where the heart is

March 24, 2018

Our city, Kamloops, B. C., is a native word meaning ‘the joining of rivers’ (where the North and South Thompson meet), and was founded by the Hudson Bay Co. in 1812.  As it grew and developed it became a railroad city (one of two cities in Canada where both CN and CP intersect).  The most gentrified residences are found on St. Paul Street, where many bear historical plaques for passers-by to read and gain knowledge of.

Turn of the Century–c1904–homes are difficult to maintain and keep in tiptop condition, as many reading this can appreciate.  Keeping up any house is expensive and challenging.

I befriended a woman who has outlived her spouse and is just able to keep the basics going while having to block off the upstairs from heat in the Winter.  Budgeting simply to stay put and keep living in her beloved heritage house before facing the inevitable and dreaded ‘downsizing’, her joy is feeding Crows, Ravens and Starlings using cat kibble poured into oversized vintage bird baths.  This certainly doesn’t make her the darling of her neighbours, but has earned her the moniker ‘the crow lady’.

She’s never seen this painting because I fear it may upset her, yet it was painted with affection and as a tribute to her intrepid spirit and unwillingness to let go of that which she dearly and completely loves:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

‘Where the Heart Is’

watercolour on Arches 140 lb Hot Press Paper, 12″ x 16″, collection of J. Weisser

 

 

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….November

November 14, 2015

It is the most blessed of months heralding the muted pallet–the toned-down greens, beefed-up greys, complex browns, accents of burnt orange, titian–trees simply/complexly themselves, displaying their line, frost-kissed leaves flashing their last colour, refusing dismissal.

Wonderous November--leaf-whipping, mini-cyclones, clouds suddenly letting forth face-lashing first flakes on towards frost-spongy earth–days framed by late mornings and early evenings, one’s home truly one’s castle, warming against the elements.

wells gray November a

Showboats gone, one paddles purposefully, keeping warm, the lapping sounds musical, deep-throated rooks ricocheting their call round rocky bends echoing, bouncing off glassy surfaces, wood-smoky mists rising.

Banished is the garish, overly-festooned–any and all too-muchness falling away to let be what simply is…..

November

Winter’s cusp

Summer’s compliment

Spring’s concealer

Mount Peter

January 21, 2012

To look up the face of Mount Peter– (the sibling of the larger Mount Paul), the signature mountains overlooking our city of Kamloops, B. C.–is to look upon the core of a mountain. These are mountains so ancient, all that remains are the inner cores–their souls.  Time and erosion have scarred and left them displaying a beauty it takes the eye a while to appreciate.

The roads about their base feature yellow diamond warning signs cautioning drivers to watch for Big Horn Sheep.

Big Horn Sheep (courtesy Wikimedia)

As a watercolourist, it took me a good two years before I attempted the challenge.  They are unusual subjects, and not easily rendered.  It was wise for me to wait, simply because I was so accustomed to the forested peaks of the Coastal Mountains that I regarded these as ugly. Until they finally become beautiful to the newly-arrived, these ancient and weather worn heights are probably best not attempted at all by art enthusiasts like me.

'Peter's Face'

Paint-off Challenge

January 20, 2012

A few years back I belonged to The Artists’ Studio, and the twenty of us each submitted a favourite photo which we thought would make for a good painting.  Those twenty photos were then subjected to a voting process whereby a single photo would end up becoming the subject which all twenty of us would base a painting on.

So–one photo–twenty artists–twenty different paintings based on the same photo.  And the winning photo was taken by a Member of The Artists’ Studio of The Icicle River in Levenworth, Washington, U. S. A.

studio challenge poster

And here then, is both the photo and my treatment of it . . . (but I addded a couple of hikers and a little dog just for interest) . . .

photo and framed watercolour

Kamloops, British Columbia, is privileged to have an area within walking distance of the downtown core that features many historic and stately homes.  These Heritage Houses were built around the turn of the 20th Century when Kamloops was still a relatively new Incoporated Municipality (1893).

This particular home is known as the Dr. Mark S. Wade House, built in 1905 by the Eye, Ear and Throat Specialist who came to Kamloops in 1895 from Victoria, B. C.   It is located at 95 St. Paul Street West, a street known for its Victorian houses, many featuring a prominent veranda.  Because Kamloops can get significantly hot in the summer, the front porches still provide a welcome respite from the heat of the day.

'59 St. Paul West'

November

January 7, 2012

About the most exciting month is November.  Moody, always in flux, caught between Autumn and Winter, November features days that are intriguing to wake up to.  I never know if, when glimpsing out the window first thing in the morning, I’m going to see flakes of snow drifting down or one of those assure November skies.

Not far from the town of Clearwater, British Columbia, (about an hour’s drive North) is Wells Gray Provincial Park.  One of its most pristine lakes is Mrytle Lake, and I’ve done two watercolours of this same lake.

The first is rendered in a very traditional style, relying on a photograph . . .

"Wells Gray November"

Another version of the same painting was done from memory, not relying at all on any photographic image.  Both paintings are now in private collections.

"Wells Gray November"

 

Autumn

January 5, 2012

Autumn.  The very word speaks in tones that touch something deep and still.  In my youth it was an invigorating Season, full of piles of leaves we’d shape into forts or rooms.  The air would be tinted with a hint of smoke, the chill of it pinking my ear lobes and rouging my cheek. Teachers would begin rehearsing things for Christmas.  There was an unspoken wonder over feeling the days shorten, and a little thrill over seeking out a forgotten, yet familiar scarf and hat.  Underneath was an anticipation over when the first snowflakes would drift down, hoping it would be during waking hours–and then came the day when the shout of a classmate interrupted a math or geography lesson– “Look!  It’s SNOWING!” , followed by a crush of bodies as we pressed against the windows, marvelling, wishing it would just keep going until there was nothing for it but to hunt in the attic for our sleds.

And now?  I’m in the Autumn of my life.  Who knows, but maybe even the Winter.  The Season is now pensive, thoughtful.  There’s a contemplative quality watching the last of our Red Maple’s orange hands let go and join the others.  One thinks of endings more than beginnings–pasts more than futures.  But the sweetness if anything,  is made the more complex–like a well-mulled cider–for Autumn is made for memories– for kicking through the remains of the Summer and recalling Seasons long gone, while hoping for one or two more . . .

"Autumn Wood"

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