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.

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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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:


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!

To see some of my work on etsy, go to artsofmay.etsy.com.