Thursday, May 31, 2007

The First-Ever Living ATCs

I made these artist trading cards out of moss for a show held at the Lis Skelly Gallery (in St. Eugene, Ontario) some years back. It was displayed in a typical ATC plastic sheet of nine. I cut away the section in front of each card(so each ATC could breathe) and during the show there was a water dispenser available to spritz the ATCs. The title underneath the living ATCs read: "Please don't feed the art cards. These living artist trading cards are made from mosses and grasses found in the Ontario countryside. While on display, they will be watered daily or as needed. Rather than being traded, they will be returned to their home when the show is taken down. No greenery was injured in the making of these cards."

When the show was done, I returned each ATC back to the ground and I am happy to say they're still alive and well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Drawings For Museum Show

Here's some more stuff I'm showing at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum this weekend.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Art Show This Weekend

A vernissage will be held this Saturday for a group art show at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum (Dunvegan). It will feature 17 local artists and I am one of them. I am entering five small pieces, a couple of them seen above.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Bugs & Blooms ATCs

With all the rain yesterday, my garden has started to rally. The bleeding hearts and the forget-me-nots are just gorgeous. I love this time of year (except for the blackflies and mosquitoes). Today I'm putting in the tomatoes and peppers. My fingers are crossed the we've seen the end of the frost.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

All I Want is Loving You...

...and music, music, music!

That is the title of the journal pages I did for our round robin "theme" journal. The one I received this month was entitled "Music." I love seeing everyone's different interpretation of a particular theme. Mine was certainly inspired by what my hair looks like when I get out of bed in the morning.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sneak Peak: ATC Quarterly #7

Hot off the presses, issue #7 of ATC Quarterly is ready to roll! Richard and I spent the better part of yesterday folding, stapling, stamping and stuffing. Phew!

A head's up: the new centre fold challenge is "The Owl and the Pussycat." I hope we get some great ATCs for that. The last challenge was fantastic. Be sure to visit to see the incredible entries we got for the "Birds" challenge. My web guy is so clever...he even set up the bird page so it can be downloaded as a pdf file. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Duckling Update

Peggi visited the pond on her way to work yesterday morning (7:45 a.m.) and there were three little duckies sitting on a reed, sunning and preening themselves. At around 10 a.m., I went out my front door and a gray and white duck flew over my head quacking and landed somewhere in the maple tree behind my house. I'm sure it was a female wood duck. I went across to the pond and there were no ducklings in it.

My theory is that she came over the next morning and checked to see where the rest of her brood was and marched them all back across the road to wherever she wanted them to be. (Thank goodness Peggi had seen them that morning, otherwise I would have thought they all had died!)

And the ducklings lived happily ever after...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Make Way For Ducklings

On Saturday, Richard remarked, "Is that a duck sitting on your chimney?" I looked over to the abandoned blacksmith shop, that sits at the front of my house, along the busy road, and sure enough, there was a crazy duck up there. I grabbed my binoculars and identified it as a female wood duck.

Sunday I checked and no duck. On Monday, there was lots of planting to do. I was in the back vegetable garden, planting over 100 leeks (!) and returned to the front to plant my rosemary. Then I remembered to look for Mrs. Duck. Just as I turned around, I saw a little head pop up. I thought it was awfully small for a grown duck. Then I realized it was a duckling and right then it jumped off the chimney (about 30 ft. up), rolled on the tin roof and hit the ground running! I immediately called my friend Peggi (who is as much of a nature-nut as I am) and she came screaming down the road. Before she got here, ducklings #2 and #3 took the dive. Unbelievable. They were running around the ground, making a racket, peeping their lungs out. I didn't want to get in nature's way, but at the same time, I didn't want them flattened by an oncoming car. They seemed to disappear into the woods (hopefully, Mama was there).

Peggi arrived and we stayed in the shadows, away from the action, to see if there would be any more ducklings. Sure enough about 15 minutes later, another one took the dive, except this time the little guy fell on the north side of the roof...that's the traffic side. Peggi rounded him up and brought him to the side where the others had landed. He marched around, peeping, and ended up going back to where he landed and walked right across the road to the pond.

Numbers 5 and 6 both landed on that side too and also wanted to go that way, so Peggi carried them both across the road and they both plopped right into the pond. So three little orphans were swimming in the pond across the road from me.

I felt pretty bad about possibly interrupting something. Apparently wood duck mothers can lead their babies from their nests to water that can be as far as 2 kilometres away! But by the time 4, 5 and 6 had jumped, there was no noise, no peeping from anyone.

I checked the pond a few hours later and couldn't believe it, but there were now 4 little babies swimming around. Likely a late hatchling that crossed the road (!) on his own to find his family.

I wrote a friend of mine who is very knowledgeable about birds and he said that the mother wood duck broods them the first little while to keep them warm but otherwise they can fend for themselves. Fingers crossed that they made it through the night.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fortunes & Hands ATCs

Saturday was one of those perfect days. The sun was shining, it wasn't too hot and I didn't have to be anywhere. With the intention of doing a set of artist trading cards, I decided to sketch the flowers in my garden and brought out some old mat board and a black Sharpie marker. Then I realized that very little has actually bloomed yet. So I drew my car and the old blacksmith shop that sits near the road. Not quite what I was in the mood for.

Then I looked down. What about drawing my left hand? It was the old art school exercise that everyone does at some point. Hands. They are still the most difficult thing in the world to get right.

I doodled and doodled and then went in to get my watercolour set, a brush and some water. Once I coloured in the ATCs, I thought they still needed something. What about fortune cookie fortunes? I had dozens of them saved from the Chinese buffet in Hawkesbury (when Richard was employed and we'd meet there every Wednesday). So I went in and brought out the tiny slips of paper, gluestick, a knife, a ruler, cutting board and a pencil. By the time these cards were done, I had a ton of art supplies strewn all over the patio. But what could be better than doing ATCs "en plein air?"

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Planting Time

Through trial and error, I have discovered that butternut squash works best if you start them from seedlings since they have a longish growing season. The rest of the squashes all manage to do well by sowing seeds directly in the ground. It was cold last night so I might just wait till next weekend for tomatoes and squash plants.

I love the stripes and designs on various squash varieties. I drew a whole series of them with colour pencils, most of them on coloured paper, which was really a fun experiment.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Canada Goose Parade

This drawing was inspired by a Canada goose family I saw trotting around in Ithaca, New York last spring. It'll be the same thing around here pretty soon -- the little, yellow puffs walking around after their parents. I especially love seeing them swimming in a straight line, one parent at the head and the other as a caboose.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Andy Warhol's Cats

Last night at Christie's Auction House in New York City, Andy Warhol's "Green Car Crash" (1963) fetched a record $79 million. Last year I saw similar works by Warhol at a show encompassing his Death and Disaster series at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The commentary, which I usually hate, was supplied on headphones by none other than David Cronenberg. In this case, his insights into Warhol and his raison d'etre really enhanced my appreciation for Warhol and his methodology.

In the gift shop, however, his Death and Disaster stuff was pretty hard to find. There were lots of Marilyn Monroe faces on coffee mugs and Chairman Mao change purses. I settled for a sheet of wrapping paper that was simply a repeat of his Campbell's soup cans. How could I resist these? I knew somehow they'd end up as ATCs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

ATCs: Northern Ontario from the Car

Last spring, Richard and I drove up to Cochrane, Ontario (a 10 hour ride) to visit friends who had just moved there. We had a fantastic time visiting the polar bear sanctuary and seeing all the Tim Horton memorabilia (FYI, he was born in Cochrane). We even took a trip to Timmins (about 45 minutes away) to the Shania Twain Centre, to touch the hem of her garments, amongst other things.

On the way home, I wanted to record the trip on a set of artist trading cards. I had no paper but noticed that the car was strewn with discarded Tim Horton's cardboard cups, brown paper bags from muffins and Tim Bits boxes. Aha! I took out a Sharpie and started to draw the scenery as we drove through it. Not much to see besides the car in front of you, more rocks and more trees. But the one landmark that we noticed as we drove through each small town? Every single one of them had a Tim Horton's. It really is part of the scenery in northern Ontario.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Still Life with a Noodle

Don't you love going out for a good meal? Yesterday I met a few friends in Ottawa to eat at an Italian joint called "Biagio's Italian Kitchen." We each ordered different things: pannini, pizza and pasta. Everything was delicious.

The restaurant featured a display of various shaped pasta sitting in colourful patterned glasses. Very cool.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Here's Domino, sunning herself. She's 18 and a real sweetheart.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Primrose Lane

The perennials are all coming up. My primrose gets nicer every year and really stands out amongst the other plants that are just emerging. The wind has been a factor so there had been a lack of blackflies (and I'm not complaining). I went for a walk in the woods with Holly today and got no bites. But when I went to change my clothes, I found the first tick of the season on my leg. Hoping it's the only one (yuck!).

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fiddleheads for Dinner

Richard just helped me put in the vegetable garden today. All the seeds are in and now I'll wait a few weeks to put in the the tender plants. After the planting, Richard mowed the lawn and at this very moment, has the chainsaw going and is cutting wood. Phew!

Between all this, we walked over to a small enclave of Ostrich ferns that Richard found last year. It's about a 2 minute walk from my back door, over a little creek to a damp area where the fiddleheads are emerging.

For supper I am making roast chicken, kasha and bowties and sauteed fiddleheads in butter and lemon juice. And I think we'll break open a bottle of wine too.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Blood Oranges

If I hadn't gone to university to be a graphic designer, I might have considered going to chef school. Having said that, hours on my feet (especially as I get older) doesn't have that much appeal to me. Food styling is really my missed career. I love how food looks on a plate.
(I also love dishes but that's a story for another time.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Nutmeg Contemplates World Domination

These ATCs are part of a challenge coordinated by Sharon Zimmer from the Yahoo Group "ATC Online." The challenge is entitled "Map Quest: An ATC Project of Global Proportions." Sharon calls it "a group project with pizzaz!" Each participant receives vintage map bits that Sharon won on E-bay, from which you make as many ATCs as you like, adding your own details and embellishments. You then mail your finished ATCs back to Sharon and she will assemble them into a giant ATCzine.

My ATCs are drawings of my calico cat Nutmeg, whose only interest in life is food and sleep. (I don't think she really entertains the thought of world domination.)

Deadline for signing up is May 25/07. If you're interested, e-mail Sharon at: Cost to participate is $3 U.S.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Planting Time ATCs

I've been buying (and planting a few) seeds in the past few days. I have also saved seed packets for the past few years and had no idea what I'd do with them. Then I remembered an old game I used to play when I was younger. I'd cut photos from magazines in half and glue them onto shirt cardboard. Then I'd continue drawing on the blank half of the image. Later on, as I recall, I'd have a mini-art show in my Zaida's bedroom (our grandfather lived with us for 17 years) and invite my parents and my sister and brother to the "show." (I don't think I served wine or cheese like I do today, however).

These ATCs are a throw back to my old technique of 'removing and replacing.' I think they're kind of fun.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Here's a photo of Peter and me from our weekend...when we weren't inside slaving over the computer. Great weekend!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Pasta Bowl

Peter was here for the weekend from Toronto, giving me a refresher course in QuarkXpress so that I could layout the summer issue of ATC Quarterly. Of course, I am totally obsessed with it and have been inside on this gorgeous day, toiling on the computer. I'm having a blast!
I always wanted to use this pasta serving bowl and Peter's visit was a good excuse to break it in. Thanks for all your help, Peter. (Come back soon and I promise I won't put you to work next time!)

Friday, May 4, 2007

Think Spring

I did these artist trading cards to honour (what I think is) the best season of all: Spring! I found some neat background images (mostly from old greeting cards I had saved for an occasion such as this) and added some funky ladybug stickers. The green grass is cut from (what else?) paint chip samples and has 3-D glue dots underneath it, so it is elevated on top of the backgrounds.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Friends and Food

There's nothing like getting together with friends over a nice meal and chatting the night away. That's what I did last night in Hawkesbury with a couple of gals I hadn't seen for a while. We caught up and talked (and ate) for a solid three hours (and likely could have gone even longer)!
The food was great and dessert was tasty too. I had the orange-chocolate cake and Shirley had the strawberry-vanilla one. (Irene was good and resisted temptation and didn't have any.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My Little Helper

I have a nice little bed all set up for a visiting cat but Nutmeg would have no part of it. She managed to carve herself a comfortable little niche amongst all my junk and eventually, she drifted off to sleep as I spent the afternoon drawing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Artist Trading Cards 101

I met the gals who are German exchange students, Christine and Bianca, at my neighbours on our picnic the other day. I brought 2 copies of ATC Quarterly plus one of my binders full of artist trading cards. They loved the idea and asked me tons of questions. Maybe they'll catch the ATC bug?


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