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)


butterflies a

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Advertisements

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.

1377100544-IMG38591JP-o

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)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

‘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.

wee glimpses

May 26, 2015

PAINTING OUTDOORS has a way of getting a person to make judgment calls quickly, and in our area it is quite simply the heat of the day.

KAMLOOPS, B.C., IS UNIQUE IN THAT its mountainous hillsides are grass-covered with considerable sagebrush but little tree growth to the 900m level, creating what is known as an inverted tree line.

IN MOST PLACES TREES WON’T GROW above a certain level due to the lack of precipitation, but in Kamloops, they won’t grow below a certain level due to the lack of precipitation.  We are known as The Sunshine Capitol of Canada, receiving over 2,000 hours of sun annually.

IOW, IT IS HOT.  And since sun and heat are our landscape’s signature features, painting a local watercolour outdoors demands sitting right the heck out there.

THAT IS WHY IT MAKES GREAT SENSE to me to choose to do this by way of painting miniatures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

‘A Kamloops August’, watercolour, 6.35cm x 8.90cm (2.5″ x 3.5″), Arches Hot Press 140 lb. paper

MINIATURES demand quick thinking and choosing the elemental–the scene’s compositional essences–getting them down efficiently and thoughtfully, though, at the same time, quickly.

A GOOD MINIATURE can serve as the template for a much larger, studio piece.  And good miniatures stand up very well all by themselves.  This particular one has been accepted into two different juried Federation of Canadian Artists Shows, including the annual ‘Small, Smaller, Smallest’.  It was, in that show, the very smallest of the lot.  And that made me very happy!

eggs as canvas ….

May 5, 2015

DUCK EGGS ARE THE BEST for receiving watercolour pigment.  They have a satiny shell surface.  Chicken eggs are better if one is using the ancient Ukrainian Orthodox, bees wax, kitska stylus, and dye method.

Chicken eggs have a kind of chalky, calcium-like surface which, yes, can be painted, but feels like the cheaper version of a duck egg.  [Oh my, that probably tops your abstruse observation quota for today]  Ahem….plowing-on into the arcane . . .  a duck egg is more forgiving a surface because removing mistakes is easily accomplished using a Q-tip.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(above) Chicken Egg Christmas ornament using bees wax, Ukrainian kistka stylus and traditional dyes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Watercolour Painted Eggs, (four duck eggs, one goose egg)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hand-painted Christmas Egg Ornaments, watercolour, with multiple, clear fixative layers applied for protection.

The impetus for exploring eggs as a painting surface came from my having seen, as a child, hand-painted blown eggs with Spring flowers on them, gathered and hung by streams of ribbon for an Easter breakfast within our German church.  Their beauty gave me new eyes and I viewed my grade school wax crayon attempts with a certain childish contempt.  And it perplexes me still, that such a long ago vision remained an artistic impulse to do for myself what I saw modelled back then.

What has put my egg art enjoyment on (permanent?) hold is my having received two Peacock eggs that I delayed blowing-out….only to have them explode all over the walls and ceiling just as I was finally drifting off to sleep one night, months after they were given to me.

You seriously do not want to know the level of grossness — the vile, rank, and utter foulness — of having to clean up an entire living room punctuated, peppered, with rotten Peacock egg at one o’clock in the morning.

My childhood vision of hand-painted Easter eggs has been forever cataracted by the Peacock eggs from hell.

To hell with Winter . . .

January 26, 2012

Actually, I’m joking.  I’m a winter person through and through!  This is the Season when I thrill at the photos of my favourite bloggers on ‘WordPress’, whose will is such that they are out there when the pale sun is orangey and the naked trees throw indigo and mauve stripes on the lapis snow.  The lone leaf clinging yet to the branch moves me.  The icicle tear surrounding a burnt-sienna rosehip speaks of life still sparking inside that crystal casing. Winter is the freezing of time–everything locked in icy suspension while we stand dazzled on chilled mornings over what happened as we slept.

A week ago it was -37C (with the wind chill factored in).  Our pipes froze and plumbers had to repair them.  The bird feeders were so busy, I had to tend them twice a day.  And yet.  And yet. And yet I knew even as we risked frostbite to walk our little Bichon dog, Elmo, that under all that concrete ground there were bulbs not only surviving, but actually thriving.  The red maple in our yard is busy plumping up its buds.  Things are happening, though for humans, an hour out there with little protection is a cruel fate.

But here’s to Summer, in the midst of Winter.  Here’s to what I can’t wait to tend to when my favourite Season ends and the growing Season begins.

 

 

"Peace"

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: