Friday, May 30, 2014

This Moment

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.- Amanda Blake Soule

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kids in the garden: It's a frog party

This time of year frogs are everywhere, N found this one as I was driving the 'gator around the corner, I heard super high pitched screams- which- as I got closer I could discern as "WHAT KIND OF FROG IS THAT?! WHAT KIND OF FROG IS THAT?!" Anyways, after we got over the shock of the find we christened him Croaky and captured him to take out to the garden, and show Dad, of course.

Frogs are great for your garden, they eat bugs, and not plants, and they're great babysitters in the garden as well, they'll keep the kids busy for hours with their jumpy escapee antics. One way to induce frogs to stay in your garden is to give them little habitats, with a shallow dish of water and some rocks to perch on.

Croaky is a Copes Grey Tree frog, we identified him using the Manitoba Herps Atlas which is a very cool site.  Here are some more tips about Frog friendly gardens. Most of those are around the yard anyhow- it's a bit of a frog paradise around here. Some of the most important things are ponds, brushpiles, and not using insecticides, mainly.

Here is our little frog dish- under the shelter of the Rhubarb leaves, in Croaky's new home (temporary, but don't tell the kids, they think he's still there). A little bit of moisture can go a long way for a frog out of a pond, and it's a great way to talk to talk to kids about Camouflage too- as the frog will inevitably 'get lost' several times while they're looking after him, only to be spied right in front of their feet, a moment later.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday Inspiration: Edith Carr

Edith Carr, Painted Jug, 1906 (source)
Edith Carr (1856-1919), was Emily's older sister, she looked after the Carr siblings after her parents death. Apparently art ran in the family because she also painted on china, and won awards and sold her pieces too. She was also a founder of the YWCA in Victoria B.C.

The painting on this piece is growing on me, nicely composed and probably at that time pretty different from other painted china. I think in 1906 china painting was a much more delicate business, (I'm thinking roses and baby's breath) with small very detailed scenes being the norm, so perhaps these chunky cherries would have been outstanding then. It's certainly a lovely little pitcher, the colour choices work well, and though now it seems a little ordinary- like I said- in 1906 perhaps it was quite special.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

This week

::A rare sunny evening perfect to catch the light off the riverbank- as the falcon shrieks overhead.
:: Canada Geese- one of my favorite birds- nesting on the islands of cliffs- a very safe place for chicks
:: A Mallard nest in the lone patch of standing summer savory in the garden- not a very safe place I'm afraid- only two eggs left at last count- I'm almost afraid to look today- the girls will be very upset not to have ducklings in the garden
:: An awesomely typical N face
:: Wicked pinstriping on an old safe- good inspiration
:: Snowcap beans to pretty to plant without a picture
:: The first Johnny Jump up (aka Heartsease), quickly plucked and smelled.
:: Good Mother Stallard Beans ( I think)
:: Tree Planting- each year we've been getting a few trees and they've mostly died which is so so disappointing- this year we went all out and spent money to get good quality trees- a whole orchard worth- 6 apples, 2 hazelnuts, a pear, grapes, arctic kiwi, a couple of roses- hopefully we fare better with these ones- the quality seems much improved.
:: N has been starting to use my camera- I thought these ones of her legs were charming because they so capture those moments of figuring it out- lots of 'pant shots'- but pretty good for a 4 yr old with macro setting- those sweet little feet!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Monday Inspiration: Winnifred Kingsford

Winnifred Kingston, Seated Woman, 1914 (source)
Winnifred Kingsford (1880-1947), was a Canadian Sculptor- apparently before Frances Loring and Florence Wyle arrived on the scene- she was assumed to be the ONLY female sculptor in Canada- this seems totally ludicrous to me, but is it possibly true? Is it possible that no women made sculpture before her in Canada? If so she must have been terribly lonely. Or maybe it's only that if we don't know of them they must not have existed, if they were not incredibly talented or brave or willing to risk scandal, then they were only creating in private, and we will never know of them.

Every Week I find myself renewed in some sort of  high/low process; Excited to find some woman who made art that speaks to women, long before my time, only to have that excitement tempered by the fact that there is only one work of hers available to see without hours of research that I don't have (as I write this my hands are being forcibly removed from the keyboard by two very sweet and determined chubby hands- while the owner of the hands is saying " No! Milk! Me! Mommmmy!" or some variation on that theme).

I am always a bit  surprised that a whole piece of history has been totally removed from us (you'd think I'd be used to it by now) anything in the domestic sphere and so female, of course, and private, is so cloaked in mystery that even though this woman- Winnifred Kingsford- made lamp bases and 'other domestic items' in order to reach more people with her art- I can't see any of them, or find any of them. I can only imagine that they are languishing in some basement- lighting a tawdry teenage love scene- perhaps. The only piece available to view (online anyhow), is this Seated Woman- and even she looks bored, or patient maybe- waiting to see something interesting- or waiting to be noticed- or waiting to be taken seriously.

Actually If I'm honest I imagine her looking at children playing, or something else lovely and fleeting, and so I'll take this as a reminder that even though women may be almost wholly erased from history- at least they had some of the precious things in life; the adorable chubby hands pulling on them saying " MOMMY! MILK! ME!"

Friday, May 16, 2014

This Moment

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.- Amanda Blake Soule

Joining along with Soulemama, happy weekend everyone!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Inspiration: Sylvia Daoust

Sylvia Daoust, My Brother, 1921 (source)
Sylvia Daoust, (source)
Sylvia Daoust, My Head, 1930 (source)

Sylvia Daoust (1902-2004) Studied in Montreal and also in Europe, She taught sculpture in Montreal and Anatomy and drawing in Quebec. Her works are all over Quebec- but they are hard to find on line in any sort of reputable form ( I usually try to source images from museums or other well researched places- but I had to use yelp for the image of My Head, which I thought was so striking I wanted to include it anyway. The Image of My Brother is sourced from a journal article because the image is better quality, but I found the title and date from another source- my apologies if it's not correct.

I think that highlights an issue with Women Artists, Because their work is/was seldom or sparsely collected by major Galleries, it can be difficult to find them online in a well documented way. They are often snapshots from someones phone, instead of professional images in a virtual museum, and as such the real documentation is often lost.  For example the image of My head says it's painted plaster- and that might be so- but it looks a lot like bronze to me- and because my source is yelp, I'm not really very trusting of it, so I won't write down the material, and it goes undocumented.

We're living in an internet age and for years the struggle has been to get more work by Women into galleries, but now I wonder if we should be taking a different approach. A proper Virtual Museum  of Women's Art would likely get far visitors than a real brick and mortar museum. At the last kids art class  I taught I was surprised to find that the 12 year old kids I was teaching had never been to an art gallery, art is not really a priority in rural schools, I know, but still, I expected at least one field trip- there is a small gallery a half hour away, but that is not so. That sort of shook me up, and got me wondering how many adults in my area have never been to an art gallery, more than I realized I think. So- if people are going to the internet for their art, it sort of makes representation of Women's art on Google much more relevent, don't you think?

Throughout this little Canadian artist challenge of mine I've been thinking- "well of course there's no more than a few photos of the work- the women were not collected by major museums".  Now I'm wondering what would happen if we reversed that process, and gave them proper space on the Internet as the first step to getting the names out there, and then that in turn would make a demand for their works to be collected and preserved in bigger galleries.

Okay- Brainstorm done- sorry for Hi-jacking your post Sylvia Daoust- your work is phenomenal- or what I can see of it on yelp.

Monday Inspiration 2014 is all about Canadian artists. Each Monday I'll pick a new one to profile- If you can think of any that you think I ought to look up- please let me know in the comments- I'd love to hear from you. You can find a list of the artists I've done so far here. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Photo Challenge: Colourful

Here is that last one pre colour editing- just for fun- to see what the difference is. 
I immediately thought of my girls when this months challenge came up, they are the bright spots around here for sure, literally and figuratively. The harder part is making the colours pop, and truth be told I did most of that after taking the photos- but boosting the saturation and in all cases lowering the gamma correction (lightness) in the bottom two, also bumping up the contrast a bit too. I usually take my photos on the light side- I prefer a more sunny look, and most of the time up here the sun is really bright, so a slightly overexposed look is closer to the reality. but it really did wash out the colours, and they popped so much more with a darker background, especially in the back lit photos.

Posting along with a personal photo challenge, it's a really nice way to prompt yourself into doing some camera work, stop by to check out the other's work too!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Inspiration: Elizabeth Cann

Elizabeth Cann, The Soldiers Wife, 1941, (source)
Elizabeth Cann, Mrs Kary Wyman Baker, (source)

Elizabeth Lovitt Cann, (1901-1977) was so well educated, it amazes me, she studied at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine arts, the School of Applied Design for Women in New York, and also in England and Paris (full bio here). She had money behind her, and that really seems key for women back then (funny when all we generally have nowadays is the 'starving artist' ideal). She's mostly known for her portraits of women and girls, though she did landscape as well.

I love portraits of Women by Women, they are so different from portraits of women by men. The idea of women being painted as an object to look at instead of an actual person with motives of their own is a subject much talked about- (I spoke about it a bit here- while talking about Manet's Olympia). It's much more interesting to see women when represented by women because their physicality often takes a back seat. I don't just mean no breasts and legs on display- though that's part of it, certainly, what I mean is that when men paint women often it's about the line of their bodies, the curve of a back, or jaw, or nose, just about the simple beauty of a female subject, their grace and feminine presence. When a woman paints a woman it seems as if she's just seeing her as a person, as herself, not the 'Other'.

The Soldiers Wife is just so poignant, and the expression so real, it brings you right there to where that woman is in time. I also love the floral patterns as she painted them, not too detailed, and not too loose.  I did a portrait of my Great Grandma once and there were so many floral prints, I just about lost my mind, it was a real test to try and get them just right.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

In the Garden 2014: the seed list

This post will be simple- just a list of all our seeds for this year- new bought or from saved seed- whatever we're putting into the garden this year- mostly for record purposes. I'll certainly post photos and descriptions of the Tomatoes as they ripen- maybe some other things too. I've also edited this list to add the seed starting method I've used- which is not to say that it's the method that should necessarily be used- but that I'm trying it out- I'll post again to report on how they work.

Here's the Key:
W = Winter Sowed (this is the thing that I do with milk jugs in the winter you can read about it here)
I= started inside about 8 weeks before last frost- or sooner depending on type
D= direct sowed to garden (or will be when it's warm enough to do so)

'Ostritch Plume' Astilbe
'Hansa' Rose
'Morden Blush' Rose
'Tophat' Blueberry
'Willoughby' Black Currant
'Thomas' Pear
'Minnesota 447' Apple
'Rosthern 18' Apple
'Goodland' Apple
'Northline' Saskatoon
'Fredonia' Grape
'Johns' Elderberry
'Manitoba Native' Grape
'Chung Bai' Kiwi

Herbs / Flowers:
Edible Dianthus- W, I
Jacob's Ladder- W, D
Rhodiola (roseroot)- W
Arnica Montana- W, I
Golden Feverfew-W
Bayberry-W, I
Greek Mullien-W, D
Marshmallow-W, I
Elecampane- D
Common Comfrey-W, I
Red Clover-D
Clary Sage- I
Salad Burnet-D
Summer Savory-D
Cicilian Parsley-I
Sweet Marjoram-W
German Chamomile-W, D
Purple Coneflower-W
Swamp Butterfly Weed-W, D
Joe Pye Weed,W,D
Common Valerian, W, D
'Nora Barlow' Columbine, W
'Ukrainian' Hollyhock, W, I, D
'Cactus' Zinnia- D
'California' Zinnia-D
'Arikara' Sunflower-D
Snapdragon-I, W
'Giganteum' Poppy-D
'Mikado' California Poppy-D
Creeping Thyme-W
Lavendar Lady-W
Agastache Foeniculum-W
Lemon Balm-I,W

Also these ones- which I almost forget about because they are so essential and because they self seed (hopefully)
Bachelor's Button, mixed
Red Peony flowered poppy

'Moon and Stars' watermelon-I
'Sweet Siberian' watermelon-I
'Small Shining Light' watermelon-I
'Scaly Bark' watermelon-I
'Gnadenfeld' muskmelon-I
'Cershownski' mukmelon-I

White Currant-I
Spanish Winter-I
Purple Calabash-I
Principe Borghese-I
Mystery Keeper-I
Amish Paste-I
Ivory Pear (saved seed)-I
Arbuznyi (saved seed)-I
Ferris Wheel-I
Pearly Pink (saved seed)-I
Costoluto Genovese (saved seed)-I
Pirkstine Orange (saved seed)-I

'Galeaux D'eysines' winter squash-D
'Arikara' winter squash-D
'Black Beauty' zucchini-D
'Bennings tint' scallop squash-D

Alma Paprika-I
Red Ruffled Pimento-I

Turnip Rooted-D

Blue Podded Capucijners-D
Carouby de Mausanne-D

Ephraim Hall-D
Lemon Apple-D

Pennsylvania Dutch Butter- popcorn-D

Vermont Cranberry-D
Heritage Dore-D
Good Mother Stallard-D
Canadian Wild Goose-D
Blue Coco-D

Late Flat Dutch-I
Mammoth Red Rock-I

De Ciccio-I


Giant Prague-I

Kale 'Lacinato'-D
Swiss Chard 'Five Coloured Silverbeet'-D
Spinach 'Bloomsdale' (from saved seed- we'll see how it grows!)-D
Lettuce 'White Paris Cos'-D
Lettuce 'Reines Des Glace'-D
Lettuce 'Mascara'-D
Lettuce 'Bath Cos'-D
Mustard Greens-D

'Bulls Blood' (saved seed)-D

Atomic Red (saved seed)-D
Nantes Coreless-D