Monday, December 22, 2008

The Great White North

After a week of snow and ice we got...even more snow! I spent the day outside with the kids and the camera. One of the best and prettiest days I can think of...ever! This is the sidewalk beside my house.

We haven't lost many branches but this magnolia couldn't stand up to the weight of the snow. Cross country skiers have been enjoying the snowy roads. It feels like someone has cast a spell and banished cars, leaving the streets to people with their skis and sleds. I saw one intrepid jogger wearing snow shoes.

My house in the snow looking toward the Sound.

I guess I should have brought the furniture in from the studio roof deck.

The beautiful Queen Anne walkway, designed with Moorish inspired arches.

Henry and I prepare to race down a snowy street on our cookie sheets. Fast Fast Fast! It was great.

Isobel takes the cookie sheet down the Counterbalance, the main street on the hill. Dozens of people slid down the hill on snow boards, skis, laundry baskets, garbage bags and inflatable pool toys. Even a green vinyl couch cushion picked up some speed.

Henry spent the day eating slabs of ice that had crusted on the top of the powder. His new blue hair looks wonderful against the snowy branches.

My New Zealand Flax looks very funny.

Swirling grasses make a cave in the snow.

This geranium survived the winter last year. I don't think it will be so lucky this year.

More beauty berries! I love them.

Does Dolly Parton live here?

Even Santa (who live across the street) is snowed in. Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Summer in Winter

Though there is snow outside I have been painting these summery images lately as a commission. Painting the clivia in particular was like taking a tropical vacation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Snow!

We are not used to this in Seattle. The temperature has been below freezing for six days and isn't forecast to warm up for a few more days. Schools are closed and won't open until after the Christmas break. Henry and I walked up to the Ave to buy milk and admire how pretty everything was.

I love this bush and have been meaning to find out what it is called. I saw a house last winter with one of these in the front garden and a front door painted exactly the same purple. It was wonderful. The example in these photos is here on Queen Anne hill and the lovely houses in the background are typical of the Queen Anne style the hill was named for.

I want to paint snow! But for now I will charge my camera's battery and take a lot of reference pics. I hope that all the little creatures outside are hunkered down out of the wind. How do the hummingbirds survive? I hope that all the people living on the streets of Seattle are finding warm places tonight. The children and I were down at the shelter last night and were told there was still plenty of room which is a comfort, I suppose.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I painted this image a few weeks ago before the weather got cold and tried to imagine my Cardoon artichoke covered in snow. The arctic hare is sitting in the "forest" of giant plants looking very much alone.

I wanted to express a feeling I remember from being alone in the dark woods of New Brunswick in the middle of winter. The snow absorbed sound making the forest strangly quiet and soft and I have never felt so alone with my thoughts as in this kind of setting. The hare may be a picture of me alone in the woods, or an embodiment of my thoughts. Or, if I am feeling more whimsical, the hare is my own soul, staring back at me, which feels almost possible in the surreal atmosphere of silent snowy woods.

I called the painting "Miles to Go Before I Sleep" after a favourite Robert Frost poem. It is oil on canvas and measures 9"x12". You can click on it to see it larger.


Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I took some photos in the garden on Sunday. Much of the snow had melted during the night leaving strangely eroded snowballs stuck to plants. It looked sort of like I had imagined in my painting. The weather is well below freezing and will stay this way for a few days, so I will enjoy how wonderful everything looks for a while longer.

A zinnia seed head looking like a hedgehog in a bubble bath.

Snowberries in the snow.

Opal plays in the snow and decides it tastes kind of funny.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Good Morning

I will hang this painting today at the old Macrina Bakery in Queen Anne as part of my show there. Some of the paintings from my last show will be moved over to the Queen Anne location.

I love how this painting turned out. It has captured the feeling that I get waking up on a summer morning with my ideas staring at me, waiting for me to look after them. Some of them are ideas for paintings, waiting to be created. Some are responsibilities that must be looked after. The painting is two feet wide and is oil on panel. You can see how it looked when I started painting it if you check my post on November 27.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Last Day of November

Yesterday's weather was strangely warm and foggy. I had a wonderful walk through the neigborhood looking at the dripping plants and the soft focus of fog. I never thought November could be so luscious.

Is this a persimmon tree in my neighbor's garden?

It has been years since I lived in chilly Canada but I am still amazed and delighted to have flowers in my garden in the winter.