Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Summer's early


It's only just the beginning of May and everything is blooming early. The lilacs are finished and the dandelions are already going to seed.  Saturday evening it was not just warm but hot on the back deck. I'm loving it ... because so often the weather in spring and early summer is cool and cloudy. But at the same time I'm trying not to think about global warming.

Monday, April 25, 2016

When is a painting finished?


So how do you know when a painting is finished?  Last year I painted this on a cradled panel sized 10"x10" and I got attached to the colours and the form and thought it was finished.

But the other day when I looked at it again I found it quite lacking; a little boring in fact. So I jumped in and pushed it further by adding more layers of colour and scraping back.




The only area I really liked was the bottom left corner so I left that section and kept adding layers.

This is what I came up with....




I like this incarnation much more. I find it more interesting with the additional striations and the soft blue painted over some of the green. I miss the gradations somewhat but overall I think this is a better painting.  

The question is: have I gone far enough?  If I add more to it there is the risk of going too far and ruining the feeling this evokes.

For me it's all about the feeling. I just keep painting until it doesn't bug me any more. This painting has achieved that. But could it be better?

Feedback and comments are welcome.



Saturday, April 23, 2016

Travel planning

We love to travel especially in Europe but it's too expensive to stay in hotels. So now that we are without dogs we are looking into the idea of home exchange. We've signed up for a website that allows us to find people who want to trade houses and sometimes even cars with people all over the world.  We've listed our house along with photos and have started sending requests to people in Seville and Sicily.

Part of the process included taking photos of our home from every angle both inside and outside. I had never before taken a photo from this angle. I think it shows our house off quite well.

The home exchange website sounds good but it turns out that not everyone wants to come here at the same time we want to go there. We've sent out about forty inquiries and so far haven't found anyone who wants to exchange with us.  I doubt that the west coast of Canada is as high up on people's travel lists as for example the south of France or Andalusia. That said, I'm sure there are people who would like to come here and it seems we might be better to try for something 2017.

Meanwhile we've jumped in and booked flights to Italy for four weeks in late September and if we don't find an exchange we'll go the Air B&B route. Our plan is to visit Rome again and then head south to Sicily. It looks like a fascinating place to explore. At our age we've decided that we don't want to put travel plans off. Who knows how long we'll be able to travel this way?



Friday, April 15, 2016

Now spring's really arrived


I can't believe that it's been more than six weeks since I posted here. It's the longest gap I've had since I began this blog in 2009. And I don't really have an excuse because "I'm busy" just doesn't cut it when you're retired. I was sick with the flu for a while but that doesn't really cut it either.Nevertheless I've been doing a lot of things and here I am to catch you up on some of them.

Here's a photo of our street taken today while we were out walking Miss Sophie, who is our dear departed Geordie's littermate. We've been taking care of her for a bit while her "people" are visiting Mazatlan.


And here's Sophie up on Knockan Hill enjoying the wildflowers with Harry and my sister. You can't really see her that much. She's the black dot in the background.  The Camas is blooming all over Victoria's Gary Oak meadows and it's just so so beautiful.

Here are a few more flowery photos for your spring enjoyment. The flowering cherries and plums are almost finished. Note the "pink snow" along the edge of the sidewalk.




And here's an amazing arbour supporting Lilac, Clematis and Wisteria. We pass this on our walk to the grocery store. I don't know what the orange flowers are but I think they add to the overall effect.





So what else have we been doing? Well we got rid of our sofa bed in the den and replaced it with a Murphy bed. It makes the room really usable as a dining room, which we totally lacked.  Plus it's a lot nicer for our guests sleeping.  It pulls out from the wall already made up as a double bed. Cool eh?








I've been doing some painting and took part in a show at a local care home. It was an opportunity for me to figure out how to display my work. I found some old bi-fold doors and painted them and stood them up as display racks.  Here's what they looked like:



I made some cards from a few paintings as well. I didn't sell much but it was fun, and a good preparation for the Fernwood Art Stroll, which I'll be doing in June.

Recently I started painting with a friend at her house on Mondays and it's re-energized my work. I was getting kind of bored with the work I'd been doing and have now taken off in a new direction. I've always admired whimsical work so I've launched myself into another approach.

Here are the first two paintings I'm working on. They're somewhat different from the geometric stuff I'd been doing before.






So that's a bit of what I've been doing. Now that spring is really here we're looking forward to some warm summery weather so we can get the deck and garden area in the back ready for some socializing.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spring has arrived on Yukon Street

The last few days we've felt the arrival of spring, with more light, warmth and sunshine. In the garden cheery primroses, crocuses and tiny daffodils are popping up.


Yesterday all the kids from the apartment across the street tumbled out onto the sidewalk and into the park to play.



The park's looking good with the flowering cherry trees and green grass. It's looking up here on Yukon Street.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A turtle treat

Puerto Vallarta gave me a last little goodbye surprise yesterday morning as I was walking the beach before we headed off for the trip home. I almost stepped on them as I walked, but happened to see what looked like scaly baby birds emerging from the sand. Looking closer I saw that it was two tiny turtles that had just hatched and were crawling out of a hole.







I called to a couple of Mexican women on the beach and they came over and one started digging the rest of them out while the other went to get someone who would take care of the babies. It seems that the usual procedure is to keep them in together and then release them into the water at nighttime when there are fewer predators.




 By the time the experts came there was quite a crowd of people watching more and more sand covered hatchlings emerge. I counted 29 at one point. Sadly some people were picking them up, which seemed wrong to me.




The guys who came to help told us not to touch them at all. And in fact I watched them spend quite a bit of time washing their hands with sand before they proceeded to dig out the rest of the brood. Apparently there are often as many as 80 babies hatched at once.










They were fully formed complete with scales on their fins and around their necks and shells that hardened up quite quickly. But they were pretty small, only about 3 inches long. Their colour was a pale greyish sandy tone, probably protective colouration.


Apparently these are the type that grow to be the large sea turtles that look like this and weigh up to 160 pounds. But only a small number of these babies will ever make it to adulthood because they are vulnerable to both birds and sea creatures.


I loved this little glimpse of nature's work. What a miraculous thing to see!