Miles and Miles

Recently on a drive along the shore of the Aspotogan Peninsula we stopped by a few large spruce trees. The trees provided cover from the breeze while we sat in the car on the sandy road shoulder. The car windows were open to the spring air. 

A local fisherman worked at retrieving his beached lobster traps that had been pushed to the high water line of the beach by a recent winter storm. We exchanged greetings and hopes for better weather ahead.
Once again our car was providing a near perfect studio. I say near perfect because of course you are limited in location and working space but while we ate lunch I was able to begin work on a sketch of the view over Bayswater Beach in front of us. The work put me in mind of a day only a few months ago as fall had approached that we were able to spend the afternoon at Scots Bay on the Bay of Fundy. In that case I set up on the beach at low tide and enjoyed the blazing late afternoon sun that dried the beach under a cloudless sky. 

As a crow flies the two sites are probably under one hundred miles apart on opposite shores. Each beach is very different from the other. I look forward to time spent along the shore over the next few months as weather improves and time allows. If the weather holds till tomorrow we will head off early to Blue Beach near Falmouth on the Avon River.

Folded Paper

I can't remember the first time that I put a crayon to paper but certainly it was quite a while ago. There was a game that my grandmother played with me when I was very young. 

She began the game by folding a piece of paper like an accordion with fairly wide pleats. 

Then she began telling a story while drawing on the first section. I could not see what she drew. She would draw lines leaving the ends of the lines just over the fold to the next section. The page and crayon would then be passed to me. My job was to connect her line line ends, continue the story and extend the lines to the next section leaving her just a short line over the fold. We continued the story and the drawing to the bottom of the sheet before unfolding all the pleats and revealing the full drawing. 

The result almost never made sense as a straight line narrative but we sure did have fun along the way. Each section had a life of its own, somehow strangely connected by the words that had been spoken.

Years later as a student folded paper played another role. We were instructed to fold a large sheet of paper any way we wanted then to use a lamp to provide raking light over the surface revealing all the folds and texture of the surface. On a second sheet of paper line and tone were used in an attempt to render an image of the folded paper object.

Maybe it's Spring

In the north it is late winter going into early spring now and we eagerly await the arrival of warmer air.

The calendar says spring has arrived but looking out the window tells a different story. Newly fallen snow from back to back storms has covered everything with a fresh white blanket. 

Even with the new snow we see birds making their way back into the area. Brooks and sap are running, buds are swelling and you can find garden seeds in stores. We set our clocks ahead an hour to daylight saving time and now enjoy sunlight through the evening. I have noticed open water on some of the lakes.

So with sunny skies and low wind forecast I packed my bag and headed for the woods looking for something to paint. 

Walking along a trail through the woods a hopeful light on tree tops along a ridge caught my eye. I set up in a snowbank just to the side of the trail and began working. After a few hours my fingers and toes started feeling chilled and I wondered about using the car as a studio. It would be impossible to get to such a place in the car and eventually I decide it is better to save the car studio for colder wetter days.

There is something special about recording an experience in the woods. Something in the air.

Learning to Draw

Art has a habit of being made behind closed doors.
 As students we were challenged to create 
one hundred figure drawings in public. 
Sketches is what was requested just to capture the moment.
I found a large crowd at the Fall Fair and with a pencil and paper began drawing figures as people went about their day.
I drew and drew for most of the afternoon spending no more 
than a few seconds on each drawing.

The experience brought to mind a summer long ago when I was working at Ontario Place. From time to time I could take a few minutes to watch a local artist make oil pastel sketches of people from the crowd. Magic so it seemed. 
Up to the point when I found myself in the crowd we had worked with still life subjects and life models in static poses.

 I was as far out on a limb as I could imagine. There was no coming back.


In the aftermath of World War ll our good friend Emily came from England to join her husband a returning war veteran at his home in Canada.

 She traveled by steam ship and train carrying her newborn daughter
to the rocky shores of Cape Breton Island. 
Her new home would be the village of Inverness known for fishing and mining on the western shore of the island.

Emily and Paul would raise three children in all and spend all their working lives there. Inverness had no subway and only the occasional bus. 
Roads were a combination of mud and gravel which made travel difficult. 
There was no indoor plumbing.
Winters were long and cold.

It was a world apart from her prewar home in England.

Oh, what a time she had. Spring was all the sweeter. Nothing but the best for Emily.