Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chilean Dream

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Chilean Dream
Oil on Canvas
by Melissa March

This and other originals are on sale today for $100 dollars off!
Come to the Portobello West Market at the Rocky Mountaineer Station between 12 & 6 and get a taste of whats happening in art and fashion in Vancouver.

This is your last chance to get deals on paintings and prints, so come down and check it out!

Look for prints of Chilean Dream in my Esty Shop and on my website in the next few days!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Blossoms

I think we are all ready for spring! I have had enough of wind and snow, sleet and rain. I am aching for sweetness on the air, and blossoms in the wind.

Spring Blossoms
Oil on Canvas
by Melissa March

Prints and the Original are available for sale today (and tomorrow March 28 &29) at the
Portobello West Market
located at the
Rocky Mountaineer Station


Hanami is the centuries old custom of enjoying flowers, cherry blossoms in particular. In Japan, it is celebrated each spring with feasts and sake beneath the blossoming beauty of the Cherry Tree.

Historically the cherry tree was used to divine the harvest of the year ahead, and to announce the beginning of rice planting season. People believed in the existence of Gods dwelling within the trees, and offerings were made at their roots. Afterwards they themselves would partake, in the offering with sake.

The flowers themselves were seen as a metaphor for life itself, luminous and beautiful yet fleeting and ephemeral.

Look for this print in my Etsy shop and on my website in the next week or so!

All originals are $100 dollars off this weekend only at the market!

Friday, March 27, 2009


segue |ˈsegwā; ˈsā-|
verb ( segues , segued |ˈsegwād; ˈsā-|, segueing |ˈsegwā-i ng; ˈsā-|) [ intrans. ]

To move smoothly and unhesitatingly from one state, condition, situation, or element to another.

This is the name of one of my latest paintings. Those of you in the Southern Hemisphere will appreciate the vibrant colours, that you will soon be seeing in your own back yards. For us in more northern locales, it is a reminder of how far we've come, and all that we have to look forward to.

I am infinatley inspired by the richness of fall, saturated and spent, still warmed by the earth, preparing to settle in for some well earned rest and reflection.

This piece is a representation of the Black Cottonwood, a beautiful and diverse contributor to many eco systems.

Oil on Canvas
by Melissa March

The original and prints of this painting will be available this weekend (March 28 & 29) at the
Portobello West Market
located at the
Rocky Mountaineer Station
from 12-6pm

Look for it in my Etsy shop and on my website in the next few weeks!

Black Cottonwood
(Populus trichocarpa)

This tree was the first tree to have its entire DNA code sequenced, and it has shaken up what we understand about plant biology, and evolution.

In addition to answering specific questions about botany, this information has many industrial implications.

The tree has far less DNA in its cells than humans, but twice the number of genes. It was discovered that 93 of the genes are involved in making cellulose. Cellulose can be broken down into sugar, fermented into alcohol and distilled to produce bio-fuel. Making this information of particular interest.

The use of Bio-fuels has the potential to curb our reliance on oil imports, while reducing our eco-footprint.

Black Cottonwoods are hardy, fast growing, potentially large, straight trees which are easy to establish. This makes them useful in many ways beyond forestry and manufacturing.

They can be planted as windbreaks, shelterbelts, and screens along motorways, reducing noise, creating habitat, and increasing aesthetic value.

Cottonwoods are also effective soil stabilizers; their aggressive root systems make the species useful in the restoration of riparian areas. When used in this way, they provide protection for the aquatic environment, by providing shade and lowering water temperatures. The high nitrate uptake and extensive rooting of these trees also makes them useful for buffer or filter planting along streams in agricultural areas. This creates habitat for birds and small mammals, and reduces ungulate damage, increasing bank stability, and in turn improving aquatic habitat.

Hope to see you at the market! There will be deals!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hectic-Good Hectic

Things have been hectic around here- good hectic. Between all the holidaying, guests, celebrating and feasts of the past few weeks, I have also been busy readying for the Portobello West Market, coming up this weekend.

My faithful accomplice has been such a gem, trimming with precision, lifting heavy things, putting his shoulder into it, bringing coffee, reminding me to eat, but alas he must go back to work, and I have 3 days left to put the final touches on.

The Back Drop in the works...

I know it looks like I am trying to coax a frightened animal out of it's hiding place, but I am actually using my light box to take some new pictures for my Etsy site.

The light box in action.

I really can't wait. It is all very exciting. A collective of creatives, all under one roof- a dance of colour, a feast for the senses!

If your in the Vancouver area, and are looking for something interesting to do, need a few Easter basket stuffers, or want a little inspiration of your own, come by and check it out.

The Portobello West Market will be from 12-6 this Saturday and Sunday (March 28 & 29) at the Rocky Mountaineer Station

Hope to see you there!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Point West Cottages

Ucluelet... if you like pretty places, hidden beaches, whale watching and rainforests, this is the place for you.

If you want to watch the sunrise in kingsize comfort, moon gaze from your private hot tub, and curl up in front of the fireplace, you must stay where we stayed. It was amazing! (there is also a pivoting flat screen TV with satellite for my fellow Hockey fans and your own personal BBQ too)

It was all windows and skylights. It felt like being in the great outdoors except it was warm, dry and immaculate.

A look across the Ucluelet Inlet, through the endless windows...(note the skylight)

More of the view!

The first light of day...

We loved it here so much that we decided to make a tradition of it.

My pictures don't do it justice (I some how managed to mess up my camera settings) but trust me, you wont be disappointed. The website has all the facts, but it is way nicer than even their pictures would have you believe. It's called Point West Water Front Cottages, the people were very down to earth, friendly folks who were nearly as excited to be there as I was
(they are from out East and were loving the lack of snow).

I hope you get to go!
Happy Holidays!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vernal Equinox

Happy Spring!!!

It's official, after today, our days start getting longer.

I am sure that I am not the only one welcoming this notion...

This year the farmers almanac predicts that:
*April and May will be cooler than normal, with below-normal precipitation in all areas but the northeast (BC).
*Summer will be cooler and rainier than normal, with the hottest temperatures in early July.
*September and October will be cooler than normal, with precipitation below normal near the coast and above normal inland (BC).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Love Stampede

This piece was in the works for nearly a year before it reached completion.

There is more to a painting for me than just laying paint on a canvas... it all starts with a little muse.

Inspiration presents itself in many different ways for me, but it's not uncommon for it to arrive in the shape of a lovely person or two, as it did on this very special occasion.

I have only been on a horse maybe twice (even though I come from a long line of cowboys), but there are two lovely folks I know who hold these four leggeds near and dear and have the stories and scars to prove it. Last summer they decided to celebrate there union with some fine feasting, music, family and friends, and I thought this piece would be a nice way to honor their love and celebrate along side them as their passions ran through their own Love Stampede.

Oil on Canvas
by Melissa March

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Most Beautiful Place on Earth

Sorry about the lack of posts... My Man took me on a magical surprise vacation!

We went to Ucluelet, and toured the magical and awe inspiring surf and trees of long beach. It was perhaps the most enchanting holiday I have ever been on (due in no small part to the company). I suggest everyone go there. You really can't beat it.

I'll post more on the great place we stayed later, but for now just a few pictures to entice your imagination, and get you dreaming about your own Magical Mystery Tour!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Colour can save you money

Colour can save you money, and reduce your eco footprint. Think of the difference you experience wearing a black shirt in the sun, versus wearing a white shirt in the sun...

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The same applys to houses. The lighter/more reflective your roof, the cooler the rooms beneath it remain. It works in cooler regions too, using darker colours to increase temperature.

The difference colour can make is startling. On a 32.2 C clear sunny, day in Austin Texas, a white roof had a temperature of 43.3 C,
an aluminum coated roof was 60 C,
while a black, single ply roof, had a temperature of almost 87.8 C

A study in Florida revealed that by increasing heat reflectivity, homeowners saved an average of 23% if their cooling costs. That could make a big difference in the long run.

The same concept also applies inside. By using colours wisely inside you can also save on energy costs. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that electric lighting accounts for 25% of the electricity used in the U.S.A.

The lighter the color the higher the reflectivity. Dark walls absorb more light and reflect less. Consequently, far more lighting is required for rooms with dark walls than those with light walls. In addition to the walls, it is a good idea to keep the ceiling light and bright for good reflectance.

Most major paint manufacturers can tell you the Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of any color paint chip. White reflects 80% of the light, black 5%. Therefore, the higher the LRV number of the paint color, the less artificial light you will need.

Caution: Don't go overboard. An extremely high lighting level combined with very light walls is bad if it creates glare and / or too much brightness on the wall. This causes excessive stimulation and irritation of the eyes. Eye fatigue will follow.

I thought this was particularly interesting considering I am cold all the time (my living room is green, blue and white): The color of a room will affect your perception of temperature. Tests document that people estimate the temperature of a room with cool colors, such as blues and greens, to be 6-10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the actual temperature. Warm colors, such as reds and oranges, will result in a 6-10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer estimate.

In these ways colour can play an important role in energy conservation.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Phosphates are found in nature, and are of high nutrive value to palnts and animals, so you may wonder why they can be dangerous to the health of our water ways.

Phosphates are present in many soaps, detergants, and commercial household products. They are also found in many fertilizers, and are used as animal feed supplements for their nutritive qualities. They are used in pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals as well.

High phosphate concentrations in surface waters is often an indicator of fertilizer runoff, domestic waste discharge, or the presence of industrial effluents or detergents. Although phosphates from these sources are usually organically bound, all will degrade to "ortho" or reactive phosphates with time. In water containing high concentrations of phosphates, algae and other aquatic plant life will flourish, eventually resulting in the accelerated decay of organic matter, causing decreased dissolved oxygen levels in the water, and thus suffocating fish, and other water bound life forms.

You can help reduce the amount of phosphates entering our water supply by reading lables on your household products, and choosing to use those that are phosphate free.

There are a few recipes for eco-friendly alternatives in previous posts, and here is another one for a water friendly oven cleaner...

simply use baking soda, salt and water mixed into a paste!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

seafoam to chartruse

"He had that curious love of green, which in individuals is always the sign of a subtle artistic temperament, and in nations is said to denote a laxity, if not a decadence of morals."
-- Oscar Wilde.

Green is the most predominant colour in the natural world, and occupies the most space in the spectrum visible to the human eye. For this reason, green is the color used for night-vision goggles, as the human eye is most sensitive to green, and is able to discern the most shades of this color.

This familiar colour is a natural balance of warm and cool undertones, creating a feeling of tranquility and freshness.

Although our responses to colour vary from culture to culture, green often denotes health, peace and ecology.

Because I think night vision googles are exceedingly cool, and because I love nothing more than a day in the woods tree gazing, green is (if I must choose) my favorite colour.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin Tuna

Oil on Canvas
by Melissa March

The Western and Central Pacific ocean is the Worlds largest Tuna fishery, and it is in danger of being over fished to the point of collapse.

Take heart, there are measures being taken to conserve and manage this delicate ecosystem.

Coming into effect in 2009, is a plan to reduce fishing mortality by 30% (over 3 years) on Bigeye Tuna, and to reduce the risk of overfishing yellowfin tuna, by restricting the use of purse seine fishing and the use of FADs in these sensitive areas.

This year there will be fewer days to fish the high seas, in an attempt to reduce the number of tuna caught. Sensitive areas will be closed to purse seine fishing for up to three months, and the use of FADs will be prohibited from July to September.

The use of FADs results in the mortality (in great numbers) of juvenile tuna, sea turtles, sharks, and dolphins, to name a few. It is the technique of using a float to attract sea life, creating an opportunity to net them in large numbers. The unwanted species are then discarded.

You can help the Yellowfin and Bigeye Tuna, by reading the labels on the fish you buy. To ensure that it is caught in good conscience, look to see that it was pole or troll caught.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I made the treasury!!

Infinite thank yous Jetflair, for choosing my 'Mast' painting for your High Seas Treasury! What a privilege to be listed with so many beautiful treasures!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

garden day 19

It sure does happen fast!
The peas are gigantic!

Beef Steak Tomatoes
A single, tiny Jacobs ladder. This is the only one that has come up so far.

It really is pretty.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Eco-friendly House

All-purpose cleaner:
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 pint warm water in a spray bottle.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar to cut grease. (I also like a few drops of tea tree oil)

This eco-friendly alternative to commercial cleaners has many benefits:
*It reduces the indoor pollution in your home and is less polluting to manufacture.
*It reduces waste from packaging
*It does not harm the environment during or after use

In addition to all of these earth friendly factors, it also saves space in the cupboard by reducing the number of products you need for various tasks. I also enjoy the sense of pride it leaves me with, knowing that I am maintaining my home while also maintaining the precious health of our air, water and soil.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Colour Blue

Oil on Canvas
by Melissa March

Blue is seen as trustworthy, dependable and committed. The color of the sky and ocean, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives, and there for is recognized as calming and relaxing to many of us.

In addition to these common traits, the colour Blue has some other interesting effects on the body.

Blue acts as an appetite suppressant.

It is believed that this is the case, because blue food rarely occurs in nature (blueberries and a few varieties of blue-purple potatoes being the exception). Because of this, blue registers with a more primal aspect of ourselves as a potential warning sign that a food may be dangerous or poison, therefore making the combination of blue and food less appetizing than some other colours.

If you want to reduce your late night snacking try putting a blue light in your fridge, or try eating off a blue plate if you would like to feel satisfied with smaller portions. Some diet experts even suggest that you may benefit from putting a blue bulb in your dinning area.

You might also try painting the walls in your dinning room blue, or hanging art that has blue as a predominant colour within your line of sight.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


This young girls creativity is disarming. There is really no explaining this, except that I find it really funny, and alarmingly easy to relate to... It's hilarious, and strangely charming...

Now that's imagination!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Artwork for Every Room Etsy SALE!

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In honour of my brothers birthday (he's a really great guy), I thought everyone could use a little break...

So I am offering 10% off on all the 8 x 10 prints for sale in my Etsy shop today only!
Bring a little freshness inside with a new painting to celebrate spring!
Check it out!

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

colourful mail

I love getting things in the mail! This morning the new Amu Eco-Fact cards came... They are so bright and cheerful, and they are printed on 100% recycled paper!!

They are to tell you a bit about your new art, and all the love that went into making it with as little impact on the environment as possible.

these little cards let you know that....

Amu Designs loves the planet, so your art was:

*Painted with NON-TOXIC mediums
*Printed on 100% TREE FREE (archival) paper
*Mounted on BIODEGRADABLE foamboard

all cards and info sheets are printed on recycled paper, or use paper sourced from sustainable forests.

Aren't they pretty?!

Monday, March 2, 2009


I want the best for the environment and I also want a clean kitchen, bathroom and studio. My grandma has always used it, but I have always wondered just how well vinegar works to really clean...

As it turns out, it
really works! A simple 5% solution of white vinegar (mixed with water) kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs! This is great news for the pocket book, the planet and my counter tops!

I am also pleased to learn that it can be used effectively to kill the weeds that have made their home between my patio tiles, with out harming the environment. (I wont even begin to describe the hours I spent dedicated to pulling, picking and scrapping them out last summer. It was nearly a full time job.) You can use it diluted with water, or straight on the weeds, or as a soil soak to deter them from taking root.

Spring cleaning here I come!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

February Visitors

My favorite part about having a blog, is seeing who looks at it... so I thought maybe you would like to see who else is tuning in too.

This is a view of all the cities (120) in the world that have stopped by for a visit in February.

The internet is a strange and wonderful thing, helping us all to be a little closer no matter where in the world we are.

Thanks very much for coming by, I hope to see you again very soon!
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