Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Building a new portfolio.

I went back to school in september to become a certified make-up artist and start offering beauty make-up services in addition to everything else I already do. Take a look at a recent behind the scenes vlog I made about a recent photoshoot for my portfolio in beauty make-up.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Healing: Behind the Paint

So I have been lucky enough to be included in a new docomentary  "Behind the Paint; the Fine Art of Body Painting" (to be released in 2011) on body painting by James Anthony McElligott.
James filmed two of my most recent body paintings; the "Mermaid" photoshoot with fashion designer & belly dancer, Keera Sama, and the "2 Pregnant Sisters" photoshoot with photographer Andrei Kalamkarov. I am really excited to be part of this project and I love learning and hearing about the other body painters.

James has been following and filming various artists in the world of body painting around the globe now for two years, and is currently now in the editing process of his documentary. I can't imagine how many hours will go into making this film by the time everything is said and done. It's very exciting!

"Healing: Behind the Paint" is a 10 minute short which was just released on  youtube, that documents the work of artist Margie Nugent in Mount Kisco, New York, USA. This film shows Margie's work utilizing body painting as a healing tool; healing both for the artist and for the model.

Model: Jessica Mellow
Body Painting by Margie Nugent
Photography by Will Cook.
 I really appreciate both Margie's and her model,  Jessica Mellow's, very candid and open communication about their personal challenges and why body painting has helped in their healing processes. The photographer for this shoot was Will Cook.

To me body painting can be a very sacred and vulnerable process because of the nature of working in such close quarters with a model in the nude. Our society is such that generally speaking, we don't get physically touched except by a lover, our doctor, our dentists et cetera.

It's so intimate working on someone's face & body (regardless of if it's just for regular beauty make-up, face painting or full body painting). The nature of body painting is very tactile, and so it's important that there is a level of professionalism, considerate awareness, comfort, trust and harmony between the model & the artist. It is in this sense that I find the process to be sacred. So that said, it makes total sense to me that body painting would be a great medium for healing. Take a look at the documentary, it's a great short film!

On a side note, if you like what you see, James is looking for donations towards finishing the full feature length body painting documentary, "Behind the Paint; the Fine Art of Body Painting". The donations that James is asking for will go towards editing & production costs, promotion costs et cetera.
To donate, you can contact James through is website:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hong-Kong Stories; leaving Canada for the 1st time and arriving at City-U...

I am finally having a chance to go over the several thousand photos I took on my journey through Hong-Kong & China and here is the first video-journal (video blog = vlog) in a long series of them! This showing a glimpse into our flight, boredom in Taipei Airport waiting to transfer, "Hello Kitty Terminal" (ouch, the pink is burning my retinas!! Just kidding), and exploring City Universty campus, which was to be our home for the next 3 weeks. Please leave comments! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Two Pregnant Models

Body paintings by The Art of April-Anna & Elissa Baltzer Dreamscapes. Photography by Andrei Kalamkarov. Music provided courtesy of Mushroom Lounge Recordings.

It took me 26 solid hours (this includes the first 3 hours Elissa helped me to get it started) to do the background painting. It's unknown how long it took to make the mask since I created it over the period of a week in between other activities. I was still working on the mask through the out the day of the shoot, finishing final details right after I finished the body painting. The body painting on the pregnant model wearing the mask is by me. The other body painting that is influenced by the sun was created by Elissa.

The inspiration was a combination of Venetian masquerade balls, the moon in classical faerie tales, the sun, creation, growth (blue lotus flower). This photoshoot was a celebration for the two women being 8 months & 6 months pregnant.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New to the body arts? Do you have business questions?

Are you new to the body arts? Are you an artist trying to start your business in face painting or body painting?

Or are you a concerned client looking for more information?

Wether it's face painting or body painting, here's a few things you might want to know.


Some of the products commonly used that are approved for cosmetic use as a face or body paint are the following (listing from low quality to high quality products): Snazaroo, Ben Nye MagiCakes, LYRA Make-up Pencils, WOLFE Face Art & FX, Mehron, Kryolan Aquacolor, MAC PRO "Chromacakes", Make-up Forever Face & Body Paints.

What not to use on the skin: tempera, crafters paint, acrylic, watercolors (watercolours), lyra aquacolor crayons; anything not approved for cosmetic use.

Just because the product says "non toxic" does not mean it is safe to use on the skin or to eat. All that means is that it will not kill a child if the decide to lick the paint brush.

"...Mom, who told the painter that she had sensitive skin, and, the painter who said it was fine... (This was before I knew about "real" face paint)...had been painted with one of those "acrylics"... My daughter had scabs on her forehead for a month! And, on her arm, it itched so bad that she scratched it raw!..." Quoted from: Jenna Rose, Daisy Twist Company, Colorado Balloon & Decor/Daisy Twist

Approved for Cosmetic Use: Health Canada is responsible for regulating cosmetics under the Food and Drug Act and the Cosmetic Regulations. In the states, the Food & Drug Adminstration in the USA is responsible for what is approved for cosmetic use. Now it's true that both Health Canada and the FDA in the states, both do approve things that are a bit questionable at times, it's still much more likely that it is really actually safe for use on the skin. But you do need to do your research into understanding the particulars of the ingredients in any product. 

Don't assume the worst or the best, just go in with your eyes open realizing that while some things approved for cosmetic use really are fine, there is a grey zone when dealing with cosmetically approved products. From my research, it would seem that a company does not need to apply for "safe for cosmetic use" status until the product has been on the market for 10 days. The following is quoted from David Suzuki's website:

"Many chemical ingredients in cosmetics have never been tested for their effects on human health and the environment. Health Canada and Environment Canada are slowly working their way through the assessment of some 4,000 existing substances — including chemicals used in cosmetics — that have been categorized as potentially posing a risk to human health or the environment. Assessment of cosmetic ingredients is often frustrated by a lack of data on exposure and long-term health effects. Moreover, of the handful of chemicals assessed to date and deemed to be toxic, those used in cosmetics generally remain unregulated, with Health Canada opting instead to place them on the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist."

"New rules introduced in 2006 require manufacturers to disclose cosmetic ingredients on the product label. This important improvement to the Cosmetic Regulations provides information to consumers and health professionals that was previously considered confidential. Cosmetics are one of the only consumer products for which the public's "right to know" about chemical ingredients is guaranteed in Canada (in contrast, the disclosure of ingredients in household cleaners is voluntary, for example)."

"...loophole exists for chemicals used to scent or mask scents in cosmetics. The term "fragrance" or "parfum" on an ingredients list usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals. Fragrance recipes are considered a trade secret so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients."

Despite the above statements, I still think that a professional face or body painter will use only products approved for use as a cosmetic because it's better then the alternative. Don't forget that the body is built to deal with a certain amount of exposure to toxins, be it ingested orally, or absorbed through the skin or breathed in. If you are wearing make-up or body art products only once in a while then you will be fine, but like eating too much chocolate, too much of a good thing will have it's consquences. Everything in balance is my motto!

Insurance, Health Canada et cetera
In Canada the industry is still too new for there to be insurance or other details like formal associations to be well established. But I know that in Calgary, Alberta, Health Canada does do spontainous inspections of local face painters while they are working. If an inspector sees you double dipping in your paints, you will get into trouble, possibly be put out of business. For example, in Calgary, Alberta, they expect face painters to abide by the same rules that make-up artists abide by; which means NO DOUBLE DIPPING in your paints; you would need to use a clean utensil to cut off a small amount of paint, and put it into a seperate container that would be used on only one child's face, then disinfect your brushes & sponges before repeating the same thing for the next child.

In the United Kingdom (England, Scotland et cetera) you have to be approved before you can work with the public as a face or body painter, and there is a well established association there that checks you for both your health tactics & skills before allowing you membership. In Canada there is the Canadian Association of Face and Body Artists that is trying to become established as the authority in approving quality assurance, but as far as I know there are very few face & body painters who are actually members in comparison to how many face & body painters there are in Canada.

What should I charge as a face or body painter?
That is up to you. If you are really "green around the gills", that is to say, you are completely new to face painting as a business, then it's reasonable to do work for exposure, as gifts to friends and family, volunteering for non-profit organizations et cetera.

For a beginner with no or very little professional experience, between $20 to $40 an hour is a very normal price range. For those who are past the stage of "beginner" but maybe aren't as experienced as someone who has been in the business for 8 years or more, $50 an hour is pretty normal. Contracts for artistic assistants will usually pay between $40-$50 an hour.

But for professionals who have been at it a long time, while many artists do a certain amount of sliding scale (negotiable to the clients budget), and how far that scale will slide really depends on a few factors; how much does the artist like the client, how convenient or easy is the job, or how desperate is the artist for work.
During times of slow business, many artists find it is sometimes necessary to take any business that comes your way, but there is a huge argument between body artists about wether or not it's professional at all to be willing to have a sliding scale.

Each artist sets their standards.
Generally speaking, when you have been painting over 5 years, the price ranges from $50 an hour up to $80 per hour, but when you have been painting over 8/10 years, most artists will try to aim at being paid between $80-$150 per hour.

The local market plays a big role in pricing. Such as face painting in Calgary, Alberta, the going rate is between $125-$150 per hour. The going rate in Montreal, QC for face painting is between $50-$100. per hour but the going rate for body painting in Montreal is between $80-$150 per hour. Vancouver, BC is $40-$100 per hour.

Body painting prices accross the globe seem to be pretty simular from what I have gathered from the body painters I have talked to coming from around the globe; seems to be a normal price to pay $500-$1000 (in total) for full head to foot body painting; this is because of how time consuming it is to paint someone from head to foot (average of 5-8 hours depending on the look).

Keep in mind that there is no officially recognized unions or associations for face & body painting in Canada, so as such it's hard to find any form of statistics on pricing. Mostly you learn by observation of what you see other artists charging, internet information or talking to artists in person.

Most artists don't list their prices online, especially highly experienced artists. As a generalization, it's only the artists approaching business from the "cheapest face painter in town" advertising tactic who will promote their prices. But generally speaking, good quality work is usually more pricey.

While it can get harder to get contracts the more you charge, usually it just means you work less but earn the same amount of money.

Additional factors that affect your pricing are covered under "business plan".

Business Plan
A business plan is a smart idea but difficult to complete under any circumstances, but I think especially for the body arts. From a business plan perspective, you should be creating your pricing according to a number of factors: experience/expertise, cost of supplies, overhead (if you are home based, 25% of your rent, hydro, phone et cetera can legally be claimed as part of your overhead) such as your phone, advertising costs, promotional time & office work.

When figuring out your pricing, you also need to consider not only what your direct competition is doing but also your indirect competition. Indirect competition means that if you are a face painter then any children's service is indirect competition, this includes magicians, clowns, activity teachers et cetera. The average price for a magician in Montreal for example is around $200 an hour.

Something else to keep in mind is that regardless of if you are busy with lots of work or if you are going through a slow period; to keep up both your skills, your speed and to be able to develop your skills even further, you need to always be painting even when there is no work. So if you are always painting, the costs of materials used, & time involved should be reflected in your pricing.

For more information about writing a business plan, contact your local entrepreneur, small business centre or try looking online, or at the library.

Presentation & Portfolio
Presentation is really important. This includes your personal presentation (your person), are you clean, neat, tidy & dressed appropriately? Is your work space clean, neat and tidy? Are you brushes & sponges sanatized? Is your face painting water kept clean or do you allow it get and stay very muddy? Are your face paints a mess at the beginning of your job, do you clean your face paints between faces (such as mixing colours).

Portfolio is really important. When you are just starting off, any old photo is better then no photo, but once you are established, it's critical you work on building a portfolio of professional images. A website for most artists is their only store front, and is a public portfolio, so be sure to build a website. Don't forget to utilize social media, as having a web presence is essential to bringing in business.

That's it for now!
I am sure there is more I could add to this article but I have about mentally exhausted myself in writing this, and I dont' think there are many people who will read all of the details without skimming. If you have any questions I have not covered here, please leave a comment and I will be happy to update this article at a later date.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Body Internal - Video Journal - Behind the Scenes - August 2010 Photoshoot

This is a collaborative body painting between myself (The Art of April-Anna) and artist, Elissa Baltzer Dreamscapes in Montreal, QC, Canada. This a long over due video journal "vlog" that I only now finally had time to create. It has taken me 15 hours to make this vlog ("vlog" means "video blog", same thing as video journal).

The body painting took 9 hours with the last 2 hours receiving additional help from my fiancee, who proved to be a very helpful assistant, Ziggy Lam. Photography is by Benjamin VON WONG, plus amateur photos taken by either myself or Ziggy on our camera (it's definately not a professional camera).
Model is Pierre Simard. Music provided courtesy of Mushroom Lounge Recordings.

This was my second time working with Elissa, but our 1st time working on the same painting & model. The body painting depicts the anatomy of the internal body from the musculature, cartilage, bones, and some organs, with a traditional Chinese Medicine twist. The 5 elements is depicted on Pierre's back, with the yin-yang besides the heart, & the large intestine meridian line is painted in yellow, going up his arm, neck and under his nose.

This video includes some narrative about why we choose this subject, as well as a small amount of educational information in relation to where the traditional chinese medicine comes in and what the  meaning is of what we choose. Please leave comments!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A warm reminder of Summer

As I have been saying over the last several blog postings, life has been very full and it's been hard to find the time to keep up this blog and to keep up my video-journals (some call them "vlogs": video blogs). Hence why it is now December and I have only just now made my behind the scenes video journal of the photoshoot I did in August with photographer Andrei Kalamkarov & fire performer, Christina Supernova.

I conceptualized a thematic with a blending influence of Victorian, Steampunk, masquerade, circus & shamanism; which played with the balance & delicate nature of life. Stars, sun & moon combined with a hand painted waste cincher & neck corset; the body painting, including the hair & make-up, took a total of 7 hours of preparation. We scouted the right location on the spot, driving around, much to the chagrin of our model (it was around midnight after all) and much to my stress, but we had a feeling, followed that instinct and really lucked out with exactly the right location along the Lachine Canel bike path in Montreal, QC, Canada.

The images I was looking for were intended for use in my then upcoming art exhibition in the Belgo Building, "Ancient Reverie", which did feature alot of imagery from this photoshoot. By the end of the photoshoot, Christina was very cold but a good sport, we all had a lot of fun and it was beautiful to watch the process unfold. We finished the photoshoot somewhere around 3am.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Time is a funny thing inside my mind...

I have said it before and will probably say it again, time is flying and it seems that it is increasingly difficult to properly maintain my blog. But this is the nature of being an ambitious. I actually have quite a collection of photos intended for my blog, which go back to the summertime. I should have time during the winter to play catch up; I hope...

In the meantime, here are some teasers from this past week's activities. The photos below are not professional images and were taken with my digital camera by either myself or Ziggy. The professional images we will get back sometime in the next week.

I have been wanting to paint a full scale backdrop for my body painting photoshoots, as well as to incorporate my hobby of mask making. So on tuesday just past, I started painting with my artist friend, Elissa Baltzer, on my 14 foot raw canvas. Keeping in mind that I am a self-taught artist, I had no idea that the canvas needed to literally be stretched  before using. I was informed after the fact that the technique is to soak the canvas in water then hang it to dry and it will naturally stretch out. I didn't do this and ended up with the canvas rippling and becoming an odd shape to what it was when I tacked it on the wall to start painting. I did consider using the ripples to my advantage such as turning those ripples into tree branches but I ran out of time to add more details.

Raw canvas on the roll also does not come as wide as I need, so the 14 feet were split in half so I had two peices that were approx. 5 feet wide by 7 feet long but combined together side by side became 10 feet by 7 feet. I didn't have the time or resources to do anything about the seam split between the canvases and decided to deal with that later by using GIMP (free software equivalent to photoshop).

I also didn't predict very acurately how much gesso is needed to prime a canvas of this size, we turned out to be short on gesso, one large bottle of gesso primed 1/2 of the canvas. We had to become very creative in preparing the canvas by mixing water, left over gesso with white paint and artist medium; not in the slightest bit an ideal primer but better then no primer at all.

As is normal for me, I was late getting started on tuesday and Elissa only had that one day to help me; so in the end she spent 3 hours helping me with the primer and some of the base colours. The painting was originally intended to be a collaboration so I ended up painting solo.

I swear I told her how big the canvas was, but it's possible I just thought about telling her and didn't in fact mention that how huge it was. I do know I kept saying a "backdrop" which I literally meant to be a backdrop but Elissa had in her mind what she had seen me do before which was using my paintings as props in the photos so she thought we were doing a "large small painting". On the upside, we both now have a much better idea of what it will take to jointly create such a massive backdrop in the future (not to mention the amount of supplies needed).

Including Elissa's initial 3 hours of work, it took approxemately 26 hours in total to finish the painting. Wednesday evening I skipped my class (much to the chargrin of Ziggy) and stayed up till 6am in the morning on thursday, the day of the photoshoot, painting non-stop.

I finished the mask in the afternoon on the day of the shoot, with some details being finished during body painting preparations. The body painting itself was a 5 hour endeuver working on a pregnant model. Elissa body painted a second model who happened to be the sister of my model, who was also pregnant. Plus make-up & hair.

 Needless to say I still feel very exhuasted, but I feel really good about the results and can't wait to get the photos back from the photographer, Andrei Kalamkarov. The documentary maker, James Anthony McElligott, also had a chance to come down to collect some film footage.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Now offering REGULAR MAKE-UP!

You should check out my new website & blog (click on the title, it's a link), it's a work in progress (as is the nature of maintaining a website or blog), but there is already alot of exciting information & images to check out. Be sure to become a follower of the blog if you love my make-up skills!

Take a look at these photos from the photoshoot we did last week! The make-up styles below were modeled after the make-up of the 1920's.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Time is flying!

I didn't realize how much time had passed since last I wrote, I have been so busy! Time is really flying!
Keera Sama as a mermaid, Sunday, Nov 7th

Saturday I met with documentary maker, James Anthony McElligot. I had been preparing a circus performer, Diann Gonzalez, with evening make-up, when James arrived to do an interview on me for his upcoming documentary on the world of body painting. This documentary is meant to cover all forms of body painting and all levels of body painting, to give an accurate and objective view of what body painting is in all it's faces.
In the process of painting a mermaid.
 It was interesting to watch  the reactions to the gear James was loading into the make-up & body art studio, especially the look on my partners face; I giggled. I did warn him that James was coming to do an interview and had told Ziggy (business partner & fiancée) what the documentary was for but he didn't think that I literally meant James was going to be filming, he thought we were just meeting to talk! The studio lights fillled the room and there was not much room left but it was ok because he needed me to be in one spot anyways (especially as one screw from his tripod seemed to be missing). The interview was fun and it was the first time I felt really comfortable with the camera and myself. My cat sphinx kept trying to get into the film.
Running out of time, painting while eating.

Sunday James came out to film the mermaid body painting & photoshoot I did with model & belly dancer (and fashion designer) Keera Sama and photographer Marc Bourcier at Oyster Shack (bar & seafood restaurant). Originally this was a photoshoot that Keera & Marc were planning to do in the summertime, I offered to join the collaboration and we were meant to do teh shoot on the ocean but unfornatuly unexpected circumstances occurred and postponed the shoot. We decided that since it was the autumn and we didn't watn to wait until summer, that we would do the shoot at the Oyster Shack, who were gracious in accepting and assisting in our collaboration.
Marc Bourcier showing photos.

I am very lucky the photographer, Marc, is a very patient man. We were supposed to be finished the body painting by 7:30pm but both Keera and I were late to get started, pushing the shoot  back by an hour. Additionally it took 6 & half hours to do the body painting (torso) including hair & make-up.

The photos that Marc took are not ready yet, the photos shown here are from James's & Zigy's cameras (he captured the step by step process).
I can't wait to see how the documentary progresses. More news to come!
James, Keera & the artist.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Halloween is my favorite time of the year! This year was more quiet then usual, which was just as well as I didn't find that I had as much energy this year as I normally do.

I had a few clients at my studio on saturday; Leonor wanted to be a black & white kittie-cat, Chris wanted to be "Reggie", plus an outgoing contract that same night for a couple that wanted to be the KISS band for Halloween!
Chris wanted to be "Reggie" (photo on right is Chris)

On sunday, Halloween itself, I was excited that Dj Stevie V at Club Moomba decided to hire me for a 3rd year in a row. The first Halloween I worked with him, he was a werewolf (which I have to say really suited him, who'd have thought that a werewolf could look so natural?), last year a vampire and this year he wanted to be a zhombie.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Photo Retouching

I have re-edited this article on Friday, Nov 5th, 2010.

This photo is an artistic experimentation with Sandra from Gypsy Circus Clothing and photographer James St.Laurent in the fall of 2005. I had just arrived in Montreal after a cross Canada drive, with a young women from Point Claire. I had found the ride through the "ride share" system on craigslist, which is a list of people looking for other folk who need rides going in the same direction; of course sharing costs is the major influence in these ventures. When I came to Montreal, I was coming to visit. I had been talking with a childhood friend for 10 years about coming to see her and I had been talking with James St.Laurent about possibly doing a photo collaboration with him. This is one of several shoots I did with James.

(click on the photo to enlarge to see details)

The image below is from the contest entry I put together for the online comic book called Drowtales (costume contest). I wasn't sure if the contest was nipple friendly so I decided to photoshoot the nipples out (well actually I am using GIMP, not photoshop).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recent Newspaper Article

Click on the image to be able to read it up close
(I will transcribe it later into a blog posting).

Recent article in "The Senior Times"
about the opening night cocktail for "Ancient Reverie".
Photographer Melanie Pilon, Written by Hayley Juhl
Performers (in photo) Caroline Tremblay & Christina Lacombe.
Artist explores whimsy in three dimensions
Hayley Juhl
October, 2010

There are rumours in April-Anna’s art. Of time, of transformation and of music.

The 34-year-old’s multimedia works mix photography, acrylic and a universe of colour to create works that are whimsical as their names: Raven Dreaming in Twilight, Lotus Rainbow, Ancient Reverie.

This is not obvious art. It inspires contemplation. A mixed-media canvas that was birthed over a six-month period engages the viewer.

Charcoal hills are presented in changing light, the subtle shapes of trees a reward for the attention. In the not-still lake beneath them, one discovers a false reflection of imagined constellations in swirling, impatient colours.

In Fire Flies in Dawn’s Twilight, one can pick out not only fireflies but rumours of lotus flowers along the edges. “It’s hard to find the words to define what the subconscious knows,” artist April-Anna says. Photos: Mely Pilon

And what is this? Fairies dancing in the charmed waters? Lotus flowers floating there? The name of the piece is the clue: Fire Flies in Dawn’s Twilight.

Lotus flowers would not have been an unreasonable assumption. It is almost a game to find the flower in each image; the lotus is April-Anna’s seal.

She has always had an affinity for the flower, she says, but it has taken on a greater meaning in recent years as she grapples with the flower’s deeper symbol, transformation.

“The galaxies and molecules and worlds,” she says.

“It’s so hard to find the words to define what the subconscious knows.”

April-Anna understands that art is more than paint on canvas.

At a vernissage on Oct. 1, she tempted guests with artfully presented canapés. They nibbled and sipped wine while being serenaded by accomplished violinist Rosa Lannes.

With taste buds and artistic passions nearly sated, April-Anna introduced flutist Caroline Tremblay and a circus performer, Christina Supernova, who danced with black-light-glowing balls that swirled like bright shadows of the plants hinted at in the paintings surrounding her.

The balls were complemented by churning patterns of body paint and an elaborate mask – more of the artist’s work, designed to move her creations into the third dimension.

Visit The artist is accepting appointments for Halloween body-painting. Email

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Halloween is nearly here! 
Have you got your make-up artist booked yet? 
If not, then you  have come to the right place! I am offering private appointments out of my private studio in downtown Montreal 
(I have cats, so hopefully you don't have allergies). 

Come enjoy our fireplace! We use "coffee logs" instead of wood, it's really neat, they compress recycled ground up coffee into logs for the fireplace. 

In the heart of the city, it will feel like you are relaxing in the countryside with music while you are preparing for your Halloween activities!

$1.50 per minute if you come to me for an appointment. I can make you into whatever you want to be; vampires, dragons, faeries, elves, orcs, werewolves, teddy bears, wounded nurse, devils, demons, witches, shamans.... 
Cute, or scary, sexy, magickal or fantastical! 
What do you want to be? More photo samples are in the Halloween Section (click here to see).

I am also available to come on site to your event. If you need me to come on site there is a 2 hour minimum, it's $100 per hour plus travel time, with a deposit for booking. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes

I was experimenting today with fried green tomatoes. I started a garden plot this summer but didn't get the plot until late June and by the time we got the over growth of unwanted plants cleaned up, it was early July when we finally got our plants & seeds in the ground. My garden is still producing, but as would be guessed, a bit late in the season for much of it. Which reminds me, I need to go check on it again.

September was absolutely nuts for me due to the preparations for the vernissage/cocktail, art exhibition, plus I also started a certification course to become a make-up artist at Edith Serei Academy; all this to say that I never had time to properly attend my garden. But thank-fully I was able to round up help from friends last sunday and boy did we make up for lost time!

Unfortunately my tomatoes plant is only just now producing tomatoes, which are all green, although of a descent size, some were already falling. So I decided to collect them, remembering about an old recipe I had tried 15 years ago that came from the southern united states. If you are interested, here is the recipe, which is altered to my tastes and sense of good health:

Green Fried Tomatoes (or baked)

2 eggs
Approximately 2/3rds a cup of buckwheat flour
Pinch of salt
Raw finely grated garlic
Finely chopped fresh rosemary
Thickly sliced green tomatoes
Avocado Oil or Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

Beat your mix with a fork, slowly adding flour until the consistency is like thick pancake mix. Coat tomatoes with batter, you may need to drip a little on each tomato when you put it in the pan as it sometimes slides off the tomato. Prepare frying pan with oil, heat on medium high, you may need to lower it to medium when you have finished the first batch as the pan will otherwise get too hot after that point. Carefully flip with the egg lift, should be golden brown when finished.

If you decide to bake some, do the same thing as above but put the oven on 400c and check on it in 10 minutes; take out when it's golden brown. The baking method makes it alot dryer but a bit healthier, but be sure to douse it in a small amount of tamari or soya sauce otherwise it's too dry. The tamari flavour works best with this.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Advika Clothing

I hope I am retelling this tale correctly...

A very good friend of mine, Jamie Brock, walked into a store in Nelson, BC (almost 3 years ago) wearing clothes she had made herself. She had only recently started to learn how to sew. She knew at least enough to have made the clothes she was wearing that day, an experiment in her personal sense of fashion (which I might add that she has good tastes).

The store owner went nuts over what she was wearing and asked to place an order for the coming season. When it was revealed that she didn't have a business, the store owner became very passionate that if she would start one right away, that the store would be her first big customer and a regular one at that. In a state of shock, she came back home to Montreal, thought about it and decided to act on the opportunity that had presented itself. This was the birth of Advika Clothing, which is of course a beautiful work in progress.

I find Jamie's story exciting and inspiring, as well as I love wearing her clothing. Her clothes are both beautiful, comfortable and versatile. I really want to see her continue to succeed and grow as a fashion designer, which I have no doubt that she will. So I offered to build her a blog set up much like a website to tide her over until her actual website is fully developed and ready to launch. The blog of course will continue to be used and be complimentary to her main site, even once the new website is launched. Take a look at what I created for her!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


So my cousin & fiancee got thinking that they wanted to do Oktoberfest at home at my fiancee's family's house... Even though we are technically a bit behind schedule as Oktoberfest ended last weekend, but who cares, it's just for fun and very few of us actually have German blood (I have some, being what I call a "celtic mutt"). For anyone who has been following my blog over the years, you will know that I enjoy researching the history of our modern celebrations... So here is a breif history of Oktoberfest (for anyone interested).

According to my friend who spends alot of time in Germany; he says the Germans told him that it's something that used to be celebrated by most Germans by going over to family's houses to spend time together over meals and beer but that that most Germans no longer practice this... He says most Germans never celebrated it as a festival involving the public...

However, according to wikipedia:
Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. World's largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture.

In 1994, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3 (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the first Sunday is October 2 and 18 days when it is October 1. In 2010, the festival lasts until the first Monday in October, to mark the 200-year anniversary of the event.

Visitors eat huge amounts of traditional hearty fare such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).

The original "Oktoberfest" occurred in Munich, on October 12, 1810. For the public commemoration of their marriage that took place five days before, Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen (namesake of the Theresienwiese festival grounds) organized a great horse race. The event was so successful that it was decided to renew it in 1811.

In the year 1811, an agricultural show was added to boost Bavarian agriculture. The horse race persisted until 1960, the agricultural show still exists and it is held every four years on the southern part of the festival grounds. In 1816, carnival booths appeared; the main prizes were silver, porcelain, and jewelry. The founding citizens of Munich assumed responsibility for festival management in 1819, and it was agreed that the Oktoberfest would become an annual event. Later, it was lengthened and the date pushed forward, the reason being that days are longer and warmer at the end of September.

To honour the marriage of King Ludwig I and Therese of Bavaria, a parade took place for the first time in 1835. Since 1850, this has become a yearly event and an important component of the Oktoberfest. 8,000 people—mostly from Bavaria

In 1880, the electric light illuminated over 400 booths and tents (Albert Einstein helped install light bulbs in the Schottenhamel tent as an apprentice in his uncle's electricity business in 1896). In 1881, booths selling bratwursts opened. Beer was first served in glass mugs in 1892.

At the end of the 19th century, a re-organization took place. Until then, there were games of skittles, large dance floors, and trees for climbing in the beer booths. They wanted more room for guests and musicians. The booths became beer halls.

In 1887, the Entry of the Oktoberfest Staff and Breweries took place for the first time. This event showcases the splendidly decorated horse teams of the breweries and the bands that play in the festival tents. This event always takes place on the first Saturday of the Oktoberfest and symbolises the official prelude to the Oktoberfest celebration

In the year 1910, Oktoberfest celebrated its 100th birthday. 120,000 litres of beer were poured. In 1913, the Bräurosl was founded, which was the largest Oktoberfest beer tent of all time, with room for about 12,000 guests.
Since its beginnings the Oktoberfest has been cancelled 24 times due to war, disease and other emergencies.
Horse races ended in 1960.

By 1960, the Oktoberfest had turned into an enormous world-famous festival. Since then, foreigners began to picture Germans as wearing the Sennerhut, Lederhosen, and the girls in Dirndl.

Traditional visitors wear during the Oktoberfest Bavarian hats (Tirolerhüte), which contain a tuft of goat hair. In Germany, goat hair is highly valued and prized, making it one of the most expensive objects for sale. The more tufts of goat hair on your hat, the wealthier you are considered to be.

There are many problems every year with young people who overestimate their ability to handle large amounts of alcohol. Many forget that beer has 5.8 to 6.3% alcohol, and they pass out due to drunkenness. These drunk patrons are often called "Bierleichen" (German for "beer corpses").

German Red Cross operates an aid facility and provides emergency medical care on the festival grounds, staffed with around 100 volunteer medics and doctors per day[1]. They serve together with special detachments of Munich police, fire department......There is also a place for lost & found children......

To keep the Oktoberfest, and especially the beer tents, friendly for older people and families, the concept of the "quiet Oktoberfest" was developed in 2005. Until 6:00 pm, the tents only play quiet music, for example traditional wind music. Only after that will Schlager and pop music be played, which had led to more violence in earlier years.[2] The music played in the afternoon is limited to 85 decibels. With these rules, the organizers of the Oktoberfest were able to curb the over-the-top party mentality and preserve the traditional beer tent atmosphere.

2010 marks the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest. For the anniversary, there was a horse race in historical costumes on opening day. A so-called "Historische Wiesn" (historical Oktoberfest) took place, starting one day earlier than usual on the southern part of the festival grounds. A specially brewed beer (solely available at the tents of the historical Oktoberfest), horse races, and a museum tent gave visitors an impression of how the event felt a century ago.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Opening Night of "Ancient Reverie"...

Opening night of "Ancient Reverie"
Photography by Melanie Pilon

Don't forget that if you didn't see the artworks yet, that the exhibition is open until November 1st, 2010.  The address is studio 411 in the Belgo Building; 372 Sainte-Catherine Quest. You can call Gallery Massarelli Design at 514-397-0006

Photography by Melanie Pilon

The opening night of the exhibition was a great success! 
I worked between 10 hours up to 16 hours a day for approximately 3.5 weeks leading up to the vernissage & cocktail. I finally started to decompress yesturday, and slept for 15 hours!

Photography by Melanie Pilon

What people are saying about the Opening Night...

"A lovely exhibition! Fantastic indeed :-)" - Jasmina & Jamai from Media & Redaktica Pro

"Congratulations, you did a super nice job! I am looking forward to see your career development!" - Josianne

Christina Supernova performing with glow poi that change colours.

Photography by Melanie Pilon
"Beautiful artwork. Very talented artist. Love your use of colours!" - Laurie Williamson

"Thank-you! It was wondeful! Colours are out of this world! Please continue to delight us!" - E.Tah

Caroline Tremblay playing the flute for Christina while she performs.
Photography by Melanie Pilon
"Very impressive! Congratulations & good luck!" - Paul Loftus from the Irish Chamber of Commerce

"Felicitations April-Anna pour ta premiere exposition. J'ai beaucoup aime la presentation la violioniste, la musique et le spectacle de danse et de musique, tres bien choisir... bien ser au centre..." - Isabel

Suzanne Daningburg, winner of one of the door prizes.
Photography by Melanie Pilon

"Amazing lady, you inpire me and I had so much fun. I know you'll go far!" - Keera Sama, clothing designer.

"Awesome opening! Everything looked great! Congrats!!!" - Andrei

One of the winners of the door prize.
Photography by Melanie Pilon

"I loved your art, food, performers & you. Next?" - Christine

I had a great time and felt so pampered! Good vibes and gorgeous art!" - Allison

The food was made by Jamie Brock, Elissa Baltzer & Joy Nicole Benoit with some assistance from April-Anna. Food planning was a collaboration by all the ladies. The food was served on a sliver leaf tray that dates from around the 1930's. Photography by Melanie Pilon.

"Congrats! All your hard work is paying off!" - Chris

"Lovely and interesting location, great art, great set-up, great vibe, great food and company" - Abbie
The mask made for Christina to wear during the performance.
Photography by Melanie Pilon

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Drop-Ins Welcome - "Ancient Reverie" Vernissage & Cocktail

Drop-ins are welcome between 7pm-8pm or 9pm-10pm for the cocktail & vernissage. The guest list is full as of yesturday, but not everyone on the guest list will stay for the entire 2 hours. So I know for sure that we will be able to accept drop-ins.

Gallery Massarelli Design - Friday, October 1st, 7pm-8pm or 9pm-10pm

372 rue Sainte Catherine Quest studio 411, Montreal. 

About The Exhibition:
 The exhibition is open for the month of October, ending on November 1st, 2010. The gallery hours are from 10am-5pm Monday to Friday, or by appointment with the gallery owner on weekends or evenings.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This is actually my press release, but I really like what I have created and so have decided to share with you. I worked on this press release for a week!


"Imagination is more important than knowledge." ~Albert Einstein

“Painting is silent poetry.” ~Plutarch

A member of the Montreal Board of Trade and the Irish Chamber of Commerce, freelance artist, April-Anna, is determined to demonstrate that body painting is in fact a fine art.
You are cordially invited to attend the cocktail & opening night of "Ancient Reverie", a solo art exhibition at Gallery Massarelli Design in the Belgo Building. Entertainment includes music by classically trained violinist Rosa Lannes, and DJ Eliazar. Circus performance by Christina Supernova with classically trained flutist Caroline Tremblay. Door prizes, hors d'oeuvres, champagne and wine. 372 rue Sainte Catherine Quest studio 408, Montreal. Due to limited space, the cocktail is by reservation (guest list open to the public) and will be divided into 2 events; one at 6pm-8pm, another at 8pm-10pm.

Exhibition Statement
Ancient: Very old; aged: “an ancient folk tale”. Old-fashioned or antique. Reverie: A state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing. A daydream. An impractical or fantastic, or visionary idea.

In “Ancient Reverie” I am exploring the connection between fine arts and the human body through four dimensions, which in this case are the canvas, the human body as a performer, the photo and the sculpted bust. Come and see how fireflies resemble stars, the waters resemble dreams, the skies shift into galaxies, while the lady with a lotus in her thoughts, sits back to watch.

About the Artist:
April-Anna Bremers started her first home based arts business at the age of 17, in 1996 in Merritt, BC. She has been in Montreal since 2006. April-Anna is a multi-medium artist offering artistic services such as face painting, body painting, henna body art, murals, fine arts and more. She has had contracts for special events for companies such as CLSC, Harmony Elementary School, Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Eloize, and more.

About the Performers:

Christina Supernova is a circus performer specialized in fire performance. Christina's performances have been seen at Playa del Carmen, Cirque Eloize and more. She offers her services for special events and private parties.

Caroline Tremblay is a classically trained flutest. She has a Master Degree in Recorder from University of Montreal and The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. She is a musical director at the Montreal Recorder Society, teaching at Vincent D’Indy Music school and at CAMMAC. Caroline has performed at special events for Le Théâtre de quartier, Laval Symphonic Orchestra, Cirque du Soleil, and more.
Rosa Lannes has been playing the violin since the age of 5 and has studied with such renowned teachers as Sonja Jelinkova and Mark Fewer. She completed a double DEC in Music and Science in 2010, and was accepted into Premed at Université de Montréal.
DJ Eliazar Hailing from Chicago, now based in Montreal, he has traveled the globe for 15 years collecting music. His record label Mushroom Lounge Recordings brings new global music to the forefront; Balkan beats, global bass, electro swing, dub, downtempo & more. He runs monthly events and a weekly radio show every. For more information:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Solo Exhibition

Upcoming Solo Exhibition at Gallery Massarelli Design in the Belgo Building for the month of October. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am until 5pm.

Vernissage date is to be confirmed, but most likely on friday, October 1st, 2010. It will be a cocktail, so please dress appropriately. 1 free glass of wine or beer (additional drinks by donation), plus h'orderves, & a door prize.

Vernissage & cocktail are by reservation only because of very limited capacity; there will be 2 time slots that you can choose from to reserve your place on the guest list. Please RSVP asap.