Sunday, June 29, 2008

Beach Art

I'm beached out. We spent the first official day of summer holidays at White Rock. I like this place. It's a summer resort town with a 70's retro flare, full of fish and chip shacks that probably look exactly like they did 30 years ago. It isn't pretentious at all. It's also home to Jenkins Showler Gallery, which houses some lovely artwork.

Another reason I'm so fond of White Rock is, you guessed it, the crows. I'm still observing them, and working on crow themed art. I guess I'll be riding this wave (all beach metaphors intended!) for a bit longer and see where it takes me. White Rock is great if you want to hang out with crows, who are DUDE! SO TOTALLY NARLY AND LAID BACK there on the beach. I'm have a hard time getting really good pictures of crows in suburbia, partly because my camera isn't that great and also, crows in suburbia are, well... uptight (isn't that typical). The crows in White Rock live their lives around beach picnickers. Shortly after this picture was taken, my daughter went back into the water and the crows, for the brief seconds when no one was looking, flew off with my other daughters entire lunch. Annoying, but impressive.

The next day we headed off to Harrison Hot Springs. Another little summer resort town in BC, not far from me. After visiting Harrison Hot Springs countless times, this mountain view still takes my breath away.

Harrison calls itself the sand sculpture capital of the world. Here's proof -

oops, didn't walk far enough, here we go, some of the sand sculptures at this year's competition.

If all this beach talk is making you long for a vacation but it's not on your agenda right now, check out this video I found on Heroes not Zombies, a wonderful blog, it's hard not to feel good watching this. Make sure you have the music turned up!

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What the #@$%* was My Mom Thinking?!

I'm on the right. My sister, Karin, the actress, is hamming it up on the left. No, we weren't conjoined twins (only Photoshop'd that way). We aren't even twins, just cruelly forced to dress that way on many occasions. We had a great Aunt who loved to sew. Maybe she was a compulsive sewer and couldn't stop at one outfit, I don't know. My mother forced us to wear the many identical sets of dresses my great aunt made and it was torture. I'm surprised my sister and I get along so well today. And especially surprised that I don't need years of therapy to deal with any kind of identity crisis.

Karin is visiting BC right now. My plans of bringing Type A structure and organization to my life have been temporarily put on hold. Because when someone comes here on vacation, I go on vacation. Even though much of my life is like a vacation, I have an amazing talent to be able to go on vacation from vacation. What can I say, it's a gift I possess. We actually haven't done anything or gone anywhere, we just drink fancy coffees and sit around.

My sister brought up a memory we'd both like to forget. I was probably 9 or 10 and she 11 or 12 when we ganged up on my best friend, bullied her and made her cry. Bullying wasn't typical of me during childhood. I was pathologically shy and always on the verge of being bullied at any moment, but then there was usually someone who looked like more of a victim than me, and so I was used only as an alternate, when the other victims weren't around, either having spontaneous nosebleeds or at accordion lessons.

But during THAT day, Karin, psychologically tortured my best friend and I acted as an accomplice. We told her she could never go home. Karin, with her natural acting ability, had my friend convinced and so frightened she tried to escape and then Karin sat on her. This I didn't remember, the sitting on my friend. Today, Karin feels a lot of remorse for this. Luckily my friend, even after being sat on by members of my family, is still a very close friend of mine. She phoned yesterday, and we talked (and yes, laughed) about that day, (she has strong memories of the incident as well) .

As an artist, this made me think about how much of our lives, our childhood and memories we put in our art and how when we do this authentically, it makes for richer art. Karin has just been been nominated for a Dora award (comparable to the Tony awards for theatre in Toronto) for her performance in the play, Breakfast, a play she co-created with the group The Independent Aunties. In one major scene, she sits on someone and yes, it was inspired by that childhood memory. But in the play, the outcome is positive, maybe that's her Atonement for bullying my friend.

As for my art, well, I'm on vacation. But on Etsy, I've noticed some creepy twin art, like this and this. And now I resume my vacation. See you soon!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Hoard"

I've been wanting to do an Illustration Friday since I've started this blog, and I finally got something done (and only 1 day late!)

Lately I've been doodling chariactures whenever my hands are idle. The man above has had many incarnations on lots of scraps of paper. For some reason I just like drawing this face.

This article came to mind when the topic 'hoard' came up. It's about wealthy residents on Long Island scavaging for wood on the nearby nature preserve to offset their fuel bills as they take expensive, jet fuelled European vacations. Crazy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Deconstructing Suburbia

Sorry for the smartypants title. Really, don’t expect too much intellectual discourse here (and if you’ve been to university and taken art or humanities, you would have heard that word ‘discourse’ about 273,648 times during your studies and then never again in human conversation).

I mean the title literally. See there’s this ‘guy’ that lives near me whose all kinds of crazy (I know I’m treading in dangerous waters talking about this, but what the hell....). He has lived in my subdivision since the early days of it’s creation, I know because so have I. He had managed in the course of about a month to take a very nice brand new typical suburban home and alter much of it to look like something on the outskirts of Rio De Janeiro. And before anyone accuses me of being some arrogant, white imperialist, let me explain. People who live in homes constructed of any material they can find on the outskirts of cities in developing nations I’m guessing would prefer something better, and here this man is taking the better and recreating what is essentially a tiny shanty town in his backyard. The neighbours were and are outraged. Except for me. Sort of. Yes there’s a part of me that says, “Hey man, you’re messing with my property values”, but then there’s this other part of me, The Griper of all Things Suburban, that says, “Go on mister, let your freak flag fly!”

No doubt, unintentionally, he is being green creating these outbuildings from scraps of anything instead of running off to Home Depot and buying some brand new pressure treated lumber. Sometimes I wonder just a little, (okay, way more than just a little) is he a barometer of things to come? With oil at record prices and demand outstripping supply, finding ways to take care of our energy needs and upkeeping our homes will have to be alternative. It will make us think more independently and resourcefully. Those identical little boxes can’t all look the same if solar panels and little windmills are jutting out on various roofs. And that’s for those with the means, lesser means could have people creating clever devices like this. Most of the world doesn't live in pretty 3 bedroom houses. One day, we’ll probably have to leave our bubble of aesthetic conformity and think outside the box towards the real world.

Excuse me, I have to go mow the lawn before the neighbours complain. But do take a look at this little video on great resourcefulness and windmills, it's really inspiring.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oops and I love you.

I tried to get fancy a few days ago, signing up for Feedburner. Problem is I'm somewhat computer illiterate and this whole blogging thing is pretty new to me. Sooo, having said that, if you read this blog regularly (and I automatically love all who do, and also love those who read irregularly and love all those who comment. And even if I don't know you and you just lurk, I can sense that you are warm, wonderful, interesting, brilliant people and I love you too. How's that for lots of love. It's a regular lovefest at Creative Laundry) uh... where was I? Oh yes, if you subscribe to this blog through a reader, you'll have to re-subscribe. Or, you can have feeds delivered direct to you're email box thanks to my new little widget on the right. Sorry for the hassle and I'm now going to go order Blogging for Dummies from the library.


Getting Organized

I'm working on a drawing that would have fit the theme of this post, but haven't quite finished it, but check out Al Gore in his office. I'll come clean, I have a minor crush on him, yes, it's true, I think he's a great man (tell me Americans, why Bush? why? how did that happen?!). Now my crush has been upgraded to moderate after seeing this clutter. I'm not even going to analyze why I find piles of paper alluring.

But I digress.

I have a tendency to put the cart before the horse. No, that’s not accurate, I put the cart out when I don’t even own a horse and find myself scrambling to get one. And as my brain is scrambled these days, that’s the best analogy (or old hic saying) I can muster.

I’ve been infected with a small case of ambition lately. As the end of June is approaching I’m aware if I want to accomplish what’s in my head while entertaining and refereeing my daughters through the summer, I better get more organized.

I’ve pulled out my daytimer, the one I purchase every January. The one that has a few scribbled entries in the beginning of the year, then...all blank. But with my new desire to accomplish bigger things, I’m determined to make those schedules and lists work. This is disgracefully hard for me. I’m terrible at multi-tasking. I want to pass the buck and write my deficiency off to a gene that’s responsible for that trait that I most definitely lack (btw, if anyone knows of an employer who needs someone to stare at a wall and think all day, I’m their girl!).

I have a wonderful friend who is the queen of organization and has helped people organize their work spaces and kitchens. Last year, I got two bins, one for tupperware and another for their lids to organize the chaos in my kitchen cupboards. I was so proud of having come up with this solution on my own, I had to show her. She smiled, amused and said that’s nice, like a pet owner giving a little pat to an over eager puppy trying to please. I know I need to do better than a couple of bins. It’s time to work on those schedules! Ummm... just as soon as I find that horse, now where could it be?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Work in Progress

Years ago, a professor while critiquing a painting of mine, said, "I can always tell when a woman painted a picture because they paint the hair with so much detail" At the time I thought, 'what a sexist thing to say, just because we're female you think we all automatically care about hair?'. Many years later, I still think his comment was dumb, but I can't deny it for myself, I LOVE painting hair. My oldest daughter (in the above painting) has that great fine hair that's multi toned and a pleasure to paint. She had wacky hair day at school recently, I'm hoping next year she'll let me do one of these hairstyles, where art and hair meet.

I'm also fast becoming the Diane Fossey of crows in my neighbourhood. I'm at a point where I'm starting to notice individual characteristics about crows. They really all don't look exactly the same. Although it's becoming harder to get out lately without woollies and a sealskin parka. While half the country is sweltering in heat the west coast seems to be entering a new ice age. And it's June! Brrrr.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My 100 Mile Embarrassment

A reality television show is being filmed in my city for the Food Network. The show will be about 6 families who have agreed to be on a 100 mile diet for 100 days. This diet is all about eating local, consuming food that is grown and processed only within a 100 miles of your home.

J.B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith are the writers whose book, The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating (the book is entitled Plenty in the U.S.) inspired the show. And there they are in the above picture! They were at my local farmers market this weekend. I thought they were coming to make an appearance, maybe sign some books, but in fact they were being filmed for the show. See the camera person looking annoyed at the idiot who took this picture. That idiot is me of course. I accidentally had my camera set with the flash on. I then took a second picture STILL in flash mode, then fumbled with my camera to figure out why the flash kept going off. This third and final shot is just verifying that I'm an obnoxious fool according to this man and I've ruined part of their shoot. I'm sure they had to film it again, but I didn't wait to find out as I hustled my embarrassed butt out of there.

My friend Angela Rockett along with Tara Larsen Chang co-author a blog about their attempts to eat local food. There you'll find a great book list and links on the topic. Both are incredible artists as well and you can check out their art here and here.

As for me participating in the diet, I'll do my best, but I don't think I'm going for it 100%, UNLESS someone can genetically modify a coffee plant that will grow in cool, rainy Vancouver, then maybe... just maybe.