Sunday, February 28, 2010

Where the Forest Meets the Meadow

I love 'firsts'. There's something fun about taking a step in a new direction. I often look back at these steps and see the incredible journey they took me on. Like when I first tried dabbling in acrylic or when I first used a large canvas. Recently I began using gouache, which I found to be delightful and fun.

This weekend I completed another first. My first commissioned canvas piece. I've done costumes, shoes and sculptures on commission many times before. I have a unique advantage in that I am not a procrastinator at all and when I'm doing something for someone, I accomplish it in a matter of weeks. Having a person in mind is a great motivator for me and I have done several paintings as gifts for those I love. This piece, however, was not about me creating something for myself to give to someone. This was about listening to what someone wanted, as I've done with the shoes and sculptures I've done, and creating a painting with that.

I'm so utterly pleased with this work, as I was with the completion of the Hierophant. Both works fill me with immense pride and satisfaction. This latest one, 'Where The Forest Meets the Meadow' was begun several months ago, when I took the description of what was desired. I had no intention of starting work on it until I arrived in London, as the person it's been painted for is here.

Most of January I was in a tizzy, working to settle in to my new space. I had the painting in mind though, and when my second order of canvases arrived I began to sketch it out. The first few attempts didn't really work and it wasn't until I was riding the train that I managed to get exactly what I was looking for. This was another first. I don't do sketches of my work prior to painting it. My concept and visuals are all written in my journal and sketched right on the canvas. Sketching into my journal and copying that out onto the canvas doesn't work for me...until now.

It was the roughness of the sketch, the jagged lines caused by a jerking train, that produced a solid idea of what I wanted to accomplish. So I set forth and in a matter of weeks I completed what is, to date, my best work. I'm utterly pleased with it and happy to report that the commissioner adores it as well. In fact, when presented with the work, she was rendered nearly speechless.

She has graciously allowed me to have the piece imaged and so, prints will be available shortly.

For now I invite you to follow the photo journal of the work from start to finish.

"Where the Forest Meets the Meadow" 36X24 ~Acrylic and gouache on canvas~

The original sketch from my journal. The dark scratchy lines inspired me to use gouache for part of this painting.

The background was a bit iffy for me until I did a green wash. then I was able to determine exactly how I wanted it to look. I settled on bushy leaves behind the stag, moss around the toadstools, and bushy grass around the hare.

To get the spots on the toadstools just right I cut circles out of masking tape. This worked incredibly well, as you will soon see.

A pink undercoat, to minimize the layers of red I would be required to apply. I still ended up doing three coats of red.

Picked the masking tape circles off and moved on to the butterfly. The butterfly is one of my favourite elements of this piece as I captured the details of the wing just as I'd hoped.

I used gouache to outline everything, creating the effect I was looking for. The matte finish of the gouache against the shiny finish of the acrylic give the painting a sense of movement. It's almost like a still shot from an animation or an illustration from a children's book.
I did the hare next. I wanted to capture the softness of their faces. My mum said this reminds her of watership down and in many ways this was my inspiration for the hare.

After how time intensive the toadstools, butterfly and background had been I seemed to be absolutely flying through painting the hare and the stag. I was enjoying myself so much at this point that I hardly took breaks when I was working.

Originally I wanted to have some flowers behind the hare but I decided it would be too busy. I added an extra bee. Although one could argue that doesn't reduce the busy-ness of it.

...and then it was done!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fellow Artists

When I was a child I was fourtunate enough to be reared without a television. Often my peers would ask me what I did with no TV around to distract me. The question always seemed silly. What did I do? I played tag, hide-N-seek, board games and cards. I climbed trees or went on bike rides. I explored the banks of the Bow. I went to the Zoo or walked the main street of Inglewood. I drew and painted. I had an abundance of toys and a bright imagination. I wrote books. I journaled. I read.

Oh the books I read. My parents provided my brother and I with an abundance of novels, in all different genres by so many fantastic authors. There were mysteries, science-fiction, fantasies and historical works. There were books about animals or the solar system or the human body.

And there were books about art.

My introduction to art was through these fantastic books. First, there were incredible mathematical drawings by the brilliant mind of M.C.Escher. I would examine the twists and turns of his drawings and often attempt them on the plentiful sheets of paper available to me. My dad fixes photocopiers and as a result we always had reams of paper about. I thought it was strange when I'd go to a friends house and they wouldn't have blank paper at their disposal. Such a thing seemed barbaric. How, exactly, could they manage without such a resource? I was as baffled by this as they were by the lack of a television in my home. I could pull Brian Froud's book of Faeries off the shelf and settle onto the hardwood floor with a piece of paper and pencil in hand. I could sketch out the shape of faery wings whilst learning all about the different types I needed to keep my eyes open for when I was playing in the garden.

Sometimes I would just sit with a book and examine it, rather than using it to enhance my own passion for sketching. I adored the pages of the Roger Dean book, which showed a sort of organic futuristic world. His darker images like 'Gollum' made my shiver in a delightful way. But no one was as dark and twisted as Ralph Steadman, whose artwork was not in a book about him, but rather, a children's story he'd illustrated.

It was this treasure trove of brilliant artwork that fueled my young imagination. As I grew older I began to pursue my creative side in my schooling, taking art throughout High School. I stopped following artists very closely, however, and life took me in another direction upon graduation.

I have since begun, once again, to research art and artists in earnest, which is made easier for being in London. With so many museums at my fingertips, how could I not take the opportunity to gaze upon the original works of Picasso or Monet and to discover the whimsical delight of Koons?

Of course, it's also a new century and a time when a whole wealth of artwork is available through the click of a mouse. I've discovered the incredible force that is Hazel Dooney and come to admire sketch-artist extraordinaire, Andrea Joseph.

Combining the original influences with the new discoveries has been pushing my art in so many directions. I am able to understand social media marketing through the blogs of Dooney and Joseph, not to mention the inspiration their work provides. I continue to find energy and motivation from my old favourites, like Froud and Dean. But I'm open to more and excited for who will touch me next and find their way into my psyche and in some way, onto my canvas.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Hierophant

There are twenty-two cards in the Major Arcana of a Tarot deck, starting at zero (The Fool) and ending at twenty-one (The World). Yesterday I completed another, the eleventh since I started this project in earnest last January. That means I'm half-way there.

I have chosen not to paint the cards in any particular order, instead choosing them based on my own mood and what is currently inspiring me. A few of them have been inspired by family or friends. Some have been focused on the beautiful animals which have graced my life. The latest one I chose to do, number five in the deck, was the Hierophant. The card itself represents self-awareness, the search for knowledge and the strength of wisdom, rather than intelligence.

I thought it would be suitable, then, for my depiction of the card to have strong elements of Buddhism and my own sense of self-knowledge. I chose an Ox for the animal as it is my Chinese Zodiac sign, and suitably, the year of the Ox has just ended. The Star-Sign represented by the card is Taurus, which I also am.

I didn't know, when I set out to do this card, that I was doing it for myself. It has become just that, however. It represents my desire to question and challenge myself, which I did a lot when painting it. I knew I wanted to have moss growing on the pillars and figuring out a technique for this was fun and produced more than satisfactory results. The Mala beads at the top of the painting were another undertaking I refused to let myself shy from. Individually painting and shading thirty-one beads seemed daunting, but I managed to complete it in one session in only a little over two hours.

The greatest challenge, however, and one I feel I accomplished beautifully, was the face. I have always loved how incredibly soft and gentle the face of an Ox looks. I wanted my Ox to appear velvety. I agonized over how this could be done, prepared to paint and re-paint the face until I got it right. I did all the base painting on one day and left it for several. When I sat down to work on it I felt forced, but in a matter of a few minutes I began to feel the flow. The colour was rich and I found the perfect brushes to capture the texture of the hair.

Now The Hierophant is complete and I cannot seem to stop looking at it. I don't know that I can sell this one. I want to hold on to it for a little bit, at least, especially as it gives me something to hang on the walls of my new room.

In the mean time, I've found a way to sell prints of my work universally, which also includes printing and shipping. Through the support of the creators of FolioTwist, who provide my lovely website, I've discovered RedBubble. There are now links from several of my imaged paintings to my RedBubble account, which will allow you to buy reproductions of my work for as little at $25.00 CAD.

In the next week, as long as the rain lets up eventually, I'll be getting the Hanged Bat and the Hierophant imaged as well, so they will be available for purchase.

Now I just need to decide which card to do next.

Monday, February 22, 2010

London Journal - The Natural History Museum

If I was told I could only visit one museum whilst living in London, the Museum of Natural History would be it. I remember imagining it since I was a little girl. In my mind it wasn't just a museum, it was The Museum. In my minds eye it was the epitome of a good museum and this weekend I finally got to go.

To begin with, the architecture of the building is gorgeous. It's stunning Victorian brick work, with elaborate pillars and delightful sculptures inside and out. Unfourtunately, being a weekend, it was absolutely packed with tourists and families and maneuvering around it wasn't quite as leisurely as I would like. When visiting museums I'm often lucky enough to go during the week, when the crowds are minimal and I can take all the time I want to read a plaque or sit and watch something beautiful.

Much of the Natural History Museums' displays required queuing up and then being ushered by quite quickly to accommodate the droves of people who turned up. To avoid such lines it seemed sensible to go to the areas less popular with small children. The dinosaur hall was out, but the new Darwin Wing was hardly crowded at all.

The primate section featured some wonderful metal sculptures and a section on lemurs that was illustrated by the very talented Ralph Steadman. Generally the museum isn't really about 'art' in the traditional sense, but this wasn't the only piece contributed by an artist, rather than by nature. Well, sort of. In a joint effort was 'Tree' by Tania Kovat and an oak tree. Inspired by a Darwin sketch, 'Tree' was a magnificent undertaking that results in a ceiling mounted cross-section cut of an oak tree. The installation was done as part of the launch of the new Darwin Wing. I recommend lying on ones back in order to best appreciate the work.

Moving on to the Hall of Mammals I was both delighted and entertained by the wonderful collection they have. Many of the animals on display are extremely old and their colours have faded drastically. They have signs posted stating that they no longer represent the 'true' colours of the animals but due to the nature of taxidermy the museum doesn't believe in 'updating' the collection to the detriment of the natural world.

My favourite creature on display was a shrew, with an extremely wee nose and adorable beady eyes. He was no bigger than my thumb and I could only imagine how fast the little things must move.

The biggest creature they had was a Polar Bear. They used to have Polar Bears at the Calgary zoo, so I'm familiar with their girth, but it was quite another thing to see one right up close, with only a piece of glass dividing me from it. They have the most immense paws.

The less appetizing 'Creepy Crawly' Exhibit was mostly about crustaceans and arachnids. Being utterly icked out by the latter, I visited the crustaceans and found most of the displays to be far more 'kid-orientated', although they did make me crave a nice lobster tail. I was a bit disappointed by it, as the bug exhibit at the Melbourne Museum was magnificent and I would have thought the Natural History Museum would have been in the same caliber.

Then there were the 'things in jars'. It wasn't a very pretty section as most of the specimens have been floating about in formaldehyde for far too long. Very little of it was identifiable and if it was I sort of wish it hadn't been. Needless to say, I didn't spend long there.

Unfourtunately the whale hall is closed until March and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibit was one of the feature ones which required paying admission. But I've only been here seven weeks and I've got loads more days ahead of me. I plan on taking in the Dinosaur Wing soon enough. I think bringing my sketchbook is in order, so I can do some anatomy drawings.

But even for it's crowds and closed exhibits, it was a fantastic way to spend a rainy Sunday. I can hardly wait to go again.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I've been raving about gouache via twitter and on my facebook page for a few weeks now. I've been teasing you with it, really. Well, I've finished playing with the book of post cards I purchased. They're all painted and the results are bright and beautiful!

Gouache (Pronounced gwach.) is the middle ground between acrylic and watercolour. It has the flow of watercolour with the opacity of acrylic. The colours are stunning and it's no wonder designers, illustrators and animators have been using the stuff for years. I adore it and intend on making many more bright paintings. I'm going to plan some things out as I've already got some great ideas, but in the mean time, I have my experimentation's on post cards. I've written loads of post cards today, to be sent to family and close friends, but I want to extend an offer to all my fans and blog followers. The remaining five post cards are available to the first five people who e-mail me their addresses. I assure you your address will not be used for evil and will be deleted and forgotten once your exclusive piece of Faunawolf Artwork is in the mail.

Since I'm paying the postage this is, essentially, an incredible deal. You get a unique piece of original artwork and I'm paying to send it to you!

Quantities are limited, like I said. There are only five left. So send me your full mailing address and if you are fast enough at it, then you will also be lucky enough to be receiving an original FaunawolfCreation via snail mail.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

House Keeping

The week is not quite up yet, but it has been an interesting one. I'm continuing my hunt for a regularly paying job, but in the mean time I'm able to focus quite fully on my artwork and how to market myself in the UK.

This week I clarified ways to sell prints of my work online and met with an imager here in London about the cost of getting clear images to post on RedBubble. Not only was he hugely helpful and reasonably priced, but he was also friendly and fun. I spent a good half hour chatting with him about my artwork and the surrounding area in which he is located. He was very informative and I look forward to working with him once I've got some more paintings done.

Following that meeting, because it was close and I felt I deserved to spoil myself, I went to the Museum of Childhood. It was absolutely chock-a-block with kids running about madly and squealing at everything. I made my way from glass case to glass case, absorbing the information in the displays and gathering bits of inspiration here and there. I loved the Marionettes best of all. They made me want to paint and gave me quite a few ideas.

A lot of what I saw brought on great feelings of nostalgia. I was entertained to see the less than politically correct toys of days long ago. I'm always amused by such blatant racist representations of different cultures in children's playthings. Especially when I know that such representations were acceptable within my parents lifetime and even, to some degree, in mine.

It was a gloriously sunny day with temperatures nearing ten above. I left the museum and immediately determined a visit to the temple was in order. It was a lovely break from drizzling rain and the temple absolutely glittered. I sat on some stone steps and did a few sketches, taking in the tiny signs of spring like new flowers pushing their way through the soil.

It was wonderful to get out of the house, and much needed, really. I am capable of doing all my social media marketing and job hunting from home, so leaving the house requires a certain level of motivation. When it's hacking down with rain, which it was earlier in the week and is again today, I find it much easier to just stay in. When the motivation to escape hits me, I run with it. Today, for example, I began to prepare to paint a commissioned piece I've been working on. I'm using my favourite canvas size (24X36") but painting it landscape. Up until now I've been relatively O.K. with sitting cross-legged on the floor whilst painting, but up until now my canvases have all been portrait. I can work on them at a comfortable height and flip them around to work on the bottom. For this piece it's not the case and I knew that I had to take advantage of the easel available at CassArt for a mere 29 quid. The sale ends on Sunday and I figure that, to get my easel from Canada over, it will cost just as much if not more. I love that easel, as my dad made it for me and it has served me well for years now, but it is 4,000 miles away.

I seized the finality of my decision and made the trek in the rain to Charing Cross. I'm now home, warm and dry once more, with a nice cup of tea and my freshly assembled easel. It wasn't made with love, but it will be loved for saving my back and contributing to the creation of many more bright and beautiful canvases whilst I'm homebound by rain.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Art of Hair

I love my hair. It's thick and there is a lot of it, so I've got this ability to shape it however I please without the aid of products and it will stay. My FauxHawk has been my hair cut of choice for ten years (I know, right?!) and it suits me well. In Spring I break out the bright colours, usually starting off with the full rainbow before I return to ol' faithful blue. Sometimes I mix it up with a shock of pink or by leaving it blond a few days between colours. Come winter I let it grow out once more, to its natural rich dark brown. I have taken to getting stars shaved in the sides, sometime on both and sometimes on just one side. For the last year I enjoyed a rat tail revival, which was ended abruptly at the hands of my best friend the day before I left for London.

And through it all, my hair has been cut and cared for by one fabulous woman. Originally a hairdresser at Sears, she has gone on to open her own salon and she has been the only person I've trusted with my hair for the last ten years. I love her. She's brilliant because when I went to her and asked for a FauxHawk, they weren't hugely popular yet and I had to provide photos and description. She listened carefully, took direction and produced what has become my Perfect Style. I tried a pixie a year ago and I buzzed it at the end of one summer just to rid my head of the colour, but my FauxHawk always re-emerges.

But Hair Movement is in Canada and as much as I'd like to fill my pockets with my favourite people, alas, I could not. So Kim, along with many others, is 4,000 miles away and I found myself going to the WitchesHut on recommendation.

I brought my star template and was prepared to give great direction on what was happening to my head. The only other time I let someone other than Kim cut my hair in the past ten years was when I was desperate for a cut and booking with her meant waiting two weeks. I went to one of those horrible walk-in places where they process heads on an assembly line and most of the cuts they're doing are standard. The result could only be described as 'butchering' of my hair and I resolved to always be patient in the future, rather than compromising my style.

Miguel was friendly and receptive, though. He listened to my description, looked at a photo and was able to see the lines of how my hair had been cut before. As a result, my trademark look is fresh and sharp this morning. I'm absolutely delighted and pleased with what he's done and I think Kim would be happy to know my hair is in good hands.

I myself limit my expertise with hair to the bleaching and colouring of it. Cutting it is an art I have no desire to learn, but something I admire. Both Kim and Miguel love what they do and always have. Both have told me that they wanted nothing more than to be hairdressers (Or maybe a rock star.) and that they have passion for what they do.

I believe it.

Life is too short to work a job you hate. When you do what you love, you will be successful and your clientele will love you for it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Hanged Bat

As I've relocated to Jolly Ol' England, I need to find an imaging solution. In Calgary I use the fantastic Quintaro Imaging and as of right now, any of the pieces posted on my website are available as prints starting at $70CAD (Depending on the size and medium.) upon request. My latest creation, however, will not be available until I find someone that will provide the same quality of service as Quintaro.

In the mean time, visit my site to read all about this latest piece, my tenth completed Tarot painting and the first one of 2010.

Friday, February 12, 2010

These Boots Were Made For Walking

I am not, by nature, a very girly girl. When every girl wanted a pony, I wanted a dragon. When my friends were dressing dolls, I was out in the mud with my dinosaurs. When most girls were starting to wear makeup I was dying my hair blue.

But I love shoes.

I love them. I adore a new pair of shoes. To me, new shoes generate the same refreshing, invigorating feeling as a new haircut. They are pure potential in footwear. Places unexplored, sidewalks, fields and cobbles yet to be walked upon, adventures yet to have.

Plus they look downright spiffy. Like my new pair of Doc Marten's, a suitable choice for London. I adore my new boots and though I've worn them out a few times before today, today was their first Big Adventure.

The day began bright and early for me, despite the fact that I'm still 'unemployed'. In quotes because I have yet to obtain employment that requires I be at a specific place by a specific time. I was successful in obtaining employment, but unsuccessful in that, what I obtained sucked up so many hours, I might as well have been working in any city in the world for all I'd get to do in it.

So this morning I decided to set out bright and early, my feet clad in my new boots, to find some such employment.

It was drizzling and grey, so not actually bright, but it was early. It was early enough that I knew most of the agencies I had in mind would not be open. I had no intention of heading straight out into the job hunt, though. I needed to centre myself, as I'd found I was coming unhinged. Yesterday I spent the day in, whilst my little fur-baby, Delirium, adjusted to her new space. She was still reeling quite a bit from the plane ride the day before and I found myself wracked with guilt and remorse for bringing her over. I spent the day alternatively painting and panicking, until it all sort of fell apart by the end of the day.

With a new morning comes a refreshed perspective and the knowledge of what needed to be done. CV's in my bag, new boots on my feet, I rode the tube one stop to the South Wimbledon Station, where I caught the 93 bus to the Buddhist Temple.

At the temple I spent my time walking around the path that follows the stream, counting my Mala beads and reflecting on the past few weeks, old habits and what could be done here and now. It was a cool, crisp morning, made damp with rain, but not in any way dreary or foreboding. If anything, it gave me a sense of freedom and wonder to stand next to the water, looking into it but not really focusing on anything in particular. I felt a great sense of well-being and I knew I was ready to embark on the next step of my day.

One step at a time.

As fate would have it I found two job centres within a block of one another. I dropped off my CV at both, gathering further information on registering and getting a positive response to my requested hours (Part-time and temp work, preferably not on the weekends, no more than 30 hours a week.) and assurance that this would be quite feasible and I could expect to start getting calls within a week.

I then popped into a pet store to gather supplies for my darling Delirium. She hadn't been eating and I figured I could entice her to do so with some catnip. I also needed some basics, like a scratching block and food dish, so she'd stop clawing the carpet and wouldn't need to eat out of one of the kitchen bowls.

Weighed down with cat supplies, I decided to head back home for a brief stop-over, before resuming my job search. Delirium was delighted to have a cardboard chunk to take her aggression out on and immediately pounced it. She also, I am happy to say, consumed a large portion of food, served to her in a new bowl.

I filled my own belly before making a fresh tea to take with me and continuing my hunt for placement agencies. The rain had begun to fall in earnest, however, and I didn't get far before retreating to the sanctum of the tube system, where I could warm up and rethink my game plan. I had to drop a copy of 'Affinity' (My animation from two summers ago.) at the Artefacts Edutainment Centre, where I'm attending a training program and getting some volunteer experience in as a professional artist. Wouldn't you believe it, I stepped off the train platform at Deptford, and there was a JobCentrePlus building opposite me! I decided to go to AECreative first, but returned to the JobCentrePlus to gather pamphlets afterwards. I then boarded the train once again.

It's only one stop on the overground from Deptford to London Bridge, but it's a longer run than most between underground stations. I was fiddling with Queenie (My iPhone) as I tried to figure out what to do next. I was attempting to locate a JobCentrePlus agency closer to my home, but the address I'd gotten was not actually closer at all. I didn't really feel like going on a wild Goose Chase and as I felt pleasantly content with what I'd accomplished so far. It was only a little after one and the rain had finally stopped. Blue sky was showing in patches and as the train pulled into the station I glimpsed the Tower Bridge past some buildings.

I figured some exploring was in order. My new boots were holding up, but more importantly, so were my feet. They showed no signs of waning and there was so much to see and do.

I hopped off the train and made my way out onto the street and towards the Thames.

It's incredible to be standing almost anywhere along the Thames. Not only is it magnificent, just because of the London sky and how everything is lit when there are storm clouds, but because it seems, no matter where you are along it, you are probably within spitting distance of at least three monumentally amazing things. I knew that, if I went to my left, I'd come to Shakespeare's Globe and the Tate Modern. I knew this because I'd been able to see HMS Belfast from both of them.

Standing where I was I could see the Gherkin sticking up from the middle of the city. Look to my right and there was this building that was obviously a great architectural feat. Then there was the classic magnificence of the Tower Bridge and on the other side, the Tower of London itself. Here I was, standing on the Queen's Walk, next to the Thames, surrounded by so many wonders.

I continued my walk along the rivers edge, snapping photos and feeling the cool air fill my lungs and keep my head clear. I marveled at the brilliant artwork to be found there, the stonework of the walk, and the brilliance of the design and colour of the bridge. It was all quite breathtaking.

Of course I crossed the bridge, in order to get closer to the Tower of London. I was also curious about the Gherkin, wondering if I could maneuver through the streets easily enough to find it without a map. I didn't have any solid intent, however. I let my feet take over, playing observer to whatever direction they aimed me.

I like such days because you can notice things others might not, or take time for something that may just get missed or unappreciated. There was an office building that was mostly panels of glass. One of the panels was smashed, but it was safety glass so it just held there. Then there were the 'paintings'. Glossy, shiny things...reproductions of originals, depicting key figures and elements of the surrounding area. Locals hurried by, wanting to catch their trains. Tourists were snapping photos of the Tower or rushing to buy cheap trinkets from a gift shop. I stopped to look at Anne Boleyn.

I soon forgot about the Gherkin as I discovered a building that reminded me of so many in Paris. It was adorned with magnificent sculptures of Gods, Goddesses, Queens and Kings, Dragons, Oxen and mythical beasts. I fell in love with one of the sculptures, as she is stunning beyond belief. And here was a building which no one seemed to be snapping pictures of and no one seemed to care about or have a plaque for. It was one of my favourite finds of the day, actually.

As it was growing quite cold I figured I should find a tube station and head for Moorgate, where I would be meeting up with my girlfriend. I made my way through the throngs of tourists, weaving in and around on main streets for a bit. It's all sort of overwhelming and I enjoy the path lest trodden, if there is such a thing in London. Regardless, I began to take some of the smaller side streets and discovered a Spirituality Bookshop. It was located in a former church, so the shelves were dwarfed by the high ceilings. I perused their selection, finding two books by the Dalai Lama, neither of which were in a price range I was willing to splurge on. However, free of charge, I was able to oogle the gorgeous stained glass windows, which stretched almost from floor to ceiling. I wanted to photograph them, but decided not to in case I got some backlash from the shopkeepers.

Back outside, I managed to locate the Bank Underground station, which is only one stop from Moorgate, but allowed me the chance to warm up properly. My fingers get terribly stiff in the London cold, which makes my joints snap more often than usual. My feet were also beginning to get the edge of having walked too much in stiff new boots. The rest was welcome and necessary, for once I connected with my lady friend, we took a jaunt over to China Town.

It was a lovely way to round out my sightseeing adventures of the day. The colourful lanterns were playful in the dimming light of evening, and my heart felt light and refreshed.

I'm going to play with gouache more this weekend. I've almost finished off that book of blank postcards I bought. I may also finish my next Tarot painting, whether it be the Hanged Bat or the Hierophant, I'm not sure.

I feel very much at home in this city, and Delirium seems to be settling in nicely now. She's curled up on her blanket, paws over her face, purring softly. For all the ups and downs we've both been through, things seem to be levelling out nicely. There's still adjustments to be had, hic-ups along the way, but I know, if need be, I can always start my day with a visit to the temple and fill it with great sights, simply be standing in one place.