My very first Saskatoon jelly - created from our very own berries! The very best, most productive bushes grow on our own lot on Fraser Lake and most of the berries - well, at least half - came from one stellar bush.
There is indeed honey around and I've made it a habit to buy some from a Vanderhoof vendor at the Farmer's Market every Friday here. They feature at least 8 different flavours and so far I've purchased regular, orange infused and peppermint. Pure loveliness...
See those berries? Pretty impressive for a wild shrub. I've been imagining all the produce I could uh...produce... in strategic containers around the lot once we're living on site. Don't want to engage in any full scale agricultural endeavors but any efforts should prove more than worthwhile.
These here are the little gals who make it all happen. Bees upon bees - literally - I actually saw bees landing on their fellow workers. It was an incredibly encouraging sight following months of articles describing the collapse and decimation of hives around the world. Can't help but get a feeling of warmth and security knowing that we have landed in the midst of such teeming life and abundance.
Onto a fresh chapter-
The old life isn't quite gone, there are still tasks to complete from my sojourn in Kitimat but the new is taking hold, though to a degree I'm drifting in limbo, not quite fastened to anything tangible just yet. I've been taking lots of photos and the most interesting subjects so far are dead things. And that's okay. Inanimate creatures are far more accommodating than live ones and the compositions often more interesting. I like this one above, as a tonal study with yellow accents; very spare and graphically appealing...to my sensibilities, anyway.
We currently reside right in the town of Fraser Lake, one block from an extensive network of trails around and up Mouse Mountain. It's a mere 100 meters in height so is a paltry substitute for the majestic mile high Mount Elizabeth that presided over every view in Kitimat and that I'm still reproducing for commissions. She's a grand mountain... but Mouse Mountain is close and blocks the morning sun till after 7a.m. so provides relief in addition to being a wee geographic feature.
What Fraser Lake really has to offer is sky - full of wonderful cloud formation, dramatic light and amazing sunsets. Last summer, when panicked at the thought of abandoning moss, fern, mountain and temperate forest, I spotted a glorious sky: cloud towered against an evening light that sent beams piercing through to fields below, power poles and lines silhouetted in contrast. So - when Kitimat scenes are completed I will have clouds...clouds presiding over the most mundane, even drab or tawdry locations that I can find.
Because that amuses me.
Twenty five years of observations of Kitimat weather sit on the counter at Kitimat Museum & Archives, who now get custody of my records. Environment Canada never did trust me with anything more than precipitation prompting the bff to once comment "She'll measure water, twice a day for 20 years" I think this was in reference to my being tenaciously responsible. Or something.
Environment Canada sent me a very nice letter officially thanking me for my service noting in the 25 years of taking these observations you measured a total of 454.8 metres of rain, 113.0 meters of snow and a total of 567.8 of total precipitation.
That's alotta water.
...in the midst of a mural. Thankfully not so much the middle (though if I add in the 3 extra panels that exactly, terrifyingly, where I am) as at the 10th with 6 more to go. By golly, I'm going to pour the hours into it over the next month.
On the floor is a 10 foot long photocopy of the sketch where I'm trying to reconfigure how it shakes out panel by panel. I had attempted to stretch it out in order to literally turn a corner but may have overdone it.
Only thing to do is keep painting.
I'm 220 hours into it. No wonder I feel like a stronger painter.
Hear me roar!
Last sets...the high school performed Into The Woods very nicely and these sets should be my final contribution to theater in Kitimat. The main pieces were three giant books - this above plus Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. Each book opened to reveal an interior and text page beginning that characters story and two of these also had an extra scene on the back. Didn't look like so much to paint when I began but it actually amounted to a fair bit of square footage.
Following the final performance I was presented with this lovely sentiment which I then affixed to the arm of seat H23.
So now we'll forever be 'in the house'.
Light gleamed through the fractures in the window at the far end of the church, low hanging sun bursting from myriad cracks and angles. I'd come here to change the decorations, move them through their transition from Christmas to a more subdued, generic winter. The inner pane of glass was still intact, so I began to play around with ideas to adorn this accidental (possibly), found opportunity. Once the decorations were complete I ran home to collect supplies, then off to the Dollar Store for anything else that might work. I'd hoped to find coloured cellophane but no luck. Yet.
I don't know if the butterflies are too cheesy, though I definitely like the glass and was relieved this morning to note that none had fallen off as a few did the day before. I had visions of these popping off in the middle of communion or the sermon and such 'punctuations' might not be appreciated.
I may recreate something like this in frame as artwork...
Last Friday I received a phone call requesting some very last minute touch up on the Alcan Christmas sets, so I packed my paints and brushes and headed down to Mount Elizabeth Theatre to obscure various scrapes and dings that had accumulated on Santa's workshop since the last time I had been called upon to fix and freshen. I got to meet the entertainment - a juggler named Sand - who commented that she'd never seen a more elaborate Christmas set which was indeed gratifying. She even held the ladder for me when the Theatre Tech was off finding things for her. Very lovely person and from what I saw of her act, entertaining as well.
On Monday I put another 4 hours onto the set with the hopes that it might survive fairly unscathed for another 19 years.
That is one more 'last' for me; I've been noting all the last times I'll experience situations in Kitimat as we will move to Fraser Lake next summer after 32 years in this little town.
Last falling leaves...last first snowfall...last deep, icy snow puddles...
All thumbs but with the odd index and little finger thrown in for variety. These were done as a farewell craft for the former leader of Children's church, a most lively and lovely lady who will be leaving our town in the next few days. I was dee-lighted with the imagination demonstrated and they're all just so darn cute!! Will definitely trot this out again.
This was a hard one to squeeze out; I don't normally paint cowboys so this commission took almost 3 years to complete. It started out as Erin's but I assumed responsibility for it when she moved back to Calgary. Still have to fine tune a few areas, mostly on the edges. The figures in the distance were taken from an art buddy's Kispiox rodeo photos and the fellow in front was a compilation derived from several 'found' images.
I'm going to try my absolute best to complete all commissions before moving away next July.
The clock is ticking...
We returned from a quick trip to Vancouver last week, with the good fortune to see the clouds clear as we drew near our northerly home, presenting us a wonderful view of those impossible mountains. Low cloud lay flat in the valleys, leaving the peaks to poke through a smooth expanse of thick vapor like islands on a soft gray sea. Mist snaked along valleys filling them with the ghost of glaciers centuries past. Fresh snow has covered the icefields again for the coming season; I enjoy flying earlier in September or October during that very brief window when they're exposed, revealing scoured rock valleys and long arms of ancient ice clad in wrinkled, gray elephant skin.
Author: Eileen Hutson
'You need the dark to see the light'. Advice picked up in painting workshops has become a treasured mantra in both life and art.