Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The secret lives of eggs

The Secret Lives of Eggs
Available for purchase from my Etsy shop

This painting reminds me of the Sesame Street character, Elmo.  Big eyes, big nose, all it needs are irises and pupils.  Not the right colours for Elmo of course, but shapes create forms that remind us of other shapes.  And it makes me smile each time I look at it.  This painting is 5" x 7" on stretched canvas in oil.

Eggs are such a part of life now as the 'ladies' in the barn produce more than could possibly be eaten and there is a steady stream of people lining up wanting fresh eggs.

Eggs are quite remarkable creations and the original convenience food.  Here are a few things you may or may not know about chickens and eggs, based on questions that are often asked at the farm.
  1. You do not need a rooster with a flock of hens for them to produce eggs.  The hens produce infertile eggs without a rooster present. And roosters are usually pretty nasty birds. Or so I think...perhaps its the scar on my leg that influences me...
  2. Fertile eggs look and taste no different than infertile eggs.  
  3. The application of heat on eggs less than 10 days old, if fertile, will start the growth within.  A hen usually lays up to a week's worth of eggs before sitting on them for hatching.
  4.  It takes 21 days for a hen's egg to hatch.
  5. Brown shelled and white shelled eggs are no different in taste or nutritional value.  The colour of the shell comes from the breed of bird.  The yolk colour can be affected somewhat by the food that the hen eats.
  6. Want your own Omega 3 eggs? Toss the hens a handful of flax seed each day.  Voila!  It takes a hen approximately 24 hours to produce an egg.
  7. Hens occasionally lay double yolked eggs.  This is usually from a young hen just starting the laying cycle and doesn't continue often.
  8. Hens lay according to length of daylight.  In natural light they lay most in spring and summer then trail off to nothing in winter.  To induce laying, timed artificial light is used to imitate longer day length.
  9. Chickens are vicious killers.  If they see another bird in distress, they will attack and kill it, including their own chicks.
  10. Like most birds, chickens share a great deal of DNA with their lizard ancestors, however, according to a July 2010 story in the Times & Transcript, recent DNA analysis shows that T-Rex and chickens are such extremely close cousins biologically that “science has no choice but to acknowledge that birds are, in reality, dinosaurs, not just critters evolved from them.” 
This is the last post til early next week as I'll be away for a  few days, going to Manitoba for work. Hopefully I'll find some time to become inspired by some new things while I'm away.  Fitting in sketching is a challenge as the schedule is so hectic, but I'll try to take advantage of some quiet moments to capture a sense of the place.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Last year I completed a large painting in acrylic of a wave that I watched at Middle Cove beach - Landwash.  The piece now lives with someone else and I have meant to try it in another medium for some time.

A long weekend and some time to myself gave me a chance to try it again, this time in oils.   Its a much softer image with the palette muted into pale blues and turquoise with that ever present silvery grey of the Atlantic ocean on overcast days.

In this piece I've left the foreground without any spattering, tying it in with the softer overall feel of the piece.  Scumbling the colours of the course sand/gravel gives all the form that is needed.

This is 10" x 20" on stretched canvas.  I've found these Apollon, Canadian made canvasses and have to say that I really like them and especially this size. Not too large to be unwieldy or take forever to paint, but not so small as to become a frustration to fit subjects into at times.

I'm not sure if the company is wholesale only or open to consumers, as I've only bought their canvasses from art supply stores.  This is the second Quebec company I've located for high quality art supplies, the other being Kama Pigments.  Their oil paints are professional grade, excellent quality and hand made.  The prices are very competitive.