Archives for posts with tag: Roberts Creek

Wing feath Heron fullblue2web

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.

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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…..

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Heron Magic, if you ask polite. 🙂

 

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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.

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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.

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Scanning, printing, cups, birds, wings, things. Sketchin’ and clippin’. Clipping and sipping. Friends have various names for my back porch antics.

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Cups on deck blog

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What I end up sipping depends entirely on my mood. And it is always a good mood. 🙂

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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.

 

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When the clouds roll away on a coast spring day, everything gleams with fresh intensity.

Feather on blue blog

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Gouache tubeblog

I’m busting out the tubes.

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My Grandmother Ruby used to carry scissors in her purse when she went out for a walk. She loved flowers, she grew them on her balcony and often had a little bouquet on her table. Over the years we spent many a pleasant day wandering in the garden centre and planting up her small riotously colour-filled boxes.  But cut flowers were a different story.  Oh she wanted them, in the early spring when the sky was grey, and hers were months from being ready – but she would not pay for them. Besides, she had a Law that if any flower extended into any walkway, it was common property.

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That included any that could be hooked with a cane and pulled over to the sidewalk. This could sometimes be an embarrassing situation for me, causing me to rapidly walk ahead, which amused her. I myself, purchased my flowers at full price.

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However, I have lately found my thinking to be more in line with hers.

I have looked up that Law, and I believe she was correct.

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Opera gouache

I call it the Law of Unauthorized Pruning for Art’s Sake.

 

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January has rolled into February. Winter cold has remained at bay – in fact, it has been a typical balmy West Coast Winter… so far.

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It seems to me the sketching moments have been plentiful. Self-imposed challenges of Sketchbook Skool Bootkamp and Kim Oka’s 30 day journaling have provided practice and entertainment on damp evenings.

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Weather even broke into brief sun, and a rare trip to a dear friend’s welcoming home was actually realized. By me, alone. My mountain to climb, and I did it. I was well rewarded. 🙂

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When one doesn’t have to hang sheets and plastic over the doorways to keep the heat of the fireplace trapped, (also known as Art Ghetto decor) and when the toilet seat is actually room temperature every day…(yes, last January was a bit trying) the subtle layers of a coast winter can be relaxed into, enjoyed even. Especially if you have a friend  or two to share the fire.

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On a calm afternoon I scooter to the pier, smell the ocean, feel the sky, watch the water flowing under the Robert’s Creek bridge.

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February begins. And the sun is now rising before 8am and setting after 5pm.

Detail: Mandala

Detail: Mandala

Gently exciting.

 

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The people gathered at the mouth of Roberts Creek, fragile boats in hand. They are here to set intentions for the New Year, to float away the encumbrances of last year, to invite in the wishes for this year.

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The one on the left is my boat, an Origami Sampan, inspired by Kim Oka’s enthusiasm. She was the BoatMaster. I made three, one each for me, Robert and Janet. Sue Bailey tucked a wish into the prow of my boat. I think intention boats can take unlimited requests, but her daughter Hannah had secretly made her a boat too, so she was well covered. Robert braved the rocks to take our boats to the water while Janet and I watched from the pier. With candles lit, they are surprisingly swift as they silently fly over the waves and out into the Salish Sea. Can you see them?

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Mine said, “Fear Out – Faith In” and had my favourite Joni Mitchell lyric…  We are Stardust. We are Golden. We are Billion Year Old Carbon.

And the first day of a New Year feels so good.

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The first real weather of the season is rolling in. Colour? Gunmetal. Payne’s Grey. Ivory black. Smudged charcoal. And I feel a kind of a thrill. Long ago, at the beginning of my painting, I spent 2 years using only black and white paint. Like Georgia O’Keeffe, I later read. Greys? I have them…..

Contemporary bodies..

Medici chapel pose detailblog

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Art Historical re-imaginings… I can still hear my Art History professor Josephine Jungic (also my friend, so missed) saying – “oh, what have you done to Duccio??”.. with a smile…

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More recent details made large, and a lesson learned – when you buy black paint, from anywhere, make sure you buy enough – black is never the same black. Ever.

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I wish I knew where this painting was……….. a rare loss. I try to know where all my children of the soul have gone.

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Is it my destiny to love this coast so much?

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All I know is, I don’t fear the grey. I think it is most subtle, silvery, deep. And full of potential. We need dark to understand light, as simple as that, and as complex.

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On the longest day of the year I sat in my sun-filled yard and sketched this blackberry flower. There are scads of them, a gajillion, I would say, their robust prickled vines snake out and grow visibly as I sit there – at least it seems so. I believe we are in for a bumper crop this summer, which is very good, because once they are picked, bagged and frozen they will be most welcome on the shortest day of the year.

Tiger moth blog

First Rule for surviving the inevitable miserable portion of a BC Coast winter: don’t look out of the window. Seriously, anywhere else but. Or you might see this:

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..or this:

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You are probably saying to yourself, Oh look, Snow – how pretty! Just what I said… for five minutes. This is not that pretty kind of snow – this snow is wet and slushy and heavy and brings down the tree limbs onto power lines so that you are stoking the woodfire all night long to keep the deep, damp chill at bay. Very Icky. No ShopRider is going down the ramp, and a wobbly person like me is definitely not going to try to maneuver in the frozen muck. A soaking wet ass is not good for a person’s dignity, best to avoid the extremely high probability in this weather.

So, once the blankets are hung over the draughty windows, (you think I’m exaggerating, don’t you?) I find it best to turn my gaze to faraway places. Luckily, I have friends who Travel. For instance, Lisa at sell your tv and come to the cinema has just spent a marvellous two months in India, and I could not resist sketching the most beautiful moth she saw on the wall where she was teaching.  The exotic sights of Ahmedabad will sooth a shivery soul.

And Julie, over at Kitchen Culinaire is gearing up for her yearly trip to Paris, so pictures of Madelines and markets and the Eiffel Tower are gracing my laptop monitor… dreamy!  A lucky group of people are in for a tour of great deliciousness, and I will be following along every step of the way. She might even spy another stamp shop while she is there and think, “I know someone who would want these..”

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Speaking of postal inspiration, I have even received a postcard from Myanmar this winter – I’m pretty sure this cancelled stamp is as close as I will ever be to this enigmatic country. Though never say never…

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I affix these happy bits of travel to the board in my thinking room. A nice warm fire cheers up the house, and colour fills my grateful eyes.

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In fact, last night when I was absentmindedly staring up from a drawing, my eye caught a corner of vintage pale blue… but I couldn’t think who had sent me this bit of Florida sunshine.

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I flipped it over, and was reminded of a particularly difficult birthday, and the warmth of many friends who made it completely better.

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Winter? What winter… in fact did you know the light is already coming back??

 

 

Broken butterfly blog

The original tattered butterfly was a gift from a friend, more than a couple of years ago. “Hey, I found this on the front of my car.. thought I would save it for you.”

My friends know me well.