Saturday, December 17, 2011

so this is Christmas...

I always get inspired during the darkest month of the year to feats of light and colour.  It might be the darkness and the romance of tiny twinkling lights that set rooms aglow.  Candles burning with their warm flicking radiance, and the dancing of cast shadows that entices the imagination.  But it might also just be the pleasant warmth of the mid-winter holidays.  The smells of mulled wine simmering somewhere below a boil on the stovetop,  the scent of the needle shedding tannenbaum, spending its last days bedecked in lights with a shimmering plastic angel jammed rather scandalously on its peak, the taste of butter, sugar, vanilla and flour moulded into a paste and fresh from the oven (a.k.a. shortbread).  The spirit of giving and the simple pleasure of bringing a smile to another’s face. 

This past week, found me visiting my folks, and taking Chicken Little on a number of first time adventures -  Such as marathon a Christmas Shopping trip (from a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it), a visit with Santa (the legendary jolly fat man made famous by a Coca-Cola advertising campaign in the 1920’s and capable of riding around in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer when not otherwise stuck moonlighting in shopping malls) decorating a batch of gingerbread men so enormous the recipe calls for nine cups of flour, painting winter scenes on the windows, and my personal favourite, the annual Christmas tree hunt and subsequent adventure of dragging it in the house and decorating it!  (this year’s tree topped 12 feet with a stump a good six inches in diameter – yes we had to open both front doors wide to get it in the house!)  But somehow amid the craziness that I love so much I managed to pull the following off the easel.  Behold: “Poinsettias”.


© RiverWalker Arts
Also known as the Christmas Star and Christmas Flower. While considered by the ancient Aztecs to be symbols of purity, in today's language of flowers, red, white or pink poinsettias, symbolize good cheer and success and are said to bring wishes of mirth and celebration

A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away.
~Eva Logue

Friday, December 16, 2011

diapering disasters....and the common cold.

It all started with a snuffling snort from Chicken Little.  This woke me from my blissful sleep.  My poor child has a plugged nose and subsequent difficulty feeding - pulling and grunting and snorting trying to get both food and oxygen. I’m in no fit condition to be looking after this child.  I have a sprained thumb which makes it hazardous to pick him up, I have a bad cold, sore throat, blocked ears, hacking cough...  you get the picture.. and the absolute last thing I felt like doing at 2:30am was rousing to change a diaper.  But I’m also not going to let my little one suffer in a wet and stinking mess.  So up in search of a clean bum.  I wiped and cleaned up the mess, stuffed the next diaper under the bottom only to have him soil not only the diaper, but the counter, the cupboards, the wall and myself before I managed to get the thing done up.  So off to get another diaper... leaving baby on floor as he has proved himself capable of rolling over.

 With new clean diaper on, and the nastiest parts of the mess wiped up I carried the stinker back to bed, and was laying him down when I heard another wet blast from the poor blighter’s behind.

Cloth Diapers on the line? rain forecast...
By the time we were on the fourth clean diaper and all trace of the nasty diaper filling substances had been safely removed from all surfaces and placed in appropriate disposal and laundry systems Chicken Little was not only fully awake but highly talkative, leaving me to lay in bed listening to the squealing chatter of an infant finding his voice, while I desperately sought oblivion from the wood file sawing away at the dusty remains of my ashen throat, as I attempted valiantly  not to cough.

It was a great night. 


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Laundry is getting done, but please don't feed the dust bunnies.

With a growing baby in the house I’ve become especially sensitive to the smell of soured milk and so the number of loads of laundry has significantly increased.  Between the clothes changes because of slimy sour smelling baby barf (both mine and Chicken Little’s)  and cloth diapers (which I LOVE and could quite easily expound on my love affair with cloth and share in the process an unsolicited advertisement for the Fuzzi Bunz brand– but I that is not the point of this blog entry... )

It is about Laundry... and the Mystery of the Disappearance of Socks! Especially small infant sized ones – but applies to all socks.   In the early days, the disappearance of articles of clothing could simply be accounted for by saying that the sock was lost in the river.  Unfortunately, such excuses can no longer be used today. 

It's a well known fact that socks disappear in dryers.  Until now there has been no suitable theory to explain the mechanism by which they disappear. Since the mass of the stuff left on the lint screen is not enough to account for the missing sock, one can only conclude that this disappearance is not a simple physical phenomenon.  It was once  proposed that a sock would be completely annihilated on collision with an antisock, i.e. a corresponding sock composed of antimatter. However, how the antisock actually got there could not be explained, and furthermore the energy released, according to Einstein's mass-energy equivalence relation, would destroy not only the dryer, but also everything else within a 10 Km radius.

So I have now concluded that  it has something to do with the speed at which the socks move and centripetal motion created within the washing process wherein the socks are directed orthogonal to the velocity of the spin cycle, toward the instantaneous center of curvature of the dryer drum... resulting in the abrupt disappearance of socks into another dimension.

There remains one last question of why other things such as pants and shirts don't also disappear. In fact, they do, but less often because their greater size and mass make them less likely to do so.  Also, it is much easier to notice that a sock has disappeared, since socks come in pairs.

And that my friends is my latest theorem on the disappearance of socks.  As well as representing the types of things I think about at four in the morning while changing diapers. 

You sometimes see a woman who would have made a Joan of Arc in another century and climate, threshing herself to pieces over all the mean worry of housekeeping.  ~Rudyard Kipling

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yes, in fact there is such thing as bad weather... no matter how well you dress

There is a quote that states something along the lines of  “ There is no such thing as Bad weather, only poorly attired people”.  Whoever said/wrote/thought/believed that clearly never lived here.  For days now the winds have howled, the trees have swayed and the clouds have vomited a white slushy substance the whole combination much like a giant upturned margarita caught in a tornado.  

This is not weather in which to walk a dog, no matter how young and exuberant.  Particularly when walking said canine involves having to bundle up a young two and a half month old human in some sort of gear that will somehow miraculously allow him to stay both dry, and warm, and still be capable of breathing.   And so... I’ve holed up in my home on the hill (knoll?) and have marvelled in the growth of my Chicken Little, and focused what free time I’ve had on artistic endeavours... (that is when I’m not up to my eyeballs washing Mount Laundry and it’s cousin Diaper  Mound.) Meanwhile the dog, increasingly bored, gallops up and down the stairs, chases her tail and deposits a small arsenal of toys at my side in an effort to expend surplus energy.

Here are a couple miniature paintings I’ve worked up while Chicken Little slept soundly in the snugli.

“Twin Jellies”
Twining together in a bubbling sea two deadly bubbles of venom play.
© RiverWalker Arts

“Deep Midwinter”

The lake is frozen over and the ground is deep with snow.
We are children once again.
Brew me a cup on this winter’s eve and hold me near
For the frosty winds do howl and the glittering snow does fly.
© RiverWalker Arts

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

dreaming of a house on another hill.... gumboots not included.

I never was the one who dreamt of the house on the hill.  But I can imagine that dream.  A beautiful home with a wide covered veranda and a porch swing with Victorian detailing and Queen Ann Spindles, casement windows and elegant gables.   The house sits  perched on a hill that drops away on all sides providing sweeping views of rolling hills, forested groves and gurgling streams.  Sunsets are glorious and in the fall the days are crisp the air is golden, it smells like apples, and cinnamon,  and dry leaves underfoot, the land is alive like a dancing flame in oranges, reds and gold.   It is a lovely dream,  sometimes a lone and ancient tree sits near the house, a perfect place to lounge in low branches and read, write or draw.  

While it was never my childhood dream to live in the house on the hill, there are benefits to living on a hill, and this is especially true when you are surrounded in muskeg that acts like a soggy blanket draped over the landscape  and allows water to stagnate on steep hillsides in addition to the low lying areas

I did, in the end, buy a house on a hill.  Actually my home is  more of a house propped up on a hunk of bedrock that just happens to rise out of the muskeg swamp. There is no veranda, no detailing, or elegant gables,  but it is home. And sitting atop my little hunk of rock, I console myself that water runs downhill (for the most part)  and therefore my yard is drier than most (theoretically).   Especially given that the majority of this island (apart from the stray outcroppings of bedrock) is Muskeg Swamp...  Muskeg itself consists of dead plants in various stages of decomposition, ranging from fairly intact sphagnum peat moss or sedge peat to highly decomposed muck.  (side note: sphagnum moss can hold 15 to 30 times its own weight in water, allowing the spongy wet nastiness to invade even the steepest of slopes. All in all a recipe for very wet feet. Gumboots anyone? )

© Spider Bug
 After 10 or so feet of rain in 2011, and more than 10 inches of that in the last ten days.  I’m feeling a bit waterlogged.  A trip out into my yard to chase my dog back in the house after she decided that digging herself her very own swimming pool in all this wet muck was fun has led me to the conclusion that the water table is variable.  It is not – as is commonly believed -  an inch under the surface... but it is a highly variable height and even on my little knoll raised above the rest of the neighbourhood the water table is exactly one inch ABOVE the surface.  Which may help explain why I have a unique lawn consisting of a form of semi- aquatic vegetation known as a liverwort that grows only in the deepest shade. 


Thursday, November 3, 2011

a boring, self obsessed narcissists blogging mainly as a means to discuss the inconsequential minutiae of my day to day life

I wonder about blogging.  I mean who really wants to read about the life and times of the average middle aged mom?  I live my life and really from personal experience I KNOW it’s not that interesting.. however here i am, a boring, self obsessed narcissists blogging mainly as a means to discuss the inconsequential minutiae of my day to day life .....  

What is a blog really?   An on line forum where I can post which ever strange bits of information I choose to share.  For which friends and family with any interest can visit and read or not as they choose. The odd photo and the latest art work can hang up alongside my text, and the odd inappropriate quote.  

The upside to this hair brained blog is that those who wish to read about the ongoing saga of what was once a very adventurous life turned into domesticated suburbanite yuppie-dom can do so without my clogging your inboxes at random intervals, and those who really don’t care can quit being bothered by the same. .. 

You have to believe most bloggers have few if any actual readers. The writers are in it for other reasons. …after all it is well know that many blogs are loaded with vanity posts, half-truths, rumours, and even intentional distortions… I’m not sure where mine fits in… no doubt smack in the middle of the classic middle class, yuppie bloggers with distorted views of how dull their lives really are….

Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE my life.  Love it.  I’m happy.  My job might not be my dream job, but it keeps me in the manner that I am rapidly becoming accustomed too,  and since yuppies are after all defined by superficial and selfish materialism… I should also state that … I love my house.  I love that it takes me 5 minutes to drive to work… 25 to walk, I love that there are trails near my house and clean air, and deer that sleep in the middle of the cul-de-sac.  I love my husband, and his willingness to indulge my artistic exploits… like painting the bedroom nuclear reactor green… with a hint of lime…

And speaking of green paint...... I’ve finished another piece.  I took that green smear... the I mentioned in an earlier blog (abandoned since before baby)  and with Chicken Little sleeping with his head cocked at an awkward angle jammed in the Snugli I managed to coax an image out of all that smear on paper.

Behold!  The Mossy Grotto!!  A distant relative of Fern Gully  (ok... so you might have had to have been an avid follower of cartoons, or have had small children in 1992 to get the reference... bad joke. sorry. )

Mossy Grotto

© RiverWalker Arts

" Here in cool grot and mossy cell
We rural fays and fairies dwell;
Though rarely seen by mortal eye,
When the pale moon, ascending high,
Darts through yon lines her quiv'ring beams;
We frisk it near these crystal streams."
— William Shenstone (1714-63)
Lines inscribed on a tablet in the grounds at the poet’s residence

Friday, October 28, 2011

The wind shows us how close to the edge we are

In a world with a million possibilities I find myself in wonderment.  Fall has arrived, and although the temperatures aren’t much colder than they have been all summer the winds have picked up and stirred themselves into a howling banshee, a mournful spirit that wails into the darkness of the night.  I wake up to this hollow sound as it rattles through the trees and sends the damp brown leaves swirling – swept up in their own little tornados.  The accompanying rain pounds like automatic gunfire on the windows soaking the world and  rousing every creek into a torrent of frothy angry water.  I wonder that my Chicken Little can sleep so peacefully through the storm.

He grows in his sleep like a weed, a resilient and hardy little presence in my life.  I find myself holding him close staring through the sheets of water running down my windows.  My stalled mural project all but forgotten, my quilt abandoned mid stitch in the sewing machine, my latest watercolour nothing but a green smear on paper, shelved with the rest of my art supplies....  but as I stare and hug Chicken Little a bit closer my mind flourishes, a light in the eye of the storm, a thousand bits of inspiration waiting to bloom forth.  I’ve got the motivation, and the flashes of insight needed to bring forth at least a dozen projects...   and finish the ones currently on hold.   In all this miserable weather my inner light has begun to pulsate, and now it is up to me to put what little time I have at my disposal to good use. 

Here are a couple photos.... one of my stalled mural project, the other my very first attempt at a sewing project. 

a stalled mural project... 
but progress on my first sewing project... 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

surely there is no such thing as boredom...

Motherhood has consumed my immediate world.  I’m out of touch not only on world politics and current events, but even the basic goings on in my own tiny community where gossip flows like a river in flood. Where if you so much as sneeze someone across town can be heard to say “bless you”  - however - cut off and out of touch as I may be, my heart bursts with love and although born in a violent  storm of lashing winds and pelting rain that bombarded us for days, Chicken Little has proved to be a calm little presence in my life.

Along with motherhood I’ve taken on another exciting new venture. They tell me that in the latter weeks of pregnancy that mothers-to-be with their cumbersome gait and swollen bellies are possessed with what is know as a “nesting” phase – where with a burst of previously unheard of energy women take to cleaning closets with a vengeance, purging unwanted things, tidying, and organizing along with cooking up a storm and otherwise preparing for the new family addition.   Although excited by this prospect of  energy, coupled with the desire and motivation for a clean home and freezer full of casseroles and baking… I waited in vain - this mysterious “nesting” phase never occurred. 

Instead, as I applied drywall filler – patching a hole in the wall following the replacement of bathtub faucets I got the brilliant idea to take up a new hobby….   As if my half finished mural - pottery projects, watercolours, 3 partially painted acrylic canvases, an unfinished commissioned ink portrait (abandoned for the past 4 years), wrinkled silk only partially dyed, and bin filled with the horrific half melted disasters of my last attempt at making soap were not enough in terms of hobbies…   This brilliant new idea involved investing yards of fabric and putting to use (towards something more substantial than hemming jeans) the sewing machine I inherited from my grandmother following her purchase of a much newer and fancier model.   And so my first ever sewing project was conceived (hemming aside) a small rag quilt for my Chicken Little. (a project possibly stillborn before it could get off the ground….)

I’m not sure when I thought I would have time to cut fabric, or sew it into something appealing to the eye… let alone take the time required to get all the little corners to line up…   but yesterday I found myself pushing Chicken Little in his stroller through a sprawling fabric store selecting flannels bedecked with images of same fish that fill my freezer, along with plaids, turtles and frogs. If anything ever materializes…I’ll post photos!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Each day comes bearing its own gifts.

On Friday I officially became a mother.  Chicken Little was a bit late, but he eventually showed up and  after some serious stabbing of his feet with a glucose monitor he was given a clean bill of health.  Amazing how you can check yourself into the hospital.. and a few days later.. there are 2 of you checking out.   

Friday also marked our first wedding anniversary, we’d even booked a nice romantic dinner for two at the same restaurant we’d dinned at a year previous.   But when I woke up with rather significant labour pains in the wee hours of the morning...  all thoughts of a romantic evening went out the window.

While the anniversary of my marriage to DH passed ensconced in the local hospital with all attempts at modesty abandoned and a storm brewing in the background – the forecast calling for unabated monsoon style rains and high winds. I still did manage to gift DH with a token to mark the occasion.  (no I’m not talking about Chicken Little... although he is the very image of love personified.)  

Two years ago while DH and I were living on separate islands, and I was slowly filling his home with my art work, he asked if I could do a painting just for him.  One where the Chinook chased the herring in the kelp. Ack... I thought.. I’m not sure.  It’s similar to what I do. But I worried it wouldn’t be “real” enough for a guy who’s spent his life admiring , studying and chasing salmon...  Animals in the world and dinner on the plate.  Catching these majestic animals never fails to put a huge grin on his face.  I never painted that image he described....  not that I forgot about it.  Somehow something always kept me from doing that for him. 

Finally Two years later this is the painting that I gave him for our anniversary.  It measures 22”x 30” unmated or framed and is painted on 100% cotton rag 140lbs cold press paper.   While the original will hang above the sofa in DH’s den,  I plan to have prints and cards made so that others can enjoy the image that took two years to emerge from the paper. 

“Silver Bright”
an Original Watercolour
© RiverWalker Arts

An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow.  ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

the stored honey of the human soul

Looking like I had swallowed a large watermelon in it’s entirety and armed with a note from the Clinic indicating my fitness to travel.  I set out for a final jaunt on the airplane to visit my family, and watch the annual sailing regatta. 

The plane was full, and decidedly uncomfortable, but fortunately only 2 hours long  - allowing me to grit my teeth, stuff my earplugs in and survive the journey.  There is something about airtravel, or maybe it’s the combination of having to catch a bus, to catch a ferry to get the air terminal in the first place in combination with the actual flight that makes me irritable.  But as much as I enjoy watching people do the things that people do there is something about air travel that gets under my skin and I am always so very grateful when I can slide into some blessed silence when I arrive at my destination.  Don’t talk to me, don’t look at me… in fact… don’t talk at all, and turn off the radio too would you?   

The feeling fortunately is short lived, and I whole heartedly enjoyed my visit.  I played with my one year old nephew for hours, I sat on the deck with my book and floated in an alternative reality where nothing could possibly go wrong in my life.  I soaked up warm weather and watched the sailboats go by.  It was an inspiration to life to be there, the kind of feeling where you are suddenly inspired to just live your life in the moment. To be who you are and enjoy all you’ve been given and more. 
DownWind Leg
©RiverWalker Arts 

I’m back now in the land of rain and fog.  The chill air that sucks the life out of summer and has caused my poor flower garden to rot rather than bloom.  But it is good to be home too – a few more days of work and then a year’s leave to focus on my newest family member.  The world is filled with adventure for those who are open to appreciate it. 

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.  ~Danny Kaye

Thursday, August 4, 2011

a new career illustrating children's puzzles???

A quick update on the Mural...
Namely.. after some effort.. I’ve got a bit of a cartoon look going on –  maybe I should take up drawing for colouring books, or maybe designing children’s puzzles..  that being said I think overall this project will lend a splash of colour to the side of an industrial building.  

There is still work to do on it. But the fundamentals are all there.  This is a totally new medium for me.  I’m a watercolourist who dabbles in Pen & Ink.  So to take a whole new approach using something as absorbent as smooth plastic coated plywood... and an opaque medium like household latex  and I’m WAY out of my element...  now add to that the fact that the pigments aren’t very pure... meaning that the binders and fillers change the chemical reflection and absorption patterns which affect the final “colour” of the paint – making it difficult to mix colours or get the look one is going for.  Or maybe I’m just making excuses for myself.

I’ll let you decide for yourself. 

Panel 1 of 4...  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Side effects may include...

This is a pregnancy post.  

RiverWalker at 8 Months
©RiverWalker Arts 
At eight months pregnant I look like I’ve swallowed a full sized watermelon whole.  When people in the community look at me I get knowing smiles, from folks with twitching hands, and even the men ask me when I’m due  -  “it must be any day now”  they say.  I don’t mind the stares, and most folks are good about keeping their hands in their own personal space and off of the domed surface of my t-shirt stretched taught over my burgeoning belly.   However what I don’t understand is what people want to hear when they ask how pregnancy is treating me??  

Pregnancy is a bodily function.  Like most bodily functions it is not really the type of thing that is fit for decent company let alone casual conversation with a stranger over the grocery cart.  I’m really not sure what they want to hear?

 Is this like asking someone “how are you?”  where you should answer “I’m fine”.  

-          - “how is pregnancy treating you?”
I am convinced they don’t want a list of bodily symptoms.  I.e. “My pelvis is slowing separating, it hurts”  or  maybe  “Oh pregnancy is good to me, I’ve managed to get my retching mostly under control, my ankles are only moderately swollen, and my fingers are too fat to wear my rings but it’s really cool... like having my own personal parasitological experiment growing inside me

Really... pregnancy comes will all sort of gastrointestinal delights and a series of discomforts the websites call “symptoms of pregnancy”  - many of the lists read like the nasty quickly hurried through side effects listed on television pharmaceutical advertisements - things like – "Ask your doctor if Pregnancy is right for you... Side effects may include: nausea, vomiting, water weight gain, lower back pain, hairloss, tight itchy chafing clothing, high blood pressure, blood clots, uneven tire wear, urinary incontinence, increased attention from your in-laws, mild to severe discomfort, constipation,  diabetes, cluttered drawers, low resale value on your home, anxiety, sleeplessness, poor gas mileage, tooth decay, split ends, chest pains, clogged drains, hemorrhoids, dry heaving, and baby brain .'

Or maybe the answer is:

-        -    “how is pregnancy treating you?”
-        -  “not too shabby – How is your GI tract these days? “

But all silliness aside... please clarify for me.. what on earth are these people after when they try to initiate small talk about my obvious “Condition” ???

If men were equally at risk from this condition - if they knew their bellies might swell as if they were suffering from end-stage cirrhosis, that they would have to go nearly a year without a stiff drink, a cigarette, or even an aspirin, that they would be subject to fainting spells and unable to fight their way onto commuter trains - then I am sure that pregnancy would be classified as a sexually transmitted disease.

  ~Barbara Ehrenreich

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Well I started Panel one... of my mural project.  Four blank white sheets of 4 x8 foot sign board (kind of like shiny smooth white coated plywood) were stacked in an abandoned industrial storefront.   A grubby place that had once served as a supplier of  industrial provisions and equipment for mining, forestry, oil and gas, industrial, and community businesses.  The rambling place had a grubby little office with fake wood paneling complete with some sort of yellowed floral print, and orange carpet.   The door to the office cut in half led out to a huge warehouse like space with an uneven  dust covered concrete floor and an assortment of peg board, cement block and aluminum sheeting walls. The maze continued through a door into a large empty and windowless room long enough to install a bowling alley but without any lighting.  Through a gap in one wall I wandered next to an old fashioned half broken Coca-Cola machine and through a crumbling pegboard hallway where I found the bathroom... a cramped little white room in behind the water heater half a step up and wedged tightly behind the door I even found a light switch.  The well stained sink looked perfect for washing brushes...

So I moved the panels around trying to figure out the best configuration for the mural I had yet to plan out...  but lifting and relocating 4x 8 sheets of plywood at a meagre five feet tall and 7 months pregnant  is no small feat.   Finally I got the panels all propped up and was ready to sketch.  Which I did in pale blue paint. 

However the project got stalled as I took off to look for some sunshine... something that we in the rain soaked north haven’t seen yet this year.  But then not many places in the Province have...   Dh and I loaded up the Car, threw the dog in the back, packed about with camping gear and a cooler full of dead and frozen fish.  We set out... 7 hours later the rain went from constant to torrential and the road was no longer visible for the water  sheeting down.  By hour 9  (and four bathroom breaks later) we rolled into the parking lot outside my brother’s abode... complete with “FOR SALE” sign on the door.   But it wasn’t until the next day several hundred kilometres south we finally hit sunshine.

It was lovely to finally arrive at MIL & FIL’s place and just sit out on the deck in the sun, in the full comfort of a jersey knit sundress pulled taught against the basketball sized lump that is my middle. 
We dropped off the dead fish, and headed out to the lake.

We camped, we swam in the lake, we threw sticks for the dog... and we toured the wineries of the Okanagan Valley....  Which if you ever decide to do – and it’s fun I do recommend it.  I would advise you wait until such a time as you are not pregnant, so that you are able to take full advantage of the wine experience – rather than having to watch your husband swirl wine in his glass, and sip while you look on with an expression much like your black lab might have while watching  as you ate a juicy rare steak.

It was fabulous to see the sun, to feel it on my skin and to wake to warmth each morning.  Sadly it all does come to an end, and I am now back in a rain soaked world, in long pants, socks, and fleece sweaters waiting for the elusive sun to show it’s face.

On the positive side I am now able to get back to my mural. 

But wait... the panels were gone, my key no longer able to turn the lock on the door...

It appears that in my absence my panels were moved into the basement, a place even grubbier than the upstairs, with a barnlike door, leading into a windowless place where piles of pink insulation littered the cracked and broken concrete that ended in a dirt floor piled with broken bits of unidentifiables  along with a few ancient computer monitors, and some metal bits which looked to me like metal tops off oxy-acetylene tanks.  A bucket in one corner filled with glass sample jars, containing bits of soil, the back wall stacked with an assortment of white bathroom fixtures, a fibreglass tub, porcelain toilet, urinal etc.  Once again I hoisted the panels stacking them against walls and beams to the best of my abilities in an effort to maximize the available light.   I poured my paints, and found to my disappointment that despite the plethora of bathroom paraphernalia, there was no actual functioning toilet.  Although a single tap stuck out of the wall - right next to some electrical cords  - no drain in sight. So at least with buckets and I was able to wash out brushes and move forward some with my latest project. hopefully I will avoid electrocution .

First of 4 Panels.

Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.  ~Terri Guillemets

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

bonking fish and a fear of scaffolding

My Brother and the Quesnel Family came to visit last weekend.  This included the almost one year old hurricane Mango. Who is quite the cutie a good thing too considering the unending patience needed to watch over him as he crawled up and down and up and down and up and down the stairs.  Although not yet able to walk, he certainly can get around crawling or with one hand attached to something solid.  He liked to push the dog dish around.  In fact he was quite taken by the dog kind of a fascination for a large fuzzy quadruped  beast I suppose.  He would crawl up to her and stuff his head between her legs and push his face into her belly.  She tolerated it well, occasionally leaning down to snoofle him and lick his face.  I figure it’s slobber pay back Brother was much more nervous than the rest of us who trusted my dog implicitly as she is a gentle and timid creature despite the 75 pounds of solid muscle and black fur.  The Boys spent the days on the ocean bonking fish on the head and coming home coated in fragrant slime however their success was evidenced by a series of delicious fresh dinners presented nightly.  What wasn’t eaten was loaded into the car and drove out of town on Monday morning.

On a completely different note... my art show has been a success, from my perspective anyway.   At the opening  reception tea and white wine was served alongside  sushi appetizers to all who came to browse.  I managed to sell a number of original pieces. The Show will end this Sunday and I will take down what did not sell and stash them in my closet where art work spends most of its days. 

But while I will have art work languishing in my closet ignored and unloved. I have also been busy volunteering myself for all sorts of art related endeavours.  For instance in what must have been a rather weak moment or maybe I was just tired and didn’t know what I was volunteering myself for. I somehow have found myself committed to posing in all my very pregnant glory for a group of local artists.  I’m hoping they don’t actually credit the model in any of the works that make it out for public consumption.    However in a more sane although potentially more public venue I volunteered my time to paint a mural of sorts on one of the buildings in town.  The guy who own the building cringed at the very thought of seeing a pregnant lady on scaffolding, and so they purchased a number of large panels that will fit together and be mounted on the building.  My own stipulation is the use of water based paints, as I’ve no desire to fight with solvents ... they stink, they are messy.   So soon folks will get a chance to watch me painting through the window of a local industrial supplies building, and then my work... good, bad or ugly... will be displayed prominently on the building side overlooking the street... for all to pass judgement.

Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work...  Note just what it is about your work that critics don't like - then cultivate it.  That's the only part of your work that's individual and worth keeping.  ~Jean Cocteau

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Exhibition of Colour and Light

OPA Sushi & RiverWalker Arts - Presents :
An exhibition of Colour and Light.
Opening reception on Sunday May 29th 2-5 pm At Opa Sushi in Cow Bay
Please come celebrate my  Newest Works inspired by our beautiful North Coast.

Show runs until June 26th.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Art is your emotions flowing in a river of imagination.

It’s spring.  There are signs.  The rain remains unabated, a permanent feature of damp and cold.  While it is unlikely we will dip below freezing for the season it is not warm out. 

The girls usually take one weekend a year and head out to the ranch for a weekend on horseback.  A weekend of sleeping in a bunk house, sitting around a fire, eating, and riding through the high sub-alpine meadows in the stunning Driftwood Canyon looking out towards the Bulkley valley shadowed by the majestic Hudson Bay Mountain and it’s gleaming white Glacier . 

However for this year I had to give it a pass at over 6 months pregnant… horse back riding is apparently not recommended. So while I mourned the loss of a weekend in the saddle, I took the opportunity to do something else in life which I love….  ART!

Last weekend was the local Easel Weasel semi-annual art workshop.  This spring the artist we invited to teach was Nicole Best Rudderham. (  Friday evening we met in the penthouse boardroom of a local hotel – the view from the wall of windows looking out over the harbour is inspiration in itself.  An uninterrupted view of the harbour, picturesque with the small islands across the way and the sleeping behemoths that are the anchored bulk carriers awaiting their cargo of grain, coal or logs all of which are exported across the pacific to Asian market.  After a lesson on Friday evening we touched paint to paper as the sun began to set in glorious colours.

With a full two days of painting following that auspicious beginning… I am once more inspired and have learned a few more techniques which I hope to continue to use.

Here is an unfinished look at one of the pieces I produced (although it still needs some refinement). 

Oona River Rock
©RiverWalker Arts
The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it. ~Author Unknown

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Marking Spring by an Invasion of the RVs

It’s been between 8 and 11 degrees for the past two weeks.. and although the rain has let up and the day has proven to be warm and sunny, the forecast looking forward -  Monday through Friday does not vary... Rain. Low 8. High 11.  However... with Easter in the past and the May long weekend staring at us in the face... it seems that that spring is definitely here.  

Looking out the kitchen window, I see into the neighbouring cul-de-sac, where a  monstrous RV has been backed onto the lawn such that it became necessary to conduct significant pruning to the tree that once grew vigorously in the middle of the yard.  Parked on the curb in front of the fibreglass monstrosity is a jacked up chevy with an ATV balanced next to a large red fuel tank in the back,  completing the picture are the bush bar, winch and string of trendy “KC” flood lights mounted both on the grille guard, and roll bar.    

On the opposite side of the house, is my own sleepy cul-de sac.  Where my neighbour’s most recent guest has parked his “Toy Hauler”  which is basically a GIANT fifth wheels with a built in garage to hold anything from ATV’s, motorcycles, Jet Ski’s, etc.   I’m not sure what is being hauled around in the atrocity parked next to my driveway, but I’ve lived in houses that were smaller....

As if the RV’s were not enough, the fibreglass boats that have sprung up around town is a sure sign of spring.  

I have the fortune of living in a small isolated community located at the crossroads of two of this Province’s  best salmon producing rivers, the Nass River and the Skeena River...  despite over 100 local guides who charge upwards of $1000 per day, when spring comes (peak salmon season... but just as good for crab, prawns, halibut, rockfish etc.) the town swells under an influx of RV’s towing a whole variety of aluminum and fibreglass fishing boats... They come in droves for the fish that ply these waters. 

It is these boats that appear to be arriving, largely from out of province if the licence plates are any indication that marks the sure sign of spring.  

Spring has arrived... of that there is no doubt.... 
Now if only I could get the weather to cooperate....

I would love to get outside to paint!

 My biggest worry is that my wife (when I'm dead) will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it.  ~Koos Brandt

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter in a nutshell and an Art Opening

Easter is a strange time of year.  It is the celebration of spring and renewal, and while it is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year, this feast is marked by rabbits, newly hatched chicks, eggs, and chocolate.   The term Easter dates back well over a millennia wherein the Germanic "Ēostre month" (April), was named after the goddess Ēostre of Anglo-Saxon paganism.  Throw in a few lambs, a turkey dinner (possibly ham), a long weekend, sugar addled children and a touch of necromancy… and Voila! You have Easter in a nutshell.

But regardless of how one celebrates, or why – there is something about the post Easter world that is fresh and new and full of possibilities.  I think it might have something to do with the natural world and the beginnings of the buds on the bare tree branches,  the small green shoots pushing their way through the soil and embarking on their tentative journey toward the lushness of summer.  

As for myself… I’ve been again inspired, and this time… I’m Opening my own art show.  It will be at the local Sushi restaurant.  An exhibition of my newest works, and an exploration in colour and light.  On the 29th of May between 1 and 5 I hope to host an opening that will showcase a collection of orginal art work.  I am excited about this opportunity.  I am not unknown in this town, but nor am I an accomplished artist here.

Please wish me the best.  And if you are willing, able, or live close enough, please come out to support me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste.

Maybe it’s something about being pregnant a primal nesting instinct, or an imbalance of hormone that manifests itself as temporary insanity.... but whatever it is...  Saturday DH set out in the boat to spend the day getting pounded by the waves, and waiting for the fish to bite...  all this in order to provide fish for the freezer at a cost much higher (factoring in gas, gear, and boat maintenance) than simply purchasing it from the fish plant.  While going through this ritual of provision, I was overcome with the unusual urge to make bread....   yup. Bread! 
Did I mention I never, never make bread.  I like bread... in fact I like bread so much I don’t keep it in the house... for fear I’d eat nothing else.  I deliberately lived without a toaster for 3 years just to keep the bread at a distance...  Saturday I got out the flour and yeast....  Olive & Oregano bread... from scratch.

The yeast foamed.. and the smell reminded me of my childhood.  I made the well in the flour and stirred in the onions, olives and oregano...  I kneaded (maybe a tiny bit too much), I used more utensils that I thought I owned...  I made a nest to help keep the ball of dough warm and waited for it to rise.... and waited, and cleaned up every single dough clogged item in my kitchen...and waited... I provided a bit of heat...  and waited..
I punched it down...  it had risen more than I thought it had...

Into the oven.. and the fisherman came home with fresh fish from the sea (I didn’t ask what he spent on gas).  Fresh fish chowder for dinner... my domestic skills never cease to amaze me nor does the pile of dirty dishes.

The bread... well... if you ever get the insane urge to make bread from scratch ... may I advise you to purchase new yeast... and beware of over kneading .  Or maybe the best advice I can give is to curl up in a little ball and breathe deeply until the whim passes.

As for me.. .heavy as that loaf was I ate it anyway... fresh, steaming warm from the oven and slathered in butter...
...and as for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.

Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts!  ~James Beard
(click on image for larger and more readable recipe)