Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Wild Things

When I was at home in the country on the weekend, I saw this little frog in my fish pond. I shouldn't really call it a fish pond right now because there are no more fish in it. I suspect they all got eaten this spring by a turtle who made himself at home for a while. He is gone now, and so are the fish, but I still have lots of frogs, and I have lots of wild plants of various kinds. I really like the frogs. They are so Zen-like, sitting in the sun, making their froggy noises from time to time. 

The liner of the pond is all wrecked and torn and looks awful. But until I can get someone to put in a new liner for me, I can still enjoy the water lilies that are growing there, most of which are very wild. Peter and got them from the river many years ago. 

This pretty white water lily bloomed recently. I was very excited to see it because I had a lot of troubles with the plants being eaten by muskrats a couple of years ago. This is the first water lily bloom in 2 years. All wild and natural.

This is another wild plant growing in my pond. I really don't know how it got there. It is called Butomus Umbellatus, or Flowering Rush. The flower is quite pretty. 

Speaking of wild, I bought some blue bells years ago and planted them in the flower garden, but they have now gone quite wild and have spread all over my yard. This bunch was blooming last weekend near the cedar hedge between me and my neighbour. 

As a matter of fact, my whole flower garden is now just a wild mess. There are weeds mixed in with perennials that I bought. I can't bear to pull out the milk weed because I know the Monarch Butterflies need them. And I leave the buttercups because I like their cheerful colour. So everything is a melange, but I am starting to like the wildness of my garden. I think I am becoming more Zen about it, like the frogs!

Monday, 27 June 2011

An Evening Walk in the Market

There is always a lot to see on summer evenings in the Byward Market. This evening, on my way to do some shopping, I passed through the William Street pedestrian mall, where they have closed one end of the street so buskers can perform. This busker performed a trick with a long piece of cloth. He got two people from the audience to hold either end of the cloth. 

There were all sorts of people in the crowd that had gathered to see what he was doing. Sometimes, it is as much fun people-watching as it is watching the acts taking place. 

The busker made some folds in the cloth, got one of the spectators to cut it in half, then tied a knot where it had been cut. All the while he kept chatting with the audience. Then he instructed the two people holding the cloth to pull and - voila! the cloth was all one piece. Just like magic! Everyone applauded. 

Later, as I was coming back from my shopping, I passed this extraordinary window display. it just seemed such a strange collection of objects. What do these things have in common? Globes, clocks, a bell, eyeglasses, a funky little Queen figurine, and odd little white creatures with big noses and googly eyes? I should offer a prize for the best answer to that question!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

ATC Saturday in Dunvegan

This past Saturday was Artist Trading Card (ATC) day since our group always holds it on the last Saturday of every month. This is the set of cards I produced. Very silly - all to do with summer and summer dresses and summer hats and things we do in the summer. I got some terrific cards from the trade.

After the trade, I visited my friends Mac and Brenda at their place nearby. I found Mac doing some gardening with his....uhh... assistants!

These "assistants" were having a great time, digging right along with Mac.

They all had their noses to the grindstone, concentrating very hard on the work - digging, cleaning, planting.

"Over here Mac - plant right here!"   "No - not there - don't tell him that, stupid! Over here!|"

Mac and his assistants decided to take a break and we went to the house to visit Brenda. But before going inside, I said hello to Mr. Signal-Man. He looks very dapper these days, wearing a bucket on his head. Ahhh, life in the country. Always lots to see!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Artsie Tour Buses

There are always lots of tour buses parked along the road in front of the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau. This evening, as I was walking home from work, I saw one that really caught my attention. As you can see, it was decorated with photographs of people and animals, all with a very "camping in the wilds" theme. If you look closely, you will see that the woman on the right has a baby racoon in the front of her overalls. And the other woman is also holding some sort of baby animal (I can't tell what it is). And there are wolves and people canoeing and lots of other things going on in this montage of outdoors-y pictures, all on the side of a bus!

From a distance, you can see that it really is a bus and not a billboard on wheels.

This bus was also brightly decorated, although not as spectacular as the one with photographs. As I was photographing it, a woman came up to me and said, "Isn't it beautiful?" She said she was also interested in the way the tour buses were decorated.

This tour bus had poker chips all along its sides. I think it is safe to bet that it makes frequent tours to casinos.

I like the simple but effective graphic on this bus. I also like this photo because, if you look closely, you can see the arm of the bus driver on the wheel inside the bus.

I continued on my walk home and crossed the bridge to Ottawa. While I was waiting at a red light, I saw these two signs on a post.  Provocative commentary on Life and Art, don't you think?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer Solstice Eve

On the evening of Monday June 20th - the evening before the summer solstice - I went home to my place in the country (I had a medical appointment on June 21st and had to take the day off for it).  I walked outside just as the sun was setting and gasped at how beautiful it was. A perfect evening to precede the first day of summer, the longest day of the year.

The sky was getting redder and redder as I watched. It seemed Mother Nature was doing it on purpose to celebrate the end of spring and the advent of the lazy hazy days ahead.

The river reflected all that red sky and looked very clear and still. This was the kind of evening that Peter and I used to go out canoeing to get the best view of the changing sky while floating on the river.

After a while, the red got all infused with touches of gold. It really looked molten.

But it was getting dark so I had to walk back to the house. On the way, I noticed this happy cluster of daisies in a wild patch. The white looked very intense in the waning light. They are definitely a high summer flower, and especially wonderful because they are wild and just seem so cheerful.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Crayons and Summer

There is something about the summer that makes me feel like a kid again. And one of things that I most enjoyed when I was a kid was colouring with crayons. Recently, I bought a box of crayons when I was grocery shopping. The clerk at the checkout looked dubious and asked me if I wanted them. I guess she was worried that I had picked them up by mistake, or that they had been in my cart by mistake, or something like that. After all - what would an old lady like me want with crayons? I assured her that  - Yes, I did want them. I could see her thoughts as she packed them in my bag. She was thinking I was a dotty old bag, or I wanted them for my grandchildren, or something. But really, I just wanted to play with them, and today I did just that. 

I didn't have anything ready for Artist Trading Cards next Saturday and I decided I wanted to make some cards that had a vaguely summer theme. I wanted to enjoy feeling like a kid and use my crayons and make something bright and colourful. I got an old T-shirt and started making marks and squiggles on the fabric with the crayons.

The coloured area just grew and grew as I worked. It was a lot of fun. And I really liked the colour that resulted because it was soft yet bright, just like summer. 

I still don't know exactly what I will do with this crayoned piece of cloth, but it was a lot of fun to just squiggle and grow this big blob of colour - just like a garden. I guess I will find out what I do with it next week when I finish the cards!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Guitar Music in the City

One of the pleasures of walking around the Byward Market on a summer evening is that there is music everywhere. It is like walking through an extended party, covering many blocks, with a guitar player on every corner to entertain the party-goers. This evening, I saw many guitarists playing, sometimes singing as well, like this man. He was very good and I lingered to listen for a while. 

Later, I saw this guitarist, who attracted quite a crowd because he was exceptionally good. He played flamenco-style guitar and his technique was dazzling. He should have been playing in a concert hall somewhere, but here he was, on the street in the open. 

This guitarist accompanied the flamenco guitar player. They were both really amazing guitarists. I hung out on the street listening to the two of them with a crowd of other people, all swaying and moving to the music. It was mesmerizing. 

Later on, I saw other guitarists in other parts of the Market, but it was getting too dark and I couldn`t get good pictures of them. Of all the musicians I saw, these two were the best. I kept thinking of some lines from a Joni Mitchell song:
`....the one-man band by the quick lunch stand, 
He was playing real good, for free....`
Meanwhile, crowds of people flowed around the players, some stopping to listen, some rushing on to other places - shopping, restaurants, home, families, lovers. And I thought of another Joni Mitchell song, where she sings, `Life in the city looks pretty to me.`

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Rare Day in June

Oh, what is so rare as a day in June? Or something like that - one of those bits of poetry we all know but are not sure of the exact words. Whatever - today was an exceptionally rare day - hot but not humid, mostly sunny but with the relief of a few white puffy clouds from time to time. I was at my home in the country for the day in order to go for some medical tests at the Hawkesbury General Hospital. After the tests, I had a couple of hours before I needed to go back to Ottawa, so I worked in my garden. It was a treat - a rare treat. My peonies are perfect right now. Peonies are one of those flowers that make June the rarest month of the year. 

This very pretty little Delphinium was also in bloom, with its buddy, a Gerbera, right beside it. The blue of this variety of Delphinium is amazing, almost unearthly.  

One of the delights of my rather messy garden is that I forget what is in there, over the winter, and then I am always surprised in the summer when things start blooming. This geranium gave me a pleasant shock when I saw it.

Unfortunately, I was bothered a lot by flies while I worked. They were unusually bad. But then I remembered, they may have smelled the place on my arm where I had blood taken earlier in the day as part of the tests I had at the clinic. I was still wearing the cotton and tape the nurse had put there, my "red badge of courage." But the flies - those nasty little vampires -  were biting a lot, so my rare June day had to come to an end. Sigh!

Monday, 13 June 2011

My Paintings and Drawings in Art Fayre

Art Fayre is over, and I thought I would post photos of the 2 paintings and 2 drawings I had in the show.

This oil painting is called "Rain and Snow" and is based on a photo I took last February from the window of my apartment in Ottawa. It is very different from the 3 other works I put in the show. Maybe I am just branching out ! (Sorry - I couldn't resist.)

This oil painting and the two drawings following are part of a series I'm doing that all involve women (or girls) reading. This one is called "Lost in a Book".

I have always loved working in chalk pastel. This drawing was fun because of the light and dark. The title is "Alone #2" which is unfortunate, because I sent my list of works and titles to the show organizers before I finished the drawing. I would call it something happier now. I think no-one is alone who is immersed in a book. 

This is also chalk pastel. Its title was "Alone #1" but again, I would change that. I really liked the way the woman is tilting her head. Everything seems so soft and gentle in her gesture. 

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Art Fayre 2011

Art Fayre 2011 took place on Saturday June 11 and Sunday June 12. The artists all signed their names on a large blackboard inside the gallery.

Lots of people came. They gathered on the porch to chat, then went in to look at the works on display.

There was a variety of artwork, including Barb Glen's mixed media pieces........

.....Natalie Rowe's hooked rug hangings...........

....John Sim's oil paintings, and many more.

There was lots of great food, including Ronna's amazing Art Fayre cupcakes. (Not only were they little works of art themselves, they were very tasty. Yum!)

Photographers took photographs of photographers taking photographs. In this case, the ultimate object was to photograph Lis beside her wonderful sculpture, "Neither Fish Nor Fowl".

The sounds of music wafted through the air, courtesy of David Kelleher.

Everyone had a good time. Here are Natalie and David sharing a laugh. I can hardly wait for Art Fayre next year!