Abundant Clematis

This week, while out walking under trees in my neighbourhood and admiring other people’s gardens, I came upon some tremendously beautiful clematis. This spring I’ve been restraining myself from photographing every flower I see, particularly those that I have many photos of.  I’ve been doing better this year at stopping to admire scilla, crabapples, lilacs, lilies of the valley, irises without always pulling out the phone. However, there’s a limit to restraint and these flowers were it!  Here’s a photo of them from midweek.

Violet and Lilac

Last week, I printed the Sisters of Mercy linocut with the violet ink tinted with white. It’s on a pale blue Japanese paper with long fibres that I like. Then, on the weekend, I was out of town in Prince Edward County in Ontario. The countryside was filled with lilacs–lining the roads and lanes and in the small towns. Many were pale lavender but some were a deeper hue and even pinkish. As I admired their beauty and scent, I thought that the violet of the print had happily followed me into nature. The mercy of lilacs!

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I’ve done many works in black and white as a printmaker and love the contrast and the power of black and white images. I also love the colours of this time of year. Here are some photos I’ve taken over the past few weeks: the zinnias that I was given while travelling in the countryside, the spray painted pole in the west end of Toronto that reminded me in a playful way of the zinnias and the flaming trees reflected last week in a lake near Huntsville, Ontario.





Milne on my Travels

Recently we were travelling in the countryside in Ontario where we spent some time on Lake Kashagawigamog. On the grounds of what was once a resort, I sat on the screened-in porch of the former lodge, turned community centre. There, I felt transported back to David Milne’s time. He was fresh on my mind after my last post that relates to him. The humble, beautiful woods, rocks and lake seemed places he could have been in and made art work about.

Ever accompanied by my trusty iPhone, I took photos while sitting quietly on the lodge’s porch. Because the building evoked an earlier time–including my own early childhood at my grandmother’s house in the 1940s and 50s–I shot some of the photographs in black and white. Here’s a few of the ones I took.




Lace in the Sky

I often look up at the trees and sky as I walk in Toronto.  This beautiful spring, the first buds looked like lace to me.  I’ve loved watching the trees begin to flower, the changes visible just days apart. Here’s photos of the same trees taken on April 28, May 2, 5, 6 and 9.  I’ve posted them in that order.LaceLace2Lace3Lace4Lace5

Meandering Around Toronto

Yesterday, on my wanderings around Toronto, I stopped into the AGO–the Art Gallery of Ontario. While there, I had lunch and afterwards did a few contour drawings, something I haven’t done in many years.  Contour drawing is a type of drawing in which you don’t look at the paper, but at what you’re drawing.  You look at the edges, both outside and within your subject and you let your pencil or pen follow the slow path of your eyes.  Often, the lines on the paper seem strange and hard to define, but I find them more alive than some of the lines I make out of habit when looking at a page.  I have returned to contour drawing as an exercise in being present and as a way to go beyond notions of worthy and unworthy artwork.  Here’s a contour drawing of a chandelier and top of door frame.


When I left lunch, I walked into a gallery where a single small white feather was on the floor.  I found this poignant in some way I can’t define.  Here’s the photo I took plus a close up to show what the white speck is on the floor.



Later, I walked up through the city to the University of Toronto.  I love the campus grounds with the old architecture and green spaces.  There I came upon a lovely white magnolia tree.



Spring at Spadina House

Monday was a gorgeous day in Toronto–sunny and in the 20s.  An appointment took me near Spadina House, an historical house and grounds in mid town Toronto. I realized it would be a lovely day to go see the gardens and grounds before heading home. The scillas outside the garden walls were a sea of intense blue and the path inside by the wall had first green shoots, bulbs and last year’s fallen oak leaves. I felt great peace in the garden and recalled myself as a small child who felt an intense love for gardens and trees, shaded forests by rivers and the ocean. I saw and heard three cardinals flying among the bushes. Robins and small brown birds flew close to me as I sat enjoying the view.  It was a good day to be alive.