Purgatory, or riding the subway on a Saturday night

I went out last night to volunteer at Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights — unfortunately, the camera died on me before could take many good pictures of the lights. I did get a cool reflection shot en route to the event . . . I took the picture on the subway, underground, while pointing the lens out the window towards the wall. I love how the metal vertical slats on the wall dominate the reflections of the riders.

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Swirls

I had a job interview today (I think it went well), and afterwards I sat down with pencil crayons and drew out a swirly, curvy shape and began to colour each peninsula with a different colour. I tried to blend in the middle, and then I encircled the shape with darker colours. I am drawn to bright colours lately, especially as contrasted with black.

On a more random note, here is an awesome Muppet version of “Bohemian Rhasody” which brought me a HUGE grin!

Groovy

I had two inspirations in particular yesterday:

1) This post by a blogging artist from NYC — Katie Sokolor at “Color Me Katie” — helped me to get circles of big colour on the brain and, eventually, onto a blank surface:

And 2) a book, acquired at local library, which is literally called Paint Happy! by Cristina Acosta — free form, fluid, vibrant expressive painting techniques using pastels and acrylics.

Oh, I cannot omit Michael (my husband) — I used his old pastels and a set of his pastel paper, and he showed me a few tricks with Q-tips and fingertips. I like having a teacher in-house. 🙂

I don’t always look at digital pictures immediately after I take them. Sometimes I like to check them out later, so I don’t have the urge to instantly delete the ones that don’t look “good”.

This was the case last night, when I hung out with friends Marieve and Alanna around Toronto. I took many pictures, but the night time ones and a few others didn’t turn out as expected (I possibly didn’t focus correctly, or used the wrong setting, or whatever — irrelevant after the fact).

The weird ones are often the most interesting, in the end. And they can be made more interesting by cropping to accentuate the good bits, or rendered black and white or over-saturated or antiqued using really basic photo-editing. Suddenly, crappy pictures can become mesmerizing. Sometimes, I don’t want to make any changes at all – it is “fine” as is:

Rebel L's

She Juggles Fire -- Elm Street, Toronto.


This is what I pulled out early this morning — a quick attempt at a flower on wooden plaque that my husband had previously stained like mahogany. Reminding me that I cannot draw a realistic-looking flower in the traditional sense, but instead of being frustrated as usual . . . I like the shape and the almost cartoonish feel to it. Now this thing:

But I think it is getting closer to what I had imagined when I started the project. I regret using dark brown gesso now, but there is nothing to be done beyond working with it and filling it up. I will try to find a stencil of bark or some branch shapes to frame the dog. The cedar by the dog’s eyes is real, picked off a hedge in the neighbourhood.

This is simple, but it was so pleasurable to make. I intend to sneak this somewhere like a book shelf or a coffee shop stir stick/plastic lid station. I am still on the wave of HOPErevo. . . the quote is something I found along the way, randomly, today and it spoke to me.

My image transfer attempt seems to be working — but taking a long time (it is a magazine photo) for the paper itself to remove. Still, now that I have the hang of it, I can learn other techniques and improve/get faster.

I don’t post everyday, but I have been doing well at doing something creative every day in some small way this week (even just fancying up envelopes for the wedding thank you cards I’ve been mailing out). I think I started out, being green and keen, with dreams of biggish things. I’m aiming at smaller threads which I can weave into my day-to-day for now, the better to make a habit (I know I will be a Creative Every Day 2010 participant — life beyond November)!

Here is something to show, however, as the sharing is part of the process. I have been inspired by theHOPErevo – leaving random “love” notes (platonic) about for strangers to find . . . the origins of the project are in New York City, but god Toronto could use a boost of this kind as well! As a random act of kindness sort of woman, this appeals to me immensely and so I started to play with ideas . . .

Pink, yellow and blue

I am still working on ideas for my “dog” painting, and I am playing with ideas for homemade Christmas presents, but I’ll work with small drops as I bolster myself. Job searching, especially after a gap, is humbling at the best of times.