Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hamstead Parade & Free Outdoor Concert

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Here is a link to the event on our website: 

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Red Fish

I am trying to identify the fish I saw the eagle pick up out of the water yesterday. The fish was approx. two feet in length and had a red face/head, & red tail but was silver in between. Can't find anything online that looks like this description. It was in the river.

I wonder if it was a Quebec Red Trout (also known as Arctic Char) but I haven't seen any photos that matched it exactly but that's the closest thing I have seen online to what I saw yesterday.

Arctic Char (Quebec Red Trout), Photo Originated Here

An Eagle, a Red Fish & the Veil

Today was a great day, though I was running on fumes (short on sleep), I really had fun and I am really pleased with what I produced. Not not necessarily everything I created today will be usable, I got what I needed for the scene change. We were working on one of my new stopmotion animations (4th scene but 5th photoshoot). I took 1,751 photos; did several retakes and a few versions of the same thing, so now I have to decide (indecision can be a real beast) which versions I am using.

Today was very lovely & very hot. It was a playful but very chill, relaxed day; very smooth going, despite the slow start (I was late leaving the house). Guessing by eye, I would say it was ideal photography lighting around fourish because when we started shooting, it was definitely bordering on over exposed. I don't have a light metre and I have to make a guesstimation. I don't normally do stopmotion outside because it's hard with the time lapse between shots to have controlled lighting but I felt my ideas for what I wanted to do for today's scene would be quick enough that we could work with natural light, which for stopmotion is a treat to me. Very windy as well, which turned out to be a beautiful benefit to what I was working with.

At one point we decided to move locations on the property (we were on the river, we had gone out of town for this), and I am standing there with the tripod & camera attached (being super tired & only moving forty feet away from our original location, I just walked barefoot carrying the camera still attached to the tripod; being on four hours sleep made me feel like it was epic taking it off the tripod, bit silly really), so I am standing there in shock with equipment in hand (after the moment passing realizing I could have taken some awesome stopmotion animation photos or video footage) as I am watching a beautiful eagle swoop down to the water (which was approx. thirty feet away from where I was standing) & scoop out a giant fish (silver & red, not sure what kind of fish, gonna look around online later and see if I can figure it out). So it's flying up with this fish (it was huge & so was the eagle) doing a diagonal swoop away from the water (directly over where I had just told my model to go stand for the next series of stopmotion animation shots) then back over the water (kind of zig zagging) because two seagulls decided to chase the eagle (wtf? ballsy seagulls) in hopes of stealing it's catch (the eagle was the one that took it out of the water, swear I never saw an eagle being chased by seagulls before, hilarious).

When I finished the shoot, we got buzzed first by a white butterfly (my model was all in white) then dragonflies while I was packing followed by discovering lady bugs on my tripod as I was about to leave. Last week with the shoot with Aurelie I had to chase two raccoons out of my house, I just treat them like they are my cats and it's shocking what they understand because I firmly told them no (was going after the cat dryfood) & pointed in the direction of the door (which was around the corner & through the kitchen), told the raccoons "No, go." Twice while pointing and they listened, and respectfully turned around and went back the way they came. Then when they tried to test me to try to re-enter the house (reminds me of kids trying to test boundaries), I squirted them with water the way I do my cats; took a few squirts before they got got tired of being sprayed with water. Super cute. My model's boyfriend who was there helping us out immediately said, "Wow, I have never seen raccoons respond that way to anyone before, they really listened to you, I thought we were going to have to try to scare them out." I explained I don't like to use fear with animals but rather try to get them to listen and earn their respect, teach them boundaries as I find it's more effective and feels healthier.

Be sure to check out my new website at:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

448 + 1,219 Photos ....... and then....

So before this evening, in the past 24 hours or more (don't quite remember when I started this editing process), I have edited (including quite a bit of hand detailed photo per photo alterations, additions or corrections, then whatever I could script in bulk for normal photo editing) 448 photos. Just now, I scripted (only basic photo edits, normal stuff like increasing contrast & what not, still gotta go through and decide what I am using; several retakes, I probably did this part in the wrong order but what can I say, it's been one of those days) another 1,219 photos in photoshop. I think it's time for a brain fart. I still have another thousand or more photos to go through. It's worth it, the final product is going to be beautiful (new stopmotion animation).

Be sure to check out my new website at:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New!! Keta Nadotawag: Listen - Stopmotion Animation

Stopmotion Animation Short Film by The Art of April-Anna
Collaborators: Flying Down Thunder & Rise Ashen
Keta Nadotawag - Listen
Music: Flying Down Thunder & Rise Ashen
Directing Assistance: Mynah Marie
General Assistance: Ziggy Lam
Lyrics & Translation:
Kida nâdôtawag awesîsag
you should listen to the animals
Kida nadotawag pineshishag
you should listen to the birds
Kida nadotan aki
you should listen to the earth
Kida nadotawag kakin awiyagog
you should listen to everyone
Kida nadotawag kichi aya-ag
you should listen to the old people
Flying Down Thunder & Rise Ashen - North Wind
Flying Down Thunder & Rise Ashen - One Nation
Flying Down Thunder's Youtube Channel:

Be sure to check out my new website at:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Art of Procrastination....

This is what remains of the huge building that burnt down earlier this year on my street, 
the fire was massive & ate up half our block.

I am presently procrastinating with getting moving on editing my stopmotion animations; I have a small amount of work to do on the stopmotion for Flying Down Thunder & Rise Ashen, "Listen" (it didn't get accepted to the film festivals, boo but I was having computer problems that day and got it in a few hours late so I don't know if that had anything to do with it), I discovered my hand flashes in & out of one frame, so I need to fix that otherwise I can release it. I have some other older projects to wrap up editing but need to focus on these new projects cause one of them I am on a deadline for (I need deadlines I have come to realize). 
Film trucks are leaving again, not this parking lot but the other one behind 
where I am taking this photo from, they keep using as the base camp 
for all the film shoots in our neighborhood which this year is way more then normal. 
Every couple weeks we have had a different film shoot happening here. 
This film is called "The Race".

Art store mural, this is new.
So, of course, I went for a walk in my neighborhood & took photos, for exercise (and to help my food digest). I bought raw chocolate, coconut milk, almond butter & crackers from the grocery store. Now I am editing my photos from the walk'about for my blog (here)... ahem... 

Errrrr... Working, you said? ... Ummm... Yes, I am working on stopmotion animation. In a minute, that is. I really should get my ass in gear; I have so much fun making the stopmotion, but the post processing, computer time is my least favorite part of the process, though the finished product would be my true favorite part, of course I would  be redundant. Oye... Ode to the battle of conquering mountain me.
Book Store on the way to the grocery store.

Lordy... My courtyard still smells like skunk and pot, right now the combined scent is wafting into my office. It's been days since the skunk sprayed (and people do smoke pot in front of the hostel next door). Where are the incense? 

Be sure to check out my new website at:

Saturday Night Pub Drawing Session

Kebeko playing at Brewtopia on Friday.
So on friday, I met a lovely woman when I was at Brewtopia, a 71 year old who looked more like late fifties with a beautiful presence. Her and I noticed each other as soon as I walked in, don't know why, just sometimes like that, instinct. She told me later it was my necklace that caught her eye, for me I think it was just simply her presence because, unlike most 71 year olds, she had a very timeless style of dressing that felt very young but not in the sense of "trying", rather, just being. She made 71 look fun, and she was super present, just enjoying the music. But you know how it is with some older people; for those who are refusing to confirm to the society norms of their age & want to still be young at heart, some come across as trying too hard, but this lady was just being real, you could see it in her body language & her style of dress. People like her remind me that old age doesn't have to suck. 

So anyways, she really took a shine to what I was doing. Everywhere I go to do these pub drawing sessions, people super love it, they can be really shy, but they get very curious to watch the process unfold and super appreciative. Which for me feels really good, people enjoy it as a part of their experience of watching the live band and instead of me being by myself at home drawing (I get way more attention drawing at the pubs then I do if I am drawing at a coffee shop) where alot my art is collecting dust (getting into the galleries isn't easy for a lot of reasons, plus I need frames for my work if I want to hang the new pen & inks etc). I feel that art & music should go together. 

So anyways, this older lady on friday, she would come pop over every half hour or so; she was there for both sets of the band; when I do these sessions, I sip my stout as long as possible & usually draw at least three hours; gets me out of the house. I find with regards to this medium that I produce alot more & remain way more focused then I do at home; something about the over stimulation of the environment that would normally make me edgy, I pour this into my art, but also live music for me is like food for the soul. Art is also a great bridge to communicate with people; I just sit there and do my thing & the world comes to me.

I learned that the 71 year old woman was now a semi-retired school teacher, she was still teaching but just mornings. She focused on kindergarten and Grade 1. She was from Australia originally but spent most of her life in Canada. I don't remember what subject she said she used to teach, she had recently decided to switch to phys-ed, which for that age range is mostly dance & music, amongst some sports. I was surprised, but she said she loves this change because it helps her keep active physically, which of course helps her own health. She said in Australia, when you are trained as a school teacher, regardless of what subjects you specialize in, everyone is trained to be able to teach phys-ed, I was surprised to hear this (I have school teachers in my extended & immediate family). Her husband was a journalist & amongst the serious subjects, he used to write an art's column for one of the big papers in Montreal for approx. 3 years (she didn't say which decade, only referenced that it was a long time ago). As a result they were always going to art galleries & exhibition openings, often the pre-public events which meant they had first pick of all the art, including before the museum curators (she mentioned who it was at that time, she knew all the people in the fine art & commercial art industry). She knew things have changed for artists today, for example, it's now become the norm that galleries survive by renting the wall space to the artist, which I think is wrong, but that's another subject I don't wish to talk about or I will start venting. 

So at the end of the night, after having been watching me draw as much as watching the band play, she came over when she was leaving and put something into my hands but kept my hands held shut, she didn't want me to see what she had put in my hands.  She told me that she wanted to give me a gift of money, that while she said "This doesn't do your art justice, I can't afford to contribute what I feel it's worth, but this is a little something to help..." She explained that she really wants to see me succeed & knows how hard it is to make it as an artist so she wanted to make a donation towards my over all living expenses so that I can keep pursuing my work, with a huge emphasize on repeatedly telling me how talented I am & she really believes that I need to keep doing what I am doing. Super gratitude beyond words, kindness of strangers never ceases to blow my mind (something I learned alot about when I used to hitch hike). So this is what allowed me to go out last night to do another pub drawing session. 

Last night I went to the Irish Embassy, I had checked out Grumpy's first, there was a dark haired bearded fellow singing & playing the guitar with a fellow on one of those wooden drum box thingies that you sit on to play; they had talent but I wasn't feeling the vibe. He was singing a song (original material) that was talking something about "the devil within". When the bartender told me that they had no more Guinness, I decided I needed to go somewhere else. Which is how I ended up at the Irish Embassy cause after checking out the other places (I was looking for live music), I decided I was more in the mood for the old 60's & 70's rock'n'roll that the cover band was playing at the Embassy (I considered going for the Irish music at Hurley's or I could have gone with a punk band upstairs, then of course the same band from the night before was at Brewtopia). I have been there before but it's not my favorite pub, I used to go there for the Irish Chamber of Commerce social meetings (networking thing) as well as they used to host one of the Irish Sessions that Belfast Andi runs. So anyways, when I first walked in the band was playing "Miss you" by Rolling Stones; during their second  set, (lord the music the pub played between sets was horrible, I left the pub plus the waitress never came to take my order after being there a half hour so I was really annoyed but after wandering around a bit I ended up going back there; I really wanted to draw somewhere not at home), at the moment I was thinking, "Come on, play some songs I love.", they then went into The Doors, followed by Creedence Clearwater Revival "Born on the Bayou", which is awesome since I been playing that particular song rather obsessively over the last several days. Their last song of the night was another CCR song, "Have you ever seen the rain.". 

I had an awesome response from the people hanging out at the pub to my artwork, I had perched myself at a tall table with a stool in such a way to be open & welcoming to those around as I wanted to encourage people to watch the process. I was giving away artcards to anyone who came over curious about what I was doing. Like the night before, I had a few "fans" who kept popping by all night. One girl was so thrilled with what I was doing that when she saw I had finished my drink & wasn't ordering another one, she bought me a pint of Guinness, I was super grateful, and she took my old glass away to boot; so I gave her a thank-you kiss on the cheek (the French thing with the kiss kiss means you can do this and it's not weird LOL) and one of the artcards. The last song of the night (radio at that point) was "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees but I totally misheard the lyrics and thought they were singing "cheer up sleepy dreamer" LOL. Auditory processing disorder means I hear all kinds of interesting things that aren't what was said (or sung, as the case may be). 
End of the night, I had borrowed Ziggy's Ipad to see what it's like to use. 

Be sure to check out my new website at: