Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Today's Theme: Animals

It's time to look at animals. We don't live on a farm but nevertheless we get the occasional sighting of creatures, both wild and domesticated. For example, in the field across the road we've been watching this hawk, a Northern Harrier, swooping around. As it turns out he's protecting his nest which is on the ground. I haven't seen the nest but I have seen the mom-bird, who is bigger and browner and more difficult to photograph.

I know, it's blurry, but the best I could do with my little camera.

Today I went out looking for the hawks and saw this fellow instead. There were three of them, enjoying the morning sun.

And as I was watching the deer along came Polly!

Pearl and Polly, in fact. The breed is 'Canadian' and their owner was taking them for a walk before putting them to work on his farm at the end of our road.

Further along the road we often see these Belgians grazing. They have a new addition this year. He's most handsome.

And in the opposite field are the beeves. Funny how they all turn to look at you in quiet contemplation.

This poor guy was presented to me the other morning by a very proud Bridget. Our cats don't go outside but mice do get in and often regret it.

After breakfast, (not the mouse), she likes to do a washing number on Sam.

Sam is a very clean cat.
And that's all for today, folks!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Artist Trading Cards

Wow! This is the longest time I've been away from blogging. No excuses. Well, just one; I've started writing something else but it's not ready to share yet. 

So I'll continue with my blogging theme for the year: a review of my various  doings over the past twelve years, things I've started, enjoyed, and ended.

In 2006 I began making Artist Trading Cards, inspired by a dynamic group of local artists who put on an impressive exhibition at a nearby gallery. Our first meetings, the last Saturday of the month, took place at a restaurant/bar in Alexandria, Ontario.( Since then, both the gallery and the restaurant have changed hands. ) When the restaurant was in limbo we found the local community hall in Dunvegan to be a good venue, and so it was until, little by little, interest in this activity began to peter out. Fads have a life, a sustained period of gung-ho enthusiasm  followed by gradual lessening and finally stopping altogether. Fun while they last.

One of our group, the multi-talented Ronna Mogelon, created  a quarterly ATC Magazine, featuring traders from all over the world. Here is the first edition, Winter 2006. This centerfold page features one of Ronna's cards, bottom right. The top left card was done by Susan Valyi, one of the original editors.

What follows is a selection of some of my own card series, always a group of nine 2.5"x3.5" images, always themed, though there was never a rule about that.



(One is missing) 


When he was ninety I cajoled my Dad to join us for a few sessions. This is what he whipped up for his first effort. He loves trains.

Unfortunately we scanned these without considering which way was up.

So here is a singleton. I love this one.

At the end of the trade we leave with a plastic sleeve that looks like this, a remembrance of that day and the people we shared art with. I have two thick binders full of these. They might make for some interesting perusing in years to come.

And, finally, here is the centerfold in the last edition of the ATC Quarterly. Winter 2012. 
It was good and now...Goodbye!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A Memoir

It will soon be twelve years since George and I crept out of the rainforest and flew back east. The re-entry was our millennium project; the six years on the left coast was our experiment. 
Over the next little while I intend to write about the experiment and what has happened since the re-entry. A mini memoir.
The experiment began in February, 1994, just after we finally sold our house in Hudson, Quebec. Now homeless, we put our furniture in storage, packed up some essentials, (pillows, blankets, candles, George's computer pre-laptops, George's keyboard and some wine) in the Pontiac STE sedan and headed west in -30 C weather. I cried a lot during that five day journey. What were we doing!? Why were we leaving our friends and family!?

Our destination was Chemainus, B.C., 'The Little Town That Did'.  If you want to see a lot of murals go there. We arrived around noon, found a real estate agent called Myrtle and bought a little house.

This little house kept us busy for the next six years as we worked like crazy to fix it up. The window at the very top had a view of Salt Spring Island and that room became my studio. The hedge in front is cotoneaster, an evergreen shrub that required serious pruning every spring.

This shot was taken from Old Town Chemainus looking west toward the small mountain whose name I can't recall but whose presence blocked out the sun at our house after 7:30 pm.

Within walking distance of our house was this natural parkland called the Hermit's Trail. The Hermit's name was Charlie Abbott, a solitary soul who, according to local lore, had once been a master gardener to the rich and famous in and around Hollywood. What caused him to wander northward and stumble upon this wooded ravine and set up camp? There are many stories. He died in the late eighties, I believe, but this enchanting park is his legacy. He created it day by day, laying trails and moving rocks in his wheelbarrow. The villagers supported him with food and shelter donations--he lived in an old camper--and were rewarded with his labour of love.

There is a statue of Charlie with his wheelbarrow by sculptor Glen Spicer at the entrance to the park and local volunteers maintain the trails. Or at least that's the way it was when we lived there.

 Some of the things we did during our stay there were pretty wacky. Here's George standing next to his camera suit after taking part in the Chemainus Daze (yes) parade. He was promoting the local photographer, J. Neil Newton. I was not in the parade; I was serving customers at Toad Hall Emporium, owned by J. Neil's partner, Dianne Hopkins.

But I did take part in the Easter Parade and fashioned this 'bonnet' which was supposed to represent angels singing. I don't know why. 

George joined a jazz band called The Brady Bunch. Yes, the leader's name was Brady. Here he poses for a photo op in the local paper.

And here I am posing by the goldfish pond we built and enjoyed from the deck for several years.  

We had lots of visitors. Sons Jon and Andrew cozy up in front of the fireplace. They hadn't seen each other for a long time (Jon was, and is, living in Montreal. Andrew was in Victoria.) It was so great seeing them together again. They do a good Bert and Ernie routine. 

My sister and her daughters flew in from Toronto for a visit. Melissa and Joanna look so young here. They were.  

It was rare to have snow but this snowfall was a biggie. The funny thing was how excited we became when it did snow. Reminded us how we missed the east. And so, after a long and extra rainy winter in 1999 we decided to sell up and move back. It would be our Millennium project.

In February, 2000, our house was sold and our friends threw us a party. This photo was taken by J. Neil Newton at the end of the bash. We had made a lot of friends during that short time in Chemainus. Some have since passed on, but I still enjoy hearing from some of the others.  It was another world, another time, and I'm happy we had it. 

And before we left I painted this little watercolour of our house. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Aquarius is an air sign. I know this sounds wrong but it is so. Apparently those of you born under this sign have a very active mind and your thoughts just flow--like water--and escape as fantastic ideas into the air.

Naturally, you have your dark side and your light side. Who doesn't?

Your dark side comes across as your unpredictability. We may think you are showing us water, something liquid and flowing, but no, it is ice now, immobile and reflective. We must look closely beneath the surface.

Your light side shows originality and inventiveness. This fish print embodies these traits as interpreted by my son, Andrew, who is also an Aquarian. (He also loves water and fishing but he might have Piscean tendencies in his ascendants.)

Here we are looking at water and earth ...from the air. Three elements of the zodiac are represented here. The fourth, fire, could be under the earth or water in this shot as it is over a volcanic zone along the Pacific Coast. In fact I took this picture from a Pacific Coastal Airlines plane as we were descending, very quickly, and my eardrums were exploding, most painfully as we prepared to land in Vancouver. 

And so ends my year of zodiac interpretation through art and other images. I hope you enjoyed the trip...but don't take it too seriously!

Saturday, 21 January 2012


This past week has been mighty cold, mornings of -32C with a daytime high of -20C. Then when it warms up we get freezing rain. Therefore I avoid going outside as much as possible, like most sensible people who don't have to go to work do. I did enough of that white-knuckle driving during my 'going-to-work' years and I must say studded tires have a lot to recommend them.

So I've been content to stay inside and look out the windows. The spider web above said it all.

Here it is at night, caught in the flash. I hope Ms. Spider has found a warm nest.

Another kitchen window shows off my glass treasures against a backdrop of pale pink and blue. We sometimes see foxes at this time of year in the far field.

Actually here I was trying to shoot the full moon but a cloud covered it before I got the camera.

From the dining room we can see the tree of doves. They come here around noon to sunbathe, then later they invade the bird feeder. They're not very bright but they are pretty.

The small birds start to arrive during a snow squall.

Juncos and finches enjoy some niger seed.

Out by the pond...a winter sculpture. That cigar-shaped object is a pine cone caught in the fishing line attached to the glass ball. Behind the ball is a feather from a turkey vulture.

Meanwhile, back in the warmth, Sam and Bridget enjoy a good wash.

Monday, 9 January 2012


First post of the new year and about time too...I've been slacking recently because of being busy with other projects. So it's time to celebrate Capricornians, you tenacious little goat creatures.My sister, Eulalie, (not her real name) is  of the Capricorn persuasion and she fits the description just about as much as anyone fits their own zodiac profile. By that I mean I think anyone could fit anyone else's profile, that fact has been proven before. But it's fun anyway.

Capricorn is an Earth sign and is populated by hardworking achievers whose endurance and perseverance is their strongest characteristic.

You are practical and a dedicated home-maker, taking pride in your surroundings and displaying your belongings to their greatest advantage.

Because you have a tendency to fluctuate between ecstasy and melancholy you sometimes need a place where you can escape and meditate, away from your daily concerns.

Fortunately you also have a capricious side, (the word capricorn is descriptive), and once in a while you like to put on your glad-rags and just let-er-rippp!