Toronto–January 7, 2020
Toronto–January 7, 2020
In December, I saw a tree near the Allan Gardens Conservatory in Toronto in full sun. I believe the tree is a sycamore or plane tree. With the sun full on it, the tree appeared to give off light. Here’s one of the photos I took of it.
In December, I also received a surprise nomination for the Real Neat Blog Award. Though I ended up not taking the steps to actually receive the award, it was great to be nominated. Thank you petrel41 at Dear Kitty. Some blog!
This week, I finished carving the series of 4 block prints I’m going to enter in The Heart Show later this month. I’ve printed them and they’re now drying. Below is the inked block of Hearts of Air. Yes, the block has a pink surface!
We recently traveled out of town northwest of Toronto for 4 days. There we hiked in Algonquin Provincial Park and in Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve amidst trees and lakes. Here’s 2 photos I took while away. The first is in Algonquin Park at an incredibly quiet lake with only the call of a loon.
This next is from Limberlost Reserve where these trees were great characters:
Spring is here and flowers are coming into bud wildly. The scillas have gone, but redbuds are just appearing and yesterday I saw cherry blossoms and their devotees in Trinity Bellwoods Park–a downtown west end park. Spring also means the return of birds and their songs. I hear cardinals, robins and sparrows daily. Last week I heard a chickadee and the other day–mourning doves. On the weekend, I also saw a tern with a bright orange beak at the Brickworks in Toronto.
Last month, I found a list I’d made in an old journal from May 1988. The list was of some of the birds I had seen on a trip to the countryside in Massachusetts and Virginia in the U.S. I don’t keep lists of birds, but I was so thrilled at the large variety that I saw during that spring migration, that I wrote them all down. The list also brings me some sadness because I hear less birdsong on my trips to the Ontario countryside than I used to. And in the city, I am aware of losses from previous years when I used to hear more bluejays and nighthawks that have all but disappeared.
Above is a linocut I made in the 1980s.
And here is my list from almost 30 years ago–May 12, 1988:
Alas, this bluejay had recently died, but I was struck by his beauty and took a photo of his feathers.
On my walks around my neighbourhood in Toronto, I notice small sights and sounds. Around ten days ago, and before last weekend’s ice storm, I came upon these soggy leaves in a garden. The long white and grey leaf looked very much like a wing to me. I had to look closely at first to see what it was.
Then, this past Tuesday, when the ice was starting to recede and people had done some cleaning up, I saw these small branches and twigs. Someone had beautifully bundled them and they looked to me like part of an art installation.
And, a little further on I saw leaves of bulbs, dried grasses and twigs through the ice in someone’s garden. I liked the contrast of the plants with the white ice.
As for what catches my ear these days–the birds are singing away. I noticed their return a few weeks ago. Not that some didn’t overwinter, but the increase in song was very apparent. I heard my first robin’s spring song last week. And I’ve been hearing cardinals, red winged blackbirds and the many house sparrows that accompany my walks year round.
On the art front, my block prints are finally dry and I’m about to pack them up and submit them to BIMPE. I’ll be sending them to Vancouver on Monday. Then I’ll be able to turn my attention to other projects.
The textile show opening that I mentioned in my last post was enjoyable. Since then I’ve continued painting and I’ll post some of that work in the future. I also continue line drawing. This past weekend, the weather was a lot milder and we went for a walk in a park that is part of one of Toronto’s ravines. On our walk, we came to an open area with stumps of trees, branches on the ground and dry grasses that I loved for their different shapes and placement of all their forms. I took several photos and today made some simple line drawings loosely based on those photos.
Recently we traveled east of Toronto to Prince Edward County for a relaxed weekend. A highlight of our trip was a visit to the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory where they band birds so their migrations can be monitored. There we were given close instruction by a staff member and were able to release 2 blue jays. A big thrill for 2 city dwelling humans! We saw birds large and small including two male sharp shinned hawks who had flown into nets and been banded. Here’s a photo of the two hawks just before they were released.
Later, on our way back to Toronto, we stopped in at Presqu’ile Provincial Park and saw gorgeous views of the windswept beach being enjoyed by gulls and geese and a handful of humans.