downtown fire escape


downtown fire escape

an original mixed media collage on cradled wood panel

9 x 12 x 1 1/2 inches

drawing, found paper, typographic elements, acrylic paint, colour-infused gel, pencil and marker

a very red painting that tells a frantic little story

packaged for gift giving

a perfect accent for a cubicle or desk, adding vibrancy and detail

sealed and protected with gloss varnish

three quotes for this one …

She’s mad, but she’s magic. There’s no lie in her fire.
~ Charles Bukowski

Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

Catch on fire and people will come for miles to see you burn.
~ John Wesley

shipped with care

everything from my store comes with an extra art surprise


original painting, home decor, decorating, fine art, wall art, collage, wax, monoprint, heat, flame, fire, downtown, escape, wood panel, gesso, acrylic, ink, pencil, wax paper, varnish, the moment of forever burning


unconnected / / cigar-tin stories number seventy eight

A Thursday evening, and I forget my phone. This happens with an erratic frequency these days; I have no idea why. Part of it, I’m sure, is down to the incandescent levels of mental energy I expend trying to get my eight year-old out the door (in this instance, for Brownies –– and in uniform, no less). But that sort of thinking excuses me from the very be-responsible-for-your-own-shit fiction I mean ethic that I wave around like some kind of photocopied, suburban version of Lenin, so I won’t use that. All haranguing should be directed inward. I forget things. My brain works imperfectly. I am getting older. If consciousness is a vast, emerald-green ocean, then evenings, especially, are all about floating beyond the safety buoys, beyond any reasonable depths of planning and coherence, into darker waters. In fact, often I’m so tired that I can’t think what I’m supposed to do next.

The moment I realize that I’ve forgotten my phone is one of both rising and falling panic –– I want my phone but I know I don’t need it. I am meeting a friend for coffee and that friend is not here. Instead, that friend is probably texting the phone I left on the kitchen counter, texting things like I’m running late and doesn’t look like I’m going to make it. Oh well. The phone and texts are beside the point. The plans had been set, a little window of kid-at-Brownies time set aside, in much the same way that I used to make plans in that lifetime –– and yes, it was an entire lifetime, unbathed by iPhone light –– before I was tethered to constant access. Remember that lifetime? Remember that time and then ask yourself: constant access to what?

This is a nice place. I go a little crazy and buy a five-dollar latte. Then I read a newspaper that hasn’t been touched all day. When not serving customers, the baristas are texting furiously.

In the newspaper there are many stories about terrible things and several about very angry people and more than a few about the Winter Olympics (the Frankenstein monster of money and meaninglessness that just won’t die) but the article I read at length is about an anniversary: one hundred years ago approximately one hundred million people died from the Spanish Flu, the viral equivalent of the biggest, blackest monsoon in history, raging mindlessly around the planet. It probably came from China and proliferated with troopships (the Chinese did not fight in the ‘great’ war but we let them dig our trenches). It went everywhere, killing heavily in the middle of the age bracket; in some places, like many villages in Alaska, everyone died.

The coffee house is full of young women. Most of them are obviously students but they look more affluent than any student I remember; they dress like they’re going to an expensive slumber party. They have iPhones and iPads and Macbooks. Some have real notebooks as well, with pencils and everything, but they drift back to the screens pretty quickly.

The latte was delicious, and it was rather pleasant to sit and read the paper. I hope my friend is okay. Time to go get the kid.

I hope everyone is having a good week,

Draw things, paint things, write things, make things

p.s. Don’t forget that it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow.


let’s bring your secrets out into the light


let’s bring your secrets out into the light

This is an art object, or book sculpture –– intended as a home decor accent or touch. It’s the kind of art that travels well, especially to cubicles or shelves or mantles, even just sitting on coffee tables (it’s heavily varnished, and meant to be picked up and examined).

5 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches

I have three quotes for this one, on the nature of secrets …

If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.
― George Orwell, 1984

Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.
― André Malraux

Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned.
― James Joyce

This is a found/rescued book, from someone moving and downsizing.


It’s been snowing all day. Looked at the forecast on Environment Canada this morning –– Special Weather Statement in Effect –– and had to make the call on whether to send the kid to school. For me, school wins. Too much school gets cancelled or otherwise nullified already. The buses being cancelled has nothing to do with it; that outfit folds up if there’s an angry cloud hanging around.

Anyway: we made it to the end of the day without a call from the school. And soon I’ll go pick her up and spend my evening pushing snow up and down the long, crooked driveway.

cigar-tin stories number seventy-seven / / a rapidly congealing mass of paffle and nonsense


Here is the info for the brochure. I attached the original texts that I have been working from. This is pretty much already all done in Microsoft Publisher, except for a few things I can’t figure out.

Could you add some colour, like Bittersweet Shimmer or Deep Space Sparkle or other (not grey, or even Battleship Grey) and some borders; also there should not be spaces between items with a bullet.  Some fonts need to be changed to Calibri.

When will this be ready? I need 500 copies.

Esther Poppy Evans
Special Executive Administrative Assistant to the Spiritual Success Team


Please see the attached proof.

I do not have the capacity to print 500 copies (which would be 1000 impressions, and then 1000 folds done by hand). For that I will need to get a quote from a print broker (and you will need access to a print budget).

I can do 50 copies. How would you like me to proceed?



50 is a good start.

The proof: you rearranged the order of the text! Please use the original order. Is this font Calibri?

Esther Poppy Evans
Special Executive Administrative Assistant to the Spiritual Success Team


Please see the attached proof. I have put the text back into its original order. Some panels may now appear squeezed because it’s too much text for the space.



Starting to look good!

Except for:

on the first side, can you change the bullet points into stars
can you make the titles bigger
make the logo bigger
can you put a border around the logo? or a star burst
could you add some kind of colour in the background or a border.  any colour except Battleship Grey.
Some French Sky Blue would be nice
It is my eyes or does the font look like it’s bigger and then smaller, like ripples in the ocean. Like traffic at night, that light snake that is all eyes, mean and sliding along a road beside a polluted and forbidding lake. Like the stairwell in an abandoned parking garage, cold and wet with the ghostly smell of long dead anxiety. Like a drawing that falls off the page. Like footsteps in the forest, never seen.

Also change all the fonts to Calibri.

Esther Poppy Evans
Special Executive Administrative Assistant to the Spiritual Success Team


Please see the attached proof.



All that Battleship Grey is too overpowering.
Can you make a Light Medium Orchid border around all the paragraphs?
And a gilt-frame border around the logo?
Do you have Calibri as a font choice?
Also make the logo bigger.

Esther Poppy Evans
Special Executive Administrative Assistant to the Spiritual Success Team


Please see the attached proof.



This is perfect! I need 500 copies by tomorrow. I’m off for the rest of the day, but I’ll come by to pick them up tomorrow morning.

Esther Poppy Evans
Special Executive Administrative Assistant to the Spiritual Success Team


You’re killing me. Stop it.



I hope everyone’s well (even you, Esther). We’re still in the single digits of February but more sun is on its way.


Draw things, paint things, write things, make things.

boxing is easy, love is much harder


boxing is easy, love is much harder; a book art object, front and back covers, 6 x 9 x 1 inches.

I have three quotes for this one

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
~ Lao Tzu

Boxing is smoky halls and kidneys battered until they bleed.
~ Roger Kahn

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Snowing today, which means I have a push-shovel workout waiting for me at home.

cigar-tin stories number seventy-six / / three days

Sunday: I have a stomachache. It’s one of those high-end-pressure aches, some kind of clamorous, furry gas inflating me middle-ways, with enfilading fire via my esophagus. It reminds me of an episode of LOST –– strangely insistent but ultimately completely senseless.

And then I try to think of the why –– what I might have consumed or been irradiated by to cause all this pointless suffering –– but there are no compelling suspects. Apple? Peanuts? Chocolate milk? Quiche? Heroin? It hardly matters. The stomachache is going to live its life, bathing itself in the glittering Cuban surf of my pain, and all I can do is wait for it to complete its destiny.

Getting sick is always tricky in the respect that if I tell C, then I have to expend considerable effort describing the evidence to a skeptical and impatient judge who can’t wait to dismiss the case. Yeah, you had what I had this morning, she says. It’s nothing.

Oona and I are now at the part of the children’s illustrated version of the New Testament where Jesus returns to Jerusalem, and it seems like on every second page the disciples cower and waver in the background, cringing with doubt, while Jesus provides cryptic answers along the lines of, Look, it’s the family business, I don’t really have a choice, besides I’ll rise from the dead. And this is a very confusing narrative for the disciples, never mind for an eight year-old. But in another way it’s the perfect story for our times, when everyone believes in whatever’s convenient, and all our problems will be solved by magic. And by fighting the man I mean the power I mean the patriarchy. And zombies. Look, it’s Lazarus!

Monday: after a semi-deranged morning of distraction and complaining and general non-compliance, I spend the drive to school lecturing Oona about being capable and coping. Good times! But it’s a lecture I keep coming back to with her, because of this future wave I see of people not being able to cope (the British would call it ‘not managing’). My generation was defined by the kind of fucking up that came from being both too-cool and generally clueless; the only advice most of us received from our parents was of the get-the-hell-out-of-the-house vein. To be fair, their own upbringing hadn’t exactly prepared them to deal with us, and we couldn’t exit fast enough. So these were largely crimes of omission: when we failed (often, and in spectacular fashion) it was in that oblivious, floundering, falling-into-something manner, with any adults around trading in a lot of anger or shrugging. But at least we were doing things, and and trying to course correct along the way. Whereas what I see now is things not happening, and loads of people not coping, and looking for the sidelines, where they can just live through their phones. Anyway, all we want her to do is brush her teeth, wash her face and get dressed, and do these things on her own, with no chasing. And most days this is still a fail.

Weird dreams. A completely invented title for a completely invented object. Besides, I have weird dreams all the time, which I try to write down while they last: Monday’s features a pile of utility blades on the couch, and my insistence that they could not be there, how dangerous that was. Exciting, right? A notable one from last week was about being lost in a giant warehouse, and something about being shoeless and not stepping on spiders. Yeah, I really don’t know.

A friend of mine reminds me that this is my last week to be 49. I can write that number down and circle it and no thoughts come at all. I never expected to live this long (there’s always been a doom-y streak, or low-volume countdown, somewhere in the background) so I guess I should be thankful?

Tuesday: listening to BBC radio while I make breakfasts and lunches, and I hear the question, “Now, where does that leave the political situation in Kenya?”, which makes me laugh. But you know what? It’s fine. I’m glad to learn a little more about Kenyan politics. That doesn’t hurt at all. Most importantly, it’s not Trump. Because I think I’ve reached peak Trump. The news about him is starting to fall away, is beginning to lose any coherence or meaning. The American system is so oppositional, so confrontational that it begins to look like some kind of Orwellian media super-scheme, leached of any nutritional value by propaganda and agendas and false flags. Most of what I read and hear is recycled nonsense. Hardly anyone talks about economics and class, the two issues that really matter (and solve many others). So what’s the point?

Trying to get Oona out the door, out to the car. I forget my phone, which I go back for. Then, dropping Oona off at school, I realize I’ve forgotten my coffee flask. It’s sitting upside down on the dining room table, upside down so the spoonful of honey at the bottom can work its way through. And I’m a little angry about this, and I resolve to move my wake-up time from 5:30 to 5, because I need to be completely done before anyone else gets moving, otherwise things get forgotten or badly done. I guess I’m prone to distraction, too.

Please have a good week, everyone,

Draw things, paint things, write things, make things.

p.s. This is a version of my every-Tuesday Tinyletter; if you’d like to subscribe, please go here.

important things i’ve learned too late


important things i’ve learned too late; an original mixed media collage on cradled wood panel; 5 x 7 x 1 3/4 inches; canvas stretched over a wood frame

The focus of this collage is a wax monoprint. I like using these quite a bit because of their semi-transparency –– how they let colour and marks from beneath show through.

This is a thoughtful little painting that makes a perfect gift for someone –– I package it and label it nicely, and even mail it directly to the recipient for you. And there’s nothing like getting original art.

I always pick a few quotes for my listings, and for this one I have three:

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
~ George Eliot

Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.
~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Everything has been said, and we are more than seven thousand years of human thought too late.
~ Jean de la Bruyere

Winter is here, but there’s still plenty we can do.