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