apologies and a sneak peek

Sorry, Dear readers, for having ditched you like that. It was so hot that I was just wiped at the end of the day. Then on the Stewart Cassiar, internet access was slim. I’m safely home now.

I peeled the tape off one of the Highway of Tears dresses. Here’s a snapshot:

highway of tears small

and here’s a closeup. They’re not super clear, but I think you’ll get the idea.

highway of tears 2 small

Peeling the tape is interesting. I’ll have to make a video of that, or a step by step set of photos.


Days three and four

Day three. First day painting.

After a second 11 hour day to get to our starting place, my Mom really wanted the comfort of a hotel and its restaurant. Then, till I located my last painting spot from last year and drove 50 km east from there, it was after 11 am by the time I started painting. A gorgeous day, blue skies, good breeze to keep the insects down. Not too arduous for woman or beast, I think. Though my Mom was impressed by how hard this is, how noisy the road is, and so on. She kindly made me a nut butter sandwich when I got hungry halfway through the first painting.

Paintings along the Highway of Tears had to be different. To just paint the landscape without acknowledging the missing women along it seemed wrong, seemed like painting something over, making something disappear even further. So I’ve altered my technique. I do my initial drawing in pencil rather than thinned paint. This is so that I can use masking tape to mask out a dress shape. The drawing allows me to figure out what scale the dress form should be. I draw it on, put tape over it, trace it, cut it out and reapply it. Then I make the painting over it. When it’s a little dry I’ll lift the tape off, leaving a void in the painting surface. The posters, billboards and other signs along the highway make a clear impression, but I wouldn’t necessarily catch any of them in my paintings.


Initial drawing


masked dress added. Closeup of masked dress:



Painting taking form around the dress

Uploading is taking awhile here; you can imagine how the dress gets painted into the landscape. In a couple of days I’ll peel them off. That will be interesting.

These dress voids in these road paintings make the paintings very different from the rest.. It will be interesting to see how they work. They will certainly stand out in the exhibition. It seems to me that having the dress form in them gives them a character, a story, and a tension that’s categorically different than the other paintings.

Day 4

Small inconveniences so far – though I put sunscreen on, standing in the sun at the tailgate of the truck to paint for 3 hours, I sunburned the back of my knees. Guess I put it on streaky. I don’t usually burn so I was kinda slapdash.

Got through 3 paintings today. Ye gods, it’s a rough haul doing 3. We’ll see how many days like that I pull off. Better go to bed now.

Driving down the Stewart-Cassiar

Day one. 11 hours driving with my Mom, her dog Paisley, and Itsy the dog. We went through some wonderful old burn sites. I love forest fire trees still standing. I love their hardness, their stubbornness, their character against the sky. The fireweed blooming in old burn sites is also a thing of considerable beauty. It was one of the things my Grandmother most remembered from her visits to the Yukon. My Mom took some of these shots out through the window from the car. It’s not natural to her, but she was game, and I think she had a fun time doing it.





back to the truck after a stop in the gravel pit. Bernie’s not using the stick at all anymore!

The problem of Itsy


Itsy, I said, it will be hot down there. It will be kind of crowded in the truck with my Mom, her dog Paisley, and you. You should probably stay with Dean and help guard the bike shop.

You’re not leaving without me, he said.

Maybe I’m more naturally a cat owner than a dog owner. I guess as a dog owner you’re supposed to impose your will on the dog so he feels secure that you’re the alpha. Although it will be hot, I think I will sleep more securely in my tent guarded by Itsy.

So Itsy gets his way.

I might have to pour water over him out of a water bottle every once in awhile.



leaving the back yard


My hammock doesn’t swing very far. Small balsam poplars have grown up around it. I could cut them down but they smell so nice and it makes me feel kind of snuggled in the tree.

It’s always so hard to leave home. It’s fine once I’m out on the road – that’s a kind of home too. But I’m going to start this here, with the hammock that doesn’t swing very far. It’s a good place to start from.

tale of totes


Here are my totes awaiting pickup in Montreal by my beautiful friend Casey Lee Palmer and her husband Jeff. They kindly planned an adventure in Montreal so they could come collect me and all my painting gear on Sunday.

Today Casey Lee and I dropped them off at the post office. I had originally planned to send them home immediately upon landing in Montreal. I’m grateful to my friends there that they were willing to have them lurk around for so long. What a great feeling to have them heading home! I’m down to my usual travel in the south kit – a smallish backpack and my ukulele. All set for carry on, to make my way through the Toronto Transit system and the Go train, and so on. Back to this lightness.

cbc tv interview

So I packed my paintings into a backpack at the request of the CBC English Language TV folks and hiked two blocks up to the park at Girouard and Sherbrooke to paint. I sat on a little grassy part of the park and painted the signs towards the highway. I got wired up for sound and did some walk-through shots (which didn’t wind up being used). It came out better than I had feared: http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/Montreal/ID/2668100158/.

Here is the painting – the first part was the demo stuff for the interview, and then I wrote some stuff on the panel.



after interview painting

I still owe myself a chocolate croissant for this one…better go get it.