Friday, 15 July 2016

Long Time No See

I didn't forget about my blog,
I just became very busy with many other things!

Since the beginning of the year, I have been writing 5 days a week
for a Facebook group called G.R.O.W. It is a group that encourages
women to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord,
through Bible study and obedience to God's commands.

I was also busy with several commissions in the Spring,
one of which I will share with you today!

This particular commission was both exciting and nerve-wracking!

My best friend's husband asked me to sketch a portrait of their dog.
It was to be a gift to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.
 Sadly, Shadow had passed just a few months before.
Shadow was a German Shepherd/Coyote mix.

He had the most amazing amber hued eyes.

He was a great doorbell, announcing anyone he heard step
onto the front porch, but beyond that he was reserved unless
he deemed you qualified to give his ears a good scratch!

And wow, did he stop traffic - foot traffic, that is!
Rarely went on a walk with him, without someone stopping
and commenting on his good looks - it was those eyes, let me tell you!

He was a wonderful, well-behaved dog, and he is missed. 

So, it was an honour to try to capture his essence in a portrait.

I don't often think to snap photos of my works in progress, but I'm glad I did for this one!

Here was the progress...

as of  March 17th:
I had plotted out the main colour areas and facial structure in watercolours,
then began adding hair detail with PrismaColor pencil crayons.
You can also see that I already placed quite a bit of work and attention on his eyes
~ Oh, those eyes! ~
I needed to accomplish the eyes first, if I didn't get them right it simply wouldn't be Shadow!

as of March 30th:
At this point I have a majority of the facial hair placed - focusing on keeping
Shadow's eyes strong and getting his unique dark/black markings placed correctly.

This is a photo I snapped of the finished piece, as of April 7th,
just before I framed and matted it for delivery:

"The Guardian"
(watercolour and coloured pencil, approx. 12" x 12") 

She liked it, she really liked it!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

10 Things...

10 Things I Remember From Childhood...

1. Leaving a whole bag of DQ Dilly Bars on the basement floor because 
it was too scary to walk all the way across the basement to the chest freezer.
~ This is the #1 thing I remember because my family never lets me forget it!

2. Traveling down East and taking the ferry across to PEI
~ My memory of the ferry is basically: Sky... water... sky... water... sky... water...

3. Getting chased by a dog up a pathway that my sister and I were told not to walk down.
~ Running so hard that our feet were slapping the backs of our heads and our 
knees were crashing into our chins! Then my sister fell and I had to go back 
and start dragging her up the path, and she was all like,  
"Save yourself! Go on without me! Tell Mom & Dad I love them!" 
 [Cue the sweeping orchestral music]
Well, okay, maybe she didn't utter any selfless words like that - she was only 5 - 
but I did need to drag her and she did cry a lot, and so did I 
once we got home and my parents found out about our little walk.  
For some reason, they had absolutely no sympathy for the drama we had just survived!

4. Boiled maple syrup on snow.
~ Mom would boil syrup, while we were sent outside to collect snow in our foil pie plates. 
The syrup would be poured on the snow and we would sit at the picnic table and gobble 
it with a wooden popsicle sticks. Eating golden snow was part of the fun of living up North!  ;)

5. Dad cooking anything on the hibachi. 
Absolutely. Anything. 

6. Side yard skating rinks.
~ Sitting beside my sister in the scoop of the big oversized snow shovel. 
Dad would pull us around, flattening the snow down in our yard. Then 
my brothers would help him 'flood' the big rectangle with the hose.
If the temps held, a day or two later, we were skating!

7. Thinking I had cut my sister's toes off in the sandbox.
~  It was summer, my sister and I were digging in the sandbox. 
She decided it would be fun to bury her feet in the the sand. So I set to work 
digging a hole for her feet and I took the sand I was removing and packed it into 
a big ol' Heinz ketchup can. When I finished filling the can with every single grain
of sand it could hold, I told my sister to stick her feet in the hole and I picked up the can, 
flipped it over and started to shake the sand loose. The only problem is that my 6 year old 
self didn't always know how heavy things could be and how slippery metal cans are with 
sand covered hands and - floomp! Down went the heavy sand-filled container onto my sister's toes!
She screamed. I screamed. We both screamed - but not for ice cream!
I ran to my Mom (who was on the phone) with tears pouring out of my eyes. 
I just kept shouting, "I think I cut off Chrissy's toes! I think I cut off Chrissy's toes!!" 
with several 'I'm sorry's' authentically tucked in between. It turned out I hadn't severed
any of my sister's toes... she only ended up with some bruises on her little feet. Phew!    

8. Dukes of Hazard Influence
Watching my sister roll the windows down in our parents Chevy Impala, walk away to a 
respectable distance, then turn and run toward the car and jump in through the window 
like the guys on the Dukes of Hazard. ~ Let's just say that Bo and Luke Duke made it look 
easy - they never got their clothing caught on door locks and weatherstripping!

9. My first Crayola art kit!
This is probably my favourite memory! My Dad & Mom traveled to the States for a week 
and I have no idea what they brought back for my brothers and sister, but I do remember what they 
brought for me - a Crayola art kit!! The perfect orange plastic slanted 'table' looked like 
something a real artist would use! It even had built-in slots for holding crayons and 
paintbrushes, oh and it came with little pans of watercolour paint too! 
I felt like the richest kid on earth!!

10. The day my Mom had had enough!  
It was the middle of Summer and my Dad was away. The sun was beating down 
on all us kids and we could not find relief from its heat. We all started getting 
cranky and irritable. That irritability led to all out fighting with each other.  
 Picture this: Four kids, under the age of 10, continually pestering each other, 
the noise in the house was rising with the heat. My Mom suddenly stopped what 
she was doing, stood in front of us and declared that she had had enough! 
We were doomed - we pushed Mom too far - we were dead meat!
The very next words out of her mouth were forever written in my memory as the 
most unexpected AND the most relief-inducing words ever spoken by one of my parents:
"Go get your bathing suits on; we're going to the lake!"  

There are so many things I hope my kids remember when they look back on their childhood.
There are so many things, I pray they won't ever forget!
It is those important things that I want them always to remember 
that inspired me to make this design a few years ago:

   "10 Things I Want You to Remember"
(watercolour, approx. 8" x 10")

Everything we want to do as parents and everything 
we want our kids to remember about us while they're 
growing up and after they have grown up!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Springtime Reading

Sunbeams streaming through the windows 
and gliding across the walls 
draw our attention to the outdoors.
The warmer temperatures inspire us to step outside.

The sparkling emerald lawns call out to us 
as the soft breezes cascade over them,
"Come and play! Come and play!"

The moist mossy smells of Spring 
prompt us to inhale deeply
and take it all in. 


It's a beautiful word. 
It has a loveliness all its own
just in speaking it aloud.

. . . . . .

My favourite part of Spring is the greenness of the grass - I just want to bottle it!
And no one can deny that the sunshine and the light breezes are oh, so inspiring!

The idea of curling up with a good book in the beauty 
that is Springtime inspired this small illustration.

"Springtime Reading"
 (watercolour, approx. 7.5" x 7.5")

This li'l mouse found the perfect place to stretch out and read a good book!
The soft breezes waft fresh floral scents across the pages...
Simply. Perfect. 

I hope you too can make time to sit outside 
and simply enjoy the unique beauty of Springtime!

♥ Cath-

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A Play Date With the Masters

I will not deny I love drawing and painting mice!

If you were to give me a piece of paper and a pencil, the paper would eventually 
be full of mice and hearts and others li'l critters that skitter through my imagination.

A little while ago, I was in the midst of working on some commission pieces
and wanted to have a little fun in between "serious work" times and 
thought, 'what if I made my mouse drawings into famous works of art?'

That spark of an idea ignited and POW! 

Here's the result of my play date with the Masters...

I've always been a fan of the pointillism style of Georges Seurat:

And who doesn't love the swirls and twirls of post-impressionism?
This one in the style of Vincent Van Gogh's 'Self Portrait':

And how about the ridiculous amount of detail Leonardo da Vinci placed in the 
background of his famous Mona Lisa? Have you really looked at the painting? Wow!
This is my version of his famous work - 'Mousa Lisa':

During my adventures with the masters, I came across a little something from 
Pablo Picasso's cubism phase and decided to have fun with it:

An adventure in art is not complete without trying something 
in the style of Andy Warhol and his screen print pop art:

  ...because sometimes you just have to get an idea 
out of your head to make room for more ideas!!


Friday, 19 February 2016

A Bit of This, a Bit of That...

Sometimes the ideas run out;
sometimes the time runs out.

Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason,
just randomness. 

You know the 'spark' that I have mentioned over the past few years?
That Boom, Bang, POW! that occurs when a great thought comes along,
well, the past two months have been spark free
- not by choice, I would never choose to go spark free,
but sometimes it just happens
and I've learned to roll with it.

I don't give up on myself or my abilities,
I've learned to just keep drawing and musing 
and give myself time... 

That's not to say that fun things can't still fall out of the pencil!
They've just be all-over-the-place random!

Check out the variety of the last little while:

 "Sick Siamese"
(watercolour, approx. 5" x 7")
"Party Cat" 
(watercolour, approx, 3"x 5")

The above were custom made for a greeting card order...

Then things took an unexpected turn!

A few Sundays ago a lady came to church services with her young daughters.
That evening she returned with her youngest daughter and we got talking.
I soon discovered that this 8 year old girl was a writer - and had just
recently finished a book - she had it with her - she could show me the story!
It was mentioned that I was an artist and maybe I could draw some
characters to go along with her story...

Here are some character designs (based on author descriptions) 
for Amiee M.'s original story: "Candy Girl and the Revenge of Taco Man"

From top: 
Candy Girl (Aero Bar)
Julie (Mint Gum), Tootsie and Lara (Tootsie Rolls)
Calvin (Gobstoppers), Reese (Reese's bar)
Those were the "Good Guys"

Now, here are the "Bad Guys"

From top:
Taco Man (taco shell)
Adam (tomato), Juliette (ground beef)
Junior James (block of marble cheese), Catrina (salsa)

Here are a couple small story thumbnail sketches:

Candy Girl Triumphant!!

. . .

And to complete the 'never-know-what-is-coming-next' 
I was asked to paint a small sunflower:


 Yep, I've been all over the place and back again!

My current sketchbook pages show twirling mice,
hugging pigeons, and words written out in flowing script:
"happy" "joy" "love"
so at least I know everything's going in the right direction!!

Hoping your days are filled with unexpected fun!




Thursday, 24 December 2015

Stocking Stuffing (8) - Cows

Calves Christmas Eve
(Ol' MacDonald Had A Farm - The Continuing Story)
Written by me!
Ol' MacDonald had a farm
E, I, E, I, O
And on the farm he had some cows
E, I, E, I, O

With a "Moo, moo!" here, and a "Moo, moo!" there
Here a "Moo", there a "Moo", everywhere a "Moo, moo!"
Ol' MacDonald had a farm,
E, I, E, I, O

Now the story stretches on
For the little calves.
They loved to play out in the snow
On the little farm.

Catch a snowflake here, and a snowflake there!
Here a flake, there a flake, "Hurry, catch a snowflake!"
Oh, these calves, they loved the snow,
E, I, E, I, O

Soon the day turned into night;
Tired little calves.
Mama tucks them in real tight
On their beds of straw.

See a sleepy calf here, and a sleepy calf there,
Here a yawn, there a yawn, barn is filled with big yawns.
Mama sings them off to sleep,
E, I, E, I, O

Time for gifts, it's Christmas Eve
Santa's coming soon!
Sweet, tasty treats I'm sure he'll leave
While whistlin' a tune.

Stocking stuffed here, stocking stuffed there,
Here some hay, there some hay, sweet and tender hay, hay!
Calves are in for a real treat
On this Christmas day!

"Stocking Stuffing... Cows"
 (watercolour, approx. 7" x 7")

This completes my Christmas 'Stocking Stuffing' series for 2015!
 My Dad suggested that I visit the farmyard in my series and 
depict some calves getting treated some tender green hay from Santa!
These were fun to draw and I got them painted just in the 'St. Nick' of time!

It has been fun to complete these illustrations and then write up something
to go alongside them... I took a lot of creative license with a lot of the songs 
I adapted. I never realized how difficult it was to work out a story to the tune
of 'The Christmas Song" (aka "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire") in 
yesterdays post ... that song has no consistent rhyme scheme or beat scheme!
As for today's choice of  'Ol' MacDonald Had a Farm", it is only a beat scheme, 
the original song/poem doesn't rhyme - it just sounds nice when spoken aloud - and it 
distracts young minds with lots of animals and their sounds around the farmyard!

My hope for each one of you is that you can sleep soundly tonight,
as you look forward to time with those you love, 
and that you truly enjoy the simple pleasures of the holiday season!

Thank you for your encouragement over this past year!!
Wishing you all the best - always!!
Merry Christmas Eve!!
♥ Cath- 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Stocking Stuffers (7) - Bunnies!!

Bunnies Eve
(adapted from "The Christmas Song" by me)
Bunnies playing in their burrow home
Snow is falling out of doors
Hot choc'late with soft marshmallow foam
Fills my mug as well as yours.

Everybody knows a bunny on Christmas Eve
Has excitement to the full
When it comes to Santa, they believe
In his sleigh the reindeers pull!

They know that Santa's on his way
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh
Every bunny knows they must be in bed
So "Twas The Night Before Christmas" can be read.

Now they're dozing off and sleeping sound
The gifts can be put under the tree
Stocking will be stuffed with treats all around
Christmas morn will be filled with glee! 

"Stocking Stuffing... Bunnies"
 (watercolour, approx. 4" x 7")
 This is another favourite! So many bunnies!! 
I drew the stockings out first and then after fitting in ten, 
I set to work fitting ten bunnies into the little burrow room! 
Some sprawled out, some curled up, and everyone snug and 
comfortable - there really is nothing quite like big families!!

Hoping you get to cozy up with your 
loved ones this holiday season!
♥ Cath-