Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year to all!

May your year
 Hold sweet fragrance and sunny warmth of the heart that delights all you come in contact with.
Happy New Year, Hugs to all!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2nd version photoshop

"Glory of Love" digital manipulation of my own photos.
I felt the need to learn a few more techniques this morning such as adding text, filters, and cleaning up the one bolt that had been covered with an image layer. I feel this version is more complete than last nights.

I have an upcoming show in May and along with my bird paintings I want to have some multi-media pieces that incorporate my photography of Miriam images and angels, hence the learning photoshop.

May your day be blessed with The Glory of Love. Hugs to all.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

more photoshop play

This is a digital collage I completed tonight using 3 of my photos and manipulated them; its like using scissors and glue without the mess.
I'm starting to grasp a few techniques with photoshop. Still nowhere near where I need to be to accomplish my artistic goals, though each days play inches me a little further along. I picked up a brand spanking new book from the library that has guided exercises for photoshop elements 6 but I'm thinking that these projects were designed on a PC as I get through portions of the exercises and then get stuck. Not being able to complete the required task the way its set out in the book as steps seem to be missing I persevere and find a simpler or alternative way to complete the task. In all fairness the author does set a disclaimer at the start that one should know some photoshop basics, and, well I am learning the basics as I go.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

Last night was enchanted; strange and wonderful all at the same time.

Last night as Gerald was heading off to work he sweetly came in to mention the moon was straight up and looked pretty. I had no intention of freezing my toes off but I figured I should go take a peek before snuggling the blankets about my head for the night, and, well, it was pretty. So back in I go to retrieve camera and a charged up battery, put on mitts, toque a warm coat and boots. As Gerald drove off I was tackling an old tripod, which is way to light to hold my camera steady with a 300m lens mounted, but as the camera was pointing straight up, it worked, sort of. There was a bit of breeze to contend with making the cold down right chilly but these first shots were worth it. To view larger please click on image.

Taken at about 11:57 pm with wide angle lens.

 Taken at midnight. You can see there is a lot of gauze layering the atmosphere. It is now officially winter solstice, the shortest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.
 Happy Winter Solstice Everyone.

I had no idea what settings were needed and being dark and not wanting glasses on to freeze to my face, I winged it and played with settings never quite knowing what I was on. Pretty much all my shots with the telephoto lens are way washed out as in the following image; but the enjoyment of watching the eclipse is memorable.
The moon with a chuck chomped out. I had to use auto focus rather than manual, which may along with the thick atmosphere have contributed to the blown out light of the moon. With the camera pointing straight up I could not with my disability get into the position needed to be under the camera to focus in.  I do feel good about the the fact I even attempted this feat in sub zero.

 1:20 am

 At 1:32 am the shadow is long and starting to glow reddish.

1:43 am and this was my last shot that depleted the battery. I find it amazing at how much moon movement is captured in a few seconds. 
I  know that in freezing cold of minus 20 that the camera does very well, me not so much. I came in and kept my mitts on, wrapped my feet in blankets and rubbed them warm for about 20 minutes.
It would have been nice to capture the full eclipse but did not relish getting cold again. 
have a wonderful Day
Hugs and Joy
Share Love and Kindness

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I found I was spending way too much time doing way too little attempting to learn photoshop elements. So this week I bought myself a photoshop book and am now happily learning to play and paint with pixels.  I took a photo of my grandson that his mom sent me, added fish characters around him and printed it out and framed it for them. I am so happy I got to see my little sweetheart today as they were in the city.

Tonight I painted an angel with pixels.
The angel looks a little pouty, it must be reflecting me as I am missing my grandson already.
Big hugs to all.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I love books

 We stopped by the thrift store yesterday where I was tickled to find a few books in excellent condition; in fact Nightmares in the Sky has never been read by the look of it. The Photographic Encyclopedia of Birds is my first book about world-wide bird species so I shall be able to read up on birds from across the globe as well it gives expanded detail about species common to my area of Alberta, more-so than my bird identity books reveal. Its exciting to gain this valuable resource for my ever growing library.
 Birds of Canada is full of drawings by Robert Morton and paintings by Maurice Pledger and Trevor Boyer such as the two following images. I shall really enjoy reading these as much as studying of the art work.

The paintings are sumptuous.
Well I am off to peruse.
May your heart and words be light as a feather.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A copy of a copy with a few changes along the way.

Virgin with Child, called Kykkotissa, this is my copy of an icon detail by a Venetian painter working at Sinai during the Crusade era.
Painted with acrylic on coarse canvas with machine sewn cloth frame, fringe and brass bells.
Image copy 9 x 6 inches
Size from dowel to bottom of fringe is 22 inches by 10.5 wide.

I just completed this piece for a group project in which we were to copy a Nativity from a past master. Though not a Nativity, it is a beautiful rendering of Christ-child and Virgin Mary. The original icon is much larger at 50.6x 39.7 cm, roughly 20 x 16 inches and painted with tempera on wood. The Sinai icon apparently has Saints depicted around the outer edge of the icon; though when I painted this I didn't know how the completed icon looks as the book presents only the detail image. I spent all day yesterday trying to find extra information on-line regarding this icon but came up short. THE ICON, the book I copied the image from states that this is a rendition of "Virgin with Child that copies the famous St Luke Virgin, known as the Kykkotissa, of the Monastery of Kykko on Cyprus"(p205)

I find this Icon appealing as the Virgin Mary holds baby Jesus in her right arm and cradles his right foot gently in her left hand, its a tender portrait of a Mother and Son. Unlike other icons theres no mudras pertaining to blessings or hints to the future path of Jesus that I know of. In the book it states "the western copyist omits the dogmatically significant motif of Christ receiving the scroll, the logos, out of the Virgins hand"(p205), this makes me wonder if the artist was aiming for a more realistic and sensitive humanizing rendition of The Christ as a baby.

I note that icons called Kykkotissa are of a tender depiction with baby relaxed in mothers arms and many show the baby with bare legs. One site I found states that in Greek, Kykkotissa means "compassion", another site states it is derived from the golden cyprus oak on mountain Kukkos and means the "Virgin of the Oak Apple", either way its a loving tender moment that reaches through generations.

My copy being acrylic on coarse canvas was a challenge to begin with due the roughness of weave so it was surprising how well the image came together after the initial paint layer was laid. I put on varied relaxing music from around the world and even listened, really listened to Lenard Cohen songs while painting. Then at night, awaking between sleeping I found myself thinking about the image and how beautiful I found it to be, and also how it was to be finished off. The perfect red shiny cloth was found in my fabric bins, and also the same color of ribbon, amazing. I thought I had a small brass angel pin to put above the image but I cannot find one so bells were attached to the ribbons instead.

Though this piece was not painted following iconographers style and though it is not an exact copy, it was painted lovingly with heart and respect.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Last nights Pine Siskin

These two are the images that would not post last night. I had to lighten these up to make the wee birds noticeable as day was done the birds blended into the dusk. It does not help clarity that I am shooting through double-pane glass either, but its to darn cold out there for me.

 Woke to icy windows again so its still darn cold out. As I sit by my window sipping coffee this surprise visitor  briefly flew in then out again. Its a Boreal Chickadee; they have a brown skull cap rather than a black cap. This fellow seems to be travelling with a small group of Juncos.

 Above is a female house sparrow and below is a male house sparrow. Images are dark as they were taken early this morning

 This wee bird is the size of the Pine Siskin yet has a beak the shape of a finch. I have no clue as to what it is? Do you?

 Two Pine Siskin enjoying the catch basket of seeds, they blend so well with the black-oil sunflower seeds don't they. These two are a lot whiter and have very subtle yellow which is hardly noticeable on their wings. The Siskin below is very pretty in yellow.

Red-brested Nuthatch was out early. The white-breasted one is about now also as are the black-capped chickadees which are presently dee-dee-deeing in the morning sunshine.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You Know it Cold When

 You know its really cold when red-breasted nuthatches and
White-breasted Nuthatches snuggle tree trunks.

You know its really cold when finches look like round christmas ornaments.
 Female finch.
Male finch all fluffed up.

 Even Junco's are sheltering from the cold in the evergreen trees 
and puffing up in the shrubbery gathering early morning sun-rays.

Black-cap Chickadee fluff-ball ornaments.
 Most of all you know its real darn cold when the berries freeze to your beak!

Fluffy male House Sparrow. These are illegals, european immigrants which were imported and released onto the continent mid 1850 and are now wide-spread much to the detriment of natural songbird species.

 Cold cold morning sunshine, I never bothered to check the temperature till mid afternoon, by then it was up to a balmy -20 Celsius.
Finches decorating the neighbours tree mid-afternoon.
Last year we put out a pop-bottle seed feeder which worked wonderfully except greedy female finches clashed beaks like crazy attempting to keep other females from the feeder. This summer Gerald scored a brand-new 3 level seed-feeder at a garage sale for $5.00. Now many more finches can get to the seeds without major clash-on-wing brawls happening which is good as the cold snap has brought a multitude of varied birds to the feeder as you can see by the photos.
My last wee sweet little guests dropped by as the light was waning. Which I believe to be Pine siskins.
I will have to post them tomorrow as the server keeps rejecting my last few images.
May warm hugs keep the frosty cold at bay.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Hare of a Different Color

This morning when I arose snow was gently blanketing the city. Well before daylight finches squabbling over black oil sunflower seeds at the feeder station amused my ears as did the tinkling chirrups of Juncos greeting the morning air. As darkness softened in the subtle morning light I made out a visitor under the evergreen tree outside the sitting room window. Happily he was in no hurry to brave the snow and stayed long after children had passed by on the way to school which gave me the opportunity to shoot through the window when lighting conditions allowed.
Its still snowing steady but the rabbit has hopped on elsewhere.
Bunnikins stayed steadfast with barely a movement all morning in a hollowed out spot amongst the lily-of-the-valley Gerald transplanted under the evergreen tree in July. Next year this spot will be bushier and afford  bunny a bit more seclusion, but for now he seems content.
 This photo was taken the 6th of Oct, you can see a winter coat amid-progress.

 On a drizzly Sept day a soggy looking brown Bunnikins sat at the edge of the lily patch.

Grooming on a warm sunny Sept day. Rabbits tend to be very tidy creatures, I quite enjoy it when they visit. One elderly lady down the street leaves vegetable offerings for rabbits in the cold of winter; her husband in good humour fenced in the flowers they want to preserve for their springtime viewing enjoyment. Early spring when finding food becomes difficult due ice packed snow I've noticed city rabbits will eat the seeds birds spill to the ground.

I wish upon you all generous hugs to warm the heart. Share the love, share the joy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


 War Veterans Memorial Sechelt Nation


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cemetery Guardians

Not far from where I grew up in the forests of cedar and alder is a beautiful clearing, where in the middle a few tall twisty strange trees from another world reside. Its a place of history, a place of memories, fantasies, love, loss, change, growth, as well as neglect and decay.

When I was young my mother, younger brother and I would walk through this hidden garden. I would wonder about those forgotten ones who were left to the brambles and thimbleberry brush that sprung up around the dissolving crosses retaken to the earth by moss and decay. Their names becoming part of the sword-fern undergrowth. Here the thimble-berries and black-caps grew full and sweet, and I swear old spirits brushed by us whispering their tales and dreams. I felt enchantment and wonder of such a place. As though a piece of heaven fell and left an impression. It is in this otherworldly place where my parents ashes and many other childhood neighbours reside.
Some years ago Derek was buried there, he was the first to be interred after many years of the cemeteries dis-use and neglect. After Derek's death I would wander up the road and recede into the dark musty forests embrace and talk with Derek while sunstars danced across dust particles through the clearing.
 Gerald considerately washed mom and dads gravestones for me while I wandered, chatted and photographed.
 This bear is one of the guardians at the head of my parents gravestones, the other is an eagle perched a few feet away on a stump. My mother loved wind chime music so my children and I placed the fairy chime for her after her interment.

This grove of enchantment is lovingly filled with variety that is not often found anymore.