Back Door Roses

Have you ever seen inspiration growing?

Take a look!

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Climbing Roses blooming by our back door were  photographed  today.  They provided the inspiration for the watercolour you will find under FLORALS.  (The original is still available.)

As mentioned in the write-up about this painting, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, known as “the great conciliator,” became Prime Minister of Canada in 1896, and served for 15 years.

One of the two universities in the twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo where I live is named after him:  Wilfrid Laurier University, a.k.a. WLU.  


Log Removal

Fabtek operator, Jay Peters, hails from Arthur.  (Wish he had pushed that twig away from his face.)

His twelve years of experience expertly guides the control levers.   He’s a pro!

The picker-upper equipment is agile . . . and certainly doesn’t have rheumatism!

The ‘closed fist’ of the jaws pushes the logs down to avoid wasting space.

Seven logs in one ‘mouthful!’  Yes, Sir!

A word from “Jaws”—-  Weve got a full load now, but I might as well hang onto this ‘mouthful’ while we head through the woods to unload our cargo.  Every log counts, you know.

I love my work!  It’s pretty neat knowing that these logs will be sawn up and become useful in the construction industry!  Who knows?  Maybe they will provide wainscotting for your future rec room, knots and all!  That’s what this blogger has in her rec room.

Working Mothers

Friends took us on a tour this week of the St. Jacobs countryside where they were both raised, and we enjoyed driving down the lane to both of their former homesteads.  One lane was a half-mile long!  By the beautiful white-brick farmhouse, with a bay window on the ground floor that continued up to the second storey, the car was turned off so we could listen to the sheltered stillness.

Our quest was to see bluebirds.  Arriving at the bluebird house our friends had been assured had babies, my husband dutifully trundled out the  tripod for my camera.

However, a wary mother bluebird was not impressed with our intrusion, and absolutely refused to go to her nursery.  She hung onto the green worm in her beak, flew hither and yon, but always returned to the hydro wire, not the nesting box.

Next time, we’ll mind our manners and stay in the car, and let mother bluebird care for her young in peace.

Down another farm lane, we came upon a frustrated mother oriole.  The farmer had put up a woven ‘string fence’ alongside his strawberry patch.  Mother oriole was tugging at the string, and going into all sorts of contortions, which gave us a glimpse of her vivid, golden underside.

I just know there’s enough string here to build my entire nesting bag.  I’m plumb tuckered out!  No matter how hard I tug, the silly old string won’t let go.  Must be that wretched nylon stuff.  

Give me that old fashioned twine any day, and I’ll show you how to weave a nest in no time flat! 

“Yea, the sparrow has found a house” Psalm 84:3a

After planting impatients around the upper bird bath, we rested on the swing.  Our conversation went something like this:

The chickadees’ eggs must have hatched,” said Lloyd.  “They’re both flying in and out with something in their beaks.”

Chickadees’ Nursery














“I wonder why no one wants the chalet bird house in the old walnut tree?” I said.

And then . . . zoom-m-m!!  Mother Sparrow landed on the chalet’s perch . . . and I grabbed the camera.

It looks pretty good to me













What do you think?














Better check it out















Father Sparrow led the way.  They  popped inside, one after the other.

“I hope they can get out again,” worried my husband.

The hole should be bigger











Lloyd hauled out the step ladder and gathered some tools.  After rasping the hole larger, he didn’t have the wire attached to rehang it before Mother Sparrow returned . . . and claimed her house!

They’re here! They’re here!

Yes, Sir, the Ten Little Puffins have flown all the way from Newfoundland to greet you!

Fascinating would be an understatement when trying to describe the ways of these birds of the sea!

And wait till you hear what they sound like!  You’re in for a big surprise.

Learn more about the puffins of Newfoundland as you listen in to Mother Puffin’s advice to her wee puffling.  I don’t think she’ll mind.

(Check out the Seascapes prints.  Original available.)

Drying in the studio

The painting of “Ten Little Puffins” is drying in the studio, and will soon be photographed.  While they are fairly modest birds, I overheard one puffin admitting that he can hardly wait to hear what you think when you see his handsome springtime beak!

In the meantime, the puffin under the rock (watch out for this little guy) let it slip that the artist who brushed them into life is preparing to paint her absolutely most favourite of all spring wildflowers:

Dutchman’s Breeches

Preparing for the “Birth” of SEA BREEZE

Lloyd made this mother mould to support the silicon rubber mould.  The larger hole indicates the position of the horse’s ear.  Pouring will be done through the smaller hole.

Mother Mould









Lloyd is mixing the two components for the silicon rubber mould.








Pouring moulding silicon rubber into cavity between master sculpture and mother mould.






Completed silicon rubber mould.  Lloyd will brush in casting material impregnated with either bronze or marble dust.  

And Now There Are Ten!

I was ready to work on the waves dashing against the rocky shore in the foreground . . . when two more puffins flew in!

One returned to her burrow under a rocky shelf on the right, and sat peeking out from its dark entrance.

The other joined his comrades on the centre rocks, standing with his back toward me.  I’ll try to capture the sheen of his dark plumage in spite of his rudeness.

This makes ten little puffins in all, and Pete, my studio companion, apologizes that the late arrivals have caused yet another delay in showing his kinsfolk to you.  Why puffins don’t have the decency to arrive on time is more than I’ll ever know!

Meet My “Pal” from Newfoundland

My Pal from Newfoundland

On New Year’s Eve, we had friends over for dinner and an evening of croquinole.  It turned out that the wife was the mystery donor of the puffin that flew to my door a few months ago!  Of course, I took them to the studio so they could see Pete the Puffin, and also have a peek at the puffin painting.

Pete  sits on the edge of the sewing machine not far from my easel.  His delightful arrival and his presence in the studio has actually been an encouragement while I have been painting his “kinsfolk!”  I was delighted to learn that he was purchased a few years ago while they were on a visit to Newfoundland, which makes him authentic.

Listen!  Pete is trying to say something:

 Keep an eye on the blog.

You will soon be getting a peek at my relatives,

all eight of them!


Working a Welding Wonder

Working on our front porch on one of the loveliest pre-winter days, a friend of Lloyd’s, a professional welder, joined a steel rod onto a pipe.  It will form part of a hoist Lloyd is constructing to help lift the horse sculpture in its heavy mould up and out of the cement mixer.


I never tire of looking at WIND IN MY MANE:





A Puffin’s Company

I have a pretty good idea who couriered the puffin to our door, and left its delightful greetings . . . but they won’t fess up . . . in spite of two email inquiries . . . so the mystery is still intact.


In the meantime, Pete, the patient Puffin, sits on the corner of the sewing machine in the studio, keeping me company.  He wishes I’d quit dabbing and scraping on the rocks and concentrate on his cousins instead.

Splashing Through the Crags – Dec. 14, 2010

Splashing Through the Crags was set aside while I jumped through hoops . . . preparing for my husband’s surprise 75th birthday celebration on December 4th.

Sending out invitations, baking, buying supplies, wrapping favours, creating name tags, designing a quiz, preparing two boards of pictures depicting Lloyd’s 75 years, hunting down recipes for hors d’oeuvres (and making them) was all done on the sly! Special friends helped carry it off, and Lloyd was TOTALLY surprised!


The party room in our son’s condo in downtown Kitchener accommodated about 50 all told.



Some of the guests


 Daughter Joanna, Eleanor, Granddaughter Rebekah,       Son John, Lloyd

Now that I am no longer working undercoverfrom dawn to dark, it’s great to get back into the studio, brushing some of Newfoundland’s rugged grandeur onto canvas!


Hopefully, the right-hand rock face will get some attention this week.

Splashing Through the Crags – October 19, 2010

The painting took a back seat while we were busy preparing for winter. Deciding to take the goldfish indoors rather than keeping an air hole open for them in the pond throughout the snowy months, Lloyd patiently worked at netting them.


Their temporary home was a large pail topped with lily pads so they could relax while the temperature of the pond water in the bucket became the same as the temperature inside the house.


On top of the thick layer of pebbles on the bottom of the aquarium, we arranged some of the corals collected during the years we served with Trans World Radio on the island of Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. Roots of live water plants were buried in the pebbles, as well as a piece of Bonaire driftwood and a couple of sea fans.


What fun we had arranging the white shells in the black stand below the aquarium!


Meanwhile . . . in the painting . . . you can see that the water has begun cascading through the crags!


Hopefully, by next week, the habitat surrounding the waterfalls will begin to appear in the painting.  Its green canopy beckons some 239 species of birds to the hills of Gros Morne. Those fortunate enough to hike here may see anything from featherweight warblers to 40-ton whales.

Splashing Through the Crags – October 7, 2010

(No. 2 in series of 5 Newfoundland paintings)

Sorry to be late in getting this posted. When Tuesday rolled around, I didn’t like the crags in the right part of the painting’s background, so began bulldozing them around. They still need more work, but I’ll let them dry a bit before inserting more cracks and crevises.


These blogs show the work in progress . . . which sometimes makes me cringe!

No doubt you noticed in the first painting that the waterfalls changed its location between postings. It seemed to fit better a little further back.

In the spring, the woodland caribou head up these ridges to upland plateaus which provide perfect birthing areas for rearing their young. Large patches of unmelted snow furnish a constant supply of succulent new plant growth. The herds move down into the forested lower elevations during the winter months.


At the moment, the waterfalls in this painting are just a blah outline on stark white canvas. Hopefully, by next week, the waterfalls will be splashing joyfully downward . . . causing you to rejoice in its musical tumblings!

Splashing Through the Crags – Sept. 28, 2010

I’ll let the crags dry before attempting to smudge on the mist that rises from the base of the waterfalls. This painting will portray a mightier waterfalls than depicted in the first in the series as the volume of water is much greater.


On the north side of Gros Morne Park, the town of Rocky Harbour on the coast was lovely, and our first B&B experience in Newfoundland.


Norris Point. Don’t you love it?


Later, on the way up to St. Anthony’s, we drove through Sally’s Cove, St. Paul’s, and Cow Head in Gros Morne National Park. However, time didn’t permit us to visit the towns on its south side: Woody Point, Glenburnie, Winterhouse Brook, Shoal Brook, Birchy Head, and Trout River.

Six overnights scheduled for Newfoundland just weren’t enough!

I would have liked to see the Atlantic Salmon in the river that surfaces from an underground cave, and also the pioneer village depicting the early 1900s.

Hopefully, the middle ridge in the above painting will look a lot different by next Tuesday.

Splashing Through the Crags! – Sept. 24, 2010

(No. 2 in Series of 5 Newfoundland Paintings)

Arriving at the inland dock of Gros Morne, one is delightfully aware that he is embarking on a sight-seeing voyage of remarkable beauty.

Dock in Gros Morne

Westbrook III is heading into the fiords.

Westbrook III is heading into the fiords

Westbrook III

Typical snow-filled gullies spawn numerous waterfalls.

Typical snow-filled gullies spawn numberous waterfalls

Below you are witnessing the birth of “Splashing Through the Crags” sketched onto a 20” x 16” canvas. Is it possible to pick out the waterfalls?

1st sketch of Splashing Through The Gullies

A light wash removes the white of the canvas. Now the fun begins! You’ll have to wait until next Tuesday to see how much of this canvas comes to life !

1st light wash removes the white from the canvas

Gros Morne, Sept. 14, 2010

Here we are aboard Westbrook II, exploring Gros Morne.

Exploring Gros Morne

Excitement builds as each snow-fed waterfall comes into view.

Some waterfalls had unbelievable (and unrepeatable) names!

This rock formation was called The Tin Man.  Do you see his face?

Tin Man rock formation

The 20″ x 16″ oil-on-canvas painting below is now finished.  The original will be available, as well as limited editions on canvas or paper.


Check back next Tuesday to see the beginnings of the next Gros Morne painting . . . a close-up of a churning waterfall high up in the craggy cliffs!

Gros Morne – Aug. 31

A visit to Gros Morne changed the diminished expectations we held because of the over-used reference to Newfoundland as “the rock.”  The shaded area in the map below marks Gros Morne, the second largest national park in Atlantic Canada, totalling some 697 square miles of unspoiled rugged grandeur.

Map of Gros Morne

You can pick out Deer Lake Airport where we arrived in mid June via West Jet.  By rental car, we wound through the snow-gullied hills into Rocky Harbour for our first seaside B&B.  Outside the gate, a motorcycle was idling.  No, it hadn’t been forgotten.  A guest was charging his cell phone!  He happened to be a frequent visitor to Newfoundland, and inquired about our itinerary for the next four days.  Looking at the location of one B&B, he said, “There’s nothing there.  Absolutely nothing.”  So we did some re-routing on the spot.  Hosts and guests at B&Bs are a great source of information and enrichment.

The face of the left cliff in the painting has been taking on a bit more shape since you last stopped by my studio.    Painting as of Aug. 31, 2010

Before you visit next Tuesday, I hope a waterfall will be splashing its way down the right-hand cliff!