Monday, August 31, 2009

A Unique Appreciation of Art

On September 15th I will be starting my next tattoo. This one will be mostly floral, extending up my arm from the elbow and across my shoulder blade. As with all my tattoos there is a significant meaning to this one as well as an appreciation for beautiful artwork. As I cover my walls with paintings, so too I cover my skin with ink. This does not mean I feel a lack of appreciation for my skin. I am not covering up anything I find undesirable, I am merely enhancing that which I already love.

The depth and layers to my tattoos go far beyond what could be expressed in words. I would say there is less than a handful of people who understand the deep meaning behind the ink I've chosen to adorn my body. In the pieces I designed myself, when my artist of choice was someone just starting out and more willing to do my own work, there is as much significance as there is in my leg piece, designed by Karrie Arthurs.

This piece she is doing for me next is yet to be begun and so I haven't even seen a design, but the piece on my leg is done and not a day goes by where I do not love it intensely for what it means. In identifying and loving any artwork there is something deeply personal. We can rarely understand the emotive quality something will have on someone else. I do not pretend to be able to explain why I love and do not regret and could not regret the ink I've chosen. There is no reason to explain why as it is not necessary for anyone to understand it. As long as I understand it that is all that matters, but I think I can explain, to some extent, the importance of my ink.

What I've posted following this entry is what I wrote in an attempt to explain to my original artist of choice why a wolf, dragon and turtle could be included in the same tattoo. This artist evidently didn't understand what I was trying to convey and I accept that to some reading what I've written may not sway you to believe that tattoos are anything but foolish. However, Karrie has never seen this bit of writing and I feel, without hesitation or doubt, that her work on my leg has captured exactly what I wanted it to.

"The Commonality of a wolf, a turtle and a dragon"

I’ve always been better at writing than verbal explanations. My train of thought lacks a caboose and I often babble uselessly because I didn’t have time to think through my thoughts to the point of reasonable comprehension. I don’t want you to think that this particular tattoo is anything similar to some ditsy girl requesting a butterfly because ‘They’re pretty’. I know that everyone else on the planet might look at a dragon, a wolf and a turtle and see no correlation what-so-ever, but I am going to attempt to explain why I want this tattoo and why they do, indeed relate.

Since I can remember I have been absolutely in love with wolves. While every other girl in my class obsessed over horses, I obsessed over wolves. I had wolf calendars that I would take apart at the end of the year and cover my walls with and wolf t-shirts filling my closet. For my birthday one year my mum took me out to Kananaskis Country, where we got to track a pack and see a kill. I’ve sponsored several of the Kanasaskis wolves over the years and read and re-read every fiction and non-fiction book I could find in which they were the focal point. When I was eight or nine my mum and I went to a native spirit animal reading. I didn’t mention my passion for wolves at all before she told me they were my spirit animal. At this reading the woman also told me that my Earth sign was the turtle, another animal I’ve always been fascinated by. I felt that both sea turtles and wolves are utterly majestic. Once again, while every girl in my class loved dolphins and wanted to swim with dolphins, I wanted to swim with turtles. At seventeen I accompanied my parents to Hawaii and this dream of mine came true in the most beautiful way imaginable. We went snorkelling off a beach that was known for having turtles in the area. We were told that we might get to see one and I was extremely excited but trying not to be too hopeful because I didn’t want to be too disappointed, should we not see any.
I went out way ahead of my parents and was just swimming along in the current thinking about how far out I was already when I thought about sharks. It had just occurred to me that one could come up and snap me and that’d be the end, when suddenly there was this massive shape beside me. I turned quickly in the water and a green sea turtle, almost as big as I, was swimming right there! I could have reached out and run my fingers across its shell it was so close and it didn’t even seem to notice me. It just took a gulp of air and swam down to the ocean bottom. I practically cried it was so incredible. As incredible as when I’d been at the zoo during dusk and one of the wolves had come close to the side of the cage and looked right at me. It was as incredible as howling and having an entire pack of wolves howl in return. It was more amazing than I had thought it would be and it has become one of the best and most indescribable memories I have.

My memories have always been crystal clear because of how much I write and one thing I remember with great fondness was watching my brother and dad draw and trying to draw just like them. I was never very good at things like people but I was amazing (For my age) at doing dragons. I also fully believed in dragons as a child and even now there is no other mythical animal I wish were real.

I consumed Anne McAffrey books and spent ages looking through a dragon book that my parents had. It wasn’t until I was about eight that I realized that the book was fictional. I’d somehow convinced myself that there had to be something at least mildly similar to dragons which had truly existed. Letting go of that was a blow to my imagination, but did not cause me to suffer in artwork or writing. I continued to write about and draw dragons passionately.

So here it is, and this is going to sound cheesy but I really don’t care:

The thing these three animals have in common is ME.

I run with the wolves, swim with the turtles and fly with the dragons.

This tattoo is supposed to be about the three animals that have had the most powerful influence and impact in my life. I don’t care what order they’re in and I love the idea of it being full colour. I am dedicating my entire leg to it so they can be adjusted and moved around so all three fit in any way possible and any kind of background can be used to tie them together…but THAT is why I want this tattoo with all three animals, that is why I want it all in one piece and that is what a dragon, a wolf and a turtle have in common.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Emperor

I'm absolutely in love with how the background worked on this one. I was going for a semi-foggy look, sort of dark and menacing and full of magic. I think it turned out perfectly and I'm so happy that the energy and inspiration from completing the Empress card carried over into this one. I started them about the same time and finished them within three days of each other, which is brilliant.
As of right now I no longer have wall space in my howse, so I'm taking steps to get these 'out there'. I've submitted them to the Oolong tea house (Fingers crossed!) and if you keep watching my Blog I'll soon have the option of purchasing my artwork through Etsy/Paypal on here.
I bow down to my Buddhist teacher and thank her for all the swift kicks to the bottom which have fueled this motivation.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Empress

I'm really chuffed with this piece!
I've been working on it for far too long and I woke up in the mornign feeling quite ready to complete it. I set up outside on my back deck and finished it up in just under three hours. In total it probably took me about twelve hours to paint over the last two months.
The end result is brilliant and I'm pleased as punch!

Monday, August 24, 2009


I've added a link to my Flickr account, which I've finally cleaned up and filled with my art portfolio.

Check out the link on the right side of the page!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Business Cards!

I'm working on some new ones.

Actually, I'm working on a lot right now. I finally nipped over to Quickdraw to hole-punch a brand new ream of paper so I can start animating with the new light table.

I've also picked up some glossy photo paper so I can make a portfolio of my work. This sudden flurry of activity was brought on by a crappy shift at work and a random wad of Sculpey I found on the sales floor. Monday was the crappy shift, which left me in a funk. On Tuesday I opened and I was feeling quite put-out when I discovered the Sculpey sitting on a chair. I brought it to the back and set it by the computer. Despite being such a huge company, my work has crap computers, so, whilst waiting for the thing to load, I'd fiddle around with the plasticine-like clay. Eventually it resulted in a dragon and a wee pig, which I set up so they appeared to be contemplating each other.

One by one my co-workers began noticing what I'd made and commenting on my talent.

It's funny because I'm always talking about how weird it is when you first spend time with people outside of work. It's not that most of us are any different, it's just we only talk about work while at work, so we don't always get to know the things that make us who we really are. I notice it in my co-workers all the time, but I've always thought I've been pretty vocal about who I am, until that day. Suddenly I realized the source of my frustration was that I've been trying to be happy doing a job that isn't me.

So, yeah, I communicate well and I could probably be great in HR or as a manager or something, but being good at something in one setting doesn't mean I can't take it and apply it to something that is more definitive of my nature. I'll drive myself nuts trying to make that skill work in the wrong place and it took the small reminder of who I am (an artist.) to see what I needed to do.

So I'm grabbing the bull by the horns and I'm going to stop putting off what I want and what fills me with joy because I'm afraid of the work or because I think it will be too expensive. Even when I feel miserable, even when I'm in the worst sort of funk, I can, do and will still create artwork and stories. So it's about time I began sharing that with the world, properly, and promoting myself.

My desire to be without significant responsibility has ebbed in that I am feeling frustrated about not becing able to change how things go at my job. Well, none of us are ever really in control. That's what makes life fun. Every new moment, every new challenge, and every new swift kick in the butt from the Universe that tells us it's time to learn a new lesson and let go of an old attachment is a way for us to continue on a path of happiness with an open heart and mind.

C'est La Vie.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Library!

So I stumbled across the most fantastic contest ever. Fantastic because it allows for full artistic creativity and it's being put on by the library so the focus is books.

The requirement?

Create an original piece of art in any medium that celebrates literature, books or the library.


So I set about painting about a month ago. I took a self portrait shot and did my first ever attempt at painting my Wolfy-Self-Portrait. It was really very fun as I prefer to do fur with pencil crayon, but the end result with acrylic wasn't half bad. I'm excited to submit it and really don't care whether or not I win because the experience itself was fantastic and something new for me so either way I've grown as an artist.

I'm in Edmonton currently but plan to take it in when I get back to Calgary on Thursday.

I'm submitting it to be included in the fundraising auction that will be held following the competition, so if anyone is interested in supporting the library and purchasing it, I'll keep info on the how/when/where here.