Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Potpourri

The English language has a lot of words for an assortment of things. Todays post is a potpourri of pictures and thoughts.
 
First here is my latest painting:
 
 
It is a watercolour of a Sunflower Bouquet, which I have named, you guessed it "Sunflower Bouquet".
 
Sunflowers are amazing plants, when I watch them grow from day to day I am reminded of the Jack in the bean stalk story. Here is a video showing the growth in time lapse photography:
 
 
 
 
 
To return to the assortment topic:
 
as·sort·ment
əˈsôrtmənt/
noun
noun: assortment; plural noun: assortments
  1. a miscellaneous collection of things or people.

    "the room was filled with an assortment of clothes"


 In my "gatherum" today I start with pictures of a Bush Tit nest. This is the first time I have ever photographed one of their nests, though I have seen many pictures I have never managed to spot one myself. A very kind gentleman pointed one out to me recently and told me where other nests were located. First here is the one he showed me:



 
Here are two more that I found myself. 

 

 
 
Bushtits weave a very unusual hanging nest, shaped like a sock, from moss, spider webs, and grasses.
 
One more look:

 
Here is a YouTube video of a pair of  Bush Tits building a nest:
 
 
 
 
A pair of Buffleheads, I believe:


 
... and a farrago of perennials and weeds:
 
 
Columbine

 
Dandelion and daisies

 
A mystery plant:

 
A Poppy bud, reminds me of a caricature:

 
Poppies

 
Almost black Tulips

 
more tulips

 
 
Did you know that an assortment of verse or poems is called an ontology?
 
Here is just one: 
 
 
Just One Poet Unknown 

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.


One step must start each journey.
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true,

One life can make a difference,
You see, it's up to you!



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Well that is it for this week, happy Wednesday, with whimsy,
 
 
Gillian
 
 
I appreciate your feedback!



 

 


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Just Flowers

This time of year is all about flowers. My painting "Pretty in Pink" is the Cover Award winner of the "Just Flowers" show on now, until April 30, at the Newton Cultural Centre. It is on the cover of the April "Spotlight on the Arts" magazine published by the Arts Council of Surrey.

 
Here I am with my painting at the opening reception:

 
I also received an orchid, here I am with Newton Cultural Centre curator Leah McCullough:

 
 and now as promised, just flowers:
 
apple blossoms

 
Bleeding Heart
 
 
Camellia

 
Clematis

 
Grape Hyacinth 
 
 
Oregon Grape



 
Tulips

 
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So what do you think I painted this week?
 
Well a flower of course, in fact, an Orchid:
 
 
I haven't decided whether it is finished or not and haven't decided where to sign it.
 
Hope you have enjoyed this just flowers post,
 
Happy Wednesday, with whimsy,
 
Gillian.
 
 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Flower Power

"Flower Power" is the name I gave my newest watercolour:

"Flower Power", 14" X 11"
transparent watercolour on Arches CP paper
 
Remember that time? Tie-dye, bright colours, flowers adorned not only clothing but also vehicles. A favorite vehicle being a VW van like the one I have used in my painting. I didn't have a photograph of one so made this one up. Hope it reminds you of that time.
 
 
"Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology.  It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children." Wikipedia
 
 
The tie-dye sky effect was created by dropping colour onto wet paper, swirling and then when the paper is still "shiny wet" sprinkling it with sea salt (large granules) and leaving it to dry completely.
 
"Santa Anna"
 
The salt creates snowflake like patterns as in the Christmas image above. How? Well as the salt absorbs the moisture in the paint it pulls the colours into abstract patterns. It really works well for a snow effect but it also is good to create texture in a landscape (using a finer grain salt). 
 
 
 
Here is a You Tube Video for you, sorry that the cover image is a bit risqué.
 
Best Hippie Songs Of All Time:
 
 
 
 This painting almost completes my "Out in the Field" show at Image West Hair Design (2885 West Broadway).
 
Flower Power can be seen with other paintings:
 
 
Cards and Prints are available at:
 
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 That's all for this week, happy Wednesday, with whimsy,
 
Gillian
 
I love to get your comments.
  
 
 
 

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

One more time

Here is my latest painting, another butterfly! It is a Western Swallowtail butterfly (Tiger Swallowtail) that I saw and photographed on Saturna Island early last summer. It is a watercolour on CP (cold pressed) Arches watercolour paper.
 
 
``Magic in the Air``, 12`` X 16``
 


I have had a week full of equipment problems. Less than a month ago my computer had a life threatening illness, but recovered. This week my long serving and faithful printer bit the dust!
 
May it RIP.
 
 So sad, but I am so dependent on a printer that I replaced it with the new version.
 
Why can't a printer just print when you ask it; why does it have to have arguments with my other software, why can't it just print the way the old one did?
 
Well that is a question I cannot answer, but there are computer geeks out there that have a lot to answer for and if I get my hands on them............
 
Best not to go there.
 
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So to get back to Swallowtail Butterflies, here are a few more pictures I took last summer:
 
 
For more information about the Western or Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly follow this link:
 


 
Here are some butterfly facts brought to you by: http://www.onekind.org/education/animals_a_z/butterfly/
 
``The word butterfly was first used to describe a butter coloured insect- the brimstone butterfly. ‘Butterfly’ eventually came to include all the species and the brimstone acquired its present name which relates to the colour of sulphur.``



 
``A butterfly has a small body, made of three parts – the head, thorax and abdomen. Butterflies have two large eyes, which are made of many, many small parts. These are called ‘compound eyes’. ``
 

 
``They have two antennae on top of their heads, which they use to feel, smell and to hear. A butterfly’s mouth is a long tube, through which it sucks the sweet nectar from flowers. When the butterfly does not want to eat, it rolls the tube up!``


 
``Butterflies have three pairs of legs. Their feet have little claws to help them stand on flowers. Some butterflies, like the peacock, only use four of their legs, carrying the two front legs against their bodies.``
 
 
``The wings of the butterfly are made of hard tubes covered with thin tissue. The wings are covered with scales, which are like a fine dust.``
 

 
``The scales form bright patterns, sometimes with a hidden ultraviolet pattern to attract mates. The bright colours also act as a deterrent to predators eating them. The scales may also form patterns that help the butterflies to blend into their background to escape predators.``
 
``Butterflies can only feed or fly when their bodies are warmed to at least 30° C, and they have to gain this from the sunshine using their wings. Butterflies are often seen basking with their wings open wide, as they gain heat. They adjust the area exposed to the sun by overlapping their wings or angling them towards the sunshine. The veins located in the wings then carry the heat to the body. Colour helps the butterfly with their temperature control. Dark colours absorb more heat, than light colours. Some butterflies such as the Blues have a shiny underside to their wing, which can help them reflect heat.``

 
``Some butterflies can fly 50km/h or faster. Slow flying butterflies probably fly about 10km/h.``
 

 
 
``During fall migration migrating Monarchs have been seen flying by tall buildings such as the Empire State Building hundreds of metres high. Butterflies are picked up by storm fronts and moved 100's of km, probably at altitudes of thousands of metres.``
 


 
Swallowtail Butterflies have only one generation per year. Depending on the temperatures they emerge in mid May and live until about the end of July.
 
By the end of their short lives they get rather tatty looking, blown about but the wind, beaten by the rain and threatened by birds, spiders and other predators (including humans).
 
Beautiful delicate creatures, may they long thrive!
 
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That's all for this week, happy Wednesday, with whimsy,
 
Gillian
 
I love to get your comments.
  




 

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Gossamer Wings

I thought I would celebrate the first week of Spring by painting something bright and colourful; a delicate Monarch Butterfly came to mind, so here is my "Monarch of the Garden":

 
Where does the butterflies colour come from?
 
"Butterflies actually get their colors from two different sources: ordinary (or pigmented) color and structural color. The ordinary color comes from normal chemical pigments that absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect others. For example, the pigment chlorophyll colors plants green. The chlorophyll soaks up the blue and red colors of the spectrum, but not the green, which you see when it bounces back to your eye. Most butterflies get their different shades of brown and yellow from melanin, the same pigment that makes you tan in summer and gives some people freckles.

The structural color of butterflies is where things get interesting. This type of color stems from the specific structure of the butterflies' wings and explains why some of a butterfly's colors seem to shift and appear so intense. This quality of changing colors as you, the observer, moves is known as iridescence, and it occurs more in nature than you might think. Mother of pearl seashells, fish and peacocks are just a few examples of animals with this quality, but it is most pronounced in the butterfly family. It happens when light passes through a transparent, multilayered surface and is reflected more than once. The multiple reflections compound one another and intensify colors."


 
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I have twice visited butterfly "farms", protective enclosures with the food, temperature and humidity controlled so the butterflies can thrive. Butterflies become more active in hot and humid conditions. Great for the butterflies but hard on the photographer and camera! 


 
The first "butterfly farm" was in Costa Rica, and on that visit a butterfly perched on my shoulder for most of my visit. Butterflies gladden the spirit and brighten the eye, here are some pictures and quotes about butterflies:
 
"May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond."
~Irish blessing
 


Blue Morpho on my shoulder

Tiger Longwing

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."  ~Hans Christian Andersen



Blue Morpho showing the inside of the wings
 
 

 
My second visit to "Butterfly Farm" was in Arizona:

Clysonimus
  
"If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies."
 ~Author unknown

Tiger Longwing
 
Tree Nymph
 
"The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity."
~Attributed to George Carlin

 
 
 "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."
 ~Richard Bach

Blue morpho (outside)
 
 
"Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life.  And everyone deserves a little sunshine. "
 ~Jeffrey Glassberg

White Admiral
 
 
"The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower a tethered butterfly."
~Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun


 
"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
  ~Richard Buckminster Fuller

Postman

Siproeta Stelenes
 
"Love is like a butterfly:  It goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes."
  ~Author Unknown

Think this is a Fritillary

You’re My Butterfly
"Your are the most beautiful thing
I’ve ever seen
You shine just like sunlight rays
On a winter snow
I just had to tell you so
Your eyes sparkle as the stars
Like the moon they glow
Your smile could light the world on fire
Or did you know?
Your minds full of everything
That I want to know
I just had to let you know
I just had to tell you so
Your’re my butterfly
Fly high
Fly fly fly"
Lyrics/Song – Lenny Kravitz


That is it for butterflies for today, if I have any of the names wrong please let me know.
 
Thanks for joining me on my flight of fancy today.
 
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I have some art news to share:
 
I am very pleased to say that my painting "Pretty in Pink" has been accepted into the "Just Flowers" juried show at the Newton Cultural Centre in April.
 
Also they have awarded me the Spotlight Cover Award for the exhibition, my painting will be featured on the cover of the April issue of Arts Council of Surrey's Spotlight on the Arts Magazine.
 
 
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I finally figured out how to add a reaction bar to the end of my blog, so you can add a reaction to the blog even if you don't have a google ID.
 
 
That's all for this week, happy Wednesday, with whimsy,
 
Gillian
 
I love to get your comments.