Oh, crap

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

We were out for a walk near our house when we wandered through a cloud of stench at the top of the hill. The odor, which - over the past number of weeks - had become rather familiar, was the first clue that something immense, wild and sour was hanging around nearby.

The second, found further down the hill... this:

Now, since moving to the country, I’ve encountered a lot of wildlife including – but not limited to – a moose, deer, a coyote, raccoons, porcupines, rabbits, a turtle, a weasel, wild turkeys, ruffled grouse, eagles, chipmunks, squirrels, mice, June bugs…

And, to be clear, when I say I’ve encountered wildlife, I mean I’ve watched or heard creatures, doing things, outside… from the comfort of my living room. Or car.

Except the June bugs. The June bugs were under my bed. Thanks to the 5 year old.

But here’s the thing about living at the edge of the wilderness, next to a heavily wooded area. You know there are critters in the thicket (after all, you’re not an idiot), but you conveniently “forget” they exist, so you can still walk down your driveway, open your windows and barbecue potatoes on your porch.

I love potatoes.

Still, no matter how hard you try to ignore them, the signs of wildlife sneak up and whack you on the back when you least expect it. Not unlike that really irritating dude you knew in college who wore that one green t-shirt, chewed Extra gum and referred to himself as “Cheeks”.

I hated that guy.

However, like Cheeks, there are many ways in which a wild animal will make its presence known. If it’s a bird, it squawks, tweets or slaps its wings against the ground. If it’s a deer, it thunders in front of your car. If it’s a coyote, it howls into the night. If it’s a bear, it craps on your yard.

Two days after seeing the pile at the end of the road and one day after my friend Jessi informed me that she was pretty sure a bear had toppled our neighbor's duck house while they were away on vacation, we woke up to see this, at one side of our house.

And at the other side of the house, next to our playground fence and a ravaged garbage bag, was this:

Upon finding the evidence, I did what anyone in my shoes would have done. I posted the poop to Facebook, which prompted a therapeutic conversation with my friend Sharon.

Meanwhile, my friend Ashley who lives two houses away, sent me this.

Ashley won the bear scat photo contest with that entry because holy freaking crap, do you see the size of that pile RIGHT NEXT TO HER HOUSE?

But that wasn't all. Our neighborhood bear had a dark side as is evidenced by this picture of Ashley's duck house.

Oh the humanity.

So, Ashley called the authorities and shortly after, a barrel was dropped off in her front yard.

A barrel.

We had a killer beast with bad manners wandering where children play and now we had... a barrel.

Me: "So... you just wait?"

Ashley: "Yep."

Shockingly, early the next morning, this happened:

So up the road to Ashley's house we went - wearing pajamas and slippers and carrying a camera. Because, of course we did.

Once there, I proceeded to be helpful.
"Is he in there?" 
"I can't see anything." 
"Holy *&#% that stinks!"
"Don't get too close!"
"Don't touch it! Don't touch it! DON'T TOUCH IT!"
Geoff glanced at me briefly, hopped out of the truck, shone his bike light on the barrel and captured this - but not before grabbing the 5 year old to carry her over for a closer look.

Is it just me or does he look medicated?

Later that day, the Department of Natural Resources picked up the hairy hooligan who they estimated to be around 2 years old (a teenager in bear years) and drove him to a forest far, far away which made everyone very, very happy, except my daughter who - on our next walk - lamented, "I miss seeing the bear poop."

No really.


by Andrea Mulder-Slater

I've opened up an Etsy shop (andreamsart.etsy.com) to showcase some of my artwork and  I'd like to share some paintings with you, starting with this one.

"Thaw" is an original abstract, painted with acrylic paint and molding paste on a 24" x 36" gallery style (2" deep) canvas. The edge of the painting has also been painted so it is ready to hang as is, or you can have it framed.

Here it is, from the front...

And here is what it might look like in your home, if your home has cement coloured walls, wood floors, a Scandinavian style table, linen-covered chairs and a lovely decorated bowl.

And this is what it would look like if you walked up - nice and close - to have a better look.

View this painting on Etsy: 

While I have your attention, from time to time, I've been asked my abstract painting process, so I thought I'd share a little bit of that with you today by showing you some (sort of) step-by-step photos of my "Thaw" painting.

I began by thickly applying some molding paste on the canvas using a palette knife. Then, I started to add some phthalo blue.

While I was mixing colors, the 5 year old stepped in to add a dash of turquoise in the lower left corner. I decided to run with it and continued to add more shades of blue along the bottom of the piece, after the following photo was taken.

But then, I stepped out of the studio and came back to this...

Don't get me wrong, I prefer to work alone when it comes to making art. 
 However, wet paint is pretty forgiving and so I try not to get too uptight when the littlest one decides to "help".

I took this.
And changed it to this.
 What follows now, is many hours, many palette knives full of paint and many brushstrokes, squeezed into a handful of photographs.

Thanks for looking!

View this painting on Etsy: