I find many gifts from birds in my back yard. Being enclosed by Cedars, Maples, Fir trees and Alder, the circle of grass attracts quite a lot of bird drama and I have found all kinds of feathers. Even once, while wandering with the dog, my eyes to the ground, I discovered an entire tiny nest, carefully woven together with a shred of plastic construction tarp. Still perfect.
But a few days ago, in my front yard, I was startled by an unusual visitor – a full grown Heron landed in the tangled mid-branches of the towering cedar tree, right next to me – perhaps only 10 feet above my head!! I think I might have said “Whoa – Hello!!” as it shifted and shuffled, and maybe something else like “Be careful there…” since it seemed a danger for long wings to be so tight in the tree. I know for sure, after gazing at it for a few eternal moments, I said “Could you leave a feather for me please?” Then it squawked and flapped and lazily flew.. away.
The next morning…..
Heron Magic, if you ask polite. 🙂
One moment I am out having a sketch and a cool beer on a hot day, the next moment I am back in my winter pants and snuggled on the couch.
I regularly pull open the door to my little back deck, just to sniff the air and peer out to see what is happening. It can be six different types of weather between breakfast and lunch and if there are 10 seconds of sunshine, I am going to park myself in it.
Lately I have been setting up with scissors and images, using the long hours of strong light to do my crazy clipping.
Scanning, printing, cups, birds, wings, things. Sketchin’ and clippin’. Clipping and sipping. Friends have various names for my back porch antics.
What I end up sipping depends entirely on my mood. And it is always a good mood. 🙂
If it all of a sudden flips to wind or rain or hail, not a problem. It is a very short wobble back to inside warmth. So short, in fact depending on the angle of the sun, I might just be sitting right in the doorway.
I love my tiny back deck.
When the clouds roll away on a coast spring day, everything gleams with fresh intensity.
I’m busting out the tubes.
Sunshine on the back deck… finally.
Storms, Birdsong, Light returning… all present.
Favourite travel watercolours – lost since 2013!! – Found! Amazing what moving the furniture in the Thinking room will turn up!
Botticelli. Airy and graceful, like Spring.
Day One in Rome must have been a bit of an adjustment for my sweet, patient, globetrotting friends. From the second I clunked out the door my eyes were filled with the spectacle of light and texture and the astonishing age of ancient stones – and I did not want to miss a single inch of it.
Our street, Lisa, Paolo and Max
I probably took 45 minutes just to get to the end of our block – and not only because of the cobbles (have I mentioned the cobbles??) I couldn’t roll five feet without stopping for photos, and I’m pretty sure that is not the usual rate of exploration for my friends. But no one rushed me, and in fact we all found our rhythm – Max ranging ahead to scout, Paolo a bit ahead subtly directing Vespas and cars around us, and Lisa – well she was behind me. I have a feeling she didn’t mind too much (after the shock of slow wore off). I’ve seen the photos she took, and they are amazing.
So we snailed, and discovered, and uncovered details that quick movers might miss. Like the lions on the lintels.
And street art.
So the poor scoot, made for malls – not battlefields, ran out of battery and one of my fears was faced on the first day. I don’t know why I worried, Max was a skilled and careful pusher and we made it back. I was perhaps a bit shaken and stirred, but so incredibly full of wonder, I couldn’t have cared less.
Never will I forget the first day I was somewhere else, somewhere so far from home… somewhere as amazing as Italy.
Even though my mind is moving toward Italy, I haven’t ignored this beautiful coast summer. I have spent pleasant hours on my pretty back deck, enjoying my flower filled pots and O’Keeffe inspired wall art.
I scooted to the Roberts Creek pier and had a fine 2 hours of sketching the copper roofed house across the creek.
But the best day of all was when instead of going up the lane back home, I unexpectedly turned the shoprider down towards the lookout at the end of my road and started a sketch of the view. Suddenly, I heard a huge whooshing blow – a woman on the beach below started yelling “The Whale!! The Whale!!” so I peeled out to a more open point and there it was. Or at least there was the spray and a huge hump of a grey back, moving slowly, following the tide line toward Sechelt.
I could feel it – I’m sure.
A great day indeed.
That is what my friend Marlene told me, and I have been fully embracing the pre-trip.
I had to think of something which would hold my attention, and keep my excitement from spilling over into anxiety – because I know myself. I can get… squirrelly. So, I have made up a crazy project for myself. I am filling one of my beautiful Kim Oka encaustic journals with sketches of details from Renaissance paintings, mostly of those that I could possibly see in Italy – but I am using ballpoint pens. And a bit of watercolour. Thats it.
Then, I am scanning these sketches and printing them out as postcards, which I will take with me.
While I am casually relaxing in a piazza with a tiny white cup filled with thick espresso, or perhaps a nice glass of jewel red Chianti, I will write my Deep Thoughts on them and send them back home to myself embellished with beautiful Italian stamps. This lovely dream is keeping my hands busy and my anxiety levels manageable.
Two more weeks……….
More like Soul Companions, don’t you think? Cute as bugs, I say. And I kissed em both on the nose this morning. 🙂
It is a funny thing, entirely unexpected, but I have become quite… attached.. to Sketchbook Skool.
Oh I knew when I joined it would be fun. And I hoped it would be inspiring, and challenging in a stress-free kind of way. I also wanted to hang with pro sketchers I have admired for a few years now, learn from them and peek into their sketchbooks. It has been all that – and much more.
Bootkamp launches today, a mash-up of classes put together into a concentrated schedule, just for those of us who have taken the previous three courses, and I have been waiting with all the impatience of a kid on Christmas Eve… who knew? I spent the most delicious evening working on the first assignment. Home alone, the fireplace on, implements gathered, sketchbook ready, hockey game on (ya we lost whatever) dinner simmering and a glass of wine… dive in. Three blissful hours later, I post. To the site first, then to the SBS facebook page. And the beeps start up. All the people that I only know by icons and comments start chiming in, commenting, saying hello… friends by shared passion for the pencil, pen, watercolour set – from all over the world. They welcome me back, and I them, curious to see what they will do.
My sweet little family sleeps while I play.
Such a simple thing, a sketch, can comfort on a winter evening – and with a few keystrokes can reach around the world.
Ella is a Wild Dog in the Woods, or so it is reported to me – I wish I could see her leaping the logs and trails with grace and strength and exuberance. But this day, I’m glad I wasn’t there to see most of her disappear down a hole in a log – luckily no bear waiting for her at the bottom! There was some debris though, which must have tickled her ear causing an entire night of head shaking, ear flipping and scratching. Mournful brown eyes pleaded for help.
Still greatly bothered in the morning, there was nothing to do but take her to the Vet. Well, she wouldn’t stay still, so the Big Drugs had to come out. And what did they find for $300? A hair. And Poor Ella was a woozy, ill mess for the next day and a half. Perhaps she will re-think her Acting career.
I must say, she held still for a lovely long sketch.
And Sammie – I think he was just keeping her company as she slept it off. He’s good like that.