Michiel had an encounter with the table saw. I wasn't even there, I was having a beer over at the aunties. Piffin came to their door and said 911 had been called, so Clare and I ran. We also called neighbour Peter who was working in his front yard. Half the Chinese church was in ours (they offered to pray, so sweet), and Michiel was sitting on the porch steps with a towel over his hands. Apparently that is what 911 tells you to do, to sit down and put a towel over the injury, so you don't look at it. It took the ambulance sixteen minutes, somebody timed it. The paramedics were very nice, and calm. Michiel was hyperventilating, they bandaged his thumb, and said we could go to the ER by ourselves, no need to pay for the ambulance ride. The ER was quite entertaining, all these hours, from four to very very late at night, I don't know, it was half an hour past midnight when we got home, the kids went for dinner in a restaurant by themselves. There was a girl in the ER waiting room, in full theatrical withdrawal. A woman had met her just before going to commit suicide, and decided God wanted her to save this girl. And the girl, Christel, how appropriate, decided she had found God. She seemed a sweet girl, deep underneath all her chemically induced behaviour. Her arms were badly scarred from cutting herself. I hope she got help and is doing well, but I very much doubt it. Michiel came out of the surgery ten minutes after going in, but just to get us in there with him, he couldn't do it alone. He needed for us to make him laugh, it was either that, or going into shock, shaking all over. So we joked as hard as we could. Another patient kept checking on him, it's very nice how people start bonding during these long hours in the ER. Anyway, after X-rays and new bandages he was sent on his way with an appointment for plastic surgery today, there was nothing for them to stitch. So today, in a much duller waiting room, the arthritis clinic for god's sake, plastic surgery. The doctor froze the thumb so they could have a good look at it. Together with another doctor he contemplated how to go about it, Michiel did his utmost not to freak out. Are you a fainter, the nurse had asked. No, I don't faint, I just shake and hyperventilate. Do you know yoga or meditation? They ended up shortening the thumb a little, bone too, I think, in order to get enough soft tissue to construct a new top. The doctor said there is a little bit of nail left. Nice pills, Michiel is almost as high as Christel.
A little over seven weeks of works, during which I also did my newspaper stuff. No small potatoes. Now the waiting starts. For the book and the bank statement. But today I took it easy. There's no author this week, so I decided to dedicate today to The Summer Outfit. A pair of jeans, two blouses, two T-shirts. Not bad at all, for a pathological non-shopper. I took Piffin, and of course I immediately found way funkier things for her. A beautiful sailor's shirt, the square sailor's collar on the back ending in a scarf with red stars. Hard to describe. But extremely cute. She hates the word cute. And a pair of wild blue sun glasses. And I put radish in my pasta, and everybody liked it. And sun dried tomatoes in my meatballs. Oh, and I chatted with Terry on the streetcar. Terry is a neighbour who is a street car driver. He told me about his first job ever, being an elevator boy in the King Edward Hotel. The hotel where we spent our first weeks in Canada, we passed it in the streetcar. Terry had transported many celebrities in his elevator. But not The Beatles. There had been so many fans in the hotel lobby that The Beatles had to take the freight elevator. Bummer for Terry.
Willem is making me write literary reviews. And this morning I dropped my keys in between the planks of the porch stairs. I had to crawl under the porch to find them. And change once inside. And the man before me in line at the supermarket bought only cake ingredients. So I congratulated him. Yes, baby girl in December! Oops, sorry, I thought you had to be celebrating a birthday. Nono, oh sorry, I thought I knew you. Well congratulations anyway, on the baby. And I have to share my heavenly soup with you. I ate too much of it, so good. Garlic, onion, zucchini, leek, in hot olive oil. Add chunks of frozen fish, a jar of sun dried tomatoes mashed in the blender, three fresh tomatoes, pepper, ginger, cumin. A glass of white wine and enough water to almost fill the pan. I was out of soup cubes, and Kristin from across the street gave me a "veggy like chicken" one. Then I also added a hand full of small pasta. Once ready, I threw in chopped green onion. Easy peasy. Today's image is to show you how close I stay to my first sketches.
The colours in my high res scans are much better than in these little jpg's. But I did discover a strange problem with yellow. I am working with gouache, I bought very nice quality but pricey Winsor & Newton gouache, but I couldn't resist buying a whole box of inferior cheap gouache, just to have more colours. And I ended up using a lot of lemon yellow of the cheap kind, because from W&N I had only bought the primary yellow. The lemon was much brighter. But the cheap kind was also very thin and runny, I ran out quickly. So I bought W&N lemon yellow, exactly as bright as the cheap kind. But. On the scans the W&N yellow isn't bright at all!! @#$%^&* back to the shop.
Wednesday is not a popular day with song writers. I found some more songs, but without video, so they don't count. And only amateur covers of the songs I did find videos of (the girl that sings Tori Amos is sweet):
If I play butter, cheese, and eggs (Ineke...?) I already win several times. Opening of the end-of-year exhibition at Rosedale tonight, and I forgot the camera. One of the photography teachers took a picture of us though, I hope I can get my hands on that photo and blog it. We posed as the typical Rosedale family. Michiel wasn't there, we took our friend Clare with her daughter. And Clare is this very lesbian art director with mohawk, and Piffin was also wearing her everybody-knows-I'm-a-lesbian T-shirt, so it's bound to be a great shot.
We are singing Tuesdays:
Just to keep you posted, I'm still on schedule. I was one day behind, but there's no author this week, so I am going to make up for that. I did the middle ones in the weekend. And deo volente I will keep up with the day-songs. Because I like it. And because I learn things. The Gloomy Sunday urban legend for example. The Hungarian suicide song, legend has it that 180 people committed suicide after hearing that song. It is a pretty depressing song, in both 1 - 2 versions. Oh and I know you will read about my Monday songs on Tuesday, who cares. But please help out, yesterday I forgot to add Sonic Youth for crying out loud. Long live my daughter.
Promise me you will at least watch Dalida:
I am half way. And getting better at it, if I can say so myself. I am really getting to know the different animals. There's a few pages that I would like to redo, but the schedule doesn't leave time for that. Some day I am going to do a book all by myself, and redo every page until perfect, but not now.
I'm on schedule. I still feel very wobbly about having to ignore any urge of perfectionism, this is what they are, and all of the happy little accidents are there to stay. And while doing this I had my usual fun with the radio. Roel Bentz van den Berg played three covers and the original of the the greatest Canadian song of all time, Ian and Sylvia's "four strong winds". So I proudly emailed him that our fietsenmaker is their son. And that Otger and myself both ride one of his bicycles. And Roel emailed me back thanking me for this very interesting feedback. And that he knew my work, that goes without saying, duh.
Nine down, twenty to go. I have to do this faster. Forgot take the laundry out of the machine again. Michiel wanted to go to bed, no sheets on the bed. I did manage to buy him a birthday present for tomorrow. And a very nice cake. It looks like a present, with ribbons out of coloured white Belgian chocolate. I don't know why it was important for the baker to point out the fact that the chocolate was Belgian. Chocolate is most probably African, but that doesn't sound so good. Otger found himself a new book at the book store where we got the present, and we bought Piffin a Juxtapoz. So I said to the cashier, something for the father, the son and the daughter, nothing for me. She checked out the articles, for the father, the son, and the holy ghost. I mean, the Juxtapoz. They said they had been making religious jokes all day, and that they should stop, but that they couldn't.
Poor Orbit is sick. He is trembling all over, and he is puffing and blowing. Squeaks when he is touched where he hurts. I have him drink from the palm of my hand every half hour or so. He wants to do his dying scenes again, lay himself down under a table in the back yard. But we don't let him, he has to stay on his blanket. This afternoon he wanted to stay so close to me that I had to take care not to ride my office chair. His nose against my big toe. I'm sure he'll be fine again tomorrow, it's already eased down a bit. He should quit eating garbage, stupid dog.
I have to do this faster. Accept mistakes. That is the whole idea of using paint, no corrections. I feel like I am painting Easter eggs.
Any neighbours reading this? I saw a dead pigeon hanging over Boulton Street. Caught in a very thin line running very tight high across the street, and stretched a long way too. A mystery, I couldn't see where the line was attached, it seemed to go all the way over the church. And the pigeon is hanging exactly over the street, as if someone had hung it there on purpose. And if it wasn't on purpose, even if the pigeon flew itself to death against this thin wire, how does it stay up there? I mean, it's not around its neck, it's too straight and tight for that. I am going to have a nightmare about this.
The project was on ice for a week or so, the publisher and I had some professional courtship display going on. But we found each other, so I can go ahead. Nothing like starting negotiations after starting the work :-( I collected what ever pictures I could find of the different characters. I already have a pretty good idea how I am going to depict some of them. The hamster sisters can wear their beautiful hats when they go picnicking. And I did not remember uncle Gerrit had such a bright pink beak. I can use my bengal rose on it. But now I am going to spend the rest of the day puzzling the story onto the exact number of pages. Which is pretty hard, I made mistakes in both my previous Little Golden Books. I have to decide which scenes go on single pages, and which ones on spreads, and still have the last words end up on the last page.
Photo is not great, but it's late and it's dark. Bianca, to answer your question, I do it on wood because it looks good. Michele came in this afternoon, she is a second generation Dutch immigrant. Hey! What is that?! I used to watch that as a child!
No computer, I bought myself a fantastic load of gouache, this is going to be a very colourful book cover. And I will do all the illustrations on beautiful Canadian maple, we went all the way to Markham yesterday to get it. Three hours in crazy traffic. The publisher sent me scans of an old Fables Newspaper book, in which the images are photographs of the puppets on the set. And reading the text my spirits went up and up and up! This beautiful over the top archaic and ornate language, it's just to die for. But then I discovered another attachment, the new text... Watered down, and weeded of spicy lines like "Me rug op!" (approximately "Up yours!") I know, the story is from roundabout 1970. Back the we could put many things in kid's books that are considered inappropriate now. Such a shame.
I could recycle another old blog entry to explain this tv series, but the whole subject is about recycling. I am going to be a very environmentally friendly illustrator. You can even watch a sequel, if you want to find out how the story ends. I have watched this tv series endlessly, from 1968 to 1973. Although by 1973 I must have been too old. and I'm afraid I am going to watch it endlessly again, and no, I am not going to sing in the musical. Me telling you this is something of a scoop, in the Fables Newspaper.