Tag Archives: art

And came down on us like it had been rehearsed

1. September is turning out to be a big month for me. In two weeks I’m going to Gozo, hooray! …With my parents! …OK! My parents are pootling around in Paris at the moment, sending cute selfies from the Louvre and hopefully not being too inconvenienced by France being even more take-to-the-streets-y than usual this week. (I imagine that French poster paper manufacturers must drive around in gold-plated Rolls Royces.) They’re going to Provence next, then Malta for a few days, where I’ll meet them and we’ll catch the ferry to Gozo.

I haven’t been to Gozo in, what, eight years? and I can’t wait to see it again, even if the coolest bit has crumbled into the fucking sea. Fuck you, erosion! Anyway, as long as I get to swim, I’ll be happy. I haven’t been swimming since I went to BC last year, and swimming in the warm inky-blue Mediterranean is the best.

2. Also booked in for September: a new tattoo! Hell yeah! Totally normal and non-desperate behaviour for a 39-year-old woman! Yeah! I’m due, though. I haven’t had a new tattoo since before I left Canada, and that is a lot of years ago now. I came across a photo of this ornament from the Sutton Hoo ship burial recently and was like GET ON MY ARM:

The academic types who are supposed know about this shit don’t know with any certainty what the image represents (what do we pay you for, Poindexter?), but I’m choosing to believe that it’s Odin with his wolves, Geri and Freki, which is probably as good a guess as any, and anyway who cares it’s fucking cool. I adapted the design a bit, and I’m getting this guy to tattoo it for me. Photos to follow.

3. Speaking of Viking geekery, I finally went to the Jorvik Centre in York last month. It was a bit more for kids than I was expecting. The main attraction is a ride through a recreated Viking village, with life-size animatronic villagers moving endlessly and terrifyingly through their slow cyclical butter-churning purgatories; I’ve seen horror films, and that shit is seriously not going to end well. Then they have a collection of artefacts recovered from archaeological digs in York. I was expecting some full-on swords and helmets and elaborate jewellery, but it’s more like “this decrepit rusted-out hook was probably used to hold a cooking pot!” I was a tiny bit disappointed. I think after going to Uppsala and the touring Viking exhibit at the British Museum (FULL. SIZE. VIKING. LONGSHIP.) I’m a bit spoiled for Viking stuff. Still, it was fun and I’m glad I went.

And York is gorgeous, although I didn’t see as much as I’d have liked as it was sluicing down rain the entire day. Like being under a garden hose. So it was a lot of navigating winding cobblestone streets with wet feet while trying to avoid the biggest puddles and simultaneously dodge tourists’ umbrellas.

Hey, I knew what I was getting into when I moved to England.

4. Some recent time-wasting Photoshoppery:

They tell us that we lost our tails

1. My job has changed. About six months ago my company launched a new DIY automated online system that has replaced our custom yearbook design service (robots stole my job!). There’s still some design work to be done, but after the system was rolled out I spent a good four months expecting to be handed my walking papers at any moment, which was fun. In the end they combined my design role with some administrative duties relating to the new system. This means I get to do less design work (boo!), but I still have a job (yay!), and they let me keep the word ‘designer’ in my job title for the sake of my CV. All in all, not the end of the world.

How-EVER, as part of the new role I’ve had to move away from my lovely quiet desk in the corner of the studio down to the other end of the building to sit with the sales and customer service team. I’ve gone from listening to headphones all day and talking to other human beings almost never to being bombarded with questions and surrounded by sales types making loud enthusiastic sales calls. For my introvert brain, this is the equivalent of being hit with a baseball bat all day. I hope the person who invented open-plan offices hasn’t died yet because I’d like the honour of murdering them in front of their children.

The worst part is that my new team are of the “make a round of tea for everyone” persuasion. I’ve resisted so far. I make tea for no man.

On the plus side, the canteen down this end of the building has a SOFA. La-di-da.

2. The Actual Human Male I was dating turned out to be an Actual Human Nightmare. When I broke up with him (for much better reasons than I usually break up with people), he actually slut-shamed me. How retro! That shit never gets any less depressing. (Not that it’s relevant, but his sexual history was way more extensive than mine. WHORE.) Back to Tinder, I guess, speaking of depressing. Bring on the snowboarding photos.

3. I’ve taken down my online shop and will be selling my collage sheets exclusively through Etsy from now on. The shop wasn’t making many sales (due entirely to my laziness) and I honestly have no idea how to even begin to comply with the new EU restrictions on selling digital items. Etsy does all that legal foofaraw for me, so I’m going to focus my attention there. My homepage currently looks like crap, but I’m working on polishing it up into more of a portfolio site.

4. Thanks to dooce for reminding me how appallingly cruel the dairy industry truly is (please go ahead and click – there’s no graphic content). I was vegan for a few years, quite happily, and only went back to eating vegetarian when I moved to the UK and my life exploded into chaos. I know that preaching about veganism usually has the opposite of the desired effect, but if I can gently prod you into eating less dairy for the sake of your health and the wellbeing of sweet innocent giant-eyed baby cows, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’m going to commit to at least one dairy-free day a week. Could you manage the same? Look at those eyes! LOOK AT THEM!

Oh God the eyes

5. Here’s some art I made. These are the three Norns (or Fates) from Norse mythology, represented as religious icons using Victorian graphics in the style of Andy Warhol silkscreen pop art. Just because.


What you call love I call retribution

1. If I could make art like any one person in the world, it would be Chad Hagen. The geometric and surrealist elements, the colour palette, the lovely soft background textures…everything about his work is delicious to me.

2. Yeah, so I only tweeted the same* comment as BILL FREAKIN’ MURRAY, except six months earlier! Why am I not famous? It’s a mystery.

*Close enough. WHATEVER.

3. Online dating continues to make me ooze with warm-hearted affection for the whole human race.

I replied, “Try turning into a different person”, which didn’t put him off one bit, because he is the best. He accused me of “grumping” and went on to refer to me as “Canada Dry”. Oh the stories we’ll tell the grandkids!

4. Last Thursday night was incredibly windy, and the doorknob-less outside doors sounded like a cannon going off every five minutes and I had the rage of ten men! And so, around midnight, I went downstairs with my trusty Phillips-head screwdriver…

…and took the fuckers right off their hinges, because I am PROACTIVE. God knows what passers-by must have thought, but problem solved. I also hit my limit the other day with the stomp-stomp-stompiness upstairs at 5.00 in the morning and went up there in my dressing gown and slippers all Dudelike and dishevelled and asked them to PLEASE try to keep it down in the early hours. My neighbour speaks about three words of English but I made stompy hand gestures and probably appeared fairly deranged, so she said “OK” and they have been slightly quieter since then. They aren’t really doing anything wrong – it’s just that the building is flimsy and they work odd hours and, you know, ARE THIS GUY:

With regard to sewagegate, I think the landlord realised the unfeasibility of trying to charge the tenants for the damage, but all of us got a sternly worded letter saying that if the problem occurs again they will “investigate”, which, gosh, sure sounds fun for them.

And thus, my life continues to be almost – but not quite! – intolerable. Over and out.

Peanutting not permitted

1. So I now have a Breaking Bad shaped hole in my life that nothing else can ever possibly fill. The one thing I didn’t like about the finale was Uncle Jack falling for Walt’s delaying tactic like a Bond villain (“Wait before shooting you in the head, you say? Well okey dokey!”). Um YEAH RIGHT. But I was willing to suspend quite a lot of disbelief for the sake of Jesse getting away. I think Vince Gilligan knew that if any worse fate befell Jesse, he’d have had a lynch mob at the gates. LED BY ME.

Seriously, what am I going to watch now? I need a new drama. I hear good things about Orange Is The New Black, but I’m reluctant to watch it just because the title is soooooooooooo freakin’ stupid. Seriously? Weren’t all the ‘X is the new black’ references used up like eighty years ago? Come ON. I am enjoying Hemlock Grove (Dee! Galen!) although the plot doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and I can’t figure out if Famke Janssen is trying to sound English or just generically European. Fail either way.

And I’m now fully caught up with Archer. I can’t believe how much I love that show. At first I was totally “Eh” but holy cow has it just got funnier and wronger and funnier and wronger. And AHHHHHHHH that bit in the last episode of series 4 where Cheryl can hear the music on the soundtrack but no one else can???? GEEEEEEENIUS. I tweeted something to that effect and NONE OTHER THAN CHERYL TUNT favourited my tweet. Gaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssp!

2. Proofing school planners, I have come across rules forbidding “chicken scratching”, “nutmeg rush”, and “peanutting”. Are these things? That kids do? To each other? I feel impossibly old. I was just getting my head round happy slapping. WHAT’S WRONG WITH A WEDGIE I ASK YOU.

3. While I was in BC I went to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, where there happened to be an exhibition of prints by Kiyoshi Saito. Who is now my favourite artist. BECAUSE LOOK.





4. The moral is clear: if you’re good enough at murdering people, you don’t ever need to learn how to read. Words to live by, Pretend Internet Boyfriend!

New digital collage sheet – Vintage Cars

1. I’ve finished ploughing through series 3 of Walking Dead. It was definitely better than series 2, but I remain annoyed at the lack of detail about how these people are surviving day to day. There was one minor storyline about locating baby formula (and the storyline was like, “Oh hey we found some, now back to our personal soap opera”), but otherwise there seems to be a mysterious inexhaustible supply of food, ammunition and petrol. For real, where is all this petrol coming from?? The petrol fairy? I was reading a recap on TWOP that complained about this and mentioned that Battlestar Galactica dedicated whole episodes to things like maintaining the water supply. So I’m now watching Battlestar Galactica from the beginning. (Not only Callum Keith Rennie, but multiple Callum Keith Rennies, boo yeah!) So far it is AWESOME. So much tasty, tasty logistical detail. Logistical detail is the way to my heart.

Any other TV recommendations for me to download and blitz? The nerdier the better!

2. I’m treating myself to a day out on my own in London tomorrow. I want to say hi to my favourite paintings in the Tate and the National Gallery, and thought I might have another go at the Tate Modern – I’ve only been once, and that was years ago. When I was looking around for exhibitions to go to, I came across this sound installation, which got four stars on the Time Out website: “In the corner of the room, pure white salt overflows from one floor grate, while a recording of the act of pouring the salt plays from another.” OK, I went to art school, and (possibly despite this) I am SO not anti-modern art. Bring on your sound installations! BUT STILL.

I was planning on taking lots and lots of photos in London, but my phone has decided to have another unscheduled holiday. I’ve made an appointment at the, ugh, “Genius Bar” (no self-esteem problems at Apple) for Sunday afternoon. I look forward to my phone spontaneously recovering again after I’ve wasted six pounds and an hour on the bus.

3. BRUSH WITH FAME! I tweeted something about The Russian Futurists the other day and ZOMG they (he) RETWEETED ME. I think this means we’re now best friends. Speaking of, I finally picked up Our Thickness the other day and it is made of magic.

4. New digital collage sheet – Vintage Cars. Old-timey cars on vintage sepia street scenes. Image print size is 2.5″x3.5″.

SOVIET ART! And some new printable tags…

For my birthday the other day Simon scored a Very Palpable Pressie Hit. Look what he got me:

I KNOW, RIGHT? Check it out:

I love this stuff so much you guys!!! Man I wish I could design things like this…

The book includes some awesome work safety posters, too. Don’t they make you feel totes enthused about wearing a hard hat?

A girl can never have too many art books. Like a good possum, I read the introduction before diving in, and like any decent modern art book introduction, it’s properly impenetrable:

All of these images form part of a system, all come together, as in a painting by Arcimboldo, to form a face, a matrix, and, at the same time, a synthesis, an equation in which the unknown is the future. This futuristic mythology flows abundantly into the collective imaginary, like a single dream dreamt over and over again, an imago mundi, a script tied to the parameters of a hypnotic dynamism.


Here’s a new set of printable tags – spooky Victorian houses. Click here to view on Etsy.

WePay? Not so much…

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I deleted the post about my new WePay shop, along with a comment asking whether WePay supports international sellers. Yeah, so as it turns out? They don’t. Curiously though, the website will let you click on the ‘create shop’ link and enter a UK address, and then it will let you spend two very long days copying all your listings over from Etsy. But then when you try to add your UK bank account in order to receive payments: WAH-WAAAAAAH! Looks like I missed some small print somewhere, like a big old stupid-head. So that’s a non-starter. Hopefully WePay will expand internationally soon.

As it happens, I also closed my Folksy shop this week. I hadn’t had a single sale since they revamped their sections, and was losing money every month on listing fees. Bum. So from now on I’m going to concentrate only on my Etsy shop.

Oh and my Zazzle shop of course! Speaking of which, here’s a new digital collage available as a print, either framed, unframed or on canvas.

The Incident Board – click to view on Zazzle


Adding to our Abroad mileage for the year, we spent last weekend in Holland. (Where I learned that “alstublieft” means “if you please” and in practice sort of doubles as “please” and “you’re welcome”. It’s very fun to say. Here, try it.) A few years ago we did a sort of mini-tour of Belgium and Holland (Bruges, Ghent, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht) and fell in love with Utrecht, which is full of gorgeous sunken canals and gorgeous six-foot blond uni students on bikes. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE. We decided to go back there for a few days and make a day trip up to Amsterdam to visit the prossies Rijksmuseum. We went last time we were in Amsterdam, but I wanted to see the paintings again, cause I’m all big on the Dutch Golden Age. The Rijksmuseum has a bunch of Rembrandts, a few Vermeers, and this Ruisdael, and some really nice genre pieces by Pieter de Hooch. Oh and some Franz Hals. &c, &c, &c. Mostly I wanted to see the Vermeers. I love Vermeer like Joanie loves Chachi. One painting was out on loan and another one was off being restored, booo! but The Milkmaid was on display, as was the Little Street:

God this painting makes me happy. I wish I could move into this painting. It’s one of my very favourite paintings in the whole wide world. There’s not one square inch of this painting that isn’t exactly right. There’s something about the textures and the brushwork and the soothing angles, and all the tiny details that are perfectly evoked but still so soft. Or something. I can’t explain exactly why I love this painting so much, but looking at it up close gives me a weird shivery thrill, but at the same time makes me feel utterly calm. Here are some of my favourite bits:

When you look close up, the little blobs of paint that make up this woman are like totally simple? but back out even a little bit and they resolve themselves so perfectly.

I like the soft dark line separating the window frame from the plaster, and the contrast between the plaster and the bricks. Texture-y texture.

The strokes of peacock blue building up the texture of the shutter are just SO DAMN PRETTY. Damn.

It really is true that you have to see paintings in the flesh to really appreciate them – in real life the colours are better and you can see the brushstrokes and blah blah blah all that wanky stuff. But I found a pretty good print of The Little Street in the Rijksmuseum gift shop, and I tell you now, it’s getting properly framed and put up somewhere prominent so I can stare and stare and stare at it and go into my weird Vermeer fugue state. Vermeer – almost as good as Valium!