Thursday, January 31, 2013

Squares of painted paper

I just started my painting class a couple of weeks ago and I never thought I'd come up with something to hang on my wall so quickly.  But I was so excited with the first task of working with symmetry and value that I ended up with about two dozen small pieces of painted paper in tones that worked together.

Playing around with them I came up with a some larger pieces whose composition I liked...

So I refined it and glued them onto a board and Harry framed it for me.

Voila, a new piece of art for the dining room wall.

How fun is that?

I'm working my way into abstract painting and I know it's not always as easy as this.  It's nice to have something I like to look at right away though.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rethinking Acapulco

Last night we had some friends over for dinner and they told us about some people they know who had just returned from Acapulco with the news that things are really awful there.  It's experiencing a three-way drug cartel battle and there are helicopters patrolling the beaches, army units and cops everywhere and a high risk of getting caught in the middle.

This news prompted us to do some more intensive research online and we found out that Acapulco is simply not a good place to visit right now. In fact the city has declared bankruptcy as of the first of the year and the murder rate is through the roof. It's not where we want to spend our few days of beach time, even if the hotel is a fabulous bargain.

Fortunately we were able to cancel our hotel reservation without penalty and we've rebooked on the other coast. We're going to Playa del Carmen in the Yucatan instead. The last time we were in the area was in 1984 when it was a sleepy little ferry dock where boats left for the island of Cozumel.  Now it's an upscale destination with lots of resorts along its white sand beaches.

We both feel better about our trip having made this decision. Not only is the Yucatan safer, it's also cooler and less humid than the west coast.  Now all that's left to do is ready the house for our dog sitters. We leave on the 5th of February.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Many irons in the fire

Oh my goodness!  I can't believe how much time has passed since I last posted here.  2013 has found me with many irons in the fire.  Here's just a shortlist of my activities:

 1.   Taking up painting again, through a weekly three-hour painting class with Bill Porteous.  I went out and purchased a kit of acrylic paints and I am having a great time.  My newest discovery is the art of Helen Frankenthaler.  I'm looking deeply into a number of abstract artists and working on my own approach to working with colour in an abstract way.

2.   Trying to get back into shape after our trip to Italy.  Somehow I lost some ground with eating habits and exercise last fall.  January is the time to rectify this.  I have daily exercises and a weekly class and I'm working with a personal trainer for a few sessions.  Can't let this one slide.

3. Patching and painting the ceilings after having some electrical work done.  We have a newly located lamp over the dining room table and we moved some other lights around.  Won't those niches beside the fireplace be a great place to display my abstract paintings when they're done?

4.  Learning French the Pimsleur way.  We've decided that our next big trip will be to France and Spain.  Harry has the Spanish so it's up to me to revive my high school French.  A friend has lent me 16 cds that take you through the basics by listening and speaking.  It's very different from the high school learning, which was all reading and writing.  Not sure when we're going but it might be towards the end of this year.

5.  Preparing our house and our dogs for house sitters in February.  We've been invited to the wedding of a young Mexican man that was a student of both Harry's and mine.  Jose is marrying his sweetheart in San Juan del Rio, a small city near Queretaro, and we will be there.  We're flying down February 7th for a few days and then we'll head to Acapulco, a place we've never been to, for a week of R&R in the sun.

6.  Organizing the house and beginning a process of serious elimination.  We have way too much stuff and some of it has to go.  Each day I add to piles of stuff that will be donated or thrown away.

7.  Restoring our Circles within Circles website, which was attacked by a bad, bad virus last week.  This involves many hours of reposting and editing.  

8.  Organizing nearly 15,000 photographs by subject and location.  And deleting many that are just cluttering up my hard drive.  Gradually I'm developing an approach using iPhoto that will, I hope, allow me to find what I want when I want it.

These are the major activities in addition to the ongoing commitment of walking dogs, keeping the house and kitchen together.  Plus my reading group, my Mah Jong group, the online Scrabble, and our busy social life.

Is it any wonder I can't find time to blog?

Friday, January 4, 2013

West coast walking

While walking with the dogs the other day on the Lockside Trail these puddles reflecting the trees along the side of path caught my eye.  Walking this time of year on Canada's west coast is usually pretty soggy and wet so there are lots of reflections to capture.

Generally the reflection photos in winter here can be kind of monochromatic so I was pleased to see the splash of orange against the bright moss on the post in the middle of the path.  I'm posting this over at James' Weekend Reflections, and you can visit there to see reflection photos from around the world.