Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Catching Up

It is smoky here. Wild fires have blanketed the Metro Vancouver area (and many other areas of the province) in dense acrid smoke. The sky was yellowish on Sunday but the smoke is gradually dissipating here. It has been so dry this spring and summer and the risk of fire in the parks and forests is high and in many areas of the province it is extreme. Some fires are started by lightning but others are caused by people!

Here are some pictures I took before the "big smoke" when I visited Vancouver Island a couple of weeks ago. I was attending a painting course, and I have some pictures of that too.

Arbutus tree on Vancouver Island

Cormorant drying off after fishing

Flowers along the shoreline
Gull close-up

"True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing."

Baltasar Gracian

I loved the way this flower is growing up through the pilings:

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of a continent."

John Donne

There was a waterfront park near where I was staying and got pictures of the resident heron in the evening (looks like a watercolour painting to me) and in the bright early morning light.

 I went for a walk around Elk Lake to relax after the first days painting; there was a tree growing out of a small "island" in the lake. I stopped to photograph a raven who seemed as curious about me as I was about him. 


 The painting course was called "Reflections in Still Water". The painting is not finished yet but here are some pictures of my painting as it progressed.

First we painted in yellow and red washes in to the reflection and water area.

After the washes were completely dry we added a blue wash to the water, I added a second blue wash to darken the bottom of the painting.

Then we started painting the boats above and below the reflective line. That is how far I got by the end of the two day course.

When I got home I spent another 2 days working on the reflections and boat details, it is not finished yet, I estimate I have another days work to finish it. I hope to be able to show the finished painting by next week.

A belated Happy Canada Day, I took the day off, so no blog last week. Here are a couple of pictures I took on Canada Day:

 A very happy dog!

Flying the flag with pride.
To return to the "smoke" theme, below is a picture of the sun yesterday afternoon trying hard to penetrate the smoke. 
Not to diminish the seriousness of the situation but it did remind of a favorite song from a long time ago. Here is a link to Deep Purple and "Smoke on the Water".

I have finished this painting of basil named "Emerald Beauty":

It is ink and watercolour, or mixed media.
 It is the latest of my Food cards, which include a recipe card using the pictured ingredient. What are the recipes for these cards, take a look:
or all the food cards at:
Next week I will show the last food painting in the series of twelve.
 Until next time...

Thank you for all your kind comments on my last post.
Thanks for stopping by,
happy Whimsy Wednesday





  1. CBC News showed photos of the sky over Vancouver last Sunday! I hope you don;t have an entire summer of "yellow" skies! I love your watercolour of basil.

  2. Hello Gillian
    I have heard about the wildfires, they sound scary. I love your captures of the birds, especially the heron. Your boat reflection painting looks wonderful. And I also love the basil watercolor. Wonderful images, have a happy day!

  3. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Everything in it is splendid. And your painting are magnificent.

  4. Very interesting to read about the fires that are blanketing you city. I hope they can be stopped soon with - maybe - lots of good rain.
    Of all your beautiful photos I especially like the Heron taken in two different lights. Very creative!

  5. Such beautiful photos and quotes... All this beauty must inspire you with your painting. The one you are doing is amazing! I love the reflections... and that yellow boat! You are very gifted, Gillian. Look forward to seeing it finished. Love the beautiful basil, too! blessings ~ tanna

  6. It was bad here the other day, so smoky. It is much better today though. You have a beautiful assortment of images and as always love your art work.

  7. Wow - your paintings are gorgeous! And your shots of Vancouver so lovely.

    I hope they get those fires under control.

  8. gorgeous images!!! i really liked the boats with reflection and the basil card is amazing!!!!!

  9. beautiful water painting! like the cormorant and gull post-sitters. :)