Friday, January 30, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
To be there in spring, when the gardens are starting to flower, lovers are kissing on the Pont Neuf and the Bateau Mouche is slowly moving on the Seine.
Ah! Paris !
The smell of cafe and warm croissants as you walk early in the morning on your way to Les Puces.
The museums everywhere, the history, the age of this city! To cross a bridge that Napoleon on his horse once crossed, to climb the stairs of Notre-Dame and feel in your bones that time gone by...
Its people, its fashion, its charm!
The last time I was in the city, I went to visit the Eiffel Tower as I always do everytime I travel there. On my way I saw a tiny dainty French woman dressed in pink, cute as a button with her beret and her big bag of flowers and on a red leash she had a pink poodle. She was just perfect! I kept this image in my mind and decided today to paint it.
Paris Girl & Poodle is available on eBay and in my Etsy store as well, if you decide you want it now.
We are right in the middle of winter. Which means one half is already over...
But I like winter ... Especially on days like today when the sun is bright and yellow, the sky is blue and the ton of snow looks like whipped cream. It is warm and cozy inside, I keep the fire roaring all day long and it is so much easier to spend long days in the studio in comparison of doing it in summer. I concentrate better on painting. I go outside to take long brisk walks with the dogs and return to the paint brushes totally invigorated. I do not feel lazy like I do in summer ... Winter is work season! But I do like the cats do, when the sun shines through the windows, I simply stay still, close my eyes and feel the vibes of spring soon coming ...
Monday, January 26, 2009
I have always been fascinate my the strange image of a flaming heart. Or the one of a heart bleeding like we often see in older Catholic images. When I was a kid, I would look at a painting of Virgin Mary showing her anatomically-correct heart hoozing blood, pierced by thorns or with flames coming out of it and would stay paralyzed in front of it, with a mix feeling of awe, terror and curiosity... Of course, now I have a passion for such hearts, especially the ones depicted in the Mexican culture. I painted this Mexican Valentine Frida holding a flaming heart at night during full-moon and I think it could have read My heart is blazing for you, Diego... This colorful and bold FRIDA & FLAMING HEART painting is available on eBay right now. Or if you are in a hurry to get her, you can purchase it in my Etsy store. Ah! l'amour, toujours l'amour ...
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Time to get ready on Monday, January 26 2009 to switch from the Year of the Rat to the Year of the Ox. It is said that during such a year, one will attain prosperity and balance through hard work and effort... There is an easy way to understand Chinese Astrology and it is to look at the animal representing the year and observe it. Quite easy to figure out, right? The Year of the Ox is an intense laboring one where you will have to puff and huff pulling the heavy cart of the past years behind you. Oh but you can do it! A bull is strong, it has might and it is quite solid on its legs. Remember last year, Year of the Rat? That was the time when you were supposed to move fast on your little squirmy legs and put away all the grain you could find. Yes, to put away as much as you could so you would not be caught off guard starving during the cold season... This is not the time to be rolling on your back in the mud and just being content like you would during the Year of the Pig. Or swing from one tree to another, make faces and have fun like you would during the Year of the Monkey. Or crow and show off like you would during the Year of the Rooster, or nap and stretch and not worry like you would during the Year of the Cat... This is the year to roll up your sleeves and be prepared to do the things that need to be done even if there is a whole bunch of hard work coming your way for the months ahead. Time to be strong and sure of yourself, time to go back to the field like our ancestors did. No time for passivity, not this year... On this Year of the Ox, labour and effort will be the key words. Did you know that Barack Obama was born during the Year of the Ox? HAPPY YEAR OF THE OX TO YOU ALL !
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I am always amazed by regular and almost geometric patterns made by nature. Like ripples blown by the wind on a sand dune. Puck marks left in the mud in the garden by heavy rain. The grain in a freshly cut piece of wood. The wiskers of a cat. I am also fascinated by the rythms of nature. Like the cycles of the moon. The change of seasons every three months. Pink sunrises in the morning in summer and early blue sunset at night in winter. The number of seconds between two lightnings during a storm. Patterns and rythms... Ups and downs. Bursts of energy then complete lack of it. Creative periods and moments of total imagination paralysis. We do have our patterns and rythms too and we have acknowledge them to understand their happening. Curves of life. Ups and downs... Biorythms...I read about them in a big book when I was pretty young and it just blew my mind. We too have high and low tides. Each year, once the big hype of Christmas and the holiday season is over, I have a tough time with the first weeks of January. I get stucked in a slow-pace-twilight-zone mood. But I just stop and listen to my heart...And I know that the rythm will pick up again... Don't panick when you feel a little bit off. Just listen to your heart and hear its rythm... I have had a grrrrreat week so far, finally woke up from my post Christmas-rush lethargy and am feeling totally recharged! Ready for anything to happen this year! I finished this little Valentine Fairy painting today and it is available on eBay. I also listed it in my Etsy store, just in case you want to get it now. Isn't she the cutest?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I finished this painting this afternoon while watching the inauguration of the new President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. And while watching it on tv I literally fell in love with him. He seems so genuine, so humble, so concerned, so truthful yet so strong, so powerful, so intense and so proud ... I cried and shivered and smiled and laughed and vibrated watching him and his family and his entourage and the incredible crowd that showed up to celebrate his arrival. I am a Canadian, not an American, yet the joy and hope and proudness I felt today made me realize the real possibilities of changes starting now and a sense that everything is possible ... I love you Mr. President, I love the emotions you allowed yourself and everyone else to show and feel today. BRAVO, MR. OBAMA !!! My little Queen of Heart painting is available on eBay tonite. Come over and have a look!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I thought things were pretty quiet lately, that I was not getting as many emails and comments on my blog as usual. I thought it was due to the extreme cold temperatures we were getting... I thought that maybe the state of the economy had caught up with me after all... Then I thought maybe I had said something I shouldn't have said and that I offended everyone ... Or possibly I had used the wrong word in English and made a fool of myself enough that people did not wanna come and visit anymore ... But ... Today I finally figured out why my mailbox was so empty and calm !!! For some obscure reason, my last posts did not show on the web. I could view my updated blog but no one else could !!! I feel so much better now that I know you guys are still there but you just could not view my last bla bla blas... So, if you want to keep up to date with the going ons in my neck of the wood, please scroll back to Thursday, January 8 2009 post and you won't miss anything. My new moose story, my latest junk store find, my trip to Vermont, how cold it has been here, etc, etc, etc. I finished this little Frida and Doll painting early last week and it is available on eBay for two more days. I just love how this image turned out, love the joyful and spring-style colors in her dress and her little stern-face doll. I will be posting more paintings this week and there will be a few Valentine ones in there, I promise! Oh! And before I forget, I want to thank everyone who has included one of my paintings in their Etsy Treasury! I am honored to have been featured in 7 different treasuries in 2 weeks! Wow! What a medal this represents to me! Thank you ! Merci ! Gracias !
Friday, January 16, 2009
Look what I found today in a tiny thrift shop I hadn't visited in years !A cookie jar shaped like my favorite Mother Goose rhyme !
Hey diddle, diddle,The Cat and the Fiddle,The Cow jumped over the Moon,The little Dog laughedTo see such sport,And the Dish ran awayWith the Spoon.What a precious lucky find !
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
or, if you wish, -40 degrees Farengheit !
This is what the thermometer read at my parent's early this morning. We had to keep both slow-combustion stove roaring all night long and let the water drip in the bath just in case the water coming from a pipe in a stream in the mountain froze. We woke up in a cold house, we could tell how cold it was just looking out the window. The glass panes get so frosted you can hardly see through them. I took the dogs outside for a few minutes then decided to return to my warm bed and skip school today. 52 degrees C in the kitchen made the coffee cup steam like a locomotive. Ulysse was in heaven, still under his warm blanket with a free day ahead of him In the afternoon, I drove to Vermont just because it was "shipping day" and what needs to be done has to be done, cold or not. I ain't no sissy, I was born here and winters have always been cold! Well, as usual, the view was amazing! This is what you see when you enter Vermont from Canada on the Pinacle Mountain. Isn't it spectacular? The rest of the day was spent not doing much, hanging out like a bunch of moles in our tunnels. And the sun was with us all day, once again, shining so bright in such a blue sky with snow sparkling like diamonds on a fairy's wings. None of the cats wanted to go out, they all decided that the litter box was not such a bad place for personal matters, after all. They watched the birds through the windows and dreamed their cats' dreams of green grass, hot benches and cool shades under the flowers of summer. Just what I dreamed about too, as a matter of fact ...
Monday, January 12, 2009
... and a happy ending one it is!
Remember my sad post in October about our King of the Forest, our dear moose, who got shot by poachers? Well, this time my story has a joyful ending ... On December 22, a resident of Glen Sutton, a village nearby, spotted a poor moose caught halfway in the ice of the river, which had broken under the weight of the animal. The person called neighbors around and quickly they gathered outside around the animal, passed a rope around its neck and pulled it out of the water. But the animal was exhausted and it fell on the ice that cracked once again. The people did not give up, they pulled, pulled and pulled again until they got the animal safe on the bank. The moose was wet and frozen and shook incontrollably, lying on its side. One of the guys decided to massage the huge beast, hoping to revive it somewhat and get her blood flowing again... The little crowd joined it, rubbing and patting the dear animal. And they succeded! The mama moose stood up, looked at them all and slowly walked away. Needless to say, these people had a great story to tell around the table at Christmas. One of the rescuer concluded that in difficult times like the ones we are living in, it is important to stop and take the time to help someone in difficulty, human or animal ... Don't you love these wonderful stories?
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I love the month of January because of the way the sun shines in my house.
It has moved enough already since December 21st to give a tiny hint of spring being on its way sooner or later ... It is higher in the sky and gives off the most beautiful light in the afternoon.
I swear, it is so warm and soft that it makes my rocking chair moves by itself in the kitchen ...Ulysse is spending the day with friends outside, Francois is working on a project in his shop and I am in a cool-vibrations state, barefoot in my studio, listening to Bob Marley full-blast, sipping a tall glass of red wine mixed with tropical juice, smelling the wonderful scent of an Amber Glow Yankee candle burning and painting my heart away... Humm ... We are starting to get the itch of going somewhere warm and wild and far-away on a beach near the ocean, maybe just for a week ... Maybe the Yucatan in Mexico again this year ... Or should we wait and go to Spain or Greece a little later in spring? But Tulum the mermaid is calling us once again ... Hard to resist her song, isn't it?
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Just went with Ulysse for a long walk with the dogs before the sun started going down. It is cold. But here during winter, cold days mean sunny days ... Love the crispy sounds of cold days, love the blue hues the sun rays give to the snow ... The nipple of the Pinnacle mountain was frosted with icing sugar, reminded me of the bare breast of a fairy tale winter bride ... Ulysse amended his snow-bike a bit, you know, for more performance ... I love my winter days ...
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Today, we celebrated la Fête des Rois ou Epiphanie in French. This is the day the 3 kings arrived to visit Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Since Ulysse was borned, we celebrate this day baking the traditional Galette des Rois, a round and flat large pastry stuffed with frangipane, a cream made of ground almonds, eggs and sugar. Of course, you have to hide a fève somewhere in the cake so that the person who finds it in his or her piece becomes the king or queen of the day. I bake my galette but in Montreal you can find it in any good French bakery and each year it comes with a different fève (bean in French) made of porcelain and shaped like a little figurine. In France, there are many bean collectors and some items can be quite expensive too. My friend Nadine in Paris sent me a bunch of them a few years ago. I put them away in a little empty metal candy box. When comes the day,I am always charmed by how they look together, like mini toys or tiny jewels. Each of them is quite small, about the size of a quarter. On January 6, I choose one randomly and hide it in the pastry. When Ulysse was younger, I used to place the bean in his part of the cake, once it was cut, just to make sure he would be getting it... Anyways, it was back to school also today, so the kings came to visit and Christmas vacations came to a halt. I always kind of fear returning to my studio and my painting after a long break. I always fear the inspiration will have left the building, that I will not be able to draw anymore, that my brain will be empty of ideas. But no! It was easy! The trick is to paint and not do anything else like look at magazines, check my email, talk on the phone, play with the cats ... One thing at a time! This is my motto for the year 2009! I am working on a few paintings at a time and should have something to show you tomorrow. That is if Mike the cat hasn't messed too much with my canvases and paint brushes ...
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Because it is squeezed between Christmas and New Year Day and because it really does not matter to me, the guys decided to celebrate my birthday on Sunday. And I had totally forgotten about it ... Ulysse woke up earlier than me (which is unusual) and as soon as I had an eye open, he rushed in to kiss me and bring me cafe au lait, butter croissants and homemade strawberry jam on a tray. Ohhhh! I can not remember the last time I had breakfast in bed! Then, he brought me a gift he made for me last night, in his dad's (well it is his too) shop, which was a big secret...
I LOVE IT ! My own hand-carved wooden heart framed in a rough wooden frame inscribed à: Maman de: Ulysse. In it has eyelets so if I ever need to have a change of heart, I can simply replace it with this one, very handy! I will cherish it forever!As you know, we have many animals in our household: 5 cats, 3 dogs, 1 rooster, 4 chicken, fish and ... a turtle! But I would love to get a chiwawa dog, the tiniest possible. I talk about it sometimes but it is just a fantasy. I can hardly picture myself walking with my 3 big dogs and ... my chiwawa !!! Maybe one day, when I am an old excentric lady... Anyways, I got the cutest tiniest plush toy one I could get and it is very easy to take care of, does not bite and eats very little! I also got this wonderful little garden sculpture of a peaceful troll's face. Oh! he has just the perfect attitude, the one I have chosen to adopt in 2009! He will have a place of choice in one of my alpine flower beds, stucked in a batch of hen and chicks. And last, I got this so beautiful antique plaster angel to add my shrine. Isn't she divine?> I still have to receive my gift from my husband, who has been working on it for a while but could not finish it on time due to plumbing, car and health problems. All has been fixed now and he is feeling better so I should be getting it pretty soon ...
I am so lucky to be loved this way, so very lucky ...
Friday, January 2, 2009
I need to go back to painting and I mean soon! We have just about done everything we wanted to do during the holiday vacations and comes Tuesday morning, I think we will go back to the normal beat satisfied with the time we have all spent together. We even transplanted the peanut plant Ulysse sewed about a month ago, in a larger pot. The weather has been strange, rainy and warm one day, arctic cold and snowy another day. We skated on the pond for the first time yesterday and did so in the darkness since I was done shoveling the surface at 7 p.m. Quite a trip, I will tell you! The moon was rising, bright enough to give some light and it was crispy cold. Ulysse and I skated for almost an hour doing figures, racing and trying different moves. All we could hear was the sound of the blades on the ice surface. It was wonderful. When our fingers started getting numb and we could almost not feel our nose anymore, we gave up and started skating upward the hill to our house. That is when we heard the most beautiful coyote howl we have ever heard. It was like a song, like Romeo singing his heart out to his love Juliette. The whole thing was so perfect with a clear sky full of stars, the snow blue and sparkly, that we laughed and thought that all this put together looked and sounded fake. Like stuff like this does not happen in real life... It will soon be time to pack away the Christmas decorations and take the garlands and balls and candy canes off the tree. It always makes me feel a bit sad to undo our wonderful tree that looks like it could live this way, like the king of our dining room, forever. But at least we give it another chance to be good for something. We take it outside and tie it to the trunk of a larger tree near our house. We then decorate it with peanut buttle balls, suet and orange pieces and it becomes a bird tree till spring arrives. With all these days of vacations, we are all turning into a bunch of lazy bums. Even the animals act like plushies. They squatted our beds and seem to be permanent fixtures on the blankets. Ulysse built this little Can robot today and I think he looks real cute and cudly and friendly. He does not do much, simply walks straight. But who knows, maybe my son could work on a new prototype for next year, one that could do the dishes, cook meals, clean up the house, even brush my teeth. With a couple of these robots around, we could just go ahead and hibernate completely for a little while... So, it will be back to painting on Tuesday morning and it will be fun. Just as fun as these vacations have been!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I got this adorable birthday card from my brother Richard and I think it is so à propos... A new year is starting, shinny, rosy and flawless like a baby's bottom. Yet we know that comes Monday, everyone will be back to work, holiday vacations will be over, life's routine will return and we will be bombarded once again by the media about how bad the economy is going ... What lies ahead of us in this new year? I feel the world is holding its breath, trying to balance a hot dog on their nose, keeping still ... But, as usual, I am quite optimistic. No need to add more to the negative vibrations anyways ... I think this economic turmoil will be good for everyone at the end. People will realize how lucky they are to have their health, their family and a peaceful place to live in. People will go back to staying at home to raise their kids, they will start baking and cooking again, they will sew and knit their clothes, they will work with the nature instead of against it, they will cultivate their little peace of land. People will stop to look at the sunshine on their window sill or at the tedious walk of a caterpillar on a spiky leave, they will wonder at the smell of lilac in spring or a freshly baked apple pie. People will take their loved ones in their arms and they will say 'I love you' and 'Thank you'. And they will truely mean it ... Yes, 2009 will indeed be a good year, especially if we really, really want it to be a good one ...I do !