Monday, 23 December 2013

Happy Holidays

From long ago and far away, this picture was taken when I was a child and includes my brother (with the drums), me in the middle, and my sister on the right. This is always a wonderful time of the year to be a child. Happy holiday, everyone!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Getting That Christmas Feeling

We had a big winter storm in Eastern Ontario over the past couple of days that left great piles of snow everywhere. The Byward Market, in downtown Ottawa, had a very Christmas-y feeling this afternoon. The snow was still gently falling when this horse-drawn wagon went by with a load of people enjoying the ride.

There were a number of market vendors selling Christmas decorations. At this stand, one could buy green boughs and wreaths with red ribbons.

Later in the evening, hundreds of Christmas lights were turned on and sparkled on the fresh snow. This tree was so pretty, standing at the end of a street in the Market.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Finding Beauty in the Snow

We had our first big snowfall of the season in Eastern Ontario last night. This morning, the snow was piled high on everything and the world was transformed. There were little scenes of beauty to be found everywhere! 

The trees were especially beautiful with their coatings of snow, like strings of white jewels in their branches.

People walking along the sidewalks seemed to be floating through white tunnels.

In the evening, it wasn't as dark as usual because the lights reflected off the bright snow.

There is something about the first big snowfall that brings out the kid in everyone. This snowman was standing in a surprising place - on the sidewalk in front of a store in the Byward Market area. Someone obviously couldn't resist the opportunity to make him. Beautiful!

Monday, 11 November 2013

That Feeling that Winter is Coming - City and Country

November is a grey, ominous month when one feels that the winter is nudging ever closer. When I wake up at my apartment in the city, the mornings are cold and the sky seems to be pressing down. 

The sun sets so early these days. I took this picture looking out the window of my office building in Gatineau an hour before I left work. It was completely dark when I did leave.

This weekend, I was at my place in the country when I saw the first significant snowfall of the season. The ground was soon completely covered. Rather pretty, really! I like the way one can see the paths clearly defined as white roads between the brown tufts of vegetation.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

October Light

Today was the first day that it really felt like winter is coming. For one thing, it was cold enough I needed to wear a warm jacket and gloves. But the chilly air was very clear and seemed to make the colours of the leaves on these trees where this couple were walking even more stunning. This picture was taken beside Major's Hill Park in Ottawa.  

There were only a few clouds in the clear sky, but this one caught my eye. It looked like an animal to me, with its head in the upper left, a front leg, and a tail curled around from the back and underneath. Probably a silly fancy, but it is always fun to look for shapes in the clouds!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Disappearing Into the Foggy Morning

This morning when I walked to work, the fog was very thick and covered the world with a thin grey film.

The spires of this cathedral looked like they were evaporating into the fog.

But the fog was thickest over the river. The bridge I cross every morning disappeared into nothingness.

People emerged from the fog or disappeared into it as they crossed the bridge. I had a lot of fun pretending there was nothing on the other side and that I too would disappear as I walked into the greyness. Cool!

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Power of Old Photographs

My brother recently began scanning a lot of his old photographs and he sent this one to me. It stirred some amazing memories because I saw this picture only once before, years ago. It was taken sometime in the mid to late 1990s and shows my husband Peter (in red), me (in white), my son Brian (in plaid), and my brother Paul. All the men in my life (at the time) and me in the midst of them. And it is particularly poignant because Peter and I are holding hands!  It is amazing to think that this picture is only about 20 years old and yet seems like it happened in another lifetime. What power old photographs can have!

Monday, 30 September 2013

One-Hour Sketch

The weather in the Ottawa Valley was fabulous on the weekend. Warm and sunny and crisp, with infinite blue autumn skies. I managed to spend some time in my studio, which is so bright and open, it is almost like being outside. I splashed some paint around for about an hour and started this small sketch of the path through my garden. Lots of fun!

Monday, 23 September 2013

A Visit to Samuel de Champlain

Last week, I visited an art installation at Nepean Point, behind the National Art Gallery in Ottawa, that celebrated the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's journey to the area.  In the past, I have climbed the hill at Nepean Point many times to enjoy the wonderful view of Ottawa/Gatineau from the top and see the sculpture of Champlain. But the installation I visited last week allowed a whole different experience of the sculpture. There was a staircase that led up to a platform where one could walk around Champlain and see him "eye to eye".

People couldn't actually touch him, but it was amazing how different the experience of the sculpture was, being on the same level.

There was a metal grid-work structure that circled the platform where there were special computerized lights for a lightshow, which would be shown in the evening. I was intrigued by the plastic cases over the lights.   

While I was walking around the platform, I saw this man doing some maintenance work on the lights. I asked if he minded having his picture taken and he said "No problem - I am used to it." What a job! There was nothing to stop him if he fell and it was a looonnnnngggg way down. But he was perfectly relaxed about it.

Being this close to the sculpture allowed one to see a lot of details. For example, the name of the sculptor, Hamilton MacCarthy, is shown here on the base. MacCarthy made the sculpture in 1915. Since there are no known portraits of Champlain, MacCarthy used the face of a Canadian historian, Benjamin Sulte, for Champlain's face. (These facts were posted on various signs around the platform.)  

It really was fun taking pictures from all different angles. Love the cape!

The sky cleared and I got this nice shot of Champlain against the blue. I read somewhere that the astrolabe he is holding is actually upside-down. Whoops!

At seven in the evening, the staircase to climb up to the platform was closed in preparation for the lightshow. I went to see the lightshow the evening before, but I couldn't get any good photos of it. But I did get this one shot of the installation in the dusk, with Champlain silhouetted against the darkening sky. Cool!  

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

That Early Fall Feeling in the Byward Farmers' Market

This time of year, the Byward Farmers' Market is so colourful. It is a treat to just walk around and look at the produce for sale.

The carrots and potatoes and cauliflower are so fresh. Yum!

I have always loved the look of ropes of garlic like this. They look as they must have always looked in farmers' markets throughout history. Vampires beware!

The tomatoes look amazing this year. So huge and red and juicy-looking.

There was something very artistic about the way this corn was stacked. Great display!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Fall Festival at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum in Dunvegan

Today, I went to the Annual Fall Festival at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum in Dunvegan, Ontario, as I do every year. There are always lots of interesting things to see. For example, I watched this demonstration of spinning.  

And there were quilt-makers working on a beautiful quilt, with other samples of their work on display behind them.

There were displays showing antique farm equipment, like this beautiful steam engine - still working even though it is 102 years old. Note the man wearing a soldier's outfit from the 18th century.

This is an antique grain grinder. It was churning out ground-up corn.

There were also many animals on display, like this sheep.

And, of course, there was the highlight of the day - the Horse Parade. These horses were very spirited and beautiful.

There were horses of all sizes and colours - some pulling wagons, some just with riders.

The wagons and carriages were as interesting as the horses. This wonderful old buggy looked like it would be fun to ride in - but only on warm, dry days!

There were more than horses in the Horse Parade. These mules were pulling an old Conestoga wagon.

And this pair of oxen also participated in the parade.

After the Horse Parade, everyone went over to see the rooster-crowing contest. This is one of the competitors.

And this guy too!

My friend and fellow blogger, Natalie, had a couple of roosters in the contest. Here she is counting the number of times one of her roosters crowed. But alas, he didn't win. Too bad, Natalie!

There was still lots to do and lots to see - like people wearing pioneer costumes.

There were bagpipe players who had led the horse parade. This piper actually played to the roosters to get them to crow. Apparently, they crow better when they hear bagpipes!

People were enjoying themselves. There was music and these two little girls were dancing together.

My friend Ronna won a door prize. Lucky woman!

All in all, a wonderful way to spend an early Fall day. And the best part was seeing old friends, like my buddy Mac, and enjoying a refreshing beer together. Cheers, everyone!