Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trout fishing

Trout fish series # 3, acrylic on wood panel, 2013

Facts that I know about fish:

  1. My dad eats fish once a week every Friday. Not for any religious reason. Just because it's good for you. He runs half-marathons. He's going to be 75 this year.
  2. We like to eat tilapia.
  3. The kids love shrimp.
  4. It's not good to eat too much canned tuna because of the high levels of mercury. 
  5. I have a science magazine from years ago that shows the strange creepy world of fish species deep deep deep in the ocean waters (think aliens and science fiction movies).
  6. Man is trying to capture live footage of the elusive giant squid. I think they got some footage not too long ago.
  7. Why don't people like to eat squid? The Greek are great at making fried squid. Delicious.
  8. When I was in New Brunswick some twenty years ago on vacation (by myself), I went to the beach for a swim and not only was the water freaking cold, but was full of jellyfish.  I still went in the water and of course I got stung. I also got a nasty sunburn on my legs. Fun times.
  9. I love lobster the way they do it at the Deer Garden chinese restaurant here in Montreal's Chinatown. I started going there in my early twenties. Both our kids were brought up on that food (Lorenzo loves the won ton noodle soup. Greta loves the spring rolls)
  10. Do snails qualify as fish? Why are they sold in fish markets? I love them with garlic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Siesta time

Clay sculture, 2013
It's been a while since I've done any swimming and my body is not too happy about it. I keep trying to figure out in my head when is a good time to "fit" it in my schedule, but the truth is that I just don't feel like it. I'm pretty lazy right now with any sort of physical activity and I'm just going with the flow of things. In some convoluted way, I think that if I'm feeling tired, maybe it's because I am.
In today's North American society, it's always about go go go. There's this underlining competitiveness among people today, especially women, that if you can manage to work out, work all day at work and get supper on the table, you're the epitome of the modern day superwoman. Really? That kinda of makes me tired just thinking about it.
You know what I wish we could have? A siesta in the afternoon. A nice little cat nap does the body and mind good. It should be part of the work schedule. Maybe that way, everyone wouldn't be so cranky.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Clay sculpture bust, 2013
So far this weekend, I've done zero art production...nothing, nada. And it feels good.
Being a Virgo, I need things to be organized in my life and in my head.
If my studio is messy, I can't think straight and than my art suffers for lack of focus.
So, I've been straightening the hall closets in the apartment, I've gone through my photos of my art work and organized them in some cohesive manner that makes sense to me. Now I'm going through my pile of fashion magazines and will tear out any pages that I want to keep and recycle the rest.
Sounds boring and oh so domestic, but art is not just about making it. It is also about living your life and extrapolating from your own experiences. If you have nothing to say, your art will reflect this.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bunny rabbit = spring

Clay bunny rabbits assorted

It's true what they say about bunnies...they have a tendency to multiple very rapidly. Case in point are my clay bunnies pictured above.
To me bunny rabbits = Easter = Spring time = warmer weather.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Me with glasses

Me with glasses # 2, acrylic on canvas board, 4" x 4", 2012

I'm still getting used to wearing my reading glasses. It just seems like an extra thing to think about. I forget I need them and only remember when I try to read something on a label or look at a magazine at a store. Lots of people say it's normal at my age, but I blame it all on the computers. I'm pretty sure more people wear glasses today at an earlier age than in the old days. We just don't take the time to rest our eyes properly anymore. Lots of people today stare at a computer screen all day long at work. We forget that this wasn't normal to work like this not so long ago. When I take the city bus in the mornings, everyone is looking down at their tiny little screens in their hands. Myself, I prefer to look out the window and daydream a little. I think my husband and I will end up living in a small country house some day in the woods far far away. He can read his books and I can paint all day. And of course, the kids can hang out with us if they don't find it too quiet or too boring.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Casein painting (part 3)

Chocolate cupcake, casein paint on gessoed Stonehenge paper, 2013
The title to this work is all an illusion. It looks like a chocolate cupcake, but in fact it's a small piece of hard chocolate about 1/2" high that looked like a cupcake.
Again, I used casein paint to see what this medium can do. I only bought a few colours and didn't buy any yellow. It is a good exercise to see how well one can define an object with a limited colour palette. I think when I went to the art shop, I was being logical in my selection and didn't want to invest too much money into a paint medium that I had never tried. Just in case things didn't work out, which is what happened with watercolour paint. I really don't have the patience for watercolour and the fact that you can't fix anything once the paint hits the paper.
 But I must say that casein paint is a good match for me. I love the matte finish to it and the fact that it acts like gouache paint, especially when you mix the colours. I've always loved gouache paint, but kept away from it due to it's non-waterproof quality. But casein has resolved this dilemma for me and I can paint with confidence and not worry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Casein Painting (part 2)

Raspberry Cheesecake, casein on gessobord, 5" x 7", 2013
Here is another example of work that I did with casein paint. This time, I worked on a small ampersand gessobord panel, which has a very smooth finish. I had began another painting before this one, but was not satisfied with the results, so I took a damp paper towel and wiped off all the casein paint and let the panel dry overnight. I thought that was a pretty cool thing to do considering that you can't do that with any other paint medium, including acrylic (it dries too fast and would be impossible to take off after an hour or two).
So anyway, I did this painting of a raspberry cheesecake and used a palette knife quite a bit. The casein can be layered, but only to a certain extent. It may look dry on the surface once applied, but when you put water or other paint on it, you realize that it is still very wet and much like oil paint. So be careful not to apply too many colours or you'll end up with a muddy mess on your canvas.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Respect your gift

I like watching documentaries, especially ones about art and artists. There is so much to learn about the art world. It seems endless and I'm not sure one lifetime is enough to understand it all.

Here is a quote by Diahnn Carroll from the documentary SHOW STOPPER: The Theatrical Life of Garth Drabinsky :

"Always respect what is given to you as your gift. It's your higher power gave that to you. So you have to give it its due. That's your responsibility to your gift."

Monday, February 18, 2013

Casein painting 101

Series of Anemone flowers paintings, casein paint on paper, 2013

Meet my new favourite paint...casein. Not a lot of artists know about it and certainly not many use this medium very much. It is a unique milk-based paint that feels and looks like gouache, but is water proof when dry. It acts like a mix of acrylic, oil and watercolour depending on how you work with it and how much water or emulsion you use. It's a little difficult to explain. I still need to work with it some more to discover all its qualities and capabilities as a paint medium.
I like the fact that it is non toxic and has no harsh smell. It really can't be compared to water based oil paint. It has more of a gouache paint feel to it and dries matte.
Just remember that it has to cure for about 7 to 10 days before it becomes permanently water proof.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Murky waters

In the murky waters of my brush basin, I saw these wonderful colours and organic designs that were there for me to see and enjoy and be inspired by.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sunny days are here again

Another fine winter day today here in Montreal. Lots of sunshine which makes everything better.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mini sculptures

Mini clay sculpture busts, 2013
 mini sculptures

I've recently started a new batch of clay figure busts that are much smaller in size than what I usually make. They measure about 1 3/4" to 2" high. I love the idea that they are small enough to fit in your pocket. Made a mix of bunnies, swimmers and regular people.
Most of these are available now available in my Etsy shop .

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spanish love

Clay sculpture figures, acrylic on clay, 2012

My husband, Augusto and I always talk about how the kids and I should learn Spanish one day, but nothing ever comes of it.
Here is my tribute to the Spanish culture and how love would sound:
Te Amo  (I love you)
Te Quiero ( I want you)
Me Encantas (you enchant me)

Sounds pretty good to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New mini-swimmer

I took this picture to showcase the different sizes in my swimmer sculptures.
The smallest is about  1 3/4" H, the middle is 2 1/4" H and the largest is 3" H.
I think I'll be concentrating on the mini-swimmers for now since the price is more affordable and people can buy more than one and start a collection.
Swimmers available in my Etsy shop .

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mini-clays in the house

Mini-clay figures being painted.

Mini-clay figures in progress. Most of these will be ready this week and some are now listed in my Etsy shop .
Smaller in size and smaller in price than my regular sculpture clay figures.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Call me

Couple # 2, acrylic on gessoed Stonehenge paper, 7 1/2" x 11", 2013
There's one thing that I love about my husband is his voice.
He has a deep voice like any other man, but it sounds amazing on the phone. He has really good "phone voice".
At the beginning, when we first met, we spent a lot of time on the phone talking about all kinds of things (this was before cellphones, text or emails).
Today, after so many years together, we still talk on the phone to each and actually have some very in-depth conversations about our day to day lives.
Interesting how old habits stick with you.
I say, if it feels right, keep doing it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My plant friends

Small succulent plant, oil on canvas board, 4" x 6", 2013
Plants have many uses in my house. They make the rooms look good, they keep the air clean and they bring me happiness when I look at them.
I've been making quite a few plant paintings lately, mostly in oil and I enjoy the ritual of it all.
It's very relaxing and feels comforting and familiar to me.
I don't talk to my plants, but I can understand why some people do.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lovey dovey

Couple # 2, acrylic on gessoed paper,  7 1/2" x 11", 2013
Communication is key to good lovey dovey.
Cute nicknames are fun too: sweety-pie, schmooky-pooky, my hero, babe, etc...

Monday, February 4, 2013


Day-glo series, acrylic on clay figure busts, 2012
It being February and all, it's time to showcase some "couple" art. Not saying the "love "word, just saying that it's nice to be with someone you like a lot. If they make you laugh and have a good sense of humour, even better.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Saturday Skate

Skating in the park across the street from my studio. 
Actually there are 2 rinks. There is a bigger one in the background that is only for ice hockey. It's always full and the boys start early in the morning. 
The smaller rink is usually for parents and kids who just want to get some fresh air and do some circles around.
Very picturesque.