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Monday, 3 August 2020

It's August and My Sister's Venture

I'm almost positive I've posted something similar (probably many times), but once again, it feels like August. It is an odd combination of spent flowers and stillness, a chorus of crickets, and harvest anticipation. Things had been a little dry, but using the soaker hoses was wise. However, yesterday and today have been steady rain - not pummeling rain, but a good thorough soak. Once again, my ridiculously tall tomato plants took a tumble sideways, weighed down with the rain and their bulk. I re-staked them, and added two more new stakes. 

I am happy that there is still one month of my own personal summer holidays. I am doing pretty well allowing myself to not own the decisions that must be made in terms of returning to school in September. I am not fretting over the protocols, the preparations, the choices... I am completely fine with allowing the well-paid Board Office officials to interpret and apply the directives put out by our provincial premier and his minister of education. If I start fretting and wondering, I will become overwhelmed with how much is going to go into putting bodies back in classrooms. I have to let it all go, so I can enjoy a few weeks more of freedom, because come September, it's going to be a whole different world...again.


To move on to a completely different topic, I don't write much of my immediate family because their worlds are their worlds and I don't want to infringe on their privacy. As well, we are all spread quite far apart in age, my siblings and I, and to me it feels like we exist in different generations. Both of my parents have been gone for many years now, but, pandemic aside, the four siblings and their spouses / partners / children try to get together a couple of times a year. There is a bit of geographical distance between some of us. 

The sibling closest in age to me is my sister. She is five years older than me, and I am the youngest. When I was little, I thought everyone could draw. I never knew that there are people out there who say, "I can't draw." My father sketched out and designed things to build or modify. My mother painted a bit in her youth and was quite capable of quickly drawing something if needed. I think nothing of drawing examples of anything I'm talking about in class. I'm pretty sure at least two of my three siblings had drafting tables in their bedrooms. They took art classes through high school and drew all the time. Sketch books and giant art porfolios were part of the "stuff" in our home. As a very small child, I distinctly remember the card table being set up in the middle of the living room and the odour of turpentine being prevalent. My sister, at quite a young age, had discovered Paint by Number and churned out several paintings in a short time. My father, who could do anything, created picture frames from wooden trim and those paintings adorned the walls of our shared bedroom for years. 

Of course, my sister went far beyond the prescribed and limited "paint by number"  art. But it was her art of my childhood that I think of when I think of her as an artist. The stories she was draw for me, series of pictures in a "scribbler" that she would narrate for me, tales of little animals and their adventures. It was the Barbie doll multi-roomed homes that she created out of scrap wood (there was always scrap wood) with floors, back walls, and dividing walls, beans bag chairs hand-sewn, refrigerator and stove painted white and features outlined in black, again from scraps of wood, a couch from leftover fabric and foam... She was always involved in some sort of artistic, creative endeavour, be it sewing her own clothes, creating corn husk dolls, making an entire family of spiders from styrofoam balls and colourful yarn, or making intricate macrame plant hangers (it was the 70's after all).

Now, my sister, Jade, has embarked on a business which combines her love of animals and her ability to capture their personality with paints. She used my own felines, present and past as subjects to practise with .


She sent these to us, framed and ready to be displayed a few months back, as she was working out the intricacies of creating her business and website. The two end paintings include little "snippets" of words and phrases which describe Scooter and Samson that I provided. The collection of three cats in the middle are without words, just each cat's name included inobtrusively in the painting. I love how they all turned out. I think it's lovely to have paintings of our former pets. It's only Scooter now, and she definitely captured his personality, as odd as it is. And to think she was able to do it just from photos that I emailed to her!  If you are interested, her website is called Abstractpet.ca and you can click on the link and explore. I'm very impressed with the website, with all of it's detail and some background on her. When she told me of her idea, my first thought was that it would be a wonderful gift for someone who had lost a pet, because as we know, they become members of our families and the loss of a pet can be comparable to the loss of any loved one. Anyway, I wish her well, and I'm sure she will have tons of interest and business coming her way, and with the ability to communicate with a client via email, the restrictions of a pandemic won't hold her back.

24 comments:

  1. Very talented family - I am quite impressed with your sisters ability to capture the sweetness that can be seen in a cats face. We have 4 furry felines and I was delighted to see your photo of her work and went directly to her website. I have not established an order with her at this time but I did sign up for updates via email. Maybe in the near future. Thank you for sharing. Ranee (MN) USA

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  2. Your sister really is a talented artist! I can feel all those kitties looking me right in the eye just as if they were sitting here on my desk asking if dinner time wasn't coming up shortly. A good idea for people to commission portraits of their current pet(s) and an even better idea to have one created from a photograph as a memory of one that has departed. I predict your sister is going to be successful in her business. (Hmmm, I did paint-by-number when I was a child . . . but never progressed beyond. Darn.)

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  3. Impressive work. Hope her business takes off!

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  4. She's remarkable. I know how hard it is to do cats' eyes well and that's where the whole personality is. She nailed it. I'm eager to check out her site. I hope it goes very well for her.

    (On a related note -- when I was a kid, it was pre-Barbie's dream house and I'm glad. We had a set of encyclopedias that were smaller than world book and those became walls, rooms, furniture. It was more creative. These days kids don't have to use their imagination -- it's all there for them.)

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  5. PS -- she's undercharging for custom work if these are Canadian prices. I know because I do too and everyone tells me that. But there is a different stress to doing a custom piece because there is personality in it that has to be spot on or it's "just a cat," even a very "good cat" but not "MY cat." She's probably a lot faster than I am but when I'm doing someone's pet it usually takes two or three times to get it right. And she's selling framed. Prices might fit OK for unframed or just matted. It looks framed 8x10 no mat, which would be 11x14 if matted. Anyway, maybe she's starting low to see how it will go. I know I do that -- because I'd rather sell it for $15 less or whatever than not at all. But really, her work is so nice and she's well credentialed, too. Just sayin'.... Just my two cents!

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  6. I like Jade's work. (The subject matter is some of my favorite as well. :D)

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  7. What a talented family you are...I do like your sister's work and I hope her business is successful! Does she do dogs, too? It sounds as if she does...People love their pets and I know this kind of portrait would mean a great deal to many people.

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  8. I read a column recently by a school principal in a poor western county and very poor school district who is distraught. He feels he has failed, he has no idea how to reopen his school on August 20th, one of four teachers has contracted Covid and died. It is the most wrenching thing I've read all summer. It's August; it's almost time for school and how will it happen? How will parents be able to do it?

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  9. Your sister is very clever, I like the idea of the words to describe the cats. Hope her business goes well.

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  10. Thank you for sharing with us about your family Jenn. I hope all goes well with your sister's business venture. I love the cat drawings and putting the names in like that.

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  11. Attractive paintings Jenn. Good luck with September, but for now just enjoy your summer.

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  12. Your sister is very talented, those cats are amazing. You are right to try and enjoy summer and let the experts worry about September.

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  13. Your sister's work is beautiful. I wish her much luck with her new venture. As for September, I think it will work out okay. At least I hope it does. The worst that can happen is that a lot of students will still do their work via the computer. Enjoy your August, hugs, Edna B.

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  14. How special to have those from your sister! I wish her well......

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  15. How wonderful to have such a creative family.. I"m one of those people who "cant draw".. LOL I've tried so many times and I just don't have that gift.. Your sister is incredibly talented! I'm going to pop on over to her website and check it out.. I wish her all the luck in the world...

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  16. Your sister's art is lovely, best wishes for her business to be growing.
    I saw on a gardening show that if you put some steel mesh up on supports, at least 2 foot high,like a flat roof, the tomatoes will grow up through and spread over, be off the ground, easy to harvest and won't fall over.
    Enjoy your break and Stay safe.

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  17. Jenn I've posted your sister's website link in the cat & other animal F/B groups I belong to - lots of free advertising!! ... Mary-Lou =^[..]^=

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  18. Thank you all for your kind words about my sister's new business and website. I think it is very brave to start up a business and to put yourself out there, probably much like writing - opening yourself up to opportunities and possible criticism, but I agree that she is talented. Thanks to those who checked out her website, or even shared it.
    As to September and teaching, I am fortunate to be in a geographical area that has few if any cases and the numbers have always been low. I still don't know what it is all going to look like, and a lot of us teachers are wanting more information, but I think we won't find out until much closer to the start date (children return to class on Sept. 8th).

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  19. great cat pics. We need things like this during this pandemic.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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  20. She is really talented. I hope her business venture goes well. I'm one of those can't draw people. No talent at all in that direction, I'm afraid, but I am thinking of taking one of those Great Courses in drawing, just for fun.

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  21. Those are wonderful. Good luck to her on her new venture. It seems as though artistic ability definitely runs through in the genes of your family.

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  22. I too find the artwork charming.

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  23. Thank you for stopping by my blog! I discovered that I was already following you, but now that I've taken a closer look at your blog I will definitely be a regular reader going forward! In my experience Canadian bloggers tend to be among the nicest. :)

    Your sister's artwork is definitely appealing and I wish her lots of success!

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  24. I think your sister is very good with her art. I like that your whole family seemed to love drawing. Those pictures of your pets are treasures. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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