Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Boreal Forest - a book

Here is a wonderful project and book about the Boreal forest:

and the acompaniing flickr page;

It gives you an idea of what this "last frontier" is like: endless expenses of northern forest, breathtakingly beautiful. A message of hope.

Check it out!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

4 days to go...

Progress is being made ...encouragements *are* welcome!

Friday, December 4, 2009

5 days to go...

...before delivery date. Enough to finish a small batch of these Christmas tags and 2 or 3 more "small Mandalas". (more details on my flickr page)

After that I'd like to be organized enough to start larger paintings and oil paintings even... argh! when????


Really really soon.


- because I have an Art Show coming next May!!!

It will take place at Alternative Ground Cafe: A very funky place on Roncesvale that has on-going Art shows, sells equitable coffee from South America and is very environment friendly, and all together cool!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

here you go and here you go

yes! it's done! Happy with it. The snail has this simple meaningful, non intellectual feel that the turtle, a few posts back, achieved. That's exactly what I want. I hope there's more like that under the thick layer of bone my head seem to have under the leather. And God knows what else lurks there!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

new little Mandalas

These are still in progress! I am enjoying making them!

At the foreground are thumbnail sketches on an envelope: I was brainstorming on what my new brown doll will look like. Note sure yet ...specially since it all went a bit off: I had planed for the fabric to stretch sideways but instead, the fabric decided to stretch lengthwise! The result is she is much more elongated than I had planed, so my aforementioned little plans must be adjusted. I love this sort of accidents though, forces you to think outside of the box!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thrift finds

Went on a treasure hunting expedition: I was very happy of this find at mrs Huizenga: a lovely blue towel with folky motif on it of flowers and fowl. Charming! also a modern-style spoon and a kitsch horn-imitation fork. I collect all sort of different utensils and when guests comes, I create a different setting for each person: it's fun! I try to use a lot of bright colours.

Also found an old potato smasher. I had seen a whole bunch at mrs Huizenga's but didn't want to spend a lot of money on them, so I was very pleased to find an exact same one just below at Goodwill! You don't always get lucky there, their selection is generally pretty lame, but there's always exceptions! When I do find something, it's really pretty great... and cheap!

And last but not least found an old VHS of "message in a bottle" movie. I thought it would be just ok, I'm not a huge fan of Kevin Cosner, but actually it was great, the actress, Robin Wright Penn did a fantastic job, such a great character! It made me feel all romantic and in love with love again!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

multicolour clouds

I was at work today, with a beautiful view of the afternoon sky. The sky was a fair blue over the city with only above to the left a quarter of it hidden by a blanket of thin puffy clouds. The sun was in the middle of the fluffy blanket and I could see it, a white disk, through a thinner portion. I then noticed a strange phenomenon that I have never seen before:

the blanket of clouds made a large circle in the sky and all of the outer edge I was exposed to was for the entire circumference the colour of a rainbow! I mean the cloud's edge itself was going from yellow to orange to pink to blue towards the outer edge. Have you in all your years ever seen such thing?

I am so amazed to see something, at my ripe old age of 45, that I have never seen before and never heard of!!! Life is full of wonders, I always say it... let it be evidence that, no matter how much we think we know, there is always something out there waiting to amaze us!

No! I did not have a camera sadly, this above is a picture taken at the Kortright centre, north of Toronto where I went with my good friend Anita a few weeks past. it was a wonderful day filled with discoveries, among which I discovered a berry with the most amazing dieing potential . I am trying to grow it at home to see if i can make a production of it. You might hear more of it in a couple years or so...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

in progress

There: I am posting this 1st image of a new serie of small paintings I am doing now, inspired by nature, of course, but also by Mandalas. I have been wanting to explore the Mandala idea for a long time. This is a way to approach it from the back door, in a small playful format. The panels are very icon-like, with strong symbolism.

This one has a snapping turtle at it's centre:
A strange creature that lurks in green lakes, in bogs or under floating logs. They snap, they bite! they are not friendly! That's because their shell is not a very good hiding place so nature gave them a long neck instead, long sharp claws and a bad temper!

I really enjoyed making them. They are done on small die-cut boards from 7 Gypsies. I have a whole bunch of these boards, so will paint many more. I have varnished them with high gloss varnish. But i might do the next one with matte varnish to see if it would work even better.

They shine!

Monday, November 2, 2009

provencal traditions

another great link to a blog about textile traditions and more from Provence:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

from Waddington Auctions

I'm posting below this link from Waddington's auctions. This is a great set of Inuit drawings full of their icons, culture and wonderful sense of colours, story telling and filled also of one of the most charming sense of humour I know.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Found this passage on wikipedia while I was researching Mandalas. It's about Guardians. I find it very inspiring.

" From The Crystal and the Way of Light: Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen, Teachings of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, compiled and edited by John Shane:

Guardians of the teachings
There are eight principal classes of Guardians each with many subdivisions. Some are highly realized beings, others not realized at all. Every place - every continent, country, city, mountain, river, lake or forest - has its particular dominant energy, or Guardian, as have every year, hour and even minute: these are not highly evolved energies. The various teachings all have energies which have special relationships with them: these are more realized Guardians. These energies are iconographically portrayed as they were perceived when they manifested to masters who had contact with them, and their awesome power is represented by their terrifyingly ferocious forms, their many arms and heads, and their ornaments of the charnel ground. As with all the figures in tantric iconography, it is not correct to interpret the figures of the guardians as merely symbolic, as some Western writers have been tempted to do. Though the iconographic forms have been shaped by the perceptions and culture of those who saw the original manifestation and by the development of tradition, actual beings are represented."

It reminded me of the vision of Ezekiel in the old testament.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I wanted to save these 2 dolls for a show and so haven't posted them in their finished state until now but I am not currently looking for a gallery and so thought I might as well share them with you here. I truly hope you'll enjoy them.

"Burden" the doll carrying fire wood is just back from Mrs Huizenga store on Roncesvale where she spent the winter and summer.

The other one I am very partial to, I love the mix of sacred and playful. Very much like a Shaman... He is "spirit of the woods" which I did last year. But he's been hiding long enough. he is anthropomorphic, as always. My influences are obvious here are they not?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


As you know, I love finding treasures and I'm in a great neighbourhood for that! Found that fantastic chair on my way back home! Pure Moderstyle woohoo! Aw! I love the rocket ship form! It needs work though! but it's gona get a lot of TLC and we'll see what we'll see! very tempted to sand it clean, but then loose the great paint? arh! choices! hmmm?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Unfinished painting - Detail

I did this in France (almost finished) once I arrived at my mom's. The light was bright there of course and my mom set my quarters in her painting studio!!! Had to paint! It's a lovely little studio and I'm sorry i didn't take a picture of it. She has all her paintings on the wall, many great ones! She has a large table in the centre with everything an artist needs around it.

I didn't feel like painting Provence which might be shocking to some of you... but it has been painted already by so many on every angle and in every colour... I always feel I've come to this earth to sing the enchanting beauty of the Boreal Forest and so, that is what I did with this silly owl.

I wasn't able to finish it only because my lack of knowledge on birds feet ; owl's in particular. Couldn't figure how to handle the feet seen from bellow ; as she is flying away... I will figure something out eventually!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NO, you're not dreaming!

See that? I've started a new doll. No idea where I am going with it, but I have tons of material to pick from so who knows!? I love to do those tiny stitches. it's such a great sort of meditative work. The thread is a beautiful thick polished cotton thread from a vintage pool. Love it!

I worked on new feet for my green doll to. Almost done and finished a couple things on her. she is almost-completely-sort-of finished!

...Imagine that!


Yeap... I did it... almost blew up the whole house! I *must* remind myself that I have a gas stove now! I actually left the house to go to the laundromat leaving this small saucepan on the stove heating up - forgot. Luckily when I came back, say... one and a half hour later, the flames had not been switched off by the boiled over liquid and disaster was avoided. Had to scrub this poor thing for a looooong time though!

That'll teach me!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

another blog...

I have started a new blog to accompany this one, about my grandfather Monty. I will do an official launch once I have put in a bit more info about him and a first set of images. He was wonderfully talented and I want to try to give him a bit of the recognition he so much deserves as an artist.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

pretty and hanging

This little heart is now posted in my Etsy shop. Simple folky and nice. A moth with 2 large eyes staring back at us! I like the theme of eyes imitated by nature: the pretend-eyes and the real-eyes never encountering one-another. Fierce Warrior Eyes. Gods' eyes.... Demon's eyes...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beautiful Being

The same creature as in the previous post... but through my camera.

While in Cannes

While in France, I made a few feeble attempts to paint, and even though my main source of inspiration is the Boreal Forest, from which I was, in fact, very far, nevertheless this little sketch emerged of a beautiful mediteranean pine tree on St Marguerite Island that reminded me of the trees painted by Tom Tomson of the group of Seven. I loved the shadows on the trunk especially.

Hope you'll find it worthy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Art and things...

You thought I had given up, given up hope and lost my creative superpowers. no. They were asleep while I was battling various small demons That I compassionately convinced to abandon their vain efforts to discourage me. It simply can't be done. I walked back home skipping the street car ride twice yesterday and today, and, refreshed by the dubious air, the sound of the needy fetching a slice of vicarious excitement in the eyes of singers and media gurus on Dundas square ; reached my home an-impeached and started to paint. Can this BE? ...Yes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back Home

I flew back home this Monday. Sitting in the plane beside me was the most adorable couple I can think of, a mom and dad whose grown up kids had gotten together and bought them a package tour to Canada, the one place in the world they always had dreamed of visiting. She was very emotional when the plane lifted in Paris, then we talked during the flight. So sweet, so genuine. They warmed my heart, when that happens, I usually have to fight back tears myself, for that is my great curse, though a blessing too! I ran both in my head and on my camera (so nice to be able to do that!) all the wonderful images of my 2 weeks trip to France. So many.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

flying off to a better world

This world is mean, this world is unkind. My wallet was stolen in a middle of a move, just before I leave to see my family, making my last week here hell... I'm exhausted from running around everywhere, my soul feels wretched... I am running to my mummy!

Here is a little poem dedicated to the petty thief:

"...The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung..."

Breathes There the Man / Sir Walter Scott

Monday, August 10, 2009

first night...

Exhausted from the move and the brutal storm that hit Toronto, I spent the 1st night in my new hobbit hole and lay down there in the dark, listening to the unfamiliar noise, covered with deeper darkness than I am used to, seeing the pale glow of the kitchen window from my bed. I felt strange, almost unwelcome, but excited at the same time. Wanting to belong there, feeling the energy of the house, the air outside, the criters of the night... I have found a true home at last, something that feels like me! both ominous and wonderful. I wondered if the house has ghosts, if people who lived there before me were happy. Who were they, did they love it like I do?

Many unanswerable questions!

Monday, August 3, 2009

new home sweet new home!

Here it is! the 1st picture of my new home: The door knob of the kitchen door to the garden. Lovely is it not? So old and ragged. So much character! It has everything going for it... I mean the whole apartment ; not just the door knob. Moving in next week!

There's more pictures on my Flickr page at:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

while you wait...

While I am sorting out the mess, here is my favorite picture of my wonderful, beautifull cat and friend Happy, who passed away, of old age mostly, 2 weeks ago, and who I miss a great deal.

May she find peace and joy where ever she is.


The reason I haven't posted anything in the last couple weeks is because I am preparing to move. That's a big move for someone who has lived in the same place for 15 years, scarry too! But all worth it and the new place is perfect! I can't wait. So forgive, it's not that I am not itching to speak to you, just busy running after my own tail like a mad dog! I will post photos of the new Hobbit-hole soon!

Friday, July 10, 2009

glorious artist water jar

Wonderful artist Danna Ray posted a photo of her jar here :

So I wanted to take pictures of how time and use gave pattern and colours to mine too. mine is for watercolours so the evolution is a slow one, the colours are subtil and delicate. I like that. More views on flickr here:

Show me yours!

Friday, July 3, 2009

red omen

It was on Sunday 28th of June. In the morning I saw a red cardinal in the big chestnut tree in front of my big window. That's rare. I only see one every few years and usually in winter. This is summer. I looked with binoculars and the scene was beautiful with the red Cardinal set among pale green baby chestnuts and darker green leaves. His face was jet black with white on the edge and the rest bright red. A gift from heaven. Then I went for a trip to the ROM museum and saw wonders among which was a bright red ibis all by it self in a window. Brilliant red. Finally when I came home I was looking out the window, the sky was dark, the chestnut tree was dark dark green and just then this brilliant brilliant red on the van's roof in the parking lot pretty much exploded in my eye, brain and soul.

The contrast between the dark stormy light all around and this brilliant red van was just amazing. It was really an out of the ordinary experience. An omen and a gift, just 2 days before my dear beloved cat Happy left this earth. Life is full of wonderful mysteries, full of wonderment and magic.

Each one of us IS the most magical fairytale that could ever be told.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Last little

Garh! I just realized how many time I have used the word "Little" in my posts' titles. Too many! so I will look for synonyms of "little" for now-on!!! ...cute? sweet? small?

a little drawing for Brice

Brice my big brother who is mentally handicapped, made me (he is an artist) a beautiful drawing for my birthday. I thought I should try to say thank you with a drawing as well, and though mine is not quite as special, I think he might like my red wolf. What do you think?...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

little acorns full of hope

Here is my little whimsy. It did not turn quite like I thought. Ok I guess. I'll have to revisit the idea some time soon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Grange's raging rant

Last Sunday I went with Irina to the Grange. On a perfect day. Part of the AGO, this is a historical mansion one of the earliest building in Toronto. It is being renovated and therefore, excavated. The Grange's exhibit was filled with wonders basically presented as scientific fact complete with curator's desk, casts of findings, analysis, maps... and the subject so quirky and wonderful: a maid in the 19th century had made all these wax creations and the anthropologists were trying to find out who she was and why she did this: so wonderful!!! ...I was in rapture, in love with this quirky maid... they gave us explanation notes at the end, which I didn't read until I got home many hours later.

And that's when I found out that it was all a pretend set-up, an "installation". I felt so confused, humiliated, and betrayed since I had gotten so in love with a character I thought was real. I had already made plan to work on it in my Art, let everybody know, write about it... so I felt that I really fell hard from that illusion. I deeply disagree with such intellectual concept that takes on all the means of something genuine but isn't. It would be alright if you were told during the exhibit, but afterward like that, with this guy lying to you the whole time, that was way beyond anything ethical I feel.

hmmm no... I really don't know what was meant to be the real point of this big lie, but it has slipped into something else. I could tel the presenter was uncomfortable with me, I asked a lot of questions. He wouldn't make eye contact long. He had doubt about the validity of it all I am pretty sure. Perhaps this kind of experiments are good to the kind of people who live life never questioning anything? What do you think?

...And yes I am naive, but I don't want to be any-other-way.

little art project

I've been playing with my little fingers... and that's what it looks like now...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

doll face

For someone who takes for ever to finish a complete doll
, I probably shouldn't be so eager to make a doll face, but I had my box of paper clay in my hand one evening last week, I was in the kitchen, I grabbed a walnut size chunk of it and grabbed a lime in the fruit basket nearby. Standing up in the kitchen, my hip resting on the kitchen counter, I lay the clay on the lime and flattened it a bit then started to work on the clay which I have never done except for one failed attempt about a year ago. Being set on the lime it was quite easy! I wanted a simple ordinary face but the face kept taking on definite aboriginal features, perhaps the shape of the lime and my fingers made it so... I don't know. I immediately got a very good feeling about it, that it was going to turn into a great doll face. I painted it this morning feeling I could do no wrong: it already had great form. I am very happy with the result.

I can't show you but I put it on my green doll in place of her face for a moment and it was just stunning! I can't wait to make a body for it!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Seen, anew

I was thinking about this old painting of mine yesterday. It just hit me how close it is to what I currently do. I had done it in a very free flowing way which was a big departure from my usual highly detailed illustrations of that time. It was a project for a video game company who wanted some backgrounds. Didn't go through in the end, but I liked what came out of it. It's a most unhospitable land with the greatest riches on it, I liked that contrast! These greens are, of course, highly poisonous, and so is the rain. Of course.

my little shop's offerings: pretty vintage and folky things

Yay! See that? The little gift box is finished now!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

little red box

The little red box I painted while waiting for my mom to call back. She didn't. She often forgets! hehe! But it worked out! I started and (almost) finished this little box in the mean time! (needs varnish) It will be in my Etsy store shortly!

Glorious June: Painting in High Park

It was planed well ahead: Saturday: it was going to be "Painting in the Park"!!! ...I left the house around 3:30, perfect time when the sun is low and the light warmly coloured and angled. I found this peeeeerfect little spot, attracted there by a gorgeous huge pine tree with sweeping blue branches cast over a little bench. Behind the bench was a great scene: the sweeping branches, the second pine with it's horizontal branches, the weeds and the birds fighting for my nuts.

A little island of hidden paradise.

The picture above was the spot before that : in front of the old institute for the blind. Such a typical example of an old Canadian institution: so charming, all made of wood, with cracking old paint, large beams, sloping roof, set among old trees... I hope I can finish that sketch.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ominous Rainbow

Influenced by Tibetan Buddhist religion and culture through my sister Edith but also my own interest and knowledge I've come to know of the importance of rainbows. In tibet a rainbow is very ominous. "An Auspicious Sign" they would call it. It is even told that when a great enlighten Buddhist master dies, his boddy either shrivels or disapear entirely and always a rainbow appears above him.

Well I was talking on the phone yesterday with said sister when Lo and Behold! the sky went from sunny to dark silver, a thunderstorm burst out, then ended then in a middle of a sentence i turned toward the window and was made speechless by the view: a gorgeous rainbow seemed to rise above an island of light in my neighbours' backyard behind the magnificent chestnut tree. Such beauty, such magic! "very auspicious" said Edith as I described the scene. Indeed.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I finally found the time to upload the image I took of that painting (one of them) while i was working on it, at irina's. (may 10th)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

more mailing labels

These airmail labels are about birds, Owls and otherwise (...get it? other-wise? ...never mind!) They are cute and you put them on enveloppes - if you still use such ancient communication technology. I do. And decorating enveloppe is to me a sacred tradition that I always honour. The great thing is they are for sale on my new Etsy store called "Artrepublik". By The Way, these are original illustrations, each one-of-a-kind, not copied from anywhere. Where else are you gona find that? huh?


Did a small bunch of labels. Hhmmm? What do you think? I am into wolves, yes, you are perceptive. Did some research about Warewolves but most particularly about the "Bete de Gevaudan" which no one figured wether it was a wolf or somthing else even though it was alegedly killed twice by an envoy of the King of France (lots on that on wickipedia). I am just about to post them on my new Etsy store. I like Etsy, so friendly and community-ish. I plan to post lots of stuff on there, it will definitely take some time, but I am hoping to build a descent little store filled with my very personal style of art and collectibles.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More adventures

Ok. Good news. I went to Irina's last week. Never thought we would start again our painting sessions. But we did. Half the time we spent eating and half painting and going for a walk with Puma, the most loved dog on Earth. Nevertheless paintings emerged. I started 2 that I can now finish at home. Not that I have yet, a week later, but I will and I did do some work on them, one of them... See? And you thought I was a good-for-nothing. Well I did, almost. That put sunshine in my heart and then this week, I made again (Gohd, isn't that crazy?) ...some unbelievable thriftshop discoveries. You thought the wallet was a neat one? wait...

Went to my favorite vintage bookstore (if you leave a to die-for-coment, I'll tell you where) which is truly the best secondhand book store in the world, and went to my usual posts: childrenbooks and Art sections, but wasn't feeling the vibe there, so I squeezed by piles of no-time-to-look-at-them treasures and headed to the "magic wall of wonders" (I just made up that name - if you find a better one you win something!) and went through my usual drawers, depleted, mostly by me I suspect, labelled "Photos", "Travel brochures", "Illustrations"... and started to look about for unexplored area on the tall, wide, and very old wall unit.

At the bottom a drawer was labelled "documents", in it some awsome stuff, a 1800s letter, 1920 train tickets, 2 old sale vouchers frome an Art auction, all with prices from 10 years ago I think, and then I saw it: the little red book. It called my name, I stretched a hand and pulled it out. It was someone's journal, from 1940. Written in bold brown ink. Each day (page) is filled with more or less equal amounts of terrible unhapiness and yet is circling in this patern of unbearably dull routine. Who was he? why was he not working? Old or young? furthermore it has even sadder inuendos, like "I realised what a mess I made of it all"...

The negative energy it radiates is tangible. I will keep this diary and heavy burden of sorrow and think of what can be done with it. I feel it came to me for a reason. I know the right idea will pop-up when the time is right.

And then today I found a very old sewing basket (my 3rd and best one). It may have been originally a fishing [creel?] not sure. I worked hard all afternoon to refurbish it and it's content: lots of cute little needle sets and mending threads of many vintage colours mostly... which put together makes me think more of a man's sewing basket (more of a sock mending kit than a sewing basket). Think so. It was covered with a large amount of rust (from the needles and the basket tin liner) - rusted needles are salvageable with an sos pad and a lot of patience - and so was the tin liner. Looks like the little ball of red wool was home spun and there was an adorable primitive home made needle book that I brought back somehow from the brink of perdition.

I am pretty satisfied with myself.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

off the percheron, on with great patience

A little drawing I did for my Friend, Mentor, Guru, Muse Mania Shmakoff, who broke her leg in 4 places and was hooked to metal rods for 3 months, after falling from a percheron.