Friday, 9 August 2013

teach love

Such a sunny week it has been, and now, today, rain.
And that's good!
I have been having a hard think again about directions again.
I had such a lovely time with the Mermaid Circus online class that I enrolled in in April.
It came at a good time for me when I needed direction.  Mermaids seemed as good as anything to get me rolling. And rolling I did as you can tell from the past 4 months of mermaids projects I've worked on. Here is a painting I did in watercolour somewhat in the style of Jane Davenport's, one of the amazing teachers of Mermaid Circus, who has the gift for painting AND teaching.
"I dreamed a thousand paths...I woke and walked my own." CHINESE PROVERB
I can see, though, that I've fallen into a "pretty" rut, which isn't a bad thing.  It just isn't giving me the substance that I require.  Playing with pretty scrapbooking papers is a pleasant pastime

and exploring different styles of drawing intrigues me
But I keep finding myself pushing at my boundaries,
Trying to make watercolour behave like oils or acrylics,
Wishing to go deeper, wider, higher...
I will be taking a break over the next little while to pull together some unfinished projects like my studio, the garden and yard, and MY HOUSE! In 7 days we will be celebrating our first anniversary in the house and there is still so much to do around here. Please wish me luck as I do you in all your journeys and remember to...
teach love for that is what you are.

                                                                                                                            George Elliot 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

a seed, an ant, and everything inbetween

I've changed.
I realize that now.
I moved from the inner city of one of Canada's provincial capitals to a small mid-northern town 25 years ago, and from there, transitioned to a country home in a tranquil setting, complete with pond and forest. You can see shots of that beautiful acreage in earlier posts on this blog from 2010 through the 1st half of 2012  if you to the blog archive on the sidebar.
In 2 weeks, we will have been in Nova Scotia for ONE YEAR!! Happily we have a semblance of rural life out our backyard, and how we relish it!  Living anywhere new will change one. Most of the people on the planet gravitate to large cities. There are all kinds of pro and con statistics based on everything from health to education, employment to leisure, and so the choice becomes personal.

As for me, I get excited when I see a seed.
This is a so-called seedless watermelon. Do you ever see seeded watermelons anymore? I don't.
I once heard about a giant company that sells seeds to vast factory farms and penalizes the farmers who stray from using their hybrid, guaranteed-to-grow a seedless, pretty product thus expanding their monopoly, but also risking the loss of variety that could help ride a species through disease or a particular infestation. The manufacturing of homogeneity risks the loss of indigenous and/or variety that makes the world a healthier place to live in. And don't get me started on pesticides and herbicides that poison the earth, ground water, streams and eventually leach into larger bodies of water, all places from which we get our drinking water.
I'm so grateful to live beside a field in fallow i.e. one that grows wild and natural, with no farm chemicals on it, no industry that fills the valley with pollution...
There is a lovely shoulder of wildness that grows between us and the field
There are so many wonders to see if one has the patience to look-
like this lupin gone to seed
 it's hairy dry pods will cast seeds for next year's field of glory
(sometimes it seems like it's me who's normal; it's everything else that's crooked :)
a glorious goldenrod
The backlit and shadowed leaves of the honeysuckle that we would have destroyed as an invasive weed had we not discovered its incredibly scented and articulated flowers last month

a hidden last honeysuckle bloom, sheltered under its protective leaves
and another surprise- the honeysuckle makes an orange berry considered "mildly" poisonous;
mildly is enough information for me to admire it from afar
The charm of a Creeping Charlie vine trailing from the centre of an old stump 
and more Creeping Charlie interwoven with pretty little burrs 

there was a delicate elegance to them that I admired
even their stems were covered in teeny little hooks that caught gently at my skin
And then it hit me! Because they were also growing around Forget-Me-Not Cabin I realized these were, ta-daa! Forget-Me-Nots gone to seed!
No wonder I was so taken with them
and they with me!
And thus another chapter closes, quite literally, with the loss of a special souvenir from my trip to Israel 40 years ago, when I bought several pieces of Hebron glass, most of which I gave away.
all but this amethyst-coloured vase which I knocked over and shattered in half
The words that came to mind as I was thrust into the moment, and carefully picked up the shards were "mine on loan"
When I retrieved it from the recycle bag to take a photograph of it, this ant immediately found it and began to sup I-don't-know-what off its surface
 I took several shots and only found this one as a parting gift, unbeknownst to me until I enlarged it,
a fitting metaphor for the insects' omnipresence on Planet Earth
and how small we really are
with that in mind, let's take care of it and each other

Friday, 2 August 2013

morning in heaven

There is nothing to compare to nature when she's kind...

The morning sun shines on our little garden, and the field beyond, and the South Mountain beyond that
Arugula gone to flower
Arugula flower up close
a fat five point zucchini blossom

Kale, up close and personal
violet bush bean flowers that open like snapdragons; some stand tall
and some stay close to the ground
whatever is this prehistoric looking plant?
Why, it's the bud of a marigold! If you're like me, we rarely give these wonderful exotics a closer look
the frilly and tufted open blossom of a marigold that stands guard for the tomatoes
On the back deck, a big pot of cherry tomatoes, ready to eat; this is my idea of fast food

a potbound pepper plant that never made it into the garden, but still produce this lovely pepper
you can still see it's blossom remains poking from it's tip
a pretty choir of teeny blossoms on a long stalk, up close
and an even teenier pot filler up close
a pale pink geranium

and what's this in our pot of yellow lilies! a prickly weed
with flowers so pretty before they turn to fluffies that fly away
Still intact, the handmade latch and peg to hold the deck gate closed
How wonderful it is to have these relics of a bygone era when people made what they needed
instead of going to the store. I am perfectly charmed! or shall I say, "enchanted".
the little garden next to the compost bin Wally made from wood pallets
the cilantro flowers, perfectly edible, that grow to the fore of this garden
and a close-up of the speedwell that grow to the right
Speedwell looks so fluffy but each "hair" is the petal of an individual blossom
the speedwell buds before they bloom
and looking down the centre of the speedwell blooms, you can still see the individuated blossoms

To the left of this little garden stands a lone Zinnia with about 5 buds lower down.
It stands so proud
What an exquisite arrangement of sepals and petals like a choreographers dream
Do you remember the June Taylor dancers from TV's Jackie Gleason Show?
The Zinnia from above with its fabulous spiral
I think I will dedicate these shots to the 2 most important "Z's" in my life :)
Zinnia O Zinnia

Dewdropped and Mottled
and another mottled leaf from a similar plant

an update on Midnight Lady who seems to be doing very well
 now that she's been moved out of the sunlight
a backlit flower pod from this same exotic plant
and from above
Yesterday morning, in the space of a few hours, the Oriental Lilies bloomed.
I should have had a slow motion camera on them for that it is pretty fast for such a big flower
And OH the perfume!
But be careful not to touch the stamens whose powder can stain clothes
Hmm... that means it would make a good dye...
My efforts of yesterday
(besides laundry, cleaning, etc.)
the weekend is almost upon us, a long one here in Canada.
Safe and happy times I say.