Archives for posts with tag: Sunshine Coast BC

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I am trying very hard not to be disturbed by today’s event. After all, it is just another day of bloated pomp and circumstance.
Except, that it is not.

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I was, by fate, born in America to an American father. My Canadian mother brought me and my two brothers back to Canada when I was seven years old. By choice, since 1978, I remain a proud Canadian. But I don’t feel very perfect and my heart hurts today for myself, for good friends and relatives, and for this planet.

I roamed around the house awhile today, thinking many thoughts, some good and some unworthy. I scootered back to a (very) dusty, but beloved bookshelf, in a messy, unused room. I was only looking for Thoreau – to find this quote:

“When a man is warmed … what does he want next? Surely not more warmth of the same kind, as more and richer food, larger and more splendid houses, finer and more abundant clothing, more numerous, incessant, and hotter fires, and the like. When he has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now.”

I was looking for the fine Americans… the fine humans… that I know are out there.

I found, conveniently, prophetically, sadly, and hopefully – these books shelved next to each other. Aging pages, readings from my past.

John Boswell, died so young of AIDS.

bell hooks. Shoving racism and feminism in our faces. She knows.

Thoreau.

Helen and Scott Nearing. Vermont and Bernie know of their bravery and good sense.

George Woodcock. I can still hear Naomi Klein at Sechelt Writer’s fest saying “Oh, you should give Anarchy a chance.”  With the sweetest smile.

So five Americans and a Canadian editor form my reading now. Five of the six are dead, their works left to me to glean for seeds for the future. Will it help how I feel today? I don’t know. These books speak of thrilling, important ideas and it isn’t easy to watch them fail, crushed by much more than one sickening orange man. I hope from looking at them again, I can find some encouragement, find the great thrill they once gave me.  And my own country has a sweet leader who thinks he can rule and fool the masses. He must be corrected. Much work of world importance is started, and many have been working doggedly for years. And that is as it should be. For me, here at home, I’m looking for ways to put ideals back on the rails. I’m nervous, and I’m excited. I get to draw my own line in the plastic littered sand and say “No more”.
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Weren’t you bored with your hotter fire anyway?
Wouldn’t you rather be Adventuring on Life?

I know I would.
I know I am.
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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.

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I’m busting out the tubes.

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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.

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I  scooted to the Roberts Creek pier and had a fine 2 hours of sketching the copper roofed house across the creek.

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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.

Mesmerizing.

Magic.

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A great day indeed.

 

 

 

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Practice continues in my pursuit to learn techniques to one day produce a Carnet de Voyage. Luckily, it involves deliciousness and conviviality. I should be well fed whenever I do wander away from my home base.

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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.

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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..

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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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Pups, friends and family…