DIY bookmarks

June 30, 2015

When I was 17, my mother bought me art lessons at The Manchester Art Center, Manchester, Vermont the Summer between high school and college, 1965.  Those classes proved to be very memorable.  My teacher was a watercolourist I deemed to be old, who was probably a good several years younger than I am now…heh heh.

He advised me to choose my medium carefully and stick with it my whole life, saying, “You’re unlikely to master even one medium, much less a few.”  When I told him I wanted to paint in watercolour (because I so enjoyed his), he said, “Ok, good….but now always adhere to the 20 to 1 principle…..for every watercolour you keep, throw out 19.”  (IOW, don’t frame often, and if so, make sure it’s worth framing. I think now you know why they were memorable, lol.)

Thus, we come to what to do with the 19.  And I cut ’em up and make bookmarks.  They sell from between $3 to $5 — $3 for the bookmark alone; $5 for a gift card-type sleeve with gift tag.

Here we go…..

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Discarded/cropped portions of paintings…

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Bookmark part of rejected painting is cut out and also artist signed on front; 2 pieces of protective lamination paper from the dollar store are then cut a bit larger than the bookmark…

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the bookmark is laminated on both sides ….

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once the laminated edges are trimmed, a paper punch is used to make a hole…..

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a title (in this case ‘Raven Moon’) and artist info can be written on the reverse before laminating….and the hole is punched at the top

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dollar stores also sell embroidery yarn which is then used to make a tassel…

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voila

The materials come to practically nothing, cost wise.  It’s your time requiring compensation, but I do these watching Netflix, so hey….

Next time I will demo how to make and attach the tassel and also how to make the gift card-type sleeve and gift tag.

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tiny robin

June 28, 2015

There is a woman named Robin who comes to the Gallery looking for namesake treasures.  It is my personal pleasure to keep her mission accomplished.

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N. American Robin‘, 4cm x 6cm, (1.5″ x 2.5″), watercolour miniature, sold

I have a niece named Robin.  What’s cool about her is that she is married to Peregrin.  And the relieving detail is that they chose not to name any of their three children after birds.

I went to school with a girl named Candi Barr.  When I was a kid, our next door neighbour’s maiden name was Olivia Greene.  Fortunately, none of my (known) relatives ever named their son Bud.

Please provide some examples of your own known ‘unfortunate’ names.  We could all do with a smile.

twilight time

June 26, 2015

DUSK HAS ALWAYS BEEN a magical time for photographers and painters alike.  Exemplifying this is John Singer Sargents’ famous work, ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose’ . . .

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He would work on the piece by running outside every evening at that magical time to take in the effects the setting sun created in his garden, and add more detail to this wonderful painting–and did this over an entire year, between 1885 and 1886.

It borders on fatuous to have a Singer Sargent and something of mine on the same page, so please refrain from making a comparison.  Rather, note along with me that regardless of who is photographing, painting in oils, watercolour, or pastel, trying to gain an understanding of the effects of the setting sun continues to be a worthy and challenging pursuit, no matter which century we happen to find ourselves living in.

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“Winter Sun”, watercolour, 20cm x 30.5cm (8″ x 10″), art board, unsold

heatwave relief

June 24, 2015

IT IS BARELY PAST the first day of Summer and temperatures here in Southern British Columbia, Canada, are scheduled to climb to 40C (104F) and stay there.  It is feared the heat and drought affecting California is heading North,  Along with such heat, thunderstorm probabilities rise, and they become fire starters. By August there’ll be what weather reports term ‘local smoke’–a haze hanging over everything–accompanied by the sound of helicopters and planes working to douse flames in affected regions close by.

My favourite month is November.  It is both an exciting and contemplative month–exciting because any day, any moment I might step out to feel those fortifying winds suddenly becoming the first snow squall.  Contemplative, because the fog rising from the closeby Thompson River mixes with wood stove breathings and the last of the leathery oak leaves falling to join the others, invites thoughts on things ethereal and eternal.

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“Logging along Jamieson Creek Road”, watercolour, 20cm x 25cm, (8″ x 10″) Arches Hot Press 140 lb Paper, unsold

As a child, there was nothing more beautiful than what I called ‘purple snow’–that snow which signalled to us that we’d best take only one more turn sledding down Dead Man’s Hill (many years prior, legend had it, a man went down its twists and turns standing on his sled and smacked into a maple–back in the old days, when men apparently went sledding).  Purple snow meant dinner.  Purple snow meant finally discovering just how cold our digits actually were– thawing under a running cold faucet–pins and needles hot pink cold.

And even now, there is nothing to me more beautiful than purple snow.  On this 40C second day of Summer, all I can say is, Lord get us through to November.

on display

June 22, 2015

THE OLD COURTHOUSE GALLERY CO-OP and Gift Shop got its start in 2007.  The Courthouse itself is a Kamloops, B. C., landmark, built in 1909.

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photo: Okanagan Art Review.com

A superb and intact example of the Edwardian Baroque style, its interior demonstrates an Arts and Crafts sensibility.

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Mainly symmetrical, the building features an elaborate central entry, prominent parapet gables and a corner square-domed tower. It was constructed primarily of local brick, British Columbia stone such as granite, limestone and slate, and wood from local lumber mills. The choice of materials symbolized a commitment to the use of quality British Columbia products, a source of pride in this provincial building. An exceptional level of design and craftsmanship is evident throughout the building. It is one of the most accomplished designs of prominent architects Dalton & Eveleigh, and the stained glass came from the studio of Charles Bloomfield. (source: http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=12791)

Our Artists’ Co-op now consists of sixteen local artists, whose work is on display within one of the rooms of the original Courthouse.  We are a group made up of several potters, glassmakers, jewelry makers, painters, two photographers, one dollmaker, and one weaver.  I am currently the President.

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Every month we schedule one or two of us to be the Featured Artists who occupy a special area just inside the entrance.

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We are open five days a week, all year round, and our biggest event is called Christmas At The Courthouse where we invite and jury in arts and fine crafts vendors to sell their wares throughout the entire building . . .

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mountain pine

June 20, 2015

In January 2011, a Pacific ponderosa pine in the Rogue River–Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon was measured with a laser to be 268.35 ft (81.79 m) high. This is now the tallest known pine. The previous tallest known pine was a sugar pine.

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 Ponderosa Pine photo by Jason Sturner

The needles are harvested by First Nations and other local artisans, then washed and woven into Ponderosa Pine needle baskets . . .

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(photos: PineGardenBaskets, Etsy)

The mountain pine beetle is just over six millimetres long (about the size of a grain of rice). But the tiny forest insect has infested huge areas of mature pine around the interior of British Columbia, causing colossal amounts of damage on B.C. forests.

The beetle likes mature pine and mild weather. Because B.C. has more old pine than ever before, and has had several consecutive mild winters, mountain pine beetle populations have exploded to epidemic levels.  (source + photo: Government of British Columbia)

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Here in Kamloops, B. C., even pines growing in people’s yards get ravaged–as much as in our great forests.  It is a helpless feeling, yet more and more innovative products are being developed from pine beetle timber.

Below is the Richmond, B. C., Olympic Skating Oval, totally made from pine beetle-killed timber.  The wood has retained all the pine beetle bores and markings, and has been acclaimed as a ‘truly majestic work of art and design’.

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photo: Architectural Review

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‘Mountain Pine’, (study), watercolour, 15cm x 36cm, 6″ x 14″, Arches Hot Press 140 lb. Paper, unsold

butterfly morning

June 18, 2015

Many butterflies have developed interesting ways of defending themselves from predators. One method is disguise, or “cryptic coloration”, where the butterfly has the ability to look like a leaf or blend into the bark of a tree to hide from predators.  Another method is chemical defense, where the butterfly has evolved to have toxic chemicals in its body. These species of butterfly are often brightly colored, and predators have learned over time to associate their bright color with the bad taste of the chemicals. (source:http://www.defenders.org/butterflies/basic-facts)


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As children, we chased them  with homemade cheesecloth and coathanger nets, paying frequent visits to our neighbour’s butterfly bush which truly was just that.  Of course, today they are no longer so abundant and butterflies are–I grew to know–best viewed while alive and gracing the perennials in the front yard.

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The Chestnut-backed Chickadee uses lots of fur in making its nest, with fur or hair accounting for up to half the material in the hole.

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Rabbit, coyote, and deer hair are most common, but hair from skunks, cats, horses, or cows appears in nests as well. The adults make a layer of fur about a half-inch thick that they use to cover the eggs when they leave the nest.  (source: allaboutbirds.org)



chestnut_backed_chickadee_nest© René Corado / WFVZ

What’s not to like about these chittery, agile, and nimble bits of joy–so accommodating, they’re willing to eat out of an uplifted palm.  At feeders, they flit in, impetuously seize a seed, cock their heads and in a mercurial moment are pounding the life out of their shell-encased prize, hammering against a solid branch.

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“Chestnut Chickadee”, 2.54cm x 2.54cm (1″ x 1″), watercolour on Arches Hot Press Paper, sold

When annoyed, they chee-chee-chee-chee at any feeder chaos, curtly muscle back in, and sprightly dart back up to pummel their sunflower seed in privacy.

shirley poppies

June 14, 2015

The Shirley poppy was ‘created’ circa 1880 by the Reverend William Wilks, vicar of the parish of Shirley in England.  Rector Wilks found in a corner of his garden where it adjoined arable fields, a variant of the field poppy that had a narrow white border around the petals.

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By careful selection and hybridization over many years The Rev. Wilks obtained a strain of poppies ranging in colour from white and pale lilac to pink and red, and unlike the wild poppies these had no dark blotches at the base of the petals. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Poppy, photo credit: http://pantip.com/topic/30827995)

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‘Shirley Poppies’, watercolour, Bockingford Cold Press 140# Paper, 15cm x 20cm (6″ x 8″), sold

THEY HAVE BECOME SYNONYMOUS with the Remembrance Day poppy, worn in lapels all over Canada and the U. K. in the early days of November onwards through to the 11th, post-memorial cenotaph services, where, in Canada’s capital, people place their poppy on The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before departing.

Northern Mockingbird

June 12, 2015

TODAY MY BLOGGING COMRADE, H.J. Ruiz of ‘Avian101’ ( https://avian101.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/law-and-order-2/) features his stories and photographs of The Northern Mockingbird, a bird I was asked to do a miniature of, but not a bird which we (to my knowledge) have populating the Interior of British Columbia (it is probably just too cold here).

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The Northern Mockingbird, 2″ x 3″, watercolour, L. Rice-Sosne Collection

I HAD TO RELY ON REFERENCE PHOTOS and see from H. J.s photos that its feet are quite a distinctive size relative to the body.  And it seems from photos to be a very sharp-eyed, inquisitive, decisive–almost wary–garden ‘defender’, as H.J. declares the Mockingbird to be.  I’d perhaps have made its wings a degree darker had I had his photos before me, but I’m okay with the results.

OF COURSE, BOOMERS LIKE ME grew up hearing Patti Page singing ‘Mockingbird Hill’, as well as Inez and Charlie Foxx’s ‘Mockingbird’  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g47_NI1CWNQ — which my parents hated and I loved ).  It was, to me anyhow, later perfected by James Taylor and Carly Simon — watch here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmnTcBdpbHI . So all I really knew was the lore, rather than the bird.

AND I HAVE OVER THE YEARS, come to associate The Northern Mockingbird with The Old South, whether warranted or not, I just don’t really know.

barn swallow

June 9, 2015

A FEW INTRIGUING FACTS about Barn Swallows:

(source: allaboutbirds.org)

  • Although the killing of egrets is often cited for inspiring the U.S. conservation movement, it was the millinery (hat-making) trade’s impact on Barn Swallows that prompted naturalist George Bird Grinnell’s 1886 Forest & Stream editorial decrying the waste of bird life. His essay led to the founding of the first Audubon Society.
  • According to legend, the Barn Swallow got its forked tail because it stole fire from the gods to bring to people. An angry deity hurled a firebrand at the swallow, singeing away its middle tail feathers.
  • The oldest known Barn Swallow in North America was 8 years, 1 month old.
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‘Male Barn Swallow‘, watercolour, 7.5cm x 12.5cm, 3″ x 5″, Arches Hot Press 140# Paper, L. Rice-Sosne Collection

Barn Swallows don’t come to seed or suet feeders, but they may take ground-up eggshells or oyster shells placed on an open platform feeder. If you have a suitable outbuilding, leaving a door or window open can encourage Barn Swallows to build a nest inside. Providing a source of mud will also help with nest building. Barn Swallows may use artificial nest cups attached to an appropriate surface.

Barn Swallows also drink and even bathe on the wing, dipping down to take a mouthful of water or touch their belly to the surface for a quick rinse. Males defend a small territory around the nest site and aggressively chase away other males, even grabbing them with their feet and tumbling to the ground. Individuals or groups of Barn Swallows mob predators such as hawks, gulls, or grackles that approach nests.

joan’s place

June 7, 2015

THIS FORMAL AND RATHER LOVELY Heritage Home in our small city (90,000) of Kamloops, B.C., (canada) is known as the Dr. M.S.Wade House.  Dr. Mark Wade was an eye, ear, and throat specialist who arrived in Kamloops in 1895. A decade later, in 1905 he built his home.  It has become a great favourite painting subject of mine . . .

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Dr. M.S. Wade House

THE BASIC SHAPE OF THE HOUSE is undecorated and angular, but Wade added rich Victorian millwork and slender, turned verandah columns. Bay windows, stained glass and a wraparound verandah are lovely features to this home.

IT IS SUCH AN APPEALING SUBJECT.  The reasons for this are my enjoyment of Victorian architecture, how the many nuances of this design capture the imagination, (especially when situating the house in the midst of ‘moody’ seasonal weather), and how its present owner adds her own personal touches.  The watercolour below has been posted here, but some years ago now. . . .

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Foggy Dew’, November, Dr. Wade Home’, watercolour, Arches 140# Cold Press Paper, 36cm 50cm (14″ x 20″), J. Potter Collection

BUT A MORE SUMMERY ONE is of a portion of the house at the very back which can be faintly seen at the far left in the painting above . . .

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“Joan’s Place”, watercolour on matt board, 23cm x 31cm (9″ x 13″)

THIS WAS AN EXPERIMENTATION in depicting grasses on the almost glassy smoothness of plain old white matt board.  As a finished painting, it is so-so.  The composition suffers from there being just a bit too much grass, and how the lawn ornaments unintentionally became the subject.  Without an interesting focal point, in the end it was a helpful study in summer grasses and pines–and an instruction in what to avoid in seeking good composition (i.e. not everything in a photograph needs to be included).

more night

June 5, 2015

I KNOW, I KNOW, it’s June.  I’m incurably attracted to Autumn and Winter, most likely because they are for me what I’d describe as cozy seasons, where a sweater serves perfectly.

ADMITTING to age preferences is slightly embarrassing, but only slightly.  Heat is no longer an attraction to me, weather-wise, and here it is June 5 and in two days it will be going to 92F (33C).  Now please, do NOT misinterpret this as whining.  I’m not (right now), but rather simply stating a preference in order to justify posting this painting….

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‘Pale Moon’, Watercolour on Arches Hot Press 140 lb Paper, 13cm x 18cm (5″ x 7″)

WHEN PAINTING,  I admit to finding it more satisfying to express feeling through stark scenes with diminished-light.  For one thing, the above place is not one many people would find themselves visiting at that hour in that weather.  It therefore brings us in as though inviting a search for Snowy Owls on the prowl, or a pack of Grey Wolves threading a path back to the lair.

tranquille creek gorge

June 3, 2015

ANCIENT FLOWS OF LAVA have left our regional landscape (Kamloops, B. C.) with dramatic canyons, a single lane dirt road skirting the edges.

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‘Tranquille Creek Gorge’, watercolour 23cm x 41cm (9″x16″) Arches Hot Press 140 lb. Paper, sold

MY PAINTING FRIEND MAX drove me through this arid landscape, only 10 minutes outside a city of nearly 100,000.  Every so often she’d tell me of cars which had not been successful at executing a snowy, icy, tricky piece of road only to careen down the sides.  At one place, the car was still there, making me both dizzy and almost nauseous, leaning over to see its rusting bulk caught between broken pines and rock.

‘MY GOD, WHERE WERE THEY HEADED?’ I’d asked.  ‘Home, of course’, Max pointed ahead.  And there was a small grouping of houses not far from the road, some fencing in horses or livestock–one had alpacas–and looking semi-deserted, though that was far from the case. Dogs barked at Max’s pickup as we threaded through and headed into yet more wilderness. ‘They take this road to Kamloops and back?’ — it seemed to my chicken, urban-minded guardedness a scary place to build one’s home.  ‘Only for shopping, or a night on the town’, Max said.  ‘Which is why someone sometimes doesn’t make it home–especially in the Winter.’

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