Sunday, September 28, 2008

My First Spam...and other mundanities

It finally happened. I got spam (spams?). Heretofore, posts will be moderated. Have no fears, have no worries. I LOVE comments. Makes me feel less alone in the universe, and unless your address is something akin to "Free Daily BlahBlahBlah" you'll get published. I knew it would happen inevitably, but I chose not to moderate until that day. Moderating is a bit of a pain. It delays things. I'm on dial-up, and don't access my computer daily (it takes about 5 minutes just to boot the bloody thing) so if your lovely comment doesn't show up in a day or two it just means that a) I'm away, b) my computer self-combusted, c) I forgot to renew my annual 'free-net' dial-up membership which actually costs $95cdn, or d) anything else ranging from asteroids to stomach flu.
While I'm on the subject of random mundanities, please let me apologize for my slowness in reading your blogs. Basically, I save my blog reading for any Saturday I can haul my butt into the local library where I have high-speed access for free--there I cram my surfing into the space of two hours. I sometimes suspect that I am the only blogger in the entire nettiverse that hobbles along with dial-up, so I just thought I'd get that confessional off my chest.
And last, but not least: announcing a change, or relaxation of format. I have since January adhered to a format that each post bears it's own illustration and posts fall, at least vaguely, into the genre of creative autobiography. This served my purposes well as it committed me to complete projects (some major, some minor) in both visual art and writing. Unfortunately, it also made it difficult to post more than weekly, which is fine, but sometimes feels a bit like strangulation. Things may be a bit more casual from now on. Maybe a photo that I just can't resist showing off (like the fluted helvella), maybe a whine and rant (like this post), maybe artwork that has nothing whatsoever to do with my life on this planet (which may have you speculating as to what other planet does she inhabit).
That said, hope I haven't bored you death, and no, there will be no forthcoming illustration of spam.
Happy blogging.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fluted Helvella


This one was not photo-shopped, not even a little. Actually, I've been snapping mushrooms by the dozens lately. While they may be willing to pose endlessly for a still life, they do have a tendency to wilt, shrivel and shed worms and other invertebrate vermin all over the dining room table. Photos can make a good substitute. In this case, it was one snap in five that turned out to be a happy accident--three accidents actually.
1. The lens fogged up (its one of those days that are so dark you think maybe the sun forgot to rise).
2. I think I jiggled the camera (theres a bit of a ghost effect going on).
3. The black background leads me to believe the flash went off.
I didn't mean any of this to happen, but I sure am thrilled with the effect.

Image: digital photograph taken with a now stone-aged Fujifilm FinePix Camera (all of 2 megapixels).

By the light of the moon...




The last of my holiday series; these from Killarney Provincial Park.
Firstly, moonlight. Getting up to pee at 5am is no big thrill at home, but on a camping trip it becomes a major endeavor. Finding my clothes, leashing the dog, unzipping the tent and then stumbling through the pitchy darkness. It can, if not raining, have its side-benefits. Blazing stars, moonlight and soft pink dawn (okay, that was 6am). Having some watercolours with me allowed me to capture the moments my camera couldn't (at least not my camera).
Secondly, The Crack (and Jack Pine): okay, the place name is not pretty, and you can snigger at it (I did). The Crack is a rugged climb up the hills of Killarney that involves scrambling up and through a rocky canyon of white ortho-quarzite. The rocks of the sheen of marble, and subtle colour tints of mauve and pink and grey. The view from the top is breath-taking and much photographed (by me and million others) but what catches me I is a single jack-pine that twists in the uppermost crevice. Here are three iterations, but there will be more. The image is burnt into the back of my mind.
Thirdly; George Lake & Killarney Lake. From our campsite, we could see George Lake from behind a screen of trees. This was a view to the west and when the sun went down, the lake got all yellow and sparkly.
We found a great view of the Killarney mountains from the portage between Killarney Lake and Kakakise Lake (try saying the latter without a snigger!). I took photos, but I like my plein air aceo much better. It was sunny and gorgeous, but very cold, and my fingers were popsicles by the time I was done. The Killarney mountain was done entirely with watercolour pencil and brushed in later at the campsite.
Sadly, that's it for camping season. Hope you enjoyed the mini-tour.

Images: 2.5 x 3.5 200lb watercolour paper, watercolours, watercolour pencil, ink, pencil crayon, crayon, ah heck, mixed-media is a category for a reason.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Holiday Series 2008


1. Hwy 17, it's a long long ride (from 8:30am to 5:30pm) to Lake Superior from my home, much time spent gazing out the window as the changing landscape slides on by. You never know what you'll see on Hwy 17, as the landscape changes from rocky pine covered shield lands to a swath of open prairie flanked by forest. Once I looked up and saw bison, another time cowboys riding by along side the highway (not kidding!). I thought I was dreaming, but it was real. Then the hills of Sault Ste Marie loom up and you're almost there.
2. Lake Superior is about far horizons and big skies. The cloud forms are a landscape in themselves.
3.& 4. Gargantua Harbour. 1k of sand beach, 2k of cobbles, endless forest to the east, infinite horizon to the west. The sky can change in minutes. As I painted #3, billowing purple clouds slid across the hills, a wind came up and plein air painting was over for the rest of the week.
5. Moonrise and ominous clouds obscured the sky over Gargantua Harbour. Too windy for painting.
6. Big waves! Really big waves! Humongous waves smashing on rocks. These were fantastic. Once we got back to the sand beach, we went swimming. As they moved into the shallows, the waves climbed ever higher and towered over our heads. I'm not sure I can call it swimming; more accurately reffered to as 'getting smashed around by Lake Superior'. Taking a wave full frontal was like getting punched in the gut. One learns to turn sideways if a biggie is coming. Some of them are just so monstrous you could only duck and cover (unless you want to be turned into a human pretzel). The backwash was so strong that we stayed out of the deeps afraid we'd be swept out to sea. The waves were too big and unpredictable for body surfing. I tried, and thought I was going to be bent in half. Curling up was safer, but I still got sent into mind-boggling spins. It was scary, it was fun, not to mention chilly.
7. More waves smashing on rocks. View from Rhyolite Cove looking north. The rocks we have always sat on while lunching were drenched with surf so we had to sit higher and change our view point. Not always a bad thing.

Images: 2.5" x 3.5" 200lb watercolour paper, ink & watercolours

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