Saturday, November 25, 2006


In a brave venture into the commercial fiasco they call shopping today, I found a new treat. Fresh persimmons. I have only seen persimmons in photographs and have even created this coloured pencil drawing of them, but I have never touched or tasted one til today.

Firm, orangey yellowy red, they remind me a little of those big beefsteak tomatoes,but the taste very different. It has firm flesh with a taste that is redolent of peaches, mangoes and canteloup merged together.

I have also been drawing portraits this week, the last two today. Earlier this week I tried my hand at a WetCanvas drawing thread. The daughter of my friend Judi who is a moderator there. Because my schedule was busy last week I didn't do the portrait of Maggie justice so I may well try it again.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Airport Scenes

Spending time in airports and on airplanes can be mindnumbingly boring but it can also provide opportunities to draw and watch people as well which makes time move more quickly. Drawing also creates conversations. Sometimes they are not the ones you want and cause me to lose the flow of what I am drawing. People like to look at things that are being created and offer opinions and to date I haven't had someone say anything I was doing was awful, even if I knew it was pretty suspect at the time. Its part of that game you play with strangers where best behaviours are presented and politeness rules.

These are a sample of sketches in sequence of my day of travel.

I brought a new Moleskine with me on my trip but only managed to capture airport scenes. In meetings and restaurants there wasn't an opportunity to draw without causing undue attention - or getting fired.

There were elements of places and people that I would have liked to capture. Little booths in pubs, panoramic penthouse views of Montreal, expressive faces and actions. I'll have to translate them from my mind to paper and hope memory doesn't differ too much from reality.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Traveller's tales

I spent yesterday travelling. In reality a fairly short journey by plane (about 2.5 hours) turned into a 7 hour marathon due to flight changes and long waits in airports. But there are always advantages to delays too as I had time to read and draw and people watch.

Airports are wonderful places to people watch and sketch and yesterday I saw all sorts from trendy young men toting designer store bags and wearing clothes that were out of this world, to orthodox Jewish men poring over somewhat 'interesting' sites on one of their laptops from what I saw as I passed by. Then there are the harried parents dragging or being dragged by children shouting their demands, their faces showing resignation and irritation mixed with fatigue.

The clotheshorses came next. Those women whose presence hits you on a wave of expensive perfume long before the sight of them does. I watched one woman teeter on impossibly high stilletto heels and almost felt her pain of walking. At my tender age, I find it amusing how some women are slaves to fashion and designers still. Sure I like to look good, but not to the extreme of causing pain to myself.

So now I'm ensconced in my hotel in Montreal, ready for a set of meetings and all the activity that goes with the process. Wish me luck!

I will post sketches at the weekend when I return home.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Green eggs, no ham

There aren't a lot of chickens left in the barn anymore. There are about 20 plus a rooster and their egg laying capacity has reduced as they go into moult. We will let them do so naturally and leave them til the spring instead of using artificial light to induce them to lay. They are a mix of hens one and two years old which means, especially with the older birds, the quality of eggs deteriorates and they don't lay as frequently.

I had a pair of Americaunas, the hen laid beautiful turquoise eggs and she had the colouring of a pheasant almost. Every shade of copper, tan and gold. Then there was in incident with the mink. Of all the hens in the barn at the time, what does the mink kill first? The Americauna hen of course. Sigh. I hate mink. After the last incident when the mink killed about 15 or more hens, it became too disheartening to keep on trying with poultry in some ways. There will always be a few hens for eggs, but not on the previous scale.

This drawing was done from a photo I took of some of the eggs that the Americauna hen laid. Unfortunately the photo didn't show the delicate turquoise colouring. It was a mix of white, turquoise and brown eggs, perhaps I'll do a coloured version of it one day. Its a good candidate for oil painting,something else that I need to get moving on. The bowl is one of my favourites too. I can't resist buying interesting bowls when I see them and this one is perfect for serving as it has that lovely little thumb hole for a good, secure grip.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cat people

I'm not a cat person. I've had them pretty much all my life, but they've been more utilitarian cats, earning their keep rather than being lap warmers. My last cat died nearly a year ago at the age of 18 and she too earned her keep once she arrived on the farm. She would proudly present a line of freshly caught mice for me in the morning with a pleased grin on her face.

After she died, I had no intention of getting another cat or dog or any inside animal. There were enough in the barn in the form of geese, ducks, chickens and horses. Then along came this feral cat - Tripod.

He's now insistent that I pay attention to him and if I don't do so quickly enough he lands on top of whatever I'm doing and makes sure I know what he wants. Today he leaped up onto the laptop and I finally had him on my lap while I tried to draw with his head resting on my sketchpad. I warned him that if he drooled on the paper, he was out of here! He didn't. He lay there and purred.

This drawing of him shows the misgivings he had when he and I first made contact. I probably had a similar look...