Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

My friend Linda's mom always made great fudge for the neighbourhood trick or treaters and it was a great hit with our parents, particularly my father who thought it was the best fudge ever. I think I did manage to get the odd piece. The Halloween we decided we were too cool to trick or treat was quite a disappointment for him until the fudge arrived all for himself with a little poem attached. Linda's mom was always doing neat stuff like that.

I think the most memorable Halloween with Richard was the year he decided to be the "Headless Horseman" and insisted on wearing a real pumpkin so he could be really scary.
I made numerous attempts to scoop it out enough so it wouldn't be too heavy or too icky and eventually the whole thing fell apart and many tears ensued. I did manage to find some orange construction paper and we hastily made a paper mask...not very high on the scare index. I think the following is more the image Richard had in mind.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Itty Bitty Book Review: Persepolis

"Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood" by Marjane Satrapi

I have just finished reading my first graphic novel and I was very impressed with the story and the drawings. Richard put me onto this one. (He's reading it in a bookclub he started at Technicolor. He even got the company to create a library with bookclub choices and supply goodies at their meetings...way to go Richard!)

It's written and illustrated by an Iranian woman who fled to Austria as a 14 yr. old and is now living in Paris. It tells of her childhood experience of growing up in Iran during the end of the regime of the Shah and the Islamic Revolution. Even though the story is rather grim she manages to incorporate a lot of humour and whimsy. There is a sequel now called Persepolis 2 which I look forward to reading. Very worth a look!

Pantheon Graphic Novels

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My Latest Painting

"Container Ship & Olympic Mountains"
16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

After all the fiddling with the Matisse Chapel painting I wanted to do something quickly just splashing on colour so did a version of a photo that I really liked. I'm quite proud of this photo especially since my cousin, John, who is a professional photographer thought it was good as well!

For the painting I used these new "interactive acrylics"...the idea is you can keep wetting them and continue to work with them rather like oil paint. I guess I'm just too used to using my fast drying acrylics and missed being able to rub things out. With these I ended up rubbing everything out not just the thing I wanted to.

Using Interactive / Atelier Interactive / Products / Chroma

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Fern gave me these wonderful dried hydrangeas...aren't the colours exquisite. I feel they go very well in this blue ice bucket. Thanks, Fern, and for the wonderful tomatoes from your garden!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Me...The Bag Lady

I enjoy collecting bookbags and shopping bags and find them very useful for those extra things we pick up when travelling. They also make a lightweight souvenir that's easy to pack. I do refuse to pay more than about five bucks for them. Amazing what some places want for them these days.

Some of my bag collection

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My Latest Painting

I'm not that happy with this one but got tired of fiddling with it. I was very attracted to the simple campanile, the blue roof, and the simple blue and yellow stained glass windows of the chapel. It seemed a bit stark so I decided to put in some of my favourite trees in the south of France like the umbrella pine, mimosa, cypress, and palm. I think these are too prominent...should have been in the background perhaps. Ah well...it does bring back memories of this wonderful chapel and I enjoy looking at it on my wall. It's amazingly difficult to recreate these seemingly simple designs that Matisse appears to create so effortlessly...of course, I guess that's what genius is all about.

Matisse Chapel in Vence (Chapelle du Rosaire)
14 x 18 acrylic on canvas

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Haibun Poetry

Josh wrote a poem in "Haibun" form recently...prose with haiku interspersed. I liked his poem (take a look at j o s h n o t e s) and was quite attracted to the form. I looked around for some other examples and found this.

Gossamer Wings
by Naia

Our potluck and ornament exchange is an annual tradition among long-time friends. We make a game of it, drawing numbers to determine the order in which each will choose an ornament or steal one already opened.

holiday table . . .
among soups and salads
a box of chocolates

This year there were nineteen gaily wrapped packages to tempt us. Dori selected the ornament I brought - a fabric angel with gossamer wings - and I winked at Paula when folks asked where I purchased it. In the few hours between her doctor's appointment and the arrival of blood and platelets, Paula and I had found every "good deal" in the hospital gift shop.

between infusions . . .
I buy
a second angel

When it was my turn, I unwrapped an Airedale wearing sparkly pajamas and four slippers with white pompoms on the toes. I probably shouldn't have exclaimed quite so excitedly, drawing attention that might tempt others to steal it. Jani looked over each ornament already opened, then decided to select another to unwrap. Phew! Suddenly I was aware of rubbing the pink bracelet I wore in Paula's honor, almost as if it could grant wishes.

chicken soup . . .
I wonder if the noodles
are homemade, too

Three more friends chose ornaments. Then, I saw that mischievous sparkle in Paula's eye. It was her turn . . . and, true to a dog-lover's nature, Paula reached across the table to claim the Airedale! After my anticipated quick pout, we all burst into laughter. That was December 17th.

12/22 . . .
the cancer-survivor bracelet
slips from my wrist

~for Paula: February 18, 1958 - December 22, 2004

For more of Naia's poetry:
Naia's Poetry & Art Gallery

Haibun: A Definition of the Haibun Style of Writing

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Itty Bitty Book Review: "House Thinking"

"House Thinking: A Room-by-Room Look at How We Live" by Winifred Gallagher

I don't usually read much non-fiction but did enjoy this thoughtful look at the emotional impact our homes have on our lives and some explanations as to why. It explained a lot about why we like our house and neighbourhood so much. Inspired me to reorganize my sunroom somewhat recylcing things we had around and not spending a cent...I love these kinds of "renos"!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Having fun with Photoshop

I took a photo of The Empress when downtown the other day and played around with photoshop.

The original photo.

"Palette knife" effect.

"Poster edges" effect.

"Half tone" effect.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Inner Harbour - things that float

A few shots I took while down at the Inner Harbour the other day.

The Coho



Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Richard!

Happy Birthday, Richard...have a great day!

My mom and Richard on their birthday on October 17, 1980.

Monday, October 16, 2006

j o s h n o t e s

Josh, a friend of Richard's in Sacremento, is writing some cool poetry on his blog. I really enjoyed his "found" poem today called "Assembled: Album Titles:". Check it out.

j o s h n o t e s

It inspired me to look at my bookshelf and I quickly composed this "found" poem of the Timothy Findley titles I had on my shelf. I was surprised at how they all sort of fit!

Assembled: Booktitles (with apologies to Timothy Findley)

Dining Along the Amazon
The Last of the Crazy People
and The Piano Man's Daughter
say their Famous Last Words...The Telling of Lies

while Headhunter and Pilgrim
You Went Away
Stones turn to
Dust to Dust

Sunday, October 15, 2006

And so the rains begin...

I enjoyed waking up to the rain this morning. It certainly has been a long run of sunny weather. Isn't it amazing how well these geraniums are doing even this late in the season!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Waking up to foghorns

I woke up to the sound of foghorns today so was glad I took these few photos of the Olympics off Gonzales Bay the other morning when the weather was shaping up to be another glorious day. There seem to be many more container ships than before. I enjoy watching them as I always think a sea view is so much more interesting if you have some action going on (as long as it's silent).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gehry does it again in Spain

I always find Gehry's designs totally brilliant. This hotel in the the centre of the country's oldest is a radical departure from the winery's existing architecture somehow works wonderfully to me.

Luxury Collection Elciego Hotels: Hotel Marqu?s De Riscal - Hotel Rooms at luxury.com

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Itty Bitty Book Review: "The View from Castle Rock"

"The View from Castle Rock" by Alice Munro

In the end I really did enjoy these stories except for the first one and since I read that last even that didn't seem quite so bad. They were kind of memoir but not really.

I"ll let Munro explain what she meant...this is from her foreward when she talks about what she was doing in these stories:

"I was doing something closer to what a memoir does --exploring a life, my own life, but not in an austere or rigorously factual way. I put myself in the centre and wrote about that self, as searchingly as I could. But the figures around this self took on their own life and color and did things they had not done in reality...In fact, some of these characters have moved so far from their beginnings that I cannot remember who they were to start with."

Sounds very like the Munro we know, doesn't it? Reading these stories has made me pick up the biography Robert Thacker wrote last year. It is a rather heavy tome and I'm not that keen on biography but I think I'll try going through some of it.

Alice at 2 or 3 years old. Photo in the biography.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Last Day at Peacock's Billiards

Sunday, Oct. 8 was the last day Peacock's Billiards was open in its current location and since it was Thanksgiving Richard was over for the weekend and got to play! He's hoping it will be re-opening in its new location for Christmas so he and his old Victoria friends can all get a game together.

Oliver and Richard.

Tom, Nigel, and Oliver.

Jim, the two Tims, and Nigel in the background.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Nap time

Don and his best buddy, Oscar, having an afternoon snooze.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Acck....is nothing sacred!

I read about half way through Anita Rau Badami's new book "Can You Hear the Nightbird Call?" before I gave up. I did enjoy "Tamarind Mem" and "The Hero's Walk" but this one just didn't do it for me in the end. And I also got about half way through Jean McNeil's "Interpreter of Silences". I hadn't read anything by her before (originally from Cape Breton and now living in London, England) and initially it also seemed very promising but bogged down for me.

So...what to do but fall back on the new Alice Munro "View from Castle Rock" which I've been saving. Alas...Munro isn't doing her usual thing! The collection begins with "stories" she has written about her Laidlaw family history. In her foreward she mentions that she has had these around and they didn't fit anywhere, hence she is including them now, her so-called last edition of stories. I found the first one quite jarring and not like Munro stories at all. I read a review and it seems like the last half of the book is more like the Munro we are used to so I have started reading the stories from the back of the book...and so far, impressed as usual with her writing.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What is it? The Answer.

It's a mouth of a dog taken from this photo.

Sacré Bleu...French non-smoking legislation!

I see even the French are now considering non-smoking legislation although there is lots of opposition and the usual bleats that it will ruin business for cafés and restaurants. I'm surprised countries continue to believe the ruination of business as it hasn't happened anywhere else in the world and the French are the least likely candidates to boycott the cafés and restaurants...way too important for the "joie de vivre". But I expect there will be a big fight over it all...even Chirac's official website has a photo of him with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

Biography - Website of the Office of the French President

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What is it?

I came a cross a book at Bolen's that had a series of cropped close-ups of things and asked you to guess what it was. On the following page they told you and also gave a photo of what it was taken from. I thought this might be rather fun.

OK...so what is it? I'll post the answer tomorrow. Drop me an email if you have any ideas.

Children's Art