Thursday, February 15, 2018

Christmas 2017

I was hoping to get this post out before Valentine's Day, close but ...

We're very fortunate to always spend Christmas with the Scammells. For the past decade we've taken turns hosting the holiday. Last year, when I needed it most, we had the pleasure of being pampered at their home. This past holiday season, our first back in Canmore, we were hosts. I managed well, but certainly accepted help in that last minute crunch of getting the feast to the table.

After the feast, Christmas night

Meanwhile in Manila ...

The Koebel's Christmas family portrait
Amira (6) and Everett (2)

With the wood stoved removed we were able to put up the big tree ...

Avery decorated the tree pretty much single handedly

On Christmas Eve the reading of the old, pop-up Night Before Christmas is a long standing tradition in our family.

Larry and the crazy turkey hat with Denise and Avery reading The Book
Avery trying to guess what's inside the biggest gift on Christmas morning
Hats play a big part in our Christmas celebrations
See what I mean?
And then there is this one!
Looks good on Denise too
Nine and very sparkly in her new Christmas outfit

We opted to not make a gingerbread house in 2016 but our comeback in 2017 was pretty spectacular. Avery spent a few days with us while her parents moved the bulk of their possessions from Calgary to Saskatoon. Before her parents arrived she I got a head start making the dough pieces for the house plus a ton of cookies before her Mom and Dad joined us ...

Lots of industry here
An excessive amount of cookies!

I was all hands on the project Christmas Eve ...

Everyone worked hard at assembling and icing cookies

It's a feat to get all the pieces in place and keep them there until the icing sets
The finished product

The above photo was taken at the small gathering we hosted on Boxing Day at our condo association's club house. It was somewhat of send-off for the Scammells who moved to Saskatoon right after the New Year arrived.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Amira's 6th Birthday Painting

Where Fairies Play  2017 oil on canvas 12" x 16"

Sometimes our daughters give me direction, sometimes the children do and sometimes there is no direction at all. I don't recall asking Amira for input nor do I remember her giving me any feedback, so I was on my own to come up with something a six year old girl would like.

The start

I was pretty excited about how the powdered (pan) pastels looked when I used them over my 12" x 12" commercial tree stencil - on paper.  However, when I used the stencil and the pastel pigments on a prepared canvas they simply wouldn't take.  Not at all.

Laying in colour with acrylic on the canvas

There was to be no shortcut, I had to paint the tree. The castle is borrowed from the internet.  I flipped it because I had placed the tree on the left ...

Internet image of the Disney castle, Anaheim, CA

All coloured in in acrylic - now what?

Once again I was not satisfied with the look of the painting, in acrylic paint, so I switched to oil. You might say I retreated to my comfort zone ...

With a coat of oil paint
Here I extended the bank of trees, to the left, and refined the castle a bit more ...
... and added a couple more fairies

The tree was a challenge. I had difficulty convincing myself that it looked authentic. As the painting dragged on, for eight days, I eventually had to tell myself that it was a fantasy piece, how authentic did that tree have to be after all

The final touch was adding the row of blue cornflowers, from where the fairy on the left had plucked her flower. I chose to leave Tinker Bell out of the painting.

Where Fairies Play  2017 oil  on canvas 12" x 16"

The parcel, with this painting, her brother's painting and the entire Manila family's birthday and Christmas gifts did not make it in time for Christmas. It's arrival, in January, seemed a disappointment at first but it was actually bit of a blessing in that the family had a second Christmas while Bill and I, here in Canmore, were able to witness the gift opening in a FaceTime call.

January 3rd, 2018, next to momma Laura, Amira opens her birthday painting 
The lovely Amira with her painting, February 2nd, 2018

Happy sixth birthday Amira!

Amira's official 6th birthday photo shoot. Her actual birthday is December 9th