Saturday, July 19, 2014

A pink and a blue painting

In the past two months I haven't done much painting but I've found a bit of a groove with a very simple composition that I'm working on with different colours.

Here are two paintings that I like, one is pink...

It's done on a birch cradle that was gessoed to cover over an earlier painting so there is some texture showing through. It's 16 x 16 inches.

And the other painting is blue....

Well, blue and green I guess. To me it reads blue. This is only 12 x 12" and is done on Terraskin, a kind of art paper made from clay. The surface is very slick and the paint moves easily on it, which creates quite a different effect than the one above.

My plan is to do some more work in the square format with this simple compositon and work with different colour selections.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A trip up-island

We live at the south end of Vancouver Island so a trip up-island means we're headed north over the steep and twisty Malahat highway.  Our destination was Comox, where our friends Paul and Wendy live in a secluded forested location right beside a beautiful marsh. They are surrounded by song birds and blackbirds and tame deer and rabbits and squirrels. We spent one evening sitting on the shady deck sipping wine and watching birds come to their feeders. Bliss.

The following day we went to the music festival but I've posted about that before so this time I'm sharing photos of the marsh, the birds, and Paul and Wendy's garden.

The garden has to be completely fenced because of wandering deer and other creatures. They are growing some beautiful things there: food like these berries (plus the salad greens, squashes etc.) as well as flowers like the day lilies seen below.  The garden is surrounded by tall fir trees that create a sanctuary feeling.

On our return trip we stopped at Parksville, the location of the 32nd annual Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition.  Parksville has miles of lovely sandy beach and this is a summer destination for people on Vancouver Island.

We know one of the competitors, Ken Abrams, who also designed the arch for our garden.  Here he is beside he and his partner's entry, titled In the Groove.
Since this is an international competition, some of the carvers are professionals.  Here are a couple of entries from teams that came from Europe.

This one on the right is based on the song Fly Me to the Moon.  And on the left, Breaking Through, shows women playing wind instruments emerging from blocks. All the carvings had a musical theme.

What amazing creativity and beauty can be found on a trip up-island!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The courtyard is coming together

Our garden in the back really came together this week.  A second Japanese Maple (Osakazuki) went in to the left of the water feature.  The arched arbour was delivered and set in place, the lighting was installed and the water feature was hooked up. 

The weather's been lovely and we've eaten outside nearly every night. 

There are still details to complete like a spout for the water, a light in the arch, plants for the arbour and some grouting and carpentry....  but we can see how it will look.  And it's going to be so beautiful.  


Friday, July 4, 2014

Dogs at the lake on Canada Day

On Tuesday, we took the dogs to the lake to enjoy the beautiful warm weather and celebrate Canada Day.  We have a special section of the beach far away from the families and kids. This is where Geordie learned to swim last year. And he's very dedicated to the job. After bringing the stick back to shore he drops it at my feet and then turns back to the water to wait for the next throw.

I think he would do it all day if he could, but we stop the game when he begins to shiver with fatigue.

My sister's dog Zoe loves swimming too.  She's a Sheltie so has shorter legs and has to move them even faster to make progress with her big stick.

When she gets to shore, she stands and barks at Jan to throw the stick again.

Both dogs spent a happy hour dashing into the water and retrieving their sticks.  We had fun too, both tossing sticks and walking along the lake while the dogs dried off.  The other Sheltie, Charlotte, doesn't enjoy swimming but likes to go for a little lakeside walk.

After our time at the lake we came home to drinks and dinner on the deck overlooking our new brick wall.

A bonus of the day was that two out of three dogs came home clean and tired out.

It was a great way to spend Canada Day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The beach at Dallas Road

Even in the city there are lovely beaches to explore. These photos are taken on a morning walk last week just about a mile from the city centre. There's a lovely walk along the water beside the cliffs full of blooming wild flowers.
Vetch, gorse and morning glory predominate. These are flowers that we root out of our gardens but we celebrate when walking on the path.

I love the tendrils and the deep pink of the wild pea (vetch).  

The flowers of the wild rose are fading now, but the rose hips are developing and will give some cheery red through the winter. 

Further along the path you can see piles of driftwood and little islands that appear at low tide.

Low tide is when the ocean harvesters appear. The woman is gathering seaweed for her garden, I think. The heron is finding breakfast. He caught a big fish and spent quite a bit of time flapping it around before he ate it.

  Then he headed back out for seconds.

Up at the top of the cliff is Dallas Road, which winds along the shore. This apartment's been here for decades with a lovely view of the ocean. The pink flower theme continues with blooming fox gloves. So peaceful.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Turning the corner on the garden reno

The last two days have seen an incredible change in our back garden. After weeks of construction and dust and debris, things have really come together.  Just take a look at these before and after shots.

The west corner of the garden yesterday morning with tools and debris, and this morning with the wall finished a a big coral bark maple planted.

The photo on the left is looking down the west side of the house yesterday morning with exposed irrigation pipes and Connor working on the arch. The one on the right is the same view this morning with shrubs being planted. The arch is almost finished.

And here is the arch completed; Connor is finishing the cap on the brick wall. By the way, most of these bricks came from a chimney in an old church, probably built around the time that this house was under construction in 1898.

The green in the photo above is the top of a large Coral Bark Maple that will be the focus of this corner.  I was thrilled to see that we could get such a large specimen.
Here you can see them getting it off the truck, and on the right it's waiting to be planted.

This view is from the back porch looking west yesterday morning after some cleanup, and below is the same view this afternoon. What a difference a day makes!

We still have a ways to go with lighting, finishing the water feature, some more planting and adding an arbour just where you can see Connor building some brick footings in this photo. But when the sun comes back out this weekend we will actually be able to enjoy some time in our beautifully evolving garden.