Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


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An Artist’s Quandary

Tell me… do you keep ALL your sketchbooks?

I mean, every single one you’ve ever used? Or just the ones with good stuff or important things you want to follow-up on?

It seems to be a accepted thing that we SHOULD keep them, but how realistic is that?

If you’ve kept yours, do you actually use or refer to them? How are they of value to you 10, 20, 50 years on?

Historically I was keeping most of mine, just because I hated throwing out anything I spent time on – it wasn’t an issue to carry them when we moved (considering my family had 19 bookcases full of books and collectibles, a couple more boxes made no difference!) Most of them weren’t even full. I had some going back to grade school. And lots of random bits of paper with doodles on them that I saved as I thought they were particularly good.

But I had to cull substantially when I sold my house and downsized in 2017. I just kept the pages/drawings that I thought were either good or an idea I wanted to keep. It was sometimes hard, but a lot of what is in a sketchbook was just filler that served no purpose other than to kill time or practise.

I also have a paper fetish so buy new ones just because they are on sale, or I want to try a different paper finish or weight or size. That’s not even all of it on that shelf, the bigger pads are stored elsewhere. This was early this year – that’s all gone, except for a small selection of my preferred sizes that I was able to fit into my luggage.

Bottom shelf, all brand new – there are 37 different items there!

Now, because I am moving to another country with as few things as I possibly can, I’ve gone through everything and scanned work that I want to keep a record of and some process/planning sketches from finished projects and trashed the originals.

Planning sketches for a project 2019

At least with modern technology I can scan or photograph anything I want to – which is making the whole process of destroying my “babies” tolerable even if I still feel bad about it.

It was hard but, sigh, I can’t carry a ton of stuff around that NEVER gets referred to. And really… unless it is a current sketchbook that I am actively working in, it doesn’t get looked at unless I am going through the process of culling.

I don’t think I have EVER actually filled up or used up an entire sketchbook or artist’s pad in my life. I’m close on two currently… one I’m working in and keeping. The other is going to get tossed – I’ve photographed or scanned the parts I want to keep out of it.

These are/were the 2020/21 in use sketchbooks

All this made me wonder… do artists REALLY keep ALL their sketchbooks?


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Day 447 (of the Pandemic)

Another month gone and we’re getting close to summer now – just three weeks until it is official.

The last 14+ months have seemed like both the longest AND the shortest of my life. Time has dragged out something awful, but also things have happened and gone by so quickly.

My timeline for moving abroad is now less than three months – 87 days precisely. That is the date my lease here is up, so that is the date I’ve been aiming for as a departure date. However, now that it has been announced by the Provincial government that our second vaccinations are being moved up due to lots of supply, I may be able to go sooner! My current appointment is August 6th, but if I can get one in July I could leave at the beginning of August instead of the end.

There are a lot of things that have to be done in a specific order, and then all the rest of the details that one has to take care of when moving, and moving internationally takes it to a more intense level.

I’ve continued to paint more threatened species to add into my thesis project. I ended up installing my display in our studio on campus and finished it for photographs on the 13th of May. After that I decided to keep painting. I’m enjoying the process and it is keeping me occupied going over to the studio to work on them.

This is my thesis project, which I call “Anthropocene of the Crime.” In this there are 43 paintings of 45 different species that are under threat. Along with information, articles and papers on the threats to the species’ survival, suspects, and lots of string.

I have completed another eight paintings, and have six more in progress, that I am going to add into this before we do our “Live Virtual Show & Artists’ Talk” for the Robert McLaughlin Gallery on June 14th. Most are smaller – ten are 3×4 inches, with four 5×7 inches – and will fit in where there are openings in the existing layout. With those included there will be a total of 57 paintings of 59 different species… I feel like I need to do one more to make it an even 60.

When I was mounting it and putting in the map pins, I suddenly realized that I had somehow missed including any South American species! Oops. So I did three the next day to add in before photographing, and I’ve also added another species in the batch I’m currently painting.

I shot a video explaining the project and what is on the crime investigation board in detail and posted it to YouTube. Here’s the link Antropocene of the Crime – it is just under nine minutes. I wasn’t sure how it would work, as I was holding my camera and talking without planning a script, but it turned out well enough that I’m willing to share it.

I am working on a dedicated blog to accompany my project – as we aren’t having a public display it loses impact completely. In the blog I will have each painting posted with information about the species on their own page, with links and other information. It actually will provide a lot more in-depth detail than just examining the physical display in person, and show off each painting individually. There are a year’s worth of paintings in this project!

The blog is called “Anthropocene of the Crime” (of course) and once I’ve got the last batch of paintings finished and the photos added to the blog, it will be ready to go live. It will be available no later than June 14th when we do our virtual show, but I’ll put it up as soon as I’ve got it ready.

The current batch I’m working on. The eight on the left side are finished, and the rest tomorrow maybe.

I am planning to create note card sets with all the paintings and possibly prints and other items. So I’ve scanned them all as I’ve been finishing them. That’s a summer project, along with a low carb cookbook/e-book a friend is insisting I put together. I scanned all my recipes and once I’m done with this whole thesis project, I’ll start working on that.


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It’s New Year’s Eve – Day 298 (of the Pandemic)

I was thinking of waiting until Day 300, but decided to just go ahead with this on New Year’s Eve.

I’ve made a bit of a tradition of posting my version of a year-in-review here, but, honestly feel like there isn’t much to say about 2020 that hasn’t been covered or isn’t worth mentioning at all.

We’ve all been dealing with the same issues around the world, to different degrees – depending on your country and/or jurisdiction’s response to the Pandemic and related issues.

Here in Ontario, Canada, we are in lockdown again. Record daily totals of new cases (2,923 yesterday) almost everyday. We’ve politicians taking their family on international vacations for Christmas and posting misleading “Christmas” greetings that make it look like they are at home talking about how this Christmas is different! Bastards. Meanwhile, those of us who are worried, scared and following public health restrictions are spending our time alone in our homes.

The good news is that the vaccines are here. Based on news reports yesterday, I should be able to get it sometime between April and July… at least, that’s their “schedule” for now. As I am planning to attend post-grad studies abroad in the autumn I really need to get that done! Presuming that the Pandemic travel bans and protocols are eased up by then to allow for it.

So, for what it’s worth, here’s my rather subdued year-in-review:

  • Major highlight for me was for both semesters in 2020 my GPA was 5.0 which puts my overall GPA at 4.96.
  • The college went into full lockdown mid-March so we had to finish up the semester at home – even the studio classes. My plans for final projects all went out the window and I had to improvise at home. Home is student housing – 126 square feet of space of my own – which doesn’t allow for large builds or even flat works bigger than 18×20 inches. But I managed.
  • Fall semester was, for Fine Arts, a combination. Our two studio classes were on campus – they split us up into smaller groups in different studios to maintain social distancing while there (although many people don’t grasp the concept!) The rest were live on-line classes.
  • Got my African Violet to bloom!

  • I was Hair & Make-Up lead for Pride & Prejudice at the Oshawa Little Theatre – show ran in January and ended mid-February – right before the shit hit the fan. It actually seems like it was longer ago than that at this point.
  • In January took a workshop on How to Become A Successful Artist – lots of useful information from Tim Packer in Oshawa.
  • Managed to break the little toes on BOTH feet (at different times) during lockdown. I’ve since wrapped the leg of my bed with a towel and duct tape to stop doing that!
  • I sold my car at the end of August as I wasn’t using it enough to justify the insurance and parking costs.
  • I completed the Institute of Student Leadership’s program and was awarded their non-academic certificate. This involved social education, attending the summit/conference, volunteer hours and campus involvement.
  • Did some art classes online for fun – watercolours and pencil crayons in particular.
  • Started a monthly challenge for January and actually completed the month.
  • Participated in many webinars over the summer on social issues, learned a lot.
  • Had a mixed media piece accepted into a juried show at the Station Gallery in Whitby.
  • Took part in National Portfolio Day online and talked to many schools around the world about transferring to finish a degree. I’ve started the application process for a few for both BFA and MFA programs.
  • Applied for scholarships – not successfully so far. But I keep trying!
  • Was alone in my unit for around four months without any roommates. Three went home at lockdown in March, and the fourth moved out in May. So I was all alone until September. Was nice as I didn’t have the stress of worrying about contamination.
  • I started keeping a “Pandemic Journal” on my Facebook timeline in March when the WHO declared the pandemic. I post every evening with the new total worldwide numbers, local updates, and some personal things.
  • And, last but not least… I cut my hair, MYSELF, on Christmas Eve. I could not take it anymore! I hate it touching my ears or neck. And I did an excellent job of it considering I did it by touch only, no mirror! Full disclosure – I do know how to cut hair on other people, but have never done more than trim around the front on myself before. I keep it very short and “feathered” so the fact that it is lying smoothly after basically grabbing and hacking thrills me.

Here is one of the latest works I’ve completed – this is the companion piece to one I shared in my last blog post of Conservation successes. This is of Extinctions we’ve caused, the concept is the various species crossing over the Rainbow Bridge to become constellations in the night sky. It’s 8.5 x 11″ watercolour/ink and pencil crayon and will be published in a local arts magazine that will be featuring the art of the students in our program.

I wish everyone the absolute best of health and happiness in the New Year. Be safe and we’ll get through this.


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Day 287 (of the Pandemic)

I’m glad that the vaccines are finally in play, but this is going to get much worse before it gets better. Numbers are soaring here. I’m still staying away from people as much as possible and I have to say I really miss interacting and conversing with people. Not that I was ever a social butterfly but I was busy with volunteering and my make-up/face painting business, school and work and that provided contact with lots of people.

Friday was the last day of the Fall semester and also was timetable selection for the next. There is only one course scheduled for on campus at this point which is our Studio Thesis class. All the rest are now online. If everything here goes back to total lockdown like they did in the Spring, there is a possibility that class too, may end up remote. Which is NOT good. Hard to work on large studio projects when you can’t work in the studio.

Marks are out on Tuesday and I have my applications pretty much ready to send off to degree granting schools as soon as I have the marks. I’m applying to both BFA and MFA programs abroad.

Close to 95% of all the work I did this semester tied into my thesis theme of Threatened and Endangered Species. Here are some of the final works as submitted:

This is a painting Conservation successes (so far) – species that humans managed to save by taking action. The assignment was to produce two images suitable for publication (8.5 x 11″) in an arts magazine, on a social cause or issue. The companion piece is of Extinctions that humans caused.

This is my elephant mixed materials sculpture at the stage he was at for final review and marking. I’ve still a fair amount to tweak! Each stage I spot something that isn’t quite right (to my eyes) and have to do some alterations. As long as we are on campus next semester I will be able to finish him.

This is one work that didn’t fit my overall theme. The assignment was to research an ideology and narrow down a focus. I ended up concentrating on women’s reproductive rights being out of their control. I was horrified to learn about symphysiotomy and pubiotomy – I mean, sick to my stomach horrified. And these were still being performed in Ireland at a catholic hospital up until the 1990s and are still being used in the developing world. I’m not going to get on my soapbox but the fact that women were not informed of the procedures, were not aware of them, gave no consent and went into delivery thinking everything was fine… to only wake up to to find themselves in a hammock with their legs tied together for months because their pelvic cartilage or their entire pelvic bone had been severed to get the baby out easier… and most women NEVER properly healed and were in pain the rest of their lives. I’m getting irate again typing this!

I did this mixed media piece for this project. It is called “The Garden of Men” and is collage on acrylic and stretched canvas. I did a lot of drawings of the female reproductive system, scanned them, replicated many times, printed, coloured, cut them out (got blisters from the scissors) and made this collage garden out of them.

And this is one of the 17 paintings I completed in my main thesis project. This is a Kakapo, a flightless parrot from New Zealand who is critically endangered. They are the only flightless parrot, the heaviest and the longest lived (around 100 years.) Conservation efforts started in the 1890s but weren’t successful until the 1990s when they took drastic measures and cleared two islands of all predators and relocated every specimen they could find to the islands. They only found 49 to relocate so the genetic pool is limited and unfortunately issues are developing.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas (at home please!) and here’s to a healthy and happy New Year for the whole world.


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Day 225 (of the Pandemic)

This has been a long seven and a half months and the second wave is surging. I’m guessing next spring before we will know if we’ll be able to start resuming old activities. I know I’m in no rush.

Areas around me are having to roll back to previous restrictions due to the increase in confirmed cases. And watching the numbers around the world the wave seems to be more of a tidal wave – in Belgium for instance with over 10,000 new cases per day.

I have two classes on campus and today we were informed that as of this Thursday if we are to be on campus we have to do an online assessment to get permission to access. We have to do it every single day we have to go on campus, permission is for only that day. Three standard “self screening” questions. Are you sick? Have you travelled? Have you been in contact with a case? Then they send you an email giving you permission to enter – which you have to show to gain access.

I’m perturbed as I don’t use a smart phone and resources to print off emails daily aren’t readily available – so how am I supposed to show this permission? I’ve sent off an inquiry.

Latest art projects are progressing. Prepped 21 more canvases with the base colours for my thesis project over the last couple of weeks. Last week I started working on the subjects. I’ve finished 13 of the total 35 planned works.

First batch are all 8 x 10″, and the second has 4 x 12″, 6 x 6″ and 5 x 7″.

Did a prototype for my Fabrication project, sort of. It showed me my original idea wasn’t going to work, so I switched gears. This is a 6 x 10″ shadow box with a white rhino I made with glass seed beads. The final project is going to be 24 x 24″ and not a rhino and will use found objects. I only used the beads I had available so the contrast of the shading on the body isn’t as striking as it could be – silver outline and detail with gold fill. I quite like how it turned out.

I also did some art on leaves for one of my online classes – it was a sustainable theme so I created a surface out of dried leaves and non-toxic materials to do my illustrations. I made four “leaf paper sheets” but only used two.

I can peel off the white – it was child safe non-toxic paint, and the leaves can be used for something else. And I know it will peel off as it started doing so while I was drawing!

Halloween this year is so quiet. Very strange for me as for over 20 years it was such a big deal working flat out doing make-up for clients and events for most of the autumn, and particularly the two weeks leading up to the big day. With the virus things are very low key everywhere.

Just as a throwback – here is one of my many favourite Halloween make-ups done on a client.

Have a nice Halloween, whatever you end up doing or not doing! And stay safe.


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Day 133…

Over four months into the pandemic now. I don’t see an end to it soon. Even though Ontario has mostly moved to Stage 3 of reopening, it is still not contained/controlled. If everyone would wear a mask and maintain social distancing it could possibly be contained, but so many don’t.

I honestly do not understand people who think that wearing a mask and maintaining a distance from others is too hard for them to do. Selfish gits. Losing my life, or someone else’s, isn’t worth going to a beach or a pub or a party. It isn’t even worth going for groceries when there are delivery options.

I am staying home as much as I possibly can. I am still alone in my unit which is nice as the added stress of a roommate is gone, for now. Since it is already past mid-July I don’t expect they’ll have anyone moving into the vacant room until later next month (although I could be wrong.) My other three roommates most likely will return for the end of August. But, there’s a possibility, if their programs have gone 100% online for the fall semester, that they may choose to stay home with family. I know they all have leases to next summer like I do.

I’ve been eating well, which means more than I usually do when I have somewhere to go during the day. I generally have one meal (usually when I get home) and a snack (that would be breakfast.) Now that I am home all day I usually have two meals and snacks… not a great plan. And, well, now I’m trying to get back to just one meal and stopping with the extra snacking! I need to fit my clothing in September for school!  This is my “normal” breakfast, which I am back to now: cheese, some cucumber and celery, and a massive coffee (decaf most of the time.)

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I’ve not been as productive as I was earlier on in this isolation. I putter. Did a few more drawings but took a break from the painting series. Made some jewelry – goal is to use up my craft supplies and beads so I can reduce my on-hand materials. I’m now assembling “dangly things” with shells and other bits of stuff I’ve collected over the years.

Here is a micron drawing, and I used my new iridescent watercolour paints and pencil crayons to add colour to it.

The paints are Finetec Pearlescent Colours. They are quite lush.

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A friend passed them onto me as she found they didn’t do what she had wanted them to.

Below is a photo of the first batch of jewelry I made up. I’m planning to sell them – during third year we have opportunities to set-up to sell things as part of one of the classes we are in. These are mostly painted wood pendants with glass beads, with some metal and wood beads as well. If you are interested send me a message or comment on this post!

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I’ve started making hanging/dangly things now. I lay out stuff on my work table so I can just sit down when the spirit moves me to put something together. I sorted out pieces to use into little trays (I save the plastic trays from the 99% cacao Lindt chocolate bars,) one for each dangly thing – all the components and beads, etc.  I’ve got the finished ones hanging all over the room. I’ll photograph them once I’ve got this batch finished.

Hope everyone is managing through this upheaval and keeping healthy. It will eventually get to a point where we can start getting back to doing things without the constant fear of infection. Eventually. Be safe.


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Day 107…

Today is the 107th official day of the Pandemic. Well over three months and still going strong. I am staying in isolation as much as possible and wear a mask every time I leave the house even if it is just to take the garbage out. Time is actually going by surprisingly fast, which I didn’t expect. Not sure if that is good or bad, though.

I’ve been puttering with art projects, particularly the series of 35 paintings I started a couple months back. I’ve decided that all species will be threatened or endangered in the wild.

The base coats are acrylic paint, brush blended. Then I do the white outline in acrylic, then alcohol inks for the actual creatures. Once I get to larger surfaces I will probably start using acrylics for the creatures’ base colours.

 

This set of six 2×3″ is complete. These are, from left to right, top to bottom: Acadian Redfish (endangered), Chevroned Butterfly Fish (decreasing), Mountain Inago Pygmy Chameleon (critically endangered, possibly extinct), Golden Mantella Frog (critically endangered), American Burying Beetle (critically endangered), and Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (endangered.)

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I started the next set of four, which will be plant species. These are on 2 3/4 x 4 1/4″ wooden ovals.

This is the Stenogyne Kanehoana which is native to Hawaii and known only on Oahu – it is a flowering climbing vine that is a member of the mint family. It is thought to possibly now be extinct in the wild – the last time one was seen was in 2004, when cuttings were taken.

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I took a break from that project, with 10 of 35 paintings done, and did some other work.

I’ve spent a lot of time educating myself about systemic racism over the past several weeks. And it is sickening. As a Canadian there is nothing that makes our society any different than any other Eurocentric/White dominated culture. I am continuing to research and read everything I can. After I got into all of that I had to do something to work out my emotions and process the information, so I created this drawing. I’ve actually been continuing to add more items as I learn about them since I took this photo of it. #BlackLivesMatter

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This next one was an exercise in learning about my Derwent Procolour pencil crayons, and how to use the Blender pencil. It turned out well, I think, and I like how they blend so smoothly. I will be doing a lot more with them.

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And this one is one of my regular “doodle art” relaxers. Drawn in Micron pen and coloured with watercolours, gel pens and felt pens. I just grab the pen and start making shapes. There is never a plan, that’s why they are doodle art.

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We’ve heard from the college and Fall semester is going to mostly be remote, but for those of us in Fine Art it will be a combination of both remote courses and in class. We have to have our studio classes – Painting, Drawing and Fabrication – in person as we have to use the equipment, materials and need the space. We won’t know details until we get there I guess.

I’m not a fan of online courses. When choosing my electives I never took online only courses – even if the subject was one I really wanted to take. I just don’t see the point of a class without live interaction. And I am not really comfortable with the live online group thing, not in the least. If I need to do a course online, just put all the information and assignments there and I’ll work my way through on my own. I can deal with the hybrid classes where you attend class, but your work is all online – I think they call this a “flipped classroom model.”

This is my final year for the Advanced Diploma program. Then I will be going to another institution to finish a Bachelor’s in Fine Art.


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Hey world, are we done yet?

So… here we are.  What, 35 or 36 days since the pandemic was declared? I’ve been self-isolating since March 16th, just venturing out for food, an eye appointment… and this week called an ambulance (called the doctor who told me to get to the ER immediately) and spent most of a day in ER. I’m okay, but could have been something serious.

Ontario is staying “closed” for another month, at least. Which takes us to mid-May. My summer job was supposed to start May 1st on campus. Pretty sure it isn’t going to be available now. But in the good news category, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit was expanded (announced today by PM Trudeau) and I will now qualify! So that is a relief – usually earn my tuition for the year over the summer. The benefit will at least let me keep up with things.

Watching shows on YouTube – musicals. Andrew Lloyd Weber and Universal are running a production every Friday for 48 hours. First week was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with Donny Osmond) and last Friday was Jesus Christ Superstar (with Tim Minchin as Judas and Mel C [she was Sporty Spice, right?] as Mary M) which was excellent! This week it is Phantom of the Opera. Right now I’m listening to the Les Mis 10th Anniversary Concert. I love that show.

I started posting travel photos on my Instagram – it is fun to go through all my files and find nice shots I’ve taken on our travels around the world. Taking many trips down memory lane while I click through them.

End of the semester is this Friday – I finished my last project yesterday, and have everything submitted. Now wait for marks, and then my final grades to post in a week or so. Got through it, but I am not a fan of online learning. Hope to hell they don’t decide to change the program after this “experiment” in doing everything that way.

I’m still doing the live watercolour paint-alongs on Facebook (missed the last few so need to catch-up,) and some online drawing classes, in between getting all my class projects and assignments done. Was challenging to get the final three paintings and a sculpture done in my room – most of my kit that I would normally use is still in my locker on campus which is on lockdown. So… improvisation was the name of the game.

Here is a bunch of stuff I’ve done over the last weeks – both the fun pass the time and school projects. All are watercolour, except for the apple. That is pencil crayon (aka coloured pencil.) I want to learn how to use them and did an online course with BluPrint which is currently offering all their online courses for free.

The diptych (the two paintings in the one photo) and the other geometric design were assignments (I was inspired by geometric abstraction/Orphism,) the rest are from the paint-along I’ve been doing – learning basic techniques and playing around! I’m happy with my Flamingo – I actually didn’t follow along on that one, I found my own reference photo and worked from that.

As I no longer have the school deadlines to keep me motivated… we’ll see how it goes. I plan to do some reading (need to read Atlas Shrugged – wish me luck with that!) and keep on working with watercolours and pencil crayons. And have a mural to finish designing for a commission – to be done once we are allowed out again.

Stay healthy everyone. Stay home!


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A little self-isolation

Well, the world is certainly a different place than it was two weeks ago. Not unexpectedly. Confirmed cases of Covid-19 are jumping and  death rate is climbing. Several friends around the world are now reporting family, close friends and neighbours are infected. There was also an employee from the college confirmed – travel related. So shit is getting real.

Here in Ontario all but essential services are now closed. People are to stay home, and only leave their homes to get food and medicine. You aren’t supposed to be within 2 metres or 6-10 feet of other people. Unfortunately a lot of people just aren’t getting it!

The government is going to start enforcing the stay home rules, and are already arresting people who break the mandatory 14-day quarantine after returning to the country.

People are still hoarding… really difficult to find toilet paper and disinfectants. Some stores are gouging – saw Ontario Premier Doug Ford on the news and he was LIVID. They will be enacting legislation about it tomorrow and he said they are going after the price gougers. Good. Hopefully that will apply to the cretins who bought up everything they could to resell.

I’ve decided to stay off Twitter – too much US news. It is terrifying to watch the damage Trump has caused by his inaction and greed. I firmly am of the opinion he was stalling as he was trying to figure out how HE could make money off of it.

It is nice to see some billionaires actually doing something – Dyson designed a new ventilator in 10 days and is building 15,000 for the NHS in the UK. Elon Musk has been getting shipments of PPE and other equipment to hospitals around the US for over a week, and is getting set-up to manufacture ventilators. Some corporations are still paying their staff after closing. Others are… well selfish bastards. Imagine the richest man in the world setting up a Go Fund Me to cover employees who can’t work??? Well you don’t have to imagine it because it is true! All this stuff is in the news.

My poor hands are so dried out I’ve scraped my face with the skin on them! Now… I know you aren’t supposed to touch your face, but my hands are clean! And how the hell do you NOT touch your face. I have to keep remembering to moisturize.

Trying to get groceries delivered or order for pick-up is not working for me. All the local ways to do that have about a 10-day wait, and that’s for pick-up of an order! It is nuts.

As I had to go to a eye appointment (not something I could put off) early on Tuesday, I decided to stop for groceries on my way home. I really did not want to go to a grocery store, but I needed fresh food. Luckily it was just after 8 a.m. and there were only a few people. Lots of fresh vegetables, NO frozen, none. Well, except okra but who eats that? I kept away from people and wiped down things when I got home. Washed and prepped the vegetable and put away.

The college is now completely locked down as of Tuesday. Up until then they were allowing individual access to the studios, labs and computers. But once all non-essential services were closed, they locked down. And the date they had given for return was cancelled, with no new date. So we won’t be returning.

Everything is online now. Which is an adjustment for me. I am trying to keep to a routine. And make sure I don’t miss due dates which is hard when you have no idea what day it is! I am working through all assignments that are open for me to do now. I like to work ahead if possible. Then I don’t have to worry about forgetting or being overloaded at the end of the semester.

I’ve been making art – doodling and watercolour. I do have some assignments as well which I will get at over the next few days. This is some of the stuff I’ve done over the last week.

The doodles were done with really cheap dollar store felt pens – I thought they were ballpoint when I bought them a couple years ago. They are decent – lots of ink and really excellent nibs. They aren’t Copics or anything really excellent artist quality, but for what I am doing they work great, are nice and bright and don’t bleed.

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A friend in the UK is doing a daily watercolour class live on Facebook (7 a.m. my time) so I’ve been participating. A good reason to keep to my early morning schedule. Everyone is staying home around the world and having an activity do like this is a good motivator to get up and do something.

Here’s my worktable. The LED lamp date/time is wrong. I had finally figured out how to set it but the power went off a couple weeks ago, and I can’t be bothered. My radio is precariously balanced to the right of it against the wall – and leans on the base of the lamp. Took two-days to find a spot in the room where the reception was steady so I have no desired to move it now! It is actually lying on its side as that is the only way to get a signal. The volume control is underneath now, so it stays on all the time.

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I am posting daily on my FB page in My Pandemic Journal. Just my observations about what is happening in the world and my life during the crisis. If you want to check it out it is linked. Nothing earth shattering, just daily ramblings and images.


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New year, new semester, new challenges

Happy New Year. Ten days in now, but hey, still a valid wish to everyone. Regardless of the crap that is going on in the world, let us all think happy thoughts and do what we all can to make this world a better place for everyone and every creature on the planet.

I usually do a year in review post annually, but this past year was a bit of a blur. A lot went on, and when I look back it is hard to believe that ALL that happened in just the last 12 months.

The most notable things for me in 2019 were:

  • My trip to Africa in May for almost a month – I visited South Africa, eSwatini (the country formerly known as Swaziland), and Mozambique (I blogged about that here – that’s the first of eight posts about my experiences.)
  • The Year End Juried Art Show at the Station Gallery in Whitby, Ontario – I won a prize for one of my mixed media works! That was exciting ( I blogged about that here!) I helped with the show set-up for a week before I left for my trip too, which was a fantastic learning experience.
  • I spent 79 days over the summer working as a residential camp baker/cook at a camp at the south end of Algonquin Park, Ontario. I had to leave for the job one day after I got back from my African trip. I did not blog about that. It was exhausting with regular 16-hour days with only three actual days off the entire summer (that was NOT how it was supposed to be!) I baked, I cooked, I prepped, I cleaned, I slept. That was the extent of my daily activities. I lost 30 lbs in the process. On the up side, I invented some awesome vegetarian meals, and vegan, gluten free baked goods. And my bread and soups were legendary. But I had to have others taste everything I made as I couldn’t myself due to my dietary restrictions.
  • I had a 5.0 GPA for the Winter (Jan-Apr) 2019 semester, and 4.91 for the Fall (Sep-Dec) 2019 semester. Did some cool stuff (posted here, here, here, and here about some of them.)
  • And, tragically, lost Brian in August. I was at camp and wasn’t there when he passed over the rainbow bridge. It wasn’t completely unexpected as he was old for his breed (Samoyed) and had been declining – the last time I saw him in July he didn’t seem to recognize me. Not being there to say goodbye was, and is, upsetting and I still cry.FennellWideIMG_5377 8x10crop
  • I had to move, unexpectedly, at the beginning of October and now live in purpose built student housing across from the College. It isn’t a residence, but a private development. I share a three-floor unit with four other females. It is actually very comfortable – all rooms have ensuites and maglocks on the doors. That was my big issue with student housing/residences – security and privacy. All appliances including washer/dryer are in the unit, and the rent is all-inclusive. And being directly across the street from school and work is awesome. It did require downsizing even more than I had when I moved to Ontario – I now live in 126 square feet with EVERYTHING I own (except for the car – it is outside!) It is actually quite liberating to get rid of stuff.DSC00834

2020’s plans and activities include:

  • I am working on setting up to sell my art online. I just have to figure out the best way for me to deal with it. I need to start working on a business model for myself for the art. I was very successful running my make-up business for twenty years, but this is a bit different and I need to get my mind around marketing tangible goods rather than services.
  • I’m working on a production of Pride and Prejudice with the Oshawa Little Theatre which opens at the end of this month – hair and make-up, of course.
  • Classes started this week for my fifth semester in my Fine Art program. I have five courses this semester: Special Topics in Sociology, Ethics in Your Daily Life, Fabrication Studio II, Painting II, and Art Survey – 1900 to current.
  • I am having hand surgery on Monday … it is day surgery and I was told there is no down time. We’ll see. It is my left hand and I am right handed so hopefully I’ll manage okay.
  • No travel plans this year – I hope to go to school in Ireland (fingers crossed) in 2021 so my budget is tight. Depending on what summer job I get I might take a road trip to visit friends that are a day’s drive away – will have to see.
  • I started an art challenge January 1st. Art everyday – which I am posting on Facebook, Instagram, etc. I’m keeping things small so I can complete them in one sitting! I tend to lose the plot on the monthly challenges and really want to carry through on this one. Below are some of the items I’ve made so far… All are for sale! Except the Corgi, he’s already sold.