30 July 2007

The bee's knees

Even under lowering skies, plenty of people attended Dr Bee's 3rd annual Bees and Blueberries Festival last weekend - part of the growing agri-tourism industry. The quiet backwater of Ford Road Detour was invaded by hordes of people. Besides the "bee beard" (twice daily) the program included taekwando demonstrations and a blueberry pie eating contest. Inside the Honeyland shop is a wall showing a hive at work. Honeyland supplies hives of bees to blueberry farmers, for pollinating their crops, and you can take courses in beekeeping there.

29 July 2007

Art recently encountered

These two works by Ann Nelson, a BC artist, are purloined from her website.

Ann Nelson's work sent me scurrying to look also at the work of Bonnard, Adrian Berg , and Patrick Heron's garden paintings.


A bit of textile stuff, for a change -- screenprinted, then batiked. Not sure if I want to stitch these at all.

The rows of dots are made with a sponge brush, cut into "teeth"; the V shapes are done with a folded bit of cardboard.

28 July 2007


Vanouver's annual "celebration of light" generates $40 million of revenue for the region, takes place on four evenings (rain or shine), and is spectacular. Thanks to an unexpected invitation from a boat owner, I was able to watch it from the water -- an amazing experience.

To the south, the nearly-full moon hung low in the sky, quietly making its steady path of light.

25 July 2007

Sunrise; a beautiful day

Sunrise is happening as I write. Tony is out there in the dew and mist, photographing the misty light - his favourite subject.

The little trees at the edge of the lawn are outlined in light and throwing fabulous spikey shadows.

But my beloved camera has developed a spot on the sensor. It can be edited out, but I currently have no access to the software.

Danger signs

24 July 2007

Displacement activity

It's all very well being back in the bosom of the family, and having lovely meals with lots of people round the table, and having the whole day without the pressure of job or other commitments -- but oh I do miss the sewing machine! Meanwhile, some knitting keeps the hands busy.

And I miss the English countryside, its layers of history.

Here in the brash new west coast, layers of history are emerging, even over my own lifetime.

This view would have been all "bush" fifty years ago, when my parents came and put up their first house here (after a devastating house fire, they rebuilt on the same spot). Now it's high-bush blueberries as far as the eye can see - or until you hit the railway and the container yards that have spread along it. The village with its general store, gas station, etc - basic services - has become a built-up suburb with several malls, some "historic properties", and even a Pitt Meadows Museum. The highway and bridges have been widened and still can't cope with the ever-increasing traffic. At weekends the skies hum with pesky planes from Canada's busiest small airport. When we arrived this road had a few rundown old houses; now these have been renovated or replaced. Fortunately this area of green belt remains; since the neighbour cut down his trees, you can see the mountains again. When it isn't raining, that is. Yet even in the rain, they were picking blueberries.

Country fair

4-H kids showing their animals, a horse whisperer, medieval archery and corn grinding, Ridge Raptors and their birds, lawnmower races, the "home arts" building with its jams, cakes, quilts...and the miniature baby goats.

23 July 2007

Deisgner Joyce Clissold

Searching the visual arts collection here brought up an image of fabric designed by Joyce Clissold. She studied at St Martins college of art in London 1924-7 and her best known work is from the 20s and 30s. Central St Martins has a collection of her textiles. She ran a workshop called Footprints (founded in 1925) until her death in 1982.

21 July 2007

Once upon a sketchbook

The book is full, at last. Time to start a new one. I have a small one (A6)in my bag at all times, and the larger ones (A4) stay at home unless a "drawing event" has been planned. I find the A3 size "challenging" - maybe some bigger brushes would help!

Several years ago I had a phase of playing with colour. The phase of using coffee as paint is even longer ago. (Remember to put the year as part of the date on the page.)

18 July 2007

Leaving the workroom

It's holiday time -- tomorrow we're off for three weeks in Vancouver, and then on return, a workshop with Bob Adams on discharging before the Festival of Quilts to look forward to.

The studio will get a little dustier in the meantime. At the top of the pile is the latest version of "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" - unfinished. I just ran out of time - getting the science editing journal to the printers had to take precedence. Another day would have done it, but.... Next time.
Now the studio contains just about everything I need to make anything - or maybe I'm just getting used to working with what I have. Because of working on the journal right up to the wire, I haven't had time to sort out a handwork project to take along. But I don't need to leave home till 6.20 am -- and the night is young -- I'm all a-twitter with the anxiety that wells up before any trip (not a happy traveller).
Looking forward to seeing family and friends, bike rides along the river, blueberry picking...even a bit of sewing, with any luck.
Behind "the road to hell" are other, smaller, attempts at the subject, and the golden patches to the right are part of a larger attempt. On the design board are two batik pieces from Els van Baarle's workshop at FoQ a couple of years ago -- they started out as prints done in a workshop with Carole Waller at West Dean. Going to workshops is definitely my favourite kind of holiday.

14 July 2007

Painted ladies

A book about 10cm square, fell off the shelf the other day - it was my painted ladies - watercolours done in 2003 after a course at Dulwich Art Gallery in which we did paintings in the studio (from reproductions) after looking at the real thing in the gallery. When you're "forced" to plug away at something, and start to get the hang of it, it's very encouraging -- so when I got home I pulled out lots of postcard portraits of women through the ages and started filling this little notebook. Got as far as the centre stapled page, and then got sidetracked.
"Copying" the paintings on the postcard was an education for the eye. This one is after a portrait by Picasso (spot the difference!) -

The lady in the wide-brimmed hat is my favourite - she's in a painting by the painter FCB Cadell, one of the Scottish colourists.

This might be Ann Boleyn ... or it might not ...

Her hat marks her out as Italian, 1400s - I enjoyed using the rich colour of the hat much more than the hair colours and flesh tones - but after doing face after face, started to "see" the variations of colour.

While you're intent on mastering all the subtleties at once, you might not notice basic things - like the faces are all a bit narrow, squeezed ...

Another one after a Scottish painter, but I don't remember who - and can't find the postcards....

A much slicker look at women in art through time is this YouTube video.

13 July 2007

In the post - a surprise -
Fabrics from Karol-Ann - thank you!

Love those dots - and those fish - and those wavy lines - and that turquoise colour!
Those dotty bits might be Just The Thing for the quilt I worked on all day yesterday (an all-too-rate event, a whole day just quilting - lots of radio, and no computer).

11 July 2007

Strand-on-the-Green runs along the river Thames near Kew. From seeing the river at low tide,
you might wonder why the houses have such strange steps.
When the river is in flood, the water rises so high
that people put extra boards in doorways and windows to keep the water out.
Some of the houses are unsuitable for tall people, at least for going out and coming in! And some of the little front gardens have an extra foot or two of glass above the brick wall.

10 July 2007

How very confusing, and what is going on? Yesterday, away from home, I tried to upload some pix of stairs, and couldn't -- yet, seeing my post on www.planet.textilethreads.com -- there they are - but not on my own blog. Puzzling. Also puzzling is why suddenly most of the icons are gone from the toolbar, and why uploaded photos in a new post show up as html coding... and I can't put titles on any posts ...
Probably more useful and to the point to tell blogger about this, than to bore y'all with such petty details. But isn't it frustrating!!
Morning drawing - but first, one I did earlier - at the Miro Foundation in Barcelona, while waiting for the arrival of lunch in the restaurant.

This drawing had to be a two-step process.

The washes had to dry before the dark seeds could be added.

Although the ink still isn't bending to my will all the time (or I to it?), over the days of using it, I'm getting more comfortable with it and can concentrate on the subject matter more. Wet media are a learning curve for me, so it's a matter of practice, practice, practice ...