Another pick up and a rejection

Fortune passes everywhere.

I received notice that another poem has been picked up this time by a New Zealand based journal – just one poem of the three submitted, but it’s the third journal this year so no complaints. On the flip side of that another notice came in today – very nicely worded and encouraging, but rejecting the children’s story Donna’s Bear as being too confusing for the target audience. They must know the market – they’re the publishers. They were encouraging about submitting more work so there’s that.

On the painting front – since the art show I’ve only completed a handful of paintings, but tons of practices sketches as I work on gesture and heads. James Gurney’s Color and Light made it into my hot little hands recently and I’ve been digging through that. It’s a real treasure trove. This is my most recent completed painting from a photo I took on photo safari with artist Jayne Keefe earlier this summer.

Paul Boutique Music Store

Paul Boutique, The Plateau

Still sending out poems, still painting and drawing, still working two jobs, and have to say even when the bad news comes it’s still fun.

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Cool stuff keeps happening.

I’m trying to keep the momentum going.

This past week I’ve submitted to another few magazines but wanted to revisit the coolness that has happened so far this year. The copies of The Soap Box – Home finally came in and I’m expecting the copies of Juste Milieu to arrive this week. No matter how I look at it the publication of the seven poems in these magazines is pretty darned cool in a year that has been pretty darned cool on the artistic front and I couldn’t be more pleased with it all. The Antigonish Review rejected my earlier submissions. I have poems out to Tin House, Ploughshares, The Soap Box (again), The Antigonish Review (again), Riddle Fence and Freefall. What I need to do though is to get back to writing some prose too – there’s a story that I’m tweaking and one that is partially written so who knows – maybe next year a short story too.

Juste Milieu Vol 1 No 1

The Soap Box – Vol 2 – Home

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A different project – an opinion

Let’s start with the opinion.

Someone I know congratulated me on the success of the Depanneur series and the show. It was nice, it’s always nice to hear nice things. They smoothly transitioned from congratulations to a question: when do you think you will start painting in oil? I said I wasn’t sure that I ever would because I like watercolour. They reminded me, from their standpoint at least, that serious artists all work in oil. I don’t doubt that serious artists work in oil, but they also work in a variety of other media. That watercolour is largely seen as a dated medium for Victorian women of the upper class is more of a PR problem than a medium problem. Ask any painter what they think about watercolour and even those who do not like it will concede there are things you can do with it that are impossible in other paint media. Still what can you do? Perception is reality in so many things.

I’ve started a new project marrying poetry and sketching.

A page from my Stillman & Birn pocket sketchbook

The idea is simple enough, illustrate poems I write with very rough watercolour sketches. The sketches have to be rough because if they are too intricate the black lettering of the poems will likely get lost. So it’s just thin washes and simple shapes. Nothing fancy. The paintings are literal even in the face of the most obvious metaphors. I’m looking forward to finishing my first sketchbook of them.

I’ve created an artist’s page on Facebook at and have a small following. Coming to the arts this late in the game I’m thankful that I have any following at all. That’s about it for now.

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A successful vernissage

Last night the much awaited, by me at least, Celebration 150-375 finally happened. Going in to the show with three paintings already sold was nice as was selling another painting on opening night. This is the one which sold last night


It was hot and steamy last night but the street traffic was good which lead to good traffic in the gallery. A lot of people complimented me on my ensemble too which was nice.

Me with my paintings. You can’t see it but the stitching on the shirt button holes, cuffs and collar is black.

One of the other artists, Jayne Keefe, shot a little video of the opening shortly after we arrived (just an hour and a half late – traffic was a bear) – if you’re on facebook you can follow the link below to see it.

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A little bit closer

Digging out is much harder than digging in.

Between the day from hell in April, and the expenses that have come along on our son’s health front, the fact that we’re still in the black is a testament to years of practice juggling the financially improbable. The only reason we aren’t in the red is because instead of paying the mobile phone bill as soon as it came in I’m holding off until Thursday – which will still be two weeks before it’s due but I prefer to pay as they come in.

A bit of luck at the end of June came in the form of the option to cash in seven days in lieu of taking them as vacation time. A nice bit of opportune timing and just enough to start to build back a buffer. How much of a buffer and for how long it can be built remains to be seen. Our son is planning on returning to school in the fall so there will be new expenses on that front. To be frank supporting three adults on the salaries I’m bringing in is getting a little straining after the hours cut back on the second job. I’ll find a way, I always do, but it would be nice if there was a little more breathing room. Thinking about money all the time can be exhausting.

On a more positive note the vernissage it on Thursday. Tomorrow morning I’m taking a vacation day from work and spending it at the MainLine Gallery hanging the exhibition. Then Thursday night after work it’s time to head downtown and stand around for three hours hoping to sell more art. Another piece sold ahead of the exhibition this past weekend which was nice. A third of the pieces in the Depanneur series readied for the show have been sold which means almost all my costs for the show have been covered – I might be a little in the red still but not by much. One more sale and it’s all black.


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Sheet of Coat of Arms Stickers

Bernicky Coat of Arms

Morrie Portnoff at Nunavik Graphics in Pointe Claire did a bang up job of printing up the Bernicky coat of arms stickers at a very reasonable price – much lower than any online service I looked at and the turn around was fast.

The stickers now adorn the back of each of the paintings for the Celebration 150/375 exhibition next week. I’m kind of exciting about the whole thing. I even bought new boots for the occasion.

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June 21st already!?!

Tempus fugit indeed. Time does fly when you’re not watching.

The Celebration 150 / 375 is fast approaching. Below is the handbill for the event. Woohoo. Looking forward to it all. Lots of work and completely lacking in glamour, but it’s my first so it’s special.

My coworker at my second job designed a family crest for us. Being historically poor and from a long line of those done to rather than those who do unto we had no family crest. So here it is, choices I made to represent our family. The cock – nothing is braver than an angry rooster even to its own detriment which if you know any Bernicky’s you know to be a family trait. The pig – because life is better when you are smart and over indulge. Baguette – the most simple of breads for a simple people. Peanut butter – nutritious, easy to make and once again simple fair because we get by on what we have. And last but not least, the family motto in the vulgar because who the heck wants to translate the latin anyway – Good Enough – something I say at the end of many a job and lets face it so do most of us. 😀

Bernicky Coat of Arms by Jayne Keefe.

For the fun of it I’m going to have stickers made and put them on the back of each painting in the exhibition – three of which have already been presold two to collectors which kind of made my month.

Last, but not least the last of the Depanneur series for the show (not the last of the series as a whole though).

Depanneur Sherbrooke-Cavendish-NDG

Video and pictures to follow.

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Celebration Canada 150 – Montreal 375 Collection

Here they are – two already presold before the show starts.

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New bikes all around!

With a bit of luck and poking about a new bike for our daughter turned up at a garage sale on St. Leon on Saturday. By new I mean it’s seen much better days, it’s at least as old as our daughter is, but it was $30.00 so when this one inevitably gets stolen regardless of lock at least I won’t be out hundreds of dollars. Bike theft has to be the safest of criminal enterprises as I’ve never once heard of a bike being recovered nor of any theft ring being dismantled. It seems to be viewed as a victimless crime.

I turned up what looks like a legit bike for our son on Kijiji. It’s considerably more than the $30.00 bike but I’m hoping to get the price down a bit when we go see it this afternoon. Looking forward to spending money I don’t have – it gives that thrill of jumping out of a plane without having to actually jump out of the plane, the downside is there’s no parachute involved. 🙂 I crack me up.

In the meantime the paintings for the exhibition are almost all done. Here are the two most recent with the final one in planning stages at the moment. Fingers crossed now that a few will sell in July.

Provision NDG – Girouard & Sherbrooke

Depanneur Lydia – Hingston and Sherbrooke, NDG

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No way out

Last month was a disaster on the financial front, but more importantly both our kids had minor relapses. Not major, which is a good thing, but minor. Enough so that it made it clear that I’m never actually going to have a life of my own. My life for the last half decade, such as it is has been work, paying bills, and taking care of the kids.

In the cracks Donna has kept with me though that’s something that I believe she is losing patience for (perhaps lost patience for an is too nice to lay it out). In the cracks I can write and paint. I get the cracks in time between one responsibility and the next. There is no time to live my life. Some would point out that this is my life and I am living it but others would be less pedantic and know what I mean. I am not living the life that I want other than in tiny slivers of time stolen from other tasks.

A friend called me last night after I got home from work. I was trying to settle in to do some gesture studies when the phone rang. He is having trouble with his computer again and wants me to come look at it. He’s dying so I’m not about to say no and arranged things for nine in the morning. Nine would allow time to get to work before opening so there would be time time in to layout a new painting. He called me back a little later pushing the time to 10 because he has trouble dressing in the morning. It wasn’t deliberate, he didn’t plan to wreck the morning but it is done and there’s no cure for it.

I’m reminded of that old line from so many movies “No one here gets out alive.” Ain’t it the truth.

In the meantime here is the most recent in the Depanneur series for the Celebration Canada 150 / Montreal 375 show.

Depanneur 9th and George in LaSalle

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