….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.

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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

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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.

raven moon

May 20, 2015

PAINTING NIGHT has become something of a preoccupation.  On a very bald and pedestrian level, one could simply say that ‘night sells’.  However, it is the ‘why’ which is intriguing–why do scenes of watercolour-rendered night have an appeal.

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‘Raven Moon’, watercolour, 35cm x 25cm (14″x10″), Art Board, (sold)

THERE IS A FASCINATION over what goes on in nature while we are sleeping.  When walking the dog at 4 a.m., there are owls hooting, deer eating in people’s yards, the occasional cries of coyotes, and the enduring scent of lilac.

HEARING, TOUCHING, SMELLING all come alive, while seeing is at the pleasure of the muted moon–at once reassuring and mysterious.

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.

A bit of New York

January 4, 2012

I was raised in Rochester, New York, and then later on the New York / Vermont border.  At some point we had occasion to visit the town of Saranac Lake, New York, which hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics and much earlier in its history was one of North America’s best known tuberculosis sanatorium locales.  Patients went there to receive plenty of sunshine and fresh air.

Kamloops, British Columbia, my present home, was also chosen as a prime location for a TB sanatorium and it was located just outside the city limits at Tranquille, B. C., beside Kamloops Lake.  The air here is dry, without even a hint of humidity in the Summer and bracingly-cold in the Winter.

I loved staying in Saranac Lake that one week in January.  The lake itself was completely frozen over, with a fresh layer of snow and a blindingly-bright sun.

'A Frosty Saranac Lake, Saranac Lake, New York, c1989'

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