Thursday, July 30, 2009

playing in my basement on the hottest day ever

australian lizard
ink doodle, coloured digitally in Photoshop

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I see more and more art that relies as much on using a novel 'support' as it does on unique imagery. It's like a low-brow, pop-art hybrid between conceptual and visual art. I found this here but there's more about Boey here.

Styrofoam – or, rather, the foam products most people refer to as “Styrofoam” – gets a bad rap: It's cheap. Disposable. Never degrades. The coffee cup you toss away today will still be polluting some ocean or landfill after your grandchildren die.

About the only time it makes the news is when some city bans its use – as more than 20 California cities have done. Or when some art auction sells a cup with a dead ladybug in it for $29,900 – as happened in 2001. All of which makes the simple, 4-cent cup the epitome of Pop Art. It's at once kitschy and unhip and dismissed by all.

Boey also has a unique blog. I wish I'd thought of this idea! Maybe I'll steal it as a way to resucitate this space. Not yet, though, as all you'd get right now is a lot of "Damn it's hot here. It's so hot. WTF -- this is supposed to be the Pacific Northwest. I'm so hot."

I have to go and cool off now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

more scenes of summer

What does a perfect summer Monday look like to me? Well, it starts with friends who turn up bright and early and help load our yellow canoe onto their multi-boat trailer. The subsequent drive to the Middle of Nowhere only takes 45 minutes.

Once at Grant Narrows on Pitt Lake we load and launch the canoes and head across the narrows to a series of winding waterways called Widgeon Slough/Creek. Crossing the narrows can be rough so Coco puts on her Outward Hound uniform.

Rhory and Lorna and their dogs are in one canoe, Greg and Coco and I are in another, and the Moore's youngest and our youngest are in a third. We are almost the only people out there. After paddling about five kilometres we land at a remote campsite where the humans eat and the dogs run around like maniacs.

Sandy has dome serious playing to do so doesn't stop to drink, instead bulldozing the shallows.

Poor Millie can't keep up with the speedy dogs but at least there's water to drink and play in.

A hike up the mountain and along Widgeon Creek ends at a series of waterfalls. The woods are deep and shady, the water is crystal clear and the sun is hot.

After hiking back down we paddle to a beach near the narrows and everyone cools off in the cold, cold water of the creek.

Paddling back across the narrows as twilight begins to approach, the light is amazing but by then I'm too pooped to take any more than a couple of photos.

Who knew Monday could be the best day of the week? A slew more slough photos here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

scenes of summer

We may have had an unusually harsh winter here but oh ~ what a glorious summer it's been so far! Due to some unscheduled expenses (and can anyone suggest a way to get delinquent dealers to pay their artists on time, for !@?*$!'s sake?) we probably won't be going anywhere this summer, but that's OK -- there are many overdue household projects that need tackling.

One of them was to tear down and remove the long-disused eyesore of a hot tub gazebo and its contents. A heavy snowfall that buckled the spine of the roof last December was the catalyst. All it took were three manly men, a sledge hammer, a chainsaw and a U-Haul. And a floral-scented maiden bearing refreshing jugs of lemonade. That would be me of course.

Then there were the cherries to pick. Our neighbours started keeping bees this year and the result was about 25 litres (this photo shows just the first harvest) of cherubic cherries just from the healthier of our two trees. Adam picked them while Coco and the crows duked it out over who got the fallen ones.

Speaking of Coco, her self-confidence has grown to the point that she has shown her mischievous side a-plenty. Today's lunch seems to have magically disappeared without a trace off the counter ... and she puts up with all kinds of shenanigans from us, too.

The biggest change is that, after 10 years without a new (to us) vehicle, we finally had to throw in the towel and give up Ruby, my 1992 Ford Explorer, whose ailments were ultimately too numerous to address. She was a perfect candidate for the BC Scrap-It program, a fantastic environmental initiative for people like us who hold onto our gas-guzzling, polluting vehicles to the last possible moment out of economic considerations. Check out this short (less than two-minute) informational video.

We replaced Ruby with a zoom-zoom, i.e. a 2005 Mazda3 (the 5-speed hatchback model) for Greg's commute. It's so much fun to drive but I'm now mostly driving his hand-me-downs: a 1993 Nissan Quest (also red!) whose fate will probably be the same as Ruby's in about a year.

Also in the fun-and-games department, we had our first Canadian juniors' and women's Australian Football Championship at UBC last month and I snapped almost 700 photos that day. Both my kids played and Greg and Carl umped a couple of games each. Here's Carl in action (below) during his game. We actually have women's teams in North America, something that Australia itself is a tad slow to pick up on. (Hey Oz -- did you know that women can also vote here?) As you can see, they give it the same kind of no-holds-barred attitude as the guys. We also have women umpires. Take that, Australia!

And then there's always the excitement of wildlife in our backyard on summer mornings. This fine-looking mama raccoon left her trio of babes in our old cherry tree on Thursday while she casually went about her business, foraging for snacks in ours and the surrounding yards.

I love summer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

art on a budget

The art world is a place with multi-million dollar price tags and high-rent galleries and studios.

Unless, of course, you just take a piece of paper and fold it.

Or make it in the backseat of a taxi cab.

Or look at the contents of your toolbox with new eyes.

Or trade in the gilded, filigreed frame for a CD case.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

finding my way back

I promised myself that I wouldn't make another blog post until I actually had some ARTwork to post. It's been a long time coming -- almost two months actually -- but I am finally re-entering 'the creative zone'. It's a lot harder than it looks! Like a pianist who hasn't tickled the ivories for weeks on end I knew the first day would end in frustration and fatigue, but I was ready for it. My first drawing, done yesterday, is now proudly framed by the blue walls of the recycle bin.

After my disaster the snail mail arrived and, serendipitously, a package from one of my favourite New England artists. John has a knack for choosing just the right thing at the right time and in the package were a paper-covered Moleskine sketchbook and a 000 Koh-I-Noor refillable technical ink pen. Such tiny, perfect lines! Working in a new medium was just the thing to get me 'looking' again -- and as all artists know, it's all about the looking. (Ain't nuthin' more impotent than lookin' good.)

Furthermore, another of my favourite New England artists recently returned home from the Grand Canyon with a treasure trove of photos from the inside walls of the Hopi House, which, knowing my passion for aboriginal designs and patterns, Michelle generously emailed me for my playtime hours. Some mini pen-and-ink sketches, scanned and digitally coloured, completed my first day back.

When I was going to bed last night I noticed this painting, which is hanging above my bed, and it occurred to me that I could further my tune-up process by using the underlying composition with some of the Hopi motifs. So, today, I took some of the Hopi animals and doodled some more in my new Moleskine, then scanned and coloured the sketch. A painting in its future? Unlikely.

I'm a long way from all the way back yet, but at least I've made a start!