Wandering the WAG


I was lucky enough to spend the day wandering the WAG with two of my favourite women. Twice! The 100 Masters exhibit let me see paintings by artists that I have studied with intensity, trying to decipher HOW George Reid managed to show the light in just that way.


Van Gogh’s texture absolutely terrifies me. It took everything that I had in me AND the presence of a security guard standing 6 feet away to keep from touching the bronze flower in the centre, the paint so thick for each petal.


And how does the giant red block of David Blackwood’s door not completely overwhelm this painting? My eyes kept moving.

Home from Bragg's Island

I wish that I was more comfortable working with abstract images. I want to be. Jean-Paul Riopelle said that he didn’t believe that abstract painting and the natural world were mutually exclusive. That one inspired the other and gave it emotional context. I want to adopt that.


So many plans now, so much clarity about what to do next.

The Mother of All Artist Dates

I had to drive to Saskatoon (couldn’t get out of it). It looked like I would have to take the bus back but, at the last minute, I had a rescuer. A rescuer with wheels who was willing to race to Saskatoon bearing a tent, a campstove and a back roads map.

The first two days feel like a blur, there were some sights to see and some scenes in sight. Goldilocks camping, the first site too close, the second too loud, the third… Oh, the third.

Fairy Sign pointing to a dark, cool grove under the bridge. Stones that measure in millimeters are much too fine to be the work of trolls.

Polymer Play

I wasn’t trying to make anything specific today, this was more along the lines of play. I still don’t know if I like any of the pieces. No, that’s not true, there are a few that have some serious potential for me (can you guess?).

This was mainly playing with silver and black Premo! I rolled it out into flat sheets, some thicker (the rectangles) and some thinner (the fancier shapes). I started with silver and then added black background pieces to some of them for emphasis.  The stamps were just various ones that I’ve picked up along the way, Some look like postal marks (okay, I’ll confess, those are my favourites), there are some that are like a background pattern, the quilted ones at the top, the fan and the medallions.

I played a little bit with Color Box Cat’s Eye pigments on a few of them, the face and , more importantly, the rusty finish on the postal mark pieces.  I was trying to make it look a little like rusted metal.  I like it and I think I’m going to turn it into something… I just don’t know what yet.

Playing With My Buttons Today

That almost sounds dirty. Obviously I meant it literally.

I’m not really one to do the country theme or anything really close to it but it sort of lent itself to a heart.  I’m going to play with the colours a little but I was going for an analogous theme with the yellow, green, blue combination.

I’m trying to tone down the perfectionist nonsense and stop worrying about that lone little green button on the top right.  It’s a glaring little dot to me.  Damn little dot.

This is probably one of my favourite colour combinations found in nature.  Blue flowers with a few yellow ones and a lot of green to balance it all out.

Goofing Around

There are two things in my life that I would dearly love to be able to do with skill and precision and flair (I’ll settle for two out of three on anything else): I want to juggle and I want to fold origami.  I can do neither except in their simplest forms.

Meag bought me a book on origami for Christmas. I have at least six books on origami. Still can’t do it.  Some in this book were possible though.  Like this breakfast.

The Leftover Soap

I had a bunch of leftover white soapy stars from the first time I played with soap. I also had a need for one more late Christmas present. Ta-da!!!

These are a lovely pink with stars floating at different levels. The coolest part is that I actually used a scent for this one.  They had a rosemary-mint scent that is definitely on my list for my own soap (mmmmmmmmmmmm, roooossssemaaaaarrry) but this was a gift and, as soon as I saw Plumeria, there were no other options.

Came together just as smoothly and quickly as the last time. I think I would probably add more scent the next time I do it, it does tend to fade quickly as it cools.  I got my grubbies all over them when I was cutting them so they’re not quite as pristinely transparent as the ones in the book but their first dip in hot water will take care of that.

Oh Great, Something Else To Get Into

I got a lot of cool things for Christmas but one of the coolest was a book on Soap from Meag.

So of course I had to try some with the glycerin soap from Michael’s.  It was so cool and had an awful lot in common with fondant or chocolate for that matter.  No, no, no, it’s really like working with sugar candy.  I was completely having flashbacks to the penguin cake and all of the batches of sugar trying to make those ice shards.

I started off with a thin white opaque layer and cut the stars out of it (I know that you can’t see it but there are totally sparkles in the white layer).  After that you pretty much put the white layer in the bottom of the pan and pour on the clear blue layer.  The picture doesn’t do the transparency of that stuff justice, you can practically read through it.

I’m not going to go into all of the details but it was good to stretch a little and I will definitely do a little more of this, there are techniques in this book that are seriously transferable.

Oh, yeah.  I’m not sure who these bars are for, I didn’t add any scent and only a minimal amount of the blue colour.  Because they’re made out of glycerin soap, they’re quite gentle and moisturizing but they definitely have a sense of… whimsy(? she says hopefully).  Starry, starry soap.

I Played The Piano Today

And it was awesome in the truest sense of the word. I cleaned it off yesterday because I knew that if I did there would be no way that I could resist it for long.  When I worked at the Conservatory, I used to take piano lessons with Eric Lussier. I love him fiercely and miss him like I would miss my foot.  He is a truly talented harpsichordist but he is a gifted teacher: that he got me to possibly maybe entertain the notion that somewhere deep down there was a chance that I might actually be talented (I said that last word in a whisper) speaks testament to that gift.

I started off doing what he used to call finger yoga, a series of stretches for my hands that I feel all the way up to my elbows. Follow that with a sort of stretching speed drill for each of my ten little fingers and my hands feel like they’re about to fall off. (I love my hands and have actually written poetry about the strength in my fingers but these stretches totally kick my ass).

I didn’t play much, just a couple of little exercises but I think I only ever played one of them before.  This is significant because I have a long history of memorizing music for short term rather than actually reading the music.

This was good.  I avoided the memorization trap and was actually active in the reading.  I was still trying to play it about twice as fast as I needed to but it didn’t sound half bad and I also managed to stay fairly close to tempo even when I made a mistake. I really must do this again.