Friday, April 27, 2012

Two Butterfly’s, a Dog, and a Scarlet Cup

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Eastern Comma (polygonia comma)
I can’t believe I took this photo. I am not patient. I long ago junked my professional (and now obsolete) slr camera equipment (beach sand is a killer), and when I walk in the woods, I move very fast.  But this dude posed for me! And waited around long enough for me to fumble with my camera pouch, pull it out and snap.
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And the Red Admiral (vanessa atalanta)
And another poser.
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Scarlet Cup Fungus (on the left bottom (Sarcoscypha dudleyi))
A singular scarlet cup fungus and rotted log obligingly collaborated to form a lovely little abstract composition.
And while I’m showing off photos, what the heck, here’s Dynamo, illustrating the best way to take advantage of a sunny day in spring.
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Well, now that’s a dogs breakfast of subject matter.
If you came here looking for more gelatin prints and other art, my etsy site has all the latest and the greatest, like this one, and more.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Making Music Happen

12041701blue-notes72Image: Blue Notes Guitar, 8.5”x11” on 110lb paper, more details, available at Etsy
We all have memorable life moments, some large and some small. Some are so minor, we may wonder why they are there at all. One of my smallest but most memorable of my moments happened on a hot summer night. All of our windows were open in hopes of cool air. We were at home, it was a weekend, I was sleeping in bed. Nothing about this is the least bit special. All of it is very routine. But I was awakened by the sound of singing, multiple teen-aged voices raised in harmony, music rising from the streets and wending its way into my dreams. This was a beautiful moment, spontaneous and joyful, but the fact that such a simple thing is so incredibly memorable is also sad.
It drives home the point that for most of us, most of the time, music is something that only very special famous people do, and music is something that we hear reproduced electronically. When we hear music, the musician is nowhere to be found, and often, when we hear the music, the quality is considerably downgraded, piped in through the tiny speakers of a big box store, blasted in through our ears at a restaurant, pounded into our houses by some drivers sub-woofer speakers, none of it chosen by us for pure pleasure and all of it a poor reproduction of the real thing.  It cheapens the experience, and strips it of any aspect of the sublime.
But the real thing is rare, and we are accustomed by the cheap and easy availability of reproductions from professionals to only want the best: not the best in your community, city, or province, but the best in and the most popular in the entire wide world. We are fast approaching 8 billion human souls on the planet, so be being the best is pretty much out of reach for most of us.  And so we listen, passively, at every turn, and forget to make our own music. And teenagers belting out a song using nothing but their own vocal chords becomes a rare and secret pleasure.
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At the same time, for ourselves, the bar is raised so high for being a ‘musician’ that there seems no point in making the attempt. But hearing teen voices raised in song was my first clue, and my second clue where the first notes I heard when my husband took up piano (electric) and I realized I enjoyed listening to his beginner efforts (he’s even better now) far more than anything on the radio.  This revelation led me to pull my guitar out of the closet for the first time in many years and re-learn how to play the thing (actually, I’ve named him Edward, but that’s another story).  And my husband and I enjoy each others music, ‘mistakes and all’. Our next goal, is get out and enjoy other folks live music. Not rock concerts, not opera, but local folk, close to home; maybe they have day jobs, and maybe they are not the best and most popular, but they are making music, and loving music and doing their best to share it with the world.  I hope you do too, even if you just pull a pot out of the cupboard and bang it as a drum.
12041702bluenotes72cDetail of Blue Notes #3, the whole darned original art thing, and info at Etsy.
PS. As for that goal of listening to live music, I may start here: Covernotes Tea and Coffee House Acoustic Monday (if only it wasn’t Monday’s, well, someday…)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flowers in Woolly Coats

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Round Lobed Hepatica (anemone americana)
Once again, the wild flowers are pushing forth from the forest floor in their race to be first to meet the pollinators. The round lobed hepatica is one the very first, and if you look at how they’re dressed, you’ll know why.
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This is a close-up of their fur clad feet.
Another early riser, is the blue cohosh, less easily explained, unless the blue bloom aids in frost protection too. One colour my camera fails at, is flower blue. In life, these guys are steely and brilliant. Within a week or two, they will look like ordinary dark green leafy plants but I love them when they are still furled, looking like otherworldly creatures rising from the duff.
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In an ironic twist, I knew these guys were up, as I had seen several hits on my blog from searches for ‘blue cohosh’. It’s a pretty good hint that they’ve emerged, and sure enough, here they are, same place, possibly the same plant photographed last year.
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Another beauty in the early riser category is bloodroot. The gory name come from the colour of their sap, which is henna red, and can be used to draw lovely designs all over the skin.
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And here they are standing at attention, paying homage to the noon-day sun.  I’ve always considered high-noon to be a terrible time to take pictures, but in this case the uncompromising contrasts highlighted their sculptural form.
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Monday, April 9, 2012

Life Drawing Tuesday


































Here’s Teresa, the girl who hangs from hooks (suspension). I’m actually a little jealous of her, but in a good way. She’s just seems very centred, balanced and successful. I wouldn’t mind having just a little of that, not to mention the horse she owns. As you can tell, we are all quite chatty at the Art Bunker (the space where we do life drawing). She is also a talented artist, and has a career as a tattoo artist (not to mention the career as a sideshow act hanging from fish hooks…hmmmm)
As usual, this one’s coloured pencil, and I’m more in love with the medium than ever (aside from printmaking).  The colours are so jewel-like and translucent. When I draw, my face falls into the page, as I become completely enraptured by the colours, and their blending. I used a clear wax burnishing crayon for this one. It allows the pencils to be blended in the way of pastels, without the mess.  A good thing, because I like to lean in, elbows and the heal of the hand against the page, and get pretty physically into the work. 
Life drawing is over for me until September. I take a break for monetary reasons (it’s not free) and to get the most of the summer/outdoors weather.  But I’m super behind on my postings, so there will be more of these (though this one’s my favourite to date).  I’m already missing the artful camaraderie of the bunker, but also the explorations in coloured pencils. I may apply what I’ve learned at life drawing to some semi-abstract coloured pencil landscapes, something I haven’t done in a long while. I’m sure I’ve loosened up my style a lot, so I myself am curious as to what will end up on the page.
And, in keeping with this years goals: Teresa is available at Etsy.  And I can laugh at that, as I did some research. Found a very accomplished figure drawing artist on Etsy (she has great art for sale), but her one and only sale for the whole year is a crocheted scarf!  Well, I guess my little crochet hobby may not be such waste of time afterall….

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Everything’s Circular

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These two mini’s are matted and on display at the Ottawa School of Art Miniature Print Exhibition.
They are stencilled gelatin prints, using nicely mildewed and completely battered gelatin.  My fascination with circles doesn’t begin here, or end.  I realized when I chose and framed up my prints for the Staircase Showcase that almost everything had a circular motif, prominent or subtle. And it doesn’t end there either.
I’m planning a future road trip to Canada’s East Coast, and thought I need something I can do will seated in the passenger seat of a van. Reading is fine for a few hours at most, sleeping okay for an hour, and gazing out the window is good for a few hours more, but then I get cranky.  So I thought I would take up crochet, being small, portable and requires minimal equipment. I started out thinking in terms of scarf and mittens, but quickly moved on to…you guessed it…circles.
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I find myself far more fascinated with colour and geometry than anything else, so I’ll be doing more medallions in different colour combinations, and five petalled flowers, and eventually put them together with a dark brown crocheted lace (I hope).
I’ve signed up with http://www.ravelry.com and you’ll find me there as….kaslkaos, of course. If you actually want the pattern for any of these, you’ll find them in my ravelry library, or I can send you links. These are really very basic.
 And just because I almost never show my face, I thought I'd add a mug shot. This is my husbands photography. I asked him to photograph the fingerless gloves on my hands, and this is what I ended up with. Turns out to be a nice candid shot, because I had no idea I was being photographed. This is how I look and dress for dog walks on a cool spring day. The pink hoodie is something I found in the woods and it fits perfectly. It's one of my favourite casual items because I found it. Normally, I wouldn't be caught dead in pink, but there is something about 'free' that changed the equation.

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