Friday, 22 September 2017

an early evening drive in the valley

Hello and welcome back, or just plain welcome to those of you who have never been to this site. It is a gorgeous day here in the Annapolis Valley after a post Hurricane Jose dreary start to this week that culminated in much needed rain on Wednesday. Wally told me that hurricanes start as thunderstorms in Africa and escalate as they move westward out to sea. The results here are generally benign though that can be a different case altogether on Nova Scotia's south shore. So far so good this year.

It has been super dry this last month. Though there is some colour change, the leaves on the trees are crispy and somewhat brown from dehydration so we're glad for a little rain. Today is the first day of Autumn and we're sure to see some change in the weather. Already the nights are cold, the days temperate, sometimes warm.

Last week we drove to Berwick to find some bits and pieces at a specialty nut and bolt shop to assemble a no longer made Ikea shelving unit that we'd like to put together alongside its twin that Wally already put together. I'm sure the package of elements will show up one day (we've looked for many months), but in the meantime we'd like to get on with it. So last Thursday, after quite a bit of paper sorting on my part and much painting and plumbing on Wally's part, we rewarded ourselves with an afternoon drive. These are my best shots from a moving car:

A big grey house in Berwick with signs of ongoing renovation on the front porch

one of many apple orchards that line the drive home

another apple orchard with old apple wood stacked

an old country home tucked back from the road

an old barn turned garage, roadside

pride of ownership, an old home, landscaped and in good repair

a humble old country house

a corner house in Waterville looking quaint and somewhat European

a maple lined drive with a tire swing hanging from an old maple out back 

the old Waterville Community Centre (I think)

evening country homestead

raised bungalow with a courtyard installation

Cambridge Baptist Church with a promise of "ham potato scallop bean supper" on September 30th

The yellow door makes it

Muji in the vestibule after breakfast. I just missed him rolling around on his back which always means he's in a good mood.

Babu has taken to exploring under the rolling laundry cart which we use for a recycling divider.
Here he does the combat crawl. There's a conch shell in the stew can where I'm softening the  periostracum outer layer to make it more presentable. I change the water every now and then; it sure smells like seawater. 

Worked and reworked, I struggled with my propensity for muted colours, trying to bring the children (cut-outs from a Tim Holtz pack) into the foreground by colouring them with pigment markers. The muted washi tape colours didn't help, nor did the outer border in Winsor & Newton pigment markers and Gold Sharpie paint pen. Eventually I blacked and smudged an ink background over the original brown coloured pencil background which helped immensely, and added the quotation from who-I-don't-know in white Sharpie pen. It says:

"Do not let your fire go out spark by spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet and the not-at-all.  Do not let the hero in your soul perish in the lonely frustration for the life you deserve and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It is real. It is possible. It is yours."

Enhancing the subject with a darker outline,
this mixed media piece is a mix of watercolour, coloured pencil, paint pen, ink, and a washi tape border. The chair is based on my 1930's pink chair in the living room.

 Another mixed media piece starting with an inked circle for the face and coloured in watercolour with a little coloured pencil on her pathway and in her hair and dress. I used some white paint pen for details. The wing of this Flower Fairy is done with triangular points of colour cut from a magazine, the border done in various washi tapes. I felt the border was encroaching too much so I used some white China marker and white paint pen to enhance the separation between the picture and the border.

Late last night I completed this circle face group of a mother and her children.
There was no black outline for this watercolour but I felt it needed the distinction once again and added it afterward in fine-lined India ink with a  Pitt pen . The little boy's hair and teddy bear are blacked with a Derwent Colorsoft pencil.

Thank you for dropping by dear viewers. 

 with conscious breath that pulls us into this moment

happy Fall Equinox

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

always something to do

How much quicker time flies when one is being productive. I don't know; is that a good thing?
You won't find me enjoying the run to stay in place. As I corrected these pictures I'm about to show you, my critical eye saw a dirty floor mat and windows that need cleaning, a hedge, bushes and a lawn that need trimming and artwork that could use  a few tweaks.

In the meantime, Muji needs cuddles. Like, really! He needs them.
Some animals are much needier than others. Just like people. They suffer for not getting their daily requirement.

Babu loves his cuddles too, but he's very squirmy, the weight of his body pressing down on his little paws, so I put him on his back. Then he reaches up gently to my cheek like a baby, purring and grooving with the attention. Here he's doing his baby mewing, wanting some affection.

It's rather hot today. Too hot to open the windows. On the way to check the mail, I caught this vignette of an aluminum squirrel nutcracker, some seashells and pebbles plus a beautiful vase carved into stone by Nova Scotia artist John Hannah.

From the front ramp, the yard is looking that late summer scruffy. It needs a tune up.

I've been steadily exploring what those cheap Crayola coloured pencils can do. They are showing great promise, certainly equal to that of the much acclaimed new Jane Davenport "Magic Wands".
Disappointed with the eyes, I whited them out with Sharpie white paint pen and drew them again with extra fine black Pitt pen and a little brown pencil crayon.

It's funny what you see when you take a picture of your work. This squirrel turned out ok, done from memory, years of drawing them on pottery, but now I see that I forgot to colour in the nose and he could have used some shading where his feet touch the branch. Other tweaks would enhance this picture, but I'm done. I get like that.

"Life is just a dream, sweetheart"
done in Crayola coloured pencils and my new Uni-ball Signo broad white pen.

Then I was scribbling, filling the page with Crayola coloured pencil layering, enjoying the mix of colours I might not normally put together. Some washi tape by Tim Holtz made a nice muted border for one of his cardstock cut outs that I got in a pack earlier this summer.
It has a bit of that "going back to school" vibe.

It's been so nice having Wally home, even though he's pre-occupied with his plumbing right now. He's ordered the fabulous dramatic tile we decided on after such a long while, but we won't have it for another week and a half. That's ok. There's so much else to do. Now I must make lunch.

sweet September energy to you dear viewers
with peace in our hearts

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

a quiet overcast september afternoon

Wally is home for a week and 2 days, attending to the house, painting, plumbing, and gardening on his agenda. I've got paperwork to do when I'm not on domestic duty or drawing in my sketchbook.

 The cooler autumn weather has slowed the growth of things around here and our 10 cent red jewel cabbage that made it into an available pot has certainly grown larger than the seedlings behind it, but won't grow much more I suspect.

I would have shown you this picture first but I didn't want to shock you so soon with such a good close up of a hornet that sat on the uppermost leaves of the climbing hydrangea that still sits in its pot on the deck, propped near the door to prevent it from constantly falling over in the wind.

Hornets are notoriously aggressive, but I sensed this fellow was somewhat sleepy
from a rather cool night before.

so I came in for his close up

and closer still.

As I stepped off the back deck, the vegetable garden is looking somewhat spent as most everything is ripening. The hydrangeas are looking tired too, bowed from the rain a few days before.

Into the yard, I noticed lots of wild asters growing around the perimeter,
this one by Forget-Me-Not Cabin's old beat up garage doors that I painted in the spring, 

The roses that Wally put into a new garden at one end of the cabin are budding profusely.

There are fading blooms on the other side of the same plant.

Lovely heirloom tomatoes are ripening.

and I'm overdue to pick some more green beans.

On his way to the garage, Wally catches sight of me.

"Hi honey."

I had to underexpose this daisy to pick up the detail in the petals

Beyond the rose garden is the rhubarb, then some wild asters, and the shipping pallet that Wally leaned in place to discourage the deer. Apparently they figured out a way in as the netting was pulled on our little peach tree, bending it over again, the remaining peaches gone
. At least we got some this year.  Next year, a real fence!

There were more wild asters growing on the other side of the cabin
by the old door crying for some paint.

Turning, I look East by Southeast at the hayfield whose weedy clumps of goldenrod, milkweed, etc.
are growing faster than the grass.

The wild roses in our border have turned to rose hips.

I make my way over to the garage garden where, that huge plant with the funky yellow flowers, Ligularia Dentata, is still putting on a show. Wally wanted me to check out where he placed the silver pitcher that I didn't need but didn't want to give away.

We both got a kick out of seeing it in amongst the Sweet William.

Over by the composter that Wally made out of shipping pallets,
the clematis is still blooming wildly.

Their seed heads make fabulous starbursts,

an added bonus.

Beside them the "black" hollyhocks are nearing the end
as they grow from the bottom of their stalks upward.

A gorgeous green and gold fly perched sleepily on one,
even as the wind bounced the bloom up and down and sideways.

Such an exquisite creature with its orange eyes.

Just to the side of the composter, more wild asters.

Sweet peas are blooming on the other side of the composter.

Going back up the steps, I look into the composter which looks more like a flower box with its Echinacea, clematis and the wild asters poking up through the deck side

The Echinacea are faded, woven through with sweet pea vines.

looking down on this natural bouquet of wild asters.

You may remember that I bought an extra cheap box of Crayola coloured pencils that have turned out to be of mixed quality, but fun nonetheless.

This piece done in Crayola coloured pencils as well,

as well as this one.
I'm feeling a little impatient to finish this book that I am drawing these images in so that I can justify turning to better quality paper. I've got a history of not completing my sketchbooks.  Better quality paper will actually enhance the appearance of these children's quality pencils, not to mention other media. Paper matters more than the materials sometimes, like the quality of a piano one plays on.  Still, there is much to learn each time I set out to draw something. The beaver's face was a challenge with its unusual shape, certainly not bunny or squirrel like, but as you can see I gave up finishing this piece, a sign that something better is to come.

Thanks for visiting today. I hope your September is kind to you. It is something to be grateful for, a little bit of kindness.