Proofs and the Past

Some highlights from the past week:

First, The Proofs: I’ve continued working on rough proofs, trial block prints, that I’ll be submitting to BIMPE–Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition. I’ve gotten them to the point where I’m ready to print them in their final form. Here’s the three of them. I think of the first as a dreamscape, the second as a view across fields and the third as a skull or a view behind a mask.

Second, The Past: While at Bathurst and Bloor Streets this past weekend, I took the following photographs. The southwest corner of this intersection in Toronto was known for decades as the home of a large discount store called Honest Ed’s. It had a famous sign that has been preserved, but the building has recently been demolished. Seeing an open space where it used to be was shocking enough. But, seeing the old advertising signs that had been hidden, that were painted on the adjacent wall was another surprise. And, before this wall of old ads and new graffiti is erased in the city’s high rise construction frenzy, I took some photos as a remembrance. 

This Past Week

Here’s two photos from a mostly grey, flurrying day in Toronto last Friday, March 9th. The clouds and mist over the ravines always draw my attention with their endless beautiful variations. And I loved the look of this church I passed–the deep red and brown brick, the trees’ branches above. These scenes from the city–they continue to sustain me.

This week, I bought a Japanese paper for the miniature prints I’m going to submit to BIMPE and I’ve been pondering and making thumbnail sketches for the Wake Up card deck that I’m planning.  I also continued a gouache painting on the Heart theme that I’ve begun. I often work on several projects at once with them all rolling around in my mind and on paper or board.  Just when I thought I’d lost a thread forever, as with the card deck, it reappeared. I feel all these are part of a larger creative venture, despite any doubts I may have at times.

In the Clearing

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.

Respite From the Cold

Toronto is in the southern part of Canada and though it gets cold here, it’s not as cold as other parts of the country. However, we have had a spell of pretty cold weather this week.  This morning it’s -22C and with the wind it feels like -30C. It’ll be going up to a balmy -15C later. Yesterday, though, it was a more moderate -8C. On that cloudy day, I decided to lift my spirits and went off to the Allan Gardens downtown where I hadn’t been for a few years. The Gardens are in a park in greenhouses first opened in the mid 1800s. Inside are 16,000 square feet of flowers, trees, tropical plants, cacti and, yesterday, many visitors young and old. The Gardens have seasonal displays along with their year round inhabitants. I snapped many photos and you’ll see the Christmas displays among the plants. What a great respite from the cold and grey.

Here’s the central area, the Palm House, with the dome rising above:

And a floral peacock:

Another scene I loved:

And 2 photos of cacti from the cactus house, a favourite place of mine:

and outside later:

Dear readers and fellow bloggers, I wish you a New Year of good health, peacefulness and times of joy whatever your circumstances, whatever is going on around you. Strength to us all.

Trip to Prince Edward County

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.

Grates Cove, Newfoundland

No drawings this time, but here’s photos of one of my favourite places that we visited in Newfoundland. It’s Grates Cove at the northern tip of the Avalon Peninsula. We visited twice, had an excellent meal at the Grates Cove Studio amidst terrific artwork and walked on trails overlooking the ocean and later amidst the remains of old dry stone walls that surrounded the gardens of early settlers.

If you’d like to see more Newfoundland photos, I’ve opened a flickr account and uploaded 57 photos from our trip.

And if you click on the image below, you can see some of my artwork in my etsy shop:


Further Drawings from Newfoundland

Here’s 3 more drawings I made in Newfoundland in the presence of sweeping ocean views. The more dramatic the scenes became, I fewer lines I used. I didn’t have any plan to do this. It was just the only way I found I could put anything on paper, so magnificent were the views. So a few gesturing lines and some broad movements were what arose on paper.

Here’s 2 drawings from Western Bay, with a bit of a boardwalk showing in the second one:

 

 

And here’s a drawing from the East Coast Trail that we hiked:

And the photo near the spot that the above drawing is from:

Plus another photo at the start of the Witless Bay entrance to the trail: