Posted on | March 28, 2013 | No Comments
Here’s another peek at my Costa Rica journal. One morning our travel guide and naturalist, Jorge, led several of the guests on a walk to find a pair of nesting birds called Thick-knees (as far as I can tell, these are probably Double-striped Thick-knees as that seems to be the variety that lives in CR). The nest had been sighted the day before by a group of horseback-riders. When we first located the nest, it was surprising to see that the nest was really not a nest at all. The birds nest on the ground, so it just looks as though someone left a couple of eggs lying around in a dusty field. The adults look — from a distance — a bit like mallard ducks on stilts, but with big wide-open eyes.
And no, I did not do it on purpose but I guess this IS kind of an easter-y image. Happy Easter and Happy Spring!
Posted on | March 25, 2013 | No Comments
For Illustration Friday topic: Swim.
Posted on | March 22, 2013 | No Comments
Two weeks ago, I had just arrived in Costa Rica. I packed a limited palette of watercolour tubes and my handy Pelican gouache pans. I envisioned myself painting, hour after hour.
Need I say that no such painting took place? I was too busy (ahem) wilting from the heat, hanging out with interesting people, looking for birds and eggs and monkeys, and reading in the hammock. I did however bring my sketchbook. On the bus, on hikes, by the poo: me and my pencil*.
Sketching on the fly is really an observing process for me. I’m embarrassed if anyone wants to see my scribbles. I want to avoid the awkward moment when the other person searches their brain for a way to let me down easy. To anyone else’s eye, there’s not really anything to see — but for me even the briefest sketch is like money in the bank. Now that I’m back, I’m mining those sketchbooks and I’ll post some of the results here in the coming days.
It’s a funny process. Yes, the sketches provide a record of what I’ve seen. But I think there’s more to it. The act of making the sketch creates specificity. I remember where I was standing, who was around me, what the air and the light and the day felt like. It creates a memory, and I think it helps me stay closer to the individuality of things.
*editorial note: “poo” is a typo. I meant to type “pool.” But since that’s the funniest thing I’ve written in months, I’m leaving it.
Posted on | March 21, 2013 | No Comments
Hello my friends. Does this lovely and brave diving woman look familiar to you? Well, now you have something in common with readers of Spirituality & Health, the magazine. My hat is off to Sandra Salamony: S&H art director, my friend, and reigning queen of ampersand-joined magazine titles. She has shaped this issue into something special with its beautiful selection of original artwork.
There’s a slideshow here of all the fantastic artists from the issue. (Read between the lines of my “profile” and you will see I was a little overwhelmed with projects at the time I wrote it. Another story. . .)
The theme of the issue is creativity. I feel like I’m diving into a lot of new things right now myself, so it really seems to fit. More on that soon, but meanwhile you might just want to get your own copy, don’t you think? It makes an excellent companion to all your other creativity issues!
Posted on | November 3, 2012 | No Comments
Gary and I moved into the big city (downtown Victoria) just a month ago and now live in a fourth-floor suite. One of my favorite things is the tree outside our windows. With my knee not fully functional, I’ve been spending a lot of days at home getting to know the view. When we first arrived, it seemed that crows and seagulls would be the main resident birds, but I’m happy to say that we are still getting a lot of the same visitors we had when we lived outside of town. Juncos, chickadees, flickers, robins (of course), and even a pair of woodpeckers have stopped by our tree. I’ve been watching as the leaves drift to the ground and the remaining ones become more and more brilliant in contrast with the darkening, greying November surroundings.
Posted on | October 28, 2012 | No Comments
For Illustration Friday, Haunt.
I am considering haunting Victoria’s Ross Bay Cemetary should I become a ghost in need of a place to wander. Ross Bay is beautiful this time of year. Not at all like the colors in this piece: the autumn golds and pale greens of dried grass are broken up with slabs of grey and pinkish marble. It’s a good place for a fall walk, and apparently it already boasts a good measure of ghosts, including Isabella Ross, the first woman to own land in BC, who owned a farm at the site. Some of the curving paths you can walk today are the remnants of roads on her property.
A little over two weeks ago, I broke my patella and had surgery to repair the kneecap and its tendon. Each day, my husband kindly takes me out to get some fresh air and crutch myself around. Ross Bay has become part of our rotation, so I figure I have some claim to it as a future ghost. The crutches should make me easy to recognize.
Posted on | October 25, 2012 | 4 Comments
Sky is a the Illustration Friday topic this week. This piece comes from a sketch I did at the summer beach house our family has spent time at for the last few years in Marshfield, Massachusetts. The house is at the end of a road next to the beach and dunes, which are home to a flock of swallows. Airplanes and contrails are a constant there, too. Some evenings, we would watch plane after plane fly over the beach on its way in to Logan Airport in Boston. So I guess this one is all about capturing and distilling the experience of a place.
Posted on | August 30, 2012 | No Comments
Finally! Back in my studio after a long absence. It feels good. So here, under the wire, is my Illustration Friday submission for this week’s word: Tall.
Thinking about Tallness made me think of trees (when don’t I think of trees?), and the phrase “tall tale.” While I was away in the BC interior a couple of weeks ago, I read a book about the search for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Tim Gallagher’s The Grail Bird). The book was published in 2005, and the story ends just as the author and his colleagues at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (shout out to Ithaca!) are marshalling their evidence of the continued existence of this rare bird and preparing to make a public announcement confirming its re-discovery.
As I was starting to dig in to the first chapters, my father-in-law told me: “They didn’t find it.” And that’s the thing: they kind of found it, but they kind of didn’t — or at least they couldn’t prove they did. The most compelling part of this book for me was how it explored the nature of proof and the complications of bearing witness to the existence of this bird. At this point, claiming to see the bird is about as good for one’s professional reputation as meeting a sasquatch. And there are moral questions, real doubts as to whether finding the bird is in its best interest.
So this once very real animal remains a mystery and maybe a myth. I’m inclined to think that they are still out there in pockets of inaccessible wilderness, but they’ve smartened up enough to avoid people: kind of like this guy, high in the tallest tree.
Posted on | July 6, 2012 | No Comments
I live on the edge of the woods, and our woods are full of owls right now. We seem to have two new owl families. One is a parent and two young barred owls. The other consists of at least two, possibly three young great horned owls. One thing I’ve learned about owls: they definitely have teenagers. The adult owls I have met are usually very calm, silent, and solitary. The young ones are raucous and hang out in groups, calling to each other almost constantly. Their voices are squeaky, whiny, abrasive — so unlike the softly spoken hoots of their parents.
Posted on | July 1, 2012 | 9 Comments
For this week’s Illustration Friday theme, Refresh!
I’m working on keeping it simple. One strategy is to get the colour doing more of the work. In this case, trying to let the colours set the mood and keeping the drawing very simple. I am usually a lot happier with my work when I create the colours by hand. Mixing colours for me is like drawing with a pencil and paper. Just an intrisically happy-making thing to do. Once I’ve scanned in my colour textures, I do edit and paint with them digitally, but if I push it too far I don’t like the result. Plus, I learn, think, and observe more doing it by hand (just as with drawing).
That being said: don’t even think about taking my photoshop away. I would have to hurt you.keep looking »