Monday, November 29, 2010

fighting back against the encroaching darkness

Ghost stories told around campfires begin with the words  " it was a dark and stormy night".  Everyone hears the words and settles down relaxes and opens themselves up for the things that go bump in the night.  but for me almost every night is a dark and stormy night.  The wind howls and drives the rain pelting against the world and obscuring the streetlamps into a diaphanous glow refracted off the tiny ripples that punctuate the sheets of water running down the windows. This morning is much the same.  Although technically sunrise was at 8:45, it is well past 9am and still dark, the forecast reads : Rain. Amount 25 mm. Wind southeast 80 to 100 km/h. Temperature steady near 6'C.

 the steady march towards the winter solstice when the earth's axial tilt is furthest away from the sun brings us shorter days and longer nights,  the continual cloud cover and constant rains enhance the claustrophobic feeling of perpetual darkness.  The depressive psychological effects of winter and damaged circadian rhythm begins taking its toll on individuals in the form of tiredness, coldness and malaise.

In some sort of an effort to fight back against the encroaching darkness we garland our homes in coloured lights, and host gatherings for friends and family. The other thing that occasional breaks up the winter darkness are the brightly lit halls of art, theatre and music. Drawn like moths to a flame, folk enter the glow of the lobby and shake off the wet, stamp feet and rub hands together. They put up their coats and enter an escape... a bit of magic.   I am going to participate in making some of that winter magic. 

 I've accepted an invitation to display my art at the Smithers art gallery. Just for December.  From December 7th to 24th, the Gallery will be transformed into a Winter display of unique possibilities, a juried exhibit and sale of fine art...

in anticipation I've put together a couple lovely miniature Christmas paintings:

plumes de neige
©RiverWalker Arts
Original Watercolour (4.5 x 6.5 inches)  $55

Les premiers flocons sont quelque chose de féerique.

He was made of snow
But the children know
How he came to life one day

O Tannenbaum
 ©RiverWalker Arts
Original Watercolour (4.5 x 8.5inches)  $55

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
Each bough doth hold its tiny light,
That makes each toy to sparkle bright

Important note:

I have also just printed 500 art cards.  37 different Prints to choose from including these two lovely new Christmas Images.

 If you are interested in purchasing any of my works as art cards please feel free to email me at  All cards are 5x7 inches and cost $5 plus shipping.  See for image choices. 

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.”  ~Edith Sitwell

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

facing a break from 20 years of tradition

The snow is falling.  The world is dusted in white.  The children squeal and run with mittens trailing from coat sleeves.  It is still November but the cold has brought about an early Christmas spirit despite the perpetual grumblings about weather.  If it is not too hot, or too rainy then it’s too cold and what is this white stuff anyway. 

I have decided to enjoy all weather.. although days of sleet on end can get a bit depressing.  This white stuff has got me thinking about my annual Christmas card.  A tradition I started in 1990 with a lopsided candle ringed with pine boughs and bits of holly.  Since then I have put out 20 different Christmas cards...  this year I’ve decided to go bold and paint a whimsical scene with watercolours, breaking off all tradition, as previously all my cards are based in black and white ink.  So card # 21 will grace the world this year is a splash of unprecedented colour... now if I can only get it printed in time!
Here are  the cards in my collection...
©RiverWalker Arts 1990

©RiverWalker Arts 1991

©RiverWalker Arts 1992

©RiverWalker Arts 1993

©RiverWalker Arts 1994

©RiverWalker Arts 1995

©RiverWalker Arts 1996

©RiverWalker Arts 1997

©RiverWalker Arts 1998

©RiverWalker Arts 1999

©RiverWalker Arts 2000

©RiverWalker Arts 2000

©RiverWalker Arts 2001

©RiverWalker Arts 2002

©RiverWalker Arts 2003

©RiverWalker Arts 2004

©RiverWalker Arts 2005

©RiverWalker Arts 2006

©RiverWalker Arts 2007

©RiverWalker Arts 2008

©RiverWalker Arts 2009

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

a place of words - difficult to spell and harder to pronounce.

Halloween is over. The Christmas season has not arrived… and so we find ourselves in a frigid November.  The sky is grey and dark, the temperatures are sub-zero…or maybe I’m just poorly adjusting to the weather after a fall vacation to Hawaii.  The Big Island to be specific. 

© RiverWalker Arts

The temperature was 28 degrees and didn’t vary from that except as we got higher in elevation heading towards the domain of Madame Pele, Hawaiian Volcano and Fire Goddess. Known as She Who Shapes the Land, Pele the expression and embodiment of divine creative power. She is the flame of passion and the fire of purpose, the energy of dynamic action and the glowing essence of eternal and profound love.  Pele has been making her home in Halemaumau, the fire pit of the Kilauea crater on the island of Hawaii. As we wound our way around the island slowly gaining elevation and making our way up Kilauea past the current eruption that has been oozing lava from the Pu’u‘Ō’ō vent like an unhealed wound which smothered the towns of Kalapana and Kaimū before it reached the sea. 

The air was lightly chilled and began to smell of sulphur as we walked through an ancient lava tube and set out for the lava fields along the chain of craters left in Pele’s wake.  The barren landscape was dotted by tiny shoots of green vegetation clinging against all odds to the sharp glassy black rock. 

Goddess Pele
painting by Arthur Johnsen
There was an eerie feeling to knowing that the very ground beneath my feet was younger than I, and an admiration at the tenacity of odd tree able to nourish itself in the rock.  As we approached the crater the smell of sulphur intensified and indeed Kilauea’s main crater has been busy spewing suffer dioxide since an explosion of dust and rock in 2008. 

But Madame Pele can be found in more places that the crater of Kilauea .. she appears sometimes as a tall beautiful woman and at other times as a frail old crone.  Of course I’m not sure if I actually was graced with the presence of the divine…. But the water felt like heaven… cool on the skin and yet warm enough to swim in all day.  And so I swam with the fishes and floated among the corals…I soaked in the humid air, revelled in the clear skies and the sun that shone down upon me all week. but all good things come to an end and so we returned from the lands of molten rock with it’s goddess possessing  the creative force to transform and rebuild the landscape and our lives.