Just back from the Queen Charlottes with a sketch of this magnificent totem. Haida Gwaii means "Islands of the People".
I recently read a book by China Galland called Longing for Darkness, subtitled Tara and the Black Madonna in which she described her ten-year journey to discover the meaning of darkness in the mysterious black images of divinity. She conducted a deeply personal investigation taking her from New Mexico through Nepal, India, Switzerland, France, Yugoslavia, and Poland - places where gods like Tara, the female Buddha of the Tibetan tradition, and the Black Madonna are venerated today.
I hope she is able soon to visit the totems at Masset where she might find another Black Madonna.
We traveled across the country by train. In Halifax, there is a wonderful Immigration Museum at Pier 1 ... stories and old pictures of folks coming into the country by boat. I guess people arrive here at an airport now.
There was a very old woman sitting on a bench nearby, and she was sobbing and sobbing. They spoke a language I didn't understand, but I think it was Polish. Apparently she'd arrived here in the 40's during WWII
I found a set of four old books from my childhood hidden at the bottom of a box is the store room. I was going to give them to the neighborhood thrift store, but now I'm so glad I didn't.
The pages are thick and creamy - taking pen and ink and light watercolor.
The first one I've starting using for doodling and sketches is Old Swedish Fairy Tales by Anna Wahlenberg, translated by Antoinette DeCoursey Patterson. Published in 1925 (I think) - my memory of Roman Numerals is a bit shaky
There are three more - all with wonderful watercolor illustrations
Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne 1921
Old French Fairy Tales by Comtesse DeSegur 1920
The Book of Fables edited by Frederic Taber Cooper 1921
I suspect this is a project that will keep me going for a long long time
There's been an unusually large number of spiders this year ... and coming inside. I don't like to kill them, so I take them outside. Glass on top, a piece of cardboard underneath, and off we go to the patio.
The building manager said, "eeeyew, I can think of a lot better use for a shot glass."
We live on an island, but it's so big I never think of it as an island. There are dozens of small islands surrounding us ... the Gulf Islands, the Discovery Islands, Queen Charlotte Islands. To Cortes for a weekend of fun in the sun, good friends and good food
Colcannon, a potato and cabbage dish - variations of which are legion - is traditionally served on Lugnasa. In Celtic Britain it was taboo to harvest any potatoes before the festival, and so the event was met with great anticipation. All members of the family must share the dish or risk offending the agricultural spirit that protects the crop. After the first bite everyone shouts, "Death to the Red Hag!" thus driving away the specter of starvation.
There are about a zillion known varieties of colcannon. I like the one called Rumpledetbumps - it includes leeks and broccoli and cheese, and the name is so great.
This information and the recipe come from Mollie Katzen's great book Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant
We watched this movie on DVD last night - not great, but had fun drawing the honeypot. Another movie made from a book by Sue Monk Kidd we liked very much because it was filmed just a few miles up the road from here. I liked the young monk who was very nice to look at
At a workshop with Connie Furgason in Duncan we practiced sketching simple objects and geometric shapes with 1/2" flat brush and watery watercolours. The lesson was not to create exact detailed images, but rather an image that is the essence of the object.
We were inspired with Sara Midda and James Christensen.