Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let's get up.

We got up alright. Steve, Simon and myself around a table, table cloth flipped up, candles burning. "Let's do an exercise!". So we did. A nib and ink exercise. Here is the fruit of our jazzy labor.

Am I writing? 
Are you listening?
Where is my beer.

Steve left, Simon right.

Meg left, Simon right.
Steve ripped his work in half and then lit it on fire.

Spraycation 10-4.

My home and dawn's dew. Ontario; September 2009.
Last night I found myself dreaming of the Spray. In the dream I was back working for PRT on an extended fall contract with these dudes below. Two years ago to date I shot these photos. It was an exciting time. I was in love, holding my camera newly repaired after a long separation and shooting everything in sight. I kept it in the truck and my crew took such care of it when I was deep in the land.

We would congregate every morning at six at the trucks, waiting for Dixon's word that the morning mist was burnt off and we could begin our day on the Spray. Chemical doesn't stick to brush when slick with dew. Thus on wet days we would be shipped off to "clear". Clearing brush is in my humble opinion the worst job out of any I have worked. Hard, depressing and painful. Bigger guys handle the chainsaws and the little squirts haul the cut brush to the chipper. Slowly, over the course of a day, a plot would be cleared around the spruce or pine begging to shoot up--freshly exposed to sun. On hot days it was into the land as early as possible, filling pack after pack, two crews of four divvying up humungeous chunks of land to spray in a four person swath. And we would walk, and we would walk. It was the first time I saw trees shut down, a firsthand introduction to Autumn on an hour to hour basis. Turtle tanks on the back of the crew trucks were filled with ditch water, transfered to barrels trailing behind quads, transferred to packs attached to our backs, transferred through our wands to that lush lush lush.

Kill it all so that there may be life.

It was in this place I learned how to siphon. Bird was ready to teach, any questions I had no matter how minute, weird or vague. It is silly to long for such bizarre work, but I do. The work was mentally difficult, too open to mind wandering in that big land while crawling through, under, over, up, down. Log walking, like a showy circus act that not a single person was aware of. Joy came from strange places.

Bush work has its place. Glad I did it, glad it is far enough in the past to appreciate from an arms length, glad I am here in my room and not there tripping every minute, cursing the very land I love. Glad it is over. Enough dreaming, back to reality.


Spray boys talk shop. Deep in the bush, Ontario; September 2009.

Power 90, pack and poison. Ontario; September 2009.

Birdman, my teacher. Block talk. Ontario; September 2009.
Konan on the string box. Ontario; September 2009.
Bird and Klinck relax back at camp. Ontario; September 2009.
These are the mornings I miss. Bush camp, Ontario; September 2009.
Classic Maya. Bush camp, Ontario; September 2009.
Saxson fills a turtle tank; Bush camp, Ontario; September 2009.
Bird surveys land from above. Ontario; September 2009.

Hi Vis marks the spot. Sioux Narrows, Ontario; September 2009.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Loose grip, tight ship.

Creme introduced me to Cat Power, essentially. What Would The Community Think, his favorite. I always go to her Jukebox album out of bush habit, but the more I listen to What Would The Community Think, the more I understand where he is coming from. Nude as the News sounds so damn good through headphones. Click to have a listen for yourself. Followed by They Tell Me? Ohhhhh baby. Hard to put to words my appreciation for such sound.

Here is some recent photo work. Hopefully these are the last two rolls I pay to have developed. I am sick and tired of paying for a service that I could easily do for myself. Soon enough.

Julie's sparkler; 3-4-1 party. Montreal; August 2011.
This was scanned backwards, now I see.

Gitch on the line. Montreal, August 2011.

Lion and Bull; 3-4-1 party. Montreal; August 2011.
Step 1. Xacto Step 2. Spray
 A frenchman named Laurent shot this of Virginie, baby Marie and I.
Studying darkroom. Île aux Chèvres, Quebec; 2011.

CFM shoes. Montreal, August 2011.

Laurent shot this as well. I like his composition, that eyebrow, his woman.
Île aux Chèvres, Quebec; 2011.

Peace; 3-4-1 party. Montreal; August 2011.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

J'ai faim.

After yesterday's morning sadness dissipated, I slapped on some lipstick and got myself together. Bootstraps hauled up. I am no longer employed full time! Ahhhhh! Secouuuuuurs! Always a frightening thing, jumping from certain places to get to others. A to B. J to K or whatever. I wanted to say that I am not sad (as yesterday's post might have implied)! I am EXCITED. Thrilled that the time is nigh. 

Art School.

While Leo may no longer be my boss, he is a boy who lives down the street from me always interested in adventure. When Virginie came home from her work yesterday, we watched Leo so freakin' proud on his balance bike with two pairs of misty eyes. The Spry family has been so generous to me. I was reminded 100 times that their door is always open. Je sais, je sais. It is nice to know I have found family in surprising form that I can call to ask: ce qui est pour le dîner?

Now that there is free time where there was once not, I am trying hard to put some projects to bed. Here is a list in no particular weighted order:

- Dogfreak mail project: Bring to completion, plus 1 x LLB
- Victorian House illustration: finish the damn thing!!!
- Storm illustration: begin the damn thing
- Mail three YOTR Rabbits already
- Wedding portrait illustration: finish
- Old Lady Teacart: FINISH

I am a suuuuuuuuuuuuucker for art accessories. Things to aid in the production portion. Art ease. I don't know. I would far rather adorn my work table than body, any day of the week. Bits and bobs will be the death of me. Tiny ships, spools of string, stamps, teacups for anything loose begging to be contained, a miniature haus, bottles and bottles of ink, doll furniture, weird Mexican doll sisters. Papers, papers, papers. They find their way onto my person, the speed of collection shocks me even though I am the one at the helm. Today I bought a stack porcelain watercolor dishes for watercolor. 

Here is something I made today, scanned once dry. It is not something that needed to be ticked off my list, it just came to be in the very avoidance of it. I guess this is how I make art. I have a hunch this tactic will not fly by art school standards, whatever those are. Gotta do my thang until I no longer can.

Painted Haus. Flipside perspective. Watercolor on copy. Montreal, August 2011.
For Rags McLaren, you inspire me to letter.

For Stuart, just because. Stencil negative, illustration in pencil; Montreal.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Year of Learning.

Leo and I. Montreal, May 2011.

Today is my last day as a full time nanny to Leonard Arthur Spry. The routine I know like the back of my hands will soon be pulled out like a rug under foot. I am ready. As Leo drank the contents of his bottle in my arms this morning, I couldn't help but spill tears onto his head. Either he failed to notice or he is used to them by now.

How I will long for the weight of his body curved against my own in the rocking chair. Leo has taught me to recognize patience within myself, to trust my instincts, to read body language when there are no words to choose from. So many nights I can hear his cry in my head causing my body to snap up, ears alert. What does he need? He needs love, nourishment and reassurance just like every baby. The reality of our separation will settle in only after the fact. Leo is my best Montreal friend, there is no denying that.

I will miss cruising around town, just the two of us; Leo high up on my shoulders, little hands folded on the crown of my head. I will miss watching him interact with little people at Parc Outremont where Francophone, Anglophone and Hasidic Jewish children mix together seamlessly. Last week I watched Leo stomp on the precious sand work of four girls who looked about five or six. They were furious with him but he stood his ground, blowing bubbles as if to prove a point. What a guy.

Leo starts baby school on Monday! Virginie invited me to come along for his first day. I think I will die with pride, camera wobbling in my hands. Little backpack on a little boy. I don't know how parents do it, let their babies go. He isn't even mine and already I am misty eyed at the thought of him being scared or uncomfortable in the company of strangers. Don't worry baby, you will familiarize yourself and eventually there will be comfort in place of fear. New toys, new people to stare at, new smells, new pairs of arms to pick you up.

I don't know what to say other than I will miss you dearly, Le Poulet.

This is not the end, but just the beginning.

Day 3 on the job with Le Poulet. Montreal, September 2010.
The Boy Who Eats Stars. Montreal, January 2011.
Crazy poussin. Montreal, January 2011.

Laughing chicken. Montreal, November 2010.
Baby lips. Montreal, April 2011.
Leo with the Croc Slaying hat. Montreal, March 2011.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Planet of a Flower.

Musical journey tonight. Cymande and Mij. Dove and Yodeling Astrologer. Tres bizarre. The best beats, whistle and falsetto I ever did hear. I can't believe I can listen to records at my leisure these days, attached to the head. The only question during: Who next?

How I missed the Listening Station so. Radio Classique 99.5 FM through the receiver. Its green numbers lit up remind me of the old receiver in Quality Builders shop. I loved adjusting that thing as a small girl sitting up on the high counters, sawdust everywhere.

My procrastinating ways need to stop! There is work piling up and I have yet to begin! Today after a family dinner with Chanel and Lola, I picked up a thin pen and drew a Chinese military man, regal in his stature. I have been drawn to old military imagery lately; rows of guns, ammunition hanging on shoulders, pith helmets.

Thin illustration on velum. Photo swiped from Astral P. August 2011.

Night scene on the back balcony. Montreal, August 2011.
The other day Virginie walked into the garden while I was drawing a woman in army clothes holding a gun. I closed my book, embarrassed. She never asked to see it.

Pith Off illustration. Simple pen ink on cardstock; Montreal, Aug 2011.

Old Fucker illustration. Ink pen on cardstock. Halifax, 2011.
No other options. Montreal, August 2011.

Erin and Derek illustration: Attempt 1. July 2011. Yikes.
 I am ram running head first into the woods. Change is stirring, I can feel it moving under my feet. Time with Leo is down to a single day! How can I sum up a year of learning with that child? I love him dearly, this is all I know. Le Poulet, I love you.

As good as stuck. Montreal, August 2011.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beef Stroganoff.

I am listening to a record as I type. Kurt Vile. The Listening Station took on a sliver of shape today. I was on a mission, driven by headache, slugging coffee while pushing Leo at top speed on Parc. We were headed for Little Italy but a turntable caught my eye and I was sidetracked, Italy forgotten. So Leo explored while I wheeled and dealed. Went home after five with that heavy partnership in my arms, cords wild. No speakers, that will come. Can't rush these things.

Gonzales' Solo Piano was the first thing I listened to, work music. Jana/ Devendra split next, I haven't heard that in many moons.

Made Kim Kroeker's Beef Stroganoff for Sahra and two squirrels named Simon and Steve. Tablecloth. Great recipe ma.

School is near, I can almost taste it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Peace like a river.

Dear Michael in Mauve, it was a moment shared with you inside my closet when I realized that I am as free as I choose to be. The future is nothing but now. This is my home, Montreal. I am so proud to live in this province, grateful for the freedom to pursue my passion here.

Together with Chanel and Lola and so many others, we celebrated the lives we live and the life we share in Montreal. Dear Madge, life is not the destination, but the journey. Aunty Daryl, you wrote something close to this in a fat journal which you gave to me on the eve of my first European adventure. I woke with that adage flying around my head like a bird, Laura and Shira's laughter filling up the space of the kitchen like liquid. It is the damn journey. For once in a lifetime I was nothing but relaxed in my own home spilling with strangers. Sailing in and out of rooms, I found the quiet I was looking for in the closet with Michael. There was a party and I was calm.

To wrap up one fiscal year of my life, I zipped into my coral Tony Chestnut MOH dress in honor of my sister's wedding anniversary, one year ago tomorrow: August 21st, 2010. Happy anniversary. I love you and Derek both very much. Every day is a year, fiscally speaking.

Peace like a river in my soul today. I watched the sun come up on my back balcony wearing nothing but a Creme de la Creme shirt paperthin and panties. Feet dangling. The blackest soles you ever did see.

My hips don't lie. Ma Francais, c'est tres maigre. Take it or leave it Montreal, I am here to learn.

Laughing Ladies illustration. Ink to print copy with marker overlay. Made with love.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Cruisin' to Goats' Island; July 2011. Photo by Sara May.

WELL. Today has been lovely thus far. Leo has been a pissy bitch for a greater portion of the day but he is sleeping now, thank god. We swung by the Lady Pad and to my great delight, there was a package from Rags. Not a letter, a package! While Leo danced with Laura, I cut my way through and found a letter too!

Thanks woman, you know me through and through. I was downtown this morn picking up a color crop and had to refrain from stepping into any shops. No no no, no need. It just felt like the kind of day to find a new shirt. Oh well. Shortly thereafter I opened your mail and out fell the Creme de la Creme, a shirt straight off your own damn back. LOVE IT. Wearing it right now.

Tonight Chanel, Lola et moi are celebrating our 3-4-1 Anniversary party at Casa Clark. Shit show, presumably. Laura has lived in Montreal for four years (!!!), Janelle three years (!!!) and one for me. Baby's first year. Shira Time is in town for the grand event and I am praying I wake up tomorrow.

Here are some COLOR photos (just not the same).

Luke Jones of Winnipeg at Parc Outremont; Montreal, August 2011.

Looking out across the St. Lawrence to downtown Montreal; July 2011.

Naked wild child at his chalet. Goats' Island, QC; July 2011.

Tante Lisa, best aunty in the world. Montreal, August 2011.

This is a test. August 2011.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


To begin what feels like the millionth post du jour, a definition: contrast noun |ˈkänˌtrast|the state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association

Color and I? We are experiencing a break. 

It seems I have entered a love affair with something quite the opposite. It has taken hold with an iron grip. The realization of it caught me off guard today. 

In my art, in my dress, in my post, in my sight, BLACK AND WHITE.

Le Chien et Le Chat stencil. Montreal, Quebec; July 2011.

Kind of like printing? Not quite, but cute. Montreal; July 2011.

Île aux Chèvres.

Parisian dad feeds baby. Île aux Chèvres, Quebec; July 2011.

Life is bon. Summer in Montreal has been incredible. In the clarity of hindsight, I am so grateful to have been able to spend the season in its entirety riiiiiiiiight here, at home. The east coast holiday was top notch, a cherry on top. A few weeks ago, Virginie (Leo's ma) invited me to her chalet that has been in the family since she was a baby. Situated on Goats' Island, you can see Laval and Montreal's downtown clear as a bell from their dock. The mighty St. Lawrence lies between their chalet and the city. Pleased as punch, we packed up and took off to the boat launch in Laval on a Friday. She invited her friends Sara and Laurent and their baby Marie, who were visiting from Paris.

It was a French afternoon. I was invited in to the french flow and was happy to sit on a blanket with that GORGEOUS naked babe (two naked babes when Leo woke to join Marie and I). While the babes slept, we waded in the river, drank beer, explored and took turns with the cameras lying around. Here are some shots I like. 


There is something to this that I love. Laurent's index finger, I think. Île aux Chèvres, Quebec; July 2011.

Hi little girl! This is Marie, she will age like a dream. Île aux Chèvres, Quebec; July 2011.
Leo and his dad in the St. Lawrence. Île aux Chèvres, Quebec; July 2011.

Two little babies sittin' in a row. Île aux Chèvres, Quebec; July 2011.
Creature parents. Île aux Chèvres, Quebec; July 2011.