Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Eye Candy

A dear friend gave me an old copper tray that you use to put your house plants in, but I think it may end up as as wall piece. It is so beautiful. There are bit of earth and twigs and leaves, and the most marvellous marks and colours. A gem.

The bottom of the tray

glowing turquoise

a map of another world

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April Showers

The world is greening, the snowdrops almost finished and there are spots in the garden that are a small flood of electric blue as the scillas start to bloom. And though it is cool, well I'm finding it cold, and not a great time to work outside; the pleasures increase. The stark outlines of the land are giving way to the soft haze of budding everywhere, and the cool, wet day is perfect for growth.

drawing circles on the pond, 2014

and more circles, 2014

water patterns, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Revisiting March 18

I have been wrestling with blogger "enhancing" my photos, to the point that really dark or really light photos were dreadful. Well thanks to a friend [thanks Altoon] who found out where you can turn off this auto enabled enhancing photos feature, I can finally post these; the first day when spring light was apparent. In our old house it's like a spotlight turned on, areas lit up that we hadn't seen for months, shadows in unexpected places, dust and cobwebs too. It's that time when you know the light has come back; actually it's probably the time when the light is most balanced with the dark. All that to say it makes for some dramatic shots.

light on the kitchen cupboards, March 18, 2014

light on the bookshelves, through the old glass, March 18, 2014

Instructions for turning off Auto Enhance : A  2 step process. Go the the Picasa album that holds the blog photos and it turns out that there's a little feature called "Auto Enhance" which you can turn off!! On the Picasa page of the blog photos there's an arrow at the top right which has a drop down menu; at the bottom of it is Auto Enhance and from it you can turn it off. It is set to normal as a default. 2. then go to this link and follow the instructions. https://support.google.com/plus/answer/3338435?hl=en

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Starting To Get Ready

I'm starting to get organized for a show coming up this summer, which means framing some of the smaller works, which means cutting mattes. And all was going well until it wasn't, which meant the white matte had red splotches. Quite a few red splotches and I was hopping about yelling SH*T, SH*T, SH*T. Man X-acto knives are sharp. So it will be a few days before I cut any more mattes; meanwhile I got the photo I needed of the 4 scroll books hanging and finally found the black book boards for the Song to Spring book, and the peepers are singing.

the 4 scroll books hanging free, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Mysterious Process

J. started a new painting last week and when I was in his studio the other day i asked if I could take some photos. The 1st month of a painting, well his, is such a mysterious process to me as he wanders about in the forest looking for the path or the light. I, of course am always wanting to tell him to stop here or there as I love the forms hinted at, this ambiguous state. I know that at this stage he is calibrating the palette for this painting, the forms have already been decided. For me it's a treat to come in each day and see the slow build up of the under painting, some days what I had loved yesterday is covered over, or barely there, but other places have begun to sing. BTW in the photos the painting is sideways, and in the 1st photo the studio lights are on, in the 2nd it's just natural light.

Under painting 1, © John Ballantyne, 2014

Under painting 2, © John Ballantyne, 2014

If you would like to see more of John's work please visit his web site   johnballantyneartist.com

Saturday, April 19, 2014

April Snow

The other morning even Zoe, our dog, didn't want to go out side. It was back to the white world and deep freeze.  J. had put the screen door up and Zoe just stood there and stared.

Even Zoe can't believe what she sees

Later that morning I noticed that the snow was melting on the roof, sliding and folding down upon itself,  making wavelets of snow.

snow folds on the roof

And just before dinner, making a tour of the garden to see how the young shoots of the perennials had survived this latest assault, I wandered over to the pond; frozen solid, again. Even the split in the ice was trying to heal and the ice was a dark pewter gleam.

the self healing ice

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The End Of The Roll

Next time I will know to buy more than one roll of this practice paper. I seem to be eating it. Quite tasty I find, especially when we woke up to 5 inches of snow yesterday. Spring, can you hear me?

scales # 9, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

scales #10, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

scales #13, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Color of Melting

Really warm weather and strong winds have pulled the snow to the edge of the woods and water is beginning to flow into the pond and puddle on the surface of the ice. The colour of the water is that glacial green, not easy to capture in the photos below. I keep running out to the pond at different times of the day to take photos but never seem to capture that particular quality of colour. Within minutes of the ice going out of the pond the peepers will start to sing their spring song, I can hardly wait.

the colour of spring, 2014

more pond color, 2014

a lovely line, a crack in the ice on the pond, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Outside / Inside

Out side all is melting: water is running high in the streams, stone walls are exposing more of themselves every hour, where the snow has melted the grass lies matted and best of all is the smell again, damp earth, a soft scent. Watching out the studio window as the snow creeps back towards the woods, I realized I wasn't paying attention and had dripped water over some of this practice paper [last post]. As I pulled it off the table the light shone though the water marks, what beautiful shapes.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Practice Paper

Last week when we were in Montreal I picked up a roll of practice paper; I must say the name enchanted me. All I could think of was practicing scales and I realized, again, how much better a pianist I might have been if I had just practiced my scales; now I am drawing scales.  There is something so satisfying and pleasurable about making these marks, lines on paper, repeating motions, repeat again with slightly different pressure or motion. All the things my piano teacher tried to teach me about playing scales is so evident in this process. Wish I could have understood it then.

scales #1, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

scales #3, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

scales #5, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Back to The Japanese Paper

I have enjoyed using the Terra Skin paper but I have to admit to missing the aliveness of my beautiful Kozuke paper. There is something so wondrous about the way ink and paper meet. I'm hoping this is not a fatal attraction but there is a very sensual feeling about how they behave. I've never met 2 materials with such an attraction for each other. Maybe they have spring fever too.

trying to grow, 72 in x 40 in, ink on paper, 2014

reaching towards the other, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Scroll Books 2, 3 and 4

Finished the other 3 scroll books and was on a roll so decided to glue the covers for another book I am  working on called Songs for Spring. It's big and the paper I was covering the book boards with has puckered and warped the boards [my gluing technique might have something to do with it], but what I really want are black book boards like I have used for these little ones. I've been checking on line without success, and I need large sheets, 13 x 19 inches, so if any one knows where to purchase large solid black book boards please let me know.

scroll book 2, 3, 4, opening, 8.5 in x 10 in, 2014

scroll book 2, 3, 4, middle, 8.5 in x 10 in, 2014

scroll book 2, 3, 4, ending, 8.5 in x 10 in, 2014

all the scroll books, 1,2,3,4,  8.5 in x 10 in, 2014

all the scroll books, 1,2,3,4, detail,  8.5 in x 10 in, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Old Friends

Yesterday we were in Montreal picking up supplies and of course I needed paper so a trip to Au Papier Japonaise [link here] was on the agenda. It's always a treat to see Stan and Lorraine and I love the fact that I have been going to their store for  20+ years. They are  so knowledgable and each time I learn. Stan and I were reminiscing about a previous love affair of mine with one of their beautiful papers called gampi, a hand made paper, tissue thin but so strong, with a pearl like sheen to it. I used it extensively for a series of body castings I was doing about how our bodies tell stories, about taking off our armour and feeling vulnerable, and because I didn't remove the paper from the edge of the moulds they also suggested the light that surrounds us. These photos are scans from slides and I really should redo them…sometime.

The Heart of the Matter, 23.5 in H x 33 in W x 11 in D, gampi tissue, 1993

Surrender, 77 in H x 28.5 in W x 10.25 in D,  gampi tissue, 1993

Thursday, April 3, 2014


The lines seem to have a life of their own in the studio.  They have become demanding, insistent, "I want to be a this, I want to be that", and all I can do is what they demand. And so the story continues.

ladder for Persephone,  24 x 19 in, ink, acrylic on Terra Skin, 2014

more ladders for Persephone,  24 x 19 in, ink, acrylic on Terra Skin, 2014

Venus rising,  24 x 19 in, ink, acrylic on Terra Skin, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cabin Fever

More from the dream, a very short story.

cabin fever, 24 x 38 in, ink and acrylic, 2014

Demeter's tears,  24 x 38 in, ink and acrylic, 2014

for Persephone, a bribe, a shawl against the cold, 38 x 24 in, ink and acrylic, 2014