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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Prints Now In The Shop...

I am excited to have just put prints of the first 5 lovelies in the "Beautiful Birds" series, into my Etsy Shop...

...I hope people love them and gotta have them as much as I love making them.

It was a good few days off and I found that I had to make myself stay away from this dearest blog of mine, ha ha. I did start 2 new series that I am having a ball with...I still can't believe I've resisted series work for so darn long...well live and learn I guess!

See you all tomorrow. XO Mandy & some well rested bunnies...

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Process and Summer Days...

I've been feeling abit on edge the last couple weeks and I didn't quite know why, than it hit me, something sooo simple...too much time online which is often, for me a pretty quick and direct route to a whole bunch of stressing, worrying & negative thinking about running out of time to make my dreams come true and not being brave enough to let my creative biz soar...

It's okay, no worries, this is just my routine...the magic that is me, ha ha...I work and work and work and dream really hard, I spend to much time bouncing around online, I flounder about abit, I feel like I am spinning my wheels, I wonder who's looking and caring, I get discouraged (yet my flame is never even near being extinguished!) and than I remember what works for me, what my best process is and what really matters at the end of the day....

...I remember after a couple tiring and tortured weeks that all the stress and worry and excess time online takes me away from my healthy balance and my creating the work that is the main part of my dreams! And once again, like a hundred times before, I realize I can't rush this creative journey of mine, it is what it is and it will be what I want it to be but rushing won't help anyone, especially me...

...SO, I am once again only allowing myself only a few hours online each day and than I get back to what has always embraced me in kindness, calm and abundance...to all of the simple pleasures that help fuel my creativity; coffee, naps, favourite old movies, bike rides, lunch with friends, playing outside, reading, rearranging furniture, baths...and of course days which are beautifully full of time for art making, honey loving, bunny snuggling, music blasting, dancing, good food, time outside with large pastels whiles bunnies romp around my feet...

...you get the point....I am back in my balanced state, it probably won't be for long, I am after all a creative through and through, ha ha but today...today indeed my spirit is calm, my heart is smiling wide and my creative aspirations are feeling incredibly strong willed...

...Ahhhhh...and even my headaches & migraines haven't even been that bad this month, whoot whoot...

....Today I am wishing you all a great weekend with full, calm, happy and hopeful hearts...the photos below show what our weekends usually look like...

We don't have any big & exciting summer plans, no travel will be had...well we did have 1 event that I was looking forward to all year but that was cancelled on us...the bunnies keep us pretty housebound, which sometimes is abit hard because even though we are both homebodies, we are also equal part road hobos who love jumping in the car at a whim BUT when it really comes down to it, we never complain because we wouldn't trade our bunnies for a trip around the world...so indeed, we're having beautiful summer days...hope you are all as well...especially to all you 9-5ers...See yous next week. XO Mandy and the Buns, Ella Luna, Roo, Jin and Apple Jaks.

p.s. Some of these shots will be in my "Bella Bijou" photography shop, opening soon, I am going to take a leap with this, I believe in my photographs and hoping others love em too!

p.p.s I am going to take a couple days off from posting and will be back with you with some new work, oodles of bunny pics and other goodness next Wednesday...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A New Wee Whispy

Another new cutie pie in my "Wee Whispy" series...
she quietly whispers..."Kindness Is Key".

(The original is currently available at the Art On Main Gallery.)

The super sweet Lori over at Happiness Through Art posted about a piece she bought from me recently...it so made my day and surprised me when I popped into her blog...thanks Lori so much, so glad she's in your home...she's in good, kind, sweet and lovely company:D

In my studio I always have music playing, often even when I am not in there, just becaues I like to 'fill' my space with my favourit tunes, often jazz...and I am soooo in love with Melody Gardot's music, I think she is my favourite female jazz singer next to Diana Panton and I just can't get enough of this one song...it's so fantastic and I am playing it over and over, I just had to share:D

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Wonderful Concert...

On Friday night Jonathan and I had a nice night out and treated ourselves to a fantastic vegetarian meal at one of our favourite local eateries called "The Urban Cafe" and we booked dinner on this particular night because I knew that the 'The Folkstar Vagabonds" were playing, which is a duo made up of Elaine Ryan and Melissa Bandura... I asked if they minded me taking some shots...and they didn't...so here are a few of my favs...
They both had incredible voices which blended together so so beautifully.
...and here is me with my newest purchase making me oh so happy...Elaine Ryan's album...I didn't have enough cash on me to buy both c.d & e.p's so I opted for Elaines album called "Songs From The River" because the themes of her songs really speak to me...but I plan to buy Melissa's when her full album comes out.
They both seemed like really cool chicks and I was so inspired after I left the concert...there is something about seeing fellow artists, even if in a totally different industry, living and pursuing their dreams...living their art...that lifts me up and reminds me that with hard-work and preservance that such a thing is possible for anyone...including a little coloured pencil artist:D! If you ever get the chance to see these ladies perform together or separately, I highly recommend it. For me beautiful music makes for a happy heart and a beautiful atmosphere in my beloved studio...which is where I am blasting the cd right now:D...See you on Wednesday all. Thanks for hopping in.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

A good father makes all the difference in the world and I am lucky to have mine... Happy Father's Day Dad....We love you Oh So Much XO Mandy & Jonathan.

Also to my bunny honey....Jonathan you are without a doubt the best bunny daddy out there...We love you XO with nips, nudges & licks...your Bijou, Jin, Jaks, Ella & Roo Boo:D

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My New Display at the New Art On Main...

So finally, I am posting to show you my new display for "Bijou's Whimsy" at the newly moved Art On Main (the artist collective I've been a member of since June of 2009). I've been getting tons of great feedback and people seem to love my Beautiful Birds Collection AND the water blue I painted the fantastic shelves Jonathan built for me...

I am also getting lots of positive comments on the cedar branches I decided to put up to hang my Nubbin birds from:D...

...I worked my butt off to get 14 (of the so far 20) Beautiful Birds prints mounted...and I am so so so pleased with how they turned out, the whole process of making them and the quality...

Two of my Beautiful Birds are in the window display alongside work from our newest member Dave Carlin. I find it such a lovely thing to be in the same window as Dave because he's been such a significant light to me and to my creative world...he was my first mentor in the art world and one of the first ones to nurture my creative spirit...and to this day, even after attending one of the best art schools in Canada, he is still one of the best art teachers I have ever had..and he is also a dear wise friend, so needless to say I am proud to be in the same space...
...So that's me and my work, what do you think of my new display???

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A New Wee Whispy

Hi Everyone, I hope your week on this Tuesday is looking good and that your heart is going strong, that any obstacles seem doable...if not, take abit of advice from my newest Wee Whispy...she has a whisper of encouragement for us all...she whispers "Be Calm....Have Courage....And Believe In Yourself.... Because I think she's so right...when we calm ourselves enough to take a nice deep breathe and really believe that we can accomplish anything, than any hurdles in front of us just melt away...or atleast diminish in size...I am needing abit of courage lately, so maybe that's why I needed to make this little gal...Hope you love her.

I'll be posting 4 times this week instead of 3, so I'll 'see' you all on Thursday where I'll show you what my newest Art On Main space looks like....XO Bijou & The Buns

Monday, June 14, 2010

Painting Restaurant Chairs

My beautiful and dear friend Becca is opening a vegan/organic health juice bar and bistro called "Veg Out", everyone in town is so excited for it and I know with Becca at the helm and as the owner, it'll be a fantastic success and a lovely place to veg out. Becca commissioned me to paint 20 of her chairs...she told me she wanted strawberries and vines and for each chair to be different from the next...

So I started with a really bright and basic colour palette...

and I free hand drew the designs on each chair...it was really weird, it was as though each chair told my hand exactly how it wanted the design because each drawing and each chair happened without any fuss and felt very organic...

It took me 40 minutes to an hour for each chair...
...several of the chairs (yet to be photographed) had the vines going down the legs and up the back spindles, those took abit longer...
I have 2 more chairs to go, 10 bar stools and possibly a pillar/wall...

I honestly don't have friends hire me for work very often so I am so pleased Becca asked me and trusted me to add my bit of whimsy to her place...I'll post again when I've completely the other stages. I was thinking of video taping myself doing some of the other painting and then asking Jonathan to make it into a cool YouTube video for me...hmmm maybe:D ha ha.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Some Great Finds...

I am a bargain hunter and a sales shopper...I hate malls and I love thrift and antique stores...I like buying things that I know not a million other people currently have...and I just had to share some of my awesome thrift store buys with you... This little shelf, I got for $4...I planned to paint in once I got it home but turns out the colour goes great in my studio and perfectly fit some sweet little tins and boxes I already had...awesome:D

...than I found this sweet little white rabbit, that can hold pencils or flowers or whatever I suppose...right now I have my camera transfer cables in it and I just love it...I guess a sweet little ceramic bunny shouldn't make a person so content but well it does ha ha...

...we found this old set of blue glasses at a local thrift store and I just had to have them, especially when it was something like $6 for the whole set!...

and I don't think it's entirely my imagination that milk tastes extra good in the larger ones and brandy extra sweet in the smaller ones:D ha ha...
and okay check out this cool little wooden bowl...now I have this weird thing of bringing wooden stuff into the house that hasn't been made my dad or Jonathan but this little bowl spoke to me...
...maybe cause I thought of someones dad turning it and some one not wanting it so I saw it as a lonely unwanted poor wooden bowl for only $2 that could hide many treasures so I brought it home...it pays off to be a sentimental shopper sometimes;D!
and tins...oh my goodness I used to have this 'thing' for tins, I used to collect them and I do still have quite a few hidden throughout the house here and there but I do have favourites and well when I saw this beauty which matched another slightly larger one I had just in a different colour variation, I couldn't resist....
Isn't she a beauty and I think a steal at something like 0.99 cents!
There you have it...some of my favourite cheap finds so far this year:D What are some of yours? If you blog about them, leave your post link in this here comment section. Have a great weekend all...from Bijou and the Buns:D....XO.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Another New Wee Whispy...

Another new Wee Whispy...this one's message is one that I've really steeped with and learnt over the last year or so..."Nothing Can Bring You Peace But Yourself"...

...because it's so true isn't it, it's up to our own selves to open our own hearts, minds and souls to the many many things that can bring us to a place of peacefulness (like me with my bunnies) and it's all up to our own selves to decide on how fully we want to be in that place of peace, how grateful we are for it and therefore how long we can dwell in and with it and carry it into other aspects of our lives...

...sometimes peace comes easily, sometimes it eludes us, but as long as we realize that only our own hearts can find it and bring it in...well that's most important...

It's funny, I find, most people would look at this simple little image/creation of mine and see something silly or cute and leave it as such but often even in cuteness I offer up my point of view and heart's place...most won't see that, but I trust that many will....

In other news, there are a couple new things on my sidebar, 1 being the North Bay Symphony Garden Tour which I will be a part of this year, it's an annual self guided tour to some of North Bay's most beautiful gardens, and at each garden there will be a quartet of musicians as well as an artist working...and I am one of the artists, I am really looking forward to it and see it as the perfect excuse to work with my pastels, which I haven't worked with for so long.

Also, I am booked for a solo exhibition next May of 2011 at the WKP Kennedy Gallery...I might do the whole show with my Beautiful Birds, because no doubt by then I'll have plenty more conjured up OR, I'll use the title "I am One Of The Long Earred" and you know what that theme would whirl around:D

Before I go, I wanted to share this new great website I just found, it's called "Spring - Inspiration In Bloom"...for those seeking more positivity in their lives, definatly check this site out...what I see so far, I love:D

I plan to do a speacil Sunday post to cover the AOM move and opening, etc...so if you've time visit again then please do...Happy Weekend All...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Etsy Banner & Facebook Button

I couldn't help hopping in really quickly today to show you something that has me squealing in delight...my new Etsy shop Banner...I LOVE it...

What do you think? Head on over to my Etsy Shop and see how the new banner interacts so perfectly with the rest of my work...I am sooo glad, not just because it looks good but because a new Etsy banner has been on my to-do list for ages now...hooray:D Also...(we were busy last night, ha ha) we created this cutie-pie widget for my blog sidebar to lead people to my Facebook Fan Page...isn't she adorable? I think so...

Next some link back buttons and perhaps a custom widget on my blog for my Etsy store...

Well, it's super gloomy and rainy here today but I am good with that because it means sleepy and quiet bunnies upstairs and jazz and much needed studio time downstairs:D Have a good one, see yous all tomorrow for a new Wee Whispy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Long Earred Love

Oh my, how can life not be soaked in sweetness when you find bunnies spooning each other and basking in the sun, ha ha...ahhhhh talk about a squeeze your heart with happiness and love moment... ...I had just come upstairs from my studio with the intention of finding Ella Luna and Roo Boo for a snuggling session when I found them in the dining room like this. Roo was awake and just laying very quietly and 110% contently and Ella Luna was conked right out, she doesn't sleep alot, not like the others, but when she does she makes it count, ha ha...I had time to run back downstairs for my camera, change the lens and tip toe close enough to snap this photo and she still didn't wake up, ha ha... ...than I quietly and slowly stretched out right beside Ella on the left, and laid my hand on her belly at which point she opened her eyes, saw me, decided to stay put and took a deep content breathe and fell back asleep. Roo fell asleep too and he's such a fidgety little sleeper that I always have a hard time not laughing cause he's just so silly in his sleep, he actually digs in his sleep with his little front paws tucked under his chin, ha ha.... ...I laid there for what must have been awhile because I had the BBC radio on and listened to 4 songs and 2 interviews whiles the buns didn't move...it was moments of perfection, I could actually feel my heart expand and smile...such a simple recipe too: sun pouring in, two sleeping gloriously beautiful bunnies and the chatter of the baby squirrels just outside the window....ahhhh.... 'Tis Happiness...ha ha...my life with rabbits may seem lacking or seem a mystery to many, especially to those with the noisier human variety children, but I guarantee you my life is so full of blissful moments like this, so full of warmth and just pure pure simple goodness that I myself, rarely question it nor find it lacking in love and joy:D.... ...For, I am One Of The Long Earred...I am In Happiness.... (Heh I think that might have to be the title for my upcoming exhibition:D)

Monday, June 7, 2010

A New Wee Whispy

Here is a new little pretty in my 'Wee Whispy' series, the 4th one so far, it's not really a series I have plans for yet, other than just to enjoy making them, imprint my energy and favourite messages onto them and hoping some like minded soul out there wants to adopt them...I don't even know if I'll do prints of them for my shop since they are hard to scan in because of the buttons, etc...I do plan to put any originals that don't sell at the gallery, into my Etsy shop, but so far they seem to be selling through the gallery (however if your interested you can always email me and I'll pull them out of the gallery and ship them to you)...anyhow the colours feel so cozy to me and the words on this one I adore and well I think will definitely speak to any kindred spirit out there...it reads "Those Who Are Willing To Be Vulnerable Move Among Mysteries"...

In other news, you all know I've been pretty busy getting things ready for the Grand Reopening of Art On Main, well that whole thing happened on Friday night and I am so pleased to say it was a huge huge success (lots of photos to share with you soon). I admit, I had my doubts and concerns about the new location but others in the collective saw things with a clearer, more positive vision and they were right...the new spot it incredible, warm, artsy, beautiful and I am so proud to be a part of it all. We also just received a large Fednor grant to fund further improvements, so that's very exciting to us as well.

...now that the new store is up and running and looking fabulous, we can all sigh breathes of relief and see lighter workloads ahead (regarding the gallery)...The rest of our weekend was lovely, well no actually Saturday unfortunately I was rendered pretty much useless because of a bad migraine but Sunday was pain-free and sunny (literally:D) and we did nothing but hang out in the yard and garden with the buns and that was ohhh so lovely and had me feeling very very grateful...we got some great shots of the buns and Jon captured the most adorable one of Jaks yawning...I'll share that soon too.

Well, my week ahead is looking good and clear of appointments and I plan to spend most of this day on the Taking Flight e-course, which I am just loving. Have a great one everyone. XO M.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Not Eating Meat Is Easy...

I think that my love and awe of the natural world and it's inhabitants are a pretty big part and inspiration in my artwork and wanting to lead a kinder lifestyle is a big part of it all. Jonathan and I are lacto-ovo vegetarians, but usually we just say 'we don't eat meat' instead of calling ourselves vegetarians because we do eat dairy and some fish (being the lacto-ovo bit). We are lucky in that we both love to cook, so when one doesn't feel like cooking, the other happily picks up the slack. We both cook different types of foods and we both have our different ways, Jon never uses recipes and is great at whipping things up from whatever is in the kitchen but I on the other hand need recipes, every ingredient on that recipe and nice big pictures, oh yeah and defiantly I have to have jazz playing whiles I cook, ha ha. I always find it funny when people say 'it must be hard to be vegetarian'...well yes it is somewhat more difficult in a meat and potato type of town such as where we live, but it's so worth it...to have that whole less-guilt thing going into our tummies. I also laugh when I hear people try to knock veggie heads down with things like "Oh you must starve" etc...well just look at some of our recent delicious meat-free meals we've enjoyed... This was a dish Jonathan made, it had mushrooms, zucchini and veggies mixed with red rice, topped with sauteed garlic 'chicken' strips with mushrooms and spinach with a side of homemade minestrone soup... mmmm good:D I made this potato and leek frittata.with a side of hot house tomatoes it was sooo good... I made this zucchini, red pepper and breadcrumb spaghettini not long ago, it was easy and so tasty... Jonathan makes great noodle dishes, this was a fantastic noodle soup with crispy won tons....you can get vegetarian soup base that tastes like chicken stock, we usually get ours at any bins & bins store....
Our first landlord/friend in Toronto was Jewish and whenever we were sick she'd bring us a pot of mottsaball soup, since then it's always been a comfort dish for me...but now I make a vegetarian version of it and it tastes just as good...
A couple weeks ago I made some homemade sauerkraut with 'sausage'...sided with my fantastic lentil soup...there's usually a pot of lentil soup on at least once a week in our house...
And this is my favourite recent dish of Jons...more noodles but this time with stir fried veggies and delicious basmati rice topped with curried tofu and almonds....soooo delicious and he whips it together pretty quickly too.
So really! does it look like we starve, ha ha...not with all this goodness and yumminess going into our bellies ...We feel healthy, we feel strong and we feel pretty good about what we put into our systems, espeacially when we face four furry little hearts everyday:D
Just wanted to share this little tidbit of our lives....Have a great and extra kind weekend all.