Thursday, June 27, 2013

An Ahhh Moment

There were some pastel drawings on the studio wall that I have been staring at for the past while, trying to engage in a conversation you might say. Well yesterday they spoke. And even thought I didn't have my hearing aids in, I could hear them. Thank you! This feels like the start of an interesting conversation.

2 red, top and bottom, pastel, 19 in x 19 in, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

White Poppies

These are shy little beauties, some years they seem to lie fallow in the garden. As you can see there is just a touch of pink at the base and as in so many photos of the garden this year there has been a lot of rain and this is probably their last day. I love how transparent their petals become just before they drop.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


The days are long and twilight seems to stretch. I wonder about the garden in the  electric blue light, hoping for fireflies. The moon is overhead, 1/2 full, the light becomes inky. Almost summer.

The Night Shed Its Blue Tears

The night shed its blue tears
on grass and woods

and the earth grew cool and deep
beneath my feet
and I felt for a moment
as though a pallor struck my breast
and my bones were rotting
and I was seized by fear.

Then I thought I heard a low whisper
like that of a closing flower:
You are a spring a thousand years ago.

Stefan Hörður Grímsson

[from the book On A Clear Morning, by Stefan Hörður Grímsson
translated from the Icelandic by Hallberg Hallmundsson,
Útgefandi, Reykjavík 2005]

With thanks to Ravenna Taylor [link here] for this poem.

Twilight, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Peony Heaven

Our piece of paradise is in full peony heaven. Despite the snow of a few weeks ago and the fact that the stems look like baroque candelabra, the blooms are as wonderful and fragrant as ever. I love working away, weeding and pruning and having the sweet, peppery scent of peony waft by; and then overcome, bury my face in the bloom. I sound like a Victorian maiden with a fit of the vapors.  I will call it peony madness.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Morning Dew

The peonies are starting to open and I want time to stand still. I want this precious moment to last. Up early and in the garden I caught the dew drenching the pale yellow peonies. They will fade to white, keeping the center yellow. Even though I can't make time stand still, it's wonderful to have a record of such beauty. That it was like this, and will be again.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Change of Pace

I like this drawing. It feels like the direction I hope they are going in, simple shapes with interesting lines. Actually it's the line at the bottom of the V that has me excited, where the pastel pools at the edge of the tape. I try to be careful how I lay the tape on top of the previous color but I really like that the under color shows through and I want to play with it more. 

I am also finding that time seems to be escaping me, the garden needs a lot of work and with all the rain we are looking green and lush and perhaps more jungle like that I am willing to put up with. Plus, when it remembers, it is almost summer and that means family and friends and holidays and generally taking more time to smell the roses. J. and I are planning to drive out to Calgary for the Art of the Book 2013 exhibition, a dream come true drive for us as we both want the experience of the prairie landscape. All this to say my blogging will be sporadic for the next couple of months.

Pushing down, 10 x 11.5 in, pastel, 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013


Well I ran out of that lovely paper [ the one that I can't remember the name of] and having some sandpaper in the studio decided to try it out with the soft pastels.  Although it feels very similar I didn't like working on it, the sheets feel so small and the pastels so big. Now I really can't wait to go down to The Studio Store and get more more.

the edge of dusk, 11 x 9 in, pastel on sandpaper, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Delicate Balance

I found a wonderful new paper; it feels like sandpaper and is great for soft pastels. It's a fairly neutral gray and quite wonderful to work on. Actually the paper is just so gorgeous with out a mark on it. The only down side to the paper is that it eats the pastels, so I am trying to do a lot of planning before I put pastel to paper. Not the way I usually work but I am enjoying this more methodical approach. And because I need to use fixative, I can work on several at a time, leaving the others pinned up on the wall as they dry. And of course they speak to each other so that another and another emerges. The bottom photo is a digital composite of 2 works from the wall. I am going to need more paper.

A Delicate Balance,  24 x 18, soft pastel, 2013

Between, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Another Kind Of Dream

Years ago when I was starting the big gardens I did a lot of reading about gardens, how to plan them, how to amend the soil, how to maintain them, ect. ect., but my favourite part was always the pictures. And I would dream, and then I would remember where I live and what zone the garden is. So it was back to dreaming. And one of my dreams was to grow tree peonies. The books all said, "flowers as big as dinner plates", well mine are more like saucers but they flower. I wrap them every winter and I still get a fair bit of die back, but it is worth it. Peony season has started.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Still Lake Dreaming

It was so hot today that J. went swimming. It was a very short swim and when he came out his voice had risen 3 octaves. I, on the other hand, decided to dream summer lake time.

Mist rising 2, 2013

Mist rising, 2013