Shannon Fennell's Blog

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

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2018 is a wrap

Another year has gone by at warp speed. And just like people say, time goes by faster the older you get. It really does.

It was a pretty packed year.

In January I started working towards a degree in Fine Arts. I am attending Durham College in the Fine Arts – Advanced program, and plan to finish my degree in Ireland. The Ontario Colleges have agreement with the Irish Schools where they accept the Ontario Diplomas for full credit, and I can finish an Honours BA in one additional year. That’s the plan I am working on.

I enjoy being a full-time student so much. I’ve always enjoyed school which explains why this will be my sixth – yes, SIXTH – post secondary diploma! I have used all of them in my career paths too. And the Fine Art one will be a great addition to my skill set.

I am working really hard to make sure I do the absolute best I can. I am on the College Honour Roll with a GPA of 4.94. I actually ended up with the exact same GPA in both semesters – in each, I had five A+ and one A. I know there are some that say the grades aren’t important, but they are when applying for scholarships, funding and programs at other schools!

This is some of my work this year – seven were school projects and the other two were not.

2018 review

I was approved for the College’s Student Employment programs and have been working in the Admission office since May. It is a great job as they are completely accommodating to class schedules and activities. In the summer I worked there full-time and during the school year part-time.

In May the family went on a Transatlantic cruise on the Disney Magic, from Miami to Barcelona. It was two weeks long and we were at sea for seven of those days. I was expecting to hit some heavy weather but it was amazingly calm the entire crossing! Even the captain said he’s never had such a calm crossing.

This photo I took from my balcony mid-ocean – like glass. And this was one of the cloudy days! I’ve been on cruises that caught the back end of a hurricane and still enjoyed them as I’m a good sailor as the motion doesn’t bother me at all, but this was amazing.


I connected with Theatre On The Ridge in Port Perry and helped out with some shows over the summer working on props and wigs. I took on a project of re-purposing a red Chinese Dragon into a blue/green Lake Scugog Monster for one of their productions.

The original colours are in the first photo, then finished painting the parts, and finally the finished costume in use as the Lake Monster.

It was a fun project. I made hands, feet, created a whole mouth full of teeth, more horns for the head, there was copious amounts of flake glitter….

This year I continued to receive treatments on my eyes. Early in the year I had injections in my right eye, and in the Fall in my left eye. I really hope that at some point they will both stabilize so I can stop requiring the injections. I am doing everything I’ve been told needs to happen in order for it to “get better.” At least I don’t need the treatments every month to six weeks now, so I guess it is getting better – but it is taking so long! The vision issues do impact my work at times so it adds a fair amount of stress to my life.

In the make-up area there were workshops taught, face painting jobs, Halloween private clients and theatre. As I am concentrating on full-time school and a part-time job, I made a decision not to push hard to build-up my make-up business in my new location. Quite a change from the last two decades for me where a normal week consisted of 35 hours at the day job and up to 40 working for myself! I am still available, just not to the point of impacting on my school workload.

I’m incorporating my fine art and decorative arts into my business, in addition to the make-up/costume/prop building that I do. I am in the process of re-designing my website and social media to reflect this comprehensively.

It has been a great year overall and I am looking forward to 2019!

I’ve got a trip planned to Africa in May to Volunteer with an organization called VESA – Volunteer Eco Students Abroad. I’ll be visiting South Africa, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and Mozambique. I’ve been fundraising for that trip by selling original art greeting cards and have a fundraiser on Facebook which you can check out here.

The second year of my program starts Monday and I’m back to work at the college Wednesday. It’s been a long break and I want to get back at it.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and all the best for the upcoming year!

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News and ponderings

Time really does go by faster as you get older.  It is the end of June and I had a lot of things that I intended to have finished by this time.  Oh well, the world won’t end if I don’t get them done.

I started a new day-job a month ago as Program Coordinator for the Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau and there is a lot to do!  I actually started off in the non-profit sector many, many years ago – I have a diploma in Volunteer Management actually, so it is nice to get back to my roots in that way.  I’ve worked for charities and non-profits along the way and have always been a volunteer myself and work with volunteers regularly.  I am excited about really getting into my role there!

My current big project is coordinating the volunteers for the 13th Grande Prairie International Street Performers Festival!  So if you are in Grande Prairie and want to be a part of a great event check out the links!  Contact me at the Bureau if you want more information.  The Festival is July 19, 20 and 21 in Downtown Grande Prairie, Alberta.

I’ve been busy with face painting and make-up bookings too.  I am working with several photographers on the 5 Alarm photo project – but can’t share anything until after the show in the Fall.  But it is a lot of fun and I get to be creative.

Canada Day is Monday and I and my crew will be face painting at Muskoseepi Park from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.  We will only be painting with red, white and black!  We’ll paint the usual requests but will be keeping with the theme and only painting in Canadian colours!  Flag colours, not Molson Canadian, Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs… just to be clear!  We won’t even have other colours available so no amount of bribe will get you a Leafs logo.  Seriously.  I mean it.

I’ve got appointments in the morning on Canada Day for two different groups that will be in the parade so I’ll be getting the RAV4 packed up tomorrow.  I picked up decorations for our tent (being provided by the park) and some plastic tablecloths to make sides to keep people out of our space – the forecast is for 33C so I am sure people will be seeking any shade they can.  But with four people working in a pop-up we cannot have people crowding us or hogging any breeze that might be blowing through.  Also got a couple wind-chimes and flag banners to put up.

I also went and bought a cooler and case of water… the cooler will also store the back-up face paint.  Black is notorious for going gloppy in the heat so we’ll need to switch out the cakes – so I am preparing.


Using only red, white and black is really not that limiting…. I went through my photos and these are just regular paintings from past years, all red, white and black… you get pink and grey out of those colours too!

Chris FennellSpiderZom-12 (600x414) valentne SkullSoldier Jester thestig

Painting a sleeping spider-kid

Painting a sleeping spider-kid

Painted AFTER I saw the Wolfe Brother's work

Painted AFTER I saw the Wolfe Brother’s work

I'm not the full face type!

I’m not the full face type!

mouse BurgundyRed geckotat DSC08388