April 9, 2011

I am now on the South Island of New Zealand. It was a beautiful three hour ferry ride over. Everything about New Zealand is glorious. I am astonished at how big and mountainous the country is.

We have driven for three days on winding mountain roads curving up or down with views of inlets and islands or vast canyons and/or humongous stoney river beds with gray green streams bending back and forth as far as the eye can see.
Yesterday we did a hike to the top of a mountain and although I huffed and puffed and was far behind the other three, I thoroughly enjoyed my treck to the top and back down. The trail was in deep shade, and jungle like with emense trees interwoven with vines. Every so often the incredible view of mountains and the valley appeared.
And I have managed to do five or six small paintings all of mountains. As in the Yukon and Alaska last year, I am finding it very hard to capture grandeur  in a tiny water colour but I  trying and already I have ideas for a big mountain painting with mauvey rolling shapes fading into the distance.

July 19, 2011

This morning, when I awoke at 6:30, the air was still and warm, and
the marsh was shrouded in  fog; the sun  a low glowing spot that just
dissolved into the gray.  The muted trees were glorious in their
peacefulness, just barely there and fading to nothingness.  As I
walked through the long grass to the river, the path was strewn with
intricate spider weavings.  Like an exhibition at eye level, I
savoured each circular web and enjoyed their subtle differences.  At
the river, a Greater Yellow legs preened.  Was he enjoying his
marvellous reflection?  On the path home from the river to the cabin,
the morning-glories, in all their pale pink splendour were draped on
their glowing yellow/green leaves like garlands decorating the dark
green marsh grass.  My heart and soul was perfectly tuned to the

Suddenly, my dog was missing.  I frantically ran and shouted until
fifteen minutes later I found him, just peacefully standing in the
neighbour’s yard, watching me.

June 24, 2011

The room is an eternity of hush.
Time is suspended.
The half-drawn gray blind
Filters out the intensity of life.
In the room, we move and talk quietly,
While you lay peacefully
Attached by hoses to your retinue of machines.
Occasionally in the hall,
Everyday voices laugh and live.
Once when I stood near the elevator,
A man barged through a door swearing.
Usually though, there are
Endless hours of breathing.
All of us breathing;
You included.
The love you have always given,
Swirls and dances gently around us.
We gather strength from our memories
Of who you were,
Who you are,
And who you are becoming,
We breathe with you.
Waiting for you to leave us.

July 10, 2011

Yesterday I was painting in Soleytown.  When I started, it was low
tide and no wind so I started a half sheet watercolour of the red mud,
the cliffs and the sky.  Around 3 pm the wind came up.  Quickly I
filled all my water containers to weigh down all my “Stuff”.  Suddenly
my plastic palette rose into the air, spraying green water over my
painting before it continued on over the cliff.  First things first.
I wet down the painting and got those green spots off before they
dried.  Then I packed up the car since there was no more painting.  My
paints were gone. When everything was safely stowed, I looked over the
cliff.  There was my palette, only part way down and there was a
sturdy rope tied to the guard rail.  I took a deep breath and decided
to go for it.  Going down was easy because of gravity.  I just held
onto the rope and slid on my bottom.  I reached the palette and
grabbed it with my foot.  Unfortunately, when holding the palette, I
wasn’t able to climb the cliff with only one hand.  I pushed the
palete ahead and with two hands on the rope, I slowly crawled up.
When I reached the top, I surprised a carload of tourists who were
taking pictures of the view.  Imagine when they saw this “old woman”
huffing and puffing upward.  I was so relieved and embarrassed when I
made it to the top that I merely wished them a nice day and jumped
into my car and drove off!


April 1, 2011

Laurie and I have had a wonderful few days in Wellington.  It's a gorgeous city full of winding roads, steep hills and of course the ocean surrounding everything.  The houses are perched on the hillsides with little stepped paths down or up to the doors.  Only the garages are on the road levels.  We have already taken in five art exhibitions.  Graham  Percy's  illustrations and drawings were funny and intriguing. I loved the fat round forms and the great compositions.   The shift into his dark period when he knew that he was dying  was really heartfelt in his work but he was still clever, humorous and prolific.  I often think about what keeps me creating. It is certainly not the money or the quest for everlasting life. Rather for me the creating is essential to who I am and what makes me happy. The photography of  Brian Brake at Te Papa was a life survey of his extensive world documentary photos.  I was intrigued with the video of how he never put a camera strap around his neck and he just wove through crowds not looking like a photographer. The secret he said was to anticipate an image, because if you wait until after you see it, it is already gone by the time you press the shutter.

I can understand why the world wants to come and see the landscape of
New Zealand.  Yolande and Kieryn took Laurie and I on  a drive around
the coastline just surrounding Wellington.  The evening sky was  pinks
and blues, the fading sun bathed the south island that floated  on the
horizon and although the ocean appeared serene in the distance, waves
crashed over the angular black rock in the foreground.  Glorious.

Yesterday Laurie and walked to down town Wellington.  The highlight
was a ramble through the Botanical Gardens.  It is a huge garden full
of trees and paths and little vista's of beauty.  I was amazed that so
many of the birds and plants are totally unfamiliar.  Last evening
Kieryn said how much she loved squirrels.  We have had terrrible
problems with squirrels trying to cohabit with us in our house in
Portaupique.  I wish I could give her our squirrels!