Monday, September 30, 2013

Beautiful Decay

Our wondrous weather continues so I spent the weekend wrestling with the wicked weed, which has had a banner year with all the rain. It's growing among a bank of day lilies, so I am getting a lot of stretching in. There is a very early day lily called 'Flavia" that forms the most beautiful pod and if I leave it late enough the structure of the pod becomes more apparent as it decays. These images are scanned but a few years ago I photographed them.[see link here]

scanned day lily pods, 2013

scanned day lily pod, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Watching the Sunrise

We are in a spell of glorious weather, so coffee in hand we sit outside and watch the sunrise.

breathing in the golden glow this morning
lovely light in the pines
light by the 2nd cup of coffee
a hops leaf swaying in the breeze
Early morning mist forming and reforming
For some reason uploading these photos has resulted in strange skies, I tried to save another way for the web, but they are just as weird. Is anyone else having problems...a blogger glitch...a Liz Davidson glitch?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Now I See

The title for this horizontal book comes from a favourite poem of Margaret Atwood's called Resurrection [link here] that I used in a video years ago. She, very kindly, had given me permission to do so. At that time I loved taking video stills and reworking them in the studio and on the computer. With this book I wanted to solve some of the technical dramas I have with the accordion structure and also see how large was workable as a book. So the way I made and attached the cover had to change. I glued just the back page to the back cover and I like it, it works, but the size is still an issue. Some of the pages are strong and some are weaker [all the pages are test prints that I have been gathering as I clean out my flat files] and they can't seem to stand evenly; an easily solved problem if I do another large book, use very heavy paper or back each page with another colour. What I haven't figured out is how to do this. If anyone has any ideas I would be thrilled to hear them.

Playing with the folds, accordion structure, Now I See, 2013

more combinations, Now I See, 2013
back page leading to 1st page, Now I See, 2013
cover structure, Now I See, 2013, as you can see I backed the 1st page with the paper I used for the cover to make it more rigid

cover, Now I See, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013


    After a few days of beach walking I started to notice the seaweed on the shore between the high and low tide marks. There were wonderful variations in form, color and texture and I took it for granted that seaweeds were plants  [they looked like cuttings from the garden] only to learn that seaweeds are not plants, they are algae, because they lack the many distinct cell and organ types found in land plants. Whatever they are called, they are beautiful; the dark ones reminded me of William Morris designs.
a flowering bouquet drapes a stone
Fingers reaching out to touch
Feathery tendrils
looking like pine needles
And my favourite
which reminded me of "Acanthus", a wall paper pattern designed by William Morris, about 1875

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Longer Book of Horizontal Ideas

Another accordion structure, again made from mostly horizontal images. And again not paying any attention to page width, which does add some excitement when it comes to bind it. Some pages act like pop outs, some pages are not the same height  and some pages break the accordion structure. Some of the pages have words and poems from my notebooks. The covers, which have a spine, are glued front and back. Next time I will glue only the pages to the back cover. Love this experimenting. This book ended up being 7.25 x 9.5 in. 24 pages with 4 inserts.

Near the beginning of A Longer Book...
towards the end of A Longer Book....
One of the pop out pages
Uneven spine and folded pages

Cover of A Longer Book....

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Rocks of Metis

Across the road from where we stayed on our trip up the St Laurence was a narrow, sandy strip of beach at high tide and a rocky expanse at low tide. Watching the light and water, the shapes of the stones, the seals sunning on the spit of rock further out, the whale that I thought was a loose dingy, the patterns of the seaweed left behind by the outgoing tide, the breathing of the river; all these things gave me a sense of homecoming, of belonging. And as I was about to post this I remembered this quote from Rachel Carson that a friend posted last week.  [Thanks Jj]

“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” 

Early morning light on the river rocks
a tidal pool
tiny stones nestled into the fold of rock
a favourite stone with incised marks
a tidal pool that looks like an aerial photograph...hmmm, well I suppose it is!
ochre/ rust lichen glowing in the early light

Monday, September 16, 2013

a small book of horizontal ideas

Cleaning out the flat files a couple of weeks ago I intended to pare down, but all that happened is that I made new piles of images. A lot of these were trials and color proofs so I separated them into vertical and horizontal images and thought it would be interesting to make some books from these. Using my favourite accordion structure I glued and folded and cut, which meant I ended up with uneven page widths and an uneven spine, [always fun to break the rules]. For the cover I tried something new for me and made a hard cover with a spine, glued the first and last pages down and voila.

cover for the small book of horizontal ideas

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Conversations, Part 2

The sketches/drawings on the wall [link here] continue to talk to each other. Actually some days they seen to dance about constantly rearranging themselves, while other days they argue... loudly. The past couple of days they seem to be arguing; some feel they want to be tents while others feel they are houses. Don't ask me I say,  I just want to play with shapes, and colors and line.

Tents c, 2013

Conversations 2d, 2013

Tents 3, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Le Potager At The Reford Garden

One of the reasons for our trip up to Gaspé was the time to visit the Redford Garden / Jardins de Métis [link here] famous for their blue poppies. It was too late in the year for those but the gardens are a treat. I deliberately left the camera in the car as I wanted to totally enjoy wandering about and not thinking of the next shot. And that worked well until I came upon the newest garden, the kitchen garden or "le potager". There I found plants I definitely want to grow; a bronze fennel called Foenicuiam vulgare "Smoky", leeks called Allium porrum "Lancelot" and common teasel called Dipsacus fullonum. As I read more about teasel, it sounds like a plant to be cautious with, [some sites name it as an invasive] so I'll try in a dry spot, It really is magnificent, and would be great in the fall and winter. An added plus is the goldfinches and blackbirds love feeding on the seeds.

Teasel  /Reford Garden

Teasel head / Reford gardens

You can see why I an so taken with teasel

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

As Above, So Below

We have just had the most marvelous 4 days driving up the south shore of the St Laurence River. What I had hoped to see around the North Shore of Lake Superior was right here. We followed the coastal highway north of Quebec City to the tip of Gaspé, from the gently rolling farmland through progressively rockier land until one gets to the drama of the Gaspé where the road hugs the shoreline and roller coasters up and down the mountains. From Trois-Rivières upward the river is tidal which meant the coast was breathing water in and out and the air had a soft brine scent. I watched the river and sky as the tide rolled in and then out, in clouds and fog, mist and sunshine; a constantly changing viewpoint, that place where things meet and separate, and come together again.

the moody St Laurence

the patterns of the sand reflected those of the clouds

as above, so below

Friday, September 6, 2013

River Horizons

I am in love with big horizons, that wonderful sense of space, that place where sky meets land or water.

South shore of the St. Laurence River
A friend, [thanks so much Raechel] send me this poem, a wonderful accompaniment to the photo.

Monet Refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say that there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and changes our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

~ Lisel Mueller ~

(Sixty Years of American Poetry, The Academy of American Poets)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Weaving The Web

Between one of yesterdays thunderstorms and down pours, I found this spider weaving her web with ferocious speed. It was amazing to watch the fingers pull the tread out of the sac with never a break in the weaving. 

During the process of making an orb web, the spider will use its own body for measurements.
Many webs span gaps between objects which the spider could not cross by crawling. This is done by first producing a fine adhesive thread to drift on a faint breeze across a gap. When it sticks to a surface at the far end, the spider feels the change in the vibration. The spider reels in and tightens the first strand, then carefully walks along it and strengthens it with a second thread. This process is repeated until the thread is strong enough to support the rest of the web.
After strengthening the first thread, the spider continues to make a Y-shaped netting. The first three radials of the web are now constructed. More radials are added, making sure that the distance between each radial and the next is small enough to cross. This means that the number of radials in a web directly depends on the size of the spider plus the size of the web. It is common for a web to be about 20 times the size of the spider building it.
After the radials are complete, the spider fortifies the center of the web with about five circular threads. It makes a spiral of non-sticky, widely spaced threads to enable it to move easily around its own web during construction, working from the inside, outward. Then, beginning from the outside and moving inward, the spider methodically replaces this spiral with a more closely spaced one made of adhesive threads. It uses the initial radiating lines as well as the non-sticky spirals as guide lines. The spaces between each spiral and the next are directly proportional to the distance from the tip of its back legs to its spinners. This is one way the spider uses its own body as a measuring/spacing device. While the sticky spirals are formed, the non-adhesive spirals are removed as there is no need for them any more.

From Wikipedia