Monday, January 31, 2011

Recent adventures in April-Anna-Land

Recently I went with my awesome friend, Al Kray, to see her boyfriend's band play at the Wheel Club in NDG of Montreal, QC, Canada. I had never seen him play before, but I had heard many good things from Al and knew it would be worth the treck out into the cold, cold, blustery winter night.

Bloodshot Bill doll made by Al Kray

"Bloodshot Bill n'The Handcuffs" are a rockabilly band that will keep your toes tapping and your face smiling, even if you aren't a fan of country western rock'n'roll.

The bass player was pretty fasinating, he was all over the place, spinning his bass like a twirl top toy, climbing on top of it as though to ride it like a skate board while also trying to play at the same time (he did a good job). The sax player and the drummer were equally full of energy, words do not do either of these men justice for the life they brought to their instruments and the excitment they created in the dancers.

Audience members enjoying a game of pool while watching the show.

Their antics, while fun to watch, were difficult to photograph (keeping in mind I don't have a professional camera), hence the many ghost like hands I captured in many photos. Luckily I created a video blog for your entertainment (see at the bottom of this article).
 Normally "Bloodshot Bill" is a high energy solo act that tours North America, Mexico & Europe at festivals and concert outlets. Quoted from his myspace profile:

Bloodshot Bill

"Greasy Canadian has travelled ... all sortsa places too, from big festivals to tiny bars to trailer parks & truck stops...Tours mostly as a one man band, but has bands too...He is currently banned from entering the USA...Has put out a buncha music on his own, and has alot more comin'...Recently teamed up with Mark Sultan (BBQ) and released their debut LP, The Ding-Dongs...Also, recently teamed up with King Khan as Tandoori Knights, and released a full LP and a couple 7" singles...Has his own brand of hair grease, "Nice'n'Greasy", custom made for him by AGS, and it is without a doubt the best there is...Has a lotta side-bands you'll never hear ("thank god" sez you)....If he comes to your town and you want to make him happy, he likes spaghetti and meat alot, but not too much before the gig, please."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New! Miniature Paintings turned into Pendants!

I am very excited to announce that I am now making miniature original paintings into pendants! Painting done in water colour & acrylic on archival paper with highest quality paints, sealed with a satin varnish. Many of the pendants are adorned with sterling silver glitter, copper or brass, Austrian crystal, glass crystals and garnets!

I have 10 finished and another 15 in the works, plus more to come. I have to finish taking photos and posting them but slowly but surely. I have one up for sale on my Etsy Shop right now, more to come!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Blast from the Past" - Push Play TV Interview

This is an old interview now, being approx. 2 years ago. But I don't think I ever posted the video up here on my blog, so I figured now was as good a time as any to share.

In the spring of 2009, I hadn't been back in the city very long. I had just arrived back in Montreal from my trip to Calgary to participate as the out of province artist for the Papa Wheely Association mutli-media art cabaret & one night only art exhibition at the Art Gallery of Calgary (the city gallery, which is also the biggest gallery in Calgary).  I went down to a convention that I was invited to by Luca Vince Caltabiano, for an interview for his internet tv station, Push Play TV. I was interviewed by the lovely Jessica Elias, take a look!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

All the sad things that make you remember why life is so very blessed and so very beautiful.

It was April 10th, my first morning back in Canada, having just arrived from Hong-Kong. There was a newspaper sitting on the table and on the cover was this beautiful image of a women with red hair, with her lungs painted on the outside of her body, and her arms were lifted up above her head to form the shape of a heart.

Immediatly I saw the image and thought that this is a lovely idea for a body painting. While at the same time giving me the shivers cause well I am not used to looking at people's lungs on the outside of their bodies. But something about this image was too beautiful to associate as being gore. I opened the newspaper to the article, and it was about the recent passing of Eva Markoort, a young women that many call a heroine. Her story is one that is too sad, beautiful, inspiring and full of messages worth listening to.

Regardless of the challenges a person might experience in life, there is something that everyone can draw from the messages of Eva Markoort's life.

Following is Quoted from 65_Red Roses & The Vancouver Sun.

"Eva Markvoort gave all her life away

The young actress with cystic fibrosis shared her life and her final weeks with the world


Beautiful, vivacious Eva Markvoort proved an accomplished actress in the theatre department at the University of Victoria. But when she began applying for roles beyond the campus, she often didn't receive the final call.

Directors told the talented actress they worried she would at unexpected times cough, have trouble breathing or not be able to show up for rehearsal, due to her lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis.

As Eva's disappointment expanded, film and theatre friends began telling the New Westminster-raised actress she was forgetting there was a far bigger role in which she should star.

The story of her life.

In the end, Eva became an icon of strength in the midst of suffering to countless people around the world: By fearlessly telling the harrowing story of what it is like to exist with the rare genetic disease.

Eva played out her role in many ways, including through the award-winning documentary made about her double-lung transplant in 2007, in which viewers literally saw inside her troubled body.

Eva enjoyed that the two-year-old film was called 65 Red Roses, since "65 red roses" was a child's malapropism for "cystic fibrosis." And she adored the flower. Organ transplants increased after the documentary aired.

Perhaps more impressively, in the past two years Eva connected with more than a million Internet readers and viewers through her blog, also called 65 Red Roses, by revealing in intimately frank detail what it was like each day for her to live and, as she would often write online: "love, love, love."

In the past six weeks, the tragically beautiful story of Eva's life came to a climax.

Eva decided to reveal to her worldwide community of Internet followers, which was particularly strong in Canada, the U.S. and Europe (especially Poland), what it was like to be a few weeks from death's door.

Eva's parents, Bill Markvoort and Janet Brine, talked about the remarkable short life of their daughter on Wednesday in their home in New Westminster, on what would have been Eva's 26th birthday.

More than 20 of Eva's friends, many from the theatre community, were coming to the Markvoort-Brine home later in the day to mark the anniversary, with a party.

Moving among rooms stacked with letters and cards from Eva's online admirers, Bill described the moment in February when their strong-willed daughter told them to gather around her VGH bed to make a video for her blog.

No one in the family knew what was going on. "She could be a bit imperious. A bit of a diva," said Bill. When Eva wanted something, she got it.

With the camera rolling and her family hugging close beside her, gaunt Eva suddenly began to talk about how she was soon going to die. Her agonizing battle was ending.


She loved everyone.

Within hours of the video going onto the 65 Red Roses site, a tsunami of affection swept through the Internet.

Eva's last spoken words to her web community immediately drew more than 150,000 page views, in less than 24 hours. Tens of thousands more people would click with each passing day.

They still are, even with Eva passing away last Saturday in Vancouver General Hospital, waiting in vain for a donor so she could have a second double-lung transplant.

* * *

The walls of the large living-room in Eva's long-standing family home in the Queen's Park neighbourhood of New Westminster were this week blanketed from floor-to-ceiling with cards, letters, drawings, poetry, prayers, paintings, collages, mosaics and other gifts from Eva's horde of far-flung well-wishers.

The living room included a bed, which was itself smothered with cards and gifts. This had been Eva's bedroom during her many rough months, in which she was linked up to tubes and ingesting painkillers and other medications.

Of the thousands of gifts that have arrived for Eva through the family mailbox, the most common image is a red heart, in every shape, size and variation.

Eva's death is making news headlines this week across Canada and in Europe.

"It's been unbelievable. It's so overwhelming," said Bill, vice-president of Probyn Log Ltd., sitting with his wife, Janet, principal of Peace Arch Elementary School, who spent the past seven weeks sleeping in Eva's hospital room.

Eva's parents have been reluctant to speak to the media, but decided to talk to The Vancouver Sun about their daughter, whose Internet life began four years ago.

That's when Eva began a private blog to keep in touch with others with Cystic Fibrosis, which strikes roughly one in 2,000 people, mostly of European extraction.

Due to the complex infectious nature of the illness, medical specialists strongly discourage people with CF from spending any time in each other's company.

But, after a while, Eva opened her site beyond the CF community, to the public.

At first Janet was against the idea. "But eventually I came around. I could see it was a real focus for Eva. It was benefiting her and others."

The page views and comments on 65 Red Roses began mounting at a feverish pace. Eva was having an impact far greater than expected.

In their living room, the parents told a few of the many remarkable stories about how Eva inspired an online network.

One story was of a suicidal U.S. woman who said she was "saved" after watching Eva online. The despairing woman couldn't help but be inspired by the strength Eva showed; living with someone else's lungs, which frequently become overpowered by mucous. The family ended up meeting the woman.

Another account of Eva's Internet influence revolved around the hundreds of letters she received from black students in gang-infested ghettos of Los Angeles. An L.A. school administrator had encouraged students at 18 schools to follow Eva's blog, from which he wrote they learned no one was "worthless," and they themselves became "more empathetic."

There were also many young men who fell in love online with Eva, confessing their unrequited desire to rescue the brave, sensual young woman from the unfairness of her terminal ordeal.

In general, Bill found young men and women responded incredibly to Eva's blog, in part because for many of them it was their first grave experience of the dying process, particularly with someone their age.

There were also, as expected, many, many patients and families struggling with cystic fibrosis who considered Eva a heroine.

Perhaps most intriguingly, Eva became a media star in Poland.

She was a top story on newspapers and on TV in the country of 38-million people, to the extent that a Polish TV crew came and filmed a story about her during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

The family, including brother, Hunter, and sister Annie, were asked to give a rough idea of what kinds of people had been sending the tens of thousands of comments Eva received on 65 Red Roses.

The family estimated about 10 per cent of the blog's traffic came from people struggling with Cystic Fibrosis. The rest came from "healthy" people, many from Canada, but with about 25 per cent from the United States and another 15 per cent from Poland.

Trying to understand the mystery of the Polish phenomenon, Bill had a few theories.

The documentary about Eva aired at least twice on Polish TV, which doesn't' have as many channels as in North America, he said. Nor does Poland have a health care system, he said, that can afford lung transplants. As well, "Eva" is a common Polish name, even while "Markvoort" is Dutch.

Bill and family believe, in addition, that Eastern Europeans may have a more open and healthy attitude than North Americans to difficult and "dark" themes, such as the life and death struggles of Eva.

Whatever the case involving the Poles, Bill found Eva's widespread Internet community astounding.

"I think the Internet is the most powerful thing imaginable. It provides immediate contact. It creates circles of friendship."

* * *

In addition to exposing her vibrant life and passions on the world wide web, Eva received many accolades in her short life.

Hearing of her troubles, the University of Victoria decided to rush through her bachelor's degree in fine arts in February, even though she had not quite finished her electives.

The House of Commons was told of her death this week. She had already received the Queen's Jubilee Service Award.

Meanwhile, the documentary, 65 Red Roses, continues to be aired around the world, including again this Friday evening in Canada on CBC.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, as well, gave Eva its prestigious Summerhayes Award in March, for raising awareness. As a result of her online influence, the foundation will be switching much of its educational and outreach campaigns to the Internet.


Bill choked up as he read out a tiny sampling of the letters people have written Eva, including how she was "remarkable and strong." They thanked her for "giving all her love away" and being "one of the most beautiful people I've ever been able to know."

Bill and Janet said they feel a duty to respond publicly to the outpouring for their daughter. But, eventually, Bill said, the family will likely return to a more private life.

Just as Bill finished speaking, the mail carrier dropped another two dozen brightly coloured cards and letters through the family mailbox."

Some had red hearts.

Read Douglas Todd's blog at

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Just have to share some words of wisdom... Happy New Years Everyone!

I just have to share these words of wisdom, especially for anyone needing a New Years "pick me up". This video is by the make-up artist, Kandee Johnson. I couldn't have said it better, her sentiment is definately my sentiment. If only you knew the challenges I have conquered in my life; I would not have done so had I allowed myself to get bogged down in the mud. Please take a moment to listen & watch Kandee's video; beautiful words!

2011 will be beautiful! "Be the change you wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi