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Iona Beach

February 20, 2011

Yesterday we went for a bike ride at Iona beach.  It was beautiful and windy and an absolutely charming mix of industrial and natural beauty.   There was a lovely trail for us to ride just off the highway with plants native to BC including trembling aspen, salal and nootka rose.  Horses dotted the surrounding farmland and hawks and eagles were prolific.  The wind was blowing hard so I didn’t stop to take any photos of crumbling rosehips or the best photo op ever, a bride walking down the highway!   It was an absolutely amazing contrast – her in a short, frilly dress falling well above her knees, little white shoes and a hat with a charmingly large gigantic brim standing at the side of the highway in the wind amongst the rumbling cars, meridians and logging booms.   I thought it was really beautiful and I regret that I didn’t stop and ask to take her picture.

After no small amount of work, we made it to the beach.  I would love to go back there in the summertime.  I could see evidence of coastal wildflowers in the soft moss (so thick and amazing) and I just loved all the broom everywhere.  Broom is a kind of weed (I think) often found in desserts and coastal regions (I guess it loves the sandy soil) and I’ve always loved its bright yellow flowers which are sometimes accompanied by a splash of red inside and pop open in the summer heat.

Moss so thick it left a deep footprint

 

 

Broom

 

Another amazing thing thing we found were industrial machines abandoned and reclaimed by the wind and sea including a crusher (!) and my personal favourite:  an old flatbed from a truck.  The plates said August, 2006 and it was wonderfully rusted out and overtaken by moss.  I must have taken a dozen pictures of that truck.

We topped the afternoon off with some good old fashioned tail light smashing.   A rusty steel pipe was my weapon of choice.

Flower Delivery Friday

February 18, 2011
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Happy Friday!  It is a beautiful sunny day here in Vancouver and I’m cheating just a little by delivering flowers from last summer to you along with these spring crocuses that are still curled up tight!  Extra bonus: my sweet kitty.

I would love to paint these one day.

Flower Delivery

February 11, 2011
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I love flowers.  Seriously love them and I am always happiest when I have fresh flowers in the house, so when I was on a walk the other day and saw the beginnings of spring flowers all around, I thought that I would bring some to you.  So each week until the Spring Equinox, I will deliver some beautiful spring flowers to you (and use my mediocre naturalist skills to name them all) .  So here you are my lovelies, some sweet snowdrops nodding their heads to gently brighten your day.

 

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. ~ Monet

Style icons

January 24, 2011

Amongst all my loves including nature, art, books and photography, I’ve always loved fashion and style.  Throughout my life, I’ve looked to some amazing souls for  inspiration.  Here are the style icons that have inspired me and filled my life with awe & wonder from my teenage years into womanhood.

Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey, you’ll always be my number one style icon.  You are the epitome of beauty and elegance.  I’ll always try to follow your beauty tips:

For attractive lips, Speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, Seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, Share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, Let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, Walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

Ava Gardner.  So classic and gorgeous. I just love her cravat and those horses or her belt?  Amazing.

Bjork.

From the first moment I heard your Debut album when I was 19, I fell in love.

I still remember how bespotted I was when you opened up the land of faerie and wonder to the world with your your quirky, outrageous style and song, Human Behaviour.

Stevie Nicks.

How I love you Stevie.  You’re an incredible whimiscal gypsy lady.

Feist.  One of my more contemporary loves.  I first saw you at the Vancouver Folk Festival and I was never the same.  Sometimes I feel like you’ve stolen my soul.

Harriet Wheeler.  Harriet, I’ve always loved your big, messy devil-may-care beehive and honied voice.  You are so nostalgic for me and represent an entire decade of my youth.

Janine Turner.  Janine, you’re the tom boy in me.

Not all my style icons are women.  Gene Kelly had enormous style and grace (not to mention charisma!) and was every bit the classic gentleman.  *sigh*

David Bowie.  What an amazing man.  Completely groundbreaking in every respect.

Who are your style icons?

My top ten favouirte books of all time

January 10, 2011

Well I must admit folks, I had a lot of fun writing this post.  I spent hours revisiting all my favourites and even purchased a book online that I’ve always wanted!

I’ve been thinking of posting a list of authors and illustrators that are dear to my heart for some time now, but I kept delaying thinking I would inevitably discover more favourites and thus make my list complete. But of course there isn’t any real point waiting for that day as I’m sure I’ll be discovering new and amazing writers and illustrators my whole life through.

If you haven’t guessed it already, I love books and ever since I was a wee lass and discovered one of  Trina Schart Hyman’s illustrated fairy tales at my school library, I have a special place in my heart for illustrators.  Trina Schart Hyman is my absolute hero and is the most amazing illustrator.  When I grow up I want to be Trina – she’s tremendously skilled and the winner of numerous awards including the Caldecott medal.  I find there’s something so lusciously warm and dreamy about her illustrations ~ I could stare at them for hours and still find something new that I’ve never seen before.

From Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

From Little Red Riding Hood retold & illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

This is a great segway into my next author, Astrid Lindgren and in particular, her book Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter (& how lovely it has an illustration of Trina’s on the cover)!

Ronia, The Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren

Have you ever read a book and thought ‘This author wrote the exact book I would write!’?  Ms. Lindgren has created a gorgeous, fun, fantastical novel and her economical yet vibrant writing style is filled with a clear love of the natural world.

Another of my favourite books which I would recommend to anyone without hesitation is Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Triology.

Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea

I haven’t read anything like it before or since.

Speaking of groundbreaking authors, Neil Gaiman really does it for me.  If you love fantasy, you’ll love Stardust.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

This book is every fantasy lover’s wet dream.  My dear friend and amazing author herself, Christy Goerzen introduced me to Neil years ago and I’ve never looked back.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

From The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

I adore this story and the monitone whimsical illustrations.

Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem

From Spring Story by Jill Barklem

I’ve fallen hard for Jill Barklem’s detailed illustrations.  She seems to have a strong affection for canned and baked goods as well as a love of nuts and chestnut soup.  How can you not love her?  Her illustrations reach the goal I set for myself every time I sit down to draw: they make my eyes sparkle.

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

From Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows illustrated by Inga Moore

What can I say about Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows?  A beloved tale that I discovered as an adult, it is like a treasured old friend.  Full of a love of the countryside, notstalgia and wanderlust, it is a book I’ll read again and again.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

So charming. I read it every winter solstice when the days are growing longer and I’m yearning for Spring.  I never tire of reading Johanna Spyri’s exquisite descriptions of mountain wildflowers, golden toasted cheese on bread and Heidi dancing joyously under the fir trees swaying in the wind.

May had come.  From every height the overflowing brooks were rushing down into the valley.  Warm, bright sunshine lay on the mountain.  It had grown green again; the last traces of snow had melted away and the first little flowers, awakened by the alluring sunbeams, were peeping up with their bright eyes out of the the fresh grass.  The joyous spring wind blew through the fir trees and shook off the old, dark needles, so that the young, bright green ones could come out and dress the trees in splendor.  High above the old robber-bird was swinging his wings in the blue air, and around the Alm hut the golden sunshine lay warm on the ground, drying up the last damp places so that one could sit down wherever one liked.

Heidi was on the mountain again.  She ran here and there and could not tell which spot was the loveliest.  Now she had to listen to the wind as it blew down deep and mysterious from the cliffs above, coming nearer and growing mightier, and then leaping in the fir trees, bending and shaking them until it seemed as if it were shouting with delight; and Heidi had to shout too, while she was blown hither and thither like a little leaf.

Wildwood a Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin.

Wildwood A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin

The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

I love everything by Oscar Wilde especially the stories from A House of Pomegranates. This volume includes my all-time favourite quote:

You have filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I most distinctly asked for bread and butter, you have given me cake.  I am known for the gentleness of my disposition, and the extraordinary sweetness of my nature, but I warn you, Miss Cardew, you may go too far.

The Importance of Being Earnest

What are your favourite books?

Honorable mention:

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino

Lord of the Rings by Tolkein

Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Carl Larson

Farley Mowat

Today

December 29, 2010

Today is a beautiful day with the sun streaming in the house for the first time in what seems like ages.  Just knowing the solstice has passed and the days are ever-so-slowly growing longer, makes me happy.

I’m taking this week to embark on a new project – flipbook art: a kind of little animation in a flipbook.  The prototype will be what I dream of coming soon: spring bluebells growing in a birch forest.

Reading:

Heidi by Johanna Spyri (which I read every year in anticipation of Spring)

Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren

What are you reading right now?

Winter wonderland

December 10, 2010
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After a surprisingly warm autumn, winter has settled in and how lovely it is.  Everything is crisp and cold and magical.  What else could we do but get our snowshoes and head out a for a walk in the mountains?

We came across all manner of wonders.

Passing the delicate beauty of a dried flower husks, we came upon a quiet, frozen lake dusted with snow.

Jack Frost his cast his magic wand and we found ourselves in a land of wonder.

A land of ancient giants,

cystalline teardrops,

and forgotten places.