Shannon Fennell's Blog

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


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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 255 (of the Pandemic)

How is everyone holding up?

Second wave of the Pandemic is here in spades, but at least there are multiple promising vaccines being worked on. I’ve heard that it probably will be at least another year before things could be back to “normal” (whatever that turns out to be) if the vaccines are effective and start distribution early in the new year.

I have a collection of 12 fabric masks now, and a large supply of TrioMed Active Surgical & Medical Single Use Masks – which are treated with an antimicrobial that kills the covid and flu viruses. Gives me a bit more comfort when I have to get on transit, go to class or appointments.

I’ve been taking part in National Portfolio Day. It is completely online this year and I have to say I like it this way! I’ve talked to 10 art schools and universities from around the world so far, and still have three more dates where I can talk to more. I’ve already scheduled a session for this Sunday with another school.

If you are thinking about attending post-secondary art programs I highly recommend it – you can still sign-up and participate! I’ve found that with them running sessions since September that there is no waiting to talk to the school reps. And, even though it says 10-15 minutes a session, I’ve been getting 30-60 minute sessions as there is no one waiting after me. I’ve had some excellent portfolio reviews, critiques, suggestions, lessons and discussions about various program options. The link to register is: https://nationalportfolioday.org/

All the UK schools I’ve talked to have suggested applying straight into their Master’s programs. That isn’t an option with the Canadian schools I’ve spoken to, at least not one they are promoting. In the UK they go there straight off. I’m a “mature” student with a decades long arts based career, and lifetime of producing work in multiple media. I am VERY interested in that option as I was thinking I’d like to get a Masters of Fine Art and assumed it would happen after finishing a BFA. But… skipping the BFA would save time (1.5 to 2 years) and overall would cost less as well (comparing MFA to MFA.)

I’m finishing a three year diploma in Fine Arts – Advanced (Honours) and the Canadian schools’ maximum credit to transfer into their BFA programs is only 50% to 75%. And even with a 75% transfer credit it would be three semesters to complete a degree. And that was only one school, the others were 50% – you have to complete two years of their program to get their degree.

The Master’s programs are three semesters straight through which is a full year. Compared to finishing a BFA that is faster as most BFA programs run a traditional schedule with the summer off. I’m not getting any younger, so that is very appealing to me too. The last year of a BFA is the thesis year – researching a specific theme or topic and producing a body of work… the MFA is also a thesis with a broader/deeper scope.

I’ve been working hard on my Statements of Intent (different ones for different programs) and portfolio to get them ready for applications. I’ll be applying to several schools (some have waived their application fees due to the pandemic) as soon as I have my final marks for this semester in December, for both BFA and MFA programs to start in September 2021. Then I’ll see what happens!

Below is one of my current projects – I built the box which is is 2 x 2 feet, and I’m creating an elephant from cloth mache. So far I’ve recycled egg cartons, meat trays, an old fitted sheet, a sheet of foam core from another project, six different types of sponges and a used lot of glue. Tomorrow work continues – will install the background as I have to do that before I secure the armature for the ear. I’m pretty pleased with it so far.


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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 209 (of the Pandemic)

This week has been a technology induced headache for me. I’ll go through this in point form, it’s easier to not go off on tangents that way!

  1. My internet connection sucks. The wifi, cable tv, utilities, etc. are all included in my rent. Every time I’ve complained about the loss of connection (which is constant) they tell me they checked my connection from their end and everything looks fine.
    I’ve resorted to keeping a log to give them the next time I complain and so far it is five pages long. There are two networks available so if I lose one, I can connect to the other, but many times neither is working. Sometimes it is totally dead so I just turn off the computer and go do something else. Other times I hop between connections for 10 minutes until one of them connects again.
    When in virtual classes, Zoom meetings, etc. I get constant “low bandwidth” warnings… I friend told me to turn off the camera as that uses up bandwidth. Thing is that some of my classes required me to be on camera to show things I’ve been working on to the professor.
    I’ve lost the connection while in an online class or webinar several times now. Sometimes, in Zoom for example, it will automatically reconnect me into the meeting when the signal comes back, in other platforms I have to try to log back in.
    I was uploading files to my Dropbox the other day… the speed of the transfer was UNDER 500 KB/s for a lot of the time. High Speed Internet??? Ha!
  2. My home computer, which I purchased in 2011 or 2012 I believe, is a gamer – large full keyboard with number pad, large screen – huge memory and excellent graphics capability. My work is visual so I wanted the graphics capability and storage.
    I’ve been having the odd little thing happen with it over the last couple of months – opening images for example – doesn’t open when I click, but if I close, and try again it will. That’s become a normal process. So I was getting worried that it may be starting to have issues.
  3. On Tuesday, while in virtual class, the computer completely crashed. Total black-out, but still running, the cursor was visible on screen but neither the mouse nor the touchpad would move it, I did all the troubleshooting I knew how to do – Ctrl-Alt-Del, etc. but nothing was happening. Took around 20 minutes – resorted to removing the battery pack – to get it to reboot.
    I got back into the class to finish, then went to work.
  4. I have a ClickFree external back-up. Bought in 2012. So… hook it up (My last back-up was in August – I do it pretty regularly.) It gets 35% saved then it crashes!!!! Get a message that says it was disconnected so is shutting down? WTF?
    As it encrypts I can’t tell what was saved and what was not. So I try again… gets to 43% and crashes again. Fine, be that way.
  5. By the way… I had over 55,000 images on my hard drive…
  6. Okay, options? I have OneDrive and the Abobe Creative Cloud – have never used – but they are there. I have another laptop for school (less than 2 years old, just doesn’t have the huge capacity of my main one) so my cunning plan was – copy the two folders I HAVE to save (Documents and Pictures) to one of them, then download onto the other computer. I needed to cull files but that could wait as I was worried about losing things.
    So I get out the other computer. I log into Adobe on both. Copy my folders into the Adobe Creative Cloud folder on my main computer. However… the other computer can’t access, doesn’t see them. I even emailed the tech at the college, but I’d already tried everything he suggested.
    So then I tried OneDrive… same issue. I can put the files IN the folder, but the other computer isn’t accessing. Messages were about “network” so maybe just being on the internet doesn’t work?
    So, in desperation I tried to put essential files in Dropbox… That didn’t work. I exceeded capacity on my free account, and all that transferred over was empty file folders, no data. And as all I wanted to do was transfer essential files to another computer, not store them, I wasn’t paying for more space.
  7. So I moved a couple of items (one being my current year school folder) into Dropbox.
  8. I then spent three days (so far!) culling files on my old computer – there was a lot of duplication. I would copy images into other folders when working on projects – so I wouldn’t accidentally edit or lose the originals. Also old stuff… I had documents from 2004. I would update, but kept the old files, so I would have 15 versions of the same document saved. I also would save ALL the photos from a shoot, even the crappy ones that I would never use. And items I will never use again – like scans of old insurance paperwork, etc.
    So, that was very time consuming – many photos I had to check dates and file sizes to make sure I was saving originals and/or highest resolution. And then visually examine to make sure that the photo was a keeper.
    That is an exhausting process. I’ve got folders containing literally hundreds of photos for one event – the production of CATS I was Make-up Director for and Les Miserables are the two shows with massive files. I honestly don’t need all of that – but it essentially is my scrapbook of my work as I don’t have physical records anymore.
    So far I’ve removed 17,340 files/images and shredded them in McAfee.
  9. Then, I thought I’d try the back-up again, I will be buying a new external back-up asap, but in the meantime need to get this stuff SOMEWHERE for security.
    As I’ve been using this ClickFree drive for 8 years… and I had around 70,000 files of my own data, plus all the systems/programs… maybe it was full? It had a factory reset option… so, I held my breath and reset it – cleared it off completely.
    Then ran a back-up – it was “your first back-up may take a long time as we are backing up your entire computer” I left it running when I left for class. Success! It saved all of it.

I also had to buy two new mice this summer. My main one died (it was probably 10-15 years old!) so I grabbed the little cheaper one I used with my school laptop. Then I dropped it… right button no longer worked so I was doing a half mouse/half touchpad thing to navigate. Not a lot of fun but workable. Got new ones which is so much better! Had to relearn how to right click! LOL

I don’t want to have to buy another large capacity computer… it is not in my budget. But the little laptop I bought for school just doesn’t have the storage capacity for what I have – I’ll check into upgrading it, but I also find it uncomfortable to work on. I am used to the large keyboard and number pad – a lifetime of typing and using printing calculators, starting on manual machines has conditioned me to that.

So that’s my week so far. Today I will continue to cull and do homework at some point too.


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Day 202…

WordPress has changed the editor on me so I’m not quite sure what’s going on as I type this! I thought “classic block” was what I had been using, but apparently not.

Oh well… guess I will adapt.

I’m back in class for Fall Semester – two of my studio classes are on campus, the rest of them are remote/online. It is a bit different for me. We are only permitted on campus for the duration of our classes, there is only one entrance open, masks are mandatory, hand sanitizer stations spaced about every six feet, etc.

We get notifications from the college when someone tests positive – whether they have or haven’t been on campus. We are up to two confirmed who WERE on campus.

I have no idea what the threshold is for another lockdown. My program is the only one in the Faculty of Media, Art & Design that has any classes on campus. It is very surreal walking through the halls to the studio.

If everyone is wearing masks, washing their hands and maintaining distance being there is no more risky than going to the drug store to pick-up a prescription and safer than riding the bus by a long shot.

As this is my final year in the program it is my thesis year. I am planning my concept and work bearing in mind that lockdown is a real possibility and may be at home, again, to finish my work. So one idea that involved very large panels isn’t going to happen. I have no way to work on anything other than what fits on my card table in my room. The joys of living in student housing.

It is going to be a challenging year.


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Day 162…

So how are you doing?

I’m trying to keep busy without going out anywhere. I’ve become very good at wasting hours and hours of the day on the computer, which makes the days pass quickly.

I’ve cleaned. I’ve made art. I’ve sorted and culled belongings to donate, around three times now – I do it, then decide I need to do it again! I’ve been posting things to sell online in various groups and sites (with contactless pick-up and online payment methods.)

I’m stuck in a circadian rhythm – always have been – I wake up when the sun rises and want to sleep when it starts setting. So I wake up around 5 a.m. most days, and am usually asleep before 10 p.m. in the summer. Never use an alarm to wake-up unless I’m in a completely dark and windowless place, have changed time zones, or, have taken cold medicine or similar before going to bed.

I’ve started collecting masks. May as well as I will be needing them – two of my classes this upcoming semester will be on campus in the studios. There will be 16 of us, plus professor in these studios. There is NO room in them to space us out six feet apart. In the fabrication studio we were shoulder to shoulder around the work tables with that many students.

So far I have eight fabric masks, and three kinds of disposable ones. I’ve also ordered a “99% virus killing” mask that I will use for classes and medical appointments where you can’t keep distance. They are made in Canada but there are quantity limits per household.

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I am still looking for more fabric masks – I don’t want to have to increase my laundry schedule which is currently around every two weeks – in lockdown I’m not going through that many clothes! And will only be attending classes two days a week so won’t be building up a load too often.

I find both styles very comfortable and I seem to have a “standard adult” sized face as the fit is nice and comfortable, with no gaps.

If you are interested in the virus killing masks, here is the link (click on the image)

Antimicrobial Medical Adhesive Tape & Masks | TrioMed - I3 Biomedical

For filters in my cloth masks I’m currently using a double layer of Swiffer dry sheets, but am checking out the studies to find out what is the best, easy to find, material to use. It looks like blue shop towels are very good – I need to find some before I have to get closer to people. So far I’ve not been in close contact with anyone.

Keep yourselves safe where you are, wear a mask! It is not that big a deal and will help reduce the spread and save lives.


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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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Finally a chance to bake!

The only roommate that was still here with me moved out this week (the other three went home when the campuses closed and will be back for school in September.) I am currently all alone and very happy about it! I’ve been holed up in my room to avoid people and the virus, but now I have the run of the place and KNOW that once I’ve cleaned it will stay clean.  And… I can now hang out in the  living room and watch TV again! I haven’t done that in over two months.

After spending two hours cleaning and disinfecting the common area, the kitchen, sorting out the communal cupboards, clearing out the fridge of mouldy mystery things, slimy vegetables, solidified cream cheese (the tub actually rattled!) and a multitude of opened jars and bottles with BB dates a year or two ago, it is looking good out there.

I finally had a chance to use up the leftover almond flour I had from February. I used all of it which was maybe two cups worth, psyllium husk powder (didn’t use all of that), shredded coconut (possibly about two cups too, it thickly covered the bottom of a 10″ frying pan when I toasted it first,) baking powder, salt, about three tablespoons of melted butter (was three heaping soup spoons out of the butter dish,) three eggs and a glug of cream. I did not measure anything as the purpose was to use up the almond flour AND the coconut (which was left over from Christmas – I had it in the freezer.)

I almost added aged cheddar… I was going back and forth on that idea. Even got it and the grater out when getting set-up. But changed my mind. It would have been good with the coconut, but I thought this might be more cookie than biscuit when done, so decided to leave it out.

I combined the dry in a bowl, dumped in the melted butter and mixed well, then added the rest of the wet, and combined. I let it rest for a couple of minutes to allow the batter to thicken and absorb the moisture.

Then used a soup spoon to drop rough rounds onto a parchment covered baking sheet. I sprayed the parchment with a non-stick spray first as this was cheap parchment and I’ve had bad luck with it.

Baked at 425F for something like 20 minutes, then turned it down to 350F and watched them. I was puttering in the kitchen so just kept checking them until the bottoms were nicely browned. Then I tested one – sometimes these ingredients don’t dry out in the middle too well… but it was dryish. So pulled them out. And put on  a paper towel to cool.

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They’re great! And really held their shape. Last time I made baking powder biscuits with almond flour, they spread out like pancakes, these ones stayed up and don’t crumble, and have a really nice crumb.

Very buttery as I put in so much butter, and the coconut is there but not overpowering. I am glad I decided to toast it before adding to the mix.

All in all really excellent! I’ve always made baking powder biscuits without recipes and never measured. Now that I only use low carb ingredients it gets more challenging, but I guess I’ve finally figured it out! Of course… the next time may not work out as well.

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