Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday's child is full of woe

Yesterday was one of THOSE days.

Wednesday sucked because:

- Actually started the night before, when I read a beautiful but HEARTBREAKING book, which ....
- Lead to a sleepless, tearful night
- Making the alarm (aka foghorn) sound far too early
- No time, no yogurt, no energy for breakfast (which is unusual because breakfast is normally lovely)
- Trudging through slushy snow (in April, thank you Montreal) to the bus
- Sleepyness meant very tiny attention span at work, which meant a day full of distractions and mistakes and needing to re-do things
- A lunch-time stroll resulted in being attacked by a hidden mudpuddle (cobblestones hide these things)
- The tea I was craving was not to be found in any of the dépaneurs or épiceries near work even though I swear I saw it just last week
- Medicinal application of chocolate only gave me a bellyache

Cloudberry ~ from wikipedia

Looking on the bright side:

+ There were homemade muffins (banana, oatmeal & raspberry)
+ Someone handsome picked me up from work
+ I found a different kind of tea to try (which will evidently bring me 100 husbands)

Rubus chamaemorus, also from wikipedia

Friday, April 23, 2010

Photographs: taken & not taken

  •  Huge bay window, mostly obscured by glare and the reflection of the rooftops across the street, but with an alien on the sill. The large, grey, wrinkled body turning to face me: a hairless cat, all satelite ears and bulging eyes.
  • A parade of paraolympic and olympic athletes, glimpsed from behind a small crowd: a toddling girl in a white knit beret holding her grandmother's hand; boys barely old enough to drive (so it seemed to me, which means I am now ancient), uncomfortable in their new uniforms, at attention but barely; a fumbling mascot, whose furry white head was slipping
  • A woman, younger than she looked (I am guessing), worn down, worn out, cheeks like crumpled paper bags, but wearing a bright purple trench coat of super-hero proportions 
  • On the bus: leopard print doc martins, scuffed and worn through to the sock in several places
  • Balding pony-tailed man, on the nearby commuter train platform, totally rocking out to his giant headphones
  • Jarring juxtaposition: glowing white sign, brand new, just took off the plastic wrap, that reads "Atelier Bella Couture" on the oldest, grimiest, dilapidatedest run down old shop
  • Super slick business man in his suit, driving his shiny sedan and vigorously picking his nose (you know those car windows aren't one-way mirrors, right?) (also, I saw this twice, two different men)
  • Late afternoon light falling through all of these masses of green things that have appeared on the tips of trees overnight
  • Me, walking home, listening to music for a change (instead of the usual audiobook), feeling the urge to dance along the sidewalk   

Taken: from a walk I took near work a couple of summers ago 
Not taken: today, also around work and on the way home

Monday, April 19, 2010

Things to look at when your office has no windows

These are from my "inspiration" files (aka wallpaper files) and some were gathered so far in the dusty past that I (shamefully) don't have any way of tracking where they came from. I still wanted to use them though, for a mosaic with just Spring-y things I already had saved.
(starting top left, with the bright blue room):
1. Not sure, I think it was in a magazine, and found via someone's blog that I don't follow regularly (vague enough?)
2. Mine, from my trip to New York
3. Magnolia Warbler by Ursula Vernon
4. From Getty Images, I think (dusty)
5. (brick & arch) also mine, from New York
6. "Dust and Sunlight" by Rosetta Stantucci, Australian artist that I discovered when Design*Sponge featured her gorgeous home
7.  (lanterns in night garden) No idea who took it... I think it was on the Real Simple website
8. Summer Reading by Matte Stephens
9. Photo and wallpaper created by Susannah Conway (I hope it's ok that I threw it in there!)
10. Also found on Susannah Conway's site, but it came from the November 2009 issue of UK Vogue, photograph by Hugh Stewart
11. Birds on a Berry Tree (detail) by Naoko Stoop, via her Etsy shop
12. Plum Blossoms by Hadly Hutton, via her Etsy shop
13. (big one, in center) mine, from last spring

Monday, April 12, 2010


I've started doing this thing. Actually, I always did it, I just didn't think of it that way. 

Artists/illustrators don't start with a whole painting/illustration. They start with sketches. I think one of the things that freaks me out when I try to write is that I want to be writing the Novel (capital N) right from that first moment of inspiration. But I suspect it doesn't work that way, not at first. A bit too much pressure, perhaps?

So I've started to think of what I do at this stage as sketching, but with words. Just rough outlines, something I can return to later and add detail, shading. Just a place-marker for a story.

For example. I have this image in mind of an elevator operator. I don't know where she works, exactly, except that the elevator itself is a kind of Victorian relic (brass buttons and those great folding doors). I don't know much, yet, but I have a few sketches. This is one of them:

I am an elevator operator. It may not seem like much of a job, but the view is terrific. I work in one of the old Garland apartment buildings. The elevators, there are nine of them in total, are all glass, and facing out. So, all night, up and down, I see the city. It is a good job for a day dreamer. Or, a night dreamer. I work the late shift.

The apartments are expensive so most of the people coming and going are rich. That doesn’t automatically make them jerks, but they often are. I’ve never seen so many small dogs and large jewels in all my life.

The night shift is not as quiet as you might think.

There are no stairs in the Garlands. Well, there are, but only for emergencies, so to get anywhere the residents and their guests must make use of the elevators.

I sit on a stool next to the control panel and say one thing only: “What floor please?”

Some of the people are chatty, some quiet. Some friendly, some cold. To most, I am invisible.

I like the ones who stand and look out at the view. It is breath-taking. Even for me, even after seeing it about a zillion times. 
 This unrelated, but very pretty picture was made by Matte Stephens, whose work, blog and 
etsy shop are found here. I love how often his illustrations have umbrellas in them. Not this one, but a lot.