Tuesday, 21 February 2017

snowy midwinter update

It's been somewhat milder over the last week, but not without another snowstorm

which meant Wally came home to do more snowblowing.
Muji kept a watchful eye. "Make sure you get that bit in the corner."
(That's our bed in the reflection of Wally's snow trajectory. I forgot to turn out the light.)

A beautiful polar drift off the roof's eave began to form

quite sculptural yet ethereal

The next day it was business as usual. The sidewalk snowblower sends a shot of snow to the side.
Wally has been building up our snowbanks so that it is hard to see out as he leaves our driveway.

By Saturday it was quite mild- well, above freezing- as we headed off to our favourite health food store in Greenwood again. I got a decent shot of this huge quintet as we set off.

Trees are the name of the game out here. We have some nice hills out here,
the ancient beginnings of the Adirondacks that are simply called "the North and South Mountains" that define the Annapolis Valley.

It was a low light day which didn't bode well for picture taking with my little camera with the slow exposures, so I waited til we got into Kingston, sister town to Greenwood

There's not much that is picturesque so I'm showing you that same house I've shown before,
a sweet rambling structure.

On the road into Greenwood we pass a tractor with his snow plough at the ready.

Wally's back at it, this time with the snow scoop. Even though we don't use this door,
getting snow away from the house will help to redirect the spring run-off away from our basement.

He's a jolly Mr. Snow Removal when the temperatures are mild like this.

This morning I missed some fantastic shots of this crow who found some bread I'm guessing.
He flew over to our cabin roof to eat it.

Once done, he braced himself

to fly away. Oh, the shot I missed as he flew right towards me!

A view late this afternoon from upstairs looking down our street.

Babu with his usual Muji hair décor

I found this old shot of him as a baby yesterday. Such a pretty boy.

Here's an update on that dye ink and watercolour painting I started last week

I've added paint pen (the white), some lavender Prismacolor pencil, and fountain pen black outline.

I hope you've been well and finding peace in the small joys of life. Winter can take its toll.
I hear it is already Spring in England and of course Summer is continuing in the southern hemisphere.

I learned a small something this week that I thought I would share with you.
It seems we have only a certain amount of psychological energy in a day which explains why one can feel tired from emotions or too many distractions or being "detailed to death".  Making ourselves aware of these frustrating expenditures and narrowing in on what we'd prefer to be spending their time on can help us to circumvent the myriad of mundane activities that make up so much of our day, but  if you can't circumvent, the real trick is to automate the necessary little details. Even the time it takes to think about things like what to wear, cleaning routines, tidying habits, or for me, the amount of supplements we 4 of us take here (Wally, me and the 2 cats) can take away from the allotted energy we want for more important things. It reminds me of how efficiently a well thought out business runs. It needn't be so structured that you lose spontaneity, but if one equates freedom with time, it is worth it to free up our minds for the things that really matter.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

an old fashioned blizzard

Well, I said I loved snow...
and we got it!

out back through the vestibule door window

through the stair landing window towards the ash tree

out the bedroom window

Opening the front door in the afternoon shows the lavender reflection off the front door.
Later that night, the drift is a bit higher
and that lump on the hanging door mat is taking on a definite curve.

looking down the ramp, the streetlights cast some cool shadows 

The Chinese Chimes snow dipped

the snow still falling

The flash makes the snowflakes look like bubbles

In the late night kitchen I got a blurry but sweet shot of Babu happy to have me return.

As I sat down I made clucking noises to get Babu's attention who still had one ear on the front door,
wondering what was going on out there.

He still avoided looking at me though my lip popping and clucking distracted him

finally, the nose knows

and he deigned to look at me, sweet little boy (though one ear was still on the door)

The next morning the kitchen window was not so snow covered
(coloured glass "friendship balls" by Muskoka artist Simon Bisley)
(the larger plastic ball has a light in it which we forget to click on; I like it's moonlike quality)

The neighbour's car is almost completely swathed in snow

as is his back yard

Wally carved a path out from the garage and was long gone to work when I arose.

The wreath on the front door is barely recognizable;
and the curve on the hump of snow on the hanging door mat is more articulated.

The Christmas lights around the front door are unrecognizable lumps

There's a lone crow in the ash tree. Where is his family?
They usually stay in family groups. 

I worry for the wild creatures who must survive this difficult time.

Muji wonders what I'm up to as he follows me about the house.

The hydrangeas are up to their necks, the garden bench is completely covered, somewhere to the left of that round bush.

Muji waits by the hand weights.
The wedge of snow on the roof of the walk out basement is impressive.

I did a little watercolour experiment in the afternoon and brushed on some red dye ink that blobbed out ...

as I practised with my new Mermaid Markers.
The dye inks are not lightfast, but their brilliance makes them a juicy material for personal use,
and of course, reproduction.
Also shown is the Inkredible fountain pen which I used for outline here, a water soluble fountain pen ink which must be considered when adding water media.
Both products are from the irrepressible Jane Davenport, an Australian art journaling guru
who is promoting her new line of products at Michaels, an art and craft supply store in the United States and Canada. 

I pass Muji on the staircase as I return to the computer to prepare these pictures for you.
He looks so baffled today. Maybe it's the S N O W ! ! !

I leave you with two quotes that speak of self love, the conduit from which love is derived:

“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual,
you have an obligation to be one.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Happy Valentine's Day my dear readers

Friday, 10 February 2017

a time to be present

No use letting a week of February slide by without a post when this month is already so short. And good thing that it is since we seem to be getting our winter in one big dose.  Last night a royal blizzard started while we were out, the wind blowing the snow sideways with constant vigour. It was exhilarating. We thought the streetlights beyond might be out, but they were simply darkened by the onslaught of billowing snow.

Those of you who know and/or who have read me know that I love, LOVE, the snow. Maybe it is because I was a winter baby.

My sister and I were raised on the art of Breugel, a favourite artist of my father's (among others like van Gogh and Homer Watson) so that scenes like this beyond our yard, of the hayfield in winter

remind me of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's, Hunters in the Snow (Winter), 1565
This video helps us to see so much of the story, the narrative, but what I love about it is the colour,
the rich, muted colour of a northern winter

You can barely see our cement garden bench behind the hydrangeas, almost buried in the drift

Babu has sought out Wally's chair for his afternoon nap

and Muji has that dazed look just before he nods off as I write this post

Here is the start of an acrylic painting that I started yesterday.
Those muted colours have taken hold!

a pleasant midwinter time to hold our sacred essence in grace

peace on earth