cloud illusions I recall

In July last year Ben challenged us to split our photos in two for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half. I had taken a photograph of the Wall Centre here in Vancouver surrounded by clouds and titled my post for the challenge Both Sides Now. Perhaps you remember it.

Wall Centre

For this week’s Discover Challenge: Song Ben asks us this time to “Tell us a story about a piece of music that stayed with you.” How could I not repeat my love of Joni Mitchell’s song Both Sides Now as I explained in this quote from my post in July 2015:

“I took this photo with my iPhone a few weeks ago looking up at the Wall Centre here in Vancouver. The words of Joni Mitchell’s song, Both Sides Now from her album Clouds, instantly came to my mind and a moment of warm reverie came over me as I looked up at the clouds and remembered hearing her voice for the first time in 1969. I was driving my old yellow Triumph TR2 down the Old Kent Road in London, and as she started singing on the car radio I had to pull over to listen to the rest of the song, a magical moment frozen in time and one which has remained with me ever since.”

Both my love of the song and of clouds themselves have never left me.  We are fortunate indeed where we live in Vancouver to enjoy glorious sunsets throughout the year, so often accompanied by wonderful cloud formations.  My camera is always to hand to record these masterpieces of nature that surround us every day.  What better way to share them with you, both as a gallery and a slideshow, and accompanied once again by the unforgettable voice of Joni Mitchell singing one of her greatest songs.

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all.

Joni Mitchell 1967

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

part 2 xii

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.

photinia x

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

part 2 leaves iii

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

part 2 vi

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

part 2 ink iv

…and then it was time for some colour.

part 2 viib

part 2 x      part 2 xi

part 2 viiib

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.

Studio 365: Day 223

Day 223 ii

Serendipitous Portrait 11.8.15 Pen and Ink

This portrait was truly serendipitous. Allow me to explain. It began as a blank sheet of watercolour paper to which washes of clear water were added randomly. After a few brisk strokes of the pen the ink began to flow freely and suddenly, to my complete and absolute amazement, a definite and somewhat familiar face began to appear. Where had I seen it before?  I knew the answer might be found in one of the studio drawers and after searching for some time through worn, familiar folders there buried amongst a pile of old drawings I found what I was looking for, a self-portrait I had made in 1971.

Day 223 iii

The mind does indeed work in mysterious ways. Happily the search allowed me to re-visit drawings and images from years past some of which may now see the light of day once more.