“Umbrella”

It’s a blustery spring day here, and it’s good, because I’m so very, very tired of winter.

Today’s doodle from the Sketchbook.

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“Absence”

It’s been a busy week doing grown-up, real-life stuff.  *sigh*    But here’s a (sloppy, super, very) quick doodle that may grow up to be a real painting one day.  (Can you tell I keep forgetting what I’m supposed to be doing?)

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Work in Progress – “Midnight Flight”

It was a long, lazy weekend, but I’m going to share a teaser of the painting I’m working on.

This one started out in the Sketchbook, but I was so excited to get started on the real thing, I didn’t even finish the study (and I tore the page!):

 

It looks so lame in its abandoned, unfinished state!  But it’s coming together on the wood panel, I promise.  (And again, I apologise if you’ve already seen this on Facebook – but I’m almost caught up with the redundancies, honest!)

I’m using acrylics on wood because I live in Nova Scotia, and you can literally wait months in our humid climate for oil paint to dry (pretty sure I still have a palette kicking around with paint that is still tacky after several years).  That, and I’m an irresponsible child who can’t be bothered with fussy brush cleaning techniques.  Also, my first love is watercolour, and acrylics give you that smooth fluidity and transparency on the wood, without the complete disappearing act of watercolours, along with the option for opaque layering.

So here’s the sketch, transferred to the panel:

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Laying in the first layers:

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A bit of detail:

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It’s a little hard to tell, but I’m actually going to give her a little “experience” (wrinkles).  I wanted her to be pretty, but with signs of life lived.  Wisdom and whatnot, ya know?  I’m not done yet, but here’s a close-up:

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Starting to fill out the background so I can balance the contrast:

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Still have a lot of detail work to do (particularly on the owl), but gotta do something about that moon…

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Gold leaf!

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You can’t really see it in the photo, but at night, with the room dimmed, the light shifting across the gold leaf is quite breathtaking.  It feels alive, like the real moon.

I’m hoping to get it finished this week sometime (that poor, neglected owl…), in between other projects, so stay tuned!

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“Tethered”

Happy Saturday!  Just a quick doodle for you today from the Sketchbook while I’m busy working on some new paintings:

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Interview With My Cat

I didn’t sleep last night.  This was for a number of reasons, but it was mainly because my cat is an asshole.  (It was also because the motion-sensitive light below my window kept strobing on and off, but this was because of my neighbour’s cat, so…still…cat.)

So, since I’m having trouble with making the words today, I think I’ll make someone else the star of the show today, since she clearly wanted to be the centre of attention ALL NIGHT LONG.

Her name is Balloons.  (It was actually supposed to be “Petunia”, but it devolved into “Tuney”, then “Tuney-Balloony” and I think you see where I’m going with this.)

Balloons is 15 years old.  She has never been sick a day in her life and has the energy of a 6-month-old kitten.  I think I need to start feeding her crap food.

Let’s find out what makes her tick.

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This is where Her Highness receives admirers.

DREA:  So, Balloons, you had a lot of energy last night.  What was that about?

BALLOONS:  I don’t know what you’re talking about.

DREA:  Well, there was that time you headbutted my face 50 times in a row.  It kind of hurt.

BALLOONS:  You headbutted ME.

DREA:  I didn’t lick you on the nose.

BALLOONS:  I was tasting you so I can plan the condiments for when you die alone and I eat your face.

DREA:  How about at 3 am when I heard a weird noise and looked up to see you climbing the mirror over the dresser, where – to my knowledge – you’ve never been before?

BALLOONS:  Right.  I’ve never been up there before.

DREA:  No, really, what were you doing?

BALLOONS:  I do NOT have a secret compartment behind the mirror filled with state-of-the-art satellite communication equipment.  I just wanted to see if I’m still pretty.

DREA:  And you know, there’s a reason that toys that jingle are banned in the bedroom.  There is a toy basket filled with sleep-approved toys beside the chair.  Where did you even get that little ball with the bell inside?

BALLOONS:  Amazon.

DREA:  So that’s what those charges on my credit card were…

BALLOONS: Right.  Just innocent little cat toys.

DREA:  You know, the reason we can afford cat toys is because I work.  One thing you may not be aware of is that working is a lot easier if a person is well-rested.  And it’s not so easy to stay asleep with you hooking your paw around my wrist to lift my hand onto your head when you want pats.

BALLOONS:  I have no idea what you’re talking about.  Sometimes you pat me in your sleep.  I think you dream about me.  Besides, maybe I had a busy night and required therapeutic massage.

DREA:  I also noticed you vocalizing rather enthusiastically quite early this morning and thought maybe you were being like those cats we see on TV who wake their people when there’s a fire, but it turned out you were just excited about a poo.  I wonder if there’s a quieter way you could use the litter box at night?

BALLOONS:  YOU DO NOT STIFLE THE SINGING OF THE POO SONG!

DREA:   Okay, okay! Settle down!  Can you explain why you were also crying to your dish, which was still half-full?

BALLOONS: I MUST GO TO SLEEEEEEEP NOW – I WAS UP ALL NIGHT!

 

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“If Wishes Were Fishes”

Don’t worry – I have plenty of rants coming soon, but I’ve been super-busy lately doing all sorts of very important things *naps* and one of those things is redesigning this site so I can merge it with my now-dead art site.  (Oh, really?  It looks the same?  THANK YOU VERY MUCH.  I assure you – it wasn’t as magical as it seems.  The theme I was using was retired, but all the new ones available were bold and brash and modern and just not me at all *snicker* so I had to learn a truckload of CSS – CSS! – so you darlings wouldn’t have to cope with change.  YOU’RE WELCOME.)

So, since I know you wouldn’t want me to strain myself by being funny until I’ve had a nap and some chocolate (and okay, fine, WINE), I’m just going to chuck another one of my new sketchbook doodles at you.  If you’re following me on Facebook, you’ve probably already seen it, but I just want to get all my social media caught up, ’cause I’ve got a bunch of stuff to show you.  I know you can’t wait.

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“Hear Me”

This is the first sketch in my pretty little sketchbook.  It may or may not have been influenced by the fact that I had spent much of the previous 48 hours knitting pussyhats.

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The Sketchbook Project

I recently bought a cute little sketchbook.  Here it is:

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I got it home, put it on the top shelf of my desk and gazed at it moonily for several weeks.  Thinking, all the while, “Um…I don’t sketch.  Like, ever.”

It’s true.  Unless I’m being paid or otherwise coerced, I never draw or paint.  So lame, I know.  Which is ridiculous.

So I decided to make an effort.

I decided I am going to fill this little beauty with lovely little doodles (some of which may be destined to grow up to be real, live paintings!)

I have loads of pics to show you.  Stay tuned.

Happy V Day!

Okay, fine, I’m usually a big cynic about Hallmark holidays, but hey – who doesn’t love a day that is centered around socially-acceptable overindulgence of wine and chocolate?

I also wanted to tell you all to expect some changes in the blog in the coming days.  I’m going to be merging my art website with this one, plus a few little surprises along the way, so keep your eyes peeled.

In the meantime, a little preview – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!  Set someone someone’s heart on fire today!

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Why I Went Missing

Some of you may have noticed that my posts sort of dried up for a while.  Well, here’s the thing ~

Many of you know that, for many years, I’ve been juggling many hats, career-wise.  In addition to being a charming and adorable blogger, a somewhat soft-core artist, and an immortal adrenaline junkie with a death wish, I also spent my nights working as an emergency dispatcher.  And as much as I liked the job itself, I was finding myself restless.

AND I also enjoy taking tests, which is how all this story really begins.  (BECAUSE I AM APPARENTLY JUST THAT BIG A NERD.)

This restlessness led to some random web surfing, which led to me sort of accidentally taking the RCMP entrance exam.  (That’s the Mounties, for those of you who don’t know.  And the Mounties are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for those of you who don’t know.  And the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are kind of like Canada’s FBI and state police combined, for those of you who don’t know.)

I think it may have been from a subconscious desire for a pony.  I’m not really sure.

But then I found out that I had passed.  Well, not really passed.  More like ACED IT – 98th percentile, baby!  *self-five*

Turned out they wanted me to come to Truro to work in the RCMP Operational Communications Centre, which led to a year-long recruitment process – that I had to keep secret from the boss who was still paying me, even while being good friends with her and being absolutely horrible at lying and becoming a nervous, yammering squirrel every time I had to be around her.  (It was horrible.)

I’m not allowed to talk much about it, but this recruitment process involved panel interviews, simulations, emptying pockets for armed escorts into the RCMP Headquarters (where there was a very disturbing mounted bison head that still gives me nightmares – and hopefully I haven’t broken any confidentiality covenants by telling you that, but seriously, those things are HUGE), being fingerprinted, being poked, prodded and tested for vision, hearing, medical, and psych (and let me just stop you right there, because OBVIOUSLY if they wanted to confirm my sound state of mind, all they had to really do was read my blog, amirite?).  All of these things  happened in other cities, and due to my having to sneak around, it generally involved me having to work graveyard shifts and then drive the 3-6 hours there and back during the day, plus the time for the testing.    (But they were promising me almost triple my current salary, so….  It’s true.  I’m a capitalist whore.)

Then it was on to the final step.  And here’s where it reeeeally got intense.  The final phase was the security clearance.  And the position I was being considered for required TOP SECRET security clearance.  (It’s true – it’s actually called that.  “Top Secret”.  I would have expected something more cryptic, like, “Level Alpha-1” or “Platinum Tier”, but we’re simple people, we Canadians. )

This top level security clearance meant members of the federal government’s investigative bureau combing through all of my emails and all of my texts from the past decade, interviewing friends, family, and neighbours (because, of course, grannies are the first to know when you are plotting to overtake the government and whatnot).  I was informed it would be a good idea to warn anyone that would be expected to be interrogated interviewed, because some people get a little freaked out when the men in black (men in maroon?) show up at the door.  So I did this – I called up people I hadn’t spoken to in years.  I warned my friends, family, and neighbours that someone might be asking about me and told them no, I was not in trouble with the law (which I’m sure would have been the default expectation).   Along with a few warnings about sexting, obviously.  (Overall, the entire process felt a little like I imagine it must feel for people who have to notify their previous partners about an STD.  A little cooler than that, obviously, but still awkward.)

So, shit was getting real.  I had started looking at apartments in Truro.  And  I quit my job, the dispatch one.  Yeah, that’s right – I did it!

THEN my dad went in hospital for what was supposed to be a routine day surgery, which turned into a week full of medical complications, and I went, “What the fuck am I thinking?  I can’t move away right now!”  (My mom passed away a couple of years ago and Dad has no other family nearby.)   And my side gigs were becoming more lucrative, making the decision easier.

So, I took a deep breath and told the RCMP I was withdrawing my application.  I bought a domain name (www.andreamacmillan.com) and decided to start working for myself, painting for a living and subsidizing naps.  (I am an excellent boss.)

Either that, or I’m now a secret agent under cover as a charming and adorable blogger.  You’ll never know.

P.S.  As it turns out, they don’t actually give you a pony when you join the Mounted Police, anyway.  Pfft.