firm obligations I will be spending the rest of my life floating in the never-never world... ONE littlethingaday! That is what I have commited myself to. Of course, I am not talking about my list of 8205 medium things to do or my list of 3214 BIG things to do...

Today, I finally framed a drawing my son made in 2005, my favorite of all time entitled BIG DEVIL. He also painted a small devil when he was very young and as soon as I find it among the tons of other drawings I have kept away in boxes, I will add it. This one measures 18" x 24". I love this dessin, love his devilish smile, love the warm colors applied to the back ground, love the way the beige paper has turned yellowish. Also love this fake wood frame I found together with the light fiberglass fake-glass for a quarter. It is now hanging on top of the day bed in my studio and it makes me happy when I look at it. I haven't met a devil that I didn't love yet...

Today was a VERY good day of work in the studio, turned out I was able to start and finish a new painting and finish 2 more that were half-way there. I was out of batteries for my camera so I will show them to you tomorrow. A very good productive day indeed...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

IT IS ALIVE....

Yes, I can officially say that I am feeling better today! Bright and sunny and cold day, I went outside for a 4 miles walk, well dressed and accompanied by my 3 dogs. Came back feeling great with all the bugs and bacterias and microbes expelled from my system. I feell like a NEW ME! Which is usually quite dangerous! It makes me do crazy unusual things (like mountain biking down hill in winter), say outrageous things (like, as I read written in graffiti on a wall in Montreal "Women who would like to be treated as men lack ambition) and act like a wild woman (one time I went out to get bread and milk and came back with a boyish hair cut dyed it blonde). Tomorrow, I am diving head first in my studio and will be working as hard as I can with as much fun as I can...

Talked to Andrea today and Babette is doing just great, sleeping on her bed, eating her food, making a mess everytimes her 125 pounds body moves from spot A to spot B in her small house. We finally figured she is a female brindled Bull Mastif of around 1 year of age, unspayed. She could have gotten lost but so far no one as responded to our ads placed everywhere. She is quite a valuable dog, pure bred, so it is surprising that someone would have left her there abandoned. Will have given no clues in the adds that she is unspayed, some people are looking just for that kind of free deal, young female ready to give birth to many, many puppies who will each fetch a little bunch of money. The ads say we found a BIG dog, please call.... If she is not claimed next week, a bunch of us together will get her spayed then we will try to find the best home for her which should not be hard considering the kind of dog she is. Andrea might keep her too but she already has a Kane Corso (BIG dog) and two Jack Russels who are terrible little devils. But what is important is she is well kept, given LOTS of love, well fed, protected and taken care of...If only all the dogs and cats abandoned could all find a little swell paradise like she did...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

FRENCH SWEETHEARTS ...

I could not help but smile when I spotted a bag of these at a store nearby: French Sweetheart candies !!! First time I see French ones! I got the bag got I needed these to use as reference on a new painting I am working on right now...

I woke up feeling better this morning so, I just went on my I-suppose-I-am-a-superheroe mode and started acting like all was fine. But by the middle of the day, I felt like I was just ready to die, so I slowed down, after having made, nevertheless, chicken empanadas for supper, two loaves of brand bread, chocolate chips cookies for Ulysse and his friend and home-made cookies for the dogs...

Oh, well, tomorrawsanotherday...

Friday, January 18, 2008

I AM GOOD FOR NOTHING !!

This is how I feel, good for nothing... I have a splitting headache, a sore throat, an upset stomach, no energy at all and I am grumpy like an old witch. I guess this qualifies as 'being sick'. I was asleep at 7 p.m. yesterday, did not even get undressed, had a fever, crawled in bed and passed out. Woke up feeling even a little more hellish, so I decided that today was a quit day, a I-don't-feel-guilty-if-I-do-nothing day, a zero day. All ll I did was move from one spot in the house to another to crash, drink, drink, drink water and ... spend time at the laptop to read you all folks' blogs !!! Thank God I usually do not have enough time in a day to do that on a regular basis, I could get addicted. I really enjoy blogging, it has brought me all kinds of positive stuff. And it is so much fun reading your comments, keep them coming! I am now more excited to get my 'blog mail' than I am to get my regular email or the stuff filling up my road mailbox!

Talking about addiction, I discovered Big Black Java Monster Energy Dring last time I drove to Vermont. Whooo! Had one on my way home and I could feel the boost as soon as the can was finish! The taste is not bad, similar to ice coffee, and it got me so cranked up that I could not stop talking for hours in a row and worked till 6 a.m. that night! Well, today I am so slow, I feel like a transfusion of Java Monster would do me good...

I will be back to my old normal self tomorrow for sure...I hope...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

LOVE IS SO STRANGE...

FINALLY, here is my latest creation. A little different in style, more primitive folk art, less pop art cartoony. I am very happy with the results so I think I will go in that direction for a while and see where it takes me. It is also much larger, it measures 11" x 14" and it was almost more fun to paint in a bigger size. It is now available either on eBay (auction style) or Etsy (if someone wants it NOW!). I should be able to list another one tomorrow also.

I would love to read your comments about it, so please let me know what you think.

I haven't heard back and Andrea and Babette, so I supposed they are weaving the perfect love cloth (a French expression translation - hum... does sound very poetic, does it? I will give them a couple more days to get acquainted then I will call...What a nice dog Babette is? Still no news from a potential owner looking for his lost dog...

Worked all day in my studio, the sun makes it an INCREDIBLE room to spend time in and be inspired! It is so bright and sunny, you almost need sunglasses to stay there. I also started working on my piece for the YEAR OF THE RAT ART EVENT CONTEST, will try to finish it next week. How is you art coming along?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

BYE BYE BABETTE !!!

Babette was still here this morning, she did not even make a move to return to where she is coming from. And I will tell you, she is not as shy as she was yesterday! Ran, barked, played with the other dogs, jumped, ate everything she found, acted like a real dog. She is adorable, a nice girl but she is so big and we have 3 other dogs and other animals, and it sums up to a lot all together. So...

I called my friend Andrea, who had already called about 53 times to no avail. And she answered! Andrea is a dog person, even a cat person, she lives alone with lots of space and love to share. I told her about the dog and asked her if she wanted to have another dog for a while. She screamed out of her lungs that the last thing she needed was another dog...but that if I made her a cup of my best-in-the-world coffee, she would come and take a look at her. A couple of minutes after she had arrived, they were already kissing and hugging. Andrea will move the world for an animal, she already has 4 dogs and 2 cats but she went back home with a dog cookies box in one hand and a dog leash in the other. We push and pull and shoved the big Babette until she could squeeze in her tiny insect green car and they left both with a big grin on their face.

Thank God for people like Andrea... she is the Mother Teresa of the animal world. In the mean time, I will still try to find if someone is looking for Babette and Ulysse and I will be posting adds everywhere we can in case some is looking for her.

Tonite, I have a nasty soare throat, something I haven't had in many many years, reminds me of the days my mom would make me suck on ice cubes to take the pain away. So, no work tonite, I am going to bed with my book at a reasonable hour.

It is so much fun writing and knowing there are many people interested in what I have to say, show and tell. I love hearing from you all and I will be answering your comments tomorrow when I feel a bit better. I am so excited to hear quite a few people will be participating in my YEAR OF THE RAT ART EVENT CONTEST! Pass the info around about it, it is opened to anyone who wants to be creative in a rodent way!

I am so happy Babette will be sleeping inside a house tonite...

Bonne Nuit Babette, fais de beaux rêves....

Monday, January 14, 2008

QUIEN ES ESTA NINA? WHO'S THAT GIRL ?

Well, it's happened again...

It is true that 3 dogs, 5 cats, a rooster, 2 hens, 3 fish, a few snails and a turtle is not enough to fill an ark. But....we did not really need a new member in the circus. Although we've said that so many times before...

The dogs were barking outside yesterday morning and when I came out to take the garbage to the road, I noticed this BIG dog standing still on the other side, seated, quiet, waiting. When I approached it, it did not bark, growl or run away, it just crouch in a ball and hid behind a wood box. I let it be, ignored it and went back inside. About an hour later, I checked and the dog was still standing there at the same exact spot, watching. But the other dogs had gotten interested in it and they seem to be trying to get to know each other. Took the car to go to the post office and just before getting in, I went back and talk to it softly. It did not move. Went to do the things I had to do and when I came back home, I went to it again and talked to her longer. I called it softly again, and again and again and suddenly, it moved and came to me wiggling its tail.

What a beautiful dog! And what a BIG dog! So affectionate and sweet and shy. Female, about 100 pounds, big like a large Boxer or almost a Dane, very strangely marbelized like a piece of maple fudge with some dark and white chocolate twirled in it, with a face so gentle and a head the size of a small dog.

She spent the day here, did not try to go back home, if home there was. She played with the dogs, did not fight or growl at them. When she got quiet, she went back to the wood box, sat down and waited. I made tons of call to try to find who's dog it was, no success. Tried to find a place where at least she could find shelter from the cold and the snow but nothing was available unless we were talking serious business like dog pound or animal shelters. So we decided to play it by ear. We fed her well, gave her water and tried to make her go in the dog house we built (which the dogs completely ignore) but she would go. She played with me, wanted to be pet. But no way we would let her in, just in case she was a cat nibbler. The weather was not so bad...

She was there again in the morning, same spot. When I called her, she came with less hesitation. It seems like all she wants is LOOOOOOVE. We checked billboards around, asked people once again, but no one seems to be looking for this big dog. Of course, she does not have a collar nor a medal. She spent the day around, playing, running, eating well, getting less shy. We named her Babette! Tonite was getting much colder so I took her bowl of food in the dog house and she followed it. I treated her with a raw hide strip, placed it there once gain, she went for it but came out. I was getting worried she would be cold during the night but... Francois went to get wood for the stoves and there she was, sleeping tightly inside the dog house. I am so happy, at least she is not out in the wide open, snow falling, wind blowing, and maybe no one looking for her...My experience with other dogs we found is went they are homeless, they are very quiet and resignated rather than be excited like dogs on the run...

Goodnight Babette, sleep tight.

One day at a time, let's see what happens tomorrow.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

FAKE SPRING OR HAVE YOU BEEN BITTEN BY THE CROCS YET ?

I say FAKE FAKE FAKE it is all fake!!! Can you believe having a spring day on January 13 in Québec, land of the lumberjacks? This is real bad even though it is real good... The 3 feet of snow has almost all melted away, the sun has been here for a few days, the chicken came out of the coop, we built a fire outside and raked the ground to get rid of broken twigs... This is bad but oh so good... Ulysse got his hand-drill out and just for the fun of it, he decided to pierce one of our big maple trees to see if, by any chance in this crazy day of fake spring, there wouldn't be some sap coming out. And, yes, there was and it was flowing like in the best days of sugarshack frenzy, late February - early March, and it tasted sweet, and it was pure and cold, and we gulped it out directly out of the tap, and it was just incredible! And the smells of the soil, the dried up flower stakes in the garden, even the pond showing some of its mysterious depths through the thin ice.

Have you been bitting by the Crocs yet? Every member of the family has been snatched by them, even my dad and mom and niece. But as strange as it might seem, even though we have all been contaminated by them, we all ADORE them! Crocs! And I mean no reptile here, I am talking about the sandals!!! I could not live without them even when I first saw them I hated their look. But my mom offered me a pair for Mother's Day (Yep, my mom gives me a gift for MD!!!) and it was instant love! I wear them all the time, at the beach, in the mud, in the garden, in my car, in my studio. When they get dirty I throw them in the sink with some dishwashing liquid and brush them a little and they look as good as they did when they arrived! If you don't own a pair, run to the store to get some asap. There are so many great styles and colors. Gee, you'd think i have been paid by the company to make a speach. BUT, you don't wear no crocs in the snow... And this breaks my heart! The snow gets in the wholes, it melts and your socks are all wet and then you swear...So a dream of mine has been to live in a dream world where I could wear my crocs every day, everywhere, even in winter. SEE???

This is where you know this spring day in winter was FAKE... I wore my crocs today outside, Ulysse too and François, and we all laughed cause we should have been wearing out skates today, or our snowboots, or skiboots, or snowshoes, or.....

And it bad even though it is good. Because we know that a fake spring day will bring harsh winter days soon... No daydreaming here... At least not until beginning of April!!!

Ulysse and I went for a walk in the fields with the 3 dogs and we had a riot making believe we were hunting kibbits, just like in Runescape (online kinda medieval role-game - Ulysse's fav) and imitating the voice Gulum, the evil nasty creature in the Lord of the Ring, which we had watched on tv the night before. My precious, my adored ....The dogs go nuts in the field, such a vast space to run in and a large big sky with no limits over our heads.

LOOK WHAT I GOT FOR MY BIRTHDAY...

I LOVE surprises. I am a big baby. I love anything gift wrapped and addressed to me. Well, actually, maybe I even love better giving surprises than receiving them but... I still LOVE getting unexpected and mysterious parcels. And today, look at what my friend Sylvie sent me from a recent trip to Mexico City:

The first item is a coconut mask doll, brought back from the Pacific side. The head is made from half a coconut shell and adorned with seed pods, shaped with adobe clay, painted over than varnish. The body is made from sewn canvas then painted and varnished too. I already have a few of these amazing dolls but this is my favorite and it is PINK!

The other item is a clay miniature tree of life, complete with Adam & Eve, the snake, an angel and a devil and even the eye looking over the tree. This arbol de vida is sealed in a painted wood box with glass in front. It is INCREDIBLE! I am so happy, these will go in my studio, there will be a special spot for each of them. Merci, mon amie Sylvie!

I have been working on two commissioned paintings that need to be done on Monday so I haven't been able to finish some pieces I was planning to post on eBay and Etsy. Will do on Monday, I guess, if nothing else comes this way.

Ulysse spent the day at a friend's place in the village and while walking in the forest in the back of the house, they found a bear trap !!!!! A large jaws-open ready to snap nasty trap big enough for a brown bear, an animal that we see once in a while on the mountain but which is illigal to hunt. Ulysse said they stayed far from it and threw a large piece of wood on it to try to close it but he think it had been there for a while, the thing was completely rusted. Still, imagine stepping on one of these while having a nice walk in the forest? I HATE these traps, they are so horrible and do so much damage... I wonder if the people who sets them up get caught in them sometimes...(smile). Thankfully, the method of hunting is not really used anymore in the county and even deer hunting is not as popular as it used to be. I saw bears a couple of times while hiking on the mountain, never got in trouble with them...Each time, the sight was like magic....

Friday, January 11, 2008

YEAR OF THE RAT ART EVENT CONTEST !!!

Yes, the year of the Rat is coming soon and it is time to be creative in a mousy way. So, do not forget to participate in my great YEAR OF THE RAT ART EVENT on FEBRUARY 7 2008! Just have fun and use what you want, paper, glue, paint, glitters, recycled stuff, canvas, photography and anything else that tickles your wiskers. I announced this event in December on my blog and did not get as many responses as I was hoping. So, I will bait you with a cheeseless trap to have you wiggle your tail and get you started. I invite you to post a picture of your Year of the Rat creation, be it Mickey Mouse, Three Blind Mice, Rat Fink or anything else of the kind on my blog on FEBRUARY 7 2008. The day after I will put each participant's name on a piece of paper, put the names in a jar and draw one name to be announced as the winner of this swell YEAR OF THE RAT ART EVENT CONTEST. The prize will be a YEAR OF THE RAT SURPRISE BAG created and assembled by moi, your truly, LuLu. No more details... If you want the Surprise Bag you MUST participate by showing off your talents, creativity, humor, artistic sense, great imagination, amazing craftsmanship and maybe unknown skills on this rodent subject. Need more info, just contact me on my blog.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

LEFT HAND WITH PERSONALITY by François

François, my husband, has been a commercial illustrator for a long time. But about a year ago, he started doing some recycled metal art sculptures in his outdoor shop. He would love to do that full-time but it is a tough situation since he can not really work indoors with the blow torch, the tanks, the heat and the fire in winter. Too dangerous... So, he has resigned himself to work on his art from spring to fall only, working in a semi-enclosed part of his outdoor studio. Here is one of his latest creations... I love it !

I spent all day in my studio today, working on many pieces at the same time and making the worst mess of cut out bits of paper, tape, glue, paint bottles, books. The situation is so serious that I doubt I can find all of my 5 cats in there tonite. Wish I had myself one of these little magic trolls you see in books, who snap their fingers to turn bad into good. Or maybe an on-off switch that would turn my upside room into a clean and spiffy atelier. Or maybe just that I would just learn once and for all to put away my stuff once I am done with it. Or even that my mom would clean my room like she did when I was a teenager, ohhhh did I hate that... But I am having a heck of a goog time doing what I am doing! So, Bye bye Feng Shui, Hello Messy!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I HAVE NOT LOST MY MOJO !!!

Ahhhhhhhh!!! Yesterday was a tough working day. 17 days without drawing, painting and creating will do that to you. I scribbled and sketched all day then started applying colors on canvas but the mood was not there. And for a millisecond, I flipped, freaked out and lost my mind!!! I had lost my mojo !!! I took a short break instead of continuing to pop out buttons and returned an hour later to sit at my work table and think. And I said Let's have fun and do this painting for me, without creating boundaries or expectations. And it worked !!! I had a riot from 11 at night till 4h30 this morning. Lots of collage in that little 6"x8" canvas painting, coats of acrylics, penciled words, glued on words and all kinds of papers, love words and even two real buttons. I LOVE the results, hope you like this one too! I just listed it on eBay and will offer it on Etsy as well. First comes, first served. Now that I got me my little mojo back, I will keep it in a locket on my heart and I will treat it nice. Yeahhhh baby !!!!

As usual, at 3h30 p.m. I took the car and drove down to the village to pick up Ulysse out of school. I got there a few minutes ahead and took a picture of the school so I could show you what it looks like. I spent time in the old cemetery beside and marvelled at this beautiful virgin statue, sun shining on it while the dark sky pushed by the wind ran like a wild horse. The old cemeteries in the Eastern Townships of Quebec are amazing witnesses of the past and never cease to amaze me. One of the old families of the townships, the Goodhues, have tombstones in every cemetery around. This particular family lost 4 children below the age of 5, one of them little Napoleonia, who died in 1882 at the age of 4 years, 2 months and 27 days... I do not know what killed her and her brothers and sisters, probably a disease, but what a drame of sadness it must have been for the family at the time....

Spring weather is still here and has melted almost all the snow we had accumulated. But the wind is picking up tonite and I can hear Mr. Winter coming back...Too bad, I was ready for spring!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

ISN'T MY HUSBAND GIFTED?

Look what Francois gave me for my birthday!!! A skull altar that he spent days making! Handmade of wood, it has little drawers and a frame to put souvenirs of my no-longer-with-usanimals. I LOOOOOOVE IT! I will be adding a little light bulb to light it from the inside. My birthday was on December 28 but a while ago we decided since it is so squeezed in between Xmas and New Year, we would be celebrating it when I feel like it. This way, I can add another year to my age when I feel like it. It's MY birthday and I can have it MY way!!! Francois is thinking of selling these little altars this year, he might offer them painted as well and possibly with a cut-out cat or dog or semething else image in the door. I am an altar freak, I love these little displays of religious and allsorts items that are put together as an offer to a departed loved one.

Zut alors! not easy to go back to work!!! Add to it a little pressure here and there, a couple of false starts and a too long break since the last canvas... But, I have sketch 5 or 6 good ones and an trying to finish a small canvas tonite, this one with a little bit more collaged paper and texture. The return to school was not too tough, Ulysse's school is an old-fashioned one built in 1906, located beside the Catholic church and the cemetery, it's got a bellfry, a garden beside it and a grand total of 108 children, kindergarden to grade 6. ALL the parents know each other and the kids are almost like cousins. And a bonus you get when you leave in a small village in the countryside, you can park your bicycle in the schoolyard without a padlock!!! I will post a picture tomorrow, I forgot to snap one today.

Hey, monsieur Winter! What's wrong with ya? We got a 60 degrees F today, right smack in the month of January and the grass is starting to grow. Even the roosters and the hens stepped out of the coop for a fresh snack on the compost pile! No more skating for now, there is about a foot of water on top of the ice in the pond...But we are not fooled, no sirry Winter!!! We know you will be back sooner than later and this short spring will have been nothing but a beautiful dream...

Monday, January 7, 2008

THE COUNT DOWN IS ON.....

Only a few minutes left and Xmas vacations are over !!!! School starts tomorrow and well as painting for Mademoiselle LuLu!!! I am quite excited, I have about 734 different ideas to put on canvas! It always seems to me, when I stop, that i will never be able to draw, paint, be inspired anymore and after the first hour back in myu studio, I am soaring up above my table with joy!!!

The weather is so strange, mother nature has gone très étrange....It is now so mild that the snow is melting faster than a popsicle dropped on a metal staircase in summer! Remember that giant icicle Ulysse found on Saturday? Look what is left of it today! Amazing!!!

I had to show you a Valentine my son gave me a few years ago. It is always on my pinboard, it puts a smile on my face every time I look at it. He did that on Photoshop when he was 8 years old. Isn't it adorable?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

LA FÊTE DES ROIS (Epiphanie)

Today was the last official day of our holiday season celebrations and what a great day it was. My parents came over in this afternoon and after sipping a nice chilled rosé we ate the galette cut in pieces and, of course, Ulysse got the piece with the fève so he was crowned king of the day! After stuffing ourselves, I took out the gigantic surprise bag I got from Archie McPhee and passed it around so we each had our turn of grabbing a surprise. Actually, there was so much goodies in there that we all had about 8 turns each! And the stuff was what we really needed like sushi-shaped car fresheners, bad habits plastic charms, boxes of super genius bubble gum, a nice big white rat, Cleopatra action figure, a cat-a-pult, a computer glow inthe dark guardian angel windup and so much more...We had a riot, thanks Archie!

The countdown is on, tonite is the last let's not do too much night, tomorrow the last day of procrastination...Can't wait to go back to work now!

Ohhhhhh....we got a post card from our long-time friend Jay in Minnesota, whom we met in Mexico almost 20 years ago. He is going to be in the Yucatan the whole month of March with his girlfriend and I think the 3 of us will go and join them !!!!! We would be going right after Easter and spend a couple of weeks in Tulum in a cabana we rented a couple of times before. Ohhhhh! We are all getting so excited!!! But before going any further with our plans, we need to make sure our friend Mario will come to take care our place while we are gone. We just can't leave the house with 5 cats, 3 dogs, 2 hens, a rooster, a turtle and fishes. Plus 2 wood stoves to care for and a house we would NEVER leave unnatended. We will be fixed about this trip later this week. Ohhhhh! it would be so great to be back in Mexico!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

MAH NU STALL OV PINETING...

No, just kidding!!! But I did something different just for fun and I like how it turned out. I love any tribal or arboriginal drawings of any age or period in time. I like their raw side, their bold yet innocent message. Hummm, maybe I will go for more on bigger canvas....

Today was a mild day that melted and packed some of the huge amount of snow we had therefore creating GIANT icicles. Ulysse loves collecting them off the roof and stashing them away under the snow on the picnic table...He told me today that he likes winter but can't wait to build fire and cook some clay stuff once again. You see, he goes with his dad to a special spot on Clay Bank Road and they fill buckets of natural brown clay and bring it back home. Ulysse loves making pot and jars and what nots and he them bakes them under the coal in a hot fire. He is also into smelting aluminium or other recyclable metal bits, does that with his dad too. They came out with a system where they blow air on a hot fire using an old hair dryer, you know the kind that came in a suitcase and comes with a plastic bonnet to put on your head. They do all kinds of old days stuff to raise their skills (as U would say), both wearing leather apron like in the medieval days.

Only 2 more days of vacation to go then it is ART ATTTTTTTACK!!!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

EVEN THE BEASTS...

are on vacation !!! 11 o'clock this morning and the dogs and cats were ALL sleeping tight! And Ulysse too! That is what happens when you play cards too late and you spend your night out hunting for whatever runs around in the darkness...What a bunch of lazy bums we are all...I worked a bit today, will show you the results tomorrow. Something quite different...

Last night, I dreamed I was ... painting!!! I kid you not! I was dressed like a little French painter, beret on the side, dressed in a dark grey housecoat, wearing bright red lipstick and nail polish and standing still on high heel shoes, holding my palette in one hand and my brush in the other. I woke up in a sweat, the shoes were killing me ;-) Definately NOT me in real life!!!

Oh, yeah! I did something fun this afternoon: I got myself a big glass of Creme de Pomme du Domaine du Pinacle (similar to Bailey's Irish Cream and made localy), sat down with my laptop and spent an hour reading your blogs...So much inspiring!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

COMMERCIAL WORK...

I did this illustration for an article on 'GLOVES' for a Canadian magazine a few months ago and I might offer it on Ebay just for fun. It is bigger than my usual paintings and done on illustration board, not on a canvas, therefore it needs to be framed. No girls, nor mermaids, nor fairies, nor angels in there, only gloved hands busy doing something and collaged words. The background was also done in collage, painted over with a lavender acrylic wash. The client loved it!

Today was out of this world cold, and I mean COLD!!!! -28 degrees celcius (roughly the same degrees in Farenheight degrees) was what my half-dead outdoor thermometer screamed! All the animals stayed inside, the dogs were even willing to use the cats's litter box! So, we went skating for a little while, marveled at the gigantic icicles hanging from the roof and I cleaned up my studio while Ulysse and his friend played Mario Galaxy on the Wii. I love it when the cleaning up work is done, it is so Feng Shui, you can walk from one spot to another without stumbling on piles of books, opened boxes and scattered remains of previous art pieces. But... I hate cleaning up, I am such a messy person... Shame on me! But I do have some good sides, that is what my family tells mel. Anyways, the studio is spotless and if it stays long enough immaculate, I might snap a picture of it to show you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY TODAY WAS....

Full of sunshine, bitter coldness and glittery snow. All that is needed for a perfect winter canvas collage. But guess what? I am still on vacation and will only go back to my studio when my son goes back to school next Monday. This is a yearly must... Can't touch that!!! So, we went down to the pond today and skated around and around and around and did figures and played hockey and goofed in the snow. I love to think that taking care of the pond during winter keeps it alive during these wonderful months where it usually sleeps nonstop...

Oh yeah, it will be fun to go back to work with paints and brushes and glue and glitters. I am happy to have quite a few commissioned paintings to start the year with and have P L E N T Y of ideas for tons of canvas of all sizes. Actually, shhhhhhh! I will tell you a secret: I CAN'T WAIT GO BE AN ARTIST AGAIN !!!!

But I have a Crazy Eight card tournament appointment tonite, then a ski day tomorrow after a late sleep in the morning, than a visit to a special bakery in Montreal to get the Epiphany galette to celebrate Jan 6, you know that French tradition where you bake a flaky pastry with creme d'amande and hide a little porcelaine statue hiden inside. The one who finds the fève (the bean as we call it in French) gets to be king for the day and receives a paper crown and a surprise gift. We love this celebration of the departure of the three wise men who came to visit Jesus and his lovely family to go back home after the party. It closes the Holiday Season on a fun note. My parents come over in the afternoon and I always get a big surprise back from Archie McPhee full of silly and crazy toys that we plunge into after stuffing ourselves with the cake.

Oh la la !!! I hate it when I am so busy when I am supposed to be doing nothing ....

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

BONNE ANNÉE 2008 ! ! !

BONNE ANNÉE 2008 TO YOU ALL ! ! !

2007 was a grrrrrreat year and I am now ready to dive in this new one!

I wish you all a year full of simple joys and tons of happiness topped by a big cherry of love!

Please come and visit often in 2008. I love hearing from you!

LuLu xxx