Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A mysterious tree

I discovered this tree in a forest. It appears that the sides are painted white. I can't imagine anyone would have trekked into this forest with a can of white paint to do this. The only other possibility that I can think of is the tree attempting to appear thinner. A freak of nature or an Andy Goldsworthy at work?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Late summer grasses

All summer these grasses have grown in very uniform lines but recently the wind has blown them every which way.
At least I think it was the wind.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Babe's Honey Farm

I visited a honey farm yesterday and while I took quite a few photographs, strangely none were of bees.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My First Birthday

I celebrated my first birthday by, I am told, walking for the first time. I like to think that I toddled out into a field although in reality I was probably carried there and plopped down. But however I arrived there it was then and has always been a place that I love to be. In a field, surrounded by grasses and wild flowers, close to the water, is perfection for me. At the age of one I knew where I wanted to be. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Moss Street Market

The neighbourhood market is in full swing now. Produce, food, crafts and live music make it a fun destination every saturday morning. Last week edible flowers encased in clear packages looked pretty and ready to adorn a salad.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blake Matthews

June 28, 1910 - January 13, 2000
My father would have been 100 years old today. He lived a long and good life, dying just a few months before his 90th birthday. He was a gentle man, quiet and witty. He loved skiing, dancing, camping, sketching, big band music, desserts and sherry. He worked as a salesman most of his life but told me once that he would have liked to have been a draftsman. I could easily imagine him in that profession. He always sketched and we spent many lovely times together drawing outdoors. This pen and ink drawing was done by Blake's son-in-law, Gordon Pritchard.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Singular Objects-The Broken Bowl

I keep this bowl on a shelf in my studio, an example of the beauty of imperfection. It is very old and at one time in its long life it was broken. Whoever owned the bowl then thought it worthwhile to repair. At that time, before the advent of epoxy and polyester resins, the method of repair was the use of rivets or metal clamps fitted through drilled holes to hold the broken pieces together. This method seems to add more destruction to an already damaged item, the contrast of materials...metal against delicate china, is striking.
And yet, despite the unsympathetic restoration, I love this bowl. It has survived, with help. If I had broken the bowl I would have trashed it. At one point in my life that is what I would have done, but not now. I am thankful to the person who thought that this broken bowl was salvageable. It is still beautiful. perhaps even more beautiful now. And it is something that I treasure.

Friday, April 30, 2010


When I looked at this photograph I was surprised to see how the tree trunk blended in with the surrounding rocks, lichen and moss. I can't decide if it is the tree or the background that is camouflaged.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ghost Trees

The branches are coated with lichen making the trees appear ghostly white although they are very much alive and about to burst into leaf.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trees and Fences

Late winter is an excellent time to photograph one of my favourite subjects...trees and fences. Recently I have been thinking about why I am so captivated by this subject. I think it is very simple, I admire the tenacity of nature, the strength to overcome barriers and adversity. I can learn a lot from looking at a tree and a chain link fence.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pen and Ink Drawings

I have recently been going through some of my old artwork. It is helpful for me to look at what I have done in the past, to see how my drawing has evolved. I used to do freelance illustrations for magazines, advertising and brochures. Drawings of plants and food were always my favourite assignments and that is what I began to specialize in. Because these drawings were for reproduction I worked in pen and ink, using a technical pen....a Marsmatic made by Staedtler. The nibs, which could be bought separately, ranged in size from 3, 2, 1, 0,00,000 and 0000. I was gradually using a finer and finer nib and when I reached 0000, the finest available, I began to think that I might have become a little obsessive. I found it amazing that a droplet of ink could actually come out of the nib but reproduction became a problem, the line breaking and appearing disjointed. I have since stopped using a technical pen but it is fun for me to see these old drawings. Maybe it's going against my nature but I would like to work in a looser way and that is something I constantly struggle with and work towards. Maybe not wearing my glasses and a  glass of wine might help, I'll give it a try.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Forest Floor

I have been looking up at trees and missing what was at my feet.
The pattern of a bracket fungus on a fallen log was right there.
All I had to do was look down.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Trees and Ropes

An urban tree draped in heavy rope, no idea why.
I liked it for the contrasting textures and because
it is a mystery. And another tree decorated with a
frayed rope.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Trees and Surroundings

The relationship between trees and their surroundings is a theme that continues to interest me. As with any relationship, the arrangement between nature and a man made structure is continually changing with aspects of adjustment, compromise, patience...a struggle for dominance. Naturally I am rooting for nature, in her sometimes slow determination and sometimes in her more energetic need to overcome and obscure obstacles.
Because I live in a city, the trees that I observe on my walks do not stand alone, they are but one element in relationship with their surroundings. It is this relationship that is of interest to me.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Harling Point Rock and Chain

My daily walks are usually within a five kilometer radius of home and since I live close to the ocean approximately half of that radius is water, so unless I am out in my kayak what I find and document is found in a relatively small area. And yet almost every day I discover something new and exciting. This is a photograph taken in Harling Point, a place that I return to again and again. It holds a feeling of serenity and mystery for me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Darling Snowdrops of January

Here is my interpretation of the Darling Snowdrops of May, done in graphite and watercolour.

Drifts of snowdrops line the paths and lanes that I walk along. I like the contrast in this photograph, the roughness of the tree bark, the pattern of pinecones and the delicacy of snowdrops.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


White snowberries floating on delicate stems have
an ethereal beauty in the winter months.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One year later

The first item on my 2009 list of goals was to begin a blog. My plan was to illustrate and document, with photographs, drawings and watercolours, the natural world that I discover on my daily walks and further afield. I thought I would write a bit, but not too much, letting the images reveal my vision. I have discovered that my life long love of lanes, vacant lots, fields and waysides has endured and grown even stronger. I have discovered that while at times tempted and at times feeling negligent, I really don't want to draw pretty flowers and I won't. But I think weeds and wisps are pretty so I guess I do draw them after all. Just no roses, or azaleas or rhododendrons or......
I find it funny to look through the archives, fifteen posts in the months of January, February and March, ten posts for the next three months, seven in the next two, five in the following three and only one so far this month. LIfe can be art but it can also get in the way of art at times – more life, less art seems to be the rule. I like to think that life and art are one but that is not always the case, at least it isn't for me.
Although this was a year's project I have decided to continue. I have a lot of ideas and am looking forward to the new year. I plan to document and write about more of what I love, not only nature but other things that make me smile.
I have chosen to post the first photograph that I posted last January. I was new to photography then and I can clearly remember the thrill of being able to capture what I was seeing and feeling.
I would like to thank all of you who have found this blog and had a look, and to those who have become followers and have left comments, a special thank you. Susan

Friday, December 11, 2009

Goldstream Park

I visited Goldstream Park this week in search of the bald eagles that arrive each year around this time to feast on dead salmon. Either I was too early or too late, none were to be seen. But I did see a muskrat, two elegant young deer walked silently by and a walk through a cold rocky stream led me to this view. It took my breath away. It's called Niagara Falls which I thought was funny.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Field

I visited the field again recently, it was just as beautiful and as wet as I had remembered. I think the only way I can get closer is to wear either a wetsuit or hip waders that go up to my shoulders. If I hold the camera above my head I should be ok, it's worth a try.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brussel Sprouts

I haven't always been fond of sprouts but over the years I have grown to enjoy them, to eat and to draw. This drawing was done life size in graphite and painted with watercolours. I didn't really pile them like this but I thought it was a fun arrangement for their portrait.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trees and Fences

Searching for examples of tree and fence relationships has become a fun part of my daily walks. The search has led me to new areas of exploration, on foot and creatively. In this example it seems that the chain link fence was originally adapted to the existing tree but over time the tree has grown and happily begun to devour the fence.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Oak Bay Marina Seals

My daily walk often includes a visit to the Oak Bay Marina to watch the resident seals. Resident because they can always be assured of some tasty treats thrown their way. But they have to be 
quick, seagulls have also discovered this spot for a free lunch. 

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Salmon Run

I witnessed an amazing and very emotional sight this week, thousands of pacific salmon swimming upstream to their home pools, to spawn and to die. Photography proved to be difficult, the fish are indistinguishable in the water...however dead salmon on the shore, while a startling image, were much easier to photograph.
Bald eagles will soon descend to feast on the fish carcasses.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rampant Ivy

Ivy framing the trash cans looks like it might eventually 
completely engulf them. It can be a problem in gardens and 
forests, but down the lane ivy provides a useful purpose.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


While out on my daily walk I see a variety of items placed on lawns with a free sign but this was the first time I had seen a home owner try to give away the telephone pole that was in front of their house.
I must return to see if it was taken.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn Patterns

This perfectly random arrangement of fallen leaves and reflections was on the hood of a blue car.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Down the Lane

While my daughter was taking saturday morning swimming lessons I would walk up and down the neighbourhood lanes.  I was new to photography and still trying to understand all the settings. I now have a digital camera and life and art is much much easier. This is one of the photos I took then and have scanned. I like the roughness of it and after many years I am still walking up and down lanes.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rock in Tree

I am always looking for examples of tree and rock arrangements but this was a little bit different. I don't know if the rock was placed there or if it grew up with the tree, but the effect was stunning, and funny.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Vines and Fences

A white fence being devoured by a voracious vine.
The little cut out in the fence is fun, can you find it?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Down the Lane

I am continuing walking down lanes and find myself continually fascinated with the relationships between fences and in this case rocks. It is the simplist of images but what caught my eye was the splatter of white paint on one of the rocks and the shadows.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Landscape with Grasses

For most of my life I have been focussed on detailed studies of nature, but in the past year I have looked up and through the lens of a camera I have begun to look at and to document the bigger picture. I have always found landscapes to be overwhelming, there is just so much visual information that I haven't known how or where to start.
This is a beginning.