Photo Essay

yardwork revisited

This week’s Photo Challenge asks us to “do some visual storytelling with your photography.”

In May 2016 I posted a story about how my yardwork became artwork. Since it fits so well with this week’s challenge I thought I would repurpose it for those who may not have seen it before. So…if your interest has been piqued open the photo and read on.

a wall worth building

wall of champions

Over the past two weeks, like you no doubt, I have been inspired by all of the amazing athletes of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games who, with their grace, artistry, strength, endurance and teamwork, have shown the world the true meaning of friendship, sportsmanship and peace.

 

As I painted each day my “wall of champions” grew higher and higher so that today, as the Games have concluded it has become my way of saying “thank you” to all of the remarkable athletes of the Games for thrilling us each and every day.

As those of you who follow my blog know two heroes of mine, and indeed all of Canada’s, are Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. I thought my few paintings of them fitted well with this week’s Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd for whilst you cannot see their facial expressions in these simple water-colour and ink sketches, their emotions and connectedness are expressed in every move, every gesture and every glance.

Finally, I feel that I have also been an unseen face in the crowd since with every event that I watched both day and night I was there unseen, together with countless millions of others in Pyeongchang and around the world loving every glorious moment.

ūüá®ūüá¶

WPC: Tour Guide


 
When you walk the Seawall around Stanley Park in Vancouver you will enjoy one of the great city walks of the world. These photos taken on the last day of 2017 on a perfect end-of-the-year sunny Sunday morning show some of the sites you will see as you walk, jog, cycle or rollerblade the 8 kilometre pathway: the majestic totem poles at Brockton Point; Lions Gate Bridge with its backdrop of the snow-covered North Shore mountains; Siwash Rock and English Bay; sailboats moored in Coal Harbour; and the gleaming bronze statue of Harry Jerome who represented Canada in the 1960, 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games winning the 100 metre bronze medal in 1964.

As your tour guide welcome to some of the gems of Vancouver.

Italy Day Nine: Tiramisu


 
After a week exploring the beauty that is Tuscany day nine of our Italian holiday was a wonderful cooking class with Serena in her lovely home in Gambassi Terme. I had been looking forward to this all week, particularly as we were enjoying Tiramisu desserts everywhere we went. Now we were going to learn how to make it together with so many other delicious dishes. If anything justifies the term transformation it’s converting mascarpone cheese, eggs, biscotti, sugar and vinsanto wine into a dessert to die for.
 

 
The class was a great success as you can see and lunch with the products of our hard labour! was simply delicious. Grazie molto to Serena of Serena Tuscan Holidays who made it all possible, both for the cooking class and for arranging the lovely country home where we stayed with our dear friends who shared the adventure with us. A special thank you to them also for such happy memories.

I should add that the cooking class was such a great success that before leaving England for Vancouver we made Tiramisu for our farewell dinner and all I can say is that I think Serena would have been very proud of us.  The blueberries were our embellishment and one that I can highly recommend.


 
The photos for the cooking class were previously posted on October 20th on my Instagram site.

Italy Day Six: Volterra and San Gimignano

After Siena the Tuscan landscape en route to the ancient hilltop town of Volterra.

       

Two of the best reasons for visiting Volterra can be found in the Pinacoteca e Museo Civico.

Rosso Fiorentino. Deposition 1521

Luca Signorelli, Annunciazione, 1491

Volterra is also renowned as Italy’s capital of alabaster and visiting the Rossi Alabaster gallery¬†and workshop on Piazza della Pescheria¬†it is clear why.

      

One particular piece caught my eye as it’s beauty seemed to reflect those wonderful faces in the Fiorentino Deposition.

     

After Volterra it was on to San Gimignano.

The towers of this iconic hilltop town dominate the horizon for miles around.

      

The surrounding Tuscan landscape shimmering in the evening light.

Italy Day Five: Siena

Piazza del Campo in Siena, home of the Palio and one of the great public spaces of the world.

Those of you who follow The Changing Palette will know that there was a gap in the posting of our Italian travels due to poor internet connection but now back at home I’ll catch up over the next few days beginning with Day Five in my favourite Italian City, Siena, a city that I have featured a number of times before.

     

We began the day by climbing the over four hundred steps of the Torre del Mangia of the Palazzo Publico to enjoy, somewhat out of breath, the spectacular 360 degree view of the city.

Then it was time to explore the rooms of  the Palazzo Publico with its magnificent frescoes by so many great Renaissance Sienese artists.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegory of the Good Government.

A naval battle scene by Spinello Aretino

     

After gelato in the Campo, an experience not to be missed, it was on to the Duomo…

…and a visit to the¬†Libreria Piccolomini and its breathtaking frescos by Pinturicchio.

 

From the Duomo we crossed the plaza to the 13th century hospital Santa Maria della Scala to see the moving frescoes in Pilgrims Hall by Domenico di Bartolo.  Visit the Web Gallery of Art to see all of these remarkable frescoes and read the history of the hospital in this excellent paper by J H Baron published in the British Medical Journal in 1990.

  

Finally one of the highlights of the day seen in the Cathedral’s Museum, the magnificent Maesta by Duccio de Buoninsegna. ¬†

The painting was installed in the cathedral on 9 June 1311 and one person who witnessed the event wrote:

And on that day when it was brought into the cathedral, all workshops remained closed, and the bishop commanded a great host of devoted priests and monks to file past in solemn procession. This was accompanied by all the high officers of the Commune and by all the people; all honorable citizens of Siena surrounded said panel with candles held in their hands, and women and children followed humbly behind. They accompanied the panel amidst the glorious pealing of bells after a solemn procession on the Piazza del Campo into the very cathedral…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have to admit I ‚̧ԳŹ¬†Siena

P.S. Where’s Waldo is somewhere in the post – can you find him?

a cornucopia of glorious paintings


 
At the end of our Italian travels and before returning home to Vancouver from London what could be a better way to spend a day than by visiting three of my favourite galleries and being re-aquanted with some of my favourite paintings. My love for Impressionism and the Impressionists began as a fifteen year old schoolboy on a school outing to the Courtauld Gallery, so naturally our first stop was to Somerset House where the Gallery now resides.
 
Since this week’s Photo Challenge from The Daily Post asks us to “…share a peek of something ‚ÄĒ a photo that reveals just enough of your subject to get us interested. A tantalizing detail. An unusual perspective. Compel us to click through to your post to find out more!” I thought I would tantalize you with a selective peek at some of the Courtault’s finest that I photographed that day…
 

…before revealing the paintings in all their glory.


 
Here are their titles with links to some of them for those of you who would like to “find out more”.
 
LA LOGE – Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1874,   THE PASSERS-BY – Raoul Dufy 1906, SELF-PORTRAIT WITH BANDAGED EAR – Vincent van Gogh 1889, LANDSCAPE WITH DEAD WOOD ‚Äď Maurice de Vlaminck 1906, A BAR AT THE FOLIES-BERGERE ‚Äď Edouard Manet 1881, ADAM AND EVE ‚Äď Lucas Cranach the Elder 1526, ROUTE TOURNANTE – Paul C√©zanne 1904, THE WHITE BOAT, ANTWERP ‚Äď Georges Braque 1906, HORSES IN THE WATER ‚Äď Georges Seurat 1883.
 
Then it was off to the National Portrait Gallery to see the Cézanne Portraits exhibition and a visit with Richard the Third, Queen Elizabeth the First and even the Bard himself, William Shakespeare.
 

Finally, it was time for the highlights of the day at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square:
 

 
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks, 1491, with my favourite sublime portrait of the accompanying angel.
 

Isn’t she beautiful?

And in the same room, Raphael’s magnificent The Ansidei Madonna, 1505…
 

 
…together with Michelangelo’s unfinished The Madonna and Child with St John and Angels, 1497
 

It was quite a day as you can see, and after our Italian holiday what better way to finish than by visiting Room 38 to see Canaletto’s Venice: The Upper Reaches of the Grand Canal with S. Simeone Piccolo
 

 

I hope you have enjoyed peeking over my shoulder on our memorable day London.

Italy Day Two: Florence

The view from the Pontevecchio this morning after we arrived from Rome was simply breathtaking. 



More photos for this week’s photo challenge: scale. On to the Tuscan countryside in the morning. 

Whether you have two legs or four there is nothing pedestrian about this pedestrian pathway, as you walk, jog or cycle beside Spanish Banks and English Bay as we did yesterday, with the Vancouver skyline in the distance.

Could this be one of the most scenic pathways in the world?…
 

…but I’m a little biased of course.

a day without color


 

I think you know me well enough by now to know where my thoughts are today. Our memorable visit to family in Las Vegas in April 2015 included a visit to the magnificent Red Rock Canyon only a forty minute drive from Downtown and which I featured on Day 115 of my 365 day challenge that year. On returning home it led to a painting of the Canyon featured on Day 134¬†together with its accompanying colorful palette. Today’s image is that same palette in monochrome, a way for me to express without words my feelings of sorrow, heartache and sympathy for all those lost and suffering from the tragic events that have taken place in a city that is always so full of life, color and excitement.