Sketching the way Home to Nova Scotia

A sketch book and some drawing material make a link to a place no matter where you go. Pencils and markers work well on paper or boards and pack easily for moving fast. The city sketch above was made on a recent long road trip that a few minutes opened up just as the sun rose over Quebec City. The previous day we were lucky enough to find a room available in the city of Levis Quebec just across the river from the Old Town of Quebec City. The window provided a perfect viewing site out of the cool northern air that still filled the streets and out came the markers and pad.
As the sun rises this morning I find myself drawing along Halifax Harbour with a pencil and board. It is a world of contrasts with cranes moving and ships arriving to exchange cargos. So much to do with unfinished work to complete, I better get moving. 

Different Day

I looked out the window this morning into a world of white. It had snowed through the night and still fills the air. I think the groundhog will be laughing at us as spring is just out of reach even though we are at mid April on the calendar.

It is a stark contrast to the relative calm of the air last evening and the incredibly beautiful colour display at sunset. The calm before the storm.

Surprise, we're back!

Surprise, we're back! There was a time when we first moved into this house that there were no gardens at all. The cottage had stood vacant for a few years awaiting a buyer  after the owner had moved to greener pastures. The yard was piled with old furniture and car parts. Glass bottles and old tin cans had their own pile behind the house. Birds and  animals had moved in to the building.

It was around the second or third year after we moved in the house before
we began planting gardens for eating and pleasure that we noticed narcissus first popping up. We hadn't planted them but there they were in all their glory. Volunteers they are called, having landed somehow without help.  The first year only two blooms came forward but each year after that they get more and more.

Each year painting them begins as soon as they rise out of the ground and continues until they bloom. Sometimes that happens while I am present allowing me to paint them as the blooms pop out one petal at a time into the air like a slow motion windmill.  Watching such a beautiful plant develop is such a humbling experience on so many different levels not the least of which is the contrast of spring colours. The composition is provided by the plants themselves so half the work is done before the painting is even begun.

Unseen Forces

As I walked in the garden on the weekend and made the first few scratches in the soil it surprised me to find the sprouts of narcissus pushing their way up out of the ground. The ground is barely thawed. They were accompanied by garlic and onions nearby which made me think that even though spring seems held up by unseen forces the plants are not waiting. The birds are going with it as well gathering material for nests, singing and singing their songs. It is a welcome relief. 
Thinking about changes makes me wonder where art will take me now. I am really pumped to get out in the woods and on the land again with a surface and some colours. I know there is still work to do inside but as soon as the weather breaks away I go. There are a few spots and ideas that came to light late last fall so maybe we can start there. 
I can feel the warm breezes smell the scented air already. I may already be there.

Dreaming Spring

The thermometer has risen above zero for a few days now and with the warmer air comes thoughts of getting out of the studio and even out of the car studio. Both options are ok but both create a separation between the artist and the subject.  Given the opportunity to be surrounded by your subject hands down I would be outside. Sitting outside and being affected by the environment for the period of work adds a extra dimension to the work.