This summer, as always, I was glad to spend time in the mountains...and one of my favorite things is to see the wild lilies. There is a huge fine or even arrest for picking wild flowers in the National Parks but one summer I saw the cutest sight - it was Mother's Day and a very young fellow and his father picked a handful of lilies for a gift. I hope that they weren't caught in the act, or that if they were that the Parks employees were forgiving. I'm sure they were unaware of the trouble they were causing.
The western wood lily (lilium philadelphicum) grows in abundance in the Rocky Mountains. It is believed that the name is derived from the Greek root 'philos' for love and 'delphicus' for wood...wood lover. The bulb which it grows from relies on the flower for nutrients and will die if the flower is picked. The Blackfoot used crushed flowers to treat spider bites and several tribes ate the bulbs, though they are bitter.
Lilies, along with tulips, are my favorite flowers...I think it's the beautiful simplicity of the shapes. One summer, when we rented a farmhouse in Saskatchewan I painted a series of lilies. It was such a fun and beautiful series of paintings on paper which also incorporated texture and copper leaf. The lily is also the symbol of Saskatchewan.
For some time I've been in search of the 'perfect' white paint pen...I like to use them in my art journal but also on canvases and I prefer them to be opaque, not an easy find. Fortunately (or unfortunately when I consider my budget), Michael's recently opened in my community so I've been making a few trips and trying out some new ones. When I had experimented with the Sharpee Oil Paint Marker previously I liked the results but the pen didn't even last through one small project before it stopped working and paint blobbed onto my painting. Luckily I could incorporate the accident but I don't want to have to do that...nor do I want to purchase a new pen for each project I work on. Plus it is oil so I wouldn't be comfortable painting over it with acrylics as they might flake or peel in future. I've also tried gel pens but they tend to clog on acrylics.
So, looking at the project above, I will start at the top and work my way down. The top paint marker, which I've mentioned previously, is a Fine Painters Paint Marker from Walmart. So far this one has lasted the longest, is permanent and dries quickly but even though it says opaque, it isn't always. And it is a little bulky.
The next one down is the Gelly Roll which is okay but quite fine. I think I would like it a little thicker on my paintings but it works well on both canvas and painted paper. I'll see how long this one lasts
The third one down is the Ranger White Opaque Pen which is much like the Gelly Roll. Also works fine but I would like thicker lines.
Then there is the Souffle by Sakura which leaves a wonderful opaque, not-too-thin or not-too-thick line but it goes on fairly clear which I find challenging to work with...I guess I'll have to play with this one a little more until I figure it out.
And finally, my latest acquisition is the Liquitex Paint Marker, a chiseled marker that works like a dream so far. I like the fact that I can write thin or thick lines depending on the angle of the marker and am looking forward to see how long it lasts.
Not only do I enjoy writing with paint pens but I love tracing stencil patterns with them so if anyone has any other suggestions, I would love to hear from you!
One of my greatest pleasures as an artist is to be able to contribute to public art projects in my community. I have had the privilege of contributing to several public art projects elsewhere but it is a special treat to add to the beauty of my home town. For several of the projects I had the opportunity to work with others, like the Boys & Girls Club and the Main Street Mural, the second is especially near and dear to my heart as I got to work with sixty people from different walks of life for the library's panel from toddlers to special needs adults and over 1000 on the entire mural project. Every time I see it as I travel down Main Street I am touched and honoured to have taken part.
Some of the other local places where my paintings are shared are City Hall, Airdrie Public Library, Highland Primary Care Network, St. Martin de Porres High School and Apple Wellness Center. Plus I've had the privilege of having my work featured on an ICE bus pass previously with another pass to come. Needless to say, I believe that art is for everyone and am so grateful to be able to contribute in this way.
When the severe hailstorm hit us a few weeks ago most of our garden was decimated except for a couple of vines, a few tomatoes and a few sunflowers which grew on their own from our birdseed. It's quite amazing, really, how resilient some plants are and especially these sunflowers which basically came of their own accord. So, of course I had to paint one of the sunflowers to honour this vigilance. I'm so grateful for this season and for these simple little pleasures.
It was what I was born for-
So much gratitude for Bluerock Gallery in the representation of my Totem Animals...more of them have found homes and I wanted to send a special thank you to both the gallery and their new owners for their support. I am so grateful to do this work, grateful to share it and
grateful for these opportunities to lose myself...in joy.
Kayaks (Inuktitut) were originally developed by the Inuit, Yup'ik and Aleut. They used the boats to hunt on inland lakes, rivers and coastal waters of the Arctic Ocean, North Atlantic, Bering Sea, and North Pacific oceans. These first kayaks were constructed from stitched seal or other animal skins stretched over a wood or whalebone-skeleton frame. (Western Alaskan Natives used wood whereas the eastern Inuit used whalebone due to the treeless landscape). Kayaks are believed to be at least 4,000 years old.
Since we were unable to leave for our vacation as planned, we have instead taken day trips and also spent a few nights in Banff, which was lovely. There is nothing like spending days on lakes and being surrounded by the Rocky Mountains to lift the soul. Last summer we enjoyed days canoeing in Montana and though we haven't been able to partake this summer, we are currently looking at purchasing a kayak (or two). I like the ease and lighter weight of kayaks so that my daughters can enjoy paddling them on their own.
Memories of time spent floating on lakes, slow flowing rivers and creeks in the north are some of my most cherished. These are the memories I wish to pass along to my children. So, through these shorter and cooler August days I am already looking forward to next summer, though I am enjoying these days as they run into my favorite season. And so at times when sadness or stress overcomes me, I take time to remember all the reasons there are to be grateful, like those days spent on the water with my family.
I feel very fortunate to live a couple of blocks away from Nose Creek where our family has watched beavers, herons, hawks, foxes, mallard ducks, muskrats, Canada geese, coyotes, along with a variety of other birds and insects. We have also had the pleasure of watching the wildflowers bloom throughout the changing seasons and learning of their importance to man and nature.
Unfortunately the Nose Creek Watershed has come under increasing pressure over the past few years as a variety of activities such as agriculture and urban development in surrounding areas have become more intense. The need to work together is essential for the long-term protection and enhancement of the watershed, and thankfully the Nose Creek Watershed Partnership believes that taking responsible action today will help prevent serious problems in the future.
I hope to see all creeks and wetlands in this area protected so that future generations may enjoy it as we have.
The Airdrie Street Lamp Banner Program has launched! Enjoy the 33 works of art as you stroll down “Artists’ Alley” (corner of 8th Street and 1st Ave). Vote on your favourite banners and you could win a $100 gift card towards the purchase of local art and a $50 Good Earth Coffee gift card. The top five banner artists will be rewarded with $200 honorariums. Voting closes September 10, 2014 at noon, click here to vote. P.S. Mine is #3 :)
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +