Tuesday, January 25, 2011


This drawing isn't really pink, in fact it's a pencil sketch on a fairly large sheet of white watercolor paper which is too large to sit on the bed of my scanner so I did what I could to make it visible.

It's also not really about anything because, if I could write it down or tell it, what would be the point of the lines?

The flu came and went leaving me just a little lighter, or perhaps it's just that the days are noticeably getting longer.

With luck and time the image may turn into a painting but for now it is what it is and I hope you get the idea.

What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?
I think it is the hope of loving, 
or being loved.

I heard a fable once about the sun going on a journey

to find its source, 
and how the moon wept

without her lover’s
 warm gaze.

We weep when light does not reach our hearts. 

We wither 
like fields if someone close

does not rain 



Meister Eckhardt

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crow & Toad

Have refined the postcard sent by Crow a few days ago into something that could be from 1908 when Kenneth Grahame wrote 'The Wind in the Willows'. It's funny to think that there were only a handful of cars on the roads then and no highways at all. The west was industrializing and people were leaving the countryside in droves to get jobs in factories. It would be true to say life for most people wasn't as bucolic as appears in the Golden Age stories but if you were middle class, as Grahame was, then the countryside was pristine and as beautiful as the story implies.

A couple of nights ago I looked up my favourite chapter in the book to see if I could post a link. It's called 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' if you'd like to read it. A baby otter has gone missing from home and as his father waits by the riverbank with fading hopes for his return, Mole and Rat decide to search.

Now I'm off to bed a little earlier than usual. We both have the flu and I'm looking forward to Crow's homecoming so he can ply me with brandy for once. I'll be back when health and inspiration return.

Stay cozy and take your vitamin 'C'.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

celestial graffiti

Here's another of those innumerable odd and fascinating things I never heard of until recently. I swear you could write a book about the things I don't know. The photograph above is a composite image of the sun taken at the same time and from the same place about every ten days over the course of a year. The resulting picture is called an analemma, although it could equally be called a figure eight or an infinity sign depending on your point of view.

Of the few pictures of analemmas available I chose this one because it was captured in Turkey in 2005 when a full eclipse of the sun happened during the year. All of them are very cool to see and apparently very difficult to make on one piece of film (they say more people have stepped onto the moon than have been successful) but I liked this one because it was extra mysterious. The foreground picture is usually taken as one separate image for clarity and in this case the photographer chose the midst of the totality. Yes, it's convex and we know that's not right but perception is only something we agree about in general anyway so I won't try to find a satisfactory explanation. Maybe one of you knows.

Our world spins round on its axis and wobbles back and forth over the course of a year as we spin around the sun. The sun whirls through the Milky Way while the galaxy itself pirouettes around the universe. I wonder what lesson are we supposed to gather from signs in the sky or is everything just coincidental?

If you're bored, try not to think about penguins.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

traveling Crow

For those who wonder where Crow has been lately I received this hastily scrawled postcard from him today:

'Apologies for my delayed return but I needed a respite from the 21st century. Please warm the brandy and have my hot water bottle to hand. This Toad is not a skilled driver but he is most amusing company.'

Saturday, January 8, 2011

you call this winter?

Although you might be thinking this is what it looks like outside our January window the fact is this isn't a great photograph of a snowy Canadian landscape, in fact, it's no photograph at all. Instead, it's a pencil drawing done by a Russian artist whose work I found completely by accident and whose name I don't know because the web page is almost all in Cyrillic. If you click on the link you have to scroll down to see the other drawings but I promise it will be worth a little of your time.

So far winter here has been surprisingly mild. It's snowed a couple of times but just prettily and none has stayed but there are still months to go and the parking bans that went into effect in December don't end until the last day of March. I mentioned to someone today that I was going to miss seeing crocuses and snowdrops in February and he asked what they are. I'm hoping he's one of those people who don't pay attention to flowers rather than that early spring flowers don't grow here at all. Time will tell.

I'm still drawing and thinking of a story I'd like to write to go along with the pictures. Sometimes I can't fall asleep because images and colors race through my mind. Does anything like that ever happen to you?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

x-rayted image

Before the year gets too old I had to show you this image from a calendar produced last year for deserving clients in the medical industry by a German company called Eizo. I'm pretty sure they aren't real x-rays but the images are pretty memorable.

Of course, it could just be a government plot to encourage cultural acceptance of full-body scanners at airports. Have you noticed nobody's talking about that in the news anymore?


Monday, January 3, 2011

evolution of a painting

I think this one is done, or perhaps I should say I'm done with it. I'm not very good at doing practice paintings since if I'm not seriously involved in trying to get something just right I have a tendency to scribble. Nevertheless, there are a few techniques I need to work on so this is a practice painting done over the course of the past few days.

This is the first drawing from my notebook of a young girl sitting in a doorway. Well, the doorway idea didn't sound too interesting and the flowers were very uninspired.

However, I liked her enough to place her in another setting and replaced the flowers with a wary looking bunny and a lamp hanging from a branch when I transferred the drawing to the watercolor paper.

Before I began painting I got rid of the lamp and added a few magic bubble spheres. I've been trying to figure out how to paint glowing bubbles and seem to be making some progress.

It took me a day or two to paint in the background - really the biggest difference since I usually paint the central figure first and then paint and detail the rest. It felt strange painting in a way that was backwards for me, even though it's a more traditional method, but I think overall the result is okay.

I have to mention that right here was where I could have made some decisions that would have made the final painting a better one in my opinion. I should have left more light on her right side and darkened the left including the underside of the fungal seat. Oh well, it's practice.

I have a couple of large drawings that are interesting enough to turn into paintings but the big ones take weeks - it's rather like painting in miniature on a large scale. I need to tighten up my palette before I work on them and some others I have in mind so there will be more small ones as I get comfortable with color again. This is what I accomplished over the course of five days, which means it really is my first painting of 2011. I wish I'd scanned a few times in the between stages of painting but I was too caught up in the action :-) I've never posted a how I did it before so I hope you found it interesting.

We're always looking for that perfect note, aren't we? May we all make good progress in the coming year.