Wednesday, July 07, 2021

It's All A Blur…


So, it's been a month. And it's been A Month. 

At the beginning of May, I started a contract position, working the Census here in Canada. There wasn't a lot of work to do in May, but June has been solid. 

Anyone who knows me knows that enumerating is an unlikely job for a hardcore introvert like me. But desperate times call for desperate measures, haha. The new house has cost me far more than a five-year-old house should to set right, and sorting out those issues has both pulled me away from rebuilding my art business in a new area, and meant those bills I mentioned in my last post. Kind of a vicious circle. Soooooo....yeah. It's amazing what you can do when your neck is on the line!

Anyway…it's not been all bad. It's let me get to know the new area, driving here, there and everywhere. There are lots of pretty spots around here. And while a surprising number of people hide (I didn't realize Census was so scary!) most people have been very friendly. 

I have completed a number of Keepsake paintings, and I've managed to get 27,000 words down on the next book…so all has not been lost! I'm hoping July will be a bit less stressful though, on all fronts. 

Painting: just finished a 10 x 8 Keepsake of an awesome Percheron, which I can't share yet because it's a gift.

Reading: Teresa Van Bryce's House of the Blue Sea

Listening: today was Cursive's Angry Organ (sometimes you just have to, because Art Is Hard!); audiobook, Courage by Natalie Keller Reinert.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Hello June!

No threat of snow in the forecast right now — we're in the midst of another heatwave. Where I used to live, I was in a little knoll, very sheltered from the wind, so during a heatwave like this, it was *very* hot. Add to that I had a steel barn, so while I'd still bring the horses in to get them out of the sun, I'd have to hose them before putting them in their stalls, or they would just sweat in their stalls, even with fans on them. My lovely new barn is much cooler, and as I may have mentioned, the wind here is crazy — which is a nice thing on a hot day. I still bring them in if the sun is beating down, thanks to Gracie's predisposition to heatstroke, but overall it is much more pleasant for them.

I recently saw a post in a FB group asking if anyone knew of any books on a woman starting up her own farm — alone — and building it from scratch.  Funny, that. Last fall, one of my friends suggested I should write such a book, about this crazy journey I'm on. I admit I've kind of been keeping my head in the sand when it comes to recording the reality of what's happened in the past year because it was not easy. And things still aren't roses. In fact, other than some wild daisies and plenty of dandelions, there are no flowers here yet, haha!!  But I thought I should start recording stuff here. No one reads this blog anymore anyway, so I'm not going to worry about it being "perfect." It will just be a place to record the goings-on and development, and if there's a cohesive story to be extracted from the entries, so be it. 

In the meantime, on the writing front, I'm finally starting to pull together things for the *next* book in the Good Things Come series. I'd still like to see more reviews and ratings for All Good Things and All The Little Things…the reviews are good, and maybe it's not fair to compare them to Good Things Come, but it still lets the doubt fester! Ah well. An odd thing — ATLT has 20+ ratings on Goodreads, but only 14 on Amazon. All Good Things has 26  on Amazon, but only 13 on Goodreads! GTC is pretty close — 93 on Amazon, 95 on Goodreads. Oh, how I'd love to see it reach 100!

Okay, enough babbling about the novels. Must work. Bills, many many bills, to pay…

Sidenote, now that I've included the photo above — I found some amazing butter tarts, at the grocery store, no less! They're just the way I like them, buttery and crunchy and plain. So good. They are exactly like Faye's butter tarts (well...Lucy's…) would be like…mmmmmm

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Two Days In A Row!

Are you impressed? Are you even out there? Haha.

There's a crazy wind out there today. I got stalls done first thing for a few reasons — because unsettled weather like this can mean rain and thunderstorms, so I wanted to be able to bring ponies in a drop of a hat; because I had someone coming out on a work order for Xplornet; and because…I forgot the other reason all of a sudden. Such is my brain these days!

So, stalls done, I let myself read a bit more of Tudor's new book, then did a little stuff on the computer. Then the person from Xplornet called and got me riled up by suggesting I had unreasonable expectations of my service (like I expect it to work? That kind of unreasonable?). That was 10am. To talk myself down after that call, I put on some Bon Iver, swept up dog hair (which I could do every five minutes), then settled down to paint. I made an adjustment as per a client's observation on one commission, then signed both of their paintings; then worked on, and I hope finished, another one and sent it for comment. Two-plus hours later, the Xplornet person arrived. Guess what? He says the installation was done completely wrong and is confident he can fix it. I do hope he's right!

Once he left, I took my silly Border for her run (she runs, I walk!). I also played with a cover idea for the next book in the Good Things Come series, which I haven't fully committed yet to writing! So now I have a prospective title and cover idea…and a vague story outline! I'm not sure if I'm excited or terrified! I think I kind of love the cover image…and while I love the title idea, I'm not 100% sold on it. We shall see. I'm going to need some feedback from others on it. Sometimes my title ideas are a little bit obscure!

I did up the little graphic above last night after getting a new review on All The Little Things. It was a lovely review, though I had to laugh to think of what Faye's response would be! She'd be good with the classy, but I think she would have preferred to star in a steamy romance! 

Okay! Time to bed the stalls and bring the kids in. They're been remarkably chill today with that wind! At one point, both boys were napping!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Missing the Blog!

I know I've said it before and failed to follow through, but I'm going to attempt to revive this blog! I still refer to it so often, so I'm going to try to recreate that sense of purpose it had a few years back — for myself if no one else!

There's so much on the go right now — so many balls in the air. I'm working on a number of commissions while a stack of speculative WIPs waits in the wings for those to be under control. I'm starting to work on a very rough draft/outline for novel number *four,* while also scribbling notes for a new series. I'm getting a reprieve from the contract position I took to help pay the bills, but next week I'll be back to that. And, I've started, finally, working with the horses again. I've ridden Gracie a couple of time, and have started groundwork with her three (half) brothers. I forget how much I love it until I'm back at it! So far everyone is being very good!

I made the decision today to get a small stack of errands done, which took me from half an hour west and home again, then half an hour east and home again! That was the first time I'd been to Kingston since I moved last fall, and while it was just an in and out trip to drop off some water samples, I'm kind of excited to know it's that close. Now if this whole pandemic would just move along, I could get to know it a bit!

It's warm and overcast and windy today, so the horses are still happy outside. I finally got them out on grass a little over a week ago, so they were out for a limited time only, but they've grazed it enough by now for me to feel it's safe for them to be out all day when the weather cooperates! So I have half an hour to get something done before I go bed their stalls and bring them in. Okay, now that I've written this, twenty minutes! 😉 Off I go!


Painting: none

Reading: starting Tudor Robins' new book (and series!), Moving North!

Listening: Panic! At The Disco's Vices and Virtues; audiobook, Eleanor & Park.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

All The Scary Things

Gryph is in Sunday, and I’m terrified.

Terrified he’ll hurt himself.
Terrified he’ll run up the track.

Terrified he’ll turn out to be everything we’ve been joking he’ll be. #obiwanyoureouronlyhope

I think it was February first I told myself I was going to start back posting here. It's only the 19th, so that's not too bad, right?

They (whoever "they" are) say you should do something every day that scares you. Yesterday, I finally did something that kind of terrified me! You see, I've got this novel I've written, and last September I decided I should at least try to pursue traditional publication for it. Another "they" said, "never self-reject...query that agent." It only took me seven-plus months to write a query letter remotely worthy of sending out, but yesterday was the day I did so for the first time. And, having conquered Scary Thing Number One, I followed up by sending it to a second agent. After that, I figured I'd keep up the momentum, and made a couple of phone calls I've been avoiding (hardcore introvert here: I hate making phone calls!!).

This morning I was happy to receive my first rejection! Yes, you read that right. Happy. I intentionally queried that particular agent because research told me they responded quickly. And as someone who has done art shows for years, and thus is no stranger to rejection, getting it out of the way is nice. It's like, "Hey, I tried that, now I can move on to the next thing." And in this case, not a thing, but another agent! Or ninety-eight.

I don't know if my little book will ever attract the attention of an agent. Horse racing is probably a tough sell right now. But the hopeful part of me would like to see it out there, because racing is about so much more than what the public see on the surface (and the surface is not very pretty right now, it seems). 

The little bit of writing at the top isn't from the novel, it's an excerpt from real life. It makes me think of the novel, though. Until you actually get out there, you never know! And for the record, Gryph didn't run up the track. He ran okay. But he wasn't our Obi Wan!

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Art of Avoidance

After a month of painting every day, I have fallen seriously flat in October. How did I get to the 25th with only managing a couple of days at the easel? Shameful.

Today, finally, I was determined to sit down and paint. It's 2:13pm as I write this, and I'm maybe halfway through the Keepsake portrait I'm supposed to finish. I will finish it, but really, I should be almost done by now, and I'm not.

It's a funny thing – when I'm supposed to be writing, like the times I've done November's Nanowrimo, I have this overwhelming urge to paint. Today, when I need to be painting, what did I do? Decided to take part in a flash fiction contest.

I stink at flash fiction. Today, however, I figured it would be a good exercise. You know, when I'm supposed to be PAINTING.

Anyway. I have written said thing. We'll see if I'm brave enough to submit it. It's inspired by my little black and white dog. Have I told you lately how clever she is? Here's a video of her a few weeks ago at her scent detection class. So smart. 💗

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Paint the Town Red. Or Orange.

"High Hopes," 14 x 11 oil on linen.
Finally, part three of my painting chestnuts posts. While these three palettes are by no means the only ways to go, they're what's most common for me. This week, I'll share with you some of the details about my painting "High Hopes," a 14 x 11 oil on linen (Raphael linen panel).

The reference for this painting has been on the back burner for a long time – literally eight years. The moment I saw the photo on my camera, I knew it was special. I knew I needed to paint it. It just took me a while to decide it was time!

"Firstborn," 14 x 11 oil on linen.
I also knew what palette I wanted to use. It was a stall scene, much like "Firstborn," and I wanted a similar feel. Easy decision to use the same palette!

This is the most complex pallete I use – it's one I adopted from a workshop with Val Hinz ten years ago, and it's really the only time I methodically lay out the paint before I start!

In it's most basic sense, it's red, blue, and yellow. Normally I'll use Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue...then Val's palette involved a series of yellows, from dark to light. Most often I use Burnt Umber, Brown Ochre, Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Yellow Light. The red and the blue are lightened with Titanium white, and added to the appropriate yellow of the same hue.

With this painting, you can see I started with my usual underpainting, then built up the colour. The usual story! I just happen to have a little time-lapse painting of part of that!

FYI...I could have sold this painting twice. Some pieces are like that! "Firstborn" was also one of those!

I hope you enjoyed my little series on painting chestnuts!