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Friday, 7 November 2014

Someone I Wish I Had Known

My husband and I listen to an internet radio station called Radio Paradise. I can recall the first song I heard on it, that I ended up loving and saving to an on line playlist. It was Eros by Mich Gerber. Since then, most of the music that was once foreign seeming, is now so familiar that the station is starting to sound like the top 40 Hits of some local radio station lol! Ok, well not exactly, but familiar none the less. Some songs are new world, some main streamish and some vintage, some obscure. Too much Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen (sorry, not my cup o tea) and they love David Byrne and Dire Straits,  but anyway .... love the station. Beth Orton is one discovery I made via RP though, whom I love, and Leo Kottke.

There are Forums where people comment on the music, good and bad, sometimes funny. I am not one to bother wasting the energy and time anymore getting into it with strangers, especially on subjects as subjective as music (not to mention politics, religion, what is art, etc.) because really, what is the point? However, it is interesting and entertaining to read the comments off and on, try to predict them upon hearing a particular song, etc., and make some silly comments of my own here and there. Having done so since about 2011 or so, I ran across a member called Cynaera. Mostly, I began to notice RIP, miss you Cynaera, etc. comments. Although I really never got to know her, and came late to all these posts, though she was still participating on the site when we found the station. One day, I ran across something that indicated she was ill. Then, I saw a post that basically made me realized she passed away. Though I never knew her, it struck some sort of cord at the time, and I looked a little bit further. I think the main reason I took the time was that I saw how a lot of members, both surly and friendly alike, respected her.

What I saw is that we did not have the same tastes, we may have rarely agreed on anything, but something about her garnered respect and I wished I had known her. I found through her profile, which lead to her Blog. Sadly, she was gone when I looked into it, and it is on an old Live Journal platform that I think may no longer really exist the way it did then. But it is still up, as is her profile on RP. I spent over an hour one day reading some of her posts. Reading it again today after about a year or so has passed, seeing less and less reference to her posts, less quoting of her posts on RP, a reference to one tonight brought me again to her Blog, after about a year since last looking at it. Not sure how long it'll be up there, and I guess unless a path lead one to reach her Blog in a specific way, maybe it wouldn't really have much meaning. However, for as long as it lasts, I have linked to it, for no other reason other than I feel that others miss her and I can slightly feel why, just from what little exposure I had to her, which was infinitesimal really. RIP Cynaera.

Her Blog

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Blog Post about the RMG Exposed Show 2014

Discovered an interesting blog post on this year's RMG Exposed show at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa. I am so looking forward to going! It is a 1960s theme so I can wear my vintage 1960s Niccolini tapestry coat!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Rosetta Fall Day

Sunday, we headed down to Rosetta McLean Gardens in the afternoon. Surprisingly, there were still lots of colour, lots of flowers, and there were additions of mums and other fall themed flowers, the waterfall on the rock was still going. We even saw a Monarch flying around though pretty much we're sure that one now may not make it to Mexico before snow.

There was a silver lining on the lake at the horizon, very beautiful. Lots of seagulls were hunting. A few people out still looking for raptors. We didn't spot any ourselves.

There were still a lot of golden crowned kinglets. We also saw a lot of white throated sparrows but they are very timid and keep low to the ground, flitting through open spaces quickly, preferring the thicker cover, and going after the seeds and berries on bushes. They are lovely birds. Their sound always brings back deja vu for me for the Ontario nature commercial/announcements that used to be on TV, their sound is so very "Ontario" to me :-)

We had a thrill watching all the American gold finches in their winter colours, going after the seeds of the dead echinacea flowers. so cute! I see that in summer they are so yellow, maybe because you often see them eating the seeds of sunflowers and such, while in this season, their duller coats match and blend perfectly with the dead and dying browns, creams and faded golds of the flowers they harvest from. Keeps them safe while eating.

The leaves were gorgeous, the day was so very Fall feeling, the epitome of a fall day. Such a beautiful park to have in Toronto.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

LePix in Toronto, Fine Art Printers and Framers

I would like to express my thrill at receiving back my print that was required by Oct 23rd at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa for the RMG Exposed juried show and gala auction.

To be safe, I also took in my TIFF image to Black's Photography. The print I received back was so disappointing that I was beginning to panic. It was solid darks in all my shadow areas, no detail, and it was cold and bluish. Is my image too subtle and difficult too print? All I could hope for was that the print my husband would be picking up that same day from Le Pix near where we live would be better.

Wow, wow, wow is all I had to say when I saw it and the relief I felt cannot even be described. I didn't want to part with my print after seeing it lol! Alas, I have to but boy could I feel proud about how I know it will present, framed by the Gallery and beside the rest of the wonderful pieces by some quite successful photographers, none of whom I know, but will be honoured to meet at the event.

Being a painter really, a draftsperson, and only having looked at photographs as "reference" for realistic drawing, rendering and painting, I am not familiar with the photography community in Durham well, a place I lived from 1990 to 2013. To add to that, a finished photographic piece is a different animal than a finished painting or drawing.

A painting, I can control my outcome, I have complete say and control on my finished piece. A photograph? Not so much lol! I am not the printing house, I Have to depend on a printer for my finished product. This is scary, this does not sit well, it is nerve wracking to say the least! So, one can well imagine my relief that someone was able to print my image properly, the way I meant it to appear. Whew!!!

Le Pix did this, I am thrilled. I will use them for any sales I make of any future images.

The paper that was suggested by the owner is: Hahnemühle Photo Rag Bright White

It is a clean bright white, matte, with a smooth cold press watercolour paper like finish, which means not very much surface texture at all. It was recommended for my almost monochromatic and subtle image. Also, it does work well for bright color and sharp detail too, it is a very versatile matte finish paper. I love it!!! 

I have images here of my 18"x12" print, Foggy Shoreline, with quite a bit of a border on it, and a corner detail The photos don't do 100% justice to the real look in life, which is the look and feel of a fine art piece. However, they hopefully do get across the quality of it!

LE PIX website 

RMG Exposed: slideshow of accepted entrants' work

Friday, 17 October 2014

Re-opening my Old Etsy Shop for Photographic Prints

Well, I decided that I'd give Etsy a try again after 6 years of no longer really needing to use it as a venue. My Etsy store was one venue where I offered portraits and small landscape and figure paintings. My old feedback seems to be gone.

Presently I will offer small professionally printed giclee prints of  some of my fine art photography. The cost to list there is minimal and the listing stays open for 4 months before having to renew it.

As I can, over the next few weeks, I will begin listing up to about 50 of my photos as prints. Once February rolls around, I will decide whether it is worth renewing the listings.

My Etsy

Friday, 10 October 2014

My Photo Selected for Display in a Juried Show!

I am so excited! I never expected to get one of my photos selected when I submitted 3 images for the RMG Exposed show in Oshawa, Ontario! The show and auction takes place Nov 22nd, tickets are available through the gallery and are $60 a piece. I receive one ticket but John and I want to go so we will purchase a 2nd ticket :-)

The photo I submitted is called Foggy Shoreline and I shot it at Halls Rd. a year ago, one foggy morning during one of our walks.

This is a small web version of it with my watermark on it, which will not be on the final print that is matted and framed by the gallery for the show.

RMG Exposed Show Info

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Blood Moon

Well, it sure was a blood moon since I cracked my ankle bone pretty good and got a blood spot on it even, in the process of hurrying past a metal chair to get a shot set up lol! But, it was all worth it, getting to see the gorgeous thing in the sky before work, from our balcony! It set the tone for such a positive day, the high of it still not worn off yet :-)

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Sharing a Wonderful Artisan's Work

I feel compelled to share the Etsy store of Italian artist Sehnaz Bac. She does wonderful unique hand painted designs on stones. There are pendants and decorative pieces, all so stunning!!! Please feel free to browse her Etsy store. My favourite of hers are the owls and second are the earthy Mandala stones she does. Her store makes one wish they had lottsa money lol! I'd buy a whole series of her Mandala stones and do something on a wall or somewhere in our place with them. Adriatic Stones on Etsy

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Sharing a Great Fitness .Com site - Fitness Blender

Cannot recall exactly how I found this fitness program but I absolutely Love it!

Creative people often are sitting and this can wreak havoc on one's health, bmi, and cardio. We need to get up from our creative processes and move!

Fitness Blender Website

They also have a Youtube Channel as well.

I just recently began doing the Low Impact Cardio Beginner Workout which is 27 mins long with a warm up and cool down. I am able to do this in a small condo, small space, with only a yoga mat on a runner rug on laminate flooring. I run the video off my propped up cell phone so I can see and follow it, till I get to know it by heart.

There are quite a few really good beginner or not to aggressive programs. They will even work out a custom program and a nutrition schedule for you for a fee. They have a wonderful site and great videos. What I have experienced and love best about Fitness Blender is that the videos are easy to follow, the moved easy to understand and learn and they require minimal to nil equipment and in many cases, space. I Heart these people!

RMG Exposed: Juried Competition Submission Info

Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa Ontario is jurying a photography show, a wonderful opportunity for emerging photographers, new photographers, student photographers. All in support of the gallery which is a wonderful place to visit and is a valuable asset to the Durham Region communities!

I have in the past entered and been accepted into as well as have won an honourable mention award in juried art exhibitions through the Oshawa Arts Association as a long time past resident artist there. I am debating entering this photography competition as well.

RMG Exposed: Juried Competition Submission Info:

Treat to Visit Halls Rd. and Lynde Shores Again

Our old area, we miss it, but decided on a treat visit there last weekend around Sept 7th. We did a big long 3 hr hike beginning at Halls Rd., along the shores of Lake Ontario, into Lynde Shores, then back to Halls. There was a new wide open path being constructed through the farm field that cut from Cranberry Marsh area back over to Halls Rd. so that was awesome to discover. We were not keen on going back the way we came since the shoreline was quite skanky and we got hit by Cormorant shite a couple times, there being a lot more of them, and them not being so quick to take off, as well as some help from the windy day that it was.

We enjoyed seeing tons of humming birds but alas no successful photos again for me, had a nice conversation with another couple at the Cranberry Marsh lookout, letting them know of the other conservation areas in the Durham Region, as they were from Richmond Hill, and saw lots of cool Egret sights, etc. A Wood Duck flew by, as well as there being a lot of hawk activity. Not sure if we saw Coopers or Sharp Shins but Northern Harriers for sure.

There were also quite a few Monarch butterflies around, as well as other types of butterflies, tons of jewel weed, hence the 5 humming bird sightings were had, and in general just lots of cool interesting nature sights as usual. The deer made an appearance a couple times, one young one still sporting white spots was running through the farm field as we crossed through on the new path.

On the road that goes through Cranberry Marsh, we spotted the wild turkeys with about 14 babies and we gave them some of the left over bird seed we had from feeding the chickadees.

All in all, our favourite area did not fall short of providing another enjoyable hiking and sight seeing experience.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Solo Exhibition - Sue Foerster - Richmond Hill Mill Pond Gallery

My very talented and unique, genuine artist friend Sue Foerster has a solo show at the Richmond Hill Mill Pond Gallery Saturday Sept 13th and Sunday Sept 14th.

If you are at all in the area be sure to make a stop at The Mill Pond Gallery. Not only is the gallery awesome and welcoming, as well as an enjoyable atmosphere ful of enthusiastic creative people, the quaint area of The Mill Pond right across the street is a joy to see as well as photograph in.

Sue Foerster - Guerrero

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Latest Progress on Figure Drawing

Slow going but this is the latest progressive on my large pencil on illustration board figurative piece that I am working on. Working on the background presently, and see some curving straight edge issues which will need correction.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Have Never Seen So Many Birds!

We decided to take a walk down to Birkdale Ravine, near our condo, Sunday. I had a hunch that we may see some Hummingbirds. We had seen them the weekend before near the little community ctre garden and I missed getting a picture. Beautiful little creatures and very fast! Well, we did spot them and again and I still could not get a shot lol! Great to see them though. I mistook the thing for a big dragonfly at first.

Not to mention, there were so many birds that my eye didn't know Where to look. I for one have Never seen so many birds flitting back and forth, and such a huge mix, all in one spot. We weren't far past the beginning of the path, at a fork, and the trees on both sides were teaming with birds. There were tons of warblers, some juvi chestnut sided ones, a black and white warbler, a juvi cedar waxwing, yellow finches, tons of juvi robins, cardinals, fly catchers galore, flickers, and of course the elusive humming bird. They hung for quite a while and eventually they dispersed. It was quite amazing, and noisy lol! We even saw an Osprey as we left the park.

A wasps nest, though beautifully textured, given my recent 2+ week lasting sting area, was a disconcerting sight.

On the walk back through the parking lot near the community centre, quite a cute and humorous sight ran across in front of us - a squirrel with a trio of acorns still on the branch lol!

Not the world's most fantastic images, but they captured some of the birds we saw.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Visit to Tommy Thompson Park - Bird Research Station

We've been to Tommy Thompson Park at the Leslie Spit 4 (I think) times now. Always an awesome long walking day! Usually we see something cool. First visit, we saw mating Tree Swallows, a Mourning Cloak butterfly laying eggs, and a lot of birds we'd never seen before. Second visit, we saw Seagull nest and eggs, tons of stick carrying Cormorants, fishing Terns and lots of Barn Swallows. Third visit was earlier during this spring. This one was the most exciting, having spotted and gotten a not bad photo of a Garter Snake chasing a frog lol!

This visit was just as enjoyable! As well, we learned something new - Eastern King birds have a little hidden red flame on the top of their heads, similar to a woodpecker or a ruby crowned kinglet. The researcher there showed us it and said you'd rarely see this just viewing them in their habitat. The day ended up being cloudy and overcast, but despite that, we had an amazing 4 hour walk and lots of really memorable sightings.

Barn swallows were still zipping around catching the bugs that clouded the sky near the tops of trees, we spotted an Osprey high above carrying a huge fish in its talons (it was bigger than the one the fisherman caught that we saw lol!) as well as one perched out in the centre water area, a white egret lifting off in the large central marshy water area, tons of bumble bees were still present and working busily, terns, tons of grasshoppers, and lots of Cedar Waxwings were about though the red ants in the paths that lead to better views of them chased us back out onto the general paths. However, not before I actually ended up with a photo of a fledgling waxwing! And I thought it was just a sparrow and was about to delete it, till I looked closer. He even had the little power ranger mask lol!

We went sort of for Butterflyfest and sort of just on our own for a visit. We did see lots of caterpillars, a few butterflies, including Monarchs and a Viceroy. We did see a Monarch butterfly caterpillar, something I've never seen in person before. We petted the fuzzy caterpillars :-)

All in all, we had another terrific visit to Toronto's unique and spectacular park that is Tommy Thompson, at the base of Leslie St. on Lake Ontario.

The Tommy Thompson Bird Research Station was a wonderful experience. The staff is knowledgeable, caring and compassionate towards the birds they encounter in the nets and band, and it was a pleasure to experience just a small dosage of the amazing and important job they perform. Both John and I will be sponsoring a bird in memory of John's Mom who passed away recently, as she herself loved and cared for the animals and birds that made their home in her yard.


Monday, 18 August 2014

Our Almost Jinxed Honeymoon

Since we love to hike in conservation areas and discover birds and animals as well as plants and flowers, we chose a 2 day trip up north for our small, simple get away after our last weekend's marriage on Aug. 9th. Well, I joked after finding out that my mother and my dad had gone to North Bay on their honeymoon, and we all know in my family what effect She had on everything and everyone, and my husband's parents had a terrible experience stopping over there on the way back from Alberta in the late 70s, that our trip was now Jinxed lol!

Well, it did end up being jinxed in a way, by Mother Nature. She played havoc that week, the dates we chose :-( Pouring rain, freezing, windy - no hikes for us lol! The resort we chose, Sunset Inn Resort on Lakeshore Rd. was really quite nice, I was impressed. Very hospitable, great little location on Lake Nippissing, lovely staff, informed us of all the areas around we could walk, etc., you are able to just come into the office and borrow DVDs to watch in your room and they had a large selection of main stream movies to choose from, coffee available all day, gorgeous view and nice little sit out beach where you could wade out in if you were so inclined.

However, though we liked our room, we liked the place, and we had a nice dinner at the Raven & Republic, we decided Fri morning to check out a day early and go home. I felt that it was not worth wasting the money on the room when we could not do the things we had hoped like sit out and watch the sunset, hike and take photos, possibly see birds and animals on hikes, enjoy the grounds of the lovely resort, etc.

One fun thing we will have as memories is that the Thursday we drove up, due to it being rainy, we ducked into the local Value Village there to kill some time as we were too early to check in. I said, "if I find some interesting bird item, I'll get it". Low and behold, I looked on a trinket shelf, saw nothing, about 15 mins later, I spotted 2 little ceramic birds. They were adorable and looked to be nice quality, little made in Japan stickers on them still. Well, turns out they are Otagiri Japanese Fine Porcelain from probably the 1970s or so. We both love birds so it was a nice little memento :-) Not to mention I got 4 awesome tops!!! Who'd 'av thunk in the North Bay VV! Before we left the resort, we stepped out in a small reprieve from the constant rain, walked down the dock off the beach, took a couple shot sof the resort and we were treated to an Osprey flying across above us, hovering for a moment before flying off.

On the way home, having really planned on the Sat to stop at Algonquin for the day, I decided last minute on the Fri drive home we were making instead, to stop at Weber Burgers near Orillia. I have not been there since a teen when my kids' grandparents told me about the place and how their grandmother had grown up summers with the owner's kids. They sure do make awesome burgers!

Of course, as we neared Barrie back down to TO on our drive, wasn't the sun shining! On a whim, we decided to go to High Park, a place we have wanted to go to for ages. The Wood Ducks are less chicken there and we'd get to see them better. They are such beautiful little ducks. Well, we saw them, lots! We also were treated to American Gold Finches feasting on the sunflowers that had gone to seed in a garden there. We saw gorgeous flowers, both growing wild and in gardens. A cool wrinkly face in a tree was good for a laugh. We saw 2 Red Tailed Hawks, one flying pretty close and visible over our heads. Tons of butterflies and dragonflies. We spotted part of a garter snake that was wound in a hedge and since he couldn't see me I patted him quickly which got him moving and going totally inside the depths of the hedge. There is even a little zoo and there were baby animals. I even got an Emu feather from the edge of the Emu enclosure.

So, in the end, our trip wasn't so jinxed after all as we'd never get to see all those amazing creatures and have so much fun and see the beauty that is High Park if it weren't for Mother Nature causing us to head home a day early. Or .... I could take that back if I wanted to be negative about the yellow jacket stings I received
at High Park and a huge resulting itchy swollen red spot on my left arm that I still have as I type ...... nah, that wasn't enough to rejinx it lol!