Monday, 21 August 2017

morning of the solar eclipse

Perhaps because I was self-employed most of my life, Monday mornings don't hold the usual dread that they do for many people who differentiate them from weekends. I tended to look at my down time in terms of seasons and winter became a haven for me from the rigours of business. But today, this Monday of all Mondays, is supersaturated with relevance, for today,

Western Europe, Northeast Asia, Northwest Africa, North America, much of South America, the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Arctic 
will have a solar eclipse!
If that don't beat the Monday blues! We live such little lives on our beloved little planet and cosmic phenomena really serve to remind us the relative importance of everything. There won't be another solar eclipse in my part of the world, eastern North America, til 2025.

After another rainy Saturday and a hot and humid Sunday,
it promises to be bright though hot again today.

Muji would rather be outside with me

Babu would rather share the window with Muji

The hayfield looking ESE already promises heat as the dew lifts this morning.

So far so good with the grapes ripening

The beans grow in rows like a curtain

A brown butterfly suns itself on a fallen maple leaf

What a clever landing pad.

Raspberry for breakfast

Our new mint patch

a new stalk of gladiola

a nest of hens and chicks

a tall weed with its pretty little blossoms

We're inveterate, or should I say, "veteran" sales hunters,
but this ten cent cabbage takes the cake,  my best deal in years.

Muji hops down from the window and is at the door to greet me before I've got it shut.

Babu isn't far behind.

The middle section of my sketchbook has two signatures of cheap kraft paper which I'm enjoying for its mid tone, allowing me to use a light cream colour to effect. Outlined in a brush-tipped India ink Pitt pen and coloured with coloured pencils, I'm still working with multiple images for more interest. The heavier, gold-dotted kraft cardstock that I collaged on was harder to tear and therefore left some really nice edges.

Smitten with that gold-dotted kraft card, I found a place to lay it down in this coloured pencil extravaganza. It's been so much fun not to work to anyone's expectations but my own and see where my intuition will take me. I haven't been able to work like this since the '80's.
Giving myself permission has been a long time coming.

"Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement."
                                                                                    Nelson Mandela

peace on earth

Friday, 18 August 2017

something always happens

This must be the fastest flying month ever and yet it seemed to start out so slow. Those of you who check in here may already realize how I struggle with time, "the elastic band" as I call it.

I was sure I had nothing to show you today besides my growing portfolio of drawings, but somehow I managed to pull together a few pictures.

I peered down into the composter, filling with clematis,
creeping Charlie, an Echinacea Coneflower and even a weedy little tree.

I wandered out back of Forget-Me-Not Cabin and had another gander at the old wood shed we've been slowly dismantling, with no need for firewood anymore.

Our home and outbuildings are filled with handmade bits like this wooden spinner

this metal one

another rusting metal bit with washer

Looking from the other end you can see the makeshift bracing for shelving from a post and plywood and sticks

A homemade plywood bracket with its partner...

nailed to the wooden shake wall

Then there are the grapes, still intact

and a few apples hanging on

a nice little cucumber under the bean trellis

and tomatoes filling in amongst the dill

The wide angle lens dwarfs the far end of the vegetable garden with chard at the top, two rows of lettuces, and some tiny kale at the bottom

I pop the last perfect raspberry in my mouth

There are Cherry leaves in the lawn


and another

The garage garden has completely filled in with the hostas and the "prehistoric" plant.

As you will know from past posts, I am fascinated by the way the flowers seem to grow in a pod, a most unusual flowering. I finally had enough wherewithal to look up the name of this wonder.
It is called Ligularia Dentata, also known as Leopard Plant or Summer Ragwort.

Dentata refers to the jagged leaf edges. Collected and introduced to Europe by Carl Peter von Thunberg (1743-1828), student of Linnaeus at Uppsala University in Sweden. He made three trips to the Cape of Good Hope 1772-1775 where he collected about 1000 new species, Java and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1777 and 15 months in Japan (1775-1777) where he befriended local doctors who gave him hundreds of plants new to Western horticulture.  He succeeded Linnaeus as professor of medicine and botany at Uppsala.  Knighted by Swedish King Gustav.(thanks to

bursting forth, blooming in succession

They seem so gently coddled in their basket of leaves that I call a pod

though of course it isn't.

The bumblebees like them, face buried and rather camouflaged

I was startled to learn that bumblebees only live for 28 days.
I've grown very fond of them and their gentle ways.

Still playing catch-up with some week old pictures, I was inspired to do this piece after watching Jean Arthur play Calamity Jane in the old western, The Plainsman.

This section of my sketchbook is made of cheap quality kraft paper, the kind used for wrapping packages. The black is actually my Derwent watercolour pencil in Iron Blue, the flowers are outlined with an extra fine Pitt pen in India ink and coloured in with white is gel pen with pink pencil crayon over top.
The rest is done in Jane Davenport "Magic Wand Pencils" .

Image result for Soli Basilica mosaics
On another day I felt the call to draw a swan after seeing this mosaic online that comes from the Basilica in Soli, Cyprus. The patina of something old, its faded colours and random damage is a distinct part of its charm, its "wabi sabi".

My swan is fussed over with white paint pen and gel pen, the rest of the colours a mix of coloured pencils, the flowers outline in extra fine Pitt pen, an India ink.

I'm not sure how this will affect the world at large but there will be a partial to a total solar eclipse depending where you are in North America on Monday. Ours will be partial with a forecast of full sun, or maybe I should say no clouds.
Whatever you do DON'T LOOK AT THE SUN without proper protection!

And to see you off today here is one of my favourite performers Gracie Fields singing

Looking on the Bright Side (1932)

Thursday, 17 August 2017

bright and cool

What a shift in temperature and light. It was so cold last night that I shut the windows. Wally would have had them wide open. Those are the nights I tell him to go and sleep in the backyard "you camper you"- but he doesn't.

I thought I might do some interior vignettes this morning,
this of the clothespin basket that hangs in the vestibule.

The Broom and the ancient message centre hang there too, original to the house,

as does the homemade cookies sign.
I imagine Marion (original owner with two successive husbands) making homemade cookies and taking messages from her customers, all so quaint and old-fashioned.

I do get drawn out of the vestibule into this surreal day, with its harsh light, its jolly breeze
and cooler temperatures. Strange little clouds float along the horizon like UFO's.

As I step off the back deck I notice that Wally has bundled the Echinacea which were sprawling all over the place. Their colour has faded and the bees aren't much interested anymore.

mauve blooms from the hostas in the foreground, the huge "prehistoric" plant with its yellow blooms breaking out of their "pods"

I wander over to the vegetable garden, the peas mostly done on the green trellis
that Wally set up for them,

their scribbled tendrils still reaching out for something to grab on to.

Without much new to share, I wander back to the house, breaking off a large hydrangea bloom as I go for the kitchen table.

Muji has been waiting by the door the whole time and is still there when I sit down
"You lookin' at me?" I can never figure out why I get these looks...

Babu has finished clean up duty (Muji always leaves "crumbs") and also has an odd look.

I put the hydrangea bloom in a cut glass vase that I bought at a big secondhand market held in town here the year we were house hunting, taking it back to Muskoka to pack for the trip back out here along with a rock from the ocean.  Sometimes even I think I'm weird.

With many pictures made since this one, I will share two again today.
This trio done in coloured pencil, the border outlined in white China marker. The white sharpie pen highlights are showing much stronger than they actually are. 

This piece evolved from Derwent watercolour pencil in Sea Blue that I began doodling with.
From there I got the courage to draw the face in one of my favourite black coloured pencils, a Koh-I-Noor from Czechoslovakia. With the figure in place I began to doodle in similar fashion with a white Sharpie paint pen, adding more of it to the face, etc. A very light use of moistened paint brush to waken the watercolour pencil went on last. That night I left my sketchbook under the laptop to help flatten the paper, so rumply after the water was added.

each day a gift
the message of presence therein