Things have been very busy lately – in the best possible way. I had an open studio as part of the Gabriola Island (Canadian) Thanksgiving Studio Tour. So many lovely people came and several bought pieces. After working away on my own for about two years, it was wonderful to have such a positive experience when I let “outsiders” in to see my work!
The style in this painting evolved into something quite like some of the impressionists as I searched for a way to create a shimmer of light on the water. This is not any particular view but it’s very rooted here in the Gulf Islands of the West Coast – the mossy foreground, the light coming through the evergreens and distant mountains reminding us that there’s another world out there.
I love Tom’s poem for this one!
Shadows beckon, light awaits
around the distant point of land
where the evening gently scrapes
against the rocks where cedars stand
upon these timeless island shores
where in winter gale-winds roar
tearing at the ancient trees
that still stand tall in summer breeze
as the evening, warm and long,
breathes in life’s diversity:
mosses, flowers, trees, the sea
that sings the oldest of the songs.
Far beyond these coves and bays
The Ocean sings of elder days.
An exploration of the ocean and mountains at Desolation Sound. I mentioned in a previous post about the amazing beauty there and I will no doubt continue trying to capture it. So far, I feel Tom’s lovely poem is much more evocative of this magical place.
There are no mountains, nor a sea,
nor any forests, green and deep,
but these that beckon, calling me
to pause within their sheltered keep
like a knight on olden fields
who wanders, fighting, never yields,
but battered on he travels still
seeking peace beside a rill
or stream where might a hart bound by
leaving stillness in its wake,
where the knight may bend and slake
his thirst for beauty where the sky
glows in beauty over trees
below the mountains, by the sea.
We took a trip up the coast of British Columbia this summer to a place of great beauty called Desolation Sound. Keeping in mind how many extraordinary places there are around, this was still almost unbelievable.
These two little watercolours were the only paintings I did on site. I don’t know – maybe I was too busy soaking it all in but I am glad I at least I did these sketches. They do give the feeling of the sunlight and the scale of the cliffs and trees around the clove where we moored our sailboat. (Yes, I feel very lucky.)
I am sure there will be more paintings coming from memories of this trip.
As Tom’s poem so wonderfully evokes, we shared this place with many other creatures.
Stepping stones of giants climb
long pathways to the summer sky
where slow vultures dream in time
as eagles pass kingfishers by
before they circle down to land
in treetops reaching high, they stand
above the surface of the bay
where the sunlight dances, plays
with breezes blowing from the Sound.
Water ripples, calms again,
in warming depths the fishes claim
no better place was ever found.
I drift upon the waters, free
of care beneath the cliffs and trees.
Based on a view from the ferry between Vancouver and Victoria. At that time in the evening, the islands you pass look dark and mysterious. The strait was smooth, reflecting the dying light as it leaked through the clouds …a moment of transition in space and time.
Tom’s extremely quirky poem …well just read it!
The sea lies calm between the rocky shores
capturing the sun’s last golden rays:
bright Day is ending, “Leave them wanting more”
she whispers as she slips away, off stage
to take off makeup, rest and smoke a fag,
while gossiping with Dawn and watching Dusk
who entertains the punters in her rags
of scattered cloud and twilight ’til she’s thrust
into the wings by Night’s commanding step
onto the boards, her retinue of stars
all keeping time until the moon has crept
up through the trap to shine, so high and far.
Day stubs her smoke and goes off to her bed
To dream of Dawn and inhibitions shed.
The look of my blog will be changing soon! I am updating it in preparation for coordinating with my NEW WEBSITE! I am super excited that it’s almost ready to launch. There will be a post soon with a link.
One evening last summer …the air and bay were calm as the sun sank lower and lower until it was a small glowing ball above the trees.
Here is Tom’s inspired poem!
Dusk flows in like liquid light
across the mirror-surfaced bay
harbinger of coming Night
momento of the ending Day:
long shadows for the stars prepare
a sky that dark and light will share
while reflective ripples hold
the sun’s last rays in shadowed folds.
Day’s bold colours, Night’s pure black
meld together, pastel shades
create a beauty unafraid
of time’s slow ebb from flood to slack.
Bright sun in cold black water glows
Where soon more distant stars will show
It has only been fairly recently in my life that I have had the opportunity to spend much time near an ocean. One of the beautiful mysteries that result from the rising and lowering of the tides are the tidal pools. These pockets of water range in size and contents but even small ones usually have some signs of life and a good long stare is rewarded with a miniature darting crab, the spotting of an anemone, limpit or sea urchin. Once your eyes are in tune, a tiny world comes into focus.
Tom grew up with tidal pools so his haiku is in sync with the pool and the season.
anemones and urchins
cool spring tide rises
A study of the local Gulf Islands landscape. The ink part was done with carbon black ink in a fountain pen with an ultra fine but flexible nib – really nice to draw with! A quick wash of watercolour brought it to life.
Tom’s evocative haiku! (I took the title of the piece from the haiku – not vice versa.)
face turned up, warm sun
cedar island dreams
While “enjoying” the cold and dark and damp, something that keeps me going is the memory of long summer days …and especially those spent on the water. What a peaceful joy that can be!
I think Tom agrees!
safe within the bay’s deep arms
sheltered from the storms and harms
of weather wild and rough deep seas
crashing somewhere to the lee
against the shores of distant isles
separated by the miles
of empty ocean, scudding wastes
far from here, this sheltered place
where there’s time for pause and rest
until again the sea’s behest
beckons us to raise our sails
and ride the waves in summer gales
A walk in Stanley Park towards the end of December was full of inspiration for me. The low sun gave a special glow to the sky and water. I included some people walking along the seawall give a sense of scale to the piece. Back to a small alla prima piece …so happy!
Winter light on silhouettes,
reflecting pools of evening dark,
standing here without regrets
as the sunset lights a spark
drifting down the cooling air
across the water calm and fair
toward the mystery of the shore:
trees will stand forevermore
upon these mountain slopes so steep
plunging down into the sea
as the future waits for me
in the silence, dark and deep,
for I have miles to go and yet
here I stand, without regret
I decided to paint a larger work using the earlier small koi pond paintings as inspiration. As the size of a painting increases, the challenges can become exponentially greater. When paint starts drying, my usual alla prima techniques won’t work and it can be a struggle to keep the brushwork loose and fresh. Still, I hope I captured the feeling of the cool autumn evening watching the drifting willow leaves and lazily swimming fish.
Next time, I will try for the same feeling with a greater economy of brushstrokes!
Here is Tom’s haiku – he always uses just the right number of words 🙂
crooked branches bend
koi following time’s long curve
down straight water paths