Friday, 30 November 2012

Another Glebe Laneway

Another glimpse into a Glebe rear yard.  The building on the other side of the block has faded blue clapboard and open windows, hinting at some sort of enclosed balconies.

It was too cold for drawing today (-8 C) and my hand sorta seized up, but the forecast is for grey and wet weather this weekend and I had an urge to draw anyway.

Obsessive maybe, but harmless.

Patience or Perish

There are many ways to learn patience. One is to strip down life to the bare essentials and learn to make fire as indigenous people did for thousands of years.  A reliable but demanding technique is to use a hard rock and a steel.  Flint is perfect, if you can find some.  More common is quartz.  You also need to find a dead poplar tree to strip and prepare the inner bark to receive a spark.  This is only a start, next you must nourish the coal and feed in tiny hemlock twigs to start an actual flame. This precious flame is just enough to start small pine or spruce squall wood twigs until there is enough heat to ignite larger deadwood.  Even if you're good at it and have the materials, it can take an hour.  Hard to stick to unless, you're far along a trail and really ready for a warm fire and dinner.

Another exercise in patience is setting dead-fall traps. They need to be really twitchy to work, but that's alright now that you've developed such patience by starting fires.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Tree Through the Roof

The interior of the Glebe neighbourhood blocks harbour some great trees.  Some were planted intentionally, others by squirrels and still more 'volunteered'.  I imagine this ash tree behind a row house on 2nd Avenue established itself when there was a simple, open stoop and step to the kitchen door.  Porches with roofs were added subsequently, but fortunately some tree loving carpenter, used the good judgement to preserve the tree, by letting it poke through both the porch and shed roof.  Those are the kind of quirky surprises you discover between the streets.

Glebe Avenue

Over the past few weeks I have been poking my nose down driveways looking at the rear yards and interior of some of the blocks in my neighbourhood.  We have a dusting of snow on the ground now, but it was warm enough to do a few quick sketches.  I added some paint in the warmth of our kitchen afterwards, referencing a photo on my cellphone.

Minus 1 C is just on the edge of barehanded comfort, but the other obstacle is that watercolour doesn't dry very quickly.  Sort of the opposite of painting in the hot sun.
Hope I don't get kicked out of Urbansketchers for breach of Manifesto!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Too Cold for Paddling

There was a time when I would put a boat into a lake as long as it wasn't frozen.  I'm either getting smarter, or just older because at 3C the prospect of being on the water just didn't appeal.  As it was my hands stiffened up pretty much in the time it took to sketch these canoes.

This cedar had sluffed over on it's side when the sand under its roots washed away.  Persistent in the way of all northern trees, it has stayed alive even in it's horizontal position.  This was beside a beautiful little sandy beach, but if it was too cold for canoeing, you can bet that the thought of swimming had even less appeal.

Gracefield Camp

I was away overnight on a retreat held at a small camp near Gracefield Quebec.  The leaves are by and large gone and the weather was cool, but it was very peaceful under the tall pines.

There was a very clever little woodshed consisting of an old pick-up truck cap set on a knee wall clad in corrugated steel.  Very resourceful.