Saturday, July 21, 2012

Re-Construction Holiday

Here in Québec it's the start of the 2 week construction holiday, the time when most families take their summer vacation. Here, J is needing some re-construction. He gets a new hip on Tuesday. The surgeon has promised him a big ball, which pleases him enormously, as he has been teased for years about his tragically tiny tractor. You can tell what's really important in country life! So with all this going on I'll take some time off from the blog. Take care.

This is not John's hip, his is much more handsome.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shades of Gray

Lately a lot of my photos have been in black and white as I try to figure out this value or tone stuff again. In all my years at art college I managed never to do a color course as I thought everything I made [I was in sculpture] should be white, as then it would absorb and reflect all the colors around it. And I got away with that stance [you can tell what era I'm from] but have had a lot to learn over the years. Now I am stumbling and bumbling to relearn what seemed to be instinctive knowledge when I was young. Having worked in color for so many years it is humbling to work in black and white. So I figure start simple. And if anyone has any suggestions for books to read on this subject I would really welcome suggestions. [Please god, not the Itten]


Portrait, experimenting with tone

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Under Painting

I never realized until I started living with John the great love affair painters have with their materials. They love squeezing paint out of the tube and on to the palette, They love mixing their colors, they have favourite colors and favourite makes of color. So that a color from one manufacturer can have quite different tonal qualities and mix very differently.  J's latest painting uses a lot of primary cyan and it was fascinating to watch him go through all the different tubes of what is called the same color looking for the one that would mix to the color he wanted. These photos are of the under painting, the layers and layers he builds up until it's done. I love this stage. To me it's magic, this knowing of what needs to lie below the surface to make the work sing. It's a bit like looking baby skin; soft, translucent, vulnerable.
Under painting John Ballantyne,
Under painting , detail, John Ballantyne,

Under painting , detail , John Ballantyne,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Watching Light

Spent most of yesterday afternoon reading murder mysteries on the sofa, occasionally looking up at the light on the wall. And at the shadows, and at the angles of the shadows, and at the patterns they created.
And dreaming.

Light on the wall and an old deacon's bench

Friday, July 13, 2012

Early Morning

Walked outside into slanted light illuminating the nasturtium leaves. They had become semi transparent, so that the leaves and stems behind shone through. Usually I only pay attention to the great shape and strong veins of the leaves; their dot in the middle which always makes me think of stars; this added a layer of complexity that I had not expected. Where the light was able to shine straight through the leaf was a chartreuse world.  One of those wow moments.

early light in the nasturtium leaves

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cloud Watching

Sipping coffee, watching the cloud show pass over the mountains. Life is good.

Cloud watching

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Garden at Dusk

The grass is cut, even some of the whipper snipping, and now we do the wander about ritual while the sun sets. Next to dawn this is my favourite time of day. The air cools, the bullfrogs start to sing. The land seems hushed.

Walking back along my studio wall towards the woods
Up the stairs and through the arch, Rosa Henry Hudson is having a fine year
The Stone People, who will probably party as soon as we leave
Through another arch to the pond
The pond at dusk, even the water lilies have closed their flowers for the night
Last light on the stone wall

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Entering a parking lot the other day, we paused, then backed up to let a car maneuver into a space. Loud crack. Oops, we had just backed into the arm of the ticket booth coming down. Rear window shattered. Never realized how that kind of glass works before. Impressive amount on the ground and in the car. But I got some interesting shots of the glass; looks to me like a collusion of particles, but that could be because I seem to have particles on my mind. The shot I liked the best was some piece of tubing from the inside of the door and now exposed to the world.

collision of particles or broken rear window
Some piece of tubing, now exposed

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Congratulations Professor Higgs

Cern scientists reporting from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have claimed the discovery of a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson. [BBC News]

By now I suppose everyone has heard the news, and like me, find it so exciting. Another piece of the puzzle. And this probably raises as many questions as it answers. News agencies started talking about the discovery last week and I have been enthralled. Climbing out the the car the other day I noticed something glittering in the yew at the front door. Bending over to take a closer look I realized it was a spiders web, festooned with rain drops. And while I have no idea how the Higgs Bosom looks, these photos make me think of the way I visualize the universe.  Now if only someone could explain what is beyond the edges of the universe. I gather that depends on whether you believe the universe is expanding or contracting. I think I better stop now.

Entering the Milky Way
Caught in the net of unknowing

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Charles De Mills

One of the most beautiful roses in my garden, with the softest, velvety petals, vicious tiny thorns and a wondrous scent. Fully quartered with a tiny bright yellow center. Did I mention he's prolific? Blooms only last 3 weeks or so but what a show. And as an extra bonus he likes to spread about. Some might say he is a wondering fellow, but I love being able to give friends rootstock so they can grow this beauty.

Charles de Mills

Petals, Charles de Mills

Dried Petals, Charles De Millls

Sunday, July 1, 2012


A short walk in the rain with J. and Zoe last night. Came in and started to work on some images for the blog. Startled by the change in light I looked up. Mellow yellow came to mind as J called "There is a rainbow." Grabbed the camera and ran outside to see a double rainbow. Not an everyday occurance. Now why I think rainbows are magical, I have no idea... the pot of gold at the end? But for me they always make me happy and full of wonder.