Tuesday, 31 August 2010

And so farewell to August...

It has been a rich day.  So precious are these last days of summer.  A walk on our lane turned up these beauties, right in the middle of the road- overnight!

We call them puffballs; as children we would press on them between our fingers and a puff of black  'smoke'  would come out (spores?)   Apparently they're good to eat, though I have yet to try them ( a long yet, I think).

I've shown this strange berry before but I don't remember the stalks being so colourful.

These lovely daisyish 'weeds' are growing over 6 feet high in some places.

On the other hand, these little trumpet-like flowers grow low to the ground.  I was so busy composing my shot, at first, that I didn't notice this very serious bumblebee.  He was so oblivious to me that I could get quite close; and closer and closer, I forgot my composition as I tried for a better shot of him. 
Eventually I left before he did.

I'm constantly amazed by the wealth of beauty around me, and surprised that I always seem to find something new to shoot even though I walk the same route every day.

But there is work to be done- joyous work, the work of play.  I have picked up the doll I started in May after realizing that it was her mouth that had discouraged me.  After revamping that, the energy changed and I couldn't wait to embellish her with applique and embroidery and who-knows-what-else.

All it takes is the tiniest bit of tweaking and suddenly everything is different.  Changing the trajectory of an object into space can send it into a vastly different place than it might have gone.  Sometimes we think we don't have a choice....But we do.

Good-bye August...Hello September!

Friday, 27 August 2010

As I looked out at the eastern sky this morning, covered in dramatic glare-rimmed grey clouds, I remembered a story I heard  about how the seafarers of an island nation could once read the most subtle of information from the ocean churl and know what the weather was like back home many miles away.  I know the clouds can be read that way, too,  and I wonder why so much ancient knowledge had to be forfeited for modern life...then, I went for my walk.


You wouldn't believe the amount of crows that are gathering in the woods as I write.  At first I thought 30, then more like 50, cawing in their excitement at being together.  Usually one only sees family groups of  5, 8 or 10.   Last evening I stopped serving supper to grab the camera and take pictures of the wild turkeys on the lawn, a large tom and 10 hens when, as we ate, another group with several toms and hens joined the first group.  I was seriously excited.

There is a distinct smell of autumn in the air even though only a few leaves have fallen as yet.   Is it the black willow or the goldenrod?   The few blackberries that remain have lost their sweetness;  perhaps the last 2 cold nights wore them out.  But the garden is bursting with goodness:  pole beans and zucchinis and red and black tomatoes, not to mention my favourite, the most sweetly succulent grape tomatoes.

Just look at that energy coming off these babies!

Yesterday I ventured out into the forest, something I rarely do alone, with our old dog.   I had wandered off our road the day before and seen a varied lot of mushrooms, so I shouldn't have been surprised to see so many more. 

And I have many more shots.  I don't dare touch any of these, not knowing which is safe - for their own sake or mine.  But they were everywhere.

It amazed me to see so many old trees down, but that, after all, is the way of nature.  And so, naturally, one will find new life growing out of the old.

This is a wistful time for me: late summer. Thus begins the end of this season with all its bounty as we come into the glory of autumn with an inherent sense of gratitude for the earth's generosity.

Thank you

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


My good intentions to post at least once every two days has fallen by the wayside, so I hope these pictures I want to share will make up for my time away.  Today I sold a painting that I did  7  1/2  years ago.  How poignant it is to release a painting into the world after so many years, as it came to feel like an old friend in my shop.

PeaceDance was created in March of 2003 as a counterbalance to the sabre-rattling in the autumn of 2002.  It is poster size at 69.5cm x 49.5cm, done in watercolour and tempera.  I've often been asked to reproduce it but I find myself still thinking about it.  The best  part of this story is that this piece will end up in the office of a criminal prosecutor for the Crown  in Calgary, Alberta who must interview the child witnesses she encounters in her work.  She hopes that PeaceDance will be something to soften their unfortunate and often tragic circumstances.  I am humbled.

I find I can be so easily distracted and disarmed at times and regret that I am not as productive as some.  But life is so full and I have made myself available to old friends and new, recently, that I, on the other hand, have no regrets.  Over the weekend I visited an antique shop with one of my dearest friends that is run out of the old house I used to live in.

I get so wistful when I go back, as I have occasion to do every summer.  I already made a small purchase earlier this spring, but I was allowed to take a photo of this winsome twosome to remember them by.

After a few hours of playing with watercolour yesterday this odd little picture unfolded.

As always, I'm taken with the imperfections of the detail.

Back in March of this year I made this watercolour that somehow reminds me of the one I made yesterday... in feeling, if not in style, so different from PeaceDance, not a message to the world so much as an expression of some unnamed feeling as I explore unknown territory.

Yes, a message of courage and peace as we make our tentative steps into the unknown.

Monday, 16 August 2010

A week ago I put on one of my favourite videos, The Tales of Beatrix Potter, choreographed by Frederick Ashton for The Royal Ballet to the lovely English music of John Lanchbery and began to play with pencil and watercolour.

As I glanced up at the screen for all of one second, I surprised myself by being able to catch this pose of Pigling Bland as he prepared to leave home.

I have a fascination with primitive images of angels.

I enjoyed seeing the texture and imperfections of this little angel up close.

But my favourite of this little session was this surprise appearance of Alice.


Yesterday (Sunday) was another magical day for clouds.

These thunderclouds roiled all day and in the distance we often heard thunder.

I love the pinks and mauves of the eastern sky at sunset.  It is the Yin to the West's Yang.

Each gown the sky dons is an exquisite original.

It does make me curious to see what's going on in the west sometimes.


Today was a crazy day for cloud variety.  I could have taken a completely different photo every 5 minutes, but I decided to spare you.

Still, I couldn't resist the drama of this shot taken on August the 6th.


Let this be the most drama of our day so that we are free to create beauty in our lives.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

A snippet of a doodle to get me started again.

A watercolour with ink outline

And so begins August.  Blessings all around.