Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

I send my very best wishes to friends out there. May the new year be one of happiness, good friends, great conversations, dreams fulfilled, peace, harmony and creativity.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas was for me

Christmas was for me

  • Making Christmas cards for friends
  • children dressed in costumes for the tableau at the Cathedral
  • a time with family, 
  • time with my grandsons,
  • opening gifts 
  • having the pleasure of watching others open gifts
  • smiles and hugs, 
  • too much good food, 
  • lively conversation,
  • taking photos 
  • making yet another family Christmas movie, 
  • six active and overly excited family dogs, 
and at the end of it all
  • being very tired and 
  • feeling grateful for this time of being alive and living in Canada with such abundance all around us.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Puddle Card

I have been away from drawing and writing for twelve weeks. Now I am so happy to be back! A wrist injury is now pretty much healed. Thank goodness.
I think the days of walking with my dog Maggie in the winter rain are affecting my focus although the sun did shine today. 

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Reindeer & A Tree

It's a little late to be trying to think up a Christmas card design for this year but since it rained today I made myself try and I feel like I have wasted the day ditzing around with this one. However it is at least something to post.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

First November Morning

On the first November morning, there was glorious sunshine. So when I went walking with my little dog Maggie, I took along my camera. Thinking about Picture Book Idea Month I came across this little squirrel as it darted about under Chestnut trees gathering a harvest and I am trying to think of how to create a story idea with him as a character. The remnants of Halloween displays were still in good shape so I took some more photos.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Midnight on Halloween

Happy Halloween again. Spooky witches are finally finished and it is much too late to scare anyone. But at least I managed to post today.
November begins tomorrow with PiBoidMo.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

VSB Artist In Residence Program

It's the time of the year when the new Artists In Residence program booklet is released from the Vancouver School Board. Teachers can browse through the booklet to choose any of the artists to visit their classrooms.
A little video I made of projects with a  kindergarten class at Sir Guy Carleton is on the Fine Arts webpage page. I have already posted the video link on this blog, but I thought I'd post a link to my Vimeo version of it again in case any teachers want to see what happened with the class over five 90 minute sessions over two months. It was a privilege to be working with those wonderful kids.

Incidentally, I designed this year's AIR program booklet cover using the iPad APP CLOUDART along with CorelDraw on my PC to add extra bits.
And the watercolour effect photos are created with photos and the APP Waterlogue for iPad.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I won some books!

It is a rainy soaking day in Vancouver and in spite of the grey outside I had a lovely surprise at noon. Canada Post delivered a package of books which I won in a draw associated with a summer writing event online. Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, a talented writer for children and the host of the event, spent a small fortune for postage to mail them across the border to where I live in Canada. I am thrilled with the books. I am always interested to see what is happening in the Kids Lit world especially since I am trying to write for that world myself.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mugs of Maggie

I thought I'd try to create a new shop with the Canadian version of Cafe Press. Years ago I had a CP shop and it was not a money maker but it was a lot of fun to imagine my designs on mugs and t-shirts.
My son laughed at me. "It's just vanity publishing Mom!"
And yes. He was right. I did order a set of mugs with my angel designs on them. they are still beautiful and they sit in my cupboard and I use them every day.
This time I thought I'd try a photo of Maggie.
Now I have a shop. But I am not sure what I will do with it yet.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Silly Chicken

I haven't posted for a while but I have been working on the illustrations for my book project and I think they are going much better than I imagined. I just needed to get started.
But the one hard thing is my drawing hand has been in pain due to either carpal tunnel or a fracture caused by a man at church who crushed my hand at the Peace exchange. A firm handshake is not always a positive thing! Since that moment, three weeks ago I have been hurting. But ice and  tensor bandage is bringing some comfort and I think it is mending slowly and the pain is down to a five instead of a nine since last Friday.
In any case my illustrations are moving along in spite of the hand pain and I thought I'd just post a little chicken character which turned up on the pages as one of many chickens in the story.
I thought I'd try and animate him just for fun and to post something on my blog since I am so far behind in the blogging. He is silly but I had a few moments of fun playing last night. I decided to show how one can animate a character. I used Corel Draw to create jpegs and then Toon Boom Studio to create the animation sequence and then took the mpeg into my editor Corel Video Studio Pro. A Silly Chicken.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday Thoughts

Playing with digital patterns. Combination of two APPS, Type Drawing and Percolater and organized on my PC with CorelDRAW. I think I am addicted to this process this week.

In the meantime and separately from this digital art making, I have sketched out rough designs of every page for my picture book story.
I am planning to do three finished double page spreads and then I will put them all together with the manuscript and if I can actually MAKE myself put it into an envelope I will mail it off.
This is a plan and I hope I can do it. Mailing things off is my biggest problem but I have been reading some of Elizabeth Gilbert's advice for writers and I think her words are giving me some courage.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Today is the anniversary of that terrible day when the world was changed forever. I was up late last night working on this design and today it seems to fit the mood.

3 Characters

Creative process today. I think I am getting into this doodling thing and so happy to have the free time to play with it. And no one is standing over me expecting anything.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday Doodle

It was a beautiful day in Vancouver. Sunshine. Not too hot. Perfect for long walks.
This is Freddy. I am not sure where he came from or where he is going but at least he is here to entertain.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Monday Thoughts

 I started feeling really tired and achy yesterday and today I decided to take it easy on myself and rest. So I rested.
I've been watching episodes of Breaking Bad and reading the Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and in between enjoying those things I have taken long walks with my dog Maggie.

I am looking for my muse again, and trying to get back into drawing. Perhaps my angel is trying to get the message through to me to put that picture book manuscript into the mail. I mean, what is the worst thing that could happen?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014


Two new friends on my iPad appeared on the screen last night as I experimented with two Apps, TYPE DRAWING and PERCOLATER and I know I am on a wave of making useless doodles.
This is Freddy and his friend Frank. I think they are up to no good.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Rain & Stars

It is raining in Vancouver on this first day of school when only private school kids get to go to school because the government won't bend for the striking public system teachers and the teachers stand their ground. I support  the teachers. My daughter-in-law had a heart attack three years ago when she had to deal with  a large grade seven class with 18 special needs kids and no help. It almost killed her. At forty four she was in the hospital with a heart attack! This is not fair. So let's think about the kids please. And the teachers too.

As I listened to CBC radio this morning this unhappy mutt stared back at me from my ipad.

"How did I get here? Where do I come from? Where do we go from here?"
I have no idea but it was fun drawing with stars.

Loving my iPad. Feeling sad for the kids.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Art With Kindergartens

I spent the last two days editing together photos I took for documentation last spring as I worked with a kindergarten class and their teacher making art. The video is now up on my VIMEO channel. It's two minutes long. I am so glad to have a record of it. The teacher was amazing and so well prepared every time. We accomplished a lot and the children loved every minute of our five sessions together.

Friday, August 15, 2014

iPad Drawing Fun

I can't remember exactly which APP I used for this. But when I figure it out I will add it to the post. I think it might be Sketchbook Pro or Brushes. If anyone out there knows which APP does this please let me know because I want to make more. 
I was just playing around one evening  a few months back and I was surprised to see the entire thing converted to a video. So I sent it via email to my computer. What fun!

Art Making With iPad

I put a lot of work through the months of January to June preparing lesson plans and working with students. I think I will start sharing what I learned in case it is of any use to teachers out there wanting ideas of ways to use iPads for art making and not just for playing games.

The first green background/house image I used wingdings of musical notes and small boxes.  I was able to draw with the icons working as my 'pen' line for a line drawing. Simple and so much fun.

For the second, I took a digital image drawn with a different program and used it as a background for a short writing fiction piece about a first day at school memory of a bully incident. Then I wrote text over and around it using this APP.

For the second I used a faded background image of a hill and a tree and I placed the text over top.

1. Write words into a text box.
2. Draw your finger or tablet pen over the screen.
3. Your words flow from your finger.
4. Bring in a piece of art or a photo and place behind your text.

A sensitive and powerful drawing tool as well as a way to play with text and writing. I think it costs under $3.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

August Thoughts

Here comes August 2014 and I am resolved to continue blogging as I work through my projects and goals list. Along the way I will continue to share little things I am trying out with my iPad.
The watercolors below are from photos I snapped with my iPad camera. The second step, by using Waterlogue App, the images have been magically converted to watercolors. I find this rather addictive but it is so much fun to see what will happen to my photos.
Two BIG decisions:
1.I have decided not to apply to Art Starts for the fall art with kids programs.
2. I am also pulling away from the Biennale program involvement. It was great working with the children and the teacher.
Do I seem a little tired?
The good things about working with those kids?
1. To see the children move into self confidence and freedom of expression and joy.
2. I have compiled a ton of information for building lesson plans.
3. I experimented with my iPad and discovered many wonderful art making apps.
4. I can now post to this experimentation in more depth on this blog to share with anyone out there who might be interested.
5. I researched books fitting the interests of the children in comic making and animation so I put my toe back into the waters of old interests of mine. ANIMATION and CHARACTER DESIGN. Yes!
6. I think I have built the makings of a how to do book about story making and making of a comic book.

7. I got to spend time with some beautiful children who are smarter and wiser than the system tells them they are. I believe they are all artistic creative types and maybe this is part of the reason why they don't fit into the regular class system. They all deserve to be taken seriously and cared for in the way they deserve. Great kids. All of them.
I made this little video using iPad's iMovie template. Easy, fast and it looks great. I think.

Now, this fall, I will put my time into art and writing.

Next January I will again be involved with art making as an Artist In Residence with the Vancouver School Board. I love working with VSB children and teachers. I can devote my time to them again when the time arrives.

I want to take my own work seriously for the fall months. So, this week I am working with my finished manuscript and developing characters and backgrounds for that book I have been working on with my dear cousin John who lives in Ireland In the meantime I am beginning to think this just might develop into something wonderful and fun. Back I go into the 1930's.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday Stuff

Another great book to study if one would like to learn wisdom about creativity is Twyla Tharpe's book, The Creative Habit, Learn it and Use it for Life. A friend suggested it a few years ago and I found it so helpful at that time in my life. So after doing a Google search for books on creativity and seeing it listed at the top, I booked it out of the library. For two weeks now, each morning after breakfast, I have been treating the book as if it is a course, taking notes and doing the exercises. Now it is overdue but I am determined to get through the entire book in the next two days and it will be worth the fine.
I had a little time to fool around with my iPad trying to create a decent selfie head shot to update my blog. I tried adjusting some head shots using Adobe PhotoShop Express APP and I find it rather satisfying to use the dream feature which smooths out my face and makes me sort of shiny looking. Better than the real me.
I emailed the image to my computer and with Adobe Photoshop Elements, I superimposed my face over a clip from the UNICEF card I designed that won for the Hallmark contest last year. The top of my head is flat and maybe I will fix it next week. But for now this is  a start of adding new information to my blog.

Friday, July 04, 2014

July Thoughts

I had the company of my beautiful grandson the other day. He asked me if I always talked out loud to myself. That made me laugh because he was right. I talk to myself all the time. LOL!
My dog has not mentioned it, but she is a great listener.
It seems to me my total focus was with the projects with students since January. Now I am trying to get back into productivity for my own stuff and I am finding it hard to get into the routine again.
Looking for inspiration, I checked out a few books on creativity. I have found that reading about how others create has always been a sort of back-up plan to inspire me when my energy gets low. After reading over a book by Austin Kleon, 'Show Your Work' I thought maybe blogging the process of getting things done might force me to post more often so I can start moving in the direction of trying to organize and get things rolling again.
My new goals are
1. To apply to Vancouver Art Starts because I would love to continue working with kids this fall.
2. To create three sample illustrations to go with a 1500 words manuscript submission I have been working on.
3. To create a layout and plan for a little picture book idea I have. The 500 word manuscript is done. Now the art part.
4. To revise a story I wrote a few years ago for middle grades. It is 10,000 words at the moment.
5. To do something with a 450 word picture book idea.

So I really do have a lot of projects in the works. I just need to FINISH them and MAIL them out.
And I am going to document the process here on the blog. Can I do this? Do you think?

Friday, June 06, 2014

Good Things Must End

The last day of my adventure with the class at Moberly Elementary School was a week ago. I took a chocolate cake and a carrot cake and we had a party. The kids were thrilled about the cake. I hope their moms didn't mind too much.
It's a good thing we ended it at that point because the teachers and the government have been having a huge disagreement and schools have been in and out of session according to picket lines here and there across the lower mainland.
One of the nicest things that happened this week is the post on the Biennale website about our project. I had no idea they would say such nice things about me for heaven's sake. But it sure feels good to think that it all worked out in the end.
If there is anyone out there interested you can check out the Vancouver Biennale assessment of our project here. The Biennale post includes, in the text about half way down,  a little booklet in pdf  form that I put together for the conclusion of the last part of our project.Great kids. All of them. I will miss them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Moberly Biennale Project

It seems like it's been a long road getting to the end of a project with a class of wonderful kids. We have been on a field trip to Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver. We looked at the sculpture Minotaur and Hare and then we visited the maze.
We also walked around the grounds to see the beauty of spring blossoms and in between trees we saw more sculptures. The children took photos all along the way.
Back in class we discussed feelings and other responses to the Minotaur sculpture and we thought about what kind of characters we might invent. We examined graphic novels to see different styles of illustration, we found information about comic book artists, and we looked at picture books. We looked at stories and we focused on building written profiles for our own characters. We had the support of the school librarian Gwen Ingham, who provided more books and resources. Some students discovered how much fun it is to read books like Captain Underpants and other chapter books.
We discovered that pastels were the best way for our class to create from the heart and mind and hand. We now understand that by using only pencils on small paper, we might become self conscious and worried about making mistakes and we might come to a stop because we have been trying to be perfect. We have had questions about animation and how a character can be made to move by looking at books by different animators.

We created some really neat animal characters for comics and we had ideas for stories in our heads and we were almost ready to use the iPads to make our comics.
But then we changed direction.  The comic book idea was left on the shelf and we moved into pastel portraits of our new stories and new characters instead.

And this week is our wrap up week. So we are going to have cupcakes and take a look back at what we have accomplished.

I would like to say thank you to the Vancouver Biennale for making this creative process journey possible for Mr. Vanwynsberghe's class, Division #6 at Moberly Elementary.

Mary Jane

Friday, May 09, 2014

Experimenting with iMovie and the iPad

This week I had some time to noodle around with the iPad. Yesterday I tried using iMovie for the first time and just for fun I made a couple of little promos for the students and their work. The promo videos are made from iMovie's cool templates. All you have to do is to fill in texts and photos and after a few trial runs you have a little one minute promo video for a project. I hope the kids like this. I posted my video to vimeo and hopefully you can watch one from here . The watercolour like images are created with Waterlogue app from photos taken with the iPad camera.
This is a very digitized version of the class. I can't get detailed faces because of the usual rules. We are working on a project associated with the Vancouver Biennale Program.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Last Weekend

These images are created with my iPad camera plus Waterlogue App plus Type Drawing App. From a family gathering last Sunday. Easter.