Back On The Trail

I have not walked on the trail I made for Lee in several months. It is sad to retrace our steps all by myself. But the other day it was so sunny and warm out there. So I went and took pictures along the way.

Lee’s rock piles are being slowly rearranged by the animals.

And the pile of stones that mark the burial site of so much artwork.

And further down the basket placed on the stump where we would stick found feathers as we walked.

A bit more worn down.

A bird should nest here when Spring arrives.

 And nearby a tree door.

Coming back around to the studio. A school of fish. I will hang one in my new house, maybe two.

A bird stories bird.

A walk along the river. Lots of rain makes for rising waters and puddles.

I worked on the Burke and Wills story and drawings. Trying to decide which ones work to illustrate their lives together.

Where they spent their first few nights together. And Wills realizing it is up to him to help Burke learn to fly.

And when Wills becomes too large to fit in their front door.

The story and practice drawings are a nice deviation from world events this week.

But I did have some company. Right here in the house.  In the morning an old weaving acquaintance came and packed up some yarns but declined three large quilting frames. And then the evening brought friends I always enjoy seeing.  They brought pizza and selected some wines from my collection. It was a wonderful five hours of good conversation, food and wine. We will do it again.  AND I have some leftover pizza for dinner tonight.

When I mentioned there was no room for my large living room rug in the new house, they offered to take it for their own place when the time comes. Good. More things sorted and disposed of.

The weather this week prevented any building but next week is clear and the builder has posted on his site that the framing will go up. I look forward to seeing that and getting a new drawing in my sketchbook.

It is dreary today. So I will pour a wine and think about that delicious pizza.

Til later….



Finding Myself

I found this picture of myself from the late seventies while sorting out old tax papers. I was early thirties. Had two young children that were fun being a mother to. Housewife, homemaker and having such fun in the second house Lee and I built. I had started teaching basket classes at home that included lunch and homemade wine with all the materials necessary to complete a basket. These were such fun and innocent times. I loved it. Just look at that face!

So when I found this yesterday I decided to do a black and white of me now….forty-five years later….

When I was younger I decided a permanent was a good idea to get lots of curls. Now I just don’t bother to comb it and get curls. Back then everything seemed in front of me. Now most of it is behind. A long meandering path that brought me to this. There is very little that does not make me smile at the memory. It has been a lucky life. A very happy life for the most part and I doubt I’d change any of it.

Earlier this week I gave some basket materials to a friend in town teaching basketry. It was the last few bits I had saved for the “someday”. What “somedays” I have left most certainly will not be forcing stiff materials into compliance. Looking around I have more baskets than I could ever use. There is little else to give away to someone needing materials that used to seem important to hang onto. Letting go is such a good idea at my age.

Yesterday at the dam it was lovely. Seagulls on the shore…loons a little further out.

And details..

And this morning. Such a sky.

Tomorrow I will go back to the river and have a lavender latte before coming home to see how the cleaning lady is doing. She is so kind and is willing to travel the extra miles to my new place if I want her to. So nice to have her continue. Some times we just need to hold on to the familiar.

I did some bird drawings. A pileated woodpecker and flicker. Black feathered birds are hard to capture in graphite. And I could be getting bored with drawing them. Maybe.

Not many more pages to fill in the Bird Stories Book. I might try some more exotic ones to keep me interested. Perhaps a flamingo, a vulture, a penguin……

I am going to make a soup out of things in the refrigerator. Cooking for one is so very boring.

Til later….






So Much Going On Here

A morning to make soup. This is the lunch I just finished of cauliflower broccoli mixed with carrots, onion, a small potato, garlic, chicken broth, milk, parmesan rind, cheddar, mustard and other seasonings. I just googled up the two main ingredients and several recipes came up. It was delicious!

This reminds me that a friend I’ve known for well over thirty years was in town this week and we caught up over scotch, soup, bagels and wine. We did a repeat performance two days later. It was nice going over old times.

I kept up with the walks.

The dam.

And along the river.

Love those rocks under water in the above photo and the rotting log below.

Also got an Indigo Bunting drawn in the Bird Stories Book.

But the big news is the slab for my new house has been poured!

Where the front door will be.

The garage side with gas lines protruding.

The plumbing pipes of my bathroom.

From the gym down to the house is an easy going ten minute walk. I am going to love being able to walk there whenever I need a workout and have a need to punch the bag.

Now I have a couple more pages made up in the sketch book. It will also hold my notes. On the right are the colors I chose for the interior. A pale grey for my room, a very pale sage for the guest room and an off white for the rest of the rooms. Also the stain for the wooden cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms. The trusses have already been delivered and the framing will start soon. So far no shortages which is good but I likely will not get into the house until July. It is all fine as that is just the way things are. More time to enjoy what I have here and get things tidied up a bit more.

I finally finished the branch the grey owl sits on. This afternoon I will start at the base of the trunk and work up.

Not much else new. Just pictures of Dilly and Sadie this week.

And a luscious full moon this week.

Lee will be getting his booster shot soon. I thought he already had it but in a care center things just are not that simple.

I have been doing more drawings for Burke and Wills…the latest is Burke trying to push Wills through a small doorway. Seeing the actions in my head and translating it to a page is certainly a challenge. I should really write the story first to see what illustrations are needed but winging it seems to suit right now. I may draw Burke trying to push Wills by using his back to nudge him through. Feathered wings don’t seem strong enough.

More lead sizes and pens arrive soon. It will all get easier with the proper tools and dogged determination to just do it.

Til later….

Back With More Drawings And Walks

The dam a few days ago. I walked down closer to the water to get different views.

And then this morning.

And that shadow right before I left to do errands.

I did get a new bird stories page finished…sparrow and wren.

And so much fun trying out ideas for illustrating a story about Burke and Wills. Fun because owls have very limited movement for expressing themselves. Here is a page of Burke drawings.

Here he is falling out of the nest onto Wills’ back.

And a close up of him telling his mother he wants to stay with Wills.

Then I found a tree photograph I took of a possible doorway and drew the door in.

Burke and Wills will live in here for some time…maybe their whole lives together.

While working out drawings to go with a constantly evolving story I have noticed that graphite, though forgiving, has a limited range of contrast. Too many of my marks are too dark. And the choice of paper for the final drawings will have to be pure white. If not, then the scans will pick up the off white of the drawing paper and be hard to get subtle details copied. I learned this trying to copy my Stoat Story drawings for that book.

So I need a lighter touch than some of these drawings have. A new mechanical pencil will arrive this week to hold the delicate .2 mm leads that I have purchased. All drawings will likely be done with mechanical pencils to get the fine lines needed for such small illustrations.

The story is an intimate one of two beings meeting quite by accident and spending their lives together. I intend for these boys to have adventures as they grow old together. At one point they will get into a boat together. If one owl can sail off with a pussycat, surely Burke can ferry Wills across the river. Just thinking about what they pack in their food hamper makes me smile. Which reminds me, drawing the specifics of the interior of their house beyond that door is going to be a fun challenge.

So more to come as I keep up with the drawings around my thinking.

Friends in Australia are planning on finally getting to the conference put off by Covid for two years now. I shall miss being with them. Here is what I told a former student who told me he was attending the conference and thinking of making my savoury scones to take with him.

“Hi there. I am so happy to read that you are attending Grampians Textures. It is wonderful that it is happening again. Enjoy yourself and while there, please breathe it all in very slowly. Step into the bush, hold your arms at your sides and take this magic place deep into your lungs and hold it as long as you can. Listen to the birds, smell the trees, watch for a kangaroo and love it all. Have the spinach crepes at the Kookaburra, maybe with a beer. Drink a flat white in town. But most of all, listen to the laughter and chatter of all those around you who will be ever so happy to be there. Later, when you are far away, it will still be there inside a small bag of best memories.”

I hope he does this. I hope we all do this for special times that may not get repeated.

My realtor came today with her estimated asking price for my house. It is beyond my imaginings. Funny how we live in a place, love it, and never think of its value beyond being a great place to live. Lee would have been so thrilled.

I met with the builder this morning. Due to the freezing cold days, the concrete slab has not been poured. It is on the schedule for tomorrow morning. Yesterday I went to a property owners’ meeting and took notes of what all is on my soon to be new neighbors’ minds. It was enlightening. But what struck me the most was that I was the only woman there without earrings. Funny, the things I notice. I mentioned it to the builder who was also there and he laughed. Said it might have something to do with it being Sunday.

I also found out that my immediate neighbor to the right is a single man a bit younger than I am. Good, I might need a hand hauling my new garbage bin to the curb. His house will be finished sooner than mine so maybe I can drop in sometime.

Not much else new. It is Valentines Day and I stopped by the drug store to buy myself some new makeup and a small heart shaped box of chocolates. There were only seven pieces inside. I ate four for lunch. They are not as good as when someone else buys them for you and fewer in a box that size nowadays. But you know, it is seven more pieces of chocolate than I had yesterday!

Til later…..