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Art of Where – On Demand Printing & Unique Products

Recently, I happened to discover “Art of Where,” which is a company based out of Montreal, Quebec that offers on-demand printing of artwork, along with a variety of unique products that can be made from digital art images. So, I have set up a shop to offer some unique products using my own images, from prints to pillows, and scarves to kimonos.

For a few years now, I have been looking for a Canadian-based company so that I don’t have to pay customs fees on international orders. That way, I can offer my customers more reasonably priced products.

I also have a shop on Fine Art America, but they can ship only art prints from within Canada, while all their other products (mugs, pillows, etc.) are made in and shipped from the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

If you are a Canadian artist and have suggestions regarding where you have offered your own unique products on demand, please forward them to me! I’m looking for quality, as you are, of course, but also for the right price (no extra shipping/customs fees for our customers in Canada).

Here is the link to my shop, if you would like to have a look! Art of Where: Michelle Vyn – Vine Art

I have added only a few images so far, but if you are interested in a print/product from one of my paintings that is not yet on the Art of Where website, please let me know.

Here are just a few samples of products they offer, using a few of my shop images:

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Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes

My “Phoenix Rising to New Life” painting is a very personal piece, as I’ve always felt like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

Since the phoenix is mythological, I took the liberty of depicting a more peaceful bird to represent new life. Its magical lift and effortless flight promote an appreciation for its confidence and grace, even while it is vulnerable during this stage of renewal.

Phoenix Rising to New Life

Phoenix Rising to New Life / 30″ x 40″ / acrylic on canvas

If you have ever felt like a phoenix rising from the ashes, then you will see a lot of symbolism. The level of the lake is flat, much like the flatline of a heart monitor. The rising elevations of the mountains hint at the power and strength of the new life, versus the flatline.

There is fog on the water, signifying the morning of a new day. The fog also acts as a cover for the phoenix, as it seeks a safe direction to start its journey.

Of the 4 tail feathers, two are peacock-like, one of which resembles a human eye. This eye was not meant to be the all-seeing eye of God (or perhaps I would have placed it more within the triangular area of the mountain). Instead, it is a human eye, which serves to remind us of where we have been and what we have learned, so that we can take part willingly in the transformational process of renewal.

The phoenix was a Christian symbol for resurrection in the time of the early church. The leaves on the tree occur in sets of three, pointing to the triune God. Therefore, it is fitting that the tree is in the foreground and that it stands out somewhat 3D from the rest of the painting. It also shelters the phoenix somewhat, and serves as a marker of its complete departure from its past.

Meanwhile, its old body lies in death, which is represented by the rocks in the lower right corner of the painting. It is a human body, with female form, lying in the position which it fell in death. But it wasn’t all for nothing. There are already spring flowers bursting from the fertile ash in the crevices of the rock, indicating that we leave a legacy that helps others to learn from the past and look forward to a better future.

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Upcoming Art Show: Uncorked, Unbuttoned, Unbridled

This upcoming art show is for Huntsville Art Society (HAS) members only. As a brand new member of HAS, I must admit, I struggled with selecting which of my finished pieces fit the theme, “Uncorked, Unbuttoned, Unbridled.” I narrowed it down to 3 pieces, and then I asked my husband how he thought they fit the theme. When he heard the show title, he gave me a look with raised eyebrows, and I could immediately sense that his imagination conjured up some interesting ideas.

I’ve had my art selected for similar, theme-styled member shows before (with Muskoka Arts & Crafts), where the theme was open to interpretation, and only a handful of members were able to submit something suitable, sometimes keeping with a very literal interpretation. I didn’t have time to create a new piece before the entry deadline in this case (as a very new member), so I looked through my inventory of finished pieces.

I didn’t explain to my husband my reasons for choosing the above 3 pieces, not until after he confirmed or denied whether they fit in the least. Obviously, these are 3 very different styles and subject matter. The phoenix is bursting into new life while its body has been forgotten in death (turned into rock in the lower right corner, with spring flowers already blooming, as if it is a fertile rock garden). “Piano Blues” conjured up (for me) thoughts of dancing along to some upbeat jazz and getting right into the party. In my hubby’s opinion, my phoenix painting got his thumbs up, while “Piano Blues” was a stretch. “Convergence of the Four Winds” could also have fit the bill, with its aerial view of cyclonic winds let loose on the world. So, I submitted 2 out of 3 images accordingly, and waited.

It turns out that many members entered the show, and I don’t know if any were turned away, but only one piece per member was chosen, mainly for space reasons. Having only a limited idea from thumbnail photos of accepted entries, I’m still wondering how some of them fit the theme, but maybe I will understand when I see them in person. Such is the way of interpretation.

See the poster below, along with my submission that was accepted into this juried art show. Surprised?

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First Hummingbird Sighting 2018

Hooray! I’ve been following the sightings that people have been recording on this website, so I knew they were getting closer to Muskoka in their migration. In eager expectation, I put out the hummingbird feeder a few days ago. When I saw them today, I had to submit my own sighting on the website.

It was raining for most of today, so these photographs are from indoors and looking through the bay window. The wind didn’t help me get many pics that were in focus, but I still got proof of the return of these lovelies. There was at least one pair, but the pics only show the male.

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In the above photo, you can see the ruby colour at its throat. But even though these pics are all of the same bird, its throat looks black in some, because of the light.

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He even looks a little chubby when he is at rest. So sweet!

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Spring Has Finally Arrived!

Winter 2017-2018 was LONG, but good riddance! We received piles of snow well into April this year, and it’s only been completely gone from our yard now for about a week.

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Lake Muskoka was still covered in ice on April 15th.

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On April 24th, the snow had to be shovelled off our back deck so it could melt in the sun. My back garden was completely bare. Thanks to the deer for chewing the few tulips out back down to nothing. Since the snow and ice still covered the front gardens, those tulips hadn’t yet emerged, so they were safe.

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On April 29th, the sun is finally high enough in the sky to melt the snow on the front yard, but there is still a small patch.

 

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And there were only a few crocuses in the front garden then.

 

 

 

 

 

But now, I am proclaiming a long overdue welcome to spring!

In fact, on May 1st it seemed to go from winter temperatures the day before right into summer (while snow was still on the ground ?!@&!?). Of the snowdrop bulbs I planted, not a single one came up, in the front or in the back. They should have done so before the crocuses, which makes me think something was wrong with them. I won’t buy bulbs packaged by that company again.

Every spring, I can’t resist touring my gardens to see which of my “green babies” has just burst out from the ground, day after day. In the sunshine, I can almost watch them growing. It helps to cheer my soul after the winter blahs.

Now, everything is coming up (except for one out of 3 lupines I planted). We may have had a slow start, but it’s all catching up!

I’m so excited to see my gardens fill out this year, after all the work I’ve put into it. Finally, I can rest in knowing that I shouldn’t have to do much work with it this year, except some maintenance, but that is a peaceful activity.

Happy Spring!!

 

 

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Writing Contests

I know it might sound strange to say I’ve been busy writing, while the number of posts I’ve made here doesn’t remotely approach the total word count. But, I am forced to keep it under wraps, at least for a short duration.

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Writing away on my laptop

I’ve decided to enter some of my writing into various contests, which require that the writing has not been previously published or even within the judging period (not even on a personal blog). The winning entries from these contests are to be published for the first time, so I don’t want to disqualify any work that I’ve entered.

Today, I submitted a short story for this contest: The CRAFT Short Fiction Prize

It’s the first year I have ever entered writing contests, and I have mapped out several for the coming months. One could plan out a whole calendar year of entries! Since I’ve only recently decided to do this, I’ve made 3 contest deadlines in the past 2 days. Keep in mind that these were mainly finished stories that only needed to be tweaked to stay within the entry guidelines. I’ve submitted not only genre fiction stories, but also non-fiction essays/memoirs, poetry, and a children’s story. Most of my ideas for full-length books are still in my head, but these are snippets from them.

Entering contests is one way for me to step into the writing world. They serve to add a little motivation, as long as the timing is right for me to polish an entry.  

Eventually, I will get some things published, but I have to be my own editor, cover designer, etc. for indie publishing. Children’s books require a lot of illustrations, and it all takes time. My memoir is currently sitting at 115,000 words, and I’m not finished. I think it will need to be divided into 2 very different finished books, but I will get there! 

Meanwhile, there is always art to express myself, when words fail. It seems I am always doing one or the other lately (painting or writing), because there is healing to be found through the arts.

To all you writers reading this: I hope this has encouraged you to be courageous and submit your writing. Take a look at some of the past winning entries and honourable mentions that are published on contest websites to see what the judges thought stood out from the rest.

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Mako the Golden

We lost a true friend this April. I write this to honour the furry fella, Mako the Golden.

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Looking back as life keeps moving forward.

Mako was always adventuresome. This dog lived the life of a true companion to his chosen master, always willing to hop in the truck (front or back) and hang out at the workplace through the day, and never missing his ride home.

He knew his pack. As with any dog, one master rose above the rest, because the dog choses on its own. Mako started with one owner, then circumstances moved him around within the same family, but eventually, he decided on the one. He went with him wherever and whenever he could.

But Mako knew and loved all the rest who came and went from the home he claimed as his own. He greeted everyone like he hadn’t seen them in ages, even if it was only a few hours since he last smelled them. Many people came and went from his lakeside home, and he hung out with everyone on the dock and in the boat(s). Ducks and fish were a few of his interests, and he couldn’t keep his nose away from a potential catch, or meal.

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Eyeing up a potential meal, with my daughter and my sister-in-law.

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Showing some interest in my son’s fishing hobby.

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My daughter had a special attachment to Mako, and the feeling was mutual. She was much more than his trusted tummy-scratcher. When his master had to be away, Mako stayed at our house and he slept in our daughter’s bedroom on his own bed. Yes, he also brought his own stuffed animal.

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At our house, Mako always looked with longing out the front door to the street where he would see other dogs, but we couldn’t let him outside without attaching a leash and walking around with him, because he wasn’t used to the city.

At his home(s) he was completely free. He romped through the hills and forest, down to the dock and lake, in search of the sources of all the scents in his world. One time, he followed his nose to discover a girl-dog at a residence not too far from his property, and he outstayed the welcome of her owners on several occasions. And during the work week, Mako had his run of the workplace property too. He was used to running, sniffing, and rolling, but he was sure to be back when the workday was done for his ride home in his master’s truck.

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The dock and boathouse on a frozen Lake Muskoka. April 15th, 2018.

This year, old man winter would not relent, and the lake was still frozen on the surface well into April. On the evening of the 10th, Mako made his usual request to go outside for his constitutional, but he didn’t return. It was suspected that he was visiting his girl-dog, and that he would make his way back as always. The next morning, he still hadn’t shown up. Later into the morning hours, he was found a short distance from the dock. He had, for reasons unknown, fallen through the ice, and although he tried desperately, he couldn’t get out of the freezing water for all the broken, shifting ice. In the dead of night, no one heard a sound. The extended winter is to blame, and it isn’t welcome anymore! But Mako was, and always will be, sorely missed.

I’ve not had the pleasure to know that many special dogs, but he made me want another dog of my own! It has been a while for me. Maybe I will get my wish someday, but for now, we’re all missing this guy like no other!  

 

 

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About the Artist, and “Vine” Art

In an attempt to reduce the word count of my biography on my “About” pages, I have transferred this information to this blog post, and I think this is preferable.

About the artist, Michelle Vyn (pronounced Vine):

Hmm, does the little bit in brackets not say plenty? Not pronounced “vin,” as in vin-tage (I’m not quite there yet). I even had to get “punny” and call my “fine” art, “Vine” art. All this in hopes that my married surname will get pronounced the way I like to hear it. How hard can a 3-letter name be to pronounce anyway? It’s dutch, and it’s pronounced “vine” in the Netherlands, from “Vijn”, which branched off from “Fijn,” pronounced “fine.” So, Vine Art works just fine, I think.

Perhaps I was born an artist, or born-to-be-an-artist. Either way, I started very young, and before I was 5 years of age, I was drawing “perfect” circles. If I practiced every day, I didn’t realize it, because I was more than content with pencils, crayons, markers and modelling clay, at all times and everywhere. It is the smell of the art room that I remember best from all my years at elementary school.

Discovering the world through art has been a favourite pastime since those early days. I gave expression to this wonder by drawing subjects from nature (primary grades), pet portraits (junior grades), and eventually (in the teen years) by creating portraits of friends and family, as well as drawing for commissions. Unfortunately, I gave most of my completed drawings away.

I grew up in a small village outside of London, Ontario, and eventually expanded my horizons by moving to St. Thomas as an adult, which was not much farther from London. In St. Thomas, I got married, had 3 children (very close in ages), became a student on and off, and a teacher on and off. I’m a lifelong learner, so I will consider myself a student and a teacher for as long as I’m able. Art has been a life-long hobby, but my professional art career started in late 2014.

Primarily self-taught at drawing and with a love for realism, I branched into working with other media while at university and discovered a love for many art styles from throughout history. I am still mainly self-taught; however, I have taken a few college and university studio art courses for credit along the way. I also enjoy meeting and collaborating with other artists and I find satisfaction that in art there is always more to learn and more to express. My love for colour and texture is evident in my compositions, and my variety of life experience shows in the diversity of subject matter and influential styles I’ve been attracted to over the years. I have travelled the world, if only in my imagination (benefiting from the exposure of education), and the influence is there in my work.

In September of 2015, just after I was getting my work noticed in the London area, my husband accepted a job offer in the beautiful Muskoka area in the province of Ontario, Canada. To get our family established, I found a full-time job, but I joined Muskoka Arts & Crafts (our “guild”) and continued to seek out potential art shows to keep creating.

Currently, I live in Bracebridge, Ontario, which is said to be the “heart” of Muskoka. I am continually inspired by the endless beauty of the the nature that surrounds me.

I love to explore the bounds of creativity with acrylic paints and mediums, and I prefer to experiment with new techniques, which keeps others guessing and asking how I have created my finished pieces. At times, I also return to drawing, printmaking, mixed media creations, and many other artistic media.

 

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World Autism Awareness Day 2018

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, and I’m sharing my Peaceful Sea Turtle in recognition of both Autism (ASD) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Some people with autism don’t like what the “puzzle” pieces signify in the autism awareness logos and materials, understandably, since those with ASD and/or SPD are not missing pieces that would make them whole, not at all. So, in an effort to respect this view, I am in the process of creating an illustrated children’s book with an alternative way of picturing neurodiversity, using the imagery of the senses, with illustrations that capture colours, patterns and texture. Just as every person is different, so is everyone with ASD or SPD.

The characters in my book are sea turtles, with one main turtle who swims apart from the others and follows her heart. Some of the illustrations (below) have been completed for some time now. Can you see the similarities and differences amongst them, the variety in their genetic makeup and the multipotentiality of talents that make each individual unique and full of purpose?!

I am currently writing the words of the story, and the other illustrations and art are still coming together in my visual mind. When it is complete, I will announce it on my website and blog.

April is Autism Awareness Month in the USA. Each year, in October, Canada recognizes Autism awareness and Sensory Processing Disorder awareness. Please continue to share the awareness literature and logos of various organizations around the world, as it all helps! These days, everyone knows someone with ASD, but they might not know anything more than a set of symptoms for classic autism, which can leave a person with a very limited, in-the-box, stereotypical view of autism. That was how I viewed autism (when I first heard of it), before I went to teacher’s college, took additional courses in special education, and continued to educate myself for the sake of people I know with ASD and SPD. In addition, I used to wonder why I experienced so many sensory issues, but I now know for certain that I have SPD myself. It accounts for many of the health issues that seriously affect my quality of life. So, yes, I know much from first-hand experience.

There are many severe challenges for people with ASD (many are listed under SPD). These challenges can be a combination of social, emotional, mental and/or physical. They can affect/hinder communication (spoken, written), even attempts at expressing feelings or describing physical symptoms; organization (of thoughts, schedules, etc.); perception of sensory input, whether hyper- or hypo-sensitive; etc. etc.  It was recently announced that 1 in 66 children in Canada between the ages of 5 to 17 are diagnosed with Autism. The figures for reported diagnoses in females is rising, due to awareness of how Autism manifests differently in females. Most of the research has been done on males to come up with the criteria for ASD diagnosis, so females have a difficult time getting an accurate diagnosis.

Neurodiversity needs to be accepted and supported. The world needs different thinkers and doers! In fact, the world would not have so many advances in science, technology, engineering, maths, and the arts (visual arts, music, theatre, etc.), if it weren’t for so many neurodiverse thinkers throughout history.

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Happy Easter! He is Risen!

This Sunday, many will be singing, He is risen!! Happy Easter to all!

A few years ago, I wanted to create something memorable for Easter, but how can an artist create a painting that is only for one day of the year? After all, salvation is the gift from God that keeps on giving, and we can celebrate that every day of the year, not just on Easter. The finished painting is very stylized – I combined elements from contemporary art and some very ancient mosaics from early Christianity.

The painting was on display that year for Easter Sunday, and I was asked to explain what all the symbolism means, because there’s so much that can be missed. I always tend to pack a lot of meaning into my writing and my art, so I’ll try to bring it all together in a way that can be understood without too much theology. If I have missed any explanation, please let me know by commenting below.

Now, where to begin? . . .

Let’s start at the top of the painting. An ancient water jug is being held and poured (by unseen divine hands) into a chalice, where the water has turned into new wine (the bread sits beside the cup). This might remind you of the first sign that Jesus performed when he turned water into wine. In addition, near the end of his life, Jesus shared the cup (of wine) and bread with his disciples and he told them to continue to do this in remembrance of him. This practice is continued through the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, and believers also look forward to the day when they will share in the wedding feast of the Lamb after the Lord’s return, when they will drink the new wine that he promised.

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The Giver / 36″ x 48″ / acrylic on canvas

Reaching up through the inside of the cross is a tree (which looks more like a vine, but that’s okay if one thinks of John 15, where Jesus called himself the true Vine, and says that if we want to bear fruit, then we must remain in him). It was intended at first to be a tree to remind us that the cross is made from a tree, since it was prophesied that the Christ would be hung (put to death) on a tree like a criminal, even though he was innocent. It also represents the tree of life. The roots of the tree are shown to remind us that we need to become rooted and grow deeper in the faith. It is fitting that the anchor is with the roots, because Christ is the anchor who holds believers steady and firm in the storms of life (much like having deeper roots would keep us steady and firm). When believers depend on him, their faith becomes steadier in the process.

Now, for the center circle. There are three main spirals in gold which represent the Trinity. The center is yellow like the sun, the brightest thing we have seen, and yet, God’s glory is even brighter than the sun. The spirals in the center and the ropework, or braiding, in the outer circle are Celtic motifs (mainly from Ireland – my ancestry). Notice that the braid is a three-stranded cord and it has no end, again pointing to the Trinity and that God is eternal. (A friend also mentioned the meaning from Ecclesiastes 4:12 – Yes, there is meaning in art for the viewer which even the artist does not intend, but it is meaning all the same!)

Okay, so now, what is going on with the scene that the cross is overlapping? There are two cliffs on either side, between which is a chasm, and the cross is the bridge from one side to the other. What Jesus did on the cross has made it possible for us to turn from sin and accept His invitation to new life. He draws us to Himself, and we can come to him in confession and repentance to receive forgiveness for all our sins. He only needed to accomplish it once, and on the cross he did it – once, and for ALL. It’s our turn to respond, and to do so before it’s too late. Our response is to praise him, offering a public profession of our faith, which includes baptism.

Just as Jesus was resurrected with a new body, so also will believers be resurrected one day with a new body, but only because of what he has done. Believers receive a foretaste of a future resurrection when they are baptized, as it is written in Romans 6:4 (also on the painting): “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” In other words, baptized believers are buried in their sin, by the water of baptism, but they are raised as they emerge from the water into the new life of a Christ follower. This is another sacrament through which Christians celebrate what Christ has done and profess love for him publicly.

Some other symbols surround the cross: The Holy Spirit is depicted in the form of a dove, and the fire also symbolizes the presence of God’s Spirit residing within the believer (just as on the day of Pentecost). The Holy Spirit is the Helper who Jesus promised He would send when He returned to the Father. And he (the Spirit) is present with each and every believer everywhere on Earth. He sanctifies believers for the work of the Church, and he does so much more work in believers than I can describe here.

One of the fish in the water is an early Christian symbol of a Christ follower – the Greek letters spell out the word “Ichthus,” which means “fish,” but it is an early acronym to proclaim: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour (in the Greek: “Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ”; or when transliterated: Iēsous Christos, Theou Huios, Sōtēr).

The scroll represents the Word of God and was the early form of the Bible (before bounded books with individual pages). On the scroll are the letters Alpha and Omega, another of the many names of Christ found in the book of Revelation, referring to him being the beginning and the end, just as Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Alpha and Omega also refers to Jesus being creator of all things within time, and the author and finisher of our faith. The Bible itself is a precious gift from God to humankind, since it is “special revelation” of His plan for all people everywhere and of His provision of a Redeemer/Saviour.

And full circle back to the top right where we look to the clouds, for that is where the gospels leave off… this is where we will see Christ’s return in glory! While that time is appointed by God, it is unknown to us, but believers are warned to be ready, not to be anxious or afraid, and to stand firm to the end, trusting in God’s faithfulness throughout time.

If you would like to see this painting in my online gallery, find it here.

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Spring Art Show Entries – 2018

Finally, I came up with 3 entries into the Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ 41st Annual Spring Members’ Art Show. It took me a while, but I did it, and here they are:

Members could submit up to 3 pieces for the juried show, as long as they have been completed within the last 2 years and have not been entered to previous Spring Members’ Shows. Since I wasn’t as active in the past year creating art, I found myself in January trying to complete 3 brand new pieces (my bears and foxes were entered last year). Unfortunately, I ran out of time to complete the 3rd piece that was using the same technique. I will eventually complete it and reveal it in another post. Instead, for the 3rd piece, I chose a small one I completed a few months ago, using Pebeo mixed media products.

People often ask me about this technique. I will explain, using some older photos from when I did my first piece using this process. First, I need to plan it on paper, and then I draw a grid over it and map it out on the larger canvas area. The first time I did this, I wasn’t sure how detailed of a trimming job I could do to the acrylic skins (for fear that they would be too fragile), so the shapes are fairly simple. I was trying to achieve a stained glass “look.” Next, I needed to create the acrylic skins, which was the painting stage, but this was done “directly” on a piece of plastic, so that I could peel it off when it dried and cut out the shapes. This planning stage was time consuming, because if I didn’t like how a sheet turned out, I would have to make more, and they take a long time to dry. Sometimes my layout would need to change in the process.

The most time consuming part was prioritizing what sections of acrylic skins were to be designated for use on the canvas, and then cutting them to shape, and adhering them.  Here are a couple of pics to show the process with my much more detailed “Dancing With the Wind” piece.

As you can see, the pouring medium that is mixed with the paint to make the acrylic skins does dry to a glossy sheen. It is very difficult to get a great photograph of these pieces, so they must be seen in person!

If you are in the Bracebridge area this weekend, here are the details of the show:

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Seasons

In October 2017, many stressful events from the past 2 years came a head for me, and I’ve needed to step back from almost everything to take charge of my health. I’ve been extremely quiet about it, but I suppose that was easy, because I stopped working and stopped every social activity, so I guess no one was able to ask me where I’ve been or what I’ve been up to. I’ve mostly been at home, trying desperately to gain some energy and motivation for the things I have always enjoyed. Since May this year, my quality of life has rapidly declined, and it seemed to be doing so exponentially by the months, then the weeks, and finally, the days. At this point, I don’t know how long it will take me to feel 100% again, or even 50%.

I’ve been struggling to create anything, and I have only accomplished a few experimental art pieces, which I posted to my facebook account. I’ve decided to write a memoir, because I think it will help me to process the stressful life events that have contributed to my situation. So, I am gathering and organizing the details in a timeline for now.

Being unhealthy physically does have its impact on mental health, and vice versa. Most of my physical ailments are invisible, but stress has taken its toll on me in many ways. I’m currently dealing with chronic migraines, brain fog, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, night sweats (not to be confused with hot flashes), all over muscle and joint pain, back pain, abdominal pain and pressure, bloating, allergies, dizziness, and intermittent vertigo. All this contributes to depression and anxiety. Most disturbing about all this is trying to sort through it all, but I’m not sure if I can even hope to get at the root cause. Is it “leaky gut”? I already know I have SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), but I am not officially diagnosed. As an adult, it is very difficult to find anyone who can diagnose this, because the occupational therapists generally deal with diagnosing children up to age 18. I also need to find someone who can confirm whether or not I have a chemical sensitivity, which is over and above SPD. If I don’t do the research myself, how will I ever know? I just keep writing this down for my next doc appointment, so that I will self-advocate and eventually get some answers. If I don’t write it down, I simply forget everything these days.

I’m finding that my health has forced me to enter a season of life that can be only be explained through imagery. Around Thanksgiving, I went for a walk on the Huckleberry Rock Lookout trail, taking my sweet time and breathing in the fresh country air. If you don’t already know, there was a fire that went through Milford Bay in 2012 and the evidence remains on this trail, mainly further in, as you get closer to the feature lookout. There are still some charred remains of trees, and there are many dead ones still standing, but there is plenty of regrowth, slow as that might be. With the passing of time over the years since the fire, the trail becomes more beautiful, despite the trauma it suffered. That is the hope I have for my health, that I will come through this season stronger. I just don’t know how long this will last, as I haven’t hit recovery yet.

In the meantime, albeit slowly, I am determined to gradually complete more art. I will see what Muskoka Arts & Crafts has planned for shows in 2018. Every year, they put on a Spring Members’ Show, so hopefully, I can enter some new pieces by then. One small step at a time.

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