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[source:  https://creationsbygena.zibbet.com]

An ACEO is 2.5″ x 3″ — artwork the size of sports trading cards — otherwise known as a miniature.  I personally love the challenge of painting something that small.

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Old Barn, watercolour ACEO, 2.5″ x 3″, Arches Hot Press 140 lb paper. Sold.

Have you ever done them or bought one?  I’d be interested to know!

 

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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:

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‘Where the Heart Is’

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

 

 

….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

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).

a constable of ravens

April 24, 2015

YOU’VE HEARD OF ‘a murder of crows’, a ‘volery of birds’, a ‘brood of chickens’.  The term for the groupings of Ravens is less fixed.  Ravens were/are often seen gathering about The Tower of London, and in meaner times, The Tower was a Royal place of execution (Anne Boleyn, et al) .

AN UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS is what a grouping of them was called when a Royal was awaiting death–as though their presence was a foreboding, a cruel anticipating, a sign of ill will.

A CONSTABLE OF RAVENS is what their grouping was called when The Tower was no longer sinister, but rather a symbol of The Monarchy itself.  Their presence in such times meant they were keeping guard over the Royal Family.  Ravens were a constance, a watchful presence–a constable.

A CONSPIRACY OF RAVENS is another label for their gatherings, stemming from their ganging together whenever there’s carrion or bodily remains to be picked apart and eaten.  Ravens don’t allow other than their own to share in the find.

A WOMAN IN OUR TOWN THUMBS HER NOSE AT by-laws and ritualistically feeds Ravens all through the Winter months by pouring out cat kibble in several of her collection of decorative cement-cast bird baths around the yard of her time-worn and historic home.

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‘Where The Heart Is’

watercolour, 41cm x 50cm (16″ x 20″), 140 lb. Arches Hot Press Paper, J. R. Weisser Collection

THE INTENTION of this rather busy piece of work is simply to allow the viewer entry into Joan’s world.  Sometimes our hearts want to be filled–if not by another’s affections, then by the things we’ve grown fond of–and sometimes, not just filled, but rather overflowing with so much that we’ve come to take heart in, that its accumulated presence brings with it a comfort.

A CONSTABLE OF RAVENS watches over and protects and guards the fading beauty of Seasons gone by, loves had and interred, and a lasting, loving sanctuary of the heart–as yet another Autumn invites one inside to sit by the fire and grow warm, and remember.

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'

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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