Monday, June 30, 2008

SAMURAI STRAWBERRY ...

Strawberries are ripe, red, tender, sweet, juicy, beautiful and in season here!

So all we have been doing for the past days is eat, smash, swirl, cook, bake and savour them ...

Strawberries are really what summer is all about.

And when you have doing a lot of berry cleaning, removing the green tails and leaves and eating one berry for each you put in the big jam pot, this is what happens to you...

You turn into Samurai Strawberry !!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

TOO MUCH PARTYING ...

This is what happens when you celebrate St-Jean Baptiste on June 24 if you are a French Canadian!!!

The origin of the celebration dates back to the early 1600's when Frenchmen in Canada made a big fire outside to celebrate the summer solstice. It stayed with us since then...

Nobody works on the 24th, hey! even Walmart is closed, if you can believe this! School is out, people are in a good mood with summer barely starting, family members gather together for some good food and great vibrations, we all stay out all day, swimming, eating and drinking again, taking a nap to be ready for more food at night, getting the firecrackers ready and the BIG boundfire started for a long and beautiful night.

St-Jean Baptiste, here in Quebec, is a feel-good celebration of French still alive and doing very well in North America. It is a time when fiddlers get their violons out, folk singers chant their long-ago written lyrics about tough times spent in the woods chopping trees to bring back some money in spring to the big families that had newly arrived on virgin land. It is about a language that has survived a sure-enough death despite everything... It is about my roots, my family, my love of my province of Quebec...

VIVE LE QUÉBEC !!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

FIREFLIES AND FULL MOON ...

I sketched this painting on June 18 when the moon was completely round and clear in the night sky and the first fireflies were doing their thing in the garden and around the house. The moon glow was so strong that I went with Ulysse to sit under the wild apple tree. There had been some rain earlier and everything sparkled and shined contrasting with the deep tones of midnight.

It was so pretty and so beautiful...

It reminded me of years earlier, when I was pregnant with my son and due to deliver in the coming days, I walked to the garden on the night of the full moon. I stepped on the big rock in the long flower bed, held my belly and stared at the round globe in the sky. And I thought that this was the last full moon I would be seeing without being a mother. That each full moon that would come after that one, I would have my own child to love and cherish...

Fireflies and Full Moon is available on eBay.

This week has been quite busy so far, getting in the groove of no-school schedule, picking up Charlie the Cousin to come and spend the week with us, spraining my under-foot with a shovel trying to dig out an old bush that does not like me nor my garden, picking up strawberries at the local U-pick, making jam and pink wine (an old French recipe to die for) and smoothies, and pies and eating them raw and working in my studio quite successfully, I must say.

Do you know Dani at Ambitions Design? I am the winner of her June Blog Giveaway !!! Yeah! I won her WONDERFUL Frankie ornament and I am so happy! If you do not know Dani already, make sure to check out her new Halloween-Christmas blog as well, SpOoKyTiMe JiNgLeS ! She is an AMAZING artist! Thanks Dani!

Monday, June 23, 2008

HAT, FLOWERS AND CATS ...

Little joys ...

Just finished this little 6" x 12" painting inspired by an old picture I had kept in one of my many, many scrapbooks.

I love gardening with a fancy hat on. It makes me feel like an old fashioned grande dame. I should also wear a flowery cotton dress with a checkered apron over it and red maryjanes. Hummm! I think I will be working on my new outfit this week...

Hat, flowers & cats is available on eBay!

Please take a look!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

L'ÉCOLE EST FINIE ! ! !

I forgot to mention that Friday was the last day of school here in Quebec. 9 full vacation weeks ahead of us ... But also last day of Primary School where Ulysse spent 7 years from kindergarten to 6th grade, among friends and neighbors, mostly all from the same village and around. Next fall will be the start of something brand new ... It is time to move on and experience something else, eventhough it feels a bit scarry to go to such a big school with tons of other kids we do not know...

But you know what? We don't care cause SUMMER VACATIONS ARE HERE !!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

MY NEW LOVE ...

I have tried for years to grow digitalis. I would marvel at their pictures in gardening books and magazine but despite all my trials, I was never successful. Last year, I got a packet of seeds from France and simply sowed them in a corner of the vegetable garden. They germinated and grew into tiny plants that soon grew into adult ones. I did not fuss over them, simply let them do their thing. I did not watch them, did not intimidate them. I did not even water them or fertilize them. And when fall came and I was supposed to transplant them to give them proper space to mature we had early snow and I had no time for it. Diditalis are bi-annuals, which means you sow them one year and the next they flower and then usually die.

Well, I was surprised to find out they had survived very well harsh weather and were the first to stand up in spring. I kept my fingers crossed that they would flower and they did! And the show is just breathtaking, they are astounding!!! Sowing seeds and watching the tiny seedlings grow into these dramatically showy flowers is a real miracle of nature.

Yes, just another miracle ...

Friday, June 20, 2008

VIVA FRIDA ! ! !

Viva el sol ! Viva la luna !

Viva el dia rojo ! Viva la noche azul !

Viva el angel ! Viva el diablo !

Frida angel or devil is available on eBay! Worked all day on it today, painting the last details and I must say I am very happy with it.

I love the split image of bad/good, red/blue, devil/angel and I think Frida would approve of it. She was the perfect image of duality, soft/strong, gentle/mesmerizing, vulnerable/tough, child/woman ... She was a charmer, a seducer, a player yet she was a strong-headed woman, very capable and very talented. Very modern in her traditional Mexican fashion and in her of thinking and painting.

Strong, despite everything. A half-devil, half-angel woman artist.

I wish I could have met her, share home-cooked meals and a shot of tequila with her between two sessions of painting in her beautiful Casa Azul ...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

MY HOUSE IS A VERY, VERY, VERY FINE HOUSE ...

This morning I walked to the road to see if there was anything in my mailbox and when I turned back the sight of my house made me feel good and so lucky to be its owner. The sun was shining, it was crisp and humid and shiny from all the rain we have had in the past days and everything shimmered. My house looked beautiful! No neighbors close by, plenty of forest around us, a lot of peace and quietness all year round, nature everyday present and full of little pleasures and surprises... I am so lucky to have a place of my own, a place that I love to spend time at, a place that is safe, a place that really means home...

Coffee mug in hand, I walked back, stopping my the little pond to marvel at it. And a wonderful treat was waiting for me! The first waterlily flower was opened and its reflection in the water was breathtaking!

Such precious little miracles make me so happy...

I was looking at an old gardening journal earlier today and found this poem I had copied on its cover written by Nancy Byrd Turner...

I want to have a little house
With sunlight on the floor.
A chimney with a rosey hearth,
And lilacs by the door.
With windows looking
East and West
And a crooked apple tree,
And room beside the garden fence
For hollihocks to be!

This is just the perfect little poem...

I have been working on a new Frida Kahlo painting all day today and will be listing it on eBay tomorrow. This one is also a newer version of an older painting I had done when I used black outlines. I think you will like it...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A BANDAID ON MY HEART ...

A week has gone by since my last post and I have given myself the time to be sad and to heal a broken spot in my soul...

I have spent lots of energy drawing, painting, gardening and hiking, all good remedies for this kind of illness...

And I am feeling much better now. Of course, I was not born with a gloomy spirit so my energy is back, so is my positiveness and the smile on my face.

Ulysse is finishing primary school this Friday and I can not believe next fall he will be going to the BIG regional highschool in Cowansville. Ouch! My tender mother's heart! He will be the youngest student in the entire school, since he was born September 30 which is the cut off date. It worries me a bit than again I have full confidence that he will be doing just fine. He is a great boy. I mean teenager. I mean almost teenager...Time has gone by so fast...

So YOUPPI !!! school is finished !!! No more homeworks, no lunch to prepare, no worries about sleeping time at night. And plenty of time ahead of us to do tons of summer stuff. Oh! I love it when my kid is on vacations!

I just finished painting this little fairy painting, a newer and different version of one of the first paintings I ever sold online. You can bid on little Fairy Seated on a Leaf as well as on Angel with Black Cats on eBay, where both paintings are listed.

It is midnight, I have one cat sleeping in my lap, another snoring on my window sill. I can hear the sound of the water in my little pond outside of my studio and the songs of the frogs celebrating the summer solstice almost here and the tons of rain the month of June has brought us so far. I am going to sleep outside tonite on the deck, the full moon is just to beautiful. This way I get a front row seat to watch her show and it is way better than an Imax 3D presentation!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BLUE, I AM SO BLUE ...

My dear childhood friend Manon passed away last Sunday...

Despite her strong belief and faith, her immense courage and her incredible good mood, cancer had the last word...

She was 45 years old and the mother of Annie and Jeanne, 11 and 14 years old...

She was positive she would be there to see her grandchildren one day...

But she is no longer here for long telephone talks, laughter about silly things and a piece of her great homemade cheese cake...

She was the person, outside of my family, I could share the oldest memories with...

She is now gone...

And I am so blue...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

TRIBAL CRITTERS ...

I strongly believe that what I am today is the result of a mixture of several previous lives ... No, seriously...

I think at one time I must have been Mexican. I am so inspired by this country, its people, its art, its land, its language...

Then, at another time, I must have been a native American, knowing the name of every plant and animal, crafting with natural fibers, being in touch with my soul and the entire earth, fishing and hunting and gardening daily and giving thanks to higher beings for my acts...

I must have also been a cavewoman, an animal of some sorts, with a somewhat bigger brain then the other species around me, a female cromagnon dressed in fur, barefoot, with unkept long hair, a basic mother, protector of my grotto and my children, companion of my mate, unknowingly part of the beginning of the humanity...
I believe this is the reason why I am happy with little daily miracles. Why I am a lover of nature in general. Where I got my crafty and creative flow. Why I am not a social or mundane person. Why I relate to the moon so much. Why I adore the water of rivers and oceans. Why my family is so important. Why I know who I am ...

I painted this image yesterday, tribal critters of all sorts, a bit mexican, native american and prehistoric ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

EXTREME SKATE PARK ...

It has been raining and raining and raining some more for days now. When the sun shows its nose again and heats up the nature it will look like a jungle out there... Good time for plants to grow but not so good for being outside to witness it. And it is supposed to get real hot this weekend and I can't wait! I LOOOOOVE heat and we do get it quite intensively during July and August with a mixture of high humidity. Some days, in the middle of summer, it gets so tropical that you would never believe the bad winters we get too.

Still no contact lenses, they are supposed to be delivered tomorrow morning. It will be a real good thing to be able to see perfectly again. I feel like disabled person, I still can't get over the fact that even my glasses are broken... So, not much work has been done in the studio, lots of cleaning and reorganizing and other stuff I usually have a tendency to put aside...

Every day, after supper, around 7:30, I take the three dogs for a walk, two on a double-sided long leach and the other free. I walk down the road to my favorite spot than walk back home up the hill. I love it since it is the most beautiful landscape of the region and there are no houses on this path. The dogs really enjoy this moment and i do too...

This week, Ulysse has been coming with us on his skateboard. He loves skating but living in a rural spot with an unpaved road does not make it easy. So, he skates down the road and has a riot. When we reached the return point of the walk, he takes the dogs with him and they pull him, with my help. The scene is unreal, with all this nature space, and mountains and clouds, and fields, and the dogs and the birds flying by and my dear son skating quietly among it all...

I am so thankful for precious moments like this one...

Monday, June 2, 2008

#%@&!!*&#$%^+<&%@#!!!!!

Last Wednesday, I broke one of my contact lenses when I took it out of its case. Zut! I hate when I do that!!! I have been wearing contacts since I was 15 years old and I am pro at it. Lost one only once in a while and was always lucky to find it. One time, believe it or not, I lost it in my pool, did not panick and found it in the skimmer the day after. Another time, I dropped it in the sink hole, unscrewed the pipe under it and found it in the curved part of it. Even lost one in my black dog's hair one night and found it with the flashlight... So, no problem, I thought, I have a pair of spare ones!

BIG PROBLEM !!!! I had this pair of contacts made before I left for Mexico just in case... Well, thank God I did not have to use them... They are not mine!!! They were made for someone else!!! I got the wrong pair!!!

I called my optometrist right away and, duh!!!!, they said that yes, they were aware of the situation, were sorry, but were supposed to call and just forgot... So, all they could do is order the right pair for me and contact me when they were ready, which should be in a week or so...

ARE YOU CREAZY !!! I AM SO TOTALLY BLIND WITHOUT MY CONTACT LENSES I CAN BARELY WALK WITHOUT HELP !!! I AM NOT EVEN SURE I COULD RECOGNIZE MY SON IF HE WAS 10 FEET IN FRONT OF ME !!!

Sure enough, I have gone and seen a new eye doctor! I am supposed to get my new lenses tomorrow. I can't wait, this is such a bummer! I can not work at my paintings, can not read, can not operate normally. And here is the cherry on the sunday:

Hey, wait a minute! I have an old pair of glasses that I keep just in case. I never use them, I hate wearing glasses. I wore them so long as a child with all the inconveniences they caused me, that on top of me being the tallest in the class year after year.

So, I turned all my drawers hunting for them, MERDE ! where are they? I finally found them in an old beach bag I keep for no reason other than the Jamaican sand that is still at the bottom of it that I want to keep as a souvenir... I opened the glasses case and ...

Nooooooooo! The left lense in the glasses is missing! Can you believe it? The left side, just like the contact lense I just broke !!!

So, I guess all I can do now is be patient, get out of my studio instead of being grumpy trying to work, go outside and play in the garden.

Tomorrow, if it is a clear day, I will be able to see forever...