Thursday, March 20, 2014


Back in November I wrote about doing collage illustrations for Theatre SKAM's 2014 Season Booklet. It was epic; I laughed, I cried. Producing all of those collages in short order was some kind of Herculean task, and took a fair bit of sleight-of-hand with regards to coming up with suitable elements for each of them. 

The first one I tackled was JOAN, above. I had never met Joan Mans, but was somewhat aware of who she had been, and that Matthew Payne (Artistic Producer of Theatre SKAM) had been friends with her and had written a play about her. Matthew came over with a plastic bag filled with Joan artifacts for me to use, things that he had been given after Joan died. If I remember correctly all of the things that were in that bag (and it wasn't that big): small map books, photographs, a few bits and pieces like coasters, government documents and ticket stubs... that sort of thing. Most impressive of all were many many small sheets of paper upon which Joan had written short homilies about life: ways to be, ways to see the world, ways one should behave. Going through Joan's things had me feeling privileged and humbled- I had never met this woman, was apparently reading what was most important to her, and was handling all that was left of her "earthly possessions". 

There were... emotions.

I went through all of her writings, looking for something to use in the collage. Truly the only thing I wanted to use was the little piece you see above- "Be who you are and risk the consequences". Whether that small quote is actually the most representative of who she was I'll never know, but it appeared that way to me at the time. And it definitely spoke to me personally.

AND NOW TO THE POINT! Theatre SKAM has started an Indiegogo fundraiser, seeking help to mount Matthew's play, JOAN. The mostly costly perk you can purchase in this fundraiser, if you'd really like to loosen the purse-strings and help Theatre SKAM,  includes the original Joan collage, shown above. Take a look, here:


A mixed media piece of mine called "Love and Happiness" will be the cover for Analogue magazine's upcoming April issue. Check out Analogue! A local rag supporting local peeps!

Saturday, February 8, 2014


My fave Christmas gift this year was a book on Prince given to me by Seanie, though this read was no joy-ride in many respects. I love Prince-  in particular of course the era of his music that I am familiar with-  but to truly appreciate this tome you'd have to be a far more rabid fan than I. This is a book that details (or at least mentions) every recorded song known outside the confines of his vaults, plus all of his tours and many specific shows. When the author spent pages and pages detailing song after song that I wasn't familiar with, I have to admit there was some eye-glazing on my part. As I think I quipped to Sean, "it was like reading the Bible". There were very few personal tidbits- too bad, as he's SO HOT. Just kidding. He's a freak. But the best possible kind (unless you're involved with him, I imagine).

ANYHOO, I was moved to mention him here because I found this artwork last night: EVERY PRINCE HAIRSTYLE FROM 1978 TO 2013. What's not to like?

The most important part- here is a link to the blog where I found the hairstyles, and if you follow this link you'll see an animated Instagram showing each hairstyle larger, and in quick succession:

Go there!

Here is the artist responsible for the artwork, Gary Card:


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Change Is Good

...or so they say. I have left my job of (almost) 17 years and am embarking on what I hope will be a more interesting and lucrative path. I will be taking (starting Monday) a three month web design and marketing course which will, I understand, be the tip of the iceberg but which will, I hope, give me the tools to eventually do what I would like. I would like to work from home part time, allowing me to pursue producing artwork part-time. I might not get there immediately... and that's okay.

I'm never going to be a tech-freak. But I like many aspects of web design, as well as graphic and digital design, and I'm confident that I will have the skills (probably already do, in fact, on a smaller scale) to produce simple, clean, functional, attractive websites. Plus I'm sure I'll be doing some grunt-work for people who already have websites. Das cool! I don't consider this to be a "career move". I've never had a career and I won't have one now. I just want to be happy.

Here are some photos I took of my studio tonight. I need to spend more time in this room, and sink into being the person I am happiest being. YOLO!


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tolan McNeil

Fathersday - Tolan Mcneil from simon norton game on Vimeo.

Tolan McNeil is a very talented man. He's a crazy great guitar player, and a stellar song writer. I was once lucky enough to be in a band with Tolan, a band that lasted the duration of one show (a "Funspiel" at the Curling Club, the group being an early "Golden Country" grouping of David's also featuring Mike Irwin and Torben Wilson). I sang seven songs, which was the most I had ever done in a row at that point- actually, I don't think I've ever topped that! A certain Bonnie I know split her pants dancing. And Tolan helped me out when I froze at the beginning of Roger Miller's "In the Summertime" (You Don't Want My Love)- I panicked and couldn't remember the first line. Thanks Tolan.

This video appeared on facebook today, and has rightly received many positive reviews. It's pretty great. Playing with Tolan are Rad Juli and Ryan Beattie- so many talents in this town! Here is a CD of Tolan's that I love a lot- "There Will Always Be a Salesman":
We need to hear and see more of Tolan's music!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Three years since he died. Am I going to do this every year? Yes, maybe. Maybe this blog is just for him, and everything I post in-between is incidental.

There are moments I still re-live in my mind. The day Sheri called to tell me he was gone. Having to call another friend to give him the news. The first time I spoke on the phone to each of his brothers. Talking on the phone to his wife in Chicago. How I couldn't sleep and his face loomed large in my mind, like an over-sized head above my head in bed, bearing down on my addled mind. Buckets and buckets of sadness, disbelief, and remorse. How to bear it? Re-reading all of his letters, finding and listening to all the mixed tapes he made me over the years. Phone calls, emails, planning the trip to Chicago for his memorial. The beautiful old room in the former church, David playing piano as people arrived. Cliff's parents . . .

And then somehow, eventually, life settles back into itself. It's not like you have a choice- you can't keep it burning in the fore-front of your mind forever even if you wanted to. But it's never gone. Cliff is never gone.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Theatre SKAM Project

I was fortunate enough to be asked to do collage illustrations for Theatre SKAM's 2014 season by Clint Hutzulak of Rayola Creative. This is what my table looked like a couple of weeks ago when I was first culling my collection of images to find those that could be used for seven different plays. The pieces of paper taped on the wall behind the table are notes on each of the plays, placed there to help guide me in my image choices.

And what a roller-coaster ride these past two weeks have been, with some of the collages coming together quickly, some coming together at the 11th hour when I thought I had nothing for them, and some going through several revisions. I have a lot of source material, but I don't have everything that the world has to offer... everything that ever was.

Or do I?

I'll post some of the collages in the days to follow. Meanwhile check out these links...

Rayola Creative:
Theatre SKAM:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rob McHaffie


                       I'm finding this blog highly entertaining:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Everything Old Is New Again

                                      Lunar Landing - 2013 - Mixed Media - 8.5 X 10.5 inches

...or am I just NOT moving on in my "art practise"? I found this groundwork I'd laid a few years back when I first started doing painting on top of collage (the wallpaper and the lunar scene), which I didn't really know what to do with at the time. When I rediscovered it recently it seemed obvious: apply this lady to the scene! I've used her before- I use a lot of these copyright-free images repeatedly- so painting her again was like a visit with an old friend.

But wait. Don't I keep yearning to free things up, to return to a looser, more spontaneous method of painting? Don't I keep thinking about experimenting and potentially discovering a new direction to move in? Yes, yes I do.


Yes, I do.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Golden Country Clan

My intent when I came to do this blog post was to present the Wordpress site I put together for my talented husband David P. Smith... a man who has needed his own website for a long, long time. I'll just get that out of the way, as I've already spread the website like a plague all over facebook, and then I'll move on to my newly chosen topic, which ALSO has a lot to do with my husband...

David's new website! This is a man who's been extremely busy for the last 20 years!

And now... the Golden Country Clan. A bit of a revelation for yours truly, because although I've braved the stage sporadically the last 10 years, I've never been a bona fide member of the band, man. I've taken part in certain shows, and I've listened with envy to many a practise (and recording) taking place in my basement, but until now I have not been card-carrying.

This band was formed by my (again) talented husband David P. Smith, and it's not the first hard-core country band he's formed, nor the first called "Golden Country". But I venture to say that this one is special, as it's made up of a group of personalities who get along like a house on fire and are completely lacking in discord, moodiness or diva-ism. It's plain and simple a lot of fun (and sometimes... country hurtin').  I make up one third of The Harmonettes, back-up singers and harmonizers, along with Jeanne Tolmie and my daughter Chloe Lampman. I cannot over-state how much help these two ladies have both been to this rookie- especially my daughter Chloe.

The members of the band are Aaron Ellingsen, Scotty Henderson, Chloe Lampman, B.A. Lampman, David P. Smith, Sean Thompson, Jeanne Tolmie, and Dan Weisenberger. We have a show at the Solstice Cafe in Victoria, BC this Friday night (October 18th, 2013), so come on down!

B & W photos by Lauren Knerual

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ria Van Dijk Self Portraits

In 1936 at the age of 16 Ria Van Dijk went to a shooting gallery at a fair in Tilburg, Holland, and at the moment she hit the bulls-eye her photo was taken (that was the prize). She went back every year up until her her 88th year (and beyond?), at which point a book of those photos was published. The only years she missed were during the second world war, 1939-1945. 

Witness the aging of Ria, plus the environment, the people, the clothing, and the look of the photos themselves change. Check out a goodly number of the photos here:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Money Pal

Monday I was home sick from work. At some point in the afternoon, I heard someone run up the front steps, and then run down again. The mail had already come; however I did not rush to see if someone had left something on our step. I'm sick, remember.

When I finally went and took a look in the mailbox, this is what I found:

"Money Pal - Open it". A piece of paper towel, folded, with what felt like a coin held in place with a yellow hair elastic. A little bit of red ink on the paper towel where the coin was.

                                                       I opened it, and this is what I found:

                                                                         Money Pal!

                                     THANK YOU, ANONYMOUS MONEY PAL PERSON!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Male Friendship

No, I don't know anything about it, being a woman. But I do like how these men are so at ease with each other. According to the attached article (see link below), these photos were taken before it became taboo for heterosexual men to show affection toward one another. Read the article. Go on- read it:

Saturday, September 7, 2013

3 Things

... that I have changed about the collage in the last post... can you spot them? (like those "puzzles" where you have to find a certain number of differences between two images). I felt uncomfortable with that collage as I found it to be sub-standard, but I had rushed to post it to the blog so as not to disappoint my millions of followers and fans.

I don't normally add to a collage once it's done- in fact, I'm not sure if I've ever done it. Typically I will have all of the elements cut and/or torn and entirely planned out before getting out the glue. Then that's it- take it or leave it. But this one I really couldn't leave.

It's still never going to be my favourite collage- and no, I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that. I was once chastised by a fellow art student during a class critique for being critical of my own work. Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me for living!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

New Collage

The Gift - 11X14 - 2013 - Paper on Board

Last night after dinner I claimed that I hadn't been in the studio for months. I realised today that this isn't true- I did get in once, briefly, this summer ("She is Risen" ... a blog post of August 5th). And then I got in there again this weekend, and the result is the collage above. I keep wanting to paint, and I keep doing collage.

Below is the collage part-way through... all the pieces basically where they will end up going, but there is a lot of tinkering at this point. I don't think it's caprice (please see last blog post)- there's too much careful consideration going on. But it might very well be caprice at work when I'm choosing the bits I'm going to use. That's the fun part.