Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
The early settlers to this land were often nearly undone by the long distances between water sources and the lack of any kind of sheltered spaces. It truly was the land where the buffalo ran free and could stampede for days with nothing to stop them. This is a field of brilliantly blooming canola flowers under a dramatic sky, with few stands of planted trees called windbreaks, whose job was literally to break up the wind and prevent the seeded crops from blowing away. This is my world and welcome to a glimpse of it.
Monday, August 15, 2011
These are how water droplets look on the Red Morn petunias. Next to the roses, these are the prettiest.
Today my deck is covered with hail - small, and not very damaging but still...
Watercolor in the Pentalic Nature sketchbook.
Friday, August 05, 2011
The title of the book is "Painting watercolour landscapes the easy way" by Terry Harrison.
Monday, August 01, 2011
These are Matha Washington geraniums - two different plants in the same container. They are very showy and exuberant.
Watercolor in the Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.
Hope you are having a lovely summer.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I grew this radish in that garden and I'm proud of it. Every year, we plant radish seeds in a container on the deck, and every year we yield nothing. This year, as I planted nasturtiums in the radish container my beloved said "No radishes?" "No" I said, "the seeds are old and we never get any radishes". So when we planted the community garden, we decided to just throw all the (probably dead) radish seeds in and see what happened. An explosion of radishes is what happened. Hundreds of radishes! We've been eating spicy, peppery radishes every day for two weeks. They were simply waiting for the right place and time.
This is also one of the first sketches I've been happy with for a long time.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Prince William and Kate are coming to town to attend the Calgary Stampede. People are lining up overnight to get a wristband that entitles them to stand on the street in the hopes of getting a glimpse or a handshake. They seem like a very nice young couple, but I can't see sleeping on the street just to see them. The media frenzy is insane. I want to go downtown to the river park to draw the ducks, but I think I'll wait till the insanity is over. For now, I'll stay home and draw what's blooming in my back yard.
Ink and watercolor pencils
Sunday, June 26, 2011
This year, a baby robin fell out of the nest before it was able to fly. It flopped and hopped in the long grass. The parents were, we think, trying to build a nest on the ground to protect the little one. My tabby cat, Holly, walked out on the deck and sat down to survey her kingdom as usual. The robins began to screech and dive bomb her. She crouched down and backed up to the door, wondering, I'm sure, how she lost her position as supreme ruler of the back yard. We put her inside and the birds calmed down. But the crows and magpie got word that there was a tender morsel available and they came in, once more causing the parents to go into safety mode. That little robin went right after that big crow and chased it away. I flapped the rug at the rest and they flew off. Eventually the new nest was ready, predators were averted, and they herded the little one into the bushes to safety. A few days later the big robins spent lots of time in the birdbath, which is usually what they do once the little ones have found their wings and left the nest. So I hope they all survived and left to start their own lives. And Holly can reign supreme over the yard again.
Pen, ink. watercolor pencils in the little sketchbook
Sunday, June 19, 2011
One day on a routine mission to empty the garbage, I stood in a rare and unusual bit of sunshine (Ouch, what's that bright light?), and noticed the tulips blooming in the front. I mean, I really noticed them. I saw the voluptuous brashness of the yellow tulip, the graceful curves of the red one, the slender pointed petals of the purple ones, the tall straight stems, and the graceful leaves. And I heard again that quiet, still voice that said "I could draw that". And so I did, and determined to make a fresh start against the discouragement. Start with what I've always loved to draw - flowers, birds, nature. Maybe with that simple start, my soul can stand as straight and bloom as bright.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I've always like the east gate entrance to the main building. It's tall and elegant and full of windows that reflect the wide open sky. The spacious walkway in the summer has huge pots of petunias that lead up to the entrance. This is an exploratory draft of a painting that, if all goes well, I would submit to the gallery in the fall semester for the September celebration.
I really like how the sky is reflected in the windows, and the close up of the flower pot.
Ink and watercolor.
Saturday, April 02, 2011
But now it's open and it's beautiful. They expanded the back of the library into the green space. That back wall is now a curved expanse of windows, with a nice padded seating all around. This plus a skylight means lots of natural light. This is me standing in front of the new display shelves. To the right is a beautiful fireplace, and in front of me are soft, buttery leather chairs. We were offered coffee and cookies. It was nice to see the staff smiling again. This is a good use of my tax dollars.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
There were no tulips to be had, so he bought a big, lovely bunch of orange lilies, hoping they would do. As they are my other favorite flowers, they would indeed do nicely.
I spent a lovely week watching the lilies go from pale buds, to glorious full blooms. And the weather improved so much that we were able to skate outside this morning.
I did these with my new box of 36 yummy Faber-Castell watercolor pencils. 4 shades of orange!
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
The other day we noticed that the large white rabbit, the model for the previous post on the Year of the Rabbit, was also back there. It was eating the corn that is too big for the little birds to eat. Nice how they all share. The good news that the rabbit had to share was that its ears are turning from white to brown. That means spring is just around the corner! That's welcome news. The sparrows were all gossipy about it.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Last year was quite a rollercoaster with lots of unrest in many areas of the world - rioting in Europe and clashes in the Middle East. Floods, hurricanes, avalanches, and volcano eruptions proved that even the weather was in discord.
So welcome to the Rabbit. The world could use a return to manners, civility and good taste.
I wish you all the best in this year.
Sunday, February 06, 2011
They did make me smile and feel that maybe the cold weather and snow will end, maybe the sun will shine again, maybe the breezes will be warm and pleasant again.
Many years ago, I heard an interview with a woman who lived in northern Scotland where it got cold and dark early. She said they coped with it by "Drawing the drapes against the dark, lighting a fire against the cold, and having a wee dram to warm the heart".
I have daffodils and a shot of Kahlua in my coffee. Yeah, that's better!
Sunday, January 23, 2011
This is a sketch I did to remember our times snorkeling at Isla de Ixtapa. We took the little bus to the marina. The bus was lots of fun, blaring salsa music, windows (and sometimes doors) wide open, stick shift grinding through the gears. At the marina, we got onto a little shuttle boat to go over to the island. Sometimes we got on several boats, changing from one to the other in open water, for no discernible reason. There were two beaches on the shore side of the island. The water was warm and calm and lovely, but due to traffic, there were very few fish. Walking a short distance across the island led to Playa Coral and this beach was snorkel heaven. Tons of fish, a small coral reef that was wickedly sharp if the waves nudged you too close. There were white snappers that liked the shallows and brushed around your shins, little sergeant-majors, yellow and blue tangs, angel fish, and may more that I have not identified.
We claimed a table on the beach under the umbrella and ordered cerveza nestled in an ice filled bucket, accompanied by a dish of limes. After snorkeling several times, we had lunch. The first day we had grilled shrimps and rice, the second time we had mahi-mahi, and the third day chips and salsa. It was very crowded that day so we didn't stay as long. All three days were wonderful and I'm grateful to have those memories on a cold, snowy day.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Draw something frozen. Well that would be me. This past week has been brutally cold here. Windchills have been down around -35 Celcius which is approaching dangerous level.s Exposed skin can freeze within a minute.
Time t get out the serious winter gear and not take any chances. Double layers of everything. When I bought those shearling lined boots, I thought they were expensive, and it's not often cold enough to wear them more than about 10 times a year. But this year, they justified themselves.
I wanted to draw in my journal the steps I take to keep warm when outside. It really is an issue when it's this cold and becomes sort of all-consuming. Doing anything outside when it's this cold requires time and forethought, even taking out the garbage or walking pets. And it's way too cold to do fun things outside like skating or tobogganing. So here are the eights steps required to go outside.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Along the way, we stopped to help that turtle cross the road, and watched a roseate spoonbill feeding in the swamp while another one took flight. Near the marina, we stopped at the Zona de Cocodrillas. It's a natural crocodile habitat that has simply been fenced off so the crocs don't wander out into traffic and frighten children and tourists. They are small, as crocs go, only about five feet long from snout to tail and they looked pretty indolent and sleepy. But those teeth are long and the eyes are prehistoric and predatory. We also saw lots of those white egrets and iguanas. The ride was long and hot but lots of fun. Round trip was nearly 20 kilometers, including the sidetrips.
When we got back to the hotel, we saw that during the morning they had planted pointsettias amongst all the palm ferns and pothos in the lobby and grounds. It looked lovely.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Then we went on to a brick making...well, place, I guess. I want to say "factory" but both the shaping and the baking areas were outside. No buildings at all. The hand-shaped tiles or bricks dry in the sun, and then are fired in an outside kiln that is heated by burning coconut husks. That quintessentially Mexican sun and moon piece was bought there. It will hang on my garden fence in the summer.
We drove on to the coast where we boarded a small boat and toured a huge mangrove swamp. There were many species of birds and tons of fish. The birds feasted well. I think that is a cormorant that I saw sliding a pretty sizable fish straight down its gullet. We humans feasted on freshly caught and grilled Spanish Mackeral on the beach, along with salsa, beans, and icy cold Coronas.
Back at our hotel, just as the sun sank in the ocean, we guests and the hotel lifeguard released the baby turtles (a.k.a tortuguitas") that had hatched that morning in the protected area of the grounds.
Saturday, January 01, 2011
In December, I spent two weeks in Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo, Mexico. It was absolutely beautiful there, and we had a fabulous vacation.
One of my intentions for this new year is to draw more in public. I want to record the things that make up my life, the things that ignite my passion and curiosity, and the things that reflect the beauty of the world we live in. What better place to start that than on vacation in a place where everything is new and beautiful and wondrous.
We sailed and snorkeled and zip lined and walked and I tried to record the things I saw - everything from sunsets over the ocean, to crocodiles. I had to draw some of it from my memory, as some things, such as sailboats and bicycles are not conducive to drawing!
So here is the first sketch, drawn while reclining by the pool with a margarita close at hand. The perspective on the chairs is way off, but it did serve to get me over the nervousness of drawing in public.
Thank you for visiting my blog. The artistic communities I've discovered on the Internet are the most creative and supportive groups I've had the privilege to belong to. You are all wonderful!