Monday, June 30, 2008

My latest painting

We had a great time at Jim and Ann Fisher's boathouse a few years ago and I've been meaning to paint it. So...with lots of artistic licence, here it is. I couldn't resist putting in a "pointu" boat from the south of France.

"Boathouse at Lake Sutherland"
16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

Children's Art

Friday, June 27, 2008

And some more of the garden tour...

One of the gardens was close to the Ogden Point Cafe so we stopped there for a snack...ocean was looking great yesterday.

I liked these metal palms...wouldn't have to worry about them being killed off by a frost!

Someone is being kind to the squirrels....

I really liked the way this new house in James Bay fits a small lot.

Our last garden...a great day!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More gardens...

This clematis and the lillies were just stunning.

This garden had lots of paintings displayed throughout.

Every garden we visited had a water feature...made me realize just how neat such features are.

Elaine spotted this right away!

Elaine insisted I take this photo for Don and Mr. Bing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The best $100 suit ever

Claudia sent me this great photo the other day. I don't see Richard often in a suit. That suit has had a lot of wear. Jim bought it at least 25 years ago and wore it for dress for many years, then dressed it down with a turtleneck and wore it teaching for years....then Richard was looking for something "retro" for a wedding he was best man at and that fit the bill. He's worn it through various job interviews (got two of the jobs...) And the frames Richard is wearing are from some glasses Jim bought for a dollar down in Palm Springs! Pretty cheap outfit for him all round.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Teeny Tiny Garden Tour

Elaine and I went on this Hospice fundraiser Sunday and really enjoyed seeing what people did in these small spaces and also getting around to streets in the city we hadn't been on before. They had a great day for it...sunny for once.

The first three photos are from "Cindy's Garden" on Vista Heights. Lots of whimsical things like the Royal Theatre seats, the doll in a chair. Elaine sitting in a bench made from railway ties with marbles embedded into them.

This wonderful Japanese Maple is from "Maggie's Garden".

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stuff White People Like

The fellow who does most of the postings here was interviewed in the Times-Colonist recently since he has a book deal from the blog from Random House. He was a former Camosun student. What I've read is quite funny. Tricky humour since you are getting into the politically incorrect. There was a hilarious entry on buying a sweater from a thrift shop for cheap. When we were in Palm Springs last winter Jim bought this cardigan from a thrift shop for $2.50 and I think he'll be talking about it for at least the next 10 years...

Stuff White People Like

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Olympics make a rare appearance

I noticed as I was driving along Hillside yesterday that the mountains were looking great...they often are covered in mist.

When I was down on Beach Drive I noticed this great fountain.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Itty Biity Book Review "Long Walk to Freedom"

"Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela

This autobiography was a gripping (and long....625 pages) read relating his struggle for freedom. Although the world knew apartheid was heinous and the South African government at the time was vile I was still surprised at how awful it all was. It's an amazing account about Mandela and other amazing people who fought this fight. What a profile in courage and determination. It certainly stole away his family life and him from his family even after he was finally released after almost three decades. I was particularly saddened by that and wondered how he could retain his resolve through it all.

It's not really all that long ago. Mandela was released in 1990 and he became president of South Africa in 1994. However, the current state of the country must still be very depressing for all those people who were so closely involved in the fight. South Africa is one of the most violent countries in the world where murders and rape are frequent, AIDS is rampant, and there is still widespread abject poverty even with all the riches.

In the last paragraph of the book, Mandela reflects:

"But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb."

By the way, "Nelson Mandela" brings up 1,240 hits on YouTube.

An informative article on how Mandela's dream is being destroyed in South Africa:

South Africa: Destroying Nelson Mandela's Dream

And now there's the recent xenophobic violence to deal with.

South Africa: Punish Attackers in Xenophobic Violence (Human Rights Watch, 23-5-2008)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Monique in Annecy now

Monique is now in Annecy, her home town, and also a place where we shared a lakeside apartment with her for the month of June, 1976. It was a famous drought in Europe so we had wonderful weather and could swim in the lake right from the beginning of June which isn't that usual since Lac d'Annecy is in the Alpes. She has view room from this hotel and I see the bar opens at 7am! Only in France...

It brings back great memories and I especially remember all the delicacies Monique introduced us to especially the Reblochon cheese that was very well aged to being with but Monique insisted on leaving it out of the fridge for several days to age even more. It was about to walk away when we were finally allowed to taste...quite a smell but wonderful flavour.

Every morning we woke to this wonderful view and the mist coming off the lake. We didn't have a car so I used Monique's old bicycle to cycle to the local bakery a few kilometres away to get croissants and bread. It was great cycling at that time in the morning except we didn't have any tools to adjust the bike seat up so it was a rather bow legged cycle I had to do since Monique is quite a bit shorter than me!

I see the highs for temp are around 20 C until later this week when it starts to get really hot. That will please Monique as she doesn't like it too hot.

Annecy HOTEL ** Beauregard sevrier 45 rooms panoramic view over the lake of Annecy - France - inter-hotel

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fun at Willow's Beach

The sun is actually out at the moment but I took these photos last week. Kids still seemed to be having fun making a driftwood fort, sand castle, and trying to sneak up on a blue heron.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Keeping our guests safe

We were pleased to get these railings up so quickly...for once getting some work done wasn't a big hassle.

Found a good place for my little paintings

I was pleased to find a place for my new little adobe house paintings...I really am enjoying them:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Itty Bitty Book Reviews

I took a break from reading Nelson Mandela's "Long Walk to Freedom" which I'm reading for a bookclub. It's a long read...over 600 pages but quite fascinating.

These two books were reviewed together a while ago and I had them on hold and they came up. I'm surprised I'm reading so much non-fiction at the moment when I read almost none. Certainly will have to get Eleanor Wachtel's interviews in book form that she's produced. I did hear her once interviewing I forget who...possibly Margaret Drabble. She's certainly a wonderful interviewer and I always find what Carol Shields had to say whether in fiction or in conversation of interest.

It's was a rather interesting contrast to read again about the lives of women in a free society and their concerns after the wide sweeping political mainly male world of the freedom fighter in an oppressed society.

"Random Illuminations": Conversations with Carol Shields by Eleanor Wachtel

"The Staircase Letters": An Extraordinary Friendship at the End of Life
Arthur Motyer with Elma Gerwin and Carol Shields.

This made quite interesting reading. Arthur was Elma's prof at Bishop a long time ago and she asked him to join in a three way conversation with herself and Shields when both herself and Carol were dying of cancer.

Monday, June 09, 2008

My latest paintings

I can't believe I've done so few paintings last year and this year. It seems that only the south of France inspiries me to do a lot of paintings on site...hence the output for 2002, 2003, 2005. Although we were in the south of France last June it was just for a week and I didn't take my paints.

I was intrigued by these adobe houses in Austin. Since I haven't painted much lately I wanted to start with something simple and the subject got very simplified by the time I was finished. Although these houses in context were in a lush deciduous tree environment I felt like put them in the desert. I think I must do more cactus because you really can just make them up there are so many different varieties. Perhaps I'll focus more on this in the desert next winter and give up on my beloved San Jacinto mountains because they seem to defeat me every time.

"Red Adobe House"
8 x 8 acrylic on canvas

"Green Adobe House"
8 x 8 acrylic on canvas

These are the original photographs:

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Oak Bay Tea Party

I was walked down to Willows yesterday and saw them setting up for the Oak Bay Tea Party. Sort of the mix of sun, clouds, and wind so could be worse for them I guess.

There will soon be big line ups for the famous baron of beef.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

More children's art

Sandy, the owner of the house we rented in Texas, sent us our deposit cheque back with a card of children's art from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's "Children's Art Project". You know how much I love children's art and I was really pleased to see this art highlighted and the proceeds benefitting these children. You can order cards or make a donation at their website:

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Childrens Art Project

A few examples I particularly liked:

Blue Bonnet Field
Victor, Age 9
Roma, Texas

Carlo Age 13
El Paso, Texas

Saeed, Age 12
Raq U.A.E.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Nice - Promenade des Anglais

This is a webcam from la Promenade des Anglais in Nice in the south of France. What's quite neat is they have moving images here from the beach and you see people in swimming. (Click on the static photo to bring this up if Plage Sud-Ouest isn't showing...seems to be a little wonky) Might be the closest we come to a warm swim this year. Beautiful sunny weather when I looked this morning while surveying our rainy dull skies. Monique leaves tomorrow for these climes...bravo!

Nice - Promenade des Anglais

Monday, June 02, 2008

Congratulations, Claudia!

Congratulations to Claudia on graduating from UBC in Economics and Political Science AND snagging a good job at HSBC Bank right away!

Our favourite view from our old Alma Mater. Claudia says students still fall asleep in class to the sound of the foghorns.

Claudia with her proud parents and grandmother.

And a couple of Richard and Claudia:

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The end of a few trees

While it's sad to see trees cut down these must have posed some danger since you can't really take trees down in Victoria. For us and our neighbours it opened things up and let in more light and there are still trees in the background. Best of all it took away a few perches for the dastardly crows!