Saturday, February 24, 2007


I came across Stoddard's essay Have as few Regrets as Possible; an excerpt from Alexandra Stoddard's book You Are Your Choices on the blog Paris Parfait. You can read the full exerpt there.

"What are you making of yourself when those around you are lazy and indifferent? What are you doing with your life? It's never too late to choose to change yourself. Do not give up or run away from the opportunity to grow. That is the ultimate tragedy. There's no place to go and hide in life. Your job, your duty, your responsibility is to make the most you can of you." "... Don't regret that you were unable to shape up others; only regret when you don't live up to your own vast potential for good."

"Don't be afraid to do what only you can do. Rather than having chest pains trying to do work you no longer are capable of or enjoy, it may be better to cut your losses. You will feel great joy and satisfaction doing something you know you love to do. What would you choose to do if you knew you couldn't fail? Do that very thing, because it is there where you'll develop your potential."

Today I spent time developing a small study in pastel for a larger drawing that I will create. Its the start of a study of rock formations near the ocean. This one was inspired by the smooth sandy stone arch found on Laguna Beach. It will end up being about 22 x 30 and likely will continue as a pastel as its a medium that I haven't used a lot but once using it, love the feel. I need to find a suitable pastel paper locally that will fit the bill for this. I know I can likely only find Mi-Tientes in the larger size so it will likely be that.

There are a number of naturally created arches in sea rock in Newfoundland and across Canada. I will take time to explore some of these and see how they compare to their Pacific cousins.

Friday, February 23, 2007


While I was in California last week, I was able to meet an online artist friend, Robin. Doing so was a unique, wonderful experience and I am so pleased that she was able to free up some time to share with me. Robin took me to Laguna Beach where we wandered on the soft, cool sand and marvelled at the colours and shapes of the sea and the rocks around us before exploring the shops and galleries in town then having lunch.

I still can't afford that $56,000 sculpture no matter how much I love it...

Some of the images that I took on the beach will translate into paintings and drawings so easily. I only wish I could magically return to capture the changing colours in the water and the landscape. I will have to rely on my memory and the photos to recreate the colours that appeared there. It will be interesting to do a similar study of the Atlantic ocean. The colours in the Atlantic seem cooler - greys, navy, blue, green, reflecting a rocky coastline, where the Pacific seems to reflect the sandy lighter bottom and pale sky. I will have to choose my subject carefully to find a similar scene for comparison painting. It should be an interesting exercise. This is a photo of the coast in Pouch Cove, about 7km north east where I used to live overlooking the sea.

But right now I will have to make do with snow scenes as I doubt I can get near a beach or waterfront as there's so much snow down and more forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Another month of winter then spring should try to make push forward. Heat is in the future, I just can't see it quite yet.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

London Fog

No, not the thick, low cloud that envelopes the inner reaches of Westminster but a old drink with a new twist. I discovered London Fog in Calgary at Primal Grounds, a lovely little coffee shop with fabulous food as well as coffees and teas. They give you one of those old fashioned child's wooden blocks as your table number. (Recipe and directions found on


  • 16 oz of milk. (2% or whole)
  • 1 shot of vanilla syrup per 16 oz of milk
  • 1 bag of Earl Grey Tea

How To Make

Step 1: Brew a small amount of Earl Grey tea. (Add about 1/2 cup of boiling water to your mug with the tea bag in it.) You are making Earl Grey tea concentrate. Let steep for 2-4 minutes to achieve optimum flavour.

Step 2: Heat up Milk. Preferably you have access to a steamer, or you might be able to ask your local barista for help.

Step 3: Add the vanilla syrup. (adjust according to taste)

The sketch was done in watercolour pencil and graphite in my Moleskine sketchbook. Purists should avert their eyes from the feeble attempt at the ellipse of the plate. Its hard to draw and eat...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I'm experiencing the sensory shock that only southern California can produce. Noise, people, traffic, heat, landscape. I went from -21C in Calgary to about +20C. There is greenery and flowering plants everywhere and I have to pinch myself to believe that its February.

I wrote this paragraph a few days ago while in Laguna Beach. I was, and still am, suffering from flu, but that's diminishing. However, my thoughts and memories of my short time in southern California haven't. I only wish I had more time to spend there.

I arrived home today after many many delays in flights and am so tired I don't know which way is up anymore. Delays were weather related - i.e. a pretty hefty blizzard that shut down the city for two days. Of course, that would be the day that I was booked to return home. Sigh.

So now I'm back to a touch of reality - a lot of reality. I have to go back to work tomorrow. I haven't accomplished virtually any drawing while away, but some planning. I still have a cough like a harbour seal and barely know what time zone I'm in

But right now I'll relive a little heat and put myself in a pleasant place before reality hits too hard.