Drawing in Algonquin Park

We recently went to Algonquin Park, a few hours north of Toronto. Because of the very warm and, sometimes, hot autumn, the trees had hardly turned their usual bright colours.  Apparently they began turning late in August when there was a cold spell and then stopped when the warm weather arrived. Nevertheless, we had a beautiful time in bright sun hiking through forests and by lakes. I made some quick sketches, this time with thin felt pens. These sketches continue to surprise me.  As in Newfoundland, I found myself making minimal lines that, even without much detail, still bring back memories of the places I drew in and the feelings of being in nature, during these changes in our climate.

Here’s some photos and sketches from the trip:

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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:

Terra Nova, Drawing and a Surprise in an Alley

When we were in Newfoundland we hiked in Terra Nova National Park by the ocean. One afternoon and the following day, we went to Buckley Cove. I carried a sketch book and pens with me during our trip and sat on a rock to draw part of the cove. When faced with such beauty, I found myself recording feeling and the movement of the rocks, trees and water rather than looking for exact representation. In this way, I was able to be with the place and feel the land and ocean. I began by quickly drawing the sweeping line of the cove and continued from there. That way I was not overwhelmed into inaction by the strength of the scene. Here’s a photo of the cove and the line drawing I did.

And, here’s a scene I found touching this week while walking down an alley back in Toronto. It seemed to me that whoever planted these flowers in the midst of concrete did an act of love.

 

Aftermath

We watched the U.S. election closely from Canada.  In the wake of the outcome, I have felt fear and sadness.  Yesterday, I headed off to the Art Gallery of Ontario to be amongst art works that helped me feel calmer.

Today I thought of posting two oil paintings I did in 2008. The first is called Closeup, the second, Sight.  At the time, they expressed feelings of being a witness to hard times. The women in the paintings are wounded, that is obvious. But they are also piercing witnesses, very present and connected to the life force of nature. The works seem no less appropriate today.

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A Poem for An Old Woodcut

As I continue turning some of my early prints into booklets, I’m playing around with words I might include with the prints. This last print I’ve been working with (the one that’s also in my previous post) has a lot of black ink in it.  And that got me thinking about some writing I did a few years ago. In 2014 I took a poetry writing workshop at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  After our meetings, I’d often wander around the Gallery, looking at various art works.  This prose and poem came out of one of those meanderings.  I’m contemplating the design of the booklet and will show it to you when I’ve completed it.

Here’s another photo of the woodcut I plan to use that I’ve cut down the middle.

FormVariation4thCut

And here’s the prose and poem:

Black Waterfall

On a day when the tomb-like qualities of the gallery seep into me too much, I enter the rooms of David Milne’s paintings looking for peace.  I find some here, away from the more flashy works of Lauren Harris and Frank Carmichael.  Milne’s are quieter, less assuming, but they give back to me, emitting life.

I stand looking at one that I like.  It’s called Black Waterfall, a scene in the woods by a small falls.  The water is, indeed, black, the colours subdued.  After many minutes, I am surprised to see what I hadn’t noticed: Milne, himself, at his easel in the upper left of the painting.  He’s the same colours as the trees, rocks and earth.  He has disappeared into the scene or become one with it.  I like the humility, the humour and the wisdom of his image, considering where the alienation from nature has taken humanity.

This is a painting I can carry with me, softening the dense traffic of the city, helping me inhale forested air where rivers flow, while the ghost of the artist amidst the trees silently witnesses my passing presence.

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By the black waterfall

the painter has disappeared

into the trees, rocks and soil

where, being invisible,

he can more closely observe passersby

and the woods and water he’s depicting

camouflaged at his easel like a deer

but not bolting

steady of hand and sight

neither a conqueror

nor a slave

embodying a gentle way

to save a life.

©Lily S. May–May 2014

By the Lake

I took this photo while walking in The Beach neighbourhood in Toronto that’s off Lake Ontario. This is from early December. The water, sky and trees do my heart good in all seasons.

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In the Sea

As I meander through the work I’ve done, I wanted to show you a linocut I made in 1973, two years into first taking up printmaking and signed under my former married name. It’s the last copy of the edition that I have and is framed behind glass. So the photos here have some reflections in them. (I must get some proper photos!) The image is one of several I did on the theme of nature and goddesses. I called this print Mother Nature in the Sea. 

In the sea

in the sea cl

in the sea close