Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ST-JOSEPH AND THE EGG MYSTERY ...

Every time we get a few new pullets (or chickens), it takes a few weeks to find the eggs. Sometimes, they will lay right in the coop, taking the example from the older girls. Sometimes, they do not lay eggs for a while and we think something might be wrong with them. But this time, 3 weeks after the arrival of our 2 new white chicken, there were still no eggs...

When a chicken has laid an egg, she screams and tell the world about it. We heard them sing their opera. We followed them when the morning hour was right, expecting them to get ready to lay but nothing happened. We searched everywhere for them, in the strawberry beds, in the compost pile, under the garden bench, by the pond, in the woods but nothing...

This morning, coffee cup and shovel in hand, I went to the garden to view the dammage last night mild frost had left (yep! you read right! Frost !!!) and as usual Mr. Mikey the cat was waiting for me. But he was not seated on his favorite rock, this time but standing behind my St-Joseph marble statue and meowing. I went to pet him and what did I find?

Hidden in the high grass behind the statue, a dozen eggs were basking in the morning sun and dew...

Ohhhh, I like spring mornings more than anything else...

Yes, I know, I have shown any new paintings this week nor last week. I have been busy finishing all kinds of projects and painting like crazy! This is also my garden deadline, it needs to be finished by Sunday night. Everything planted, seeded, cleaned, mulched and trimmed. I will have great new paintings to show you next week, I promise!

Monday, May 26, 2008

GRAPE POPSICLE PURPLE ...

I bet you can even smell it !

I love lilac season, the shades of pink, purple and white they flower in and their divine scent. My grandmother Alice who lived in Montreal had them all around the house and whenever I pedal my bicycle there for a visit, I would be driving back with a huge bouquet of lilac in my basket. The smell transports me in far away times and brings back all kinds of tiny bits of memories that please me and surprise me at the same time.

Just like when grand-maman Alice would let me open her musical jewell box...

I now grow them too all around my house so I can smell it through my studio while working. This deep purple one came from an abandoned farm house on the other side of the mountain that was built more than 100 years ago. I can just imagine the lady of the house smelling her wonderful lilac when they were in season and marveling at their color. Just like my grand-mother did, I do and hopefully my grand-daughter will do one day ...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

NEW ADDITION TO THE FAMILY ...

Ah! Ah! No, it is not a new baby (although I would welcome one any time! )...

Actually, we are talking about a bunch of new comers, and they are red and white and they fish and they will spend the summer in the smaller pond... We just got 11 new goldfish at he petshop yesterday, 10 cents a piece !!! Unfortunately, we are sad to announce that number 12 passed away during his rough ride aboard my old Volvo on the bumpy-because-of-spring-rain Pinnacle road.

Our large pond in the forest is usually filled with gold fish we introduced there about 12 years ago. But strangely, this year, only 3 have survived... And it is a mystery to us since nothing astounding happened to the pond during the winter. We found many of them floating on top of the water when the ice melted but we have no hint as to what happened to kill them. They are ventilation, plenty of water under the ice... So, we are starting a new family now. Boy, what a difference it must be to bary move in a heavy populated aquarium to swimming free outside in cold clean crystal clear water with no one to bump into...

We spent the day gardening yesterday, Ulysse and I while Francois repaired the tractor. We got a lot in the ground, most tomato plants, 46 jalapeno chilis !!!, artichokes, eggplants, nasturtiums of all kinds, different dahlia tubers (my favorite), tons of zinnias for the birds and the bees, seeding giant chinese radishes, carrots, beans of all kinds, pumpkins and gourds, zucchinis, watermelon, cucumbers, moon flowers, sweetpeas, giant sunflowers and plenty more.

Ulysse has been gardening since he started walking almost... I always kept a corner of the garden for him where he was allowed to garden the way he wanted to. he has tried all kinds of plantations. Gardening is very good for kids, as important as it is for them to use their artistic means. Gardening is nurturing and it makes you a better person. This is what I believe...

So, here he was at it again this spring, turning the soil over, feeding it with his own compost pile, raking, seeding, planting and watering, his favorite part. I think of all the things Ulysse has been thought, this is one thing he will be doing for the rest of his life... And I am real proud to be the one who showed him how...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

HERE COMES THE SUN ...

...LE SOLEIL DIT BONJOUR AUX MONTAGNES ...

old French cowboy song that translates to

THE SUN SAYS GOOD MORNING TO THE MOUNTAINS...

Well. Today is that kind of morning. A make me feel good inside morning where the sun flows in our house, warms every color, soaks in the wooden furniture and gives a dramatic edge to every single corner, nook and cranny. A morning that makes you feel like singing and dancing. So, we have some old Bob Marley music on and it fits just right.

Ah!!!! Saturday are the greatest! No rush, plenty of allowed time to go dig dirt in the garden and rent a movie tonite, maybe Sweeenie Todd by Tim Burton (my favorite) or maybe an old Indiana Jones or maybe an old Yves Montand Jean de Fleurette ...

Ulysse won the Best Achievement Award for grade 6 !!! For his great personality, great efforts and great results !!! I am SO proud of him ! And it is such a great way to finish Primary school ! He was so excited to tell us about it after school yesterday. Then, the excitement faded to OH NO !!! I will have to go and get my award in front of a BIG crowd in a special auditorium and face everyone who will be watching me! I joked him and says all was fine, no stress, he could choose between wearing a tie or a bowtie! You should have seen the look on his face! You see, his dad never wears a suit with tie, he works at home and has no need for it. And his mom... well, I will wear a floral short dress as long as I can wear it with red maryjeannes, crocs or striped socks with low-top converse shoes. No frills here, jast stall ...

FELICITATIONS, MON AMOUR DE FILS, POUR TA MEDAILLE ! NOUS SOMMES TRES FIERS DE TOI ! And no need to worry about your three-piece suit, you can go in long checkered bermudas, skater shirt and shoes. You always look and act great! YOU ARE THE BEST!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I KILLED IT ...

... yes, I killed my laptop last Thursday when I accidentally tripped on its power pack cable and threw the whole thing on the floor. Two of my cats were fighting, the phone was ringing and I was in a rush finalizing a painting so I could ship it that day... So, I killed my computer !!!

This is why I haven't written on my blog, nor answered mail, nor written messages, nor shipped any parcel ... The thing went to the electronic doctor, came back just fine tonite and did not bankrupt me!

The good thing about being without the internet is I was able to work a full week without interruption, painted like crazy, finished (or almost) all the commissioned paintings I was due to finish. I was even able to sneak in a couple of hours daily in the garden.

Oh! I will have a lot of blog reading to do this weekend!

And due to this messy situation, I have decided to relist my Princess on horse with black cats painting (please view it in previous post) on eBay for another 5 days! So, here is your chance to bid on it if you haven't the last time!

So, paintings and prints will be shipped tomorrow and Saturday, mail will be answered asap and plenty of news is coming tomorrow!

Hope you are having a warmer spring than the one we are getting here!

And for those who are wondering what this picture is about...I kept Peruvian blue potatoes Ihad grown in the garden last year in a dog treat box that I had totally forgotten. François found the box today in the basement. Hope they do not take the house over while we sleep tonite...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ONCE UPON A TIME ...

... there was a hip princess who liked to ride her white horse dressed in her favorite pink dress, her leopard skin scarf and her red boots. But her two black cats would never let her go alone. They had to go with her to make sure she would not come back with Mr. Wrong when looking for the Prince Charming...

And she is for sale on eBay at 99 cents !!!

This is quite a BIG painting at 10"x20" and there is a lot of work involved in this one! I sketched it while vacationing in Mexico, had a vision of a punkish princess on white horse, with tons of pink and turquoise of all shades with tons kitchy glitters on the background. I LOVE IT ! HOPE YOU LIKE IT TOO...

So, come on in, have fun and bid on this beauty! At 99 cents, everyone can afford it!

Monday, May 12, 2008

MOTHER'S DAY - THE DAY AFTER ...

Brrr! It is still quite chilly in the morning and at night for this time of the year but spring is sooooooo beautiful in Southern Quebec... The mountain is wearing a tender green suit of newly leafed maple, walnut and elm trees, the streams are so full and cold and clean and the fields are so bare with contrasting patterns of untouched soil beige with the remnants of last fall's wheat and corn and the newly tilled dark earth. And the beautiful sound of the red shoulder black birds...

Yesterday morning, as soon as I opened my eyes I had to open the Mothers' Day present Ulysse had made at school. He talked about it for days and, he is like me, a big baby when it is gift giving or receiving time. Ohhhh! a wonderfully painted wooden box with home-made vanilla and chocolate fondant! Miam! He had to taste it first to make sure it was still good. Right ....!!

My parents came over in the afternoon, we sat under the big pine trees in front of the house and close to the little pond I build last year. We ate warm apple pie I had baked in the morning with vanilla ice cream churned by moi! Delicious! We also had a fire burning outside in an old tamarack tree chopped trunk and it smelled like church incense. I am a professional smeller, I inherited that trait from my paternal grand-mother Gabrielle. She could smell what you had eaten the night before you went to visit her. I will detect smells when others don't, I can even taste in my mouth what things smell. And of course, a certain smell will remind me of a special place, or song, or old boyfriend, distant visited village in Europe or childhood toys and games...

I feel so lucky to have had the chance to become a mother and so blessed Ulysse is my son. He is a wonderful person and will always be, I am sure, as he travels through his life... Merci, Ulysse! I am the luckiest maman!

My mother has always been the best mom you could have! Always there for me, always encouraging and applauding of my bold moves and directions, talented in every field, from cooking to writing, from painting to sewing, from loving to loving...

Maman, tu es la plus belle du monde et la meilleure! Merci Maman!

Friday, May 9, 2008

I SEE YOU EVERYWHERE ...

This is the title of this latest Frida painting of mine... Te veo en todas partes... And you can bid on it on eBay

I am almost done working on a few commissioned paintings of which I am very proud of and I have also been working on a few more that I am quite excited about. Can't wait to show you! But this weekend will be spent outside getting the garden ready! Two full days of outside work, youppi !!!

Do you believe that love is blind?

Well, you better believe it! Today was Michelangelo the turtle's first day outside in his own private miniature pond. He spends all his time inside in an aquarium between November and early May but when the weather is warm enough to heat the water somewhat, it's time for summer vacations!!! I took a break from working this afternoon and went to check on him to make sure all was fine, you know, that he had plenty of clean towels, a cold pina colada and a good book and look what I found! A frog had come to the pond to mate...

or maybe just for a short visit but I prefer the more romantic possibility...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

THREE NEW SISTAS ...

Señor Jello, my rooster, is running a high fever today... Oui! He's got the love fever ! And the reason is his harem has grown this afternoon, from two hens to five, two white girls and a brown one! He is so full of himself, his goes around the house doing the pimp roll ! It's gonna be one hot day today, my winged man can hardly contain himself!

We got Jello, our rooster, and two hens almost 4 years ago and I think we will always have a few around. They are just part of our rural life and picking a few fresh eggs daily has become a beautiful routine for us. François built a wonderful chicken coop in the back of the garden when they can stay warm in winter (with a heating lamp) and cool in summer. Our poultry is one happy bunch, with no boundaries, gates, fences or limits at all. They go where they want to and eat all kinds of good stuff found in the nature. They complete the garden scene so perfectly! And they lay perfectly shaped big eggs, brown and white, almost one egg per hen per day. I love them! The cats and dogs got used to them so they are not chased. Jello is one mean rooster, attacking you in the back when you forget about him, but aren't roosters all the same? He protects his girls very seriously, is a great leader and will do anything for them, even call them when he finds a choicy piece of meal. My hens and my rooster will not end up in our plate ever but will rather die one day of natural death. They deserve better than a barbecued ending... They are our little friends !

Ulysse built a huge fire after coming back to school so he could bake some of his clay creations. He had a great time getting his hands dirty, of course! Seems like a déjà-vu... I remember when he was a toddler he liked to get his hands filthy with whatever he could find then then he would come to me and make a disgusted face and would say "pas beau" (not beautiful). This afternoon, he let the clay dry on his hands and it looked pretty strange, like a person who got statue hands grafted to his arms. My son has beautiful hands. I think I will do a casting of them...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

LET ME SHOW YOU MY LITTLE BIRDIE ...

Another beautiful day spent in my beautiful studio! I always find it hard to stay inside when the garden is calling me. But less is better than a lot and I find that I can accomplish more from 3 to 6:30 p.m., once Ulysse is out of school than I do in a full day of work.

I finished my SPRING BIRDIE painting today and just listed it on eBAY. I had not worked on a square canvas for a while and really like the results. I am having a LOT OF FUN painting since I came back from vacations. I decided that I must be more productive daily and must not fuss for hours over my color palette like I usually do. I must just DRAW and PAINT, NO HOLDS BARRED!!!

Hope you like this little painting !

I have so little time to write this week I am ashamed of myself!!! I can't wait to show you more pictures of our trip... I promise I will another little Mexican slide-show tomorrow.

Friday, May 2, 2008

ONE ... TWO ... THREE ...

This little flying angel with cats painting is already on eBay. It was a pleasure painting it, same kind of pleasure I had as a child drawing something, coloring it and being so happy with the results. I just love her orange and yellow floral dress! Wish I had one of these... Humm, weather is is dreary, winder, cold and damp so I might go to the fabric store and look for a similar print to make myself a summer dress. The boys will fall on the floor... I NEVER wear a dress!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

MY LITTLE GEORGIA O'KEEFE SIDE ...

As I was driving back from school with Ulysse this afternoon, we noticed a stacked of white dry wood on the side of the road at the beginning of the forest. We passed it but I had a flash, had to brake and back up. Could these be bones? We stopped, got out of the car and sure enough there was a stack of deer skulls piled on rocks. We find bones and skulls on the mountain, in fields and in the wood quite often, but the wondrous thing about these was they were completely white, dry and clean, therefore they had been there for at least a year. One of them had the top of the skull sawed off, meaning that the antlers had been taken and that these were the results of hunting season, but not the past autumn's one.

I love bones and skulls, I consider them to be the equivalent of seashells when you live in the forest away from the ocean. I have been collecting skulls and bones of all sorts for about 20 years now, have boxes full of them, all cleaned up and identified. There is a sort of beauty in their design and purity of lines that I just love. I would love to spend some times in the desert, maybe Arizona or New Mexico and go hunt for my favorite treasures...

ABOUT HOLLYHOCKS SEEDS...I managed to assemble my seed packets today and will be shipping them next Monday. I still have tons of them, so if anybody else wants some, they are yours. To all of you who have contacted me about this giveaway, please send your name and address to pillonh@gmail.com. I need to know where to ship them! Friends of us are going to Italy in late May and will be taking some seeds with them, same for a member of the family who is going to Germany this summer. Love to imagine my beautiful hollyhocks growing all around the world!!!

I have been working all week on commissioned paintings and it seems I am so slooooooooow, can't seem to be able to put myself in second gear. Same for working late at night. I usually work till 2 or 3 a.m. 3 nights a week but this week, comes 10 o'clock, my bed and my book are calling me... Been working on many, many sketches for new paintings too, which is always so exciting!

TIME FOR MORE PICTURES OF MY TRIP TO MEXICO

Picture #6 - This is the gate of a private place we drove by daily to go to the pueblo. I think it is just beautiful! The color, the shape of it, the moon and the star... I will work on a similar one for my garden this summer.

PICTURE #7 - I found this character, and others too, pretty far on the beach when you walk towards the south and towards complete tranquility. There were many fallen palm trees, probably from the last hurricane, and they had been chopped in pieces and left there on the beach. Someone came one day and decided to paint the bottom part of the trees and use the roots has hair. They looked somewhat like fallen tiki idols...

PICTURE # 8 - There always seemed to be a dramatic nature scene to be viewed, a sunsets, clouds, the color of the ocean, shadows playing with light in a game of contrasts. Even a regular cloud passing in front of an ordinary sun over a rather plain sea with a bland rock became the perfect background for a kissing scene in an old love movie.

PICTURE #9 - The dogs...When you love dogs and cats and you travel to somewhat remote locations where ways of life are different and where people do not have the same preoccupations as we do, at least not in the same order, your heart brakes for them. Dogs and cats in rural Mexico do not have the easy life that our king and queen pets get here. When you are concerned about not having enough to feed your family, as is the case for many people in rural Yucatan, the dogs and cats eat what they can find after meals and in the garbage nearby. Many of them are stray (strayed?), with no master in particular or no home to go to at night. IF I were rich, I would have brought all of them back with me to Quebec and would have taken good care of them. Particularly two young dogs that walked up and down the beach daily and befriended us. This is Pouchinette. She came to visit daily and would sleep nearby after being hugged, and scratched, and talked to, and played with. Just like any good dog... Good luck, Pouchinette! Hope you make it till next time!