Month: May 2016

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare


Seven days to go to the Annual Gutsy Walk for Crohns and Colitis.

Spare change always appreciated.

Why not register and help make a difference.

From Yard Work to Art Work: The Photinia Story Part Two

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Photinia II 26.05.16

After Part One of The Photinia Story for this week’s Discover Challenge,
Part Two today is all about the leaves.

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The green bin’s overflowing contents were collected on Wednesday but some of the leaves made their way into the studio…

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…and it was time once again to turn the yard work into art work.

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First another ink drawing using those perfect photinia branches to draw with…

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…and then it was time for some colour.

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And finally as a postscript to this post 🙂 an old painting of mine that dates back to 1974. It resides at the back of a shelf in the studio and I have to confess I had forgotten about it until I started painting the photinia leaves this week.


The title is Autumn on Hampstead Heath a place I used to walk almost every day with my parents during my childhood in London. The painting takes me right back to those distant halcyon days as happy, loving memories of mum and dad come flooding back.

From Yardwork to Artwork: The Photinia Story Part One

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Photinia I 23.05.16

Today’s post is all about learning to find beauty and inspiration in the mundane chore of yard work on a holiday Monday.

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Yesterday was Victoria Day here in Canada, the perfect time to prune the photinia and clean all of its dried leaves from the studio roof and gutter.

With the concrete cleaned and swept the afternoon was free for painting and photography in the studio with a rescued photinia branch making for the perfect subject…

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and a few of the trimmed branches new tools for drawing with.

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Now all I had to do was put the two together. What could be better than an ink drawing of the photinia created with one of its own branches?

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Well, perhaps some additional watercolor to complete the picture…

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and we’re almost there…

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So ended a very satisfying day turning the hard work of yard work into art work.

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to be continued…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

“Rejoice! It’s the end of the week” says Michelle “and time for a celebratory photo challenge.”


What could be more celebratory than all the colour and joy of the festivities in Cusco’s Plaza de Armas leading up to Inti Raymi, the Inca festival of the winter solstice, which we had the good fortune of experiencing during our memorable visit to Peru, and of course Machu Picchu, in 2013.

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Perhaps also a moment to be personally jubilant as it is exactly three years ago when I started blogging just before we embarked on our Peruvian adventure. It’s been a great ride and long may it continue 🙂


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Face-off – the photo.

The title of today’s post will soon become evident. Since this week’s Photo Challenge is all about faces it seemed appropriate to begin with this photo of my pencil box with the iconic portrait of Mono Lisa on its lid. It caught my eye as I was in the process of cleaning my white porcelain palette, still with its copse and rubbers image from a few days ago.

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Seeing Mona Lisa looking at me in with those eyes that seem to follow you wherever you are, and clearly with this week’s Photo Challenge still in my mind, suddenly it seemed like a good idea to paint her onto the half cleaned tile.

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Face-off – the painting

Mission accomplished, time for her to go.

Face-off – the movie

fairest of them all

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Mirror, mirror on the bay
Who’s the fairest this eve of May?

No contest last night with this glorious sunset over Vancouver’s English Bay.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Face

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Paul Schofield in The Captain of Köpenick (1971)

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Laurence Olivier in The Dance of Death (1967)

Drawing the faces of these two giants of the English stage revealed to me the power that they could generate with either a distant glance or thunderous frown. Both of their performances live on in my memory as unforgettable evenings in the theatre from many years ago.