Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Reynardin!

(image: Watercolour illustration by Heinrich Leutemann from Reinecke Fuchs, circa 1880 via A Journey Around My Skull)

A very happy birthday to the one and only Reynardin!
May this year be your best ever yet!

love Minouette

Monday, January 23, 2012

An Ostentation of Peacocks

I completed another print in my series on the terms of venery: the aptly named 'ostentation' of peacocks!

an Ostentation of Peacocks

detail - an Ostentation of PeacocksDetail: an Ostentation of PeacocksThis lino block print is printed in metallic and pearlescent inks on Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper 12.5 inches by 8 inches, or 31.7 cm by 20.3 cm in dimension, in a slightly variable edition of eight. The pearlescent ink mimics the beautiful irridescence of those ostentatious peacock feathers. The block is inked 'à la poupée', meaning the multiple colours (indigo, apple green, turquoise and gold) are all inked at the same time, in small areas, and the print is pulled all at once.

The word 'Ostentation' is in a rather rococo and ostentatious typeface. I designed the font of 'Peacocks' to echo the feathers shapes and 'eyes' on the tail feathers.

An Ostentation of Peacocks For almost three years, I live in a rural area of Vancouver Island, in small farm house. My landlady kept a horse, chickens, a peacock and a peahen. The peacocks are beautiful, but their appeal as pets somewhat allude me. The make the most bloodcurdling screech, at a volume which put the rooster to shame. They are also unruly, proud, escape artists. They were reasonably common on the peninsula, and many times I found myself stuck crawling along a back road in my old beater of a car, waiting for an escaped peacock to cross, or retreat. Our peahen escaped regularly, and terrorized the neighbour, who was not fond of large birds. I would have thought the local bald eagles and barn owls would have been more intimidating, but I suppose they at least, stayed away from people. Whereas the peahen would loom above doorways. Personally, I think she just wanted to get away from the arrogant, preening, screeching cacophony of her would-be mate. I would run away too, if I shared a coop with anything which made that raqcket.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Long: The Dragon on red and gold

This is a one of a kind dragon is printed in environmentally-friendly water-based block-printing ink on handmade red Chinese paper, with gold blossoms. The sheet is 11.75" (30 cm) wide by 14" (35.6 cm) tall.

The dragon is a near-universal figure in world mythologies and has quite complex symbolism. In China, the dragon is more benign than in most Western legends, and the powerful creature is the fifth in the 12-year zodiac cycle. Dragons with five claws are reserved for the Emperor- this is a three-clawed dragon, speaking the character "long" for dragon.

I hope the Year of the Dragon treats you well! Gong hei fat choy, as they say here in Toronto (as there are many different transliteration of Chinese characters into English, for many different dialects). Congratulations and be prosperous!

Friday, January 20, 2012

2011 in review, Part 2

St Paul'sSt Paul's from bridgeLondon 023superminataurLondon MonumentSouthampton gatestonehenge 082Salisbury Cathedral statuesEngland 118Pump house, BathRoyal Crescent, BathDorsetNew Forest poniesVector 022Crofton cloudvector 029Ogden Point

We flew to England on Canada Day. RJH got very sick, but was a very good sport. We spent a few days in London, where we did a lot of exploring on foot. We managed to meet one of RJH's old high school friends for dinner, and the lovely, multi-talented for brunch, both of whom were coincidentally in London, though they live elsewhere in England. I dragged poor ailing RJH all over the Tate Modern. We added The Tower to the UNESCO tally. We went to see The Monument, because Robert Hooke was a lot more than Christopher Wren's sidekick. We continued south to Southampton. My exhausting interview went well. My brave, feverish RJH drove a rented, stick-shift tin can car, and drove on the wrong left side of narrow, round-about-ridden roads, without a proper map. I think this was a cultural clash; North Americans get in the car and drive places, for hours, with the idea that they'll find a hotel at the end of the day, where ever they end up. We buy road maps at any gas station. Not having a hotel reservation, a map and a plan, seemed to bewilder people we met. However, we found Stonehenge, and a nice place to stay in Salisbury. The Cathedral was incredible, and even contained one of the handful of surviving original copies of the Magna Carta. We continued to Bath, on the recommendation of every single English person with whom we spoke. (I hadn't recognized that my sister-in-law still has family there). Sure enough, Bath was beautiful, though RJH teased me about being on the Jane Austen tour. We visited the Roman Baths, the Cathedral and enjoyed the architecture, and some surprisingly good Thai food. Though we made the mistake of arriving on graduation day, which meant traffic jams, low hotel vancancy, and some well-lubricated student celebrations. We drove south through Dorset, where the roads are narrow like Canadian logging roads; while there are mercifully no logging trucks, I confess I found lorries and hedges scared me. We stoped at Poole, and then went through Bournemouth to the New Forest, were we walked with the semi-feral ponies. We flew home and I packed and flew to Vancouver Island for our research cruise. It was beautiful, tough, with partial experimental success, and luckily, some answers to our questions. I was contacted at sea with the news about the job. We spent our time in the Stuart Channel and the Georgia Straight. Afterward, I had a chance to show our volunteers around Victoria, and visit with friends.

Mercatormmm... coffee linocut with caffeine moleculeegret2BrickworksLouis Pasteur - thermochromic edition

My Mercator print was requested by the Mercator Museum in Sint-Nicolaas, Belgium who will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of his birth in 2012. I gave a Euoplocephalus to theDADproject to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. RJH and I explored the Humber River by kayak, and the Brickwords on foot. I started experimenting making and using thermochromic ink. RJH and I went to my step-mother's cottage, and visited with Dad&K, my aunt and uncle, and K's mother. I made a bunch of tea cozies, chipmunks and dinosuars. I was featured on the Trans-Canada Etsy Team blog.

chipmunk1white squirrel2pigeon summitsalmon vert5shipVscrappy strip quiltSchroedinger3

I became underemployed, for the first time ever. I made a lot of art, sold more than I'm used to, started gathering Canadian myths, and studying up on 'smart' materials. RJH and I explored the Scarborough Bluffs. I began a quilting course and made my second quilt. We watched the salmon run in the Humber.

NuitBlanche11NuitBlanche11NuitBlanche105NuitBlanche127Mme. Wu and the Violation of ParityGiant Pacific octopus screenprinthalloween TOTORO!

We began October with Nuit Blanche, always an experience. My 'Cloud Classification' was on Etsy's front page and I reached 1100 hearts. I had strange negotiations about a non-job and did not go to China. My brother and his wife bought a house a few doors down from the other brother. I made more unicorns. My screech owl was on Etsy's front page. I shared my portrait of Mme Wu in time for Ada Lovelace Day. I made some mini-prints and entered the Mini Print International Asian Pacific competition. RJH, the DJ&K all ran the half-marathon. I cheered. I started a screenprinting course. I started making tapirs. We visited with Dad&K. We had a low-key Hallowe'en.


There was some nonsense in our building about garbage, and some garbage at work about nonsense of the BS variety. Bohemian Hellhole profiled my shop, prints, and blogs. I tried to learn Photoshop. I pursued my own projects, including some non-fiction. I submitted my Dragon to the Year of the Dragon show, and re-vamped my shop. I made some complicated, multi-colour and glow-in-the-dark screenprints. Our ceiling started leaking. I did some engineering type work in the lab.

Pandas - detailMinouette tree toperfire-dancers2

I celebrated 1200 Etsy hearts and took part in the Designwali giveaway. I made more tapirs. I made a lantern and took part in the Solstice parade with F&R. They (F&R) once again hosted a beautiful solstice feast. I was able to introduce RJH to the tradition and spend time with friends, including those we rarely see (Lady Redjeep&husband and Baby E). Since K was not well, there was no Polish Christmas Eve feast, and Dad joined us at my brothers for Christmas with Mom. It went surprisingly well. RJH made a beautiful oak top to the antique map cabinet he found me. We had a cozy New Year's Eve.

2011 in review, Part 1

I have friend who always reviews his year on his blog, and it seems to me a good idea.

reproducing like rabbitsboats in Sidney

I submitted a linocut once again to the international print exhibit and exchange in celebration of Chinese New Year (this time for the Year of the Rabbit). I flew off to Victoria, do deal with some BigScience things, but I took the chance to visit with some great friends, though I was foiled in my quest to brunch at the Blue Fox. Craftster kindly awarded my 'Bumblebee' with their 'Best of 2010' in the printmaking category. I was interviewed by the lovely print and textile desing blog Okyo Love.

minouette-pillowscan of multimedia valentinealbino peacock in space

I went to the opening of the 'Year of the Rabbit' show at PROOF in the Distillery district (which involved much less alcohol than that sentence seems to imply). My 'Mercator' portrait got some press. RJH spoiled me on Valentine's Day, though I don't think he realized I would have been satisfied with cinnamon hearts. I survived a FIVE HOUR teleconference/planned mutiny (moral: never piss off large groups of scientists). I celebrated 900 Etsy arts, made a bunch of art, and did quite reasonably well, for my least favorite month.

CCGS LimnosHello Dolly! monoprint

In March, a magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit offshore Japan, triggering a devastating tsunami. The consequences were dire. To my knowledge, no one I know was injured or killed. Though I did spend some time thinking about how my research can or cannot be usefully employed in early warning systems. I also took a second job, looking into some land-based artic seismic work. I was invited to fly back to Victoria for a job interview. We went to Brampton to look at a boat, in the snow. My boss gave an interesting public lecture, at which no one was hurt despite the combination of cryogenics, flames and methane.

Inge Lehmann portraitphotographertorosaurus

My job status was unclear. I helped organize a craft show. I was invited to go to Halifax in the summer. Despite being asked to apply for the job in Victoria, no one bothered to tell me anything post-interview. I applied for a job in England. We really started to think about job opportunities, or lack thereof, for both marine geophysicists and photojournalists in any single spot, anywhere on the planet. The state of the apartment was pitiful, what with the leak to the tenants' downstairs and the storm gutters hanging like the sword of Damacles. RJH had a birthday. I read some books which made me so cranky I gave some serious thought to doing scientific visualization as a bigger part of my career. The Toronto Etsy Street Team had a craft show at the Gladstone, self-proclaimed centre of the universe.

moths2Ernst Haeckel portraitLaplace's Demonchild flees museum

I had a birthday. We had a very depressing federal election, though at least the surprising results for Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition suggested that there is some appetite for change. I had a bad cold. The war against the moths got more colourful when I started printing broadsides. I also made a portrait of Ernst Haeckel and Laplace's Demon. We celebrated Victoria Day, and I had 1000 Etsy hearts. My travel schedule was suddenly packed. RJH and I went to Ottawa, where I explored the Museum of Civilization and he played hockey for charity.

lobster sou'westerPeggy's Cove lighthouse reflectionLunenberg fish signDigby horsesSaint John Reversing Fallskayak in Saint John riverSussex royal muralHopewell Rocksfossil treeNova Scotia mammothAi Weiwei's Zodiac AnimalsGuggenheimwunderkammer window

I went to a very inter-disciplinary ocean science meeting in Halifax (wherin I learned about cannibalism in fish, that "crazy" people 5000 years ago, who made the megaliths stopped doing so coincident in time with the end of warm water circulation in the North Atlantic, that the Labrador Sea is a major carbon sink though there's a price to pay in terms of acidification and assorted other things). The UNESCO World Heritage Site summer tour began, after my conference in Halifax, when RJH and I drove around Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. We visited Peggy's Cove and Lunenberg, then drove to Digby to take the ferry to Saint John, NB. We then drove to Fredericton, where we stayed with RJH's lovely friends, visited his grandparents' farm and I met his parents. We returned to Saint John to visit one of RJH's longest standing friends, then spent the night in Sussex. I was charmed by the murals, but not by the stroller-punks. The Bay of Fundy and Hopewell Rocks, and back in NS, the fossiliferous Joggins Cliffs were added to our UNESCO World Heritage site tally. I got badly sunburnt. We drove from Truro to Lunenberg (again), stopping to photograph a cheesy, fake mastodon at the world's least educational paleontology park. Then we flew home.

I was invited to interview for a university lectureship in England!

I went to New York city for a few days with my mother. We stayed in Queen's but explored Manhattan daily, saw two Broadway shoes, did some shopping (including a suit for my interview) and spent the day with an old friend I hadn't seen since grade 9. I dragged my mother to the amazing Alexander McQueen exhibit.

I returned to frantically prepare for our research cruise, which would immediately follow our trip to England. RJH and I were rear-ended when on his motorcycle. Neither of us, nor the bike were badly hurt, but it was scary.