Tuesday, 27 May 2014

creativity, a way of being

An overcast morning here, and cool enough for the furnace to come on. Still, I'm grateful for a long spring, happy to wait for the heat that give's Kentville its nickname of "Hell's Kitchen". Little did we know when we moved here that the Annapolis Valley retains the heat like a stainless steel bowl.

A sunny morning the other day made for some fun shots through the Venetian blinds. 
Here Babu is still enough for a reasonable shot.

Muji in his usual stance, favouring his leg that he limps on now instead of not using it at all. 
We have Babu to thank for that, keeping Muji limber with chasing and wrestling games.

Still, Muji is a naturally quiet cat, almost contemplative

keeping me company with his sun-tipped ears and whiskers

I'd have more pictures of Babu if he could keep this still.

The aqua eye with its other worldly cosmic pupil

and later, a schnoozie

I've been happily engaged in the studio again. Working in this grey-papered journal has helped me to keep my personal challenge of not getting precious about individual pieces, working on the back of the previous day's work, a far cry from creating for sale. And that is my intention: to work for my self.

a detail of the same piece with a vignette from a 4 O'Clock tea package of a Mughal painting that I love
Here is a technical bit for any artists reading:

.The paper used was of two types. One, a thin, smooth, whitish paper was
prepared from fine off-white paper pulp. The other, a rougher buff
paper, was made from fibrous, brownish, nonuniform paper pulp. The
practice of burnishing resulted in a smoorth surface to the finished
work. Cloth was used for larger sized works.
Recent research into the types of pigments has uncovered the following
information. Several types of whites were found, all metallic and
including lead white (found in the majority of paintings), tin white,
and zinc white. Lampblack was the only black identified. Brilliant
yellow, called Indian yellow (a calcium or magnesium salt of euzanthic
acid), as an organic extract from cow urine. Vegetable dyestuff indigo
was the more common blue. Natural ultramarine (the mineral lazarite)
was also used. Vermilion (mercuric sulphide) and red lead were the most
common reds. Many greens were used. The most common was verdigris,
copper chloride produced by the reaction of copper metal with salt
water. Metallic pigments were also used, including gold in painted
powder form, and a tin metal that was silver in color. Binders, the
solution into which pigments are mixed so that they might be spread,
were gums—gum Arabic and gum tragacanth.
The face of my young lady is done in acrylic paint with some pigment pen detail.
Her dress is made of torn gift wrap of pine cones which I've embellished with white paint pen and torn printed tissue, gold and silver ink pens and some distress stains.
I was very happy making this piece.

wishing you a pleasant day of peace and creativity
(remembering that creativity is a way of being as well as doing)

Friday, 23 May 2014

a bird in the hand

As promised...
a bird in the hand


Babu has been chasing his tail lately. Boy, it's funny.

It's time to take a breath, release all sadness, anger and judgement, especially of ourselves. It's time to be present with this unique moment in time, where all is safe, pleasant and right. If you have pain, put your complete attention to it. It is the avoidance of pain that makes it more acute just as it is the avoidance of the present that makes it slip away. It is always the present. Let's be with it. Let's be.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

fleeting beauty

A friend recently asked me what my garden looks like.

Out front by one of the big ash trees, the forget-me-nots flourish under our odd maple hedges.

Out back under the "hedge" of trees and lilacs, I left more to bloom in the lawn

Forget-me-nots come in both white and blue 

Their little star centres are a subtle part of their appeal

To the left of the deck stairs is a small perennial garden. I recognize the lavender in the bottom right, but do you think I can remember what the rest of them are called?

Ah, to the right of the steps I certainly do recognize the lemon thyme, chives and sage

The vegetable garden is Wally's, where he has over-wintered some bushes and perennials, 
but here this prickly-leafed poppy has seeded itself.

Here Wally has put in clematis and the round leafed hollyhocks to grow up the trellis on the homemade composter he made from shipping palettes.

On the deck, petunias wait with their sister plants to be potted.

The neighbour's giant cherry tree is a mass of blooms. 

Below it, a beautiful flowering bush of salmon coloured blossoms.

of which I also don't know the name. They have a more orange tinge than I could capture. 

In parting, a romantic shot of my beloved forget-me-nots.

Tomorrow, I will share some of my latest artwork.
In the meantime, I will try to get out in this fleeting, beauteous time of year.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

an evening springtime drive

We wanted to go out for a Victoria Day afternoon drive but we didn't head out until 6 in the evening. We kept tossing around the idea of planting our front yard in flowering shrubs and kept our eyes open for creative plantings. I wish I had more pictures to show you of the wonderful spring gardens of Nova Scotia with their flowering Forsythia, Mulberry, Magnolia, Azalea and Cherry trees. But alas...

Instead, a photo documentary of our evening drive to the Look Off on the North Mountain and our subsequent drive over to Blomidon in the drizzle of a verdant spring evening.

From the Look Off looking toward the Minas Basin

The farmland and woodlots spreading south toward the bottom of the Basin

The scrub near the top gives scale to the drop below

The sky, the sea, the land

I get so much pleasure from the mix of farm and woods, the tender greens of spring

Wally stayed in the car, afraid of the height and missed these spectacular views

The undulating lines of a planted field embraced by the arms of the forest

This field holds a particular appeal for me

The patchwork of various plantings

The forest still playing catch up with the greening of the planted fields

The misty drizzle adds a romantic cast to the valley below

neighbouring farms

Some riding horses and a workhorse at pasture

the beautiful pinto

a beautiful group of bays to keep him company

a gentle chestnut by the fence

a wonderful old barn 

what we jokingly refer to as "Mini Blomidon" 

the surprise of a dock for fishing boats and just beyond "Mini Blomidon"

a quirky garden shed, the sea beyond

a fabulous giant of a barn

a young Highland cow samples the tip of a branch 

a pretty Jersey cow, bell a-clanking shares the pasture

The Highland Cattle watch as a young heifer ventures near

Suddenly a test of mettle, the young heifer oblivious

a somewhat disinterested locking of horns

and then it's over 

Miss Heifer up to her knees in mud

The winding road we will take to Blomidon that looms beyond

a newly tilled field ready to plant

the charming windbreak

as we get closer

and closer to Blomidon

We did make it to the edge of the park, but by then the light was failing and we decided to turn and come home, satisfied with a most lovely drive in the country. It's days like this we're grateful to our proximity to such a wonderful place as this exquisite Annapolis Valley.

Oh, and we did see lots of beautiful flowering shrubs. 
 Forsythia by the side of the road.

It's such a brief interlude, this budding time of the year.
Who knows what we will see?