Monday, December 3, 2012

Have you ordered your Glitter Bacon yet?

For those of you who don't know, I make and sell Christmas ornaments that look like glittery bacon slices.  These make a wonderful Christmas gift or a wildly inappropriate Hanukkah gift.

Each slice is lovingly shaped out of cloth and plaster and painted by hand (the whole process takes about ten steps!), and the superfine gold holographic glitter is sealed right into the varnish so that shizz isn't going anywhere.  The finished bacon comes nestled in an adorable turquoise gift box along with hooks for hanging and a little info card.

You can buy Glitter Bacon Ornaments in my Artfire store (or if you live in Toronto, hit up my booth at the Arts Market and save yourself the shipping costs!).

Hammy holidays, everyone! ;)


I just finished a big-ass painting for the first time in, like, months.

This was not an image I came up with on purpose; it just popped into my head exactly like this.  Which, for me, usually means the image is symbolic of something.  

A little context...

As you may know, my boyfriend and I recently split up.  I had high hopes of us getting back together someday, but have recently had the two-part epiphany that a) our problems aren't going to magically disappear just because we're living apart and b) as long as I think there's a chance of us getting back together, I won't be able to mourn or move on; I'll be stuck in a miserable post-breakup limbo.  So I know now that to move forward, I have to abandon all hope and face the fact that the relationship is done.

This painting is about accepting that my breakup with The Boy is final.  Let's dissect the imagery and see what makes it tick, shall we?

Apparently, in my paintings, pinks and magentas equal heartbreak.

I don't know why that is, but it does seem to be a burgeoning pattern:

Birds mean love.

That painting with the black bird?  Also a breakup painting (from a few years back).  And here's a happy painting I did about love:

Yep, even though birds are exploding out of that lady's chest cavity and she doesn't look thrilled about it, it's still a happy painting.  You can tell because:

The right side of the canvas represents the future/positivity, and the left side is the past/negativity.


This guy is walking away from bad treatment and into a bright future.

He's sad about things that happened in the past.  She's acting as a force of optimism.

And here's a self-portrait of me bleeding from the mouth and being pissed off about how my day went.  

I don't do the left vs. right thing on purpose, by the just happens.  I get an image in my head that needs to be oriented in a particular way and it would feel all kinds of wrong if I flipped it.  Took me years to figure out what was up with that.


Here we have love (the bird) trying to revisit the past (left side of the canvas) against a pink background (heartbreak).  The bird has been shot (presumably fatally, considering how its chest is exploding) by someone out of frame who had to have been facing the right side of the canvas (the future).  The caption in the lower right corner (which you can't see in this close-up but if you scroll to the big pic at the top of the page it's there) is "now it's done."

This is totally a painting about me wanting things back the way they used to be - of wanting The Boy's love again - and (literally!) killing that thought so I can move forward.  Funfact: if this painting were about me not wanting to get back together with The Boy, the bird would be black and the feathers on the arrow would probably be some happy, bright colour.  And the background would probably be light blue (often - but not always - a happy colour for me) or apple green (often - but not always - a colour that represents being pissed off or vengeful).

One thing I can't figure out is why my brain told me, in no uncertain terms, that the background of this painting had to be all beaten up-looking (I'm not sure you can tell in the photos but I totally did "antique" the surface of the picture by painting the background onto a wood panel and then sanding the crap out of it).  My subconscious is mysterious and very, very detail-oriented.

I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the symbolism in my paintings.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask 'em in the comments.  Unless it's like 2082 and you're using this blog post to research your thesis on me for university, in which case OMG I GOT FAMOUS ENOUGH TO WRITE A THESIS ON, THAT IS SO COOL, and also, I won't be responding to your comments because I am dead.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The She Said Pop Heartbreak Recovery Plan

Sooooo, after much deliberation, The Boy and I have decided that cohabitation is not really working for us.  He's moved into a new apartment and we're gonna take a break from each other for a while.  Time to bust out my Heartbreak Recovery Plan!

Oh yes, there is a Heartbreak Recovery Plan.  I followed the steps mostly by instinct or accident after my marriage went kerflooey in 2005, and after that I went through so much stupid shit out in the dating pool that I had lots of small opportunities to notice what I was doing to get over things, and to consciously realize why it helped.  Now I have the recovery process pretty much down to a science.

In case you're curious, here's what I'm gonna do over the next few months to get back on my feet.  The steps are more-or-less in order, although there's usually a lot of overlap between them:


I am fully aware that breakups are a first-world problem.  I got a widdle boo-boo on my heart?  Who cares about that when there are so many actual important things to worry about, like cancer and animal abuse and Disney taking over the Star Wars franchise?

But...I care.  Losing The Boy is a big deal to me, so I'm giving myself permission to wallow without feeling guilty or stupid.  This may take the form of:

  • Putting on my penguin jammies and watching old Garfield specials in the foetal position.
  • Listening to sad music.
  • Screaming "WHY, GOD?  WHYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?" while shaking my fist at the ceiling.
  • Crying until my entire head is a pulsating red snot balloon.
  • Making ludicrously dramatic and overblown pieces of art* (exaggeration is  cathartic, yo!  That painting up there?  I made it after I had one date with a guy and he didn't call me).
  • Force-cuddling my cat, Birch, until he eventually struggles free and runs under the couch.
  • Eating an entire thing of Ben & Jerry's New York Superfudge Chunk on one sitting and spending the subsequent 72 hours on a massive sugar high, unable to sleep because my eyeballs are vibrating too loudly.
I'll rein in the pity party around other people, of course; nobody wants to hear someone drone on in painful detail about their dead relationship and the dissolution thereof.  But when I'm by myself I'll be indulging the shit out of my inner drama queen.  It's therapeutic.

Be Nice to Myself

Without The Boy here to make me feel special and loved, I need to make myself feel special and loved.  Otherwise the withdrawal period will be mighty harsh.  I plan to:

  • Buy myself treats and presents.
  • Dress up sometimes, "just because."
  • Eat lots of my favourite foods.
  • Take myself to fun places.
  • Spruce up the apartment with some new curtains and stuff.
  • Just generally do things that make me feel good.
Obviously, I can't feasibly put on a cocktail dress and make myself a candlelight dinner of fresh salmon every night for the rest of my life, but if I feel like doing it every night this week, I'm goddamn well going to.  I'll taper it off as I start to feel more emotionally stable.

Not Wallow

It's good to let yucky feelings out, but in a weird way sadness can kind of feed itself - not unlike a car battery continually charging itself as it runs.  I'll need to balance my moping and crying with a healthy dose of social time with friends and loved ones.  And I'm gonna make sure most of that social time is spent actually having fun, not just whining about being sad.

I'll force myself to go places without my friends and loved ones, too.  I went out by myself all the time the last time I was single, but when The Boy moved in with me I kind of forgot how.  It's time to remind myself how good independence can feel.

Follow My Bliss

Pursuing hobbies is a way of raising my self-esteem and happiness levels that doesn't depend on anyone else. I used to rely entirely on other people's compliments to feed my self-worth, but that sucked - it made me all clingy and insecure and passive-aggressive.

But if I throw myself into painting (or jewellery making or sewing or...), my technique will improve.  The improvement will be tangible; I'll be able to see it with my own eyes, without needing anyone else to validate me.  Plus, arts-and-crafts projects totally put me in my happy place, again without needing anyone else.  And, y' this point art is how I make a good chunk of my income, so I need to be doing that stuff anyway.


Once I've got a little distance and perspective, I'll start analyzing what actually went wrong in my relationship with The Boy.  What qualities of his were problematic, and should I avoid people with those qualities in the future?  What qualities of mine were problematic, and can I change them?  What could I have done differently in the relationship?  What ultimately caused this rift between us, and how can I avoid falling into the same pattern in the future?

I think of this step as "debugging" myself: optimizing my brain for my next relationship, whenever that should happen.  It's not about becoming some kind of doormat Stepford wife, mind you.  It's about eliminating bad habits and unhealthy thoughts while keeping my core personality intact.


I really can't imagine going on a date with someone new right now - it makes me feel a bit pukey, to be honest - but I suppose I'll want to get back on the horse at some point.  Here's how I'll know I'm ready:

  • When I'm past the "Why does anyone bother with dating when all relationships are doomed anyway" phase.
  • When the idea of meeting someone new sounds fun, not tedious.
  • When I'm able to imagine what I want in a partner without thinking in terms of " The Boy" or "...not like The Boy."
  • When I can hang out with a guy without constantly mentioning The Boy, thinking about The Boy or finding things in the new guy that remind me of The Boy (that one might take a little trial and error).
  • When I truly understand that my date is an individual: if he does something annoying, it's not because "OMG why do guys do that it's so annoying," it's because he, in particular, is being annoying.  Yeah, maybe guys I've known in the past have done similarly annoying things, but it's a coincidence, not a conspiracy.

However, it should be said that the ultimate goal of my Heartbreak Recovery Plan isn't to get me to the point where I'm dating again - it's to get me to the point where I feel happy and fulfilled as a single person.  That way it doesn't even matter if I find someone new - I'll be fine either way.

*By the way, if I don't make any sad bastard paintings in the next month or so, it means I'm trying to ignore my feelings instead of processing them and you should totally call me out on it.  I'm serious.  Feel free to comment on this blog post or my Facebook page going "WHERE ARE THE SAD PAINTINGS, MOTHERFUCKER?!"

Monday, October 8, 2012

Conversational Snippet #20: Oh great, now I crave hot dogs.

[The Boy and I are sitting on the bed, hanging out.  As usual, he is naked.  He has just made a horrible joke.]

Me: Arrrrrrgh that was so awful.  I should give you a wedgie.

Boy: But I'm naked so I'm immune.  Ha!

[I give his pelvis a speculative look, wondering about the efficacy of trying to "wedgie" him with the blanket he's sitting on.]

Boy [following my gaze]: NO!  DON'T DO IT!

[I realize he thought I was going to try to reach through his legs and yank his junk up into his asscrack.]

Me: Ooooh.  How delightfully evil.  What would you even call that?  An "atomic wedgie" is when you pull the back of someone's underwear right over their what do we call this?

Boy: Armageddon wedgie?  Uber-wedgie?

Me: I think we need to abandon the entire "wedgie" paradigm for this one.  Ooooh!  I have it!  Pulling a guy's junk back through his legs and up his asscrack is...a "chili dog."

Boy: ...?

Me: ...Because you're putting the wiener and beans between the buns.

Boy: There is not enough facepalm in the world for what you just said.

Friday, September 7, 2012

$5 Custom Pet Portraits - get 'em while you can!!!

Response to my $5 digital pet portraits has been good so far!  I've made over $200, which is a hell of a lot of drawings.  I've loved every minute of it...but, I've discovered that these pet commissions take me longer than I'd initially predicted, so I'm basically making minimum wage at this.  Often less.

With this in mind, I have decided to bump up the price of the portraits...but not until October 1st.  Which means you still have THREE WEEKS to take advantage of a truly amazing deal: FIVE BUCKS for a CUSTOM, ONE OF A KIND piece of art made JUST FOR YOU!

Here are thumbnails of just some of the commissions I've done.  Seeing them all in a row like this really makes me feel like I've accomplished something!  

Also, I am now way more competent at rendering various fur textures and markings than I was at the beginning of this journey.  The price of the portraits may be going up, but the quality has been steadily going up, too, is what I'm saying.

In conclusion: if you've been thinking of ordering one or more portraits from me but have been hesitating for some reason, NOW is the time to order!  Do it while they're still just $5!  And please pass this info along to your friends, too! :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Very Birchy Update

It's been almost a week since Birch had his dental surgery, and he's doing really well - he's eating crunchy food and everything.

Here he is an hour or two after we got home.
The day of his surgery, Birch ended up being at the vet for about nine hours - I dropped him off at 10am and picked him up at 7pm.  I think a lot of that time was just to allow him to recover from the anaesthetic afterward, though.  Surely the procedure itself couldn't have taken more than a few hours.

The vet who did the surgery was really great - he called me in the middle of the procedure just to let me know that he was halfway done and Birch was doing okay.  At that point, Birch had had three teeth pulled: two back teeth and one of his mighty fangs...

It's that fang, if you're curious.  Which you can't see in this "before" picture anyway.

...but that was just on the one side.  The vet said there would probably be more to do on the other side.

When I came to pick Birch up, the vet gave me a thorough explanation of why the teeth needed to be pulled, and a bunch of information about cat teeth in general.  Some people might be annoyed by this, but I like feeling like I know what's going on so I loved it*.  The vet also gave me a little bottle of liquid pain killer to squirt under Birch's tongue** if he seemed to be in discomfort...and then, at long last, he brought my baby boy out so I could take him home.

Oh, also...they saved the teeth for me. :D

I don't know why I took them home with me, but...yeah.

I guess the vet ended up pulling a fourth one after he called me..?  For some reason I don't specifically remember him telling me the total number of extractions.  At first I thought that tiny tooth was a fragment of the broken-looking one at the bottom there, but the pieces don't fit together so I guess the total comes to four.

Anyway, once we got home and I opened up the carrier, Birch jumped up on the couch for purrsnuggles pretty much immediately.  I knew that he's a resilient boy, but I was still surprised by how totally normal he seemed.  I mean, I left him with strange people all day - which I never do - and he was injected with knockout drugs and he surely must have woken up with confusion and mouth pain (also perhaps arm pain from the I.V. and throat pain from the tube they put down there).  I figured at the very least he'd need to hide under the bed for a while once we got home, but no!  He did sleep a lot (who could blame him?) but he did his sleeping out in the open, like on any other day.

And!  I'd been afraid that his face would look different after having his teeth pulled, like maybe kinda caved in or something...

Artist's rendering.

...But it doesn't.  Although - I hasten to add - I would still think he was beautiful no matter what.

Around bedtime I endeavoured to give Birch some of that liquid pain killer, hoping it would help him sleep better.  I think the process of getting the eyedropper into his mouth was more traumatizing than whatever pain he may have been in.  He hid under the bed until morning and I decided not to give him more pain killer unless he was really acting miserable.

From that point onward, it was almost as if nothing had ever happened.


I mean, obviously I switched him from kibble to wet food for a few days.  And for a while after the surgery, he couldn't really meow; when he tried, all that came out was a hoarse little quack.  I mentioned this to a friend and she told me that animals (and people, too, I suppose) usually get a tube put down their throat during surgery, so maybe there was some irritation from that.  Also, sometimes Birch would randomly make a really disgusting horking sound and then snort/sneeze a bunch of times.  It pretty much seemed like he was moving snot (or...blood clots?) from one part of his head to another, but y'know what, it's probably just as well I don't know the details.  At any rate, all of that stuff seems to be over now.

I'm so proud of my brave boy. <3

*I did not love hearing that Birch and I will probably have to go through this again every few years because his teeth and gums basically suck.  But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

**You have no idea how badly I wanted to try putting it in his ear, instead.  Any mucous membrane oughta do it, right?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Caturday supplemental: it's almost time.

As you may know, my wonderful kitty Birch has been diagnosed with FIV (like HIV, but for cats) and also needs expensive dental work.  And what with me having no day job and living on my savings and all*, the expense represents a substantial chunk of what I have left.  I've been kind of freaking out.

A friend of mine reminded me that animal-related charities often have ways of helping people in situations like mine.  I contacted the rescue place where I originally got Birch and they kindly hooked me up with one of their veterinarians, who will do the dental stuff for me at a discount.  Instead of the $800+ that my regular vet quoted me, this one will do the job for $300-$500.  I booked Birch in for tomorrow morning and will continue selling $5 digital pet sketches to try to offset the cost.

In the meantime, I'm supposed to be giving Birch 1/4 teaspoon of yellow vitamin goo (to boost his immune system) plus an antibiotic pill (to help fight his painful gum infection) every 12 hours.  The vet said that both medicines have a pleasant taste and the pills are chewable, so there's a chance Birch might swallow it all straight-up without me having to trick or force him.  


And then...

So then I started smushing his pill up and mixing that and the goo into some wet food (which he usually only gets on his birthday Birchday).  I called this dish Ackbar Surprise, after Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars.  

Sadly, after a few days Birch got wise to my shenanigans and his Ackbar Surprise would just sit there all day getting crusty.

If Birch could detect trace amounts of powdered medicine stirred into stanky meat byproducts, there's no way he'd be fooled by pill pockets.  The Boy and I were just going to have to shove each pill directly into his mouth.  If I'd known it would come to that, I'd've asked the vet if the antibiotics came in suppository form instead.  Birch's back door isn't ringed with needle-sharp teeth (as far as I know).  Oh well, too late now.

For a while I thought I'd come up with the perfect solution: putting a pill between my lips and blowing it directly into Birch's mouth.  I'm always kissing him on the face so I figured he'd feel pretty comfortable with this.  As comfortable as could be expected, anyway.

The first time I tried it, it worked perfectly.  It was over in five seconds and Birch had no idea wtf had just happened.  I felt like a ninja.  Unfortunately, he's a pretty bright kitty with a decent memory, so the mouth-ninja technique never worked again.  I won't immortalize what happened next with cutesy pictures.  It was horrible.  The Boy and I could barely manage to get a pill into the damn cat even with both of us holding him down - and even when we got one in his mouth, he'd repeatedly spit it out again.  Also, it turns out Birch drools when he's really stressed out.  Like, copiously.  Strings hanging down.  Choking sounds.  The pill went in and out of his saliva-flooded mouth so many times that it began to dissolve and we had to unwrap another one.  His fur was soaked with spit from his chin down to his chest.

When it was finally over, Birch hid under the bed.  After a couple of hours, I went into the bedroom to check on him.  The bed has stuff stored underneath it, so you can't just look under the edge and see him; you have to lift a corner of the mattress and peer through the slats to see which crevice he's hiding in.  I was peering around the foot of the bed, calling Birch's name, and suddenly heard him making those spit-choking sounds from up near the head of the bed.  He must have thought I was coming in to do something else horrible to him, and started fear-drooling.  I lifted that end of the mattress and found him huddled in a ball with his fur all soaked again.  He looked tiny and miserable and refused to make eye contact.  He's never, ever acted like that before; never been afraid of me, never hid from me, never held a grudge against me.

I curled up on the bed and cried for a pretty long time.  Eventually, The Boy convinced me to come out to the living room and let Birch chill by himself for a while.  It took til 5am for Birch to forgive me - I woke to find him climbing up onto the bed to spoon with me (usually he assumes his place as The Littlest Spoon right when we're going to bed).  By the time I got up for the day, he seemed pretty much back to normal.

I freely admit that today I said "fuck it" and didn't even try to give him his meds.  Apparently the vet has a $50 injection Birch can take instead (one needle and it's the equivalent of him taking his pills for a week or something), and can I just say, it is more than worth it not to have to go through a trauma like last night again.  Also, I wanted Birch to have a nice final-day-before-surgery** with me...just in case.  It's not common for a cat (or dog or human) to have a bad reaction to general anaesthetic and die, but it does happen, and this has been weighing on my mind.  So I gave Birch wet food with no medicine hidden in it, and I've been hugging and petting him a lot and telling him how much I love him.

So yeah.  Tomorrow Birch gets his teeth cleaned, and probably at least one tooth extracted.  After he recovers from that, his mouth will finally be un-sore for the first time in at least a year.  So that's happy news!

I just have to hold myself together until I pick him up at 6pm.

*I'm not really making a profit on the art yet.  Soon, I think.  But not yet.

**I count this dental work as "surgery" because he'll have to be put completely under while they do it.  And they'll very likely be pulling at least one tooth, so he's gonna be sore afterward.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Very Special Caturday Post - $5 Pet Sketches!

I just took Birch to the vet for his annual check-up.  He tested positive for FIV - feline immunodeficiency virus.  Basically, he has cat-AIDS.

At last year's check-up, they told me Birch had tartar buildup on his teeth and that his gums were all swollen and red.  They recommended I get Birch's teeth cleaned  (a veterinary procedure that requires them to knock him right out with anaesthetic) but said I might be able to avoid the expense by giving him special crunchy cat food designed to bust off all that tartar.  So I've been sprinkling a handful of "crunchies" on his food every day for the past year.

Unfortunately, this time around the vet said his gums were still inflamed...and that this might indicate an immune system issue keeping him from fighting off the infection.  She recommended I get him tested for FIV and feline leukemia.  She also said that I need to get his teeth cleaned, and that this will cost a minimum of $800.  If they find a lot of damage once they get in there, they might have to pull some or all of his teeth(!) and that will cost more.

The next day, the results of the blood test came in: Birch is FIV+ (but no leukemia, thank god!).  The vet prescribed a two-week course of antibiotics to help him fight the gum infection, and also a tube of this weird vitamin supplement gel he's supposed to take twice a day to boost his immune system.  I think she said I should give him the gel stuff every day for the rest of his life, but it's possible I misheard her due to being shaken up by the bad news.  I was in a bit of a haze that morning.

So, to recap: Birch's mouth has been hurting for the past year or more(!) and he can't get better without expensive medicine and dental treatment.  Also, although he otherwise seems totally healthy and normal right now, he has an immune deficiency: just like a human with AIDS, he's at risk of getting really, really sick if he so much as catches the sniffles. Luckily, Birch is an indoor kitty so he's not likely to be exposed to cat-colds or cat-flus - but I'm still anticipating that in the future he'll need medicine more often than a cat without immune issues.

I'm feeling sad.  And freaked out.  And I'm still jobless and living off my savings, so all of this is a big financial strain, too - which is why I am now offering custom digital pet sketches in my Artfire store for just $5 each.  You send me a good clear pet photo, I "cartoonify" that sweet li'l face and email you the result. Here are some examples:


You could use your custom sketch as a Facebook profile pic or a user icon on your blog!  You could print it out and put it in a frame!  You could use a site like to put your custom sketch on a t-shirt, coffee mug, greeting card, etc.!  As long as you're not making money off the image, I invite you to do whatever you want with it.  IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES SRSLY.

I've gotten about 14 orders within the first two days of this project, thanks to some wonderful people sharing the link on Facebook and Twitter.  Let's keep that momentum going!  Please share this link with all the pet lovers in your life: or submit it to Reddit or other, um, big...information-sharing...thingies (I'm kind of clueless about that stuff, as you can probably tell).

Here's some of the feedback I've gotten from my pet sketch customers:

-Two thumbs up from me! I sent two photos and quickly received two very nicely drawn pieces of art (which I will now affix to various household items such as mugs and coasters).

-Wow, that was fast! LOVE them!

-My cat picture turned out amazing!  I'm gonna print it on a tote bag so I can take him with me everywhere I go. :)

Needless to say, any purchase from my Artfire store will help my financial situation, so if you're not into pets but you like something else I'm selling, now would be an excellent time to buy.  Just sayin'.

I'm gonna go hug my cat now.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I bet Da Vinci wanted to bang the Mona Lisa.

I've been feeling kinda draggy and fatigued for a while - like to the point where I'm wondering if my thyroid's gone wonky and I'm planning on seeing a doctor - but today I managed to power through my draggy feelings and my whole fear-of-failure thing and paint a new sexy merman.  Here are a couple of "progress shots" for those of you who are into that sort of thing:

...and here's the finished painting...

...and here's a close-up view of his face and torso 'cause I'm pleased with how they turned out.  Do you like his tattoo sleeve with the koi on it?  Kind of thematically appropriate, yes?

I find myself really, really wishing this merman was real so he could lounge around in my bathtub giving me this exact come-hither look.  And then I'd climb in with him and hijinks would ensue.  I think these thoughts might mean I'm either into bestiality, intensely egocentric, or both...but I don't care.  The painting is hot.

Stay tuned 'cause with any luck I'll have more hot mermen to show you soon!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Adventures in Modelling, Part II

In the few figure drawing classes I'd attended back in the day, the model did about a zillion poses ranging from thirty seconds in length to maybe ten minutes - the idea was that you had to draw the person fast, before they changed position, and this forced you to develop an eye for proportion and gesture.  With a thirty-second pose, there was no time to get all fiddly over details; you just scribbled down the shape of their body as best you could.  Classes like these happened one or two nights a week for six or eight weeks.

The class I just modelled for was different.  It was an intensive week-long course where each student would end up with just one super-detailed drawing; my job was to sit in the exact same position the entire time. This is definitely not most people's idea of a good time, but I thought it sounded great!  You guys, I spend like half my life sitting around naked!  Nobody is better prepared for this job than I am!

Witness my intensive at-home training regime!
But seriously, I have an insane competitive streak and a flare for self-discipline, so I was totally looking forward to the challenge of holding perfectly still.  I would be the most motionless art model ever.  I'd be like a statue!  A squishy, sweaty statue!

On Monday afternoon I showed up to the classroom a bit early, as instructor John Viljoen had requested, so we could decide on a pose before the students got there - something that I felt I could maintain for long periods without getting sore.  I decided to just sit in the chair with my feet planted on the floor, my hands resting on my thighs, and my head more-or-less facing forward.  John marked off where my feet would go and I tried my best to memorize the exact position of my head, back, and hands so my pose would be as consistent as possible.

Then I changed out of my street clothes and into a robe, and waited for my cue.

Like I said before, figure drawing classes are very analytical...the artists tend to think of the body as just a collection of curves and angles to draw, same as anything else.  I sat on my pedestal and tried to think of myself as a bowl of fruit or a Ming vase instead of a publicly naked person.  It didn't take too long to get used to it.

Holding the pose was just as fun and challenging as I thought it would was interesting to me to play around inside my head and think of different ways of keeping still and relaxed.  Mostly I imagined that my body didn't exist anymore, or was made of rock or wood or metal, and let my mind wander.  During the second or third posing session on Day One (John gave me breaks every twenty minutes or so) I actually fell asleep for a few minutes with my eyes open - I'd been so nervous the night before that I hadn't slept very well.

Thankfully, I did not twitch or drool.

Here are some other selected moments from my week of posing:

Sometimes during the breaks I'd wander around checking out people's work.

TWO different students told me this! Squeeeeeeee!!!!!!

On Wednesday or Thursday the temperature outside hit 37 degrees celsius.
John always made sure I was comfortable, every step of the way.  I couldn't have asked for a better experience!

I never once asked to take a break early (although I could have; John was very clear that I could cry "uncle" at any time), because staying completely motionless until told to move was the name of the game, and I was out to win.  The occasional stiffness and pain became something to fight and conquer - it was a way of keeping things interesting.  If posing were easy, it'd be boring.

And you guys!  At the end of the week, I had become art!

And also?  I got my first paycheque in about fifteen months!

And that's the story of my first gig as an art model.  I never thought I'd stumble across a whole new career path this late in life - something I love and feel like I'm really good at - but there you have it!  Turns out I'm a total prodigy at holding really really still. :D

Now: everyone go check out John's website!  Especially his incredible portraits!  Awesome, right?


A week from now - Sunday, July 29th - I'm gonna be selling original paintings, greeting cards, and other quirky artsy goodies in Kensington Market as part of their Pedestrian Sundays event. I'll be on Augusta Avenue between Dundas Street West and Wales Avenue.  If you're in Toronto, you should totally come!