December 29, 2015

Happened Upon...

For those who want to draw or paint flowers, or just look at beautiful books these two books fit the bill. I borrowed these books from the library, however, I wish I owned them because they overflow with information and are truly uplifting. Since they are an inter library loan, I can't renew them, but I  do wish I had more time with these treasures.

For me, it has been a productive drawing year, I've nearly filled five sketchbooks with "the good, the bad, and the ugly." :) It's been so much fun to get lost with a pencil in hand. Besides being meditative in a concentrated way, drawing has made me really look at things. For example, now when I look at flowers, I really look at how they fit together: where the stems and leaves attached, how the veins flow, and the list goes on. I read somewhere that drawing does make you look at the world differently. I do think that's true.

So if you want to draw, pick up a pencil and begin. It's never too late, {or too early} to ignite the creative spark in any area that you choose.

Inside the cover of my kraft covered sketchbook.

Before I sign off for the year, I'd like to say that I've enjoyed following your wonderful blogs this year.  Also, a big thank you for reading along with me.

And I'd especially like to wish you all a New Year filled with joy!

Happy New Year!

December 22, 2015

Glad Tidings

 I've lived here for 18 years and it looks like this will be the first Christmas without snow. We did have an inch or two on Saturday, but apparently it had places to go. The temps are expected to rise to 18C/64.4F on Thursday as well. If I was on either coast, I might expect a Christmas without snow, but here?

 Can I cope? Perhaps...

I happened upon this video. It's too lovely not to share.

Wishing you all a joyous Christmas!

Enjoy the holidays!

December 15, 2015

For the Birds

"All is Bright"

If you've been reading along, you will know that I love birds. I'm always happy to go to the woods to watch them or just sit somewhere and listen to them sing. In the winter the world is quieter, but, just now, the little chickadees are still singing their happy song. 

You may remember this little fellow. I originally painted him last year using mostly FW inks; however,  because he tickles my fancy so much, I decided to give him another go using mostly watercolours.

I've drawn five birds recently. Four of them border on the exotic; two are from Africa, and all have bits and bobs from my imagination. I hope to start painting them early in the New Year.

The Maestro
A preliminary sketch also to be painted in the New Year. I outlined this little fellow in red  so that he would show up better. A steady hand helps. Mine wavers as soon as I concentrate on drawing a straight line. It's like carrying a large tray of tea and looking down at it and then, sometimes, it can be all over but the crying. :)

But I digress... I think this birdie is about to conduct The Magic Flute, or is that lyre?

Lady Slipper with bluebells on Fabriano Artistico 300lb (640gsm) hot press paper. I'd like to scale this up and add more flowers...some day.  This is the first time I used Fabriano's heavy paper. What a difference in how the paint flows on different weights and makes of paper.
There's also a small drawing of a part of my Christmas Cactus ready to be painted on a cold pressed watercolour card for someone.

 If you are preparing for Christmas, I hope all is running along like clockwork. Things are ticking along here and I am having fun. I'll be making cookies etc. this weekend. It's  such a lovely time of year! 


December 08, 2015

A Directional Challenge

 Top of the day to you!

For many years now, I've bought Amaryllis to brighten up the season. However, this year things got away from me and the eager bulb started to grow in the box. There was no need to soak the roots first, but I decided to be gentle with it, so I gave it a soaking before I planted it. After of few days of chasing sunbeams around the room, it straightened up--bloomed and there's more blooms to come


 My Christmas cactus. A changeling that often looks apricot.
Since Amaryllis need staking, I went to the woods to procure a piece of red alder. There's no snow yet which is unusual, but not unheard of, and the temperatures sometimes climb into the low teens, so it was a great time to go.
With full bird feeders along the trail, the 'wee' chickadees and nuthatches swoop down in front of you for a snack. Unfortunately, I left my camera at home, but who can forget the sweetness of a chickadee. They do make me smile.

My drawing is not quite finished.  But because the excess graphite has worked it's way into the paper, I've decided to move on. I am not sure how that happened. I did have a clean piece of paper under my hand.

Thanks for reading along...

 'Til next time...Best Wishes!

October 30, 2015

Here a pumpkin, there a pumpkin...

There are pumpkins everywhere these days. I've seen so many types: huge, small, and the unusual. In the spirit of the season, I thought I'd share a few pics, along with a short video.

We recently went to the village and saw a spectacular display...aptly named Pumpkin Inferno. What you will see is a small example from 6 thousand carved pumpkins, including Jack in the boxes, huge carved archways, Chinese lanterns, monarch butterflies, etc.

Taken with the flash much nicer if taken in the dark, but tricky to take without a tripod.

A parliament of owls.

I've been having a problem with my internet connection, so unfortunately I can't upload another video, or check to see if the one I uploaded works. I hope it does.

So I'll close with a drawing of Edgar Allan Poe; he definitely fits in with the  season. Who can forget his poem The Raven.
Have a safe and happy Hallowe'en!

October 23, 2015

Knitting with a Helper

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am knitting another pair of Rosetta Mitts  in Classic Elite Yarns Fresco, colourway Superman Yellow. I checked my closet to be sure and found out that these mitts are the one and only piece of yellow clothing that I own. Yellow is a wonderful colour, but I don't look that great it in. (Who knows perhaps there are different shades that might work.)

  Recently, a knitting buddy arrived.  Like most knitters, Sadie loves yarn and has gotten into my knitting twice. It's a good thing I knit tight because she has dragged the the yarn and needles all over. 

Hmmm an empty shopping bag. I don't think so.
My toys are tedious! So foot stool beware. "A girl just gotta have fun."

Sadie will be visiting for another week...batten down the hatches!

I hope you all had a great week. Enjoy the weekend...

October 05, 2015

Bird and Butterfly

Thank you for your lovely comments about my Rosetta Mitts pattern! There has been a lot of downloads on Raverly. I'd love to see these mitts knit with different yarns and colours. I am knitting another pair in Superman Yellow, using Classic Elite Yarns Fresco.

 Before I post a picture of my latest painting, I want to share a few pictures of wild flowers and something unusual that I ran into lately. That's the great thing about nature if you are looking you just might see something that you've never seen before. In this case, it was my son who pointed out this unusual bug to me. Apparently, some of us have our heads in the clouds.
While I was trying to capture a picture of this monarch butterfly, a dragonfly landed on my hand. He left and came back and was on my hand when I took this pic.  My son took a picture with his phone, but unfortunately it's fuzzy.
I think these are wild cucumber.
A leaf bug. I couldn't believe it...we actually saw two.  As you can see from his eye, he has a giant attitude.

My painting "board" is foam board. Balanced on the tray, it's the perfect height for me.  I can draw on it and because it's so cheap, I'll throw it out when it gets dirty. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'd like to open an Etsy shoppe, so I've been busy looking for printers etc. We have several printers in town, but, unfortunately, not one focuses on watercolour prints. In particular, I would like to order Giclee prints. I am in the process of sourcing printers in Toronto. Hopefully, I'll have something on the go soon.

Enjoy the week...

September 22, 2015

Rosetta Mitts Pattern

With the leaves starting to turn and a hint of fall in the air, I decided to finish my Rosetta Mitts pattern. I'll admit that it's been languishing between a thought and a challenge for far too long, but since I'm usually up for a challenge, I am happy to report that the pattern is now on Raverly and best of all it's free!

Neesha Hudson illustrated the pattern for me because, at the time, when the pattern was cloudy at best, I wasn't drawing or painting. Her illustrations are beautiful and I am delighted to incorporate them into the pattern. The pattern encompasses a revival of old stitch patterns because  I felt that they were too beautiful not to re-work and share. (Happily, I've noticed that other knitwear designers are incorporating old stitch patterns into their designs these days, too.)

When I began knitting these mitts, I had been reading about the Rosetta Stone, so with thoughts of deciphering the stone in mind, I thought I'd add a bit of fun, along those lines, to the pattern. I hope you enjoy it!

I think you can pick up a free copy from the link above, but if not please flip me an email using the contact form at the top of the page and I will send one out to you. Although the pattern is free, and there is definitely no obligation, I would be pleased if you would make a small donation to your local food bank, or charity of your choice.

Happy Knitting!

September 08, 2015


A few years ago, I saw a  Goldfinch in the marsh feasting on thistle seeds. That image has stayed with me. And as you can see, I recently finished painting one.  They are such beautiful birds, and they are so much fun to watch in the wild.

I added a wash or two. I think that should do it.

Have a great week...

September 02, 2015

Dog Days of August/ Knitting

I put my files in order so here are a few pictures of the countryside that I wasn't able to post in August.
Because the sky was such a beautiful blue that day, I spent a long time admiring it.
Loosestrife. Invasive but pretty.

Bull thistle.

The path taken.
A few cattails.

In the past, I am sure I've mistaken the pink flower for milkweed, but I believe that it is Sweet Joe-Pye Weed. It certainly does smell sweet!  I love to hear those tall rushes in the background rustle in the wind.

Off the needles... Rosetta Mitts

 I finally finished knitting and writing up my Rosetta Mitts pattern.  They are knit with Classic Elite Yarns Fresco, colourway Rum Raisin; I'd like to knit a pair using Madelintosh yarn, too.  They can be made in three different lengths, but I like my fingerless mitts long. I am looking forward to wearing these mitts later this fall.  I only have the ends to sew in and the  blocking to do. 

I am also happy to say that I kept my commitment to draw everyday for two months. I filled one whole sketch book and part of another.  Several birdies are among those drawings.  I can't wait to start painting them.

 'Til next time....enjoy.

August 25, 2015

Book Talk

Reading more than one book at a time is a reality for me, so when I heard about Caryl Phillips' book, The Lost Child, I had to read it. Why so eager?  Because Philips incorporates within his novel the imagined origins of Heathcliff, Emily Bronte's death, and how Heathcliff came to be at the Heights. (Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights, that is, by Emily Bronte.) Generally, I don't give away the story but this time I've made an exception.

How did Philips incorporate the above elements into the context of a different novel? There are, of course, related ideas, (lost children for example) but I am left wondering if I knew nothing of Wuthering Heights would I find the information relevant or understand it?  At this point, I am not completely sure. On the other hand, it works precisely because he placed these elements in the beginning, middle, and end of his novel. And he masterly rendered Emily as the strong person she was, and as a contrast, her strength places a subliminal spotlight on his character Monica. What a dichotomy--a complete division it seems until we realize that they are both aloof characters (one real, one imagined) and both outsiders.

Like Wuthering Heights, darkness creeps about and envelopes much of Philips' novel but thankfully, we are left in the dark about the details.  In this, Philips strikes a balance of sorts. However, how did Emily do it? Her novel is dark with details but not completely bleak. Older versus contemporary? Maybe. My guess...Nelly Dean as the gossipy narrator and Mr. Lockwood, the nosy tenant of the Grange, who with levity steps on stage at the beginning of Wuthering Heights. He's a flighty hoot, ambiguous and odd; he says this and means that, but never really nails down what he means. These two ingenious, unreliable characters, and their interactions and opinions, help create a distance that skillfully allows the reader to wade in the darkness without becoming overwhelmed. 

Emily Bronte
* * *

It's still very warm here, but autumn's beauty is on the way. I picked up these leaves on my walk the other day. They remind me of a line from one of Emily Bronte's poems:

Every leaf speaks to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

Enjoy the week...

August 22, 2015

On A Limb

The golden rod is in full bloom. We've had a lot of rain so it is beautiful and lush along the pathways of my old haunts. I'd post a few more pics but I am currently having an argument with Windows 10. I didn't import my files correctly, so I need to make a few adjustments.

I loved painting this birdie on a limb. I have several more to paint, and when I am finished, I am thinking of opening an Etsy shop.
I hope you are all having a great weekend!
'Til next time...Enjoy...

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