November 19th, 2008

Last Saturday, Danica and I attended a one day abstract art workshop given by Wayne Boucher. I met Wayne over twenty years ago at the opening of the National Gallery and I have always admired the pizzas of his abstracts.

Danica and I had a terrific day. We smeared on colour with oil sticks and then swiped it off. Because of the fluid process of abstract art creating, I felt like I'd done fifty pieces for each one that I ended up with. They morphed and evolved and the sparkle disappeared only to be recreated differently with the next layer of paint. I've decided that the next time I try an abstract, I'm going to photograph it evolving as the process was fascinating.

Wayne said to use only two colours and to focus on a simplified idea. I'm wondering if abstract can be as complex as realism and also if it might not represent any idea but rather be an idealess happening of colour, form, texture, tone.

This week, I wasn't quite in the mental space to carry on with abstract (and also I'm missing some materials). Yet I was too moved to go back and just paint the way I usually work.. I've just finished two loose watercolours of recent images, a close-up of rocks at Peggy's Cove and some yellow grass and red foliage that I saw on last weeks day trip with Laurie to Lunenburg. Both of these paintings were done standing up with arm action only and no wrist action. They both have a glow and a charm for me.

Yesterday, we woke up and it was a glorious winter day. Lots of smow and sunshine and so still in my pajamas, with my ski jacket on top, I headed outside and took some photos of our marsh. Glorious. A few minutes later, the light was gone behind a cloud, and the moment of inspiration was past.

April 13, 2009

Well we have been home from South America for a month.  And from the new 2009 paintings you can see that I have been heavily influenced by the trip since I am still working on images from the traveling.  When we were almost ready to come home, I remember thinking that traveling is such hard work.  Maybe I’ll never want to travel again.  Now that we’ve been back for a month and I have all the marvelous photos in an album, I’m quite ready to hop on another plane and go somewhere, anywhere.


The past three days, we have been privileged to see our world through different eyes.  We have two visitors staying with us from China.  On the first day we took them to a pancake house for maple syrup, pancakes and beans.  When I saw Bee struggling to pick up a pancake with a fork, I remembered all our eating adventures when we were in South America; for example the time Jim ordered red beer in perfectly correct Spanish and the waitress brought him a newspaper!  Yesterday I took Bee and Spring to church to see an Easter Sunday service.  Not only did they get to see a full emersion baptism, they also got the Halleluiah  chorus complete with drums and brass ensemble and two fabulous choirs.  Today, we bundled them up in warm coats and hats, mitts and boots and took them for a walk by the coast in the howling wind and blowing snow.  I wonder what stories they will tell their friends about their time with us in rural Nova Scotia.

May 13, 2009

 I’ve always thought time and an open mind and heart are essential  for finding creative ideas and making art.    Actually in this state, the images find the artist and seem to cry out; “Paint me.”  Nothing dries up creativity more than our own needing to be in control or needing to produce the perfect work. 

I often worry that children whose lives are filled with television, computer games and extracurricular activities don’t have time to be bored.  Without boredom, can they be creative?


My friend, Laurie, told me of an idea that she heard on the radio.  When you want to be creative but pressure is blocking ideas, you start reading a page of the telephone book.  After reading some of the names, one’s brain relaxes and creative ideas happen.


The other night, my daughter called on the phone after I was in bed.  I got up and stumbled into the studio to talk to her.  While I was talking and trying to stay awake, I spied some photos that I had taken in South America.  In this relaxed state, the image just worked.  By the time I hung up the phone, I was filled with ideas enough to keep me working for the next week.  After I did a sketch of my woman with vegetables, I started on a half sheet painting.  It was progressing beautifully.  Suddenly I knew I wanted to try it again as a full sheet, with a simplified larger figure and fewer vegetables.  Here are the results.

November 7th, 2008

The past several weeks have extremely busy ones. I survived another Open House Exhibition (our 20th) and once the exhibition was all hung and labeled I was very please with the work. Each year, I worry that I won’t have a spectacular show and that I’ll disappoint myself. It’s a relief that so far, it has always managed to come together.

Diligent River
Last week I celebrated the end of the busy 2008 season with a visit from my sister, Nancy. It was marvelous to see her. Also my sister is an economist and always has heaps of business ideas for me. One we decided to try was to offer free shipping of paintings (over $ 500) and free shipping of unframed prints anywhere in North America between November 30 and December 10. Nancy and I went on two outings. I was lusting to see the new fossil museum at Joggins. It was a beautiful drive. The Blueberry foliage was just glowing red.

Then on Saturday we had lunch at Peggy’s Cove before I took Nancy to the airport. This trip also inspired a new painting, “Lighthouse”.

It feels so wonderful to get back into my little studio full time. I’m enjoying the space, the music, the art on the walks and creating new stuff.

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon drinking tea with some visitors from Parkland Estates in Truro.

 folks at gallery

One older gentleman reminded me of my Grandfather. Maybe it was his northern British accent or maybe it was his smile but it was like having a visit with family.

Also last week I found out I had been selected to receive the 2008 Woman of Excellence Award in the Arts and Culture category from the HalifaxCornwallis Progress Club. Jim and I will attend the presentation ceremony in Halifax in a couple of weeks. Thank you to those who nominated me. 

May 22, 2009

From at Headland on Long Island

The moaning sound of far off gulls pulses.

It is joined by shrill caws,

And the sound escalates and marries.


Sunlight grabs onto a bright sap green plant,

Clinging to the cliff.

It glows amid the umber sandstone.


The gray bay stretches to the sky.

Two crisp orange and green islands

Rise solidly in front of me.

Sepia islands blend with the water

In the distance,

And wisps of pale mauve islands and headlands

Float on the horizon.


The wind blows relentlessly.

Although the sky is clear and sunny,

I am bundled in coat, sweaters

And jeans over pajamas.


Still I am weary

From the fierce buffeting.

My hat is tied on

And I am hunkered on my stool.

I clutch my paints, paper and brushes

And try to capture everything.

September 27th, 2008

Low Tide at Thomas CoveYesterday I headed out to paint on location. The mornings are really nippy now and my days of painting on location are almost finished for another year. I had an idea for a half sheet with laundry and the bay in behind. I packed up the pegs and laundry in case the perfect wash wasn’t hanging out. When I got to “my clothes line” there was the owner’s car in the driveway and so I realized that I’d have to find something else. What else? I didn’t have any other ideas.

I turned around and drove west. A couple of hay bales in a field with the bay in behind caught my eye and I went back and did a wonderful little quartersheet painting. It just seemed to sizzle. Then I continued driving and ended up at Thomas Cove. Totally disorganized, I set off walking; my pop bottle of water under one arm, my hand holding the two stools and my brushes, palette and paper in my other hand. 
Sand stone at Thomas Cove
This isn’t the best way to hike in the woods. Anyways I found some sandstone that appealed and did a second quarter sheet painting. Again this one clicked and seemed to really catch what I was after. I packed up and was ready to hike back to the car when the view of low tide against the other sand stone cliffs really seemed to beckon. By this time I was cold and tired but I splashed a little bold purple and orange paint on the paper and suddenly I was wide awake and things were perking.

When I was finished the third painting I couldn’t stop looking at the three of them. 
I just love them. So many days I try so hard and the paintings are just mediocre and then suddenly I get a day when everything is easy, the paintings astonish me and it’s as if someone else did them.

October 22, 2009

JoyCatherine&MyrnaatArtist'sChatemWell the first weekend of the open house is over and yesterday I hosted my first ever artist chat afternoon.  It was a good time; full of laughs and mutual support.  Eleven folks participated, including Jim and I!  One of the highlights was that Catherine McMillen, an old artist friend from Halifax joined us.  At eighty-two, she is still going strong and credits her painting with keeping her going.


Today I finished up a flower painting that I had wanted to get done for the open house.  Oh well, it will be up on the walls for the second weekend.  It’s so hard to go back to a painting that has been left to sit for a couple of months.  I feel like bursting out and doing something really wild and creative but instead I was trying to invent flowers and leaves that were frosted at least a month ago.  In the end, it’s a peaceful painting that almost seemed to require my old traditional framing instead of the new contemporary molding.


October 7th, 2008

The last two paintings for the Open House, Mirium Sleeping (3) and Laundry, were finished this morning. Now I can start hanging the Open House Exhibition. My three dimentional piece, "Sea Set" is far from finished but with these quirky peices, I have no idea just how I'm going to do them so they can't be rushed. I'll just putter away on it until it's done no matter how long it takes.

With Mirumn, I initially saw her sleeping in a hammock last February in the Amazon Bazin area of Bolivia. Something about her pose seemed classis, timeless, beautiful. I did a small sketchmiriumsleeping19 . After she woke up I asked her if I could take her photo and she lay back down and feigned sleep. Recently I used these photos to do a painting Mirium Sleeping (2).Mirium SleepingWhen I was done this painting, I sifted throught the sketches and found the sketch of Mirum Sleeping. There was a classis simplified presence that I didn't feel that I catured in the more realistic Mirium (2) and so I decided to also try to get this quality in Mirium (3).Miriuj Sleeping (3) em  This painting is a bit like Diego Rivera's paintings of women. For me it feels sculptural. Even the way I've been working on it has been sculptural; a little colour on and a little colour off. I am still intimitated to paint people ever since 1989 when the curator of my art Gallery of Nova Scotia exhibition didn't want my people paintings in my exhibition there. My people paintings may not be polished or perfect like easy porches with sunlit chairs but they have emotion and I love them because of the struggle to capture a feeling.

The other painting, "Laundry" was started on location last week. A couple of weeks ago I noticed this clothes line and the view of our Bay when a friend, Dan, was giving me some vegetables from his garden.
 I went back last Saturday with some clothes for the line and pegs and set to work. Although the day was sunny and glorious it was also cool and soon I was a shivering zombie. This will be my last on location painting for this year. It was all I could do to drag all the stuff back to the car. Luckily, my car has a seat heater. A seat heater is a wonderful thing for all artists who paint in the cold and then stumble to their cars to get warm. In this painting called Laundry, I love the fast loose sky and foliage done on location coupled with the blowing laundry done today back in the studio.

October 7, 2009


A week of glorious skies-

Day after day, the mortal tries to immortalize.

Some days, I almost succeed.

Painting the colourful cloud-filled vistas

Also means being prepared for light mists

Or a deluge of rain.

When the air smells of moisture,

I take my hat off so that I immediately detect

The shift into ruinous droplets.

When it showers,

I turn my little painting upside down,

I hunker on my stool,

And wait.

Wait for the air to clear,

Or the rain to fall.

In that event, I stuff my fragile damp painting

Into my pack and run for shelter.

There is a peaceful harmony about painting inclement skies.

The painter is tuned to the landscape;

Trying to capture

Pale cerulean on the horizon,

The shift to ultramarine,

The billowing cumulonimbus

In mauves and grays

That are edged with glowing sunshine.

While the painter paints,

God plays.

September 4th, 2008

All these days, weeks, months of painting with nothing of consequence happening. Then yesterday a break through. I played with the waterlily painting, tore off bits of paper, used gobs of white painting, scrubbed, nudged, shaped the painting like a clay sculpture: pushing and pulling the life out of it: working intuitively like a blind person feeling just what is ahead but not seeing the sum: Enjoying the process but wondering if I was making garbage.

Then because the tedious full sheet of Lunenburg is looming, I chose to finish up two paintings that have been sitting 90% done. One of chairs on a beach that I thought was perfection (for sure a new print etc). All those expectations sapped the life right out of the painting and of me. The other painting, a whimsical garden that I might have enjoyed or hated until one daughter said “But Mom, the flowers are way too big, the chair is way too small” and one best friend “A pink chair, It’s the pink chair that doesn’t work. Have you thought about red?” So now I have a dead chairs on beach and a too small red chair in a bunch of large flowers.

Still procrastinating, I start scribbling the shape of a woman doing her laundry in South America. I watched her, photographed her, sketched her for four hours last February: as she knelt on the ground and scrubbed, as she squeezed and rinsed and then as she lay the clothes on a rock wall to dry. I didn’t think I got any one image that expressed her beauty: the way her shape and her work captured my heart. But yesterday while I was fighting the “have to” demons, I plucked a scrap of watercolour paper off my floor and although it was narrow, rolled, untapped--- a miracle happened. This it the joy, the satisfaction, the reason to continue painting. Occasionally due to hard work, or procrastination or some other nebulous reason: a creative person (me) becomes so worn out and discouraged from trying to control the creative process that they stop. When there is time and space for play, there is also time and space for miracles.  

July 20, 2009

Curtain Call

For Bill Forbes 1959 to 2009

By Joy Snihur Wyatt Laking

Last night,

(Which for him was truly his last night),

We saw him on stage

Playing a rough, lazy, red-neck hick.

Playing him so convincingly,

We also saw his angst and foibles.

We saw his love of family.

We recognized our local characters,

But not ourselves.

Definitely not ourselves.

In today’s paper, the play’s director,

Writing about his sudden death,

Described him as very steady,

An unassuming guy;

Kind, gentle and friendly.

Is this the roll of an artist

To live all lives?

To explore what it feels

To be a womanizing lout,

While being respectful and reliable?

This was not a life cut short

By accident of crime.

Not even a life cut short 

By natural causes.

This was life cut 

By death at fifty.

Fifty is a reasonable age,

If any age is reasonable.

It’s the babies and twenty year olds,

Both on the cusp of life,

That we mourn.

This world still has countries

Where death at thirty-five is common,

And where artists do not

Write or paint or perform

Because they are

Labouring in fields,

Or languishing in prisons.

It is because I am fifty-nine

And also an artist,

That I feel his death keenly?

Or is it because

My life too may be cut,

Will be cut, by death,

Hopefully not this year.

Perhaps not next year,

With luck maybe not

For thirty-seven years.

But definitely, at some point,

Unplanned and inconvenient,

Or planned and convenient,

My death will come

And my artist’s voice will end.

Until it does,

What do I have to say?

What do I have to lament or celebrate?

September 22nd, 2008

Rocks at Chebucto Head
Yesterday I had a marvelous afternoon sitting at Chebucto Head; my favourite spot in the world. The autumn colours are creeping into the low growing foliage. The ferns are glowing orange, the cranberries are red and delicious and the white granite pokes out here and there and slides down to the ocean.- the Atlantic Ocean; deep and blue and rolling in against the rock, the white sizzle of breaking waves accenting the edge, the spot where ocean meets rock. I’ve always loved sitting at Chebucto Head. Once I brought a childhood friend and “our” six kids here in the pouring rain. Once I saw a huge great blue whate. Once sadly, I was robbed here. It’s the solidness of the rock and the continual rolling of the ocean, even on a calm day, that seems to put life into balance. I’m a speck and the world is as it should.

Although a rock behind me was calling to be painted, I didn’t want my back to the ocean. I wanted the hours to soak it up and so I did a half sheet of rock, foliage and ocean. Then when I was freezing cold, I stayed a bit longer and did a fast quarter sheet of the rock against the sky with the blaze of orange fern in front. Eventually I was shaking from the cold and trudged back to the car. With the seat heater on 5 and the car heater on hot, I gradually warmed up. When I returned home and looked at the paintings, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with them. This morning I spent the morning doing the shine and polish to these two paintings and now I love them. 

July 13, 2009


The past couple of days, I’ve been painting just up the road at my friend, Laurie Gunn’s, house. This is a treat, because at lunch time, Dan fed me fresh Swiss chard and Laurie made me tea and scones. Laurie also took some pictures of me hunkered in their field.Joypainting3joypainting2

July 26th, 2008

shadynookem_textmediumToday my step niece, Laura and I had a wonderful day of painting on the beach close to our house at Shady Nook. The bay was calm, the day was hot and at high tide we peeled off some clothes and jumped in for a wonderful swim. Certainly this was heaven!

July 10th, 2008

doriesfourWell today I finally finished proofing a new archival time limited print of Dories Four. Not only are there four dories but this is the fourth version of these dories (Check it out here).
Earlier this week, I picked up Yolande in Parrsboro and we travelled up the shore towards Advocate. It was a foggy day and so we made a couple of gallery and gift shop stops of places we had never seen before. Eventually we ended up at the Cape D'or Lighthouse
 and we sat in the fog and did some painting. Yolande got really cold so she went into the cafe to warm up with some coffee and eventually I joined her. What a wonderful light supper we enjoyed at this cafe. We recommend it to everyone.

The July mainstage play, "Bump" opened last weekend at Ship's Company Theatre. Yolande had a hand in building and painting the set. It is fantastic as is the play.
 I shall see it again this Saturday July 12 . If you happen to be in this area, in addition to our gallery, I recommend that you take in the play. As well, Yolande has an art exhibition at the Destination Gallery on the Main Street of Parrsboro which opens July 12.  

July 1st, 2008

Happy Canada Day to one and all!! Recently I returned from a ten day painting blitz on the South Shore. I worked outside from nine in the morning until eight at night and did allot of paintings. I always find these painting marathons a huge mental stress. Will I find anything to paint? Can I actually turn a blank piece of paper into something in four or five hours? Am I up to the challenge?

Always there are always stories that come out of painting trips.

After several days of painting in the hubbub of Lunenburg, I was ready for some solitary time. I traveled to the end of a very narrow winding road in West Stonehurst. There I found a lovely stack of old barrels and a wooden wheel barrow. 
The lighting was great. There wasn’t a soul anywhere and I started painting. An hour or two later, two large Avis RentaTrucks pulled in beside me. 
They were followed by a couple of vans full of people. This small army of folks proceeded to start painting 55 gallon metal oil drums. I couldn’t resist inquiring: “What on earth was going on?” Turns out I had chosen the very spot
 that they were going to film the Amelia Erhart Movie and not only were the oil drums going to be part of the set but so were all my lovely barrels!!!! 

I had trouble remembering the name of the place where I was staying until I spied two large lily ponds tucked away beside the road. After that, I could remember that it was the Lilyfront Motel and Cottages! Anyways these two lily ponds were chucked full of gorgeous pink water lilies. I kept thinking about how wonderful they would look in my pond! Jim suggested that I do a painting of the lilies and if the woman across the street who owned them came over to watch, I could maybe broach the subject of snatching a lily!!! The last night I was on the trip, I set to work painting the lilies. Who would know that water lilies all close up in the evening. I persevered and did a lovely painting but the woman never showed up. When I was finished, I decided to be brave and go to her door and ask her if she’d ever consider parting with one of her lilies. My heart was thumping. I couldn’t imagine that I was being so forward as to ask to climb into a stranger’s pond and snatch a lily but I really really wanted one. Water Lilies 22emI knocked on the door and the woman didn’t answer immediately. I was ready to run. I felt faint. Suddenly, she was at the door, and I was humming and hawing and showing her the painting and making my request. She said “Sure, you can have anything you want. You just go right ahead!!!!!!” I was elated. In fact, I am still elated. Although I had been painting for 11 hours and I was dog tired, I climbed into her pond and rooted away at lily roots with my bare hands, managing to retrieve several nice pieces. They are now potted up and living (I hope) in our pond in front of the gallery!!!! 

June 13th, 2008

Today Laurie and I had a fantastic morning. She came over for coffee since I was in the gallery and brought everything to do some wool dyeing.Laurie&Joywithdyeiing (Another wonderful surprise birthday present for me!!! Laurie's the friend that blindfolded me on one birthday and drove me to a private fiddle concert. Another birthday she arranged for a tour of a wonderful old house!)

Laurie had learned this new wool dyeing technique at rug school this May and I could hardly wait to see how it was done. Instead of pots of boiling dye this one had small jars of dye and it was painted on the wool and then the wool was microwaved!! We made allot of swatches of dubious quality but the method has huge potential. It's cost effective for the dye and also lots of fun with a limited mess!!!!!!

June 10th, 2008

As usual, I’m well behind on my writing and posting or ramblings. However so much has happened lately that I am inspired to ramble for a few minutes. (If you’re interested in how the latest workshop turn out just click here and go to the workshop section.

The high light of the past month has been Yolande’s graduation from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. It’s a heady feeling to have the last kid through University. It is also really scary to graduate these fantastic arty creative souls with the burden of huge student loans and little hope for any arty creative employment that would quickly pay it off. Perhaps the only people who go to Art School should be the independently affluent with well to do parents or partners. Unfortunately often these students are the sons and daughters of artists. As such they qualify for huge student loans but this as a mixed blessing. They can get the education but then after graduating they’re quite effectively in leg irons with the crippling debt that they carry.

I managed to get through university with a minuscule student loan, great summer jobs and very helping parents. Still to have maintained myself as an artist has been very precarious. Now at the other end of the spectrum, the practising artist who’d love to retire (no no I never will retire from making art but yes I’d love to retire from running a gallery and retire from having to make safe art that night sell), I want to, need to, have to, retire into a space where I can unleash all of my creativity. This is almost impossible with no retirement benefits. I wouldn’t have traded my artistic life but if I’d really understood what it means to enter the senior years still worrying about money then I think I might have opted to have a creative salaried job and made my art on the side. This was what my artist mother recommended to me and I thought she was out to lunch!!! Could it have been that she had a valid point?

Anyways enough of that rant. The celebration of Yolande’s graduation was a one night exhibition of her work in my gallery. It was a huge buzz to see someone else’s work on my walls. And then the fact that it was my own daughter’s work made it even more exciting.
yolande_textmedium  yolandes_exhibition3_textmedium
We worked for a day to hang all her work and for more than a day to patch all the holes and rehang my paintings for the summer season. But it was certainly worth it. I am so proud of Yolande.

As you can see from the new paintings I am back painting outside. Last night I had a Robert Pope Foundation meeting in Halifax. Jim is away with the car at meetings for the hospital board that he volunteers on so I closed the gallery for the day and drove Danica into work in Truro and took her car onto Halifax. I arrived at Portuguese Cove before 10 AM and set to work
Portuguese Cove Fish Shed
By 6:45pm I was exhausted and could hardly get up off my stool. I was also exhilarated.

Then I went to my board meeting quite dishevelled and grungy. I guess this is why artists always get such a bad reputation. It an exciting time for the Foundation. Bill Pope’s vision is still big and fantastic despite the fact that he is aging. Now the role for the foundation members is even more important since we will be carrying this vision forward. It has been a huge blessing for me to be on the Robert Pope Foundation Board. I have several of my own tiny projects but I see the Foundation as a major vehicle to really be able to help both the arts and medicine. I’m sure I bring my own creative perspective to the board and it is an interesting mix of board members including medical people, business people, art teachers and working artists. Because of Bill and Isobel Pope’s incredible energy, vision and tenacity, the board has the funds to be able to continue to do wonderful and worthwhile projects.

its_my_partyem_textmediumLast week I had a wonderful time creating a new work called “It’s my party, and I’ve create what I want to” for an exhibition called It’s my Party that opens this Saturday at the Destination Gallery on the Main Street of Parrsboro. Anyone in this area should check out this exhibiton in person!

Also Ship’s Company Theatre will soon resume for the season. If you’ve never been to the Ship, I would recommend that you take in one of the plays. I have seen some of the best theatre that I have ever seen anywhere in the world right in Parrsboro at Ship’s Company. It’s professional theatre at it best. They deserve our support!!!!!!

March 6th, 2008

Twenty-third report from Peru.

Well the trip is winding down but still we,re having allot of fun. At noon today we heard and saw a military band and a marching carrying flags perform in front of the presidential palace in the main the square. Men in beautiful uniforms of blue and red with gold trim and buttons goosestepped around. We laughed about the security; riot police with shields and weapons formed a barrier, then another line of police with machine guns, plus tanks with guns on top on the four corners of the square, plus all the marching and playing was behind a huge iron fence. It seemed like overkill. A chap in a plain brown uniform was in the main doorway- we found out later that he is the president of Peru!!!!!!

Later we sampled a particular Peruvian sweet, sort of like a hot fried donut filled with custard. Yummmmmmy

We spent the afternoon at the National Gallery of Art for Peru. It was a ho hum collection of post colonial, European style painting and a fantastic collection of preColumbian ceramics.

This evening we hosted our first Peruvian beer party. Jim and I brought two large cold cervasas to our roof terrace and as folks happened by we asked them to join us. I had to keep nipping out to buy more beer! It was a great little party with lots of countries represented.


March 5th, 2008

Twenty-second report from Peru.

We left the Foundation Ninos del Arco Iris yesterday morning and caught a tourist bus from Urumbumba to Cusco. You pay a bit more for a tourist bus but happily to me, the bus filled up with locals who all paid half as much as we did and when the bus was full we still picked up lots more. Jim who was on the aisle and had bags, kids and people almost in his lap wasn,t quite as sure that it was a great bus ride.

I really feel very hopeful when I think about the Foundation Ninos del Arco Iris project. Their two year courses (government recognized) available only to the most needy train 100 students at a time in either hotel work, electrical, wood work, computer or textiles. At the end of two years, these graduates have all the skills they need to land and keep a job or to start their own small business. This does seem to provide a way out of severe poverty. They also have self esteme and pride in themselves and their schooling.

I was not looking forward to another night in Cusco but it turned out to be terrific. We found a great hostel just off the main square and we did some last minute shopping in the afternoon. This hostel was also on the same alley where I found the courtyard four years ago and did the full sheet, Gossiping, painting. That painting is now in Switzerland and last year I started working this image into a rug hooking just for fun.

After a supper of left over pizza, Jim was more than content to catch up on the American primaries and so I headed out along to find one last gift-- a plastic sax with a wooden reed for Kelsey. Turns out that this is very very hard to find, not being a usual tourist item. An artist was walking in the square and fell in beside me trying to sell me his paintings. No I kept saying. Finally he said ,"Well you are out here looking for something What is it that you want to buy and maybe I can help you? " "A plastic sax" says I. This was the start of a long long walk in the dark with a total stranger to find the elusive instrument. I am happy to report that I saw alot of inner Cusco and my new friend walked me and my purchase back to familiar territory before carrying on with his business. Naturally we exchanged stories about being artists and I compensated him for all his help. After all his Dad was unemployed and his mother sold potatoes and this chap,s art lessons were 100 soles a month.

Upon returning to the hostel, I showered and fell into bed, while Jim continued to follow the primaries on television! (It,s hard for me to appreciate because I never watch television, but after two months without the tube, I think Jim was suffering withdrawal.) Anyways as I lay there trying to sleep, I heard drums and wooden flutes and the music sounded live (not canned). Eventually I got up and got dressed and this time Jim jumped at the chance to come along- no doubt worried about who or what I might run into this time. We turned right towards the main square and the music dimmed, we turned left towards the courtyard and again the music dimmed. In front of out hostel in an incan wall were a set of huge huge doors and on one of the huge doors was a tiny, normal sized, door and it wasn{t locked. We peeked in. Six couples were practicing complex Peruvian dances to a wonderful live band of pulsing drums and pan flutes. Someone closed the door we were peeking in and I thought our viewing was over but Jim bravely opened the door and slipped inside the practice room with me on his tail. For the next hour we stood enthralled with the rythmns, and energy of the dances. It was spectacular and all the more so because we just happened across it.

We both had a terrible sleepless night because we were up and off to the Cusco airport at 5 a.m. From past experiences in South America we have learned never to really rely on a wake up call from a hostel. We had a beautiful flight into Lima and it saved me 28 bumpy hours in a bus!! Jim, who doesn't care for flying would have prefered the bus I'm sure but he survived the hour in the air too.

Despite an overpriced taxi into central Lima and despite the many bad things the taxi driver had to say about our choice of hostel (of course he had one that he wanted to take us to) we just love Hostel Espanol. It,s about $ 15 a night, and is in an old mansion. It is complete with lots of parrots and three huge turtles that walk about the roof terrace, and the location is amazing. We can walk to almost all of Lima,s historic sites. Today we saw the San Fransisco church built in 1650. We also hiked about 15 blocks to the national Peru Art Gallery only to find out that it is closed on Wednesdays. We will try again tomorrow. We did tour the Italian Art Gallery. Its a small collection of Italian paintings and scuptures for the early 1900s. Half of them were wonderful and the other half were quite awful. 

March 3rd, 2008

Twenty-first report from Peru.

Jim and I have spent the day touring the Foundation Ninos del Arco Iris. It is absolutely beautifully built, a real piece of art, using round stones for all the baseboards and custom metal work of a sun and moon everwhere. It is by far the most gorgeous and most expensive place that we have stayed. We came because 100 percent of funds from room rentals goes into the Foundation, and we're now reaping the benefits of a beautiful place. We were both very happy that the gorgious compound is not just for us gringos but it is to show the hundreds of poor kids that come each day here that it is possible to build beauty with all native materials.

After seeing the hotel reception classes, electricity, woodworking, computer and sewing for the older students, I sat down to paint. Almost immediately I was surrounded by kids. Thankfully art transends the language barrier because I spent the rest of the day doing sketches of kids and giving them to them. Of course they love the tiny paint box and the tiny water bottle and collapsible brush! I still had cards of a painting of my three kids when they were young ,Singing in the Rain, and that is a terrific give away for these South American kids.

The little kids start their time here with a shower and then a lunch and then the learning begins. It is quite regimented but that does keep things moving smoothly and also there are allot of skills like being clean, tidy, polite and on time that aren't neccessarily part of these children's lives. If they are to escape a live of severe poverty then perhaps these skills will be a real help in making a good impression and keeping a job. 
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March 2nd, 2008

Twentieth report from Peru.

Well, Jim and I are into the home stretch now since we fly home in a week but we are still having adventures. Yesterday, Jim went to Macchu Pichu and I sketched for the day around Ollantaytambo. The first thing I did was try to borrow a stool from the hostel. I emptied out a pop crate and sat on it and kept smiling and saying please and eventually I walked off with a stool.

I did allot of sketches of the women in the market. It was hard work since they kept moving about but I did my best. In the afternoon, I did streets and doorways and it was great because they didn´t move.

Last night, I had supper by myself at the Heart restaurant. Not only was it a fantastic vegetarian meal (the first in a long long time), brown rice, vegetables and two veggie sausages, but the money from the cafe goes to assist kids that aren´t growing due to malnutrition and parasites. This morning, I took Jim back there for breakfast and we invited the English woman who started the project to join us.

After packing up we went to the market and got a collectivo for Urumbumba. What is a collectivo??? It´s a minivan for locals that inexpensively takes people where they want to go. The down side is that they cram in absolutely as many people as could possibly be crammed in and then they stop road side and pick up others. Jim and I were facing a sea of wonderful faces. I thoroughly enjoyed the collectivo ride. Jim was not sure he enjoyed having his head hit the roof of the van and being squashed between three large adults and not having a back rest or anything to hold onto. Of course he could have been one of the poor folk that got picked up along the way and had to stand bent over for trip.

After arriving in Urumbumba, we got a mototaxi ( a tuk tuk) to drive us up the mountain to the Foundation Ninos Del Arco Iris. This foundation started by a dutch woman works with over 200 homeless children. They have eight expensive posh rooms for rent and all the money goes to the project. Needless to say this is a far far cry from our usual accomodations but I told Jim that he could just consider it my trip to Macchu Pichu. I was at Macchu Pichu four years ago and it is so expensive I decided not to join Jim on his day there.

Anyways we arrived at the Foundation Ninos Del Arco Iris and its Sunday so nothing goes on there today and also there are no meals or shops to get food. Litterly it´s at the end of a mountain road in the middle of no where. I was a bit disconcerted by the armed guard at the cate, but eventually he let us in. After settling in, we got a taxi back down the mountain and I took Jim to the area that I painted four years ago. One of the highlights of that trip was discovering salt fields, where the water comes out of the mountain hot and salty. The locals have made hundreds of small dyked fields which they flood. Then they rake their fields daily and eventually harvest a crop of salt which they transport down the mountain in sacks on the backs of donkeys. Anyways I dragged Jim to the special spot this afternoon. He is less that enthusiastic about big heights but he got there. (Of course I was the one that huffed and puffed and stopped often on the path up the mountain).

Then we tried to flag down a mototaxi to take us to Urumbumba to get food but no luck and we walked most of the way. Finally we found a restaurant and I ordered american vegetable salad for 20 soles. The waitress assured me that the vegetables were caliente (hot) A plate of beef, rice, french fries, eggs and uncooked cabbage, avacado, tomatoe and cucumber arrived. Yes the waitress assured me this was the American vegetable salad!!!!!! So much for a healthy meal since I couldn´t eat any of the fresh vegetables because they are washed in polluted water. Another meal of eggs and rice!! Home cooking is looking ever so appealing.
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February 27th, 2008

Nineteenth report from Peru.

Yesterday we had a very long bus ride, over nine hours to get to Cusco. After a day here I am thrilled that we are leaving tomorrow. Cusco is overrun with tourists and with people trying to force tourists to buy stuff. Many of these salepeople are flogging their art and when you say no they immediately cut the price in half.

Part of me feels sorry for these artists and part of me just wants them to leave me alone. We did have a lovely visit to a precolumbian art gallery this afternoon. I was thrilled with the beauty of the ceramics from 1b.c until 800 a.d. The pieces were fantastic, and the surface detailing was amazing.

Afterwards I watched two weavers working on traditional Peruvian looms which really are just a warp attached to a stick or the weavers feet. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into the placing of each weft thread. The first time I was in Peru, I purchased several of these weavings from their makers, but I had forgotten just how much time is spent on each piece. Most of us tourists buy the commercial weavings because the colours are brighter, the designs are bolder and of course they are much much cheaper. However the subtle colours and the complex patterns of the traditional weavings is astonishing. 

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February 26th, 2008

Eighteenth report from Peru.

On Sunday when we arrived in Puno we hiked around to see the sites. On the top of a mountain at the top of several steep streets there were 4017 steps up to an enormous metal condor. I huffed and puffed and gasped and stopped often but I made it. Jim doesn´t seem to be bothered by the altitude but it really exhausts me. That evening after supper we were just so lucky to find ourselves in the middle of the annual Puno dance festival. We saw at least six groups and they all had between 15 to 25 couples and large bands. We loved it. The women wore black bowlers, elaborate shawls, full colourful skirts and white boots and the men were in black suits and fadoras with elaborate white scarves. Both men and women carried kerchiefs and this was part of the flirting and intrigue.

Yesterday we were picked up at 6:45 and taken to the ferry for a day trip. We visited two of the floating reed islands. The Uros people started building and living on these reed islands in 1100- They are quite large, and accomodate more than 600 people. The houses, boats, and the islands are all made of reeds. ¨The islands are 2 meters thick in 70 meters of water. Eventually they become waterlogged and new islands have to be constructed. In bits of the old islands and old boats, they grow their crops, especially potatoes.

We then took our boat two hours further to Isla Taquile. This island has had a fairly isolated existence and we enjoyed a long mountainous hike here. The women of the island wear blankets on their heads and the men dress in black pants, white woven shirts, and vests with elaborate woven sashes and they wear hats that they´ve knit themselves. White and red for unmarried men and long intricately designed red ones for the married men.

This morning we are catching an early bus to Cusco. This will be the first place that I have seen before, having been there four years ago. 

February 23rd, 2008

Seventeenth report from Peru.

Jim and spent the past three day on the Islas del Sol in Lake Titicaca. This is the Incan birthplace of the sun and I can't imagine a nicer spot for the sun to be born. We took a two hour ferry from Copacabana and got off in the north at Cha^llapampa. We booked a room in the first hostel we came to and after stashing our packs we set out on the 45 minute hike to Chincana, a large Incan ruins. It was glorious. The area is mountainous and rises to 4500 meters, with a huge blue Lake Titicaca at 3000 meters all around. We passed adobe houses, pigs, donkeys, sheep and saw corn and potatoes growing. Lunch was a glorious cold beer and a dismal cheese sandwich. Most people wear traditional clothing. We've seen women dressed in full full velvet skirts and colourfuil woven shawls and bowler hats or blue denim hats being a flag person on the road near Copa. Weve seen women mixing cement and shovelling gravel and building in the attire.

On Day two on the island, we set off on the hike that the book said was four hours and moderately strenuous to the south of the island. I don't climb hills easily any time but at high altitude and carrying a pack I certainly huffed and puffed and stopped often. I decided that even if this hike took a day and half we could do it. We could sleep outside wrapped in our rain ponchos. Having decided this we reached the top of the ridge and the rest of the hike along the ridge was spectacularily beautiful and easy walking and we arrived in Yamani in 3 and half hours. We started checking out rooms in hostels but the prices were high so we continued to walk down the mountain to the village near the wharf. The prices got higher the lower we went, and so I had to huff and puff back up to the top and we bit the bullet for an expensive room that we had turned down earlier. It was glorious. Windows overlooking the lake on three sides and a great little deck. The highlight was that a path went beside this deck and I could watch the mules and peope and sheep coming and going. In the next yard a woman started her washing. It took four hours. First she knelt and scrubbed with a scrub board. Then she and her little daughter hawled water in buckets and she stood and rinsed and squeesed and rinsed and squeesed. And then she flopped the sparkling clean clothes over a stone wall to dry! I did a sketch of her and took a heap of photos with Jim~s camera and I definitely feel inspired to do something artistically with this image of a woman doing her washing. It felt so good to feel creative again. I have had creative black hole lately due I think to the theft of my camera and the loss of my familiar painting supplies. Anyways yesterday I also did two wonderful little painting of the island so there's hope. We finished off the day with a bottle of Bolivian wine pouried into a pop bottle cut in half to make two glasses. We just sat and enjoyed the glouious views and lighting. Later when we were out for supper a huge wind came up and then it just teamed rain. The next morning the island people were excitely filling buckets and ziponing water into holding tanks.. When rain doesn't provide enough water it has to be hauled by people and donkeys up the mountain path. The same as all building supplies and bricks and lumber and groceries.

One additional quick mention of the public bathrooms in Bolivia. They are generally filthy. Usually there is no flush and no water to wash hands. There is no toilet seat and to use this bano you have to pay 2 Bolivianos. This does get you a several squares of toilet paper usually weighted down by a little stone. They're almost as primitive as the bano on our jungle tour!

We had a marvelous experience in Copacabana at noon today. It was the blessing of the cars. (and the people and trucks and animals, mostly dogs in coats). The entire street in front of the church is lined with little booths selling stuff to decorate your car or truck. People add bouquets of glads on the mirrors and chains of flower blossoms all around the vehicle. They also put banners on the windshields and bouquets of flowers and replicas of little reed boats on top of the hood and the roof. Cases of beer of bottles of wine are in front of the tires. Once the decorating is done, the priest in brown robe, sneakers and ball cap comes by with a pink flower on a white stick and a plastic bucket of holy water. He says some prayers over the vehicle and then sprinkles holy water all around the vehicle, under the hood on the engine, inside and also over the people and their pets. Then everyone gets their photo taken with the priest. After the priest moves on to the next vehicle, the corks or caps come off the shaken wine and beer bottles and it´s squirted all around and over the vehicle. Then the women throw bags of blossoms on the vehicle and then a shaman comes by with incense and waves her smoking bucket all around the vehicle. Then packages of fire crackers are set off in front of the vehicles. Quite an event and if it works, it is cheaper than insurance. The highlight of the entire event for us was that Jim befriended a large Bolivian family who were having three vehicles blessed. They seemed to think it was a added blessing to have Jim race around the vehicles spraying beer and they were delighted to cover him in blossoms and to have him in the middle of the photos. Of course we both had to drink beer with them to toast the vehicles. What a good time we had.

The second highlight of the day that I just can´t go on to Peru and not mention are the shops in Copa that stock enormous bags of ¨stuff¨¨ This is their only product. . The bags are about 5¨high and 3´wide and each shop will have one open bale and several in reserve. They also have colourful grocery sized and garbage bag sized bags filled with the ¨stuff¨that they sell. I kept wondering what could this stuff be and what on earth could anyone do with the huge quantities of it. Turns out it´s famous in Copacaban. The bags are filled with giant sweet corn kennels that have been popped. They are so big that an entire room is used to pop them. The room is layered with the kernels and then the entire room is heated and voila the room is filled with this sort of soggy sweet snack that apparently everyone in Bolivia loves.

I´ve been doing lots of reading on this trip- trading books at book exchanges. Yesterday I got Donna Morrissey’s book latest book, “Downhill Chance”. Donna actually came to a book club meeting at the gallery two years ago and read some of Kit´s Law for us. Isn´t that a small world? My previous read was Salman Rushdie’s book “Shalimar the clown”. It was so fantastic that Jim insisted that I not trade it until he´s read it! I highly recommend it to everyone, it´s beautifully written and such a great read while also being very insightful. We leave Bolivia tomorrow at 9 for Peru. Bolivia is a beautiful wonderful country and that it is also so affordable is the icing on the cake.
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February 20th, 2008

Sixteenth report from Peru.

We are now in a hotel in Copacabana on Lake Titicaca. The area is mounainous with a huge huge high altitude lake and so it looks quite lovely. It is poluted with tourists and many of them look like they´ve been tourists for a very very long time and have slightly switched into vagabonds. This may be because it is so cheap. Our hotel is about $6 a night and Jim is itching to move to a more upper class place with hot water and maybe toilet paper and towels!

Yesterday before catching the bus from La Paz, we again went to Canadian Consul to pick up a replacement it's only use is with a pin number in bank machines. And you guessed it. There is no way to get a pin number. I was so frustrated that when we got back out on the street, I had a little cry. Jim said if I´d just turn my hand the other way up that it would bring money. I turned over my hand and there I was-- one more beggar on the streets of La Paz. Of course then I had a good laugh and felt much better.

Our bus to Copacaban was also an experience. Turns out we booked the bargain bus. Once the bus was full at the bus station, it continued to stop for indigenious people all along the route. Of course they were ladened down with many children and also stuff that had to be put up on the roof under a tarp and then when they wanted to disembark we again stopped and they climbed up on the roof to retrieve their belongings. This added greatly to the length of the trip. When we finally arrived the driver dropped my pack from the roof onto the road but luckily our photo cds (all that remain of the early photos I was able to take before the camera was stolen) didn´t break. For once lady luck was on my side.

Tomorrow we are off by boat to the Island of the Sun, the Incan birth place of the world. I will write more in a few days when we return.

February 15th, 2008

Fifteenth report from Peru.

Today I really anted to go to a village and so we found the bus station and arranged for a taxi to drive us to El Cibu the closest village. We thought the driver said said it would be 8 bolivianos but it was actually 80. So we didn´t ask him to pick us up. The village looked like nothing but a tiny field with a school and couple of huts in the trees. Anyways we poked our heads into the three classrooms and school wasn´t in during that moment. None of the teachers spoke any English and the kids speak Tacano . Anyways I fished out my tiny replacement paint box and soon had the entire school population gathered around me. Of course they loved the teeny tiny brush and the teeny tiny water bottle. After doing a bunch of the kids in one sketch I moved out to the field and did one of the school. I left both sketches behind and also some of the little cards with my three kids singing in the rain. The kids in this village have no electricity and live in tiny huts and just loved everything I did. because I didn´t have any competition!

After we said goodbye we walked down a path to a house and found an older woman. I shook her hand and wished her good day and she invited us to sit and got one of the school kids who had followed us to climb a tree and get oranges for us and then brought out bananas. Jim was flabergasted and it was a high light to his trip and mine too. This school has no books or supplies so we´re hoping to send them some, especially some art supplies.

Then we started the long walk home. It was over two hours in the very very hot noon day sun on a rough gravel and sand road. A chap we talked to this afternoon said that it was very dangerous and we were very lucky. I was more concerned with my exhaustion and the heat. It was so hot and tiring.

February 14th, 2008

Fourteenth report from Peru.

Jim and I spent the past two days on a jungle tour. Before I was wishing we had been able to arrange a longer tour but thankfully it was only two days. We booked this trip in LaPaz at the travel agent at the Raddison Hotel and I don´t think they have any idea what they are selling. Also they charged more that twice as much as we would have paid had we booked the tour here. On the good side, Jim and I were the only two people on the tour and we had a boat and a boat driver, a cook and Roberta who had an official guide tag but when Jim actually read it, it said it was a temporary guide license. He was knowledgable but didn´t have any english and no ready smile or enthusiasm to make up for that. After a grueling four and a half hour boat trip up a huge River (the River Beni a tributary of the Amazon) we arrived at our lodge. We both were suffering from numb Bums, The lodge was very primitive and looked like no one had stayed there for a long time. A filty,doorless pit privy with no way to wash up, ladderless sleeping quarters, two ripped hammocks etc etc etc. And today after two showers and having my laundry done I am still being bitten and took more stuff to the laundry. Anyways after the grueling boat trip we set off hiking through the jungle. Roberta said at the start that no touch trees. Ants very very poisonous today and then something about 12 hours. If you get bitten you have twelve hours to get help, in twelve hours you died or in twelve hours the pain stops. Who knows what he was aying but since Jim did get bitten yesterday and is still alive today I suspect it was the last scenerio. At the time I presumed the first scenerio. Anyways I tried to follow very very closely to Roberto and we snuck around the jungle for three and a half hours. Then we had supper and had to go out in the pitch dark with our tiny head lamps and hike about the jungle in the dark for over an hour! I was so scared. I tried to reason with myself. I´m not scared on airplanes and they could crash, if I got eaten by a jungle animal I wouldn´t be around to worry etc etc. Every time a branch snapped, I was scared. In the afternoon we´d seen lots of recent tracks for Tapir, Puma, Ocelots, Wild Pigs, giant Armadilo etc etc etc.- Anyways I survived the ordeal. Yesterday I tried to get an idea of the plan for the day but no luck from Roberto who said nonunderstandable things in Spanish. Really hard when you want to find out stuff but both the question and the answers never fit. So off we set again through the jungle. This time we were bush wacking. So much for the poisonous ants and hence Jim´s several painful bites. Despite the heat and it was miserable I kept my bug suit on. Too bad I didn´t wear it to bed as maybe it would have stopped all the bed bug bites! Anyways after three hours we were so hot and tired. After four hours we were worse. And then Roberto said one minmento and left us and Jim and I were all alone in the jungle while Roberto disappeared trying to find the way. After what seemed like an eternity I said to Jim that Roberto had five more minutes and if he didn´t reappear in that time I was going to scream! Scream we did and eventually Roberto reappeared. Then he said one momento again. No way I said. and I insisted that even if we didn´t have any path and were lost at least we weren´t loosing the guide again and Jim and I stuck with Roberto no matter what he wanted. Eventually we did find a way back to our lodge. Despite it´s sorry state I was some glad to be ¨HOME¨.

Last night in Rurrenabaque as we were entering our room for the next couple of days there was a large teranchila on the path! Seems that even though we are no longer in the jungle, we still have some jungle creatures!

February 11th, 2008

Thirteenth report from Peru.

Last night we returned from an amazing three day tour of the Pampas. We started and ended the trip with a three plus hour trip in the back of a land cruiser being jarred, thumped and bumped about as we struggled to drive along the very rough dirt track. Then we arrived at the river and took a long boat (made of a hollowed out tree with side boards and gunnels attached and a 15 horse power motor.) Luis was our guide for the three days and he was excellent. He didn´t speak english but luckily we had two people on our first people tour, Miriam (from Sweden but of Bolivian decent) and Verla (from Belgium) that both could translate for us. The boat ride into the camp was three hours of watching monkeys and parrots and lots and lots of other birds. As well there were some magnificent trees that just made me gasp. Our camp was primitive- it was the first time I´ve been assigned to a bed in a mixed dorm. I guess that shows my age. We had been told to bring toilet paper, water, flash light, bug spray and sun screen. All of which were absolutely essencial. We had a resident aligator that hung about for kitchen scraps. The next morning we set off by boat upstream and stopped at the Pampas. This was my worst night mare. After inspecting a baby Adaconda, we set out hiking to the island in the pampas. All of this would have been very beautiful because the pampas was filled with wild flowers and shoulder high plants. The bad part was that we were wading in water between knee and hip deep. Luis went first with his big knife and we struggled on behind wading through reeds and brown water for at least a half a mile. It was so tiring and I was so afraid of caymen, aligators and snakes! After an hour of slogging we reached the island. Initially all the trees were also growing in water but eventually we found ¨dry¨land. There were huge tracks from a large ratlike creature. Our second Adaconda was normal sized but then we spotted a large coil high up in a tree. It was at least six or eight inches in diameter and six or eight feet long with a very small head and tail. It was molting and so it was blind for a few days. Another group was also on the island from another tour and both Lois and their guide climbed the tree and got the huge Adaconda down for us to see and hold. We also found a rat in a hollow tree and Luis found and caught one of the very poisonour snakes (it was yellow and about 5 feet long. The other guide had a deformed forearm from being bitten and Luis showed us the parasitic condition on his arms and told us about being paralized for three months last fall from poor treatment for Dengua Fever. Then after all this happy talk we started the torturous slog back through the water. It was such hard going and I was so tired. I´m not sure if this was a wonderful experience or stupid.

Yesterday, I woke up to howler monkeys and a large group of black monkey were playing in the trees near the camp. The camp is entirely on stilts in water because all the trees are growing in water too. Tocans fly by and parrots sqwak. We set off by boat upstream into an incredibly beautiful area of the pampas. It really looked looked like an overdone disney animation. It was all water and sky and shapes up out of the water covered with bright green ivy and festooned with flowers (small round white ones about 2 " in diameter with purple centres.) Luis drove the boat in circles and thumped on the engine and pink dolphins started appearing. He threw an empty pop bottle for them to play with and they pushed it with their long narrow noses. Then Miriam, Rado Verla and Jim jumped into the water to swim with them.. Eventually I gathered up enought courage and joined them! Me, in smake, piranah, alligator, caymen, turtle invested water. But I did have a little swim and felt bubbles on my legs when the dolphins inspected me.Then I rolled like a beached whale back into the boat. Everyone else hopped in gracefully. I was so proud of myself that I summoned up the courage to swim in the pampas. Here´s hoping I didn´t pick up any parasites.

After an early lunch at the camp we sped back up river in a third the time it took to arrive. We had a couple of hours to fish for piranah, before the jeep picked us up. We used beef as bait. I certainly felt the piranah nibbling the beef but they got well fed and I didn´t catch one but I saw at least half a dozen being caught. I would have loved to have caught on for my fisherman son, Kelsey.

Depite the business of the past three days I did do three small sketches and I have one idea for a painting. Miriam was asleep in a hammock and her bronze skin, black hair and high cheek bones just mesmirized me. The first sketch catured the entire scene and the second one zoomed into her face and the shape of her neck. Luckily she was a very good sport and even let me photograph her after doing the paintings.
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February 7th, 2008


Twelfth report from Peru.

We´ve had several days of hoofing uphill and downhill in LaPaz. I don´t think I´ve ever walked so much. And we´ve had a couple of good meals for less than $ 10. The Turino Hotel where we stayed for three nights was $11 a night and wasn´t really up to Jim´s standards but I quite enjoyed it. It wasn´t your average hotel room for sure but it did have a bano and a window that opened! It was impossible to replace my camera and my credit cards but I have discovered that artistically I just love looking the indigenous people in the eye and I´m enjoying their wonderful faces when I don´t have a camera and I´m not trying to sneak a photo.

I was certainly glad when Carnival ended and the water balloons, water guns, fire crackers and shaving cream stopped being flung at me. My startle response got a huge workout!!!!! Today we travelled in a teeny tiny plane into Rurrenabaque in the interior of Boliva. Jim is an unhappy flyer but with two rum and cokes and several happy pills he survived the flight and the landing on a grass landing strip AND the flight saved us a 15 hour bus ride on the Road of Death so named because it has more deaths than any other road in the world. One lane, unpaved and winding through the Andes and this is the rainy season!

Tonight we had an amazing supper next to a tributary of the Amazon and it was so beautiful as the sun dropped. Tomorrow we´re off for a three day pampas tour to see animal (and snakes!)

February 5th, 2008

Eleventh report from Peru.

Yesterday we again braved the Arica bus terminal and got a bus to LaPaz Boliva. The bus ride was nine hours and luckily I had a book in english (Eva Luna) that got me part of the way. I enjoyed the book because of the insite into South American politics and history. I enjoyed crossing the Andes, but later in the trip I was quite unsettling because of the clips of rock videos that went on and on and on and on. Part way, the bus stopped at a gas station and the bus porter empltied all the used foil snack boxes on the road for the dogs to clean out and the wind to disperse. Along the way we saw lots of laundry drying on top of sun dried mud walls. Clothes lines do not seem to be used here.

Then when we arrived in LaPaz, Carneval was in full tilt. Everything is closed, everyone is partying and shooting water pistols, cans of shaving cream and fire crackers. Although we walked two hours to the Canadian Consul this morning it doesn:t open until Wed (thankgoodness for lent) nor can we change any money or work on getting credit cards replaced and replace my cameral. Anyways we are seeing allot of LaPaz on foot.

And its an interesting, beautiful decaying city, built in a small valley between snowcapped peaks. Its the world's highest capital. Jim and I can both feel the altitude. We have a very sleezy place to crash but it has character, a window that opens, a door that looks, a bed and a bano. So life is good.

February 2nd, 2008


Tenth report from Peru.

Like all good adventures, there are up and there are downs. Yesterday we got to the Arica bus station at 7:45 ready to take the bus to LaPaz Bolivia. Jim went to the bano and I moved the two packs and two carry ons safely over beside two chairs. I put my carryon which had been on my shoulder and had camera, all my credit cards, paints, journal and travel book as well as tooth brush and hat on the seat next to me to reserve it for Jim. He came back and popped the bag onto the luggage pile beside him. Well it was the classic scam. One chap asked if we had change for a bill and we looked his way while his friend took off with my bag. I was so mad at myself. As well I had brought two different credit cards with us and had been keeping one in my tummybelt with my passport. However the night before we needed money and only mastercard would work in the machine and so my spare credit card (my back up was also in with my Visa) Poof. Everything was gone. The only good thing was that the very boring book of Art Essays by John Berger was also stolen.

Well we reported to police, we checked garbage cans and a day and a half later we are still trying to figure out a way to call Visa and Mastercard. We did connect with a random bank in Chile and the United States Army but we still can´t call Visa or Mastercard despite another day of trying. Today we also visited two police stations but they can not make these calls either. Somethings are impossible in Chile. So we are still in Arica and I have a new toothbrush and a new hat, and at our new hostel, I found a book in English called Travelling by the seat of your pants, a hillarous book of misadventures and travel. Until we figure out how to get money I will not be replacing the camera but in the meantime I have Jim´s little camera and his travel paints so all is okay. The heat is still quite unbearable. I didn´t know that my eye lids could sweat. I did finally solve the problem of sun screen in my eyes by only putting sunscreen on the nose downward. We also went for the most wonderful swim this afternoon. The beach is glorious, full of sand, the warm Pacific and rolling breakers. Quite a few young people were parasurfing and that certainly looked fantastic. I´d like to try it without the long flips while air-born!

January 30th, 2008


Ninth report from Peru.

Jim is still under the weather but we are in Chile and managed to climb the headland and view the military museum. He loved it but I always feel really sad that we are still solving the world´s problems by force instead of compromise and talk. After coming back to our hostel, I headed off to the fish market, I do love to take photos of dead fish. My favourite painting to date is probably the woman weighing fish in Thailand. This afternoon I put on my bathing suit and headed off to the beach. I was walking on the train tracks and when it crossed an area about 15 feet from the ground I just couldn´t do it. I tried twice but then gave up and headed up the hill to the road with a side walk.

I did have a lovely splash in the Pacific. Their were a whole lot of pelicans in the water. Also I got a great photo of a turkey vulture. I am minding the heat. Today my eyelids were sweating and dripping sun block into my eyes.

January 29th, 2008

Eighth report from Peru.

This is the first journal entry from Chile. we arrived in Arica earlier today from Tacna Peru. We checked out three hostels and eventually found one that we could stay in. We were sad to leave Arequipa because we had a terrific place to stay and we enjoyed the town. I spent one afternoon sketching a women selling her wares, knitting and embroidery. We did a bit more shopping and sent off a box of goodies home (so that I don´t have to lug that darn pot everywhere anymore) Unfortunately the shipping was over fifty dollars so we won´t be sending very many more boxes.

We took a bus through the desert yesterday and arrived in Tacna, after dark and tired and hungery. I find the bus rides really trying because they play loud movies and music videos in Spanish and there´s no escaping the noice. Today I managed to buy earplugs for the next bus ride.

Today we hired a car to get across the border. Actually the taxi man does all the work. He grabs onto you and in you get into his car and then you wait until the car is full and then off you go. The hostel in Arica Chile has the use of a kitchen and we went to the grocery store and I bought water, wine, beer, pop and milk (perhaps we are dehydrated?) as well as fruits and vegetables. I have been missing my fruits and vegetables. I washed everything in bottled water and had the best salad. I´m just hoping I don´t get sick. Then Jim settled in for a siesta and I set off walking. Eventually I got to the Pacific Ocean. What a treat after all those days of desert. The boats and wharfs are laden with Cormorants and lots of Pelicans did a fly by. Overhead there were three large black soaring birds- eagle or hawks of some kind.

We have at least tomorrow in Arica and perhaps we will stay longer. There are no "local people wearing wonderful outfits" here, everything is modern but there is the Pacific so perhaps tomorrow I´ll have my first dip in the Pacific. It´s too bad that we´re not staying close to the water as I find water so restful.beachinchile1

January 26th, 2008

Seventh report from Peru.

Well Jim and I spent a couple of days planning our trip to Colca Canyon and in the end it was totally different from what we planned but probably much better, certainly safer and easier since we weren´t hiking the canyon in the dark. We did have a wonderful hike yesterday afternoon but it was easy and enjoyable.

We were picked up yesterday at 8 am and once the van was filled we set off from Arequipa. Its a long drive higher and higher and higher and going took us five hours due to several stops. We saw hundreds of lama and alpaca and the smaller wild form called vicinia. The landscape initially is rolling mountainous rubble, quite without any trees. In the distance there were volcanoes and snow capped peaks. At one point we saw a south american wood pecker; obviously misnamed because he lives in a huge area where there is absolutely no wood. Upto about 4000 meters the landscape grows cactus. From 4000 meters to 4500 meters there are no cactus but there is a scruffy staw like plant that is used for thatching roofs. About 4500 meters (and we did get to 4830 meter) the only thing that grows is a sort of moss that grows a cm a year and looks a bit like a very green pillow. (of course we are in the rainly season right now so it may not be green most of the year.) After several hours of driving we left the rolling rubble and entered the Colca valley followed by the Colca canyon which is twice as deep as the grand canyon. The beauty was spectacular, huge and rugged and filled with tiny preIncan terraces, and the snow capped peaks in the background, and the river far far far down below at the bottom of the canyon. This morning we saw Condors soaring overhead!

Of course the highlight for the trip for me was watching the women and children. They milked cows, used pick axes, herded sheep and sat and washed their clothes in ditches, all the time wearing their fantastic traditional clothing. Woven skirts, embroidered blouses and vests and woven ponchos and then gorgeous embroidered hats. The people have long black braided hair, dark complexions, high cheek bones and distinctive noses and I just loved to watch them. When it wasn´t too intrusive my camera was clicking away. Thank goodness for the 10 time optical zoom as often I could capture the photo without disturbing the natural rhythym of the day.

January 24th, 2008


Sixth report from Peru.

Jim and I have had a wonderful day wandering around Aroquipa. It´s a beautiful city. Buildings in the old section are 400 hundred years old and despite four earthquakes over those centuries, they are all in wonderful condition now. This morning we toured the monestery of Santa Catalina. It´s a Unesco Heritage site and is basically a 400 year old walled city of 26 acreas. Here the daughters of the wealthy were given to the church to ensure everlasting life for the family. The size of the individual nuns quarters depended on how much money was donated. The nuns lived in isolation even from the other nuns and each had a maid that cooked and cleaned and freed them up to pray. I don´t know whether I am envious or nauseated.

Anyways the spaces were lovely and I took some wonderful photos of red geraniums on dark blue stuco, light coming in archways and narrow streets with flowers. Jim got a fantastic shot from the mens washroom. The shot might have been there for fourhundred years but I guarantee that the men´s washroom wasn´t. After our tour we did a bit of shopping. I have decided to send the pot home that I bought in Nasca and now I need to buy packing material!!!! Also I lost my hat yesterday and I needed to replace it. I got a fantastic peruvian hat. It is black flelt with orange embroidery all over the brim. I feel like a proud peacock when wearing it. Fortunately or unfortunately later in the day when booking tomorrows tour of Colca Canyon my old hat reappeared.

So we will be off to the canyon for the next three days. I have 60 soles tucked aside in case I just can´t do the 3.5 hour hike up hill and I have to hire a mule. This canyon is twice the depth of the Grand Canyon! On day two we hike for 7.5 hours (knowing me it will be much longer) so here´s hoping I can do it.

p.s. As I was walking down the street feeling glorious in my new hat a peruvian man said ¨Beunito Sombraro¨. My hat is definitely a beunito sombraro!!!!!

January 23rd, 2008

Fifth report from Peru.

Jim and I spent the night on a bus traveling through the most amazing mountain moonscape-like scenery on the way to Arequipa. The bus passed every other vehicle except other buses despite the fact that the road was continuous switchbacks up and down and around with very very dramatic drop offs. Most of the area had no vegetation but every now and again there would be a valley filled with lush green, set against the brown rumbly rock set again snow capped volcanoes. I would suppose that snow capped volcanoes would ensure that they are no longer active. Upon our arrival at 9 am we caught a taxi to our first choice for a hostel from our tour book. It was too expensive so without looking at the room we left. Lucky we did because the hostel manager followed us out and offered us the same room for 40 soles ($15) less and we snapped it up. It´s in an old grand cas right in the centre of Arequipa and all the local sites are within walking distance. It is really nice to visit a town without the destruction and total devistation of an earthquake, although this place has had it´s share of earthquakes as well.womanknittinginaraquipa23

January 22nd, 2008


Fourth report from Peru.

Jim and I have had the past two days hiking around Nasca. We set out for the mountains but arrived at the river. The river is fast and low and only runs in Jan Feb and Mar. It was filled with familes trying to get cool by laying in the water. Older women in dresses were laying on the river bottow. Groups of old men, young men and little boys were laying on the river bottom. It was certainly hot enought that I could have easily joined them. Today we visited a potter and it was just fasinating how she made her pots. Her glaze brushes were ball point pens with babies hair for bristles. Now in addition to my pack and a bag with painting supplies and camera etc I am lugging a pot. Tonight we are leaving the desert coastal area and taking an overnight bus to Arequipa our first stop in the mountian.

January 21st, 2008

Third report from Peru.

It was thirty-two years ago today that my Mom died. I still miss her and feel her influence. Due to our illnesses we decided to spend an extra day in this lovely oasis of Hachachina. Yesterday I did two sketches, one of the luguna and one a reflection of the umbrellas in the swimming pool. Then we set out by tuk tuk to Ica. The regional museum there was excellent. We saw textiles and ceramics spaning the four cultures from 1600bc until the Incas in 1500 ad. Certainly the craft tradition is highly developed here and the works are very beautiful. The pieces on display were all cerimonial pieces found buried with mummies. The mummies as well were on display. My stomach was still feeling queezy and I thought it might be hunger

From my guide book of 2001, we located a restauant and got a tuk tuk to take us there. It was a big cement hall with a few Peruvians eating at plastic tables and a small band was playing. The guitarist singer was very good and the passion of the latin american music came through even though we couldn´t understand a word. The menu was totally in Spanish and noone had any English. I though I ordered a vegetarian lunch´sans carne. To my surprise I got a huge lump of chewy beef and a dish of lima beans and guinea pig. This is all part of the experience of travel. Today we are leaving this area and travelling down the trans american highway by bus to Nasca. We will both miss the relaxed peacefulness of the oasis.relfectionathalkachina6

January 19th, 2008

Second report from Peru.

Jim and I were down and out for a couple of days with illness but yesterday we were both mobile enough to pack up and move on from Pisco. Pisco was so noicy, a cacophony of sound, 24 hours a day and the dust, destruction and devistation were too hard to bear while also being ill. We arrived at Hakachina a lovely oasis in the dessert. Luckily the first hostel we went to l checked out the room before letting the taxi go and we opted to spend alittle more and have a window. Hopefully we will also not have bed bugs. We are covered in bites. Our hostel is luxurious and quiet and has a huge huge sand dune just behind it. Last night while we were playing cards and sipping wine there was another after shock from the quake. I really wonder about all that sand.

This morning at 7 we set out hiking up the mountain of sand. I´m sure Jim was back having breakfast before I huffed and puffed my way to the top. But what an incredible experience to be on the top of a narrow sand ridge looking almost vertically down at the tiny oasis in the distance. This morning we took a tour of three Ica bodidas, ie wineries. Again we travelling through allot of area that was leveled by the earth quake. It is hard to rationalize the luxury, quiet and cleanliness of the oasis with the life that many Peruvians are forced to lead especially as a result of the enormous earth quake last August.

Not much painting the last couple of days but the camera is clicking and I am starting to feel better. I have been drawing the parrots in my journal and I certainly am having a hard time with them. They are wonderful, colourful, takative and they never seen to stand still.

desert7sea21      Ilsedebalistraide32

January 16th, 2008

First report from Peru.

Jim and I have been here a week and it´s been very very interesting as well as extremely warm.

Yesterday was a hard long interesting day. Jim volunteered to build houses again and I went to the school project. We were to meet up at 6 at the volunteer headquarters. I should have know it would be an interesting day when I had to carry a humongous maul to the school site. As well we had to hitch hike to the site. It was all I could do to carry it. Thankfully when we started work one of the younger strong women smashed concrete for the morning to lower the floor level before pouring the cement. I got a relatively easy job of straightening reebar and weaving supports for the cement floor.Joy 1397 The cement mixer that had been ordered for the day arrived an hour late and then was broken for five hours. But then suddenly it was fixed. I have never worked so hard in my life, shovelling cement and sand and gravel, nonstop until the floor was done!!!! Unfortunately I had better get lots of credit for this effort since my doctor now recommends that I refrain from such labout. I really did enjoy being a cog with all the young strong volunteers from all over the world.
E and mixer_1402
After the floor was poured it was getting dark and David the organizer behind Hands On distaster Relief bought us some beer. Then he and his friend left. Quite a little party ensued and of course having no idea where we were I had to wait until it was over. Then we walked to the highway and hithhiked back to volunteer central. Sparky our volunteer dog raced after the truck. this was my first ride in the back of a truck!!!! Anyways Jim was no where to be found at volunteer central This didn´t bother me because I was two hours late but now I had to get a tuk tuk back to our hostel and I didn´t know the name of the hostel. Advice here is to always know where you are staying. Anyways I did recognize the place in a guide book and one of the chaps with a bit of Spanish helped me flag a tuk tuk. Luckily he was there because when another man also hopped in he got his out yelling Solo Solo. On the way back the tuk tuk ran out of gas but no more men tried to hop in and eventually I made it back safely.. Jim unfortunately had only worked to lunch time when he was hit with the trots. He´s spent today trotting, while I´ve been sketching the market.

The market is a kalidoscope of site sound and smells. Streets that sell only nails, streets that sell rope or fish or chickens, or vegetables. The colour and confusion is all superimposed on the rubble and destruction of the earth quake. At one point a umpapa band came down the street. It was a funeral procession. A hearse covered in flowers, men carrying the coffin and then a huge crowd walking followed by the trumpets and drums. I think I´d like trumpets and drums and umpapa for my funeral!!!!!

doorinpisco22  piscoearthquake25market8  wheelbarrows26boatsinpisco29

January 2nd, 2008


Happy New Years to you all! Yesterday was sunny and the snow was glorious. The shadows were so blue.SnowJan12008 I have always loved to paint snow with watercolours because you don't use any white paint. You just paint the shadows and the paper turns into snow. In 1983 after several years of painting white flowers on white paper I switched to painting white snow on white paper. Lately my paintings have been saturated with colour but the capturing of white on white with no white paint still intrigues me. Today we are having another blizzard and the day is grey- particularly depressing since I've spent the day dismantling all the lovely Christmas decorations. I guess the holiday is truly over. I did keep a bunch of little angels and creatures out in the studio. I just might paint them

November 30th, 2007


A little exhibition, “Spread the Warmth” opens tonight in Truro at the Community College Library. It runs until Dec 9. Initially, I was not excited about my contribution to this group exhibition. It is hard on the heals of this year’s October Open House and in the meantime, I’ve had a small exhibition that looked wonderful at “Jim’s Place” ( a Truro cafe that we love to frequent). I’ve also been battling some sort of pneumonia and I’ve survived another three day workshop. I kept thinking “How did I get myself into this one?”; especially when the organizer said that she wanted 25 to 30 paintings from me. However, I was committed to this exhibition and I couldn’t imagine doing it without terrific (in my own opinion at least) new work. Somehow, through focus, sheer hard work AND “Empty Head Space”, I’ve managed to put together a little show that I’m proud of. All of the paintings are this years and eleven are brand new and have never been exhibited before.

The last painting was conceived in the night on Wednesday, then painted during the day and framed and delivered yesterday. This painting, “View from Economy Mountain” is based loosely on a view I saw on the way to Ship’s Company Theatre one evening a year and a half ago. The evening light was streaming down. Even though we didn’t have any time to spare, we pulled the car over and I took a bunch of photos as painting references. On Wednesday night while lying in bed, giving myself some “Empty Head Space”, I thought of this glorious sky and the image seemed to demand to be painted in a long narrow format. The first sky that I painted was very nice, almost terrific, and I went ahead and painted the foreground. When the painting was almost done I decided that the sky wasn’t quite dark enough and, despite the big chance of wrecking the image, I went in with a second attempt for glorious. This time I felt that I’d nailed it.Five Islands

All in all, when I look at the eleven new half sheet paintings for this current little exhibition “Spread the Warmth”, I am surprised and pleased. 
The subjects are diverse, ranging from a woman and child in Peru to a still life of chairs and cushions.

Often by allowing myself an “Empty Head Time” the ideas just present themselves. Then with additional “Empty Head Time” the ideas strengthen and develop. An example of this was Tuesday’s painting. During my most recent workshop, one of the participants used one of my photo’s of Spain of blue shutters and a window box. I remembered well the day a couple of years ago when I sat in the Spanish village street and painted this image on location.. I fished out photos of this window and a photo of the painting.

stidop with geranium
geraniumsa_textmediumI started a half sheet studio painting. In the night, I was mulling over the idea and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to move right in on the window and I wanted a glorious sun dappled geranium against the dark shutters. In Ontario this summer, I had taken a photo of just such a geranium. I also have pots of ivy and of geraniums about the house so I dragged them into my little studio as well. By giving myself some “Empty Head Space” the ideas of this painting just sort of appeared.

Especially with Christmas approaching, “Empty Head Space” is not always something that is easy to give oneself. My head is often filled with “I should do this and that and visit here and there and shop and clean and cook and decorate......................................... In order for our creativity to thrive, we have to step back from all the “should dos” and just breath and be and give ourselves the gift of “Empty Head Space”. It is into this space that ideas flow.

“Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas season”

October 4th, 2007

Tower at Saint's Rest


Today I have to stop painting and start hanging the Open House Exhibition. It's always a big job but it gives me the chance once a year to have everything hung in just the right places instead of just filling in spots after paintings are sold. Also this is Thanksgiving this weekend and I have so much to be thankful for. I will certainly make time to sit back and enjoy a day off! When I was out scouting around for something to paint yesterday I viewed this tower built by a former painting student of mine. I loved it's whimsy!  

October 2nd, 2007


Autumn is here and the colours are starting.  Yesterday, as I was checking out views at Little Bass, I saw the marsh, the beautiful low tide (quickly coming in and changing) and the hint of Autumn colours in the trees.
I sat right down and this is the result
Oct 2 Little Bass
Then on the way home from painting, I spied an old wooden chair that someone had put out for cleanup day.  I hop out and stuffed it onto the front seat of my Beetle.  I thought that sanded and painted a glorious nasturtium red and with my new hooked nasturtium piece on the seat, it will be a glorious chair.  And it seemed so fitting to have a garbage chair and recycled wool blankets find new life as a functional piece of art.

September 27th, 2007

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Well, I am tremendously pleased with the book"Following the Vision". On the way to the launch in Halifax, I was worried about whether my paintings would be reproduced to my standards and whether "my" chapter would by a solid addition to the book. I was totally satisfied and I loved all the essays and the art work of the other five artists. So much of Tom Forrestal's essay rang true with me. Being an artist is never an easy road. We strive for perfection and have to be satisfied with being human. (And as I was driving the shore yesterday I found some little lawn lighthouses that I must tell Heather MacLeod about).

September 16th, 2007

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Lots of stuff that I wanted to put in the journal has happened lately but I’ve been too busy painting to stop and write it down. One day recently I was sitting on the edge of the bank in Soley Town capturing the low tide in paint when suddenly I realized that it was four hours later and what I was looking at was high tide! I stopped the low tide painting and did a high tide one. Then after finishing high tide, I went back and finished low tide.


 Also last week, I painted my favourite porch in Great Village. One of the best parts of painting here is having tea and a chin wag with Donalda. This particular day, she had a small bouquet of nasturtiums. I was gob smacked with the colours. I couldn’t get them out of my mind. Since then, I’ve been photographing nasturtiums, painting nasturtiums and dying wool to hook nasturtiums.



This morning I was finally forced to sit in one spot.my_on_asthma_machine_painti_textmedium My asthma is out of control and has been for several weeks and I haven’t made time to stop and use my asthma machine.

This morning I was forced to have twenty minutes sitting in my chair in the bedroom. There was this wonderful early morning light on the marsh. I started with a quick sketch in my journal

quick sketch of view from bed room

While I was doing it, I knew it needed to be in colour and so I got my purse paints and captured the light. Already the lighting has completely changed and that elusive early morning glow is gone. 

September 6th, 2007

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Jim knows I have a list of stuff I want to do before I die and he's definitely trying to help me cross stuff off the list. One day I said "I always wanted to go to Pictou Island.". Before I knew it we were getting up at 4:30 am to catch the 7 am ferry over to the island. And what a fabulous day we happened to choose. The sea was calm. The day was warm but not too warm and once it got light the sky was clear. We visited four beaches on the Island and never saw another person. We walked and explored the lanes, the cemetary, the shoreline. When we go hiking and camping, Jim is the chief packerupper and cook! I love this. Even if I am not really fond of instant noodles- I love it if someone else is responsible for the food and cooking. By five pm when we caught the ferry back to the mainland, my feet were so sore but it was definitely worth every bit of it. Next time we do a trip like this I will remember to wear my hiking boots not sneakers. It was a wonderful long day of exploring and relaxing. 

August 30th, 2007

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Here I was sitting on the edge of the cliff in Soley Town painting Soleytownlowtide

the gloriouse low tide when suddenly I realized that what I was looking at was a glorious high tide. Where had the hours gone? I immediately stopped working on the low tide painting and did a quarter sheet high tide painting.


 Then I went back and finished the low tide painting. These are the thrills and challenges of painting on the Bay of Fundy! 

August 22nd, 2007

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Yesterday I spent the day soaking in all the beauty of Partridge Island. When I first arrived at the area it was the strong light and shadows on the island that caught my attention.  Then I discovered these chairs and the cottager wasn't home so I plunked myself down on their little deck and got to work.  While I painted the tide came in and covered the fish weir and the light and shadows changed but I think I caught the feeling that I was looking for.

        Chairs at Partridge Island

August 18th, 2007

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"What impact does one's internalized childhood scenery have on an artists mature work in a different landscape?" I attempted to explore this idea by returning to Georgian Bay, Ontario for two weeks of painting.  It's been thirty-five years since I moved to Nova Scotia and several years before that since I last painted in Grey County with my mother.Owen Sound friendsem  Going "Home" is always fraught with emotion- especially since "Home" is really childhood family. With both my Mom and Dad gone and no relatives in the area, my childhood home is missing an essential ingredient.  Luckily, I have a bunch of wonderful friends that although I don"t see often, I still feel very close to.  They stood in as family.

Also this trip was a chance to paint and to be alone and to think about Georgian Bay and Grey County and Owen Sound and it's continued influences on my life and work in Nova Scotia.  At first I was worried that nothing would call out to be painted.  I took the pressure off myself by accepting that if this indeed were to be the case, then that in itself would provide clues to my initial question.
Joy Floatingem
  Of course once I relaxed and took the pressure off to find brilliant subjects and do perfect paintings, there was lots that I wanted to try to capture.  The water of Georgian Bay was so blue and so clear that I really enjoyed watching, painting in it, and with it and swimming in it.

The trees and rocks were lush and green and everyday was sunny
It was this dappled light and shadow that caught my eye every time.

Yesterday after almost a week back in Nova Scotia getting caught up I was back in the studio and the first idea I wanted to explore was curved cedar trunks with Georgian Bay in behind.