Monday, January 26, 2015

Guess who has a Society6 page now?

Hello folks!

I have officially launched my Society6 page. What is this you ask? Society6 is a new online website where printers and artists get to collaborate and present new products for sale. Before, I only had canvas and card stock prints along with original paintings available. Now I have a wide selection of products available and eliminating the issue of effective and quick shipping.

The products are manufactured and shipped from the US, making it easier for those of you outside of Grenada to be able to acquire my work. The range of products does include canvas and giclee prints of all sizes. However, it now extends to pillow cases, phone cases, duvet, shower curtains, clocks, tshirts, etc. Below is a collage of a few samples from my store.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Got the windows down, radio's on..

I Iove to travel, even if I'm just "traveling" to the supermarket. In my mind, there's always some adventure waiting to be had outside my house.

In my circle, I have a few 'stray-way' spirits like myself.





One of my stray way adventures brought me with a friend to visit Belle Isle in St. David. The primary purpose of the trip was to collect my paintings from a closed exhibition at the gallery in Westerhall. It was such a beautiful little spot. After visiting Dominica, I now notice many different things in Grenada. In Belle Isle I saw little glassy pools and caves from the wave erosion. I didn't get to see the pools in Dominica, but I imagine they must look similar to the ones I saw and a bit bigger. 



After that, we found a dirt road that led to a lovely bit of mangrove. I could hear the clear calls of the mangrove birds and critters. I saw little tadpoles swimming around in the pools of water. 



As we walked along the path by the mangrove, we discovered it led to a long beach. 


Needless to say, if nothing else, that day provided all the necessary evidence for leaving the house. I couldn't have found any of this in my backyard. 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Cheers to another year

Hey folks!

Happy New Year!

To start, in case things look a bit different. I have Lizelle (Sher in my posts here) from Sandals & Sunnies helping me with some housekeeping and blog template tweaking get here looking like a loved place.

For the new year, I intend to be here more often so look forward to more regular posts. As per usual, my posts aren't clearly categorized as it tends to follow wherever my spirit goes. However, expect to see some travel posts *fingers crossed* and adventure posts. As well as a few of the art tutorial posts that I used to frequent here.

***

Even though I'm late, I'm still going to do a reflective piece of 2014. I strongly believe that last year I came significantly closer to getting on my path. They always say it's important to know what you want and don't want. As well as to go beyond your comfort zone.

My life took me to work briefly on a sailboat at the end of 2013 going into 2014. It was my first taste of being at sea, all day, everyday, surrounded by water entirely. There was a point where my fear was the ocean, but I can safely say that fear has diminished greatly and I keep pushing the boundaries of it. For the period of working on the boat, I had the amazing experience of being in the underwater sculpture park in the MPA (marine protected area) everyday. I got to see all the pretty fish swarm the boat as we arrived, waiting impatiently to see what goodies we brought for them. There was always a beautiful stingray that would come out and glide effortlessly over the coral almost every time we were there. I cannot even begin to express the sense of peace I felt being on the boat travelling between destinations, watching the sea look like an undulating dark blue blanket.

From there I was granted the opportunity to work with toddlers. I must say that if people think teenagers are difficult. I found being a high school teacher to be an easier task than managing toddlers. However, I found working with toddlers to be very fulfilling. I initially had reservations but in the end I learned so much about myself from these little ones. The way they see the world is so much simpler than us. Their midlife catastrophes stem from simple resolvable things like retrieving their favourite truck for them, or taking them to the beach to play in the sand. The special challenges I encountered required me to simplify my thought process and exercise patience. I had one precious darling of a boy that, at the time we didn't recognize it, had a language barrier. Thus, his disobedience stemmed from him not understanding what we were trying to teach him. I was able to work with him and an amazing 2 year old girl with an expansive vocabulary simultaneously, and before I knew it, he started saying little words in English. I can't find enough words to express how happy and excited I was at his progress. Also, collectively, being tods, they said and did the cutest, silliest things. There was one precious little boy that would steal raisins when he thought you weren't looking. Another that would whisper to you for his milk, so as to not alert the other kids and get his milk organized first. I had a little girl that was mesmerized by letters, numbers and books. She would always get a book and come ask me to read to her, and loved to play with the blocks with the letters so I could quiz her.

*sigh* the joys of children.

Then I decided to become an artist full-time but got offered a job at The Computer Store. That too was an interesting experience. I was blessed with the opportunity of learning to use software that appeared similar to Microsoft Access that I've never had reason to use since high school, a decade ago. I got to manage the database input for the service department and learn how to create purchase orders and the technical stuff for getting parts. Additionally, working in the service department meant working with the technicians, an amazing team of 2-3 guys. I learned so much from them about how computers worked internally software-wise as well as the internal parts of the computer. That's not to say that I can take apart and fix a problem, but I am now better at identifying the potential problem and suggesting a solution. I admire their patience to answer my many questions in trying to understand what and why they did certain things upon solving customer issues. That way, I could answer the preliminary questions from the customers without having to interrupt them while they were busy at work.

I then decided to become a full-time artist again, took part in the True Blue Bay Christmas bazaar and an exhibition at the Francis Gallery in Westerhall... and I got offered another job part-time at Dive Grenada. An offer that brought me back close to the sea, if not near it, on a regular basis. My soul feels at peace again. Plus, my days are flexible so I can still be a full-time artist.

I started the year, where I ended the previous one, by the sea.

***

With all that said, I was forced out of my comfort zone several times to see things about myself.

So my word for this year is, focus. I've learned last year that I can be good at any job I put my mind to... but I need to learn to tailor that inquisitive energy and focus it.

Hope everyone's year is off to a great start or at least started with some ideas on how to make this year greater than the last.

Cheers...!


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Break from Toronto

The party no tun up.. it tun ova...

***

Screws, sulfur pools, Dominica


So I was told Dominica has no excitement or night life.

I was deceived.

My first Friday comprised of bar hopping, lots of food and shots...!

***

One of the things I found most interesting is... Dominica looks a lot like Grenada, but their approach to their country is quite different. For one, the capital Rosseau is not dirty. I can walk around St. George's and sometimes see chips bags, bottles, plastic bags along the road side. This is not to say it's an epidemic here. We are taking initiatives to eliminate littering. However, I can still ride on a public bus and see a school child toss their candy wrappers out the window as if outside is a moving garbage bin. In Dominica? I had to look, and look hard. The streets had the dusty feel typical of busy, high traffic towns. That sort of grime is unavoidable. But litter? Nothing so.

Somewhere in town


One day when we got home I asked her mum, Aunty Deb, and she said that it is not as surprising as I'm making it out to seem. Apparently, they've taken it a step further than we have in Grenada. Actual companies have "adopted" their block that their business is located and maintain the cleanliness of the area, providing trash cans if necessary. I wonder if this is something that can be implemented locally. I remember when the number of bins on the Carenage were reduced, so then you had to walk twice as far to throw your garbage.

Lhana and I at Screws


Their natural attractions are similar, if not the same as ours. But their approach to marketing the same idea? Every tourist site Lhana brought me to (which believe it or not, I made it to most of the popular ones) was very clean, with secure railings, posts with clear signs and directions. Even the regular roads have signs indicating the percentage of the angle of inclination of the slope to facilitate tourists unfamiliar with the terrain. Not only are the sites well kept, but they do things to make your visit pleasant. For example, we went to Screws which is a developed fun site containing a sulfur spring. We have sulfur springs in Grenada. Ask me how accessible it is to get there? And what kind of vehicle one might need to access the nice ones?

(These are compiled vid clips from my instragram)

At Screws, which isn't the only sulfur spring on the island, has taken the time to develop several pools. Some are warm, others hot and then there are cool pools to close your pores and refresh your spirit. In the background, light reggae music permeates the air, not too loud to distract you from the sounds of water flowing. Fancy eh? Apparently you can even get a doctor's prescription to access their pools for therapy. At the end of your stay, you are given a platter of fresh fruits.



There's a small charge but that goes towards maintenance of the site. The other sulfur spring developed similarly takes it a step further... I didn't get the opportunity to go because there was no reason for me and Lhana to need a personal pool. However, couples and friends could book personal enclosed private pools for a set period of time. Hint hint!! How cool is that? Why are we not doing this here in Grenada?

Girly primping
How we get ready for the night life.


As for the night life? Yes, there isn't that much of parties happening. However, there's that little trend of everyone following the crowd wherever it seems to be going until a new hot spot happens. While I was there, it wasn't the club Kokonuts, but a bar called Marva's noted for their fish. (You can get fish almost anywhere on the island). This bar isn't particularly fancy, but it is well known for their food...and everyone turned up on a Friday night. We frequented the Reggae Lounge very often in the earlier part of the trip. Engaged in shot taking and lots of food eating.

Mouth diver shots at the Reggae Lounge



(These are compiled vid clips from my instragram, hence why they're so abrupt and poorly edited and synced.)
Tequila shots at After 4 Lounge
After 4 Lounge, shrimp alfredo


However, there were a few spots like Spiders, that Lhana brought me by, that by day when it's closed, I'd wonder what kind of ghetto neighbourhood she's trying to bring me in to get shot... only to discover when the place opens by night, it's classy with nice lights, flat screen tvs, tasteful art. Truly an open mouth, insert foot moment. She kept telling me about these amazing pies that gets sold out quickly. I was suspect looking at the building. At night? We did have to fight to get pies. The place was incredibly busy. And Shellon? I was busy being mystified at the transformation. The pies and chicken were legit - totally worth lining up around the corner for. It's also worth noting that the only rum shops I saw that resembled the ones from home were in the Carib territory. I remember being brought in a "ghetto rum shop" and wasn't aware of being in the ghetto until her friend who brought us there, and informed us. This ghetto rum shop was as unnecessarily cold as SGU library, with flat screen tvs, pool boards. I heard a rumour that rum shops could afford to look like this because they run on drugs money. But that's cool, didn't put me out, I was there for the good food.

Steam fish
The "ghetto rum shop" with amazing steam fish.


Banana Tree Bar
As for the night life? I remember my dear friend Tuesday told me last night when I went to NY, "Honey, at our age we don't do clubs anymore, we do bars." I think she would've loved Dominica. Lhana and I would park, and then spend the night walking from bar to bar. My favourite was Banana Tree. I was amazed at how well done and classy most of the places looked.

Having a fancy girly strawberry umbrella drink at Reggae Lounge

Fort Young Hotel

Restaurants here in Grenada, the kitchen closes at 10pm. In Dominica, it seems like the kitchen closed when you stop coming and asking for food. I got shrimp alfredo after midnight at After 4 lounge, while waiting on our tequila shots, listening to smooth jazz and watching videos on the flat screen tv. Fort Young hotel happy hour also has food and drinks. I just didn't have the patience to figure out how to get the food as the layout is a bit different from a bar and the wait was longer as the happy hour is busy.





 Escape bar is so gorgeous. As per usual, what I wanted to know about was the food. Yes, you can reserve a table at midnight and order delicious platters of yummy goodies. I swear I think I saw a platter of shrimp goodies for 20-something EC.

Escape Bar
Coke & Hennesy at Escape
Cheers to epic nights.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Is where the bouyon playing? (767)

My super amazing boyfriend gave me a laptop yesterday as a gift. So now instead of trying to make a netbook do laptop work, I have no excuses to not publish posts in a timely manner. I can finally edit everything ideally in a full sized screen. (Yay me!)

With that said, I can finally get those old posts from summer I had intended to write. I feel now is a good time to state that many of the minor details have since faded from memory but the epicness of the experience I hope to still be able to portray in these consequent posts. My summer getaway choice was somewhat unorthodox and spontaneous as this summer I found myself in exploring the Nature Isle of the Caribbean.

Why Dominica you ask?

Well I had the opportunity to meet a Dominican friend in Physics 1 at SGU. We bonded through the suffering of classes and exams and then found ourselves together again to endure Chemistry 2. At that point we decided to not make the universe conspire more to form a friendship, and we were close since. Along the way many other little friendships were formed and we were all toying with the idea of the trip. Somehow envisioning the trip in our mind the way MTV made Cancun look on Spring Break back in the day. In the end, the big group resulted in just me going.

Me on the plane..

Right above the clouds.



To be honest, I had no idea what exactly to expect from the trip. As fate would have it, I bounced into folks who had visited there before and gave me a list of "must-see" places. My mom insisted there was no night life. My dad insisted I'd love it as there was a lot of nature stuff to do. My friend? She's a city girl who doesn't like the bush, nor mosquitoes, nor cute furry wild animals or the sea.

Lhana, my friend, did an awkward job preparing me. For one, she got me adequately fearful of surviving the landing with strange stories of very rough landings and wind currents making it impossible to land due to mountainous terrain and even actual crashes. Other people correlated her story. What really happened? I found myself mesmerized by how many coconut trees were visible in the forest from above land. Then I found myself fantasizing about how much coconut water much be available on the island and how much I would drink. Then next thing I know? I'm on the ground, smooth landing. I found the flight to be super quick. Literally felt like I hopped a bus from my home, to town, then to country. The ability to be one place now and another then still marvels me sometimes.

Look at all the trreeeeeeesssss....! I know you can't really see how many coconut trees are there.. But I swear it looks like there's almost a plantation happening.



Then I arrived. I think the drive from the airport took me longer to get to my friend's house than the actual plane flight. I stayed in Castle Comfort, near Rosseau, high enough to see a beautiful sunset every day if I so desired. My taxi driver did an amazing job bringing me up to speed on what to expect on the island. He made me wonder (not saying that we don't...just never been a tourist on my island) if our local taxis invested this much time for no extra charge to sell Grenada. Leatherback turtles are protected there as they are in Grenada. My taxi driver was a part of the group that tries to protect him. He told me stories of how skilled some of the hunters are to know when turtles would come on shore by the moon and weather. The wildlife is pretty similar to Grenada but they also have agouti. I wasn't blessed with the opportunity to see one but I heard they were super cute. Everything wild is protected, right down to the mountain chicken (frog), and seasonal. They take these things so seriously that there's even Iguana crossings. Yes, it's illegal to bounce an iguana trying to cross the road. It so happens that Lhana failed to bring me up to speed on all this seasonal stuff that it seemed like the only thing readily available was typical stuff like fish or chicken, etc. However, no complaints here.

Normally, I'm iffy when it comes to fish. It's a moody, sometime-ish, if I feel like, maybe, sorta, kind of decision making process. I approached it with the same mindset... and then when I tried it, my world changed. While Grenada with it's not so active nightlife is more active than Dominica. Shellon, the foodie, was able to get food at any hour she desired. And when I discovered steam fish, you can bet your bottom dollar I pestered Lhana to help me acquire it.

In Dominica, there are little food places that open at night and serve amazing food. When it comes to fish, it's not like here where you take what is offered and prepared. Instead, when you go, there is a big basin of seasoned fish. You pick which fish you want. Then tell the chef how you want it done - steam, fried, etc. and then patiently wait for your meal to be prepared. Everything was oh-so-delicious. If I so desired jerk or grilled chicken, pork or fish, that was readily available late at nights reliably from I'Cho (It's hot).



Things I found most curious... In Dominica, both the top and bottom of the windscreen is tinted. Some vehicles have straight tints, some have wavy ones like this one in Lhana's mum's car, some have a heavy tint with a narrow slit.


We outchea..!