Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Home Tour!

Christmas conjures up sooo many different emotions and feelings for me and unfortunately near the top of this "emotion" list is stress and much to do, so little time, so many little and big people around I hope to make it wonderful for and no matter how hard I try I always seem to fall short of expectations, which are for the most part MINE and no one else's!

Don't get me wrong, I know the real meaning of Christmas and completely get that.  There is no other time throughout the season that I feel more centered than standing in church on Christmas Eve, candlelight glowing, Hymns being sung, Scripture being read...particularily if my own little "angels" have chosen to cooperate during these moments...a true blessing all in itself!

I've also read and heard and been told all about simplifying for the Christmas season, but find that no matter how hard I try I'm just not so very good at that!  I LOVE to decorate and I have a thing for Christmas trees, glittery, rustic, big or tiny, I love them all but natural and quirky are my favourite, hands down!  So, since I've started blogging, I've started to follow other's blogs and have seen many gorgeous homes, vignettes, ideas, etc... but realize I cannot do it all, and I likely wouldn't be true to myself if I copied other concepts, so for this year I'm decorating more or less like I've always done which I admit is kinda country, (even though I hate labels!...see previous post!)  a bit rustic, pretty informal and I hope just a little bit fun!

So without further preamble...Welcome to Jen's house tour!...I apologize for subpar photography, I entirely blame the camera, but I fear I haven't been quite good enough this year for Santa to bring me a fancy schmanzy one!


Little kid creations are a must on my Christmas tree!...

...even if they are sometimes gaudy!

This was made by me when I was 4...does that classify as vintage or antique??

My lil bro always groans when he sees this, he's 30 now and getting married!...but I love it, reminds me of when he was an imp, running in and jumping on me to wake me up on Christmas morning!  (by the way...he's still an imp!)

Another favourite decoration, anything natural and free!

About as "glam" as I get! 


A cardinal crafted by my 2 year old...I just love how he stuck the wings on his tummy!


Outside garland and a preview of that unfinished porch ceiling!


some cute and cuddly snowmen crafted by my daughters...

 ...the Seuss tree too!


And...since this is an art blog, my favourite art of kid's!


Tiny village handcrafted by mommy and kids...kinda compliments the painting in behind don't ya think?   I'm sneaky like that!

And in case you didn't know, I have a rather large home, so don't worry, this is all spread out, it doesn't look nearly as tacky in real life, at least I don't think so!

By the way...did I mention, right now, while writing I'm just procrastinating? 
            I have commissions to complete,
presents to wrap,
                  cards to write,                                    no baking done,
         church pageant to help organize
                                                                 (how long could it really take to make a camel costume?)
                          and then all that daily stuff too!

Oh is good!  I really do mean that, so blessed with so many choices that I simply can't choose!

Have a wonderful day! Jen

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's the Point in making Plans?

Well, I took a much longer break from posting than I had anticipated!  Wish I could say that during this lengthy departure I have been ultra productive and have created a plethora of paintings to sell and display...unfortunately real life has a tendency to skew any well intentioned plans I have!

I had originally walked away because here on the home front we were going to tackle completing the underside of our porch roof and fascia before snow came...well, we started!  That was 4 weeks ago.  "We" soon turned into "me" and although I pride myself in being able to accomplish quite alot with a hammer and other assorted tools, when you're installing 16 foot long tongue and groove ceiling boards sometimes 2 people are better than 1.  Unfortunately, sweety decided to fall from a stepladder after the first evening on the job and land flat on his back on top of a power drill.  In my exasperation I was unable to muster up loads of sympathy beyond the first night since I had very persistently questioned and cross examined him before we ordered our supplies to ensure that he was indeed going to help me and we were definitely going to finish this job, instead of just start.  Anyway!- 3 days later he decided to go to the hospital where it was determined that he had indeed cracked a rib.  So there he was, ensconced in warmth by the woodstove resting and repairing and no doubt in pain and there I was looking from the outside in while balancing precariously on my ladder, nail gun in one hand, boards in the other, wedging things in place solo for all 72 feet of porch length while shivering in the bitter cold for over a week.  I found all this very hard to swallow and I like to consider myself a sympathetic sort, but truth be told, sometimes I think life just sucks and SOMEONE is testing me and I'm so not getting a passing grade!!  (did I mention I managed to get pooped on by a seagull in the same period of time?, coincidentally right after asking for "a sign, anything?" time I'm going to be more specific!)  Good news:  the ceiling is up.  Bad news:  the soffit and fascia is not and now we've got snow and Christmas to contend with!   Oh well!  I'm sure it'll look pretty... someday!

Below is my latest painting.  This lady is going on the Silent Auction table this Friday evening for a Christmas Fundraiser.  Proceeds will go to our local food bank.  Painting her was my happy amongst all the annoying that's taken place recently...hope someone loves her enough to take her home with them, 'cause I will be sad to see her go so soon, I really quite like her and wouldn't mind sharing my space with her for a little longer!

"Searching for Greener Pastures"  Acrylic on canvas 20 x20 the way, Sweety is on the mend, recouped quite nicely, but he doesn't fancy the cold anymore than me and work beckons, so our improvements will wait...I'm not a complete troll...just almost!  Cheers!  Jen

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Latest Painting

Hi There!  Might be quiet for a bit as I attempt to finish up some projects around the outside of our home before snow flies!  Thought I'd post pictures of what I've been working on over the past week, a few sketches for future canvases and one completed watercolour, Enjoy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Creative Every Day

As an amateur blogger, I've been searching around the Internet a bit lately hoping to find inspiration to make my blog more exciting.  With my capabilities still limited I haven't succeeded in that.  I've learned no new skills but found many blogs and sites that have inspired me.
The biggest inspiration has been a site which started a project called "Art Every Day" as a challenge for all creative types throughout the month of November.  The challenge: create something each and every day of the month...big or small doesn't matter just as long as an effort is made.  This is very much in line with what I was taught in art school too.  My drawing teacher encouraged us to pick up a pencil and sketch everyday.  Many years have passed and I let him down a very long, long time ago, but have risen to this new challenge! 
Fortunately for me, the major procrastinator, I stumbled across the blog 2 days I have an excuse for missing a bit!  None-the-less, I have created everyday since
                        ...well, except for today
                                             ...but I did cut out Remembrance Day poppy petals for Sunday school kids
                                  ...and I did plant over 80 bulbs for spring with my daughter this afternoon!
                                                                That's um... er...a little creative,...isn't it?

Pictured above, a commissioned piece I've started work on.  She's a very sweet little girl, but I'm a bit nervous about how she'll turn out.  I prefer anything but face on views as capturing the individual's personality is paramount to the success of the piece.  So far it's going well, hope this continues and more than anything, I hope the clients are pleased!

Here, a tree I created from my imagination one evening after a very long day filled with financial meetings riddled with concerns and challenges.  I had the title almost from the start.  "Fighting the Wind" is 11 x 14 watercolour and acrylic on canvas paper.  The unsettled, tense nature of the painting echoed pretty closely my mood for the day.

Finally,  a project I've been promising my daughter to start for quite awhile...a thrift store find: an IKEA chair with no slipcover, so decided instead of purchasing one, we'd just attack it with paint.  April chose the colours to match her room and decided polka dots would be the way to happiness, I got her started and away she went!  Zany and bright, just like her!

Well, I'll try to stay accountable this week and keep posting my progress, meanwhile...have a great week!  Jen


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Success and Shortcomings!

Today our Bishop is coming to church and will bless the youth room that we have been working on.  As promised, I am posting a few pics of the end results.  What seems a little too static for my personal taste will no doubt warm up quickly in the weeks and months that follow as the kids put their imprint on the space!

As for creativity this week?  Well, today is Halloween...I've put my energies into assisting the kids with costume creation, some successful, some not, but all in all lots of fun!  I even dressed up myself for a party...and love the transformative effect makeup and hair have...actually feeling a little dull since returning to plain ole me! (my family thinks I'm fine just as I am...I however think maybe creativity would flow just a little easier if I stuck my hair straight up a bit more often!)
  I've seen some amazing sunrises in the last few mornings and tried to capture them for future painting reference.  For me, the eye always views the scene much more dramatically than images captured with camera.  The other day while rushing past my window and casting a glance out I was awestruck by the few remaining orange leaves on some nearby trees and the contrast of the intensly purple hills making up a distant horizon...absolutely stunning and right there in the middle of my everyday,ordinary I was drawn to them and had to stop.  Feeling a small release of tension as the scene unfolded and I painted it in my mind, I realize this is why I attempt to create, this is affirmation that the world is bigger than my problems and I need to appreciate how very much I already have!  Harried by the pull of other commitments I was forced to settle for the camera image and only hope my memory will serve to correct the insipid nature of the captured image when I finally take brush to canvas!

 Happy Halloween! Jen   

Monday, October 25, 2010

Youth Art

So, the next few days will be filled with activities surrounding my "real" job...or at least the one that pays....bookkeeping....YUCK!  How the girl that hated math in school got to be in charge of finances for the family business still eludes me, however, I should not complain too much since as I already said it does pay!
  On a more creative note: this past Saturday I invited the youth kids from church over to my home to create some artwork for the space we are revamping with them...a smaller and more creative collection of kids made for a little less paint flying but I did still need to "emergency wash" a few items of clothing.  They chose to depict religious symbols in their art, I tried to steer them towards a more abstract depiction and was pleasantly suprised with the end result.  They did their own versions of the cross, trinity, garden of Eden and the sacred heart (which they were entirely convinced for quite awhile was really a flaming strawberry, a little education on human anatomy and religious symbolism was inserted here!)  They also inspired me to pick up the pace and get back to where I should be, painting!  I started a few sketches for some commissioned pieces people have ordered for Christmas and am throwing around the idea of starting my version of the very popular "Tree of Life" sometime in the future, we'll see!....meanwhile, here's a few pics from the workshop on Saturday! Have a great week! 

the sacred heart...

a cross...

the trinity...


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Remodelling with kids...a good idea? I know I will fill my time with lots of remedial tasks and perhaps not be able to put paint to canvas but I will use an artist's brush, unfortunately only to sharpen lines and touch up on a colour blocking project I've been working on with another mom and 7 or so kids, (10 to 15 years old) to create a youth room at our church.  You want to see paint fly?  Just invite that many kids, have that many rollers and paintbrushes and that many colours of paint open and then stand back!
The project is getting closer to completion and I'm not exactly sure where I stand on it, there are components that I like, others make me wonder!  The kids picked the colours, the adults modified to pass muster with the greater body of the church (not sure we should have) and the results, well?!?!  Tight budgets, many opinions and a dark space is not a decorator's dream!  I will post some pics when we get it all wrapped up!

Meanwhile, thought I'd show you some art I have available for sale...enjoy!

Cheers! Jen

3 canvases..."Springtime Vista" acrylic on canvas  each 16 x 20

"Delphiniums and Lilies"  acrylic 16 x 12

"I Believe..."  acrylic on canvas  30 x 40

"View from Isle D'Orleans"  watercolour  7 x 5

"Lupines"  watercolour  14 x 10

"Thinking Pink"  acrylic  14 x 11

"Caught in the Act" acrylic on canvas  60 x 36

detail from previous canvas