Before and After the Ice Storm

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.

 leaf wing

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.

After the ice storm 1

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.

After the ice storm

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.

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.

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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