I was fortunate enough to take a trip to the United Kingdom where a week of walking on the Hampshire coast was on the agenda. One marvellous part of it was the birds and animals encountered along the way.
I and my party walked through bird sanctuaries where shorebirds abound, such as this lapwing...
In the New Forest we were treated to encounters with curious pony foals...
There were families of swans...
And we were fortunate to glimpse a timid and rather moth-eaten looking deer...
And on a later day trip, there was the wonder of seeing feral parakeets dwelling in the big trees of urban London. They may be considered "invasive" but they are darned cute!
Long-distance walking in the UK is a stark contrast to hiking in the Grand Canyon where I spent a couple of weeks last year sleeping in a tent and lugging a hefty back pack full of supplies. In England each day ended with a comfy bed & breakfast and a meal at a local pub. It's all quite civilized by comparison with sleeping on the ground, eating dehydrated food, and drinking water filtered from frog ponds. However, each adventure has its own kind of charm.
As many of my readers know, I now divide my time between British Columbia's Lower Mainland and Mayne Island, and as I establish my art practice on Mayne I've been starting to show my work there. I have participated in a couple of excellent group exhibitions in the historic Agricultural Hall and had a solo show in the Mayne Island Community Library, all courtesy of the Southern Gulf Islands Arts Council. I'm enjoying getting to know the art community on the island and finding my own niche. My art cards and prints can now be found on the island at EnVision Gallery.
My little studio on Mayne Island is almost finished! The furniture is in, the hanging system installed, and all that's left now is the installation of a problematic custom window. In the mean time, with sturdy plastic covering the empty window cavity, I've been able to make good use of the space and have found it to be every bit the perfect creative zone I had envisioned. Outside my studio door the birds call to one another in the tall trees and deer wander through the sunny meadow. There are few distractions apart from Lily requesting I throw her ball, and the lure of a walk along the nearby beach. I hope to have the studio open to the public when the finishing touches are complete so stay tuned!
I've been busy creating some new work and there's more in the planning stages. Among my most recent pieces is "Canadian Icon: Grey Jays" (coloured pencil), an appropriate subject in this year of Canada's 150th birthday celebration.
When I'm on Mayne Island nuthatches abound in the trees - often visiting my birdbath - so it's only fitting that one of the first pieces I produced in my new studio is this little one I call "The Acrobat" (also coloured pencil):
And I even broke out my soft pastels - a medium I haven't done much with in years, and created this piece featuring a flock of sleepy Oystercatchers resting on the rocks at Bennett Bay, a half-hour's walk from my studio. The loose quality of pastels was a welcome break from the fine detail of coloured pencil.
Fans of my silk paintings will be happy to know that I have some new silk pieces in the works, to be unveiled soon!
My next event is the annual Filberg Festival on Vancouver Island - always a favourite and one I recommend to anyone who is able to attend. I'm currently hunkered down in my mainland studio preparing, with the able assistance of Lily and her friend Roxy who is currently visiting. It's obviously exhausting work!
I'm not making any promises but hopefully it won't be quite as long before the next blog post. Till next time...