Thursday, 28 February 2013

Old Man Winter's Last Kick at the Can (We Hope!)

In my previous post, I wrote that Winter felt like it was beginning to come to an end, with much warmer temperatures and rapidly melting snow. Then we had a big storm on Wednesday with 25 cm of snow in the Ottawa area, and Winter made a reappearance - with a vengeance! As I left work on Wednesday, I walked past this window and was impressed by the transformation of the world outside.

Walking home was like walking through a white tunnel.

Hard lines disappeared and all that was left was a fuzzy, milky-white haze. The city in the distance had completely melted into the clouds of snow in this view. Oh well - at least it is still relatively warm and the snow will melt again soon. Old Man Winter just had to have another kick at the can! 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Beginning of the End of Winter

This past week, the temperatures in Eastern Ontario have gone up above freezing for several days in a row and we haven't had any significant snowfalls. It is starting to feel like the beginning of the end of winter. Although there are still snowbanks along the sides of roads and sidewalks, they are melting fast and leaving puddles everywhere. People are able to go out running again.

This little girl and her brother were skating for what may be one of the last times it is possible to do so this winter.

A bicycle was emerging from this melting snowbank. I wonder how long it has been buried and abandoned there.

But winter is not completely over yet and we are supposed to have a big snowstorm tomorrow. This evening, the moon looked very hazy, like a warning of the pending storm. Oh well - it may be Old Man Winter's last kick at the can. We can only hope!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Beautiful Bird of Prey

Last weekend, I noticed this very large bird on a tree branch in my back yard. This is the second time I've seen this guy - he (or she?) was out there, in the same tree, about 2 weeks ago. It was hard getting a good picture of him through the window, quite a distance away. But despite the poor quality of the photograph, one can still see what a magnificant creature he is.  

I tried zooming a little closer, mostly because I wanted to be able to identify him. I think he is a red-shouldered hawk judging from the pictures I looked up. Whatever he is, I think he is a very beautiful bird of prey!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Immersed in the Balloons

Last week, I went to a wonderful exhibition at the National Art Gallery. It consisted of a room full of balloons and is by a terrific artist named Martin Creed. One enters a room full of black balloons and walks through them. It challenges one's concepts of space and I found myself thinking of moving through very large black molecules. I loved it!

For the most part, the level of balloons was over my head. People who are allergic to vinyl or who are claustrophobic are warned not to go in the room. But I found the experience really interesting, like I was swimming through them. Highly recommended if you get a chance to see it.
(By the way - I wasn't supposed to take pictures and I apologize to the National Art Gallery - but I just couldn't resist)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Peace After the Stormy Weather

We have had so much stormy weather lately that it has been a positive delight whenever there is some respite and things are calm. One rare peaceful evening, I was so enchanted by this beautiful red sky I had to take a few photos as I walked home after work.

In the summertime, this little park is usually full of people. But no-one was there on this still, cold evening and all was hushed, calm.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

More Painting From the Model

Last weekend, I spent a wonderful afternoon with a group of artists at the studio of my friend, Aino, painting from the model.

Our model was John, and he was a joy to paint. All those rich shadows and lines - so much character in his face. John is a wonderful painter himself and is usually one of the artists painting from the model at these sessions. But this time he volunteered to sit for us.

There is a nice variety of approaches that people take during these sessions. Some people paint and some people draw. In the foreground, Brenda is working on one of her beautiful pastels. Behind her, Susan is painting in oil.

I got a rough start on my painting and it will need a lot of work. But it was marvelous to get my "painting brain" working again, especially with such a great model to work from. 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Terrific Tutus

Last week, I went to the ballet (Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet) at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. During the intermission, as I stretched my legs and walked around, I came across this display of terrific tutus in the lobby.

The display is part of the Tutu Project by the National Ballet of Canada. The National Ballet is celebrating 60 years by exhibiting tutus from great performances in the history of the company, and special costumes created by artists, designers and others as part of the celebration. They really were amazing to look at.

I have always thought it would be a fabulous experience to wear a tutu and twirl around a stage, just once.

I love the way the tutus appear to be whirling around when viewed from above. I also liked the way people clustered nearby to view the display. On the left, you can see four people with their arms around each other having their picture taken in front of the tutus just as I took this bird's eye view photo. But then the intermission was over and I went back to my seat, to watch live ballerinas wearing beautiful costumes twirling around the stage. Lovely stuff!