Sunday, May 27, 2012

Advice about illustration.

Advice about illustration.

Here is a link to a post by Jackie Morris, with some good advice for the creative process. Jackie Morris is an artist, and book illustrator who lives in Wales.I love the full title of her drawing and art blog.  "Jackie Morris Artist - The Balance of life as an artist and writer living and working in Wales: or how to ignore housework".

I think her paintings and illustrations are absolutely wonderful, and enjoy her style of writing as well.

Her advise is for drawing and sketching but I feel it is so applicable to any creative process. As well the comments which follow this post, offer some good advise on working creatively.

I visit Jackie's blog regularly to uplift my spirit, and take in the atmosphere of her part of the world.
Click on the link,"Advice about illustration" above, to read her post. Maybe you will find that you will enjoy following her blog. :)  Jackie has another lovely blog called We Three Ginger Cats, authored by  her cats.

Wishing you a good weekend, and to my friends in the States a good long weekend, as you honour Memorial Day.

A rainy weekend...

(I'm just editing this, to explain that I wrote this Sunday, but didn't post it til Monday.)

Well, here in Saskatchewan we are having some very cool weather, with rain. We had a small break in the rain yesterday, although the sky stayed cloudy, and the temperature was down to 10 Celsius, and below freezing at night.

Today the rain is really pouring down, and it feels like a good day for staying home, reading and working on projects, while listening to CBC radio.

Arthur and Herbert seem to be more quiet today - I wonder if the rainy weather has affected them as well. They do make good rainy day companions.

Does anyone remember the song, "Rainy Day People?"

I think cats  make good rainy day people. :)

Presently I'm reading Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James. James is a wonderful mystery and detective writer, and I would recommend her Adam Dalgleish series. This book takes place within the world of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. An apparent murder has taken place with the involvement of Wickham, the husband of Lydia Bennet.

I find the story has started slow, but this may have something to do with the careful setting up of the circumstances of the death, by a very analytic narrator, and  because the narrator is following the style of Pride and Prejudice. James has seemed to take on the narrator's voice of Pride and Prejudice completely, including the slyly humourous comments on customs and human folly. I am also learning some of the history of the judicial system in England of these times. It's apparent that P.D. James has a huge knowledge of this history, as well as a deep respect for the law, as a positive force for truth.

This is an interesting, well written book, by a master story teller, however, not what I think of as a "real pageturner". I was happy to find it at the library - on the "Popular Reads" shelves.


 I have almost completed a crochet sweater for a friend's granddaughter. It needs a button, and I plan to embroider some daisies on the front to dress it up abit. Then I plan to make the same sweater for her baby sister, as I have yarn left. The yarn is not the same which was recommended in the pattern, and the sweater is abit heavier than intended, but I think it could make a nice sweater to wear over a turtleneck in the fall.

This is the first sweater I've worked on, as I usually am afraid to try patterns other than blankets, or scarves. I found that it was quite easy, and  am now working on a cardigan for my niece. Again, I think the yarn may not be quite right (I'm using yarn I have on hand), and I think the sweater is turning out abit too large, but will see how it looks once I add the ribbing.

 Here's a video of the song, "Rainy Day People", sung by Canadian songwriter, and musician Gordon Lightfoot. I think it's a good song for me today, with it's cheerful tune. As I listen to the lyrics, I recognize the friends I've met through blogging as some of the best kind of Rainy Day people I know! I hope you might enjoy listening to this.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's not always easy to get the kids across the street

My good friend, Marlene, and I enjoyed a walk around the city lake yesterday. The young goslings and ducklings are arrived, and we wished we'd brought our cameras.

Today, Marlene sent me this cute video of an intrepid mother duck and her young. I've had the chance to observe scenes similar to this, and am always impressed by the mother's calm as she shepherds her babies across busy streets.Here, it looks as though these ducks also had to deal with some strong winds.
I feel pretty confident you will enjoy this - there's not much more lovely than baby ducklings!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Some photos of small, everyday things

I spent yesterday with my camera - and took pictures in my home, neighbourhood, downtown area, and park, with the intention to submit a few to the project - Picture Today, Inspire Tomorrow. I want to sort through these and choose at most three photos.

I thought I might post some of them here, and ask the opinion of those who might read here, as to which ones may be good  to submit. The project is interested in the simple, everyday, small things - and is seeking photos from individuals of all levels of ability. I am definitely a beginner photographer, but felt intrigued to participate and contribute to a picture of one day - May 15, 2012.

First Category - Home

I had a porridge of quinoa, cinnamon and apple, and noticed that the peel was in abit of a starburst, so took this picture, after breakfast.

Under the category Home, and something I treasure - reading, specifically these books, the collection of novels by Charles Dickens. I read him when my son was a toddler, and I had lots of time at night after Paul went to bed, to read. (It is the 200th anniversary of Dicken's birth, I believe, this year)

I have placed several keepsakes, and treasures on this small knick knack shelf in my kitchen.

My kitchen at the end of the day, after preparing our meals.

A favourite napping spot for the cats, and Herbert who is also a treasure. :)

Arthur enjoying a snooze in the morning, after making sure I was up for the day. :) He is a treasure too.

Second Category - Community

Street view of Mullin Avenue, the street my parents raised their family. I walk here often, as I live just blocks away. 
I think this is a crows nest - it is quite large, and seems to be made with large sticks.

There were several crows talking loudly, as I walked down the street.  

The back lane just behind our old yard on Mullin Avenue. If my memory is correct, my Mom built this fence. These fences were very easy for climbing.              .       

This tree is so beautiful - I think it's an apple tree.

These pictures  were taken in the back lane, one of my special places when a child. We built snow forts, and grass forts, and had neighbourhood races here. It is an old fashioned gravel lane, and was replenished with new gravel every year, and graded.We also dug for clay in this lane, as well as buried treasure. :)

An interesting looking, ancient car, needing a facelift.

Our Downtown

The older building, featuring the clock, is now known as The Old City Hall . It is now a popular mall with a local theater, The Globe Theater, and several samll shops and restaurants.

It was originally our Post Office, and when our first City Hall was demolished, this building was used as the city's City Hall for many years. A new post office was constructed in the 60's at the time this change too place.

Some lovely heritage buildings which have been preserved and restored. The Northern Bank has an intriguing bit of art work above it's door, showing a "farmer", meeting a First Nations person. There are tipis to the right of the First Nations person.

These buildings were certainly built with a great deal of skill and care as to details.
I wondered how someone managed to paint the graffiti on the very top front of this old heritage building.
My son and I enjoyed the wonderful fragrance of this tree, which he had parked his car under. I think it may be a pin cherry, but am not sure.            


This  Cenotaph is at the center of Victoria Park in the city center. 


I walked down to the waters edge of our small man made lake. The lake is fed by the Wascana Creek, part of a marshland, home to our Canada Geese, and various water fowl, and other birds.

It effectively acts as a natural bird sanctuary, and our city has reserved large areas left in it's natural state.

Robins gather in the trees at the waters edge, and  as they settle for night, their song  is beautiful .


View of the Legislative building across Wascana Lake. Regina is the capital city of Saskatchewan.
    Thanks for viewing these, and if you would like to offer suggestions on which pictures might be good ones for submitting to the project, your input would be welcome!!!

Here in Canada we are preparing for a long weekend - Monday is Victoria Day. Summer seems to start for us often at this time, and many people plant gardens and flower beds. The weather is cooperative this year, with temperatures between 25 and 29 Celsius. Wishing you a Happy Weekend!                                                                                 

A Bit of Follow Up to May 15th

I spent yesterday taking photos of things which appealed to me, to share with the project, Picture Today Inspire Tomorrow.
Some photos were very personal - the apartment where I live and the cats; some were of the neighbourhood, and nearby park where I live; and some were of buildings downtown.

 In the evening I went down to the waters edge of our small man-made lake (within a block's distance from my home), to take photos of the sunset, and discovered that if I walked further than I had in the past, that it is night home to birds - there were robins in groups, singing in several trees, and blackbirds sitting on reeds. And of course ducks and geese were swimming, and flying in pairs overhead.

It was so calming to me, to hear the sounds of the birds settling in and I will be sure to make this a part of my evening walks from now on. We are fortunate in this city to have a large area given over to natural marsh for birds.

Today,, posted some very interesting, touching photos that have started being uploaded. The response has been so overwhelming from all over the world, that they are requesting we delay uploading for a few days. (We have until May 22).

If you click on the link below, you will be able to view the first photos.
They are amazing!

Tomorrow I'll share here, a few of the photos I took, and plan to upload as part of the project. – Picture Today Inspire Tomorrow

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers' Day 2012

Today is the perfect day for Mothers' Day, here - the sun is shining; the trees' leaves are newly green; and the  birds are singing.

My son, Paul is working a long day of a split shift at the restaurant where he works, and so he and I spent some time yesterday at a movie. He's soon moving to another city to teach high school, and so I am enjoying small moments of quality time with him, when he's able.

This has been a gentle, kind day - our weather has been cold and rainy for a few weeks, but with the sun, and warmer day, I can hear out my window the voices of neighbours' children out playing, and farther away, what sounds to be a ball game of some sort. I love Sundays like this.

This morning while making coffee, I noticed a very tiny sparrow perched on the window ledge looking in the window. He looked to be very new - maybe just a fledgling, and he just caught my heart. What a curious little guy!

Much of my morning was spent enjoying the humour of Jane Austen's, "Mansfiield Park". I've been reading her novels on the Kindle, and have now just "Sense and Sensibility" to read after this one, to have completed her novels. I've learned that she had a wonderful sense of humour, but perhaps "Mansfiield Park" is the first one, I found myself laughing out loud to. I'm so glad to have discovered her novels, even if at this late time. I saved "Sense and Sensibility", to the last, as I'd seen the movie made of this, starring Emma Thompson, and it was wonderful, but I know the story. However, I'm now looking forward to reading Austen's actual book.

I wish I'd read Jane, as a younger woman, even as a teenager. Her heroines are strong women, sure of their insights for the most part. They seem to be very self possessed. Unfortunately in Jane's day woman's place was circumscribed by class and money. A woman needed to marry if at all possible, and required an inheritance (dowry) in order to marry well. Women who did not marry tended to live very narrow lives in near poverty.

Jane didn't marry, and so did live out her life as a spinster, but still she did find joy in her writing, it seems.
 I find it absolutely amazing that she wrote Pride and Prejudice at the age of 20 years old, and the original version of Sense and Sensibility was written a few years before this, and read aloud to her family. Apparently she entertained her family with her humourous writing, and they knew the worth of her novels years before she was able to find a publisher for them.

I want to write more about Austen's books, and why I love them at another time. I hope my thoughts here made abit of sense.

We had a visit this afternoon from a friend, Teana. My friend Teana, is a "people" person and tends to spread good cheer wherever she goes. She and I are going to walk in "The Gutsy Walk", in early June, to raise money for the Crohn's and Colitis Association. Once I'd mentioned this walk to her, she immediately wanted to walk with me, and she has now filled three sponsor sheets with pledges.

Herbert is always near when Teana makes a visit. And Arthur wanted to listen as well.

Teana and I met when our kids were in the Big Brothers' Association. We spent time together wrapping Christmas gifts for fundraising, at the shopping center downtown; and as well selling A&W ice cream floats to raise funds at the local ex. Her son served in Afghanistan and was there when his first child was born. He's now been home for 1 1/2 years, and his second daughter was born just this March. Having him in Afghanistan was a very hard time - she worried so much. On the day he was out of Kandahar and on the plane to Cyprus, she phoned me and left a message. I kept that message on my phone until just recently.

He's in another city this Mothers' Day, and Teana is invited out to three different functions. After leaving us, she was off to drive a friend home from work, as the friend didn't have a ride; and off to eat dinner at an Indian temple, invited by a co-worker. A real people person!

I hope that you had a good Mother's Day in which ever way you choose to spend it. Some of you will have enjoyed family; some may be missing loved ones; and some may be choosing to treat Mothers' Day as any other day. Some time ago, I found Christmas to be a difficult time, due to lack of family around, and not feeling in the Christmas mood, and someone told me that it is okay not to celebrate Christmas, or to find my own traditions to pass the day. I believe the same can be said about any of the holidays in our year.

It's now close to the evening here, and with my windows wide open I am catching sounds from the park nearby - it is the sound of a drum, and chanting. I'm thinking it must be a gathering of First Nations people. I love this sound, and it always sounds so fitting to me - our lake is named after the Cree word Oskana and was I believe a meeting place for hunters of the buffalo.

Once again, I am reminded of the richness all around me - there is so much to learn, and see.
Wishing you a good week ahead.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Having come this far" - A First Zentangle

I found myself with alot of time to fill in early April this year, while in the hospital for a short stay.
I finally asked my son, Paul, if he could bring me my sketchbook and coloured pencils.

I'd seen zentangles at Teri's Painted Daisies, and thought zenning might be a fun way to fill my time.

I enjoyed this, and am going to try more - it feels like doodling which I loved doing in school in my notebooks. Recently I've read that there is research now to show that some students can actually process what they hear best if allowed to doodle, and sketch in class. In those days it was considered to be just playing, and discouraged.

But these days we are learning that there are multiple ways for human beings to learn - I'm so glad that we are growing in our understanding of children. I think our educational system is becoming a more humane one, and more attuned to childrens' individualities.

Here are two details from my first "zen".
The words, "Nothing stays the same, everything changes" is true I feel, and reflected my thoughts while in the hospital. The words are taken from a childrens' picture book called "Everything Changes", by Pat Hutchins, a favourite childrens' author and illustrator.
Detail of top corner of my zen.In my flower garden, I had an old trellis which my aunt helped me to repair, about 10 years ago. She asked her neighbour for several pieces of rebar, he had, and we braced the bottom with rebar, then pounded the rebar into the ground, to withstand the fierce winds we get in Saskatchewan. Since then I've moved from this old house, and my dear aunt passed away. She was a remarkable woman, a pillar of strength to everyone who knew and loved her.         


Here is another picture I worked on, on the first page of my little sketch book, when I was dreaming of spring, and planning a small flower patch.
I sketched some flowers from seed packages. Herbert joined the sketch, and later in the hospital I added some doodles.

I realize that this hasn't come up very clearly, as my doodles are in light pencil. I felt inspired to share these after visiting Teri's Painted Daisies, this morning - with her exquisite ongoing Zentangle, in her accordian sketch book. Make a visit there, you are sure to enjoy!

I plan to learn more about zentangles. It is a relaxing, and enjoyable way to sketch. There is some good information to find by Googling, and I learned that zenning is a pretty open style of art, but one of it's characteristics is repetitive patterns.

Soon, here in Saskatchewan the rainy weather will give way to days of sun, and warmth, and I plan to get out and plant a small flower garden.Our traditional time for planting is often considered to be Victoria Day, the third Monday in May - but there are many years when we aren't able to plant til June. This year, I'm thinking we might be able to plant a little earlier. However, many real gardeners have their vegetable gardens started in spite of cold and rain by early May.

Wishing you a great day. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 – Picture Today Inspire Tomorrow

I found an advertisement today, for, which is a project, inviting people from all over the world to submit a photograph, on May 15, which will become apart of a worldwide website. 1000 photos will also be chosen for a book, and world exhibition. This seems to me to have the idea of a time capsule to it.

I haven't been able to "join", which is nothing new when it comes to me and computer world - maybe my helpful son, Paul, might be able to help me with this. :)

Click on the link for a lovely video of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in support of

There is a cute video, promoting this project, and you can view it if you look at

I'd be interested to hear if you might be considering contributing to sounds like fun!