Archive for the 'Childhood' Category


Monday, February 18th, 2008

Among many other activities, we painted this today, in acrylic on a 16″x16″ wood panel. Nefarious drew it (right on the wood) and I painted over her drawing, titled “Princess Khan and The Golem”. The girl is based on one of her dolls and an East Indian friend, and the other figure is the Golem — we recently read the really wonderful (and intense) David Wisniewski telling of Judah Loew ben Bezalel’s Golem… I love painting with Nefarious so I’m sure I’m biased, but I think it turned out really nicely.


The hilarious expression is typical! I think my next project is actually going to be a self/group portrait based on this picture, taken after Nefarious made tiaras for all of us a few weeks ago.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 24th, 2007


We went to the ROM and checked out the reopened dinosaur exhibit, but to be honest, Nefarious far prefers the mummies… I think other than the play area and the bat cave, that’s her favorite. Anyway, I forgot to post our gingerbread house — the construction went perfectly, although I do admit that it rapidly degenerated into what’s basically just a platform to hold an enormous amount of candy in a thick layer of icing…


For our Christmas tree, instead of setting up a 3D tree, we painted a six foot high tree on a discarded canvas (Caitlin’s idea), and then made lots of decorations and glued them to it. I think Santa will be quite pleased — it may not look as “fancy” as a normal tree but it’s a much more fun family activity I think.


Other than that, loads of ice skating, sledding, and other winter holiday fun is being had.


Cartoon Animals vs. Real Life

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

First: I’d strongly appreciate if conversation on this blog was kept to art, homesteading, and other stuff tied to the entries as much as possible… BodyTwo was taken down for a reason and while I know everyone wants to know the details, I’d rather not have those issues affect this site as well. There will be a time and place when it’s possible to discuss this at length but this isn’t that time or place… Thank you.

Second: If anyone has any ideas as to why this blog renders its archive and index pages wrong on IE (other than “IE sucks!”), please drop me a line so I can fix it… Or switch to FireFox!

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Third: I’m still alive and doing fine and looking forward to a wonderful holiday period with Nefarious and Caitlin and others, and am as always, working to create lots of new stuff. A couple more paintings are now on the go — on the left is “Where Water Snakes Come From” “The Origin of Water Snakes” and on the right is “Owl’s Adventure III” (on wood panel).


I’m also giving a lot more thought to the idea of the children’s art museum, and perhaps launching a children’s clothing line at the same time. I was being interviewed by a doctor yesterday as part of my ongoing legal stuff, and he asked me how I saw myself, and I told him that I saw myself as someone with a deep drive to create things of beauty, bring them into the world, and share them with as many people as I can.


Guitar Hero (Sketched)

Monday, November 26th, 2007

So I was thinking about businesses that we could open on Cape Breton Island, and I had the thought that a nice idea might be to open a “Children’s Art Gallery” — an art gallery for and by the young at heart. It would feature [fine] art with children as part of the intended audience, as well as art created by young people (perhaps by students at the gallery if it was also an art school). With Cape Breton Island becoming an increasingly significant tourist destination, I think the idea has potential (and of course it could also exist online). I wouldn’t be surprised if it could be started with grants, and I’m sure there are many artists that would be open to the idea of donating paintings and other artwork. Definitely something that I’ll think about…


It runs in the family

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

I can’t actually take credit for this painting, as it’s done by my daughter (age 4 1/2). It’s called “First Snowfall”, done with marker and tempera paint on a 24″x36″ canvas (I helped with the finish painting part but other than that it’s totally her creation from concept to execution). It’s a duck, a spider, a muscular bird-beaked man with bat-wing hands about to sit down on a chair, a “bat cat” sitting on his knee, and a couple of butterflies all caught up in a snowstorm.


We’d actually planned to go to Riverdale Farm today (which we did do), but on the walk back to the car we passed the necropolis and read the gravestones, and actually took about a two hour detour through the graveyard (and insists on returning tomorrow — future zombie hunter?). She’s at a wonderful age where rambling storytelling that’s 75% fact and 25% fantasy is what it’s all about. Because PlanetSpace is talking about building the first Canadian spaceport near our homestead on Cape Breton Island — which I’m very excited about — we spent some of our after-supper time drawing rockets and watching videos on YouTube of shuttle launches, space walks, and moon missions… The funny thing is that all of the space things that I was convinced I’d experience as an adult are now the things I’m convinced she’ll experience… I hope my predictions are more accurate now than when I was a child.


Seeking Authors

Friday, November 2nd, 2007





I feel that I am much more of an illustrator than a writer… if anyone reading this feels the opposite about themselves and thinks they can write the story for a children’s book, drop me a line with your ideas! I wrote a couple of outlines but I haven’t been that happy with the specifics.

Childhood Art Therapy

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

One of the things I do to both pass the time and to bribe my daughter to eat all her veggies and such is drawing; drawing as a pretext for storytelling. Storytelling is probably the only thing that truly differentiates humans from animals (or so I guess — we’ve made such false assumptions before) and is certainly what holds cultures together and defines them. Sometimes I illustrate the process of creating the food we’re eating. For example, a few nights ago we had a dish that included wild rice and shrimp, so we were talking about Ojibwa culture and what wild rice (manoomin) meant to them, as well as the process of de-veining a shrimp and preparing it for human consumption.


That said, admittedly it’s generally just funny little drawings and stories on junkmail envelopes… I must have hundreds of these lying around the house (that’s both a reflection on how much we draw and how little I clean I suppose, heh).


A friend of ours is having twins and her baby shower is today, so we used these scraps to make her a card over breakfast.


Children need the country

Monday, October 1st, 2007

When I was a child, my father bought a large farm in order to allow my brother and I, and later my sister, to grow up in the country. It’s my believe that especially today that’s of incredible importance. I don’t know if the “especially today” part is political — because we’ve become a people with a paranoid obsession with safety (is it worth spending billions on child seats in cars to save five hundred lives over twenty years?) — or if the world actually is a more dangerous case, but the fact is that “freedom to roam” is becoming very much a thing of the past. With this loss, I think deny children the ability to learn to become full adults.

My daughter loves hearing stories about growing up on a farm, and asks me to tell her about all the different experiences and to illustrate them at length — which helps keep all my kooky meals getting consumed. Today I cooked my own version of a Manwhich — a curried rice and fresh veggie dish on raisin bread. People laugh when I use raisin bread, but I figure if you can cook most dishes with raisins, you can serve most sandwiches on raisin bread, right?


Those are Highland Cattle by the way — wonderful little furry indestructible beasties… She wanted to hear the story about the one-eyed bull (one of his cowfriends poked his eye out by accident at the hay feeder)… Here in the city we mostly have squirrels. I suppose it’s better than nothing, but they’re not particularly exciting.


There’s also a fat raccoon — one of many on this block — that appears to live on my neighbor’s porch. He’s quite happy there and doesn’t seem to leave much, and curls up in a little ball in the base of that umbrella to sleep. Not such a bad life… No predators other than the government.