Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All the best for 2014

Catching up with things a few days ago I got to hear the Festival of Lessons and Carols from Kings College. I look forward to what carols they will sing, what arrangements they will use, what new descants will they sing, and especially how they will put the service together. The gem this year was John Tavener's The Lamb followed by Britten's A New Years Carol. I had forgotten how beautiful the words were for the Britten

Here we bring new water from the well so clear
For to worship God with, this happy New Year
Sing levy dew, sing levy dew, the water and the wine;
The seven bright gold wires and the bugles that do shine.

Sing reign of Fair Maid, with gold upon her toe,
Open you the West Door, and turn the Old Year go.
Sing levy dew, sing levy dew, the water and the wine;
The seven bright gold wires and the bugles that do shine.

Sing reign of Fair Maid, with gold upon her chin,
Open you the East Door, and let the New Year in.
Sing levy dew, sing levy dew, the water and the wine;
The seven bright gold wires and the bugles that do shine.

About levy dew, there are 2 ways of looking at this, "Levez a Dieu" ("raise to God") or treat it as a corruption of "levedy" ("lady"). It seems, as so many of our customs, to be based in ancient rituals of using water to cleanse and purify, along with song and dance. 

Wishing you all the very best for the New Year; love, health, hope and much creativity, and thanks for all your lovely comments throughout the year.

7 bright gold wires, 2013

To listen to A New Years Carol [link here], 

To listen to Kings sing John Tavener's The Lamb [link here]

or The Sixteen do a great job of it here [link here]

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lethal Beauty

We have power! It's been quite the storm, so much more ice than the ice storm of 1998 when we lost power over a 3 week period, so there has been much singing of the Hallelujah Chorus around this house and grateful thanks to all the Hydo workers, firemen and all the workers who have just plain been amazing and wonderful. The sun is shining, well intermittently, and I'm almost ready. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone, however you celebrate!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Trying to Figure This Out

A few days ago I mentioned that I was dreaming of Florence and the colors of the early renaissance. And for the past 6 months or so I have been intrigued with the perspective of that time. The figures all seem to be on one flat plane, almost like an old fashioned movie set, or stage set, with the painted back drop using one point perspective. Before this I can't say I paid to much attention to the background as I thought it was a dream world. And then when we were in Florence and I realized the landscapes were true; it's what we saw out of our hotel windows and as we walked the streets and churches and museums. And then I started to pay more attention to buildings, and columns, the actual space within the paintings. And I wondered, what about using this dream like perspective.

For the rose boat, 2013

pink sky, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Altered Book

About a month ago I started reading Andrew Solomon's book Far from the Tree, and while I loved it, I wasn't making much progress. This book is thick and heavy and impossible to read in bed, where I get most of my reading done. So it sat languishing on the bedside table until I had that eureka moment. Cut it in half. Sounds simple but it took more that a few days to get up the courage to desecrate a book;  you never harm a book was how I was brought up. Loved the book, I highly recommend it; and the above method if you, like me, like to read in bed.

doing the dastardly deed

finished, and now held together with one of those great X elastics

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's Been Cold!

The last couple of mornings we have woken up to -28C which is about -20 F. [and this is only December she wails].  When it is this cold and windy the bottoms of the windows frost over and captured in the frost is another world, one that has always entranced me. Sometimes the frost reminds me of cross sections of the earth from old geography books, and sometimes they make me dream of distant galaxies.


Looking back from the edge of space

Friday, December 13, 2013

More Boats

For the last few months I been thinking about the wonderful colours of the early renaissance and dreaming of time spent in Florence; and learning how to draw shapes in photoshop, small things and immensely enjoyable.

prow of the rose boat, 2013

deck , of the rose boat, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Happy Accidents

Needing a break from working in the web site I would go back and play with the boat plans my brother had sent. The lines are beautiful with long and elegant curves. This piece was unexpected as I seldom mirror my images. I'm glad I did!

Dome, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Short Days

Less than 2 weeks to the solstice and it hard to believe the sun can move any further south. It casts long lines of tree shadow over the land while it fills the studios with light. The pond with it lack of snow has been particularly beautiful in the slanted soft light.

The glint of the late [3 pm] afternoon light
long shadows on the pond

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The New Website

Finished, uploaded, and it seems to work! Yeah! Now I can go back to the studio. Please take a visit www.lizdavidsonartist.com  And don't forget that you can click on any photo to enlarge it.

The new website

Monday, December 2, 2013

2 for Jazz

I am loving the shapes and lines from these boat plans that my brother sent me last week. After working on the web site [which is coming along thanks to some great suggestions from friends, especially the words archive and responsive ] it is a total pleasure to play with shape, line and colour.

Jazz1, 2013

Jazz 2c, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Renovating My Web Site

There have been two major concerns with my redo of my website. The first is the size as I started in 2006 and have just kept adding to it, so that now it is gigantic. The question [that I avoided and procrastinated over] is should I just start a new site with just with current work. The other concern is that so many people use their phones and tablets that would this site work, designed as it were in the dark ages. Uploading a piece of software, Xcode, let me see the site on an IPhone simulator. Neat. So I decided to go with what I have, making the pages as narrow as I could as everyone seems to scroll down now and not sideways. Hopefully I am reaching the end and can upload the site. You will hear a mighty cheer!

some screen shots of the new site on the IPhone simulator

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Building Boats

My brother sent me some some photos of the plans for the boat he is building and I immediately emailed him back asking him if I could use them in a piece I was working on. I have to admit I'm not sure what part it is, maybe the transom, but I loved the lines and knew just where they wanted to go. Love these serendipitous moments. I had to laugh when I think that only a few months ago I was working on navigational aids [link here].

Plans for the golden boat

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November's Lines and Textures

On my walks yesterday all I was noticing was the shadow line of the trees. As we approach the solstice the shadows get longer, creating intricate pattern on the driveway and barely white pond. As I looked closely at the ice on the pond I was filled with wonder at the cosmos created. With such a minimal landscape  textures comes to the forefront. The land is black and white with shades of gray, etched with November's lines.

an old apple tree casts it's shadow on the driveway

A split in the ice

tree shadows on the pond

another kind of milky way

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Frozen Still Life

Every couple of hours, while I work on the website, I get up from the computer and go for a short walk. Usually around the pond where for the past couple of days I have watched it freeze and unfreeze. Rather like some kind of very slow breathing. Yesterday afternoon as I wandered about I noticed some of the grasses and leaves just submerged and barely frozen in the thin ice. The surface of the pond was marked with frozen water or snow droplets. I love the colors and the way the ice water has refracted the image. It's the Canadian version of the Dutch Vanitas paintings.

frozen still life

frozen still life 2

frozen still life 3

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quiet Time

I was reading Deborah Barlow's blog Slow Muse [link here] the other day and these words expressed so well what I have been thinking about.

John Russell‘s admonitions feel even more necessary now than they did then:
I think that art should be allowed to go private. It should be a matter of one-on-one. In the last few years, the public has only heard of art when it makes record prices at auction, or is stolen, or allegedly withheld from its rightful owners. We need to concentrate more on art that sits still some place and minds its own business. We all hope for a strong response from art, but the kind of buzz that we have to live with nowadays is the enemy of art. Quietness and slow time are its friends.

A retreat from the outer world of garden and land, the sense of hibernation, the longing for quiet, for calm, for watching; a place I need to be now as I take the time to update my website. Details, fiddlely bits, organization, the figuring out of the puzzle, how to present things clearly, time to make mistakes, time to fix them; the sense that there is enough time and I will get it done. But I know I need full concentration and a letting go of where I'd rather be which is the studio. And I know, really, this is part of the studio.

Last night's sunset on the pond

Sunday, November 17, 2013


The last few days have been finish up the garden days; a brief spell of warm weather, coffee outside in the morning watching clouds drift over the mountain, pruning the apple tree so J. can put up the lights as I will be moaning in another couple of weeks about very short days and not enough light, watching the edges of the pond melt into their lovely lines and where there is water a reflection of a tree merging into the opaque ice, capturing the glint of tree reflection on the ice. That's the blue I love in the night sky.

reflections on the ice

 melting edges of the pond

a reflection of a tree merging into the opaque ice

the edges of the pond melt into their lovely lines

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Radiant Yellow

A few days ago I printed some of the disappearing images that I had worked on the computer. Then added some washes of my new favourite colour Radiant Yellow, enhanced some of the lines with pencil and enclosed them in encaustic. I had forgotten how wonderfully the studio smells when you work with encaustic; warm summer day smell while out side the window there were snow squalls. The encaustic always changes the color of the print, usually brightening the colors and giving them more saturation. And I dripped some radiant yellow, a happy accident.

Radiant Yellow Contained, mixed media, 16 x 28, 2013

Radiant Yellow Contained, before the mixed media

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vermeer's Hat

Sitting on the coffee table hiding under a stack of other books, and found when I finally dusted, was Vermeer's Hat by Timothy Brook. This is a terrific read. He has a wonderful way of looking at Vermeer's work; not as an art historian but as a cultural history of the objects, the people, their clothes; the very space itself and leads one through a part of the history of globalization. It's a treasure chest full of bits of social history and culture, and, for me, a new way to look at these and other historical work of art. I always wished that in school they taught like this, a timeline, so that I learned what was being discovered scientifically, what was being written, composed, painted, invented, thought about, talked about and explored.

Johannes Vermeer, Officer and Laughing Girl. 1658, Frick Collection

On a totally different note, the Canadian Government has promised to match all donations made to the Canadian Red Cross for relief help in the catastrophic destruction in the Philippines,  President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of national calamity following Friday's typhoon, which has killed thousands of people. Here is the link.

Monday, November 11, 2013


After all the struggles of trying to get a decent photo of the disappearing works [link here], I realized that I really liked what had happened on the computer, so I printed a few trial prints. Some seem to want washes of colour on top of the prints, and encaustic, and some I'll try gluing on to wood panels and cover with encaustic; and the smallest ones I'll frame and see which way this all wants to play out.

Score, image 11 x 36 in, support 15 x 40 in,  2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lake Ontario

Coming back from the Art Fair in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, we spent the night with some very old friends. Not old in that chronological way, although we are getting there,  but old in the way of friends you have known forever,  who know you truly and accept all the parts of you. There is something so precious about this kind of friendship. Their house is on a bay on Lake Ontario where you can watch the lake in all her moods, The night we arrived the wind was strong, rain lashing, waves rolling high. And the next morning it was all liquid gold.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quietly Following

I am so enjoying laying down these layers of color, the deliberate placing of the brush, my arm moving across the paper on a hopefully smooth line, breath flowing and the lift off of the brush at the end of the line; and repeating for the next line, and the next. I'm impatient for the washes to dry though so I go up to the computer and play. I am still having a hard time shooting good photos of these pale works, although I have added more color to the washes, so these are detail shots, layered on the computer, which is a great way to see how future works might want to sit on the paper. If anyone has suggestions for how to shoot white on white with a touch of pencil I would welcome them!

oils on paper, 2013

oils on paper, 2013

oils on paper, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Blues

The garden is almost ready for winter, and on my list of things to do was rake the leaves out of the pond. While I didn't get that crossed off the list, I did take photos of clouds on reflected on the water. And remembered summer.