Saturday, January 26, 2013

Every Inchie Monday (on Saturday): "Stone"

I completed two inchies to represent the theme of "stone" although mine seem to be closer to "rock" images.  I used two on-line tutorials to help me out.

This one is supposed to represent a waterfall over rocks. I used this site for ideas.
In this next one, Drawing Stack tried his very best to help me out.
To see some of the ways that others depicted a "stone" image in just one square inch of space, I think you will find it interesting to stop by Every Inchie Monday.  Thanks for taking time to stop by my blog!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My 2nd "B" post

I am posting to ABC Wednesday and Wild Bird Wednesday today (even though it is Thursday :). Although I won't post to "Barn Charm" this week, I did include a section on barns since it fits nicely with the letter "B" and I had a lot of pictures from some recent excursions.  Thanks to TexWisGirl for starting me on a bit of a barn-watching obsession :) 

This is my 2nd letter "B" post for ABC Wednesday.  The last one was in July, 2012.  As said then, "B" is a very easy letter for me.  The two most important B's in my life are in the photo below.  If you go to that 2012 post, you can see many more wonderful shots of Bill and Black Jack.  You can even see Bill on a bicycle.  Everything I said in that post still holds true.  To quote myself, I said of Bill, "He makes me laugh, and he loves Black Jack, and we share good times and he understands me.  I love him.  Simple as that."  Below, you can see Bill rock-hopping after Black Jack.  She is on a mission to find the source of some obviously wonderful smells in the Squamish rocks.
Bill taught me the word "bailiwick" and I will never forget it. Although the origin of the word has to do with a bailiff's jurisdiction, the metaphorical sense is the one often used (a special quality or characteristic or area of interest that is part of someone's character).  It is Bill's bailiwick that he can't bear to force anyone to do anything.  Rather than force Black Jack to stop digging up smelly and possibly dangerous stuff under the rocks, he just picks her up. She is happy because she loves the vantage point from her buddy's arms..
As for Black Jack, with a few variations, I could say the same words I said about Bill.  She makes me laugh and she loves Bill and she understands me (I think) and I love her."

Don't tell her I also said that, unlike Bill, she is a bit berserk at times.  Whoops, do you think she heard me?

More photos from our day at Boundary Bay.  I think this is most likely a Northern Harrier.

This hawk was also at Boundary Bay.  I have struggled with identification, so any help is appreciated.  (Thank you, EvenSong, for your much appreciated thought in my last post.)

I think this is the same hawk as the one above.  His/her expression seems to be saying with rolled eyes, "Puleeze" in response to the sign s/he is sitting on.
That sign refers to this small enclosure that seems to be a favourite retreat for many of the birds.  They fly around in that space looking for all the world like they appreciate the fence.

I was happy to catch a photo of this Bald Eagle in Squamish.  My previous post shows the same eagle just after lift-off. 

This juvenile eagle may be the offspring of the adult above since they were hanging out together.  When the adult departed, the juvenile flew into the rocks directly beneath us.  S/he seemed to be feasting on something in the crevice.  I was shooting through branches, and his/her wings were flapping for balance, but I was happy to get a fairly close look at him/her.

We had a good opportunity to study the eagles' footprints on the beach.

I heard a light tapping along the walking trail and watched the trees for a while, believing that something interesting was nearby.  Then we saw this beauteous Downey Woodpecker.
His mate was nearby.  It was the first time that I noticed the white stripe on their backs.
I took lots of shots through the truck window as we drove to Harrison Hot Springs.  

I was rather big on..

some of the blurry shots.

This beautiful old barn..

seemed to be on the byway for the Trumpeter Swans.

Barn, house, truck, fence and swans were brushed in white for this colour-coordinated photo.

Speaking of colours, I loved the dappled browns.. 

of these bonny beasts
Many of the barns appeared tiny against breathtaking backgrounds.

I loved this old silo and wondered if it was a heritage building.
"Byre" is a new word to me that is defined as "an outlying farm building for storing grain or animal feed and housing farm animals."

Some buildings had a rather bedraggled appearance..

that I found beguiling, and for some reason, I associate (incorrectly, I think)..
a broken-down but still functional exterior with my new word, byre.

Driving along this boulevard, I realized I will never take such a background for granted.

And, blueberry fields at this time of year are nothing short of astonishing.

The backgrounds were equally baronial when we drove to Squamish.

Looking to the top of The Chief, I thought I saw a bullfrog.  Do you see him?  He sits facing us, with a glum expression on his face.  There is a tiny little person standing on his nose.

The Chief is clearly the boss of Squamish.  The town looks minuscule here.

Homeward bound, I took many sunset shots.  I thought this was one of my better ones.

And, a "B" post wouldn't be complete with at least one bridge (The Lions Gate).

We were stuck for quite a while in traffic as we waited to cross the bridge, but I had fun babbling to ever-patient Bill about our great day, and taking photos to my heart's content.

Bill slowed down so I could get this rather intriguing shot of a decorated tree and lit-up palm in front of a restaurant by Sunset Beach.

And, speaking of Sunset Beach, my only "B" shape of the post happened there.

A "B" post wouldn't be complete without mentioning my favourite colour, blue, and since I had also missed mentioning blooms, this art by Kenojuak Ashevak (last week's featured "A" artist) manages to combine, blue, bird and bloom all in one print.  It is titled "Owl with Flowers" and is done on glass.

One more "blue" piece.  This is Dave Brubeck, one of my favourite jazz musicians.  The mural is in Yaletown and was painted by Elizabeth Hollick and Laurie Macisaac.

I have huge respect for Dave Brubeck, who died in December 2012, just before his 92nd birthday.  You can hear him playing, "Take Five" in the video below.  That song was written by his saxophonist, Paul Desmond and is the one that first caught my attention many years ago.  There's another fascinating video at this link uploaded in 2011 where Dave talks about the response of the group when he suggested using new beats and time signatures.  

My new-to-me artist for the week, David Bomberg, (1890-1957) also has DB initials.  The link here goes into some detail to describe how WW1 changed him.  A quote in my little gem of a reference called "The Art Book" says: "Bomberg used angular and semi-abstract forms to express the vitality and dynamism of the twentieth century and the machine age." The painting below is possibly my favourite of the ones I saw.
Cuenca - Facing West - 1934

This Wikipedia link is also a good one.  Here are a couple of other works.  
Racehorses - 1913

You can find many more examples of his art here.
"The Red Hat" - 1931

I have loved the sound of a beautiful bass voice for years, and a classic song to show that vocal range is "Ol' Man River."  I listened to many recordings before selecting Angelo Johnson's rendition of this song.  I hope you enjoy it.
Lastly, Bill and I went to see "The Life of Pi" last evening.  I'll be honest.  We didn't enjoy it all that much.  It made Bill seasick and neither of us get much pleasure out of watching creatures get killed (computer generated or not).  However, we are definitely in the minority, so I hope I haven't hurt anyone's feelings here.  This reviewer was one of a handful who expressed what I felt: "By the time the credits roll it all feels like a whole lot of stress for no good reason."  However, we had a wonderful time.  Remember how I said Bill makes me laugh?

For some reason, setting up the camera to take pictures strikes both of us as hilarious.  Add 3D glasses to that and we become quite boisterous.  I was barely at all embarrassed that we did our photo shoot in the Elysian Cafe (we love this place) next door to the theatre :) So, here we are, smiling and wishing you well.  Thanks for reading the blog.  For more thoughts and images to represent the letter "B" you can check out the beautiful ABC Wednesday meme and don't forget to check out Wild Bird Wednesday as well.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"A" in my world lately

This was supposed to be a post for the letter "A" but was so late I missed the ABC Wednesday deadline.  It is, in fact, time to do my "B" post but I can't bear to miss a letter so I'm going to post this in Our World Tuesday and hope the wonderful administrators of both memes forgive me.  I've taken a look at A-shapes, amigos, architecture, art (Kenojuak Ashevak and a public art project called "Watch your Step), athletic acrobats (birds) and the Allegretto Alla Barbaresca from Alkan's "Concerto for Solo Piano" to represent some of the "A" aspects to my world this week.  And, I have to add that we attended a riveting concert last night that fits the letter "A" since Jon Kimura Parker played Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor and all three movements (Allegro molto moderato, Adagio and Allegro moderato molto e marcato) are "A" words.

These branches were by the seawall near my apartment.  I took the photo from the walking path and didn't go down on the beach to inspect them more closely but I thought the way they were intertwined formed an amazingly clear "A."  

We saw these Canada Geese in Harrison.  Gaggle after gaggle came by, flying very high.  

I wonder how they knew this was letter "A" week.

Bill is Black Jack's amigo, her buddy, the one she trusts not to discipline her except to keep her safe, the one she can count on to let her onto his lap any time she asks.  She loves me too, but I'm the one who insists she lie quietly in her bed at Bill's feet until he finishes his meal. The second he finishes (and dessert doesn't count), they reach for each other as though to say, "Finally!"  

Other examples of their affinity..
are easy to find.
Their playful antics feature their fun-loving natures.
Black Jack knows the sound of Bill's truck from blocks away and considers herself to be his indispensable assistant.  They drive in sync, looking ahead, 

 to the left, 

and to the right, as necessary.   

They are my favourite amigos.
Sometimes, walks with Black Jack lead to an unplanned focus.  A few days ago, it was architecture. It began when we walked under the Granville Bridge, as we have done countless times before, but this time, I noticed the way the curving exit ramp met up with the adjacent apartment buildings.   

Further on, the reflections, shadows, and seawall vistas reminded me that city planning requires a complex assortment of talents..

that include the ability to anticipate and accommodate the needs of walkers and cyclists.  

Black Jack and I walked as far as Sunset Beach, and then up the hill to Davie Street where we made a right turn to continue our route homeward.  I've walked by the building in the photo below many, many times, but it appeared as if brand new that day.  The gate was open so I walked up the side driveway and took some pictures of the windows and decorative features.  A google search told me that it is called Gabriola Mansion, that it was built in 1901, that the stone came from a quarry on Gabriola Island, and that the architect was Samuel McLure who also designed Brock House.  It was home to Benjamin Tingley Rogers, who in 1890, at only 24 years of age, moved from New York to establish a sugar refinery in Vancouver.  I have some thoughts about the sugar industry that are not very positive, but I am happy that this beautiful home has been preserved.  

This next house is just a block or so along the street.  In December, I photographed a neat Xmas ornament hanging over the front porch.  I had enjoyed that, but on this most recent walk, I happened to look up..  wa-a-ay up..  
I laughed when I saw a pair of legs hanging over what I guess is an "after-thought" fire escape.  It is apparent to me that creative and fun-loving people live in that house.

Bill and I stood on these steps in Squamish so that I could take a picture of The Chief.  Bill noticed the railing made from an oar, creative recycling that works to everyone's advantage.

This apartment building (condos?) also faced The Chief.  At first, it seemed rather "boxy" but then I noticed the aesthetics of the tree and mountain reflections in the windows.

Looking from this angle, I saw that the building was designed to be at one with the mountain.  

I couldn't help but notice this letter "A" at my feet in a park in my neighbourhood.

It is part of a project called Watch your Step.  The link includes a video that, at about the halfway point, explains the art segment of the project.  I admire the organizers, who are on the alert for options to encourage talents that may not flourish in a regular school program.

Below is artist, Kenojuak Ashevak, who died earlier this month.  There is a wonderful photograph is taken by Della Rollins of the Globe and Mail.  I found it when I read this article.

There have been many attestations to the brilliance of Ms. Ashevak's art as well as to the acuity of her personality.  Here is a small quote from the article linked above:
“She was the star of the Dorset artists but she was also a national icon transcending Inuit art,” said her long-time dealer and friend, Pat Feheley, of Feheley Fine Arts."

Here is one more quote from the same article: 
"Born in an igloo in the southern part of Baffin Island in 1927, Ms. Ashevak learned traditional embroidery skills from her grandmother. Part of that dwindling generation who made the transition from nomadic cycles of feast and famine to life in permanent settlements, Ms. Ashevak mirrors that evolution in art that is both ancient and contemporary."

Below is "The Enchanted Owl" completed in 1960 and reproduced on a postage stamp in 1970.  Although I remember when that stamp came out, it took me many years to appreciate its significance.  You can see more awesome examples of her work at this site.

Art as depicted in live theatre is one of our pleasures as well, and The Theory of Everything at The Roundhouse a couple of weeks ago had some fun moments in it.  I took a picture of the set-up.  The audience sat around all four sides and I felt that worked well.  It wasn't a perfectly executed performance, but it was a "pay what you can" event and we both admired the amateur talent.  We appreciate the opportunity to witness works and artists in progress.  Sometimes, there is insight as we analyze what doesn't work, but often, we are thrilled to discover a new and brilliant talent. We are solidly behind the Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre company after seeing some "laugh-until-your-muscles-ache" comedy sketches last year in an event called Etch Your Sketch0ff.  We can't wait for this year's production, coming up in April.  You can check out the link here.  There's even time for you to enter your own comedy sketch and the first prize is a respectable $500! 

We also took advantage of a free evening of author readings at Vancouver Public Library.  We heard Tamas Dobozy who has won the $25,000 Rogers' Writers Trust Fiction Prize for Siege 13, a collection of linked short stories about the Second World War siege of Budapest and its legacy for survivors.   We also heard Tim Bowling, who was shortlisted for the same prize for The Tinman.  His poetry and novels frequently use the Fraser River as setting, and his love for that part of B.C. is always evident. I found both authors fascinating but seeing..  

Candace Savage was a special treat.  She has just won the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for her book: A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape, published by Greystone Books and the David Suzuki Foundation. In it, she investigates the natural and anthropological history of the Cypress Hills.  I knew she was reading and knew her name was familiar to me, but it was only when she was introduced that it hit me with a huge flash of excitement.  That Candace Savage.  The one who wrote Bird Brains, one of my favourite books.  That book sits on my bookshelf and will never be given away or sent to a secondhand bookstore.  I discovered it shortly after I realized I love crows and it added immensely to my understanding of them.  The photograph below is in her book.  I think it was taken by nature photographer, Wayne Lynch.  Her credits in the book are a bit confusing, but the quote by Bernd Heinrich has stayed with me for a very long time: "I wonder whether the social play of ravens isn't similar to a dance where teenagers get to know each other.  Doing the raven 'rrock' and roll may be another version of doing the twist and shout."
That the library does these free talks is so appreciated.  For those who complain there is no culture in the city, I have to say that there is more than one might first realize.  Talk of ravens and their acrobatic skills takes me nicely to the next section of this post which has to do with:
Avian Acrobats
The next 12 photos were taken at Boundary Bay.  I am not sure of all the i.d's but can tell you that each bird impressed me with athletic and acrobatic talent.  

I am curious about the ruffed edge of the tail feathers on the hawk below.  I wondered if that is normal, or whether the hawk got him/herself into an altercation.  This was a straight-into-the-sun shot and so the colours are poor.  I'm wondering if it may be a Red-tailed Hawk.

It whooshed by me here at awesome speed.  I'm amazed to have captured anything at all.

The ascent after the dive.

Love the foot action in this.

An audacious hawk dares to challenge an eagle.
The young eagle seems to have a size advantage, but maybe the hawk is more agile.
I always love..

the airplane..


This snowy owl is included just because I loved his/her amusing expression.  Yawning perhaps?  Or, calling?  

I was really excited for these next two, as the goal for many photographers seemed to be to get the snowy owls in flight.  I thought I had done just that but Bill felt it could be the short-eared owl, and after some thought, I agreed with him.  

I wonder what this fine blogging audience thinks. Snowy Owl or Short-eared Owl? 

This V-shape isn't apropos for an "A" post but there's an aura of assuredness that I like here.

Animated lifts..

an array of dives, 

and a very brief hail storm all added up to a great adventure day at Boundary Bay.

Here is another Trumpeter Swan approach enjoyed..
in Harrison Hot Springs.  I was astounded by..

their coordination and attunement (that's a word..  right?) to each other. 

This eagle was seen rising above the beach during a beautiful adventure-day in Squamish.

You can just make out the azure skies that led to..

assorted sunset photos on the way home.  No chance of falling asleep on that drive!

New-to-me musician: Charles-Valentin Alkan
I was fascinated to discover Alkan and amazed that I hadn't heard of him before.  He was a French-Jewish composer who lived next door to Chopin.  There are all kinds of myths and legends about him to be discovered at this site where you can also hear some of his music.
Below, you can listen to Marc-Andre Hamelin playing Alkan's devilishly difficult Allegretto Alla Barbaresco from the Concerto for Solo Piano.  It is really, really animated.  If you close your eyes and imagine those acrobatically athletic birds whooshing through the air, you may feel that the music was written for them.

And, one more addition, because I cannot leave without mentioning the incredible performance last night by Jon Kimura Parker with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at The Orpheum.  Thank you, Bill, for taking me!  It is one of those concerts that will be annotated in my memory forever because of Parker's breathtaking performance.  Such physical strength..  such musical sensitivity.. such an endearingly friendly persona..  he is my new musical hero. To anyone living on the U.S. West Coast, this concert is going on tour.  You can find out more details at this link. If any readers live near Las Vegas, Northridge, Santa Barbara, Palm Desert, Scottsdale or Tucson, and if you are fortunate enough to be able to get tickets, this is NOT to miss.

Photo by Tara McMullen
Thank you as always for reading my lengthy post, and as always, if even one photo or segment amuses you, then I am happy!  To learn about other events in the lives of people around the world, you can avail yourself of the excellent Our World Tuesday blog meme.