Friday, July 29, 2011

Who's The Baddest Of Them All ???

Kirsten McCrea painted this, and wants to shove it in Harper's face. Download and spread the word. Harper's an ass. He should NEVER had won the seat as Prime Minister.

This is to support Franke James's blacklisting. Franke James is an artist.
Click on this link to read her blog on what happened!


Here's an article found by a friend about this...

Harper Government Trying to Silence Canadian Artist

  Harper Government Trying to Silence Canadian Artist
What’s a talented artist like Franke James doing on a government hit list? She is being blacklisted by the Government of Canada. Granted, she published a visual essay asking Stephen Harper, “Why are you making us choose between the Economy and the Environment?”
That appears to be all it takes for the recently re-titled “Harper Government” to clip her wings as she prepares to take her art onto an international stage.

So much for democracy

I was under the impression that citizens of a democracy not only had the right to question governmental policies, they had the obligation. Apparently the Harper Government skipped that lesson in their civics classes.
Nektarina Non Profit in Croatia invited James “to raise environmental awareness with youth, and inspire teens to make their own climate change art.” With a $75,000 award from a corporate sponsor, they set to work arranging her visit.
The agency in Croatia responded enthusiastically and offered to help in getting agencies in other countries on board. Then in mid-May 2011, a Canadian embassy official told Nektarina they were withdrawing support for the visit. Since then, Franke James has been painted as a pariah by the very officials who should be proudly promoting her show. Not one Canadian embassy or official agency will have anything to do with her planned tour.

Who is this dangerous artist?

Franke James takes on a wide range of environmental issues on her blog, “My Green Conscience.” Her visual essays make complex issues understandable with their combination of graphics, clear details and personal observations. While taking government and corporations to task for their inaction on critical problems, as in Fat Cat Canada’s Giant Litter Box, she never hesitates to acknowledge her own struggles as she tries to live as green a life as possible (Paradise Unpaved). Her work focuses on solutions (The Beehive and the Hairball) and gives credit where it’s due (Who cares about the Forest?).
Somehow it is hard to equate this kind of green conscience with a seditious artist, but the government successfully threatened her traveling show’s international sponsor. They could cancel their support or lose millions of dollars worth of contracts. They canceled.
That $75,000 would have helped Nektarina Non Profit mount the show, but even without those critical funds, the small non-profit has remained committed to bringing James to Croatia. Here is how they describe her inspiration for them: “The uniqueness of her artwork is in combining science, art and storytelling, creating powerful and thought-provoking visual essays. Franke does not preach, she tells a story, educates and explains, leaving it to the viewers to make their own choices and decisions.”

Environmental recklessness trumps democracy

It seems Canada is not about to let one of its artists draw attention to the country’s miserable record on environmental issues. The official response to Nektarina’s refusal to cancel James’s show was delivered verbally: “She speaks against the Canadian Government.”
The intimidation did not stop there. Here’s another quote from the Nektarina Web site: “In the past few months we have encountered many difficulties in organizing the exhibitions, usually connected to interventions of the Canadian Government or institutions under Canadian governmental control. We continued to look for ways to collaborate with the home land of the artist, although at times we felt patronized and even intimidated, as a small NGO trying to reach an understanding with a powerful state.”
Apparently the Harper Government is unwilling to allow an artist to be welcomed abroad if that private citizen dares call into question any of its policies. This is totally unacceptable censorship, and it is time for Canadians, and anyone else who believes in free speech, to speak out.

Other voices question the government’s position

Charles Côté asked two experts to give their opinions for La Presse. Both Pierre Bosset, professor of law at the University of Quebec in Montreal and his colleague, Pierre Trudel of the University of Montreal, agreed James is being inappropriately and arbitrarily censored.
According to The Tyee’s detailed account, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade denies interference. The federal government also disputes the accusation of censorship, “claiming ‘Ms. James’ characterisation of her dealings with Candian officials does not appear to be based on facts.’”
Treehugger calls it “the kind of heavy-handed tactic that in the end, causes the government more embarrassment than if they had just let the show go ahead.” Greenpeace remarks, “Opposing the tar sands publicly in Canada is increasingly unpopular (at least with the government). Asking important questions such as ‘Why do we choose to wreck the environment in the very long term to save the economy in the very short term?’ or ‘Who is paying to clean up pollution?’ is now politically incorrect.’”

Support freedom of expression

I am an enthusiastic fan of Franke James’s work. Her visual essays have prodded me into giving more thought to my own contributions to the laying to waste of our beautiful planet. I encourage you to sign the petition below on behalf of this talented artist. Her work is too inspiring to be limited by the politics of intimidation.
Oh, and by the way, Mr. Prime Minister, here is that civics lesson your people missed. Under the Constitution Act of 1982, these Fundamental Freedoms are guaranteed to everyone in Canada: “(a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (d) freedom of association.”
Those freedoms do not stop at our borders.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

They're More Than Just Sketches

I find it funny when an artist is drawing an inanimate object, say a tree or a wall, and a person happens to be directly in the artist's direction he/she is looking, that person automatically thinks they are being drawn. Well such a thing happened to me, except that I was drawing the tree, bushes and stone wall right in front of me, and didn't notice until a few minutes later a man standing in the background right where I was staring. Well suffice it to say, he decided to hide behind the stone column so that I couldn't draw him! I thought that was funny. If it were me, I'd probably do the same thing. ;)

When I sketch people in public places, I always try to make sure they don't know they are being drawn. Sometimes that can be a challenge... For instance, I was sitting on the metro, and this man came in and I really wanted to draw him, except that he was standing so I had to lift my head to look at him. From another point of view, the fact that my head was going up and back down to my sketchbook is a clear sign someone's getting drawn! The second guy I drew was standing with his arms crossed on the opposite metro platform, so he didn't even know I existed (this is how it is in Montreal... You can stare at someone on the metro and they act like you're not even there. It's sad really).

LEFT: 30 seconds to capture his pose  RIGHT: About 4 minutes to capture his pose (too bad he moved a lot)

I know I've not posted anything plush in over a month, and there's a very good reason why. 1) I've been working on a children's book, and that needs to get done before the end of August  2) I've been working full time on a freelance contract design job and 3) it's been too hot to work. Yes, I know, it's not an excuse, but it's really been hot, and being all sticky and sweaty and working with chalk pastels just don't sound like a great combination to me. Firstly they're really bad for my health (thank goodness I'm not using the oranges and reds cause they're the most poisonous colours), and secondly this poisonous powder stuck all over me, and me forgetting it's there can mean I could get sick. Plus I'm not a fan of working after work, so I figure I'll work off my freelance and then focus the rest of my time at the beginning of August on getting the kid's book done. Thankfully I only have 2 - 2 page spreads and 8 small 1 pagers to do. I'm also hoping for less heat and humidity in August.

I think I got off topic so let's go back. Plush. Ok so I have a whole 8-10 pages of new sketches of monsters, sea monsters, animal 'monsters' that I'd like to create so there isn't a shortage of ideas, just a shortage of time. If only I could duplicate myself 3 ways, have one of me doing monsters, one finishing the book and the third can continue lounging in this heat watching movies. :) I decided to sketch a few new monsters.

Aren't they the cutest?

Hopefully this heat can abate, my job could end miraculously early, and I can get the book over and done with! Here's hoping. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Spy ...

Today was a hot day. I didn't spend much time outside, but it was nice. Sunshine, blue skies, and birds being bullies to other birds!! I actually shooed away a tiny bird bugging another tiny bird! Poor thing was squawking away, its wings spread a little bit, being chased around a tree! I felt so bad for the little thing. They're so cute these little birds (unlike the rats with wings that are just so icky ... pigeons).

Speaking of pigeons, have you seen the original German version of the movie Mostly Martha? She talks about pigeons as if they're delicious to eat!! Eww. I don't think a pigeon in the city would be very tasty.

On my way home from 'work' today I stopped again at the courtyard behind that church I drew the other day. The bench that was free didn't have a great view of anything, so I went back toward the metro to go home. On the metro platform, I pulled out my sketchbook, and drew a guy with his arms crossed holding a shopping bag. I had to go fast cause I could hear the train coming in his direction, and soon enough he'd be out of view. I didn't get much drawn by the time he was obscured, but I could guess the rest. At another stop a larger man in a shirt and tie was holding the pole in front of me, so I shot some glances in his direction, trying to capture him before he got off (which I figured was soon as we were fast approaching a connecting line).

This is the first time since my trip to Japan since I've drawn people on public transit. Let's just say that I had to do it a lot during art school, and it's not my favorite subject. People move a lot. :) Haha. It's a challenge to get the pose because as you know it, people don't often sit still!

So here it is... My art for the day.

Ok it's not the best.. especially the guy in the suit! I couldn't just stare at him (that's rude), and I would have had to move my head up and down (he was tall and I was seated), so all I could do was move my eyes and tilt my head just a little! I had a hard time with the hands (always have). I don't even know if he had the chubby cheeks I started drawing.

But there you go!


I was looking at this blog today and it got me thinking about the lotus she drew in her sketchbook, and I found this drawing I did last year:

I had completely forgotten that I had this in my little pile of papers of lotus flowers and koi fish. Last year a tattoo artist was offering any tattoo for any price to raise money for her dog's vet bills, and I had my appointment all booked and was going to get this done. I backed out because something about this girl's art really bothered me, and I'm glad I did. I don't want to get a tattoo just because it's dirt cheap.

In any case, the image is really nice. The writing is Thai, it's the Om Mani Padme Hum Mantra.


The Om Mani Padme Hum mantra is a Budhhist and Hindu mantra that translates roughly to: I honor the jewel within the lotus bloom. It is a metaphor representative of honoring the divinity within yourself and within everyone and everything. You are the lotus bloom. The jewel within is the divinity and enlightened compassion of Buddhahood.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Illustration Friday ~ 'Gesture'

Well this is a good start. It's the 2nd week and I'm still feeling really creative and I managed to get this week's illustration done. It's a quick sketch done in pen. I always enjoy feeling out other people's styles. It can help me to relax when drawing people (since I have a tendency of drawing people way too realistically in my illustrations).

Here's my submission for Illustration Friday this week entitled 'Gesture':

Friday, July 15, 2011

An Interview About Me and My Monsters!

I was interviewed the week before last! This woman, Tiphanie, originally part Belgian and French, found me on the internet, and she absolutely LOVES my monsters! She had asked if she could interview me and I agreed! Who would say no to that? Beside, it's also free advertising and publicity for me which is good, exactly what I need since I'm just starting out, right??

Her mission?? Here's a translation from her blog:
"Miss in Montreal gave me a mission, I made a personal challenge: Keep a blog for all Montrealers who are recognized more fully in the category "young girl" and not in the "mother of family ".
So Mademoiselle Maman was born. It aims to deliver the minutes of all that I tested to find out how to keep soul and body of a young girl while having a heart mom.

Without further ado, here's a link to the original interview...  Now, it's originally written in French, so I'm going to do my best to translate it so that my English speaking readers can enjoy it too! :)

Adorable stuffed animals.

Hello world!

I am very excited today because I am about to share with you my latest favorite, and what a favorite!
You might not know, but
Mademoiselle my daughter and I have a passion for things handmade. So I spend more time on Etsy, a large craft site, much larger site of any kind.

I strongly advise you to go for a ride, at least for the pleasure, on the page of Curious Little Bird. You can discover adorable handmade plush, all unique in their kind. I immediately fell in love! A short visit to the blog of this graphic designer and I was convinced this girl has talent to spare! It was therefore absolutely necessary that I meet with her.

 Curious Little Bird vs Mademoiselle Maman : 

I ring, and the door opens onto a shy Montreal false air of Selma Blair. Her name is Melanie and she receives me in her apartment. A few brushes and a palette of watercolors are still spread on the desk, showing recent activity. I had certainly interrupted her in the middle of some creation.

A little embarrassed though delighted by the attention I was giving her, she told me a little of her and a lot about her monsters, as she calls them. Melanie is a graphic designer, an illustrator and creator of monsters. She presented them all and I loved them all.

Yes, but we liked what?

- Style. They are all adorable these little monsters! I even dare say monstercute!
- That every creation is unique. Your plush is yours and nobody else's and that's awesome!
- Melanie gives a name and a story to each of her stuffed animals. This really gives the impression of finding a friend rather than just an object.
- They're in Montreal and 100% handmade. It's fair trade, completely handmade and therefore, doesn't create much pollution.
- She started using safety eyes which makes them safer than fabric eyes.
- She can also do special orders. At the previous craft fair, Melanie had inspired a little girl who made ​​her a drawing, and became a toy. Her mother paid to have the monster of her dreams made for her daughter, and that, touches me!

The future of Curious Little Bird?

We wish her brilliance!

Melanie told us she wanted to find a style for her monsters, a recent survey on her Facebook Fan Page has revealed that it's better for the company to have a recognizable identity for its products. We understand the process even if, in Miss Maman, we love diversity. Do not hesitate to write to tell her what you think, which monster you prefer, submit ideas and so on. Melanie likes to have constructive criticism to help her grow.

Curious Little Bird's Links : 

On Facebook, you can follow the news daily by joining her fan page at
Her blog, to see Melanie's creations (and not only her plush monsters):

The last word of Mademoiselle My Daughter:

While Mademoiselle Maman did the interview, I verified everything, and it's all good! I touched, tested and approved. I even checked Melanie and I can tell you that she has hands of an artist!

I adopted Maurice the Yeti for dad, and and Sarah for Mademoiselle Maman (though she lends it to me). Maurice now sits proudly on the couch and Mom was in charge of the reception of guests. Sarah, meanwhile, was hooked up to my jolly jumper and I triy to catch her every day, holding out my little arms, but I cannot. I tell him my stories of babies for hours! Melanie wrote an article about their departure here, so we'd like to say that we're taking good care of our little monsters and we love them very much! 

The last word of Mademoiselle Maman:

Melanie doesn't just sell stuffed animals, she sells dreams!

Mademoiselle Maman

Creative Ramblings and Other Doodles

Good evening! It's Friday, I've worked my first week at my first freelance contract gig this year, and already I'm wishing to be done and back home. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to make some cash, but I thoroughly enjoy working from home. I've been doing it for 6 months now, and I don't have any desire to return to the working world of slaving like a robot for someone who just wants to line their pockets with cash, know what I mean? I mean, if I want to slave over something, it's going to be for myself this time. At least I'll put in a bigger effort because I know that I will be rewarded.

Today we got to leave early. Good for me, bad for them (the company's busy!). I was on my way home and looked over at a courtyard behind the Anglican Church of Christ on Union Street north of Sainte-Catherine Street and it looked so lovely I decided to stop and draw something. The seat I settled on had this great view!
Anglican Church of Christ

I took this photo with my cell phone, and then I loved it so much I decided to draw it!

My interpretation of the church. For someone (me) who doesn't do a lot of realism, I'd say this was pretty aewsome!
From my comment you can see how much I like this drawing. I don't often do realism, but I find that since I've stopped slaving for someone else, I've had a lot more creativity flowing back to me which is super awesome. It's like it used to be. I must say though, that Montreal is a really inspiring city to be living in, especially an artist. Now, it's perhaps not the best painting (Ok, I'm being hard on myself), but keep in mind I'm still learning the art of watercolouring.  It's not the easiest to work with. I also haven't learned the art of drawing foliage in the foreground, so I ended up doing a lot of scribbles. I needed to show that the trees were above me and in front of the church. When I started painting this, I got halfway and kind of wished I hadn't painted it at all, but once it was started I couldn't just leave it.
After I drew this I strolled around to see what this tourist was photographing. Apparently it was this!

It's strange. I walked only a meter and the colour of the sky and building totally changed!

Squiggly church!

It's really fun to take pictures of buildings reflecting off buildings. As I was strolling around I suddenly ran into a sign that was about ribcage high. It had a pointy metal edge, and it totally rammed in my abdomen! It left a mark, but thankfully not a bruise. I felt so silly walking into that! But what I was thinking was "why are there signs screwed into the ground all over the place?" I mean, I'd have to look down to see them!

Hopefully I can find more things to draw! I'm starting to become less rusty and more at ease. I guess I'll have to start carrying a small amount of supplies with me in case the need strikes me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Artwork!

I got inspired last night when I saw some art online, so I decided to borrow the work and try it out with my own spin on things! I love the use of colours and how the watercolour and paintbrush create thick and thin lines when outlining!

Have a good night everyone! :)

Friday, July 08, 2011

Illustration Friday ~ 'Stay'

Today is Illustration Friday. Every Friday I get a word emailed to me, and I can upload my drawing to the site. I haven't participated in years, and I needed a break from my pastels so this is my entry!

To see more great illustrations you can check out my Facebook Fan Page at


New Umbrella and Stuff

Happy Friday everyone!

Today is a good day, and partially annoying day. Well annoying because I spilled sangria on my desk last night, and it splashed onto my keyboard. I ran to rinse it off, but a few hours later I no longer had use of the letter 'd' (I can only use it now cause I'm copying and pasting it... yes annoying!). I can't use the capital 'e' and sometimes my ')' key doesn't want to work. This morning my keyboard freaked me out!! My Mac booted in a blue screen with the words 'Apple Hardware Test' and I didn't know what to think! After a few restarts, I clued in that perhaps my keyboard was the problem.... and once I unplugged and rebooted sans keyboard, it worked! Suffice it to say I'm getting a new titanium, wireless one tomorrow. It's a shame, my old titanium keyboard is only a few years old.

For a change of scenery today, I decided to do my illustrating outside. Because I wanted more privacy from the neighbour next door who smokes, I had to go out to the local hardware store & buy a large 8' umbrella. Totally cut the hot sun, & made sitting outside very tolerable.  I also set up a curtain using my door towel hanger as a 'fly keeper outer.'  Here's some photos of my set up and my plants! :) I love my container garden!!

My slotted curtain, a door hanger thingy and a rod to keep flies from flying in accidentally. I think it worked. :)

My new $30 umbrella and 'fly stopper' curtain thing I just threw together! Looks pretty, and keeps out the sun!

My eggplant, pepper, tomato and basil plants.

My herbs and some crawling plant with pretty orange flowers.

The illustration I was working on today.

 I saw a june bug the other day... I've never seen one before! This was the best shot I could get.

Well have a good weekend everyone! I'm very much looking forward to a working keyboard where I don't have to keep pasting the 'd' just to use it. :)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

News And Other Happenings

I had my interview today with the author of the blog Mademoiselle Maman. Her blog is written in French. I believe Tiphanie is from France! My interview and photos of me with my monsters will be posted in this site Mademoiselle à Montréal and yes, it'll be in French, but when I get the email that it's posted, I will translate (to the best of my ability - as long as she didn't use a lot of slang) in English for all my English readers.

After the interview, she left with her cute baby Helen, and then came back 10 - 20 minutes later saying she wanted to buy Maurice and Sarah! I knew she wanted to buy Maurice for her husband, but Sarah was a nice surprise.

Maurice the Yeti - SOLD!! YAY!!

Saray the keychain! SOLD!!

In other news I'm working hard getting a ton of illustrations done before August 1st. I'm also starting a month long freelance gig which will be a nice chunk of change. I am hoping to create a monster during my work week, and even get my illustrations finished. That too would be nice.  After my 2 recent sales I'm down to 11 monsters. Almost all of them, except for Tom the Bear and Maple, were my originals done back in 2008. If only I had a little worker who could help me ;) Wouldn't that be nice??

Looking forward to work. It'll be weird going to work. I'm so used to getting up when I want to, doing what I want, when I want. But for the pay I'm willing to put up with it for 1 month. :) Money is king right now, and rules my life!


This is Mini Me, and he finally arrived at his home in New York City the other day! The woman who received him wrote this to her friend who mailed it to her:

"Thank you so much for my little strawberry-eating friend!  He likes to go with me everywhere. Apparently he was one of the negotiators for the postal workers.  I don't know if he did the best job though.  He is very sweet, but a little confused (he thinks union and yoga are the same thing). "

I think he'll be happy with her! :)

Have a great Tuesday!