Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

A branch that had broken off the crab apple at the side of the house, in the last storm, has become our tree this year; and although we always go into the woods and collect bare branches to use for our tree, this was just to easy to resist. And the shape is such an orphan tree. But it's up and covered with light and angels and lavender hearts and gold balls and garlands of stars and sits very happily twinkling away. So from our home to your home, we [that's my darling J., Zoe and me] wish you a Merry Christmas, and let the 12 days of feasting, reading and generally making merry begin.

the orphan tree, 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Longest Night Of The Year

When I get up and look outside this is what I see. The sky is the deepest indigo, the streetlight makes the snow shimmer on the tree boughs and the silence is deep. Today is the solstice; tomorrow there is more light, and the day after even more. I love the fact that the earth's axis tilts the furthest away from the sun today at 23.5 degrees. And tomorrow we start tilting back towards the sun. Happy Solstice!

the longest night, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

I Think They Should be Hiding

A few times a day, for the past week or so, a flock of turkeys appear at the bird feeder. They march up the path, often in single file, and peck away until Zoe [our dog] notices them and begs to be let out to give chase. They take off towards the woods, Zoe in pursuit, until they finally manage to take flight and end up in the trees where I must say they rather resemble basketballs. You would think they would hide at this tine of year, a lot of people would be thinking "Turkey dinner coming up."

off to the woods, 2014

Up in the trees, 2014

Turkey tracks on the walk, 2014

Confused tracks, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Drawing And Playing

A drawing from last week wanted to play with some photos of Christmas tree lights, and then parts of a very messy collage; and then to top it all off, with scotch tape. I was thinking of using some of the discarded drawings for Christmas wrapping paper until I remembered we don't "do" presents. Besides this is more fun.

un-named drawing from last week, 22 x 30 in, ink on paper, 2014

un-named drawing meets scotch tape, 2014

un-named drawing meets Christmas tree lights, 2014

un-named drawing meets messy collage and computer, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Longing For The Solstice

Today sunrise is 7:20 am, sunset is 4:08 pm;  December 21 can't come soon enough. I looked up from my book the other afternoon about 5 pm and was so grateful that J. had put up the outdoor lights. We've had snow, sleet and rain in successive waves over the past few days that the apple tree looks like it is covered in meringue . Looks delicious.

my view from the sofa, 2014

the horse chestnut, outside the front. 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More Burrowing

More burrowing and tunnelling; working by feel; pushing and ripping, covering and scraping.And now some snow shovelling.

deep burrow, 2014

found, 2014

tunnelling, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

William Blake

The new Taschen catalogue came the other day and I was excited to see a new publication of "The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy". Well I was excited until I saw the price. Instead of the book I checked out the edition online and downloaded my favourites. 

cover, all images are from the Taschen website

William Blake, The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy, images are from the Taschen website

William Blake, The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy, images are from the Taschen website

William Blake, The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy, images are from the Taschen website

William Blake, The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy, images are from the Taschen website

William Blake, The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy, images are from the Taschen website

William Blake, The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy, images are from the Taschen website

William Blake, The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy, images are from the Taschen website

Plate 9 (detail), Inferno V, 1–51, Minos.
Dante and Virgil have arrived in the Second Circle of Hell, which is reserved for the Lustful. Seated on a throne at its entrance is Minos, the Judge of Hell.
© National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia / Bridgeman Images, from William Blake, The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy, images are from the Taschen website

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Yesterday And Today

Yesterday morning was another beauty, hoarfrost coated the trees and shrubs and grasses; the sun shone its lovely long slanted light and all was miraculous. There is little snow on the ground so the fields shone, the stubble of hay covered with silver feathers.

at the pond, the bleached and brittle grasses wearing their hoar frost coats, 2014

a miniature forest of hoar frost, 2014

hoar frost drama at the edge of the pond, 2014

pine needles covered with frost, 2014

a twig resting on the surface of the pond, 2014

And today is the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre; for those that don't know, on December 6, 1989, a lone gunman walked into the École Polytechnique de Montréal, separated the men from the women and shot 14 women, injuring 15 more. Today it feels like not much has changed. In the past 10 years 1200 Aboriginal women have been reported missing and our government refuses to hold a public enquiry. This is shameful. If 1200 Montrealers went missing over a 10 year period we would be enraged. We need to change. Please consider signing the petition [Amnesty International] urging Stephen Harper to stop the violence now. Link here

In Memory of

Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Marie Klueznick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne- Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Burrowing About

Walking outside yesterday morning I noticed clumps of earth beside the path, the moles had been busy overnight burrowing about and one thought lead to another, Alice falling down the rabbit hole. That's what I've been doing, falling down the hole and burrowing about. It's actually quite exciting as I build my burrows and tunnels in the studio. And I wouldn't have thought this way except for the moles, which I usually curse, but this time its "Thank you".

Just had to reread Alice in Wonderland, the part where she falls through the rabbit hole. And for any of you that want to, it's at the bottom of the post.

detail of  unfinished Burrowing, mixed media on paper, 2014

detail of unfinished Burrowing, mixed media on paper, 2014

From Alice In Wonderland

In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was labelled `ORANGE MARMALADE', but to her great disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.
`Well!' thought Alice to herself, `after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they'll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!' (Which was very likely true.)
Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! `I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?' she said aloud. `I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think--' (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a very good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) `--yes, that's about the right distance--but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I've got to?' (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)
Presently she began again. `I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think--' (she was rather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) `--but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand or Australia?' (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke--fancy curtseying as you're falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) `And what an ignorant little girl she'll think me for asking! No, it'll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.'
Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again. `Dinah'll miss me very much to-night, I should think!' (Dinah was the cat.) `I hope they'll remember her saucer of milk at tea-time. Dinah my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?' And here Alice began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of way, `Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?' and sometimes, `Do bats eat cats?' for, you see, as she couldn't answer either question, it didn't much matter which way she put it. She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, `Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?' when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.
Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment: she looked up, but it was all dark overhead; before her was another long passage, and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, `Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!' She was close behind it when she turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: she found herself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof.

Monday, December 1, 2014


The past week has been tough; I'm lost in the studio. What seemed clear isn't. I try this, then that. I rip things up, reassemble them and rip them up again. I back off and wait, and look, and wait. I get anxious and put more marks down, but that doesn't seem to work either as it feels like I can't hear or sense where I need to go. Then I go upstairs and read "Lila" by Marilyn Robinson, which I loved, followed by a rereading "Gilead", and tomorrow onto rereading "Homecoming".  I hope that's a sign in that title.

ripped, glued, poured, drawn,  2014

split, poured and ink, 2014