Friday, October 31, 2008

A WHITE HALLOWEEN ...

TO YOU,
WITCHES, SKELETONS AND GHOSTS,
I WISH YOU
A SCARRY HALLOWEEN!

This year,
ours will be an orange, black and white one ...

The snow has not melted yet,
the decorated pumpkins have frozen on the balcony
and
we will have to wear our snowboots tonite to go trick-or-treating !!!

Don't we all love Halloween on a Friday night?

I am sending you all
sticky hugs
and
sweet kisses !!!

LuLu

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DIEGO, I OFFER YOU MY HEART ...

The response to my Frida paintings is amazing! And it warms my heart since she is my favorite subject to paint.

A collector just asked me if I could paint a life-size Frida! He will offer it to his wife for Christmas. Imagine! It will be so much fun to paint it in such a size, so much space to add plenty of tiny details!

Once again, it was a pleasure working on this Frida's Ofrenda to Diego painting. If you feel lucky, it is available on eBay.

Have fun bidding on it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A SLOW SUNDAY AT THE LAKE ...

My son is like me, like his dad. He feels his time is precious and he always has a thousand projects ahead of him. He loves being with friends to act his age and goof like any 12-years old boy should. But he also loves his time in my (I mean our) studio or in his father's shop, drawing, inventing, fixing, building, hammering, glueing, creating. He loves chatting while working, I mean with real words, with us, not on the net. He wants to be an engineer or a designer or an inventor. He loves quite and happy time at home ... That is why he surprised me today by asking me if I felt like driving to Lake Champlain to go walk on the shores one last time before rough weather gets here. And, of course, you can always count me in when it comes to going somewhere driving mixed with watching nature!

So, at the end of the afternoon, we parked our car on a small dead-end road and walked up to a certain spot in the Baie Mississquoi that is now protected and dedicated to nature. It is a very important spot for soft shell turtles and snapping turtles to come and mate then lay their eggs. It is very quiet, unbuilt and quite beautiful. You can walk either on a little path along the beach or just follow the water for a few kilometers before spotting any house. Surprisingly, there are no garbage in this particular spot, only dead wood, clam shells and rocks of all kinds. The sun was low on the horizon, the sand and wavy like the desert after a wind storm. Their were traces of deers and raccoons imprinted so perfectly here and there. Seeing a group of deers coming to drink on the shores of such big lake must be quite a sight...
We stayed a few hours, scavenging the ground for old bones, fossils, shells and unusual minerals. Ulysse did some clam digging and I just sat there on a fallen tree trunk watching the beauty of such a wonderful day, peaceful, quiet, perfect...

On our way back, we stopped for a little while at another spot of the lake where our secret stash of sea, I mean, lake glass waits for us. We filled a big jar with bits and pieces of different sizes and colors.

We returned home before sunset so we could catch a view of this spectacular road leading to the Pinacle mountain where we live. What a day... What a beautiful October day...

Friday, October 24, 2008

ADIEU MUMBA ...

Everyone who has ever visited the Zoo de Granby, in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, has been touched in a certain way by its most popular tenant, the famous silverback gorilla Mumba. His stern figure, his ever-present stare, his incredible aura left a mark in the soul of whoever met him.

His was an impressive 450 lbs 48-years old personality, the second eldest gorilla in captivity in the world.

Mumba was born in 1961 in the forests of Cameroun. His parents were killed and he was taken in captivity, supposedly by poachers, then sent to Canada to be adopted by the zoo. He was only 15 months-old and the zoo was not equipped to take care of him just yet, they had just opened their facilities. Therefore, until his shelter was built, he was taken care of by a family and lived with them in their home for 14 months. They cared for him like a child. He wore diapers, sat in a high-chair for his meals, was bottle-fed, rode in the car with his dad. They loved him.

Later, he got adopted by the zoo where he became famous, first for his tempermental gorilla-style fits, his total self-assurance and his debonaire and casual I-don't-care-about-you ways.

There were several attempts to mate him with female gorrillas but to no avail. Mumba never became a father. He enjoyed listening to soft-rock and jazz music, loved watching ScoobyDoo cartoons and his favorite treat was yogourt. He was very well treated at the zoo and adored by his guardians. Mumba was the kind of the zoo.

When he had a very bad arthritis attack in 2003 and became paralyzed on one side, the doctors at the zoo attempted all they could to cure him and alleviate his pain. They finally succeeded with natural remedies and he could eventually stand up and walk again.

But after seeing 20 million visitors in his life, the zoo decided that he was ready to retire and last year, they kept him in a private space where he did not have to deal with the crowd or with other gorillas.

Last Tuesday, early in the morning, he was found lying on his side, the way he always slept. But he did not wake up. Mumba had passed away during the night, silently ...

When I read about this in the newspaper, I felt so sad because somehow I had lost someone I knew well. Every single time I went to the zoo, when I was a toddler, then a kid, then a teenager Mumba was there and he was the main reason for visiting the site. Since Ulysse was born, I have gone to the zoo each year, marvelling at the great changes happening for the welfare of the animals in captivity, seeing most of the cages vanishing to be replaced by more natural surroundings. And we have spent time visiting Mumba, spending time with him, watching him, not like spies but like friends, smiling at him, sending him good vibrations.

Don't get me wrong! I do not like zoos. They make me feel sad and helpless and sometimes mad. But if it were not for the Zoo de Granby, I would have never met Mumba, would have never looked into his incredible eyes and would have never felt the smallness of human beings in comparion of these great big primates. Mumba gave me the chance to see a live gorilla, something I will probably never experience in the wild in this lifetime.

Mumba made me feel humble. And thankful. Mumba gave me a hint of what was man million of days gone by.

The big apes are our relatives, let's not forget it ...

Mumba was my big-brother...

Adieu, Mumba ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ALL THE LEAVES ARE FALLING ...

and I can finally show you my new Autumn Fairy & Crows painting, which is available in on eBay right now. It was a real pleasure working on this canvas, assembling the skirt with an assortment of leftover bits of paper, painting the multicolored leaves flying everywhere and even outside on the black sides. I am very, very happy with the results, the colors are different from the ones I use and I think the autumn feel to it works well.

I have been very busy the past few days finishing my HUGE commissioned painting while dealing with a mild constant fever caused by the flu. I have a few more paintings finished but could not list or show them earlier since my adorable mischevious cat Mykey threw my camera on the floor and killed it. I just got a new one today, no, not a cat, but a camera.

I finished this fairy painting today and almost added a few snow flurries to the background to give it a flavor-of-the-day touch. We woke up with an inch of snow this morning and cold, humid and damp much below frost temperature.

BRRR!

It always amazes me how fast the weather changes here, from steamy hot to arctic frigor. You can be optimistic when autumn arrives with warm rays of sun and cobalt blue skies and think, What if winter did not show up this year? But, a few days or cool rain with good bursts of wind will make your hopes go down the drain ...

So, it is time for us, creatures of the North, to put away gardening tools, pool gear, hamacs and suntan lotion and take the hand-knitted caps, scarves and gloves out of the closet, install the riveted snow-tires on the car and crank up those full-spectrum-light lamps in my studio.

TIME TO WORK !

Now, I can spend full days guiltless of not doing outside chores because it is so beautiful outside. I can work in my studio from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. dedicated solely to drawing, glueing, painting and creating!

This is why, despite everything, I LOVE THIS TIME OF THE YEAR !

Thursday, October 16, 2008

AND THE QUEEN OF MY HALLOWEEN CONTEST IS ...

TASCHA !

YOUPPI FOR YOU, Tascha ! You are the winner of my Halloween Give-Away Contest!

Tascha's ultimate costume is to be dressed as a gypsy! She says she always liked the look and is now wearing the attire in her day-to-day life.

You do have the romanichel look, Tascha, and we all love it!

Tascha is a wonderful artist who's work I have been following for a few years now. Her paintings are colorful, whimsical and so poetic! And the number of canvas she paints in a year amazes me!

Make sure you visit Tascha's blog to learn more about her cats, her life and her art!

And to all the other participants, thank you so much for sharing your ideas of what your ultimate Halloween Costume would be! Tomorrow I will list each participant and share with your their costume idea.

Thanks again to you all for having fun with me with this Halloween contest!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CANDYCORN LANDSCAPES ...

Here and there, they are everywhere ...

I can not walk or drive or look around without marveling at the beauty of the colors this fall. The light is low and casts wonderful long shadows. The sun rises so late in the morning and is just too lazy to go up in the sky. So it stays slumped just above the horizon and goes to bed pretty early too. By 7 p.m. it is dark outside and we have not even turn back the clock one hour yet ...

Ah! the smell of the leaves shrivelling on on the ground and their crunchy sound when you walk in them. Rich and mysterious and back-to-mother-nature senses ...

Each year, we rake the sugar maple leaves in the back of our house to make a BIG pile as high and thick as possible. Then, we run as fast and hard as we can and jum in it to the risk of smashing in each other and breaking something ...

We are still sleeping outside despite the frisky nights and when we woke up this morning our blankets were covered with leaves.

There is something magic about all this autumn process ... Everything going to sleep for a while to be born again in spring or lying down for good and transforming itself into earth itself.

Mother Earth is such an appropriate name for the planet. Because, if you think about it, life is a circle of seasons.

And nothing else matters ...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

GIVING THANKS FOR THANKSGIVING ...

We had a glorious day en famille yesterday, it was mild and sunny and just beautiful! My parents were here as well as my brother with the cousins and an assortment of friends. We had a late lunch outside under the bright yellow and red maple trees who occasionaly shed a leaf, which added a touch for a perfect ambiance. We ate, we hugged, we laughed, we talked, we listened, we played freesbie, we walked in the woods, we went for canoe ride on the pond, we ate more, laughed and talked more and really enjoyed the few hours we spent together.

Today was even more beautiful, if at all possible, with a bluer sky, tons of birds chirping in the trees, clouds like puffs of whipped cream and a combination of earth and fire colors that would be hard not to notice.

Francois repainted the trimming of the house and the windows while Ulysse goofed around with his friend Scott and I cleaned the garden. A perfect day, the dogs basking in the sun like whales on the beach, the cats running after each other on the balcony and the chicken keeping me company.

The vegetation is turning gold and orange and chartreuse and rust and brick, oh! a beautiful color palette, my favorite of all.

We ate the last cherry tomatoes hanging on the vines while sipping a nice glass of red wine from one of the vineyards nearby. I cut the last pumpkins and the tall sunflowers stalks and put them all on my old garden table. When I turned and looked at it, I thought the tableau was just perfect. The sunflowers' center with all the seeds perfectly embedded never ceases to fascinate me.

I laid on my bench near the flower bed between hostas, dahlias and raspberries, closed my eyes and gave thanks for all I have. Health, love, family, happiness, peace ... Gave thanks because I am so lucky to live my life this way, safe and sound with the ones I love ... Because so many people around the world do not have a fraction of what I have. Not even hope ...

I am so very, very thankful.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

CATGIRL AND BIKEBOY ...

I finished the 3rd painting in my Halloween serie today, this little catgirl trick or treating with a friend. It has been a real pleasure working with the same palette through the serie so far, playing with the same darker colors in different schemes and then looking at them finished, mounted together side by side. I am working on a larger one in the same serie, maybe one more than that will be it for the Halloween market. My little Halloween Cat Trio is available on eBay tonite! ***SOLD***

Today felt like an end of August day, mild, sunny and breezy. It was hard to stay inside working in my studio rather than cleaning up the garden, which I should be doing as soon as possible, before the real cold arrives, the one that freezes your hands in a jiffy and makes them rough and cracked like sand paper.

Ulysse and I went for a walk with the dogs right before sunset and the sky above us looked so low, it felt heavy with all those fluffy and thick clouds.

Bikeboy had a riot doing tricks in the potholes on the road and when I turned to watch him it looked like the sky was about to swallow him!

When we came back the sun pierced through the dark clouds and it reminded me of when as a kid I would dig a tunnel in the snow for hours and how the light would shine when I finally reached the other end of the bank, first a tiny hole than a big round circle of bright!

Tonite was a real catch-that-perfect-moment-and-hide-it-in-your-heart one ... Breathtaking and more beautiful than anything else ...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I AM A DEVIL AND I AM BAD ...

Here is my latest Halloween painting, a little she-devil, bad as can be, trick or treating with her costumed cat. I especially love her mask. Did you know that such a mask is called a 'loup' in French, or if you prefer a 'wolf'. This little Halloween Devil & Cat painting is currently available on eBay.

The death of my King story has touched many of you and I thank you for all your kind comments ... At least, writing about it in my blog has somewhat immortalized our beloved moose ... And who knows, he might have left a son or a daughter behind him in the forest ... Maybe, one day, we will be the witness of such another grand animal here ...

Don't forget, there is still a bit over a week left to participate in my HALLOWEEN GIVE-AWAY COSTUME IDEA CONTEST ! On October 16, I will list each participant and tell you about their dream-of-a-life-time costume. Then I will randomly draw a winner! It has been great fun so far reading about your utmost October 31st suit. Thanks to everyone for participating !!!

I have not written much about daily stuff happening in my corner of the world lately. My Etsy Shop Grand Opening took quite a bit of my time and finishing commissioned paintings and trying to produce has much as I can before Halloween gets too close.

Ulysse is doing WONDERFULY in highschool, he adores it! It seems to me he has passed from being a big boy to being a teenager in a week or so. Francois is working on dozens of different creative projects at a time, creating new bicycle skulls and metal sculptures. It is Canadian ThanksGiving this weekend and we are having a bunch of family members and friends over on Saturday than some more on Sunday. That means more birthday gifts for Ulysse and blowing candles on another birthday cake, if you can believe it! We will also celebrate my husband's birthday and at the same time, the 50th wedding anniversary of my parents.

Fall is advancing fast, we had our first real ground frost during the night and woke up this morning in a sugar-coated fairyland playground. It was beautiful, everything sparkled and shined. There was frost on the last berries, on spider webs, on rocks ... Such splendor in such simple things ...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

SOMEONE MURDERED OUR KING ...

We are all feeling so sad today ... Sad and ashamed and mad and desperate ...
For almost 5 years we were part of a kingdom. The beautiful, green, peaceful kingdom of the king of the forest. And what a king he was!

6 feet tall, 600 pounds, with hantlers as big as a the front of my car.

We would see him early in spring, walking along the road in the soft mud, chewing on newly grown weeds. We would sometimes be surprised by him all in a sudden, getting a glimpse of his majesty on a stroll in the wee hours of the morning or at sunset, posing in front of a magnificient sky. We would also hear him during the night, calling his lover who lives nearby, singing with a deep tenor voice the most lovely opera. Then, we would see him one last time in fall, cheewing on the last apples on the trees, getting ready for the harshness of the next season coming and for the arrival of hunting season.

We got the visit of the forest rangers this morning. They wanted to know if we had heard gunshots yesterday at sundown ... which indeed I did hear ...

Around 7 p.m. yesterday, poachers killed our king nearby our house, in the forest, chopped him in pieces on a plastic tarp, wrapped everything up and left on their 4-wheelers as fast as they could ... All they left was the stomach ...

I am feeling so bad and so sad because I did not hear 1 gunshot but 16 gunshots, one after the other ... They must have cornered him and simply assasinated him ...

There is no moose hunting season in this region simply because the number of animals is not high enough ... There was one beautiful moose on the Pinacle Mountain and he is no more because someone wanted to shoot himself a nice moose ...

If they ever find the person who did that, I would have the perfect way of taking care of him, even though I have absolutely no knowledge of taxidermy. His crowned head should be mounted on a piece of varnished wood marked "KING OF THE POACHERS" ...

I feel sad because we will never be able to witness such a noble beast nor hear his peaceful songs again ...

And I feel sad because I strongly believe that it is acts like this coward act towards other living creatures that will lead humankind to its end ...

Friday, October 3, 2008

FRIDA Y LAS FLORES DE LA MUERTE ...

I felt like painting a fun and colorful Frida Kahlo canvas for Dia de los Muertos and the results are exactly what I wanted, a canvas a la Mexicana that looks like a bowl of bright and yummy candies in a patchwork style ... Las Flores de la Muerte is available on eBay right now. ***SOLD***

Well, I guess everybody wants to get my BIG HALLOWEEN SURPRISE since I got quite a few participants in only a few days in my Halloween Contest. I wish we could have a costume party and all meet to show off our favorite outathisworld disguisement ! Don't forget, all you need to do is join my list of followers and tell me in a comment what would be your ultimate Halloween costume. Dead line for participating is October 15 ! Canada, USA and Everywhere else bloggers are invited!

Also, my Grand Opening Etsy Store Sale is extended until October 7. I have received so many wonderful comments about my art, have met many new interesting and interested people and have gotten a few sales as well, so I want to give enough time to everybody to take advantage of my specials. Come and visit when you have a minute !

It seems like I have not written much about the happenings in my daily life lately ... I promise to write this weekend about a few things I want to share with you.

But for now, I am going to bed early tonite, Youppi! it is Friday night, no school tomorrow, means no need to wake up at 6 and prepare lunch. I love Saturday mornings en famille !