Collaborating with Nature. Talking about the Process.

Image

Homework Post #1

Talking about the process.

I have chosen this specific piece to talk about because it is one of my favourite examples of what I like doing best:

Working with Mother Nature. 

At the moment- this piece remains nameless, as it was hard to give a “label” to something that speaks of so many wonderful experiences and moments outdoors in my beautiful home town of Fort St. James, British Columbia. 

Starting with raw canvas stretched onto a wooden frame, I began simply just by staring at the blank canvas. Occasionally raising an eyebrow, I allow my ideas to float around like ice-cubes in a nice glass of Sun Tea. This is a very important part of the process- as I like to create art in a very meditative state. Also- I am sure I look like a complete weirdo- so this is why I prefer working solo, away from prying eyes. 

I then resort to squirrel like tendencies, and begin gathering resources that spark the idea I have spun in the back of my mind. 

In this case. 

Bones.

Image

 

I then, like a smart squirrel, document my findings. 

Image

 

Image

 

Image

 

A little bit about my model:

Well. He’s dead. 

Before kicking the can, this old guy was a good looking bull moose,

gallivanting through the boreal forests,

wooing all the moose ladies. (Cows)

One day, he decided to die of natural causes. 

I would like to think he simply just decided to hunker down for a nap and slipped into moose heaven. 

But I honestly don’t know. 

All I really know is that he was pretty old.

He probably looked like this:

 Image

 

What a Studmuffin.

 

Soon- graphite, turning into layered fluid acrylic “sketches” are done. 

Image

 

Image

 

 

 

Work in cramped bedroom.

Image

Soon, I move into my summer studio (Canvas Wall Tent)Image

 

Keep working. 

Image

Always coming back to study and examine the moose skull and antlers, skull books, trapper manuals, anything I can get my hands on. Now including books on Wild Flowers, Local Trees, etc. When representing nature in my works, I want to get it correct. If I am doing a local painting, then there better be native species included, am I right? EH?

I begin harvesting grasses, yarrow, dandelions, and other wild flowers and plants and begin experimenting with printmaking.

I am now going back and forth to working on driveway and in Studio. 

Image

 

Mother Nature decided to help by adding some summer rain to my freshly painted canvas. Giving a “washed” look.

Image

 

Image

 

I keep going back and forth, inside and outside, choosing different times of day, weather, as well as how I apply the fluid acrylic paint to achieve a piece of work that I am happy with.

Image

Mother Nature keeps an eye on me with her trusty informers:

Image

 

Photo courtesy of Dexter Hodder. (Neighbour)

As you can see- I have plenty of live models to study and sketch from (both animal and plants/trees)

 

Once I am happy, I stand back and take a long look at the work. Usually making a touch up here, a touch up there, until I am satisfied. 

Image

 

This piece was part of a solo show hosted by a local cafe called Soup Wallah. 

The other paintings created alongside this one were all done with nature in mind. When I choose to create a piece of art that represents, interprets, or conveys nature- I pay attention to the details, and take knowledge from all my interests (biology, history, osteology, gardening, etc.) and incorporate it into my art-making. Working immersed in my outdoor surroundings had a very positive effect on the creation of this painting, as well as the other works that were also shown in the show. I often feel constricted within a “conventional” studio, and can’t wait to get outside and carry on working and learning from Mother Nature. Lots of research, meetings with the biologist down the street, and simple observation was done to achieve what I can now call a successful art show, and a very enjoyable summer. 

 

 

 

Heading North.

Hello dedicated blog subscribers – and to the innocent reader that stumbles upon my blog.

I’m sorry.

A lot has happened since last time I sat down to write.

So let’s have a quick re-cap. (In the most non-naracisstic way)

My summer was spent in Fort St. James – My homeland.

I left Vancouver with mixed feelings.

Knowing that it will be a while before I call the rainforest home again – (if ever) – I left with a tinge of sadness, mixed with the excitement of knowing I’ll be charting unknown waters in the months to come.

At this point- I had no idea what or where or how or why or when. I did not know what the universe had in store for me come September.

All I knew was that I was coming home. And it was a beautiful and frightening feeling.

Gone are the Vancouver supermarkets and chaos,

to be replaced with the Vegetable gardens I grew up in and my silly puppies greeting me with wet noses and waggy tales.

I had put out a question to my friends and family in the Fort.

“Would you attend yoga classes if I was to teach?”

The response was amazing.

The interest in yoga blossomed in little Fort- and I was so thankful to be able to share the gift of a gentle, holistic Hatha yoga to those who had come searching for it at the gym, the classroom at the Enterprise Centre, the health unit, or at Kwah hall and at the tale end, the beach. My goal was to make yoga accessible to my community and what an adventure that was.

This was exciting and anxiety triggering – I loved the feeling of stepping out of my comfort zone, and stepping on to the instructor’s mat at the front of the room. But could I do it? Were my students happy? Was I skilled enough? Can I do this?

Yes. I can do this.

and by the end of the summer- I wished I was teaching yoga full-time (in a perfect universe this would make enough funds to get me through Art school…) as I had such an amazing and enlightening time with my students. It was as if every time I stepped onto my mat to teach, I myself walked away with a new lesson learned.

This little community I discovered by teaching yoga really opened my eyes to the beauty of Fort St. James.

If you have been, you will have seen the lake, trees, mountains, snow, wildlife, etc.

But that is not the beauty I am talking about.

The beauty I found was within all my students. Every single one- even if they just did one class- they helped me open my eyes to all the amazing people I was surrounded by. It gives me the warm fuzzies just thinking about it.

Every class I taught- I felt more and more whole. Working with your community does that.

*I just can’t help but get all mushy – it’s what I feel and what drew me into the life of a yoga teacher… ALL THIS LOVE!

Teaching 5 yoga classes a week as well as working as a Customer Service Representative at Hub International (Insurance Office/ICBC mini branch) was a big commitment. But in both jobs- I learned so much and worked with amazing people.

I was very busy- the summer went by too fast it seemed.

Summer seems to always slip through my fingers- I’m sure you can agree with me on this.

The weekends where I could simply lounge in a hammock and read my novel, whilst indulging in the sweet breeze drifting off the neighbour’s field were few.

But that does not mean the Summer was meaningless.

The quality time spent with my family, friends, puppies, co-workers, and students made this summer something out of this world. No, I did not lose enough weight to prance around in a bikini, but I was able to plan and execute an Art Show, Apply and be accepted to Yukon School of Visual Arts, and run a mini nomadic yoga business while learning how be a good employee at Barton’s. Mixed with family dinners, laughter, bonding with brothers, meeting the older brother’s lovely girlfriend, campfires, sweat lodge ceremonies, and a healthy dose of dog walking. Somehow looking at it that way- I don’t think I would of had the time to “prance” around in a bikini because life had handed me a plate full of responsibilities. And I took it with Gusto. I also learned that one piece bathing suits are PERFECTLY FINE.

Just have to make sure you stay away from the frumpy ones.

So yes- in mid summer or so I learned that my next journey in life would be heading north.

Dawson City.

So with the help of family and friends I packed up all my things, said my goodbyes and thankyous, and gave each of my dogs a big, long, teary emotional hug. (Just thinking about them makes me tear up right now. My little darlings. I miss them so much.)

Mom, Dad, Daniel (younger brother) and I then hit the road- It was a fantastic road trip. I am so glad I was able to drive there instead of fly- as it was a great adventure for all of us.

That trip deserves a post of it’s own –

When we rolled into Dawson City- we hunkered down at Klondike Kate’s in a little cabin. The next few days were spent touring around my new town- since the tourist season was winding down- we caught some of the last tours of the season.

Time once again went by too fast. And soon I found myself moving into a little cabin by the Yukon river and saying goodbye to my family.

Once again the tears, turning into sobbing and consoling each other and those hugs where you don’t want to let go of each other ensued – That was my mother and I. I may or may not have seen dad shed a tear, as I was completely immersed in a bear hug surrounded by dad’s soft flannel work shirt. I then really broke down into a teary, snotty mess when hugging Daniel. The youngest of the family is also the tallest and broadest of shoulder, so once again I felt completely surrounded by his hug. Being siblings and being a teenage boy- getting a hug from Daniel is a very special, rare thing. So I made sure to get the most I could while I had him there. Which also meant he climbed back into the pickup truck with a rather soggy, snot covered shoulder. I could tell he was completely grossed out- as now he would have to drive back to Whitehorse with his older sister’s snot on his shirt. Oops.

I am not a glamorous cryer.

It did not matter how many times I hugged my family goodbye. It felt like I needed another hug, another kiss, another confirmation that yes, I could do this. I can do this. I will do this. All that fear of being on my own hit me like a in the gut. And I think my family could see this. So the hugs continued. More kleenexes were handed out. And more kisses were given.

When the pickup pulled out of the driveway, and drove down front street, I watched it until my family disappeared into the horizon.

Back to B.C.

Taking a deep breath in – the fear parted like ripples in water to allow my excitement to come out of it’s little hiding spot.

I may be scared, but I CAN do this I thought to myself.

Once in my little cabin, I unpacked my pink afghan, sat on my bed, and looked out my window.

That’s when I realized my cabin slightly tilted to the left.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Most buildings in the Yukon that are built on permafrost have a quirky tilt.

I slipped off my sandals and snuggled up under my pink afghan, looking up at the ceiling.

Before drifting off to sleep (saying goodbye to the most important people in your life is a tiring ordeal) – I could hear the Australians next door start to play the guitar and sing.

With I smile, I let myself relax.

I could hear the chugging of the Dawson Ferry cutting through the strong current of the Yukon River.

My eyelids began to close, the chugging ferry becoming a purr, the yodeling of the Aussie next door turning into a soft murmur.

Another deep breath in, and the little smile turns into a toothy grin.

“Welcome to the Yukon” I thought to myself as I let go of my fear and slipped into a little afternoon nap.

xx

Photo below: Boo and I 🙂

1378483_10200699959605827_21229472_n

Sunday Scribbles- I am my Mother’s Daughter

Today is a beautiful Sunday in Vancouver- yes the sky is grey, but there are no raindrops darkening the driveway and as I glance out the kitchen window- I observe a neighbourhood cat trek through the front garden. Most likely picking a nice warm spot to relieve itself.

Listening to CBC this afternoon I am hit smack in the face with some melancholy. Oh how I miss my homeland and family. Even though the flowers are blooming and the grass is green here on the coast, a part of my heart still houses a love of the snowy driveway that trails through the boreal forest to my home, the delayed spring, mom’s tuna casserole… There are so many things I miss- I think that is what is making it easier for me to prepare myself in regards to moving back to Fort St. James for the summer.

Family has been such a important part of my life that it seems that everyday I go without family contact my soul cringes- deep down I thrive on the unconditional love my family shares with me, and I with them.

Soon my mother will be coming to visit me- and I am thrilled.

She is my best friend – we share something so beautiful that living away from her felt strange.

But the distance gave me the space to grow, to find who I was and who I wanted to be, I was able to make mistakes, make gooddecisions, all by myself.

And now, when we get together it seems like nothing has changed but so very much has changed all at the same time. I can’t describe it in words- it’s a feeling. Nobody ever told me that this was a part of growing up.

I am still my mother’s daughter, but I have become my own woman as well.

I am so happy I will be able to celebrate Easter with my best friend.

Yoga, dark chocolate, and good food are in the plans for this easter holiday.

Happy Sunday Lovelies,

xx

 

Mother Nature’s Umbrella

It’s February, probably raining outside, and so not what I’m used too.
Even though I have lived in North Vancouver since late July – I still find myself mumbling “…should have bought rubber boots”
I have been telling myself that since my first rain In Vancouver…

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Little green shoots are peeking through the damp mulched flower beds, the grass is green (as always) and grocery stores have put out daffodils, iris, and Easter coloured flowers in little charming pots – making my fingers tingle a bit, as my mind buries itself in deep memories of planting flowers with mom, vegetables with Neil, the smell of rich soil, seeing the robins with red breasts thrust out, vibrant and confident, prance joyously on the front lawn playing peek a boo with the worms.
Watching mother nature slowly take off her winter coat, is a treat in itself, sitting still amongst the tall swaying trees as your eyes catch glimpses of the strong masculine sunshine caressing mother nature, holding her in a gentle embrace, watching the intertwined elements between the two of them weave together, creating a shawl of new beginnings that wraps mother nature and sunshine together, blending them, creating such awe inspiring sight that unannounced; you find yourself surrounded in lush green leaves that almost seem to reach out towards you as you pass by, soft grasses slip against your heels blessing your pathway while young woodland creatures slowly open their eyes, adopting the look of curiosity as you go on with your day.
For a northerner at heart- I am accustomed to having a six month winter- so this “early” peek at spring is rather exciting. Mother Nature is still masked by her coat, umbrella, wool socks and gum boots down here, but every once in a while if you’re patient; Mother Nature tips her umbrella up, allowing you to indulge in her beauty as her silky emerald green eyes search the skies for her lover; Sunshine.
I am excited for the blossoming of the trees, for I have been told the cherry tree outside my bedroom blossoms graciously. Like a child waiting for her birthday, Christmas, or mother’s special dessert, I wait in angst- peeking out everyday at the cherry tree watching the little birds play tag amongst the branches chirping, tweeting, singing sweet melodies as if they themselves are celebrating each ray of sunshine. Knowing that soon Mother Nature and Sunshine will be together once again.

Xx

“Hey, you retard stop stealing the blankets!” *China Diary* ~ 1

Early start to the day,

Well, no scratch that.. Actually my trip started on the 15th. We left Fort St. James in the late afternoon to drive 2 hours to Prince George. Both my mother and I were catching early flights to Vancouver and didn’t really feel like waking up at 2 am then proceed to drive to the airport straight from home. We got to our hotel in the evening, and here is the weird/funny/ what ever you want to call it part of the story.

Originally my mom had booked a room with 2 double beds thinking that it would be just herself and me. In the end my father and my little brother wanted to see us off at the airport so they tagged along as well.Little did they know that they would have to share a double bed that night. My mom and I managed to sleep somewhat comfortably in a double bed, but throughout the night I would wake up to the sound of :

“Hey, you retard stop stealing the blankets!”

or : “Move over, you’re taking up the whole bed”

as well as something along the lines of: “SsSSHhhhhhh both of you be quiet!”

from my mother …and so on.

I have mentioned in earlier posts that my little brother, well is not so little. He was graced with size 13 feet and a height of 6 feet. And he is only 14 years old. my father is 6’1 and is built the same. Thank god I didn’t have to sleep with either of them. I probably would have ended up sleeping in the bathtub that night.

Anyways it was one of those moments when you put 4 people in a room, a very tiny room that you realize how much you love your family. No matter how bizarre, weird, or how loud they snore. I laid there in bed beside a giggling mom, joined in by the roaring laughter of my brother and dad and that’s when I realised:

” yeah I’ve got a weird family, but I wouldn’t have it any other way”.

Its moments like that happen simply to remind you just how lucky you are.

So that was July 15.

Now July 16,

Who wants to get on a plane at 6 in the morning?

(If you raised your hand, seriously…. You’re alone on this one)

This was the first time I was going to meet the girl who was joining my two friends and myself on this trip. Jessy, is a redhead also; so of course we automatically clicked!

So it was the 3 gingers and Grady. “4G”

Parker, Grady and I have traveled to europe earlier in the year, but having Jessy come along with us to China really made things ten times more fun.

We left Prince George to meet up with the rest of our group from Vancouver Island at Vancouver airport.

Photo taken by: Carmen Denomme

From left to right: Brooke, Ashleigh, Sam, Emily, Heather, ME!, Jessy, Grady, and Parker

It was similar to first day of kindergarten, or first day of highschool. The shy game was played for a few hours then we all warmed up to each other quite quickly. I had a feeling that this was going to be an epic trip.

So we board the plane, and of course we are booked to sit in the economy section. What did you think? A small town girl reclining in first class with all the foot rest, comfort, and special treatment? Pfffft. Nope. To the back of the plane we go. When I went to Greece my seat was quite close to the airplane toilet. Ya no, don’t ever book your seat there unless you have a bladder of a gerbil. It was not a good place to sit. Anyways back to this plane ride. I went to my designated seat only to find that it was occupied by another traveler. “No big deal” I thought as long as I find a place to sit. But have you ever noticed that if you stop moving in the aisle on an airplane while people are boarding it turns into a barbaric race to seats? People pushing, leaning awkwardly over people’s laps, people being konked in the head by someones bag being put in the overhead compartment and of course the grand daddy of all the awkward moments. Some old man’s butt in your face as he attempts to pick up his pen/newspaper/bag of cheezies/whatever he dropped. Then being in the midst of chaos, decides to back the trunk up where? right in your face. Yeah, I caused all just by standing in the way.

I catch an attendant’s eye, and notify him that my seat has been taken and ask where should I sit now. He glances behind me and sees the Twister game of scrambling passengers and says “one second I’ll be there shortly”. Alrighty then, back to the grind/awkward fest in the aisle I go. I didn’t really care if I got my seat, I just wanted any seat.So I didn’t have to stand there and get looks like “MOVE WOMAN!”.  I hate causing a problem but there was no way to not cause a problem. Another attendant sees me so I repeat my plea. She looks at the passenger sitting in my seat and asks for her plane ticket.

Long story short, this girl sitting in my seat was supposed to sit where this girl was sitting, but that girl had switched seats with an old woman for a window seat and that old woman well, she wasn’t even sitting in the correct row.

The first attendant came back with a flustered look on his face, and both the attendants attempt to shuffle everyone to their  right seats. The old lady scurries to her seat and seeing how much more chaos this would create by moving 2 more other people I just offer to sit in the seat that the girl in my seat should be sitting in.

I didn’t realize that finding a seat would be so hard.

I don’t have any pictures from the plane ride over to Beijing. Why? Because I was completely into  the book “Water for Elephants” Go to the website below to find out more about this novel:

http://bestsellers.about.com/od/fictionreviews/gr/water_elephants.htm

So the 10 hours plane ride went along the lines of this:

Reading, attempting to sleep ( emphasis on “attempting”), and  playing the game “what’s this?” with my airplane food. ( For those who travel frequently and need something to entertain you on long trips, or you are traveling with  small children, this is an excellent way to pass the time while you wait for you lump of something to finish cooling off, solidifying, liquefying, growing eyes… etc but I must warn you… If you get to into the game you just may lose your appetite.)

Closer to the end of the flight I made friends with the girl sitting beside me on the plane. Like how can you not talk to the person beside you if you have shared an armrest for 10 hours. She was also going to Beijing to attend the camp.

There was also the trips to the claustrophobic bathroom, hah can you imagine hitting turbulence while being in the airplane washroom? I wonder if anybody has. Not being a fan of those port-a-potty closets, I have never experienced it, I am probably not the only one who tries to stay away from those things. Ever try to brush your teeth in one of those things with the awkward sinks and taps that don’t seem normal at all? Like how can those flight attendants look even half decent making a living on a plane.

If I was an attendant you wouldn’t catch me in a pencil skirt and red ribbon tied around my neck. I would be serving your breakfast in bunny slippers and be outfitted in Lululemon or some other comfy get up. Maybe a onesie?

Anyways don’t picture me in a onesie. Here is a picture of the girl I shared an armrest with,her name is Cicyetkwu.

So plane lands, we all get off, collect our luggage, and meet out in front of where the arrivals come out. This is my first taste of China.

There are people EVERYWHERE. People hugging,kissing,talking,smiling,laughing,pushing past you,staring at you, ( I guess red hair stands out quite a lot over there), and last but not least there was a crazy amount of people sweating. I know you must be thinking:

“why? what? why would you notice something like that? EW!”

But hear me out okay? The heat there was intense, and the humidity exaggerated the feeling of I don’t how to explain it. It’s like you have a thin layer of heat always on you and there is no way to escape it. So like, you were always sweating…Yeah I write about peculiar things. But that is how my mind works I guess.

Another thing I noticed was that our group was being filmed and photographed. Somewhat weird, but I guess this camp was a big deal so there was going to be some footage of it being used in the future. So once all the Canadians were gathered and counted like baby chicks, we were ushered out into the real China, the China past the airport exit. The heat hits you once you step out of the airport, and god does it ever feel nice. My summer back in Canada has not been hot at all so to feel this was amazing. Finally I’ll be able to wear my short shorts and not get goosebumps!

But boy was I ever craving a shower and a real sink to brush my teeth in…

Long flights are not glamorous at all but hey I wasn’t looking forward to the airplane. The airplane was just being used to get me to my destination. I was coming to China and that was a big deal for me, so at that moment I really didn’t care if I looked like a little rug-rat that just fell out of a hay stack. I WAS IN CHINA! Working almost everyday since school ended and saving every penny that I possessed brought me here! (well… as well as some very generous parents…)

So we stuff our suitcases in the bottom of a tourist bus, and all clamber on. Here is Parker and I after our flight. Both of us are a little messed up from the 15 hour time change. But hey we survived the noxious plane food, closet toilets, and hours of sitting in a chair that is far from comfortable.

I don’t know if it is just me, but I absolutely love Chinese Characters. They are much prettier to look at than English.

But do you think I could write you a love poem in Mandarin?

Nope.

I don’t posses those skills, and i don’t think I could wing it either.

It would probably look like worm tracks in mud or some vulgar abstract creation.

So we arrive at our campus, a High school with a dormitory and I soon learn that my room, Shared with Jessy, Parker, and Jacqueline ( a student from Vancouver) was found on the 6th floor and that there was no elevators. So we busted some muscle and trudged up the stairs with out suitcases.

Thank god I packed light, I could pick up my suitcase by the handles and carry it while others dragged their’s up, step by step, as if they had packed a midget clown in their suitcase that had weighed a good 100 pounds.

This is my good friend Parker 😉

After we got settled in, we went for dinner in the cafeteria. Our first real taste of chinese food, made in China. This is not like the chinese restaurant that resides in my town, with the neon pinky red sweet and sour pork, chow mein, and deep friend prawns. This was REAL chinese food.

 

Parker’s dinner (with the juice cup in the picture), Jessy’s dinner (with the weird powder puff fluffster thingy on the plate)

I would describe what the meals tasted like but here is the sucky part. Even though there was a large selection of food, some that I have never ever seen before, I have an eating problem, so I have a very, very restricted diet.  So I lived on a very bland diet while I was there which included:

Rice,

Rice,

French fries,

and wait…MORE RICE!

Thinking the food would be a problem, my suitcase was packed with energy bars and mints. ( I’m addicted to scotch mints) So I survived. I got pretty excited when they had fresh fruit out, because I soon learned that I would be eating rice 3 times a day while I was there. This lasted for about 6 days into the camp when I finally scrounged through my suitcase and found instant oatmeal. I was very excited to eat oatmeal, VERY excited.

I still cringe when I see rice.

I have had enough to last me a while now.

After dinner, Michael, one of the teachers at the camp took us on a tour of the classes. He was teacher of class 5. Our teacher Gaby, was teacher of class 6. There were very helpful and  charming. They were excellent teachers, and soon became fans of Canada!

Gaby on the left, Michael on the right, with gifts from the Canadian students.

After our tour we head back up to our rooms, on the way we pick up our uniform, our study books, and a book with the itinerary and other helpful tid-bits inside. We also got a lanyard with our name and nationality on them. When I say uniform I mean this:

We looked like a mob of grapes everywhere we went.

Or an invasion of life-size purple smarties.

There was absolutely no way you could make this shirt look sexy, or even cute. The sizes where huge, so when I wore mine it hid my shorts looking like I had gotten distracted while getting dressed, and simply forgot to wear shorts.

Just to calm down any conservative people out there I always wore shorts under the shirt,

I am not that crazy.

Moving on,

It was bedtime for the sleepy Canadians, so we climbed into our metal framed bunk beds and laid down on the non-existent mattress. It was like sleeping on the floor, not carpet really but similar to linoleum. Our air conditioning was set to high, and our blankets were super thin, but just enough to be comfortable in that hot weather.

I didn’t care about the mattress right then, I was just so happy to be sleeping horizontal and not in the sitting position so I rolled over and passed out almost immediately.

ahhh time to get horizontal ^

xx

Bananas? What the hell?

Picture a hamster, ginger colour, bulgy blue eyes, cute button nose, and little white whiskers frantically galloping in a rusty, squeaky hamster wheel. This ginger fur ball is in a furious hamster-like marathon, a never-ending marathon it seems, until it takes one step… Just one step out of line and soon tangles, in the most ungraceful way, ass over tea kettle, button nose now in the place its furry little rump should be, trapped in a carnival wheel of death spinning session.

My friend had a hamster like this one, his name was Earl. He’s now buried in a All Bran box in the front lawn. R.I.P. little man.

This is what I feel like when put under a stressful situation,

most recent stressful situation? One word:

China.

I grew up traveling, like a young ugly duckling following its smart mother, we migrated  religiously back and forth from B.C to Ontario. Planes and airports, the awkward security guard pat downs ( I have learned to skip wearing my cute low-rise jeans through security, yoga pants seem like such a better option to wear when your stuck in a starfish pose with a beeping baton thing and hands patting down suspiciously when you choose to wear denim with metal rivets, if you don’t care about this, or would like to delay time I’d recommend dressing up like Gene Simmons from KISS) anyways, airports became just another part of life. An exciting part of life because thus it meant that I was leaving my charming, sweet, *cough* *choke*… *hack* what the hell am I talking about? I was getting AWAY from my cage, my boredom, I would have the opportunity to immerse myself in a real CITY. That had subways (not the restaurant), 911, and I would be able to blend in, simply being…. Me.

I would get to see Toronto, Newmarket, Keswick, and many other places where my mom had pockets of family. Like mice, it seemed that when we went to one place, there would be more than one person to see at that place. Mom’s old highschool friends, Aunties, Uncles, Family friends, Grandparents… the list goes on. I appreciate how my mom made sure that her side of the family got to know her offspring no matter how weird we looked, (okay just kidding, I must admit we all were adorable little ginger pip-squeaks, but I did used to spell my name “SLLAY” and my uncle still addresses birthday cards that way to me ) If you know me personally, you may think I looked a bit weird in the beginning as well but hey. I’m just hoping it will pan out like the little ugly duckling’s life, unless he gets eaten, or maybe shot by some hunter, or maybe fly into an airplane propeller…. I’d just like to be a friendly swan that gets fed regularly by the old lady down the street, maybe chase some kids through a cemetary, and poo on unsuspecting people’s lawns so when the bratty kids run and frolic through their sprinkler, they get a little goosey surprise between their toes. I don’t need to be laying any golden eggs, that’d be WAY too boring.

Hah, your probably thinking what kind of meds is this teenager on, and whats with the Bananas?

I got sidetracked thinking how fun it’d be to be a goose.

I think if I really let my imagination go uncensored it’d have more twitter followers then Gaga and the Beibs COMBINED. What was I talking about? Ah, yes, airplanes and such. So as I got older I slowly got opportunities to dip my toes into more advanced travels. First it was the United states with Girl Guides. OH? So you recognize me now? The little ginger stuffed in a navy blue outfit trying to suck all the money out of you by simply saying ” Would you like to buy some girl guide cookies?” with that cheeky oh so cute smile all girl guides are trained to use on victims, er… Customers. Oh my gawwd as you can seen the hamster in my mind is now ass over tea kettle so bear with me as my mind vomits out thoughts and things that I thought sounded cool in my head but now look like utter rubbish. Funny how that happens a lot to me.

If the travel bug was a vampire you could say Edward Cullen definitely attacked me. I’m very sure of it. I just was already plagued with pasty skin and cold hands. For all you Twilight fans that is the closest your going to get to experiencing a Twilight moment on this blog. That book was not for me. Neither are guys who sparkle like my grade 2 nail polish in the sunshine. Last spring break I went to Greece and Italy with my school travel club, and I learned A LOT. Like for instance: Don’t wink at Italian boys unless you are prepared to have them turn around, come over, talk to you and soon end up asking for a kiss or climbing up to your hotel window…On the second floor. Hah I’ll sure be paying another visit to Sicily. Anyways it was also the colours, sights, history, and smells that really made traveling somewhat…Addictive you could say.

So when this Beijing student conference came up the Edward Cullen Traveling Bug in the back of my head squeaked “SAY YES”. Edward Cullen isn’t even that attractive, oh yeah, well he is only just a bug in my mind, okay moving on. But I always seem to forget…

How much I DISLIKE packing. I know its neccisary and such but really it is ridiculously well, ugh. I share this “ugh” passion with my mother who also likes traveling, but for the past week we both have been packing for she is off to Ontario for a mice reunion and myself off to Beijing. Were both gone for the same amount of days, but she booked her flights on Westjet, so at least her flight will be comfortable, while myself will be rockin’ out on good ol’ Air Canada. Hello crusty tiny seats for 15 hours!!! Can’t you tell I’m so excited???

Little hamster is now feeling seasick and going “OOoooooOOooooo” while being flopped around like a toddlers toy in the hamster wheel. Lets hope Air Canada is a bit kinder then a hamster wheel. So this packing thing. A pain in the big old bumblebee. It takes up my time, I could have been blogging all week but now I’m cramming EVERYTHING into this one post before I leave for ten days. Creative eh?

So this hamster feeling I am hoping will go away once I am at least maybe oh, a few hours into my flight. I am going with two good friends and also a new possible friend from Vanderhoof. She’s ginger, so there is a pretty good chance we will click. *fingers crossed*

So after I get back I will most like have a camera exploding with pictures from my travels and will be sharing some of them with you guys. (It’d be pretty sad if no one was reading my blog, hah it’d actually be funny in a sad way, me being the only one reading my own blog thinking how cool it was) Well that was wishful thinking that it’s just not me who views this blog. I don’t really count as a reader anyways, I’m just the damn lousy writer!

So yeah the Bananas thing.

I changed the theme of my blog and yeah the Bananas came with the whole shin dig. Umm thought it was cute for the first 3 minutes then I wanted to change it. I have NOTHING against the yellow yummy snacks, they just, dont really work with my blog ,but I have been so busy with life that I havn’t gotten around to change it. Yes I have a life! It may not feel much like one at the moment but yes I do have a life and it seems way to busy for my liking at the moment. But then I’d be the kid complaining about having nothing to do so I guess it’s gotta be busy to feed the border collie personality I have. So just to all the people out there who are still reading, I congratulate you, you must have great patience and some weird curiosity. I like it a lot! If you can read this, then you are capable of having a conversation with a kid like me and not have to take an Advil after. That is an accomplishment.

So if your on a flight to Beijing this weekend and you see a ginger with a mop of hair and most likely attempting yoga on the airplane. That will be me, don’t be afraid to say hello, I may look like a lion when the humidity hits my hair but I don’t bite.

Left: Little Miss Westjet

Right: Little Miss Air Canada *Groooaaannnn*

At least the flight attendents are nice…

Sometimes…

I’m not exactly an ugly duck, nor a swan yet.

Maybe an awkward looking goose?

 

 

xx

 

Taking pictures of my brother… Annoying for him, fun for me :]

So this is my family,

A truck driver for a father, a mother who works in an elementary school, and two brothers. I always get asked, would you rather trade in your brothers for a nice set of sisters? A small version of Tina Fey chatters in the back of my mind. (I have comedians in my thoughts, and sometimes black and white 50’s commercial advertisers, you know that crackly deep stereotypical man voice… don’t you?) Anyways back to Tina Fey chattering mindlessly in my brain, “What the hell are we talking about? Brothers aren’t used cars! I think not!”. I have completely enjoyed growing up with two brothers. I am a middle child, stuck between a 19-year-old and a 14-year-old.

* This was last year, at Nick’s graduation. Daniel is now way taller than me btw.*

Having brothers I believe is a godsend, at least having two very different brothers. The older of the two you coud say is a true redneck.A nice redneck though, he doesn’t care much for the city, it’s the small towns and the wild that calls him. His passion for the wildlife and nature is admirable, it has steered him into a career of becoming a conservation officer.I used to cringe at his cowboy boots, belt buckles and his “baby” (his truck).  But then I realized; hey it’s what makes Nick, well… Nick.

*Nick before he went and picked up his prom date, our dog growled and barked at him because he didn’t recognize Nick without his everyday uniform: jeans and a tee-shirt*

I’d rather have an old school gentleman for a brother then a druggie, and I never had to worry about him burning my Barbie dolls and ripping their heads off with his teeth. (I feel truly sorry for girls everywhere cursed with awful brothers) The younger of the two a technological marvel, I like to call my big little brother. Why you must ask? He has size 13 feet and is the size of an ox. A gentle ox, for he is the most caring and compassionate little brother money can buy. Oh wait, babies don’t come from the grocery store, anyways you know what I mean. Anyways I am dedicating this post for Nick. My little brother Daniel will get a post of his own.

So when I stumbled up the stairs one early afternoon I was greeted by my big brother dressed in Carharts sitting at the head of the kitchen table. He seemed to be quite content, eating a sandwich stuffed with bacon as well as cheese whiz and god knows what else. I just had to take a few pictures, couldn’t resist.

I’m pretty sure what was going through his mind was a version of “Jeez, my sister is sure wierd…If I ignore her long enough maybe she will go away” Hah. Think again buster, your little sister will keep clicking until she finds a picture that she likes.

I sort of felt like a National Geographic photographer, photographing a wild animal in its habitat. Wanting to take advantage of having something interesting to take photos of I switched to black and white…

Being a big brother and not a professionally trained male model Nick somewhat froze when the camera was on him. I kept saying ” Just act normal, just act normal, keep eating or what ever you’re doing…” Again his thoughts of thinking I was a complete whack job I could see were getting stronger.

This one made me laugh, this is what us siblings love to hear when we are pestering our older brothers. “MMMOOOOOoooooooooooooMMmmmmm Sally is annoyinnngggg meeeeee” My mom is on the phone at this moment, looks over at her children puzzled, and gives us both a look like “really? You’re almost young adults and your still acting like 7 year olds?” I let out a giggle, thinking how I can’t wait to upload these photos to my blog…

I’m not sure whats going through his mind now, maybe some annoyance but also some curiosity?

I soon find out that my camera is not wanted at the kitchen table. Ahh don’t you just love the subtle hints that brothers give?

I protest and say ” One more picture, come on just one…” I try to be original and include the chocolate milk jug in the picture I just thought maybe the angle would look cool. I actually like this one the best to be honest, something about the anonymity, how his hand covers his face. How raw the photo feels. You can see enough of his ball cap, his short hair cut, his carharts to see that it still is my brother. but it hides something as well, it hides the personality of Nick the little things, like how adoringly protective he is of me, or his sense of humor. It makes you wonder about who he really is deep down inside. I can tell he has begun to ignore me, so stop taking photos and begin to review my collection of pictures. I make sure to show him my favorites. Not every picture has made it on to this blog. Some had to be deleted, he insisted. But I admire that he let me take some pictures of him, he very well could have grabbed my camera and got up and left. Or he could have pulled the “big brother is angry” card and scared me off like a deer. But he has learned to tolerate my weird artistic moments. And he sat patiently, like a lion in a cage while the little girl on the outside observed him and learnt a little more about the marvelous creature that he is.

xx

Happy Birthday to “Little Cathy”

For my mom’s birthday I decided to do a portrait of her from a black and white photograph from her childhood. I had plenty to choose from but one stood out to me. Her expression of childlike happiness and the shadows from the squinting of her eyes added a whole new depth to the photograph. It was almost like she was in the middle of playing outside in the midst of summer, not a cold stingy portrait in an air conditioned studio where her hair is brushed her clothes crisp with a nervous smile that happens when you glance at the photographer you barely know which is curtly telling you to “smile” .

My mom is an amazing example of a human being. She has a story behind her eyes that not many people see or know about. She has her strengths and  weaknesses like we all do, but her sheer force to carry on even in the midst of pain and unhappiness is inspiring to me. I wanted to capture that childlike happiness for her. That joyous moment of life when your old enough to experience the world but not yet know the dangers and sadness, that great amount of negativity our world harbors. I just wanted to give her something that really came from the heart. I do not have many talents so the ones that I do seem to have been luckily blessed with, I try to make the most of them. This was my first serious attempt at a pencil portrait of a real person. Sure  I’ve done sketches of people before, like in airports or from magazines. But I’ve never been able to really “catch” that certain person’s personality in my drawings. I once before did a portrait of a teacher’s child. I was in elementary school and from what I can remember it seemed like a pretty good representation of the little  girl. But this time I wanted it to scream “Cathy” [ my mother’s name].

Drawing is like breathing to me, a second nature you could say. So when I stumbled across that photograph it felt just right to pick up a pencil and start drawing. Living in a small town limits my resources drastically, so I used some poster paper ( the kind you get from the dollar store ) and taped it to a wall in my hallway under good lighting. If this was a perfect world, I’d have used a thick textured paper, something that would blend well etc. etc. etc. But for now, I’ll keep that as just a dream and stick to my dollar store specials. I took pictures during the creation of this portrait just so people could see the different stages of it. I tried really hard to capture the essence of my mother in this drawing, and it was satisfying to see the look on her face when she came home from visiting her parents to find it still in the hallway. It was almost like a gift for myself to see that my gift had touched her so fondly.

With my family’s encouragement I entered “Little Cathy” in the Burns Lake Alternate Arts Festival. The AAF (Alternate Arts Festival) is a oppurtunity for students from Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James to exhibit works of art as well as performances, films, and music. I always enjoy going to art shows, I feel somewhat at home at these places surrounded by people like myself. It is very inspiring to see so many people with such creativity and talent. In grade 8 I had won second prize for a Gesso acrylic painting of a dahlia in the junior category with a prize of $100. The past few years my art hasn’t placed as I had usually put “experiments” in the art show. (abstract, graphitti, and other unusual things) but this year I put two works in. A portrait of Lady Gaga, and the portrait of my mother. I wasn’t expecting to place this year, looking around at all the other senior work…I had plenty of competition. I would hate to be cocky, and say my work was the best because that is just not me. There was beautiful creations of work there. More than I remember from the past years. At the end of the festival the awards were given out. I had placed second in the seniors division, it was satisfying to stand up there and receive my prize ($100) it boosted my esteem that the judges had taken an interest in my portrait of my mother in the sea of mesmerizing artwork.

For a few months it was almost like I had put down my pencils for good. It was depressing, I had reached an artist’s version of a writer’s block. It was torture when nothing seemed to come out right. The idea in my head always looked different then what my hands created. I had lost confidence in my skills. So when I say that this birthday gift was a gift for me as well, it was this portrait that had finally ended my “creativity drought”.

Hallelujah