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!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

An Assembly of Mannequins

These mannequins were all sitting or standing in the corner of a store which is being renovated. There were a whole row of them on the floor in various positions, all looking very patient as they awaited their fates. The two mannequins in the centre back had signs that said "For Sale $99". If they could talk, I wonder what they would say?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Starting a new painting

A couple of weeks ago, I did some repairs in my studio. The floor was in such bad shape, I hadn't been able walk around in there safely. After I fixed the floor, I felt so pleased with the results that I decided to get back to work and start painting again. I began this painting one afternoon and will work on it more over the coming weeks. Another one of my winter scenes, which I really love doing.

And here is the new floor I put in my studio. It is just plywood, but so much better than what was there before. Now I won't fall into any holes and get swallowed up! (Just kidding!)

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Labour Day Weekend in Toronto

On the Labour Day long weekend, I visited my family in Toronto. I spent some time playing with my grandchildren, including my granddaughter Georgia. She is 9 months old now and growing fast!

One day, my son (Brian) and I took my two grandsons, Max and Charlie, to a playground to burn off some energy. There were lots of slides and Max wasted no time whooshing down them.

There were also some swings that Max enjoyed.

Meantime, Charlie had found some play structures to climb on, with cool tubes to crawl through.

Max soon joined Charlie and found lots of high places to climb up to.

Soon, they were both laughing away in the tubes.

Looks like a lot of fun.

Charlie looks very pensive in this picture.

Oh my gosh - is that a famous movie star or other celebrity behind those cool sunglasses?

After we took the boys home and put them to bed, Brian and I met my daughter Sarah at a restaurant and the three of us had dinner. Sarah and I shared a great big lobster. Here I am, pulling on one of the lobster's antenna. It was delicious!
All in all, a wonderful weekend.