Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Autumn Colours

Elm in a scarlet tangle of virginia creeper, nestled in grasses and the golden leaves of meadowsweet.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dancing Tree

This linoleum-block print was based on a sketch I made of a pine near Parry Sound, Ontario. It grows in a fissure of the time-smoothed, earthworm-pink rocks on the shore of Georgian Bay. I collect scraps of flooring, discarded wooden roof shakes, and assorted treasures to cut designs into, and print by hand. I've been trying to invent a good, non-toxic ink, but to date all the recipes I've brewed have stunk (both literally and figuratively).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Northern Leopard Frog

I took this photograph September 28, 2003, near Cann Lake in Huntsville, Ontario. In 2009 the trees have been hacked down, destroying the forest and the exuberant wealth of life it supported. Bulldozers, trucks, and chainsaws now flourish in this area. The land is scraped to bare earth, scarred and levelled, prepared for the construction of the University of Waterloo Environmental Research Facility. The frog is gone. So am I.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Grampa Portrait

Grampa always wore a formal, reserved smile when photographed. I studied how he smiled, and relying on memory and a few stiff snapshots, drew this portrait. He was my Grampa-by-association, and he told stories with panache.
High quality 4B pencils are my favourite, they are soft and glide across the paper, almost drawing by themselves. In pencil-jargon H is hardness, and B is blackness. Except for a trail of dents, 9H pencils don't leave much evidence behind. 9B pencils are so smudgy, they cause more sneezing than ragweed. It was an HB, the regulation, standard-issue, chrome-yellow (to match the school bus) pencil you probably used in elementary school. I've cut through paper with the sharp bits in graphite of junky pencils, so avoid using them. I wield Faber-Castell and Derwent pencils, but there are many excellent brands available. A pencil holder is a clever contraption which attaches to the end of a whittled-down drawing pencil, allowing the artist to draw them down to stubs. I also use an erasing shield (they used to be more associated with drafting supplies), a kneaded eraser, and a Sanford "magic rub" eraser (it vanishes instead of the paper). 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Toadstools as Furniture

Storybook toadstools (fly agaric mushrooms) are often depicted on Christmas cards. They are either orangey-yellow, or orangey-red, and are spattered with warts that resemble lumps of porridge. Being somewhat heavier than a toad, I would squash them bookmark-flat if I dared to sit on one. Instead, I use them as tables ... and that is your Martha-Stewart-Hint-of-the-Day.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Venus Reading

As I waited to retrieve my first-ever pair of glasses, I chanced to hear a song on the radio titled I Want A Girl With Glasses. The late Matt Osborne both wrote and sang it, and the final line was "... a girl wearing nothing but her glasses." So I decided to give Botticelli's Venus, standing on her scallop-shell raft, something to read. Thanks for the song.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

On the Road to Meat Cove

Perched on a hill, overlooking the North Atlantic, once sat a ruined castle. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. 11 August 1991.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Toad Quartet

A small toad swims in a dish of rainwater. Draggin' toad features the same model. While photographing and drawing the toad I was reminded of Eadweard Muybridge's photographs. Animals In Motion is a book I have frequently inter-library-loaned. Although fascinating, as a gnu striding past is, the book sadly lacks swimming toads.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009