Migration

The ebb and flow of nature serve to set our biological clocks. The easily observed trail of Canada geese can be read semi-annually but with different emotions. In October, this photo captured some of the many trails of birds in formation, crossing us on our path West. They were heading South- a sure sign of the end of a glorious summer. The emotions were nostalgic and sad, perhaps tinged with foreboding of frigid Winter. Equally my pilgrimage from East to West (PEI to Québec) signaled the time to reset the backdrop and to pick up urban life. The emotions were pretty similar to seeing the birds on their journey. How much more do we lose with the departure of song birds, the sound of the sea, and the warmth of days and friends we love?

Le retour des oiseaux, les changements dans nos plats-bands et les arbres  indiquent que le printemps s’en vient et le radouci. Oui, éventuellement, même l’hiver 2018 va prendre fin. Les émotions peuvent inclure la joie , l’excitation, l’anticipation.  Accompangant le rhytme des saisons, on retrouvent possiblement un changement d’enérgie et d’êtat émotionnelle. Finalement on va sortir de nos demeures avec des projets. On sera activé en voyant la construction des nids, la naissance de jeunes animaux. C’est comme une migration de l’âme.  Et à l’automne, fort probablement, cette migration va s’inverser. A-t-on décidé vivre le va et vient sans introspection? Va-t-on donner notre propre direction à ces migrations? Est le temps pour une révolution personnelle?

As Spring dawns, the mystery of renewal, new life and energy occupy our thoughts- perhaps unconsciously. If we take some time to pause, perhaps we can ask how  our old belief systems and explanations (of how things work, of who we are, of where we are headed ) have evolved.  Time for a tweak? Reflection on serious matters can be enhanced by observing patterns of migration. Though they may be predictable in course and destination, not all migrants can access the same routes. Strict repetition and action without question  do not  always guarantee a successful migration! Perhaps it is time to resurrect some critical introspection as our winged friends return. Perhaps a day that is not like all the others of the year facilitates this. Hope we all use our Good Friday effectively!

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Spring Force/la puissance du printemps

Spring Waterfall/les Bruits du printemps (partial view)

11×15, Arches 300 lbs cp

Happy Spring! Today there were no crocuses, no fluffy bunnies. But the hours of daylight sucked up snow and dried sidewalks and streets today. While it looks more like winter in Montreal than summer, powerful forces are at work. The evaporation rate is on high gear. With frigid nights and warm days, the maple sap is flowing. The tree branches are thickening. And, this afternoon, enough snow had pulled back to reveal 4” of daffodils shoots.

Mon aquarelle d’aujourd’hui tente d’illustrer la puissance de l’eau. Ce soir la météo des ÉU est remplie d’orages et problèmes de pluie abondante. On va entendre les dommages causés par cette tempête en Californie. Les Maritimes vont aussi y goûter. Mais ce soir regardons cette chute d’eau, entendons le bruit sur les roches, et sentons la fraîcheur.

The magic of the waterfall is the contrasting sights / sounds, the forces that erode and the life-giving fresh water. Carving its way through the rocks, the waterfall has the power to knock us down literally, yet commands our fascination. May we soon find ourselves in a forest in the midst of such power!

The Ides of March—le 15 mars

On pense que l’hiver devrait être déjà  fini.  On peut enlever nos pneus d’hiver le 15 mars.. Mais attention! Mère nature a des surprises, parfois jusqu’en avril. Chaque année la première bonne tempête est bien accueillie, la dernière un peu (beaucoup) moins.

Snow scenes tend to lend themselves to watercolour. There is an exception….the months of March and April. By then, the poetic blanket of white merely suffocates the crocuses and other spring flowers.  As we have just had another 15cm of snow yesterday, I dug into my old paintings to present this covered bridge in the Eastern Townships.

Ce pont en Estrie m’a attiré par sa simplicité. Cette aquarelle qui date de 2014, a été acheté par un jeune couple en voyage de noces qui passait par le marché des fermiers de Cardigan. Ils venaient d’entammer leur vie ensemble, vers un avenir inconnu. Un peu comme cette photo—on voit l’approche et le pont, mais la suite est à venir.

While the entrance to the bridge is obvious, the exit is mysterious. How appropriate that the buyers were a newly married couple. The painting spoke of their journey. I have never heard from them after that visit to Cardigan’s Farmers’ Market, but I hope they will return to PEI one day.

March can be such a deceptive month. Just when we think we are out of the woods, the wind picks up, the snowflakes rally in great clumps and the mercury plunges. Much as that knife plunged into Julius Cesar, Mother Nature may still have unpleasant tricks up her sleeves. However this weekend, many Canadians will not be talking about the weather—as we swing into celebrations for St Patrick’s.

Erin go Bragh! Bonne Fête de la St Patrice!

 

March’s Mighty Madness / mars en mouvement

March is back with its noise and nose-alerts. The insulating blanket recedes revealing trash, excrement and projects abandoned under the first snowfall, and yes, the first hints of green. Each day excitement mounts. The sparrows and crows are joined by cardinals and returning jays. The twitter of their songs fills the air, competing with the motors of cars, buses and emergency vehicles not yet electric. New sights, sounds, smells entice us outside, hunting for the first sprouts.
Les gens commencent à sortir de leurs demeures surchauffées. Les bottes sont laissées en faveur de souliers de course, ainsi que les chapeaux et foulards. C’est le temps de tenter sa chance, de quitter l’hiver vers des journées qui allongent.
In Montréal it is a green month- the city becomes Irish. From formal balls to pub crawls to parades, citizens are on the move. People are out and about enjoying the warming winds. But to truly experience March, one needs to visit a sugar shack and to listen to a waterway as the ice sinks and the rushing flow of water takes over.
De voir l’eau vive de nouveau, de sentir la terre dégelée, de se prendre dans la boue au lieu de la neige, d’entendre les chants d’oiseaux pendant la saison des amours, de goûter au nouveau sirop d’erable, voilà mars au Québec. C’est un mois mouvementé et magique.
March lends itself to many watercolour motifs. This picture, painted in 2017, attempts to portray the rushing of water recently freed of ice in the stillness of a dying winter snowscape. March truly is a month of mad contrasts and surprises!

New / du Nouveau

Yes it has been 3 months without a blog. Computer glitches, sickness and the burgeoning of a new relationship contributed. February has arrived after the spectacular and rare full moon. The lengthening days and somewhat warmer winds are a tease, inviting me to PEI… Being retired, I have decided to accept!

L’hiver encourage les voyages. Mes amis sont partis vers le sud, mais mon coeur me tire à mon paradis dans l’est. Avant de quitter, aujourd’hui on a eu un cours de peinture qui nous poussait vers des chemins inconnus utilisant des techniques peu prévisibles.

Yes attempting to controlling my artistic output is a habit. Using saran wrap on the watery mix of colours removes some predictability. I think I have ended up with 2 paintings that are very out of character for me; an abstract and a semi-sur-realistic. The instructor said she wanted us to embrace our mistakes… well here they are.
Après ce cours penible, je suis encore plus prête pour mon cours séjour à l’Ile Prince Édouard. Mes jours seront remplis d’amis, de parenté et de nature.

Imagining the smell of the sea, it is time to pack!
Oh, I will be back for St Patrick’s Art Show on April. See you then!

November is Rolling Along. Get Ready to Curb It!

I apologize for the posting of drafts of this post.

What a trip! This summer was spectacular in PEI, with many sun drenched beach days and eager visitors. Cardigan’s Farmers’ Market was overflowing with produce and crafts and buyers! October temperatures beat century old records. Alas, we must not be deceived. The World Series is over; Halloween candy left-overs and smashed pumpkins litter our space; only the most determined leaves cling to deciduous trees. The overnight temperatures are flirting with freezing. Winter is on the way.
My new radials have come to be stored, while the mechanics at Mersons’ install the old snow tires. Saturday we turn the clocks back and evenings become dark instantly. The sun tracks ever further south. Our snowbirds have hit the road to join our migrating songbirds. The outdoor cafés and terraces are emptying. Time to find a new spin on November!
November with its dreariness ironically comes with a side order of active politics. No need to mention last year’s contest in the US. (But I just did!) On a more local level, things are moving in my two home locales. This weekend Montreal’s political landscape may change in Sunday’s municipal elections. In PEI the provincial NDP is having its annual convention on Saturday. Perhaps the lesson of 2016 was that each vote counts, that all citizens have a contribution to make-and an obligation to be informed and involved. Perhaps it is time to attend a town hall meeting on Nov. 9th to meet with my MP.
Socially there are options to brighten the November landscape. For example, in PEI there are several musical events this weekend including a concert at Holland College with a Remembrance Day theme. Here in Montreal there is a tribute concert in memory of Leonard Cohen on Monday. Getting out and making music can dissipate the blues. Art classes and exhibitions abound. It is also the season of craft sales. Participating or attending these broaden one’s perspectives.
How else can we look at November in a positive light, giving it a spin on a positive stretch of road? How about doing something for others? This is the month for mustache growing. It can be wardrobe purging time, planning for snow, donating to Renaissance or Goodwill stores. Volunteerism is a sure antidote to construction detours.
November is the month that many friends celebrate birthdays. I can’t be with each of them as we are separated by kilometers of asphalt. Cards, Facebook wishes and phone calls help bridge the gap. It helps to buoy the spirit to reconnect. For my Mom who died 3 years ago, a silent greeting on her birthday will have to travel to where she may be. Her gentleness and devotion live on in my memories. Turning inward and expressing gratitude help steer the psyche away from pitfalls.
Well, snow tires installed…time to leave Mersons’ for another season of driving. What angles do you take to navigate this eleventh month of the year? Let me know – I am always looking for a new road!

No Matter How You Angle It

r from a few angles, together.
November with its dreariness ironically comes with a side order of active politics. No need to mention last year’s contest in the US, but I just did! But on a more local level, things are moving in my two home locales. This weekend Montreal’s city’s political landscape may change. IN PEI the provincial NDP is having its annual convention. Perhaps the lesson of 2016 was that each vote counts, that all citizens have a contribution to make-and an obligation to be informed and involved. Perhaps it is time to attend a town hall meeting on Nov. 9th to meet with my MP.
Socially there are options to brighten the November landscape.In PEI there are several musical events this weekend including a concert at Holland College with a Remembrance day theme. Here in Montreal there is a tribute concert in memory of Leonard Cohen on Monday. Getting out and making music can dissipate the blues.
How else can we look at November in a positive light, giving it a spin on a positive stretch of road? How about doing something for others? This is the month for mustache growing. It can be wardrobe purging time, planning for snow and visiting Renaissance or Goodwill stores.
November is the month that many friends celebrate birthdays. I can’t be with each of them as we are separated by distance. Cards, Facebook wishes and phone calls help bridge the gap. It helps to buoy the spirit to reconnect. For my Mom who died 3 years ago, a silent greeting on her birthday will have to travel to where she may be. Her gentleness and devotion live on in my memories. Turning inward and expressing gratitude help steer the psyche away from pitfalls.

Well, snow tires installed…time to leave Mersons’ for another season of driving. Do you take any other angles to navigate this eleventh month of the year? Let me know.

Launching Harbour Beach

It was raining today,so I painted indoors from a picture. How unsatisfactory not to be outdoors after a summer of plein-air! This is a commissioned painting, on 300 lbs Arches paper.
La vie à l’île Prince Édouard est un peu changé, grâce à la pluie. Aujourd’hui, l’aquarelle se fait à l’intéreur. La plage est souvent vide…ce n’est pas un endroit touristique…mais l’eau est peu profonde pour 50 m. et assez protégée.

The water is off and needs more work tomorrow. But in the meantime, it kept me busy on a wet day.

L’été en pleine voile/Summer Diversions

Avec le temps chaud et des vents favorables, les voiliers se déplacent rapidement. Ce bateau était complètement à ma droite au départ et à la fin était disparu de la vue à gauche!

What to do at the beach? Climb rocks, hunt for shells and sea glass, swim, stare out at the water, build sand castles, throw footballs…. all great activities for days like yesterday. After swimming, my preference is Watercolour painting. This was painted yesterday afternoon, overlooking the Northumberland Strait and Nova Scotia… Plein Air painting is summer’s treat! Thanks Yvonne for hosting the UPEI Seniors’ College group this week!

Quel beau travail de retraite, l’aquarelle au bord de la mer!

Rice Point , PEI
11×15 Arches 140 cp
$100