Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Come along for a ride?

Or maybe I should say come along for a swim.

Seahorses to me are magical creatures so on a recent visit to Hawaii I was thrilled for an opportunity to see them up close at the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm.

Ocean Riders Vision Statement:
 
"To inspire ocean awareness by saving the endangered seahorses from extinction through education and propagation."

"The seahorse has and extraordinary biology with the head of a horse, tail of a monkey, a kangaroo like pouch and a true male pregnancy. The seahorse was once found in all colours and sizes, in coral reefs and sea grass beds all over the world. Today, overfishing from pet and medicine trade, habitat destruction and pollution, has put the seahorse on the edge of extinction." www.seahorse.com


 
There is a very interesting guided tour at the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm; here are a few pictures I took and recollections from my visit.
 
The seahorse farm raises about two dozen species of seahorses. In the wild the survival rate for baby seahorses is 1 in a 1000; at the farm there is about a 50 percent survival rate.

 
Seahorses mate for life and love to cling to each other and anything else in their environment.

 
They move around with their tiny dorsal fin, but don't move very fast, they can easily be swept away by currents so they cling for safety.

 
They eat tiny shrimp, they don't chew them, instead they suck them into their mouth as through a straw.
 
The top seahorse in the next picture has a prominent pouch, this is a pregnant male seahorse. The female seahorse lays eggs in the pouch and the male fertilizes them, as the babies mature inside the pouch it swells and after about a month in the pouch the babies are squirted out in small batches. The babies are no bigger that the end of my finger, and in nature the babies are left to fend for themselves.

 
My favorite part of the tour was at the end when we were allowed to "hold" a seahorse, or more precisely the seahorse held onto us.





 
The seahorse farm also has a pair of Sea Dragons (from GB Reef in Australia).
 
Since we were not allowed to photograph them here are some images I got off the web:
 
These are Weedy Sea Dragons
 
 
 

 I hope you have enjoyed my seahorse tale, thanks for dropping by.

I appreciate and thrive on your feedback.

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Here is a ink and watercolour sketch I did while I was in Hawaii:
 
 
 
 
That's all for this week,  
happy Wednesday, with whimsy,
 
Gillian. 

 
 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Travelling Whimsy

I was travelling in France this fall and what to share some highlights of the trip. First though I am shocked and horrified by the recent attacks in Paris.

Early in our trip we visited the town of Albi in France.

Albi, capital of the Tarn,  is arguably the most interesting small city in the Midi-Pyrenees region, and we had a memorable visit.

The medieval St. Cecilia's cathedral is remarkable and unique monument, being both fortified and built of brick. It is the largest brick church in the world.


"Built between 1282 and 1480, the current cathedral was built as a defiant assertion of papal power in a region which had only recently been brought back under the power of Rome following the period of the Cathar heresy.  The Albigensian crusade was the only crusade directed not against infidels, but against dissenting Christians." http://about-france.com/cities/albi-guide.htm#attractions

A closer look at the bricks and a look at a couple of the "gargoyle like" statues on its exterior.


 
 
 
 
Next to the Cathedral is the Bishop's Palace which houses the Toulouse-Lautrec museum.
 
"Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1864-1901, was the great post-impressionist iconographer of Parisian life in the late nineteenth century; he was a native of Albi, and the museum hosts the largest collection of his work."
 
"Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (24 November 1864 – 9 September 1901), also known as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French: [ɑ̃ʁi də tuluz lotʁɛk]) was a French painter, printmaker, draughtsman and illustrator whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 19th century yielded a collection of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and sometimes decadent life of those times." Wikipedia
 
One of his paintings: "Salon at the Rue Molins"
 
 
One of his posters: Jane Avril
 
 
 A view of the Bishop's gardens, also from this viewpoint you can see the Tarn river and the medieval bridge.
 
 

 Here is a closer look at the medieval bridge in Abli, which crosses the Tarn River; it is a thousand years old and is still in service today.


 
 
We walked across the bridge and looked down on a sandbar in the river:
 

The pigeons gathered and were bathing in the river. Then we noticed this fish swimming close by:
 

 
Not sure what was happening I stayed and watched for a few minutes and to my astonishment the fish came part way out of the water and lunged at one of the pigeons.
 
The scene now had my full attention and as I watched several of the large fish swam close to the sandbar and the pigeons seemed to ignore them, and then one of the fish came partway out of the water and this time grabbed a pigeon. The other pigeons scattered. I did not get a picture or a video but here is one from You Tube:
 
 
 
 
 
After some research on the internet I discovered that the fish is a catfish.
 
Here is a picture of the medieval bridge and the sandbar from the other side of the bridge.
 
 
We came across one more unusual site, we saw Hummingbird Moths on some late summer flowers.
Below is a picture, the Hummingbird Moth is in the centre of the screen. 


Her is a video I took of the moth but it is still not very clear.
 
 
Here is a video (not mine) that also contains some stills of the Hummingbird Moth.
 
 
 

Lastly, when we took a stroll through the covered market, I noticed these black radishes,
another new experience.
 
 

 
That is the end of my travelling story for today, I hope you have enjoyed the journey.
 

Here is a painting I have recently finished, another watercolour, it is called "Lone Arbutus".




For more details on this painting follow this link.

That's all for this week,  
 
happy Wednesday, with whimsy,
 
Gillian.
 
 

Saturday, 7 November 2015

This little light of mine

I know I have been gone for a long time, please forgive me I have not been feeling inspired. I keep missing Wednesdays so I am sending along a little Weekend Whimsy today.

This time of year it can be pretty dark so I find myself seeking sunshine, on a good day I sit and soak up all the rays I can, usually through the window. We are approaching the "shortest day" or day with the least amount of daylight hours in the northern hemisphere and thinking about that I was reminded of a song I used to sing at Brownies and Girl Guides many years ago: "This little light of mine".

Here are some pictures capturing some treasured sunny days and the lyrics of the song:

       

 This Little Light Of Mine

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
 


I'm gonna take this light around the world and I'm gonna
let it shine.
I'm gonna take this light around the world and I'm gonna
let it shine.
I'm gonna take this light around the world and I'm gonna

let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
 


This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
 


I won't let anyone blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine.
I won't let anyone blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine.
I won't let anyone blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
 


This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Every day, every day, I'm going to let my little light
shine.
 
Songwriters: SCOTT, STEPHEN H. / DP,
 
 
 
Talk about light, this little Anna's hummingbird was taking a break
and then
 
 
before taking flight, he turned his head and "spotlight" below, sorry the picture is so grainy.
 
 
This picture just makes me smile:
 
 
Can you see the trail of water catching the light in this action shot:
 
 
The picture below is just begging to be painted, and will be!
 
 
...and one more time,
 
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
 

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
 

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
 
 

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

 
 
 
So I will end with lovely Stellar Jay, above, and
 
"sea monster" log below.
 
 
 
 
 
I hope I have brought some light and a smile or two to your day,
 
-----------------------
 
I have been doing some painting. First, inspired by pictures taken in the summer here is a painting of an Arbutus Tree. I call it "Arbutus Sentinel", it is a watercolour:
 
 
This is one of the paintings on display at Image West, here is a link to the exhibit:
 
 
 
My second painting is all about Christmas, which is sneaking up. This one is called
"There Otter be snow at ...."
 
 
Available following this link:
 
 
 
That's all for this week,  
happy Weekend, with whimsy,
 
Gillian.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Life's a ...........

Well this time of year life is at the beach, and it is wonderful! Vancouver is blessed with beautiful beaches, here is just a small sampling.

 
First Jericho Beach with Downtown Vancouver in the background:
 

 
...and the tide is going out...
 
Jericho beach again with downtown and the North Shore in the background:
 

 
Same again but with a sampling of boats:


 
Moving west, here are some views of the shore and beach from the Jericho Sailing Centre:
 
...a paddle boarding class....

 
... a sail lesson....

 
....and windsurfing.....

 
This is Locarno Beach looking east towards the Jericho Sailing Centre and downtown:

 
Even further west this is Spanish Banks at low tide with freighters at anchor in the bay.
 
I love the beach at low tide, walking barefoot in the sand,
the wet sand squishing between my toes,
heavenly!

 
These kids are learning to wake board I think.

 
Spanish Banks looking across at Lighthouse Park and Point Atkinson (last blogs painting).

 
The child and the dog have the right idea, I think the adult is checking his phone!

 
Spanish Banks looking west, lots of sand to tromp over.
It is early in the day, and a week day, so there are only a few enjoying the sand.
On the weekend it is quite crowded.
 
 
This is the western end of Spanish banks looking back towards Downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains:
 
Look at all that wonderful wet sand!

 
And when the tide comes in over the sand, the water is warmed for kids and adults alike to play in.
 

 
 
...and it is wonderful.
 
I hope you are all enjoying your summer!
 
 -------------------------
 
I don't spend as much time painting this time of year because it is so nice to be outside, but I have done these two paintings.
 
They are more food paintings to replace two that I had done but wasn't happy with.
 
The first I call "Apple Green":
 
 
The second is called "Berry Time":
 
The Series 2 Food Cards (12 in all) are now complete and can be seen at:
 
 
 
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Well that is all for today,
 
thanks for dropping by,
 
Happy Whimsy Wednesday,
 
Gillian