Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for...Newfoundland

Although in general, my A to Z Challenge has focused on art, I want to share a little post from last summer.  Yes, maybe I am being a little bit lazy, but Newfoundland was its own bit of artwork all itself.

I always thought it was simply a term of endearment from Newfoundlanders.  They say, "I'm from the Rock," and we all know what they mean, at least around these parts.  They mean Newfoundland.  What I didn't know before I went there is that it really is a great big 'ole rock.

In the 16 days we spent touring Newfoundland, we saw maybe four farms.  And where it is flat, there's huge boulders laying about randomly all over the landscape.  Not to mention the cliffs, and the stunted trees, and it's not particularly green in least not next to the Atlantic Ocean.

It's a beautiful place, though, a far cry from the prairies, and we had the best visit an outsider could ask for.  We went for a wedding, and the bride's family treated us Albertans to a lobster boil and opened their doors for us, so we saw a genuine side of Newfoundland not open to the average tourist.

Here are a few photos from our trip...and if you've always wanted to go to Newfoundland, Go!


We started off in St. John's and visited Cape Spear, the most eastern point in Canada.  A beautiful, barren place, we caught our first glimpse of an iceberg and immediately pulled over to take photos.  While we were exploring, the fog rolled in, and the fog horn sounded.  It was truly an east coast experience at 2 degrees Celsius with a blasting wind.  No complaints from us, though we were happy to get back into the car and warm up.

 World War II hidden guns at Cape Spear

 Stunted trees called "tuckamores"

The wind was even worse the next day, so we drove north on the Avalon Peninsula to Bay de Verde.  A long drive, but we had nothing better to do.  I expected Bay to Verde to live up to its name...maybe it's a private joke, but as you can see from the pictures, it is anything but green!  Maybe later in the year.  It was amazing to think that people settled this barren place.  Beautiful in its own right, to be sure, but you'd have to be tough to live here, I think!

 Early settlers of Bay de Verde.  No, really.

 The town (?) of Bay de Verde.

It was some cold wind, let me tell you.  And there are a lot of clotheslines in Newfoundland.  
And wood piles. 

Pulled over on the way up the highway along the coast to take a pic of this beauty.

 Added a bit of a surreal touch to this one...same bay as the one above...most icebergs in 35 years...good for tourists..not so good for the glaciers.  They really were everywhere...just floatin' in da bay.  Don't see a lot of this on the prairies, that's for damn sure.

 Near Bay de Verde.  Not very green.

 Jelly bean houses in St. John's.

And, yes, there are lots of moose in Newfoundland.  I freaked when I saw this one on the road...
Moose!  Moose!  Moose!

 View from Signal Hill in St. John's.

 St. John's Harbour from Signal Hill.

 Cabot House, on Signal Hill.

 We did the Gatherall's boat tour at Witless Bay as we left the Avalon Peninsula to head West...great boat tour...saw humpback whales (no tails or breaches, so pics were boring), more icebergs, and puffins.  And puffins are tough to photograph.  they look fat but move fast.

 There's one of the little suckers coming out of his nest.

Thousand's of birds at St. Mary's ecological reserve. No one got pooped on, so far as I could tell.

Once again, out on the water for the boat tour, it was even windier, and colder than it had been the day before, which was almost hard to believe, and my hands were frozen by the time we got back.  And what a ride!  Oh my Lord!  It was what I would call a rough sea...we were rockin' and rollin' the whole time, staggering around the boat like drunken sailors...and at least four people were puking into little baggies that the crew magically produced when needed.  It was a great trip, though...highly recommended!  Crew was fantastic and very entertaining with east coast music and knowledgeable tour guide.

From St. John's we drove to Norris Point in Gros Morne National Park (with an overnight pit stop because we forgot our dress clothes in the hotel in St. John's and had to drive an hour an a half back to get them, which was not fun and it got dark, etc.).  And then it was there, in Rocky Harbour, where I discovered.....

24 Flavours of Soft Serve!!!!!

Okay...we don't have this in Alberta, but we should.  I am convinced I need to start an ice cream truck.  Very common in Newfoundland, so I'm told, and we did see this sign all over.  It was delicious.  I had pistacchio, coconut, and something else.  Hubby stuck mostly to rum.

Trip down to the beach in Norris Point...As you can see, it was windy.  Although not cold for once.

We stayed in a cabin for a couple of days...visited with our friends who were getting married....had the lobster boil... with a goodly amount of lobster.  Much cheaper in Newfoundland than about $600 haha.  Quite the lesson in shucking those things, if that be the right term for it.

meet and greet for the wedding and moved to Neddies Harbour Inn.

 This is the view of the Tablelands from Neddies Harbour Inn, which is a very pleasant hotel with a great...great sunroom.

 The view of Bonne Bay during one of our hikes.

Not sure what kind of birdie...looks like a chickadee sort of.

 A wild orchid of some kind.

 The Tablelands is one of the few places on earth where the earth's mantle has pushed up over the earth's crust (not sure of proper terminology here).  Very cool hike.  Also, very windy and cold lol.  A theme going on in Newfoundland.  Wind.  Cold.  We did have a couple of hot days, and the weather turned very nice the day we left.  Go figure. At least for the most part it was dry.  It poured buckets the day before and the day of the wedding tho.

 Lobster Cove hike...very interesting if you take stairs down to rocky beach...lots of tuckamores.

Family pic...looked like a great place for a bear...and there was a bear sighting at Lobster Cove that day, as we found out later.

 A great view from Trout River hike...find the set of stairs in the town...worth the hour's hike. 
Typical day for this fella...get it mowed before it rains.

 Notice the graffiti in the lower left...I didn't really see many signs or buildings that were tagged...a lot of rock tags tho...mostly so-and-so loves so-and-so kind of thing.

And the reason for our was a beautiful wedding and a fun reception.  Credit to Lisa LeDrew Photography...terrific photo!

Here Chris and Tara get a talkin' to from "Aunt Sophie" who did the screeching in.  They did not partake, however...Tara being from Newfoundland, and Chris having been screeched in on a previous visit.

And hubby and I were screeched in at the wedding.  Needed that screech as a chaser for the cod liver oil..yuck!  Not recommended lol.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for....Macrame

I was volunteering not too long ago at a casino, and I was chatting with a friend, who is very crafty, and she happened to mention she used to macrame.  I was like, "Wow...there's a word I haven't heard in forever," and we had a laugh over it (we are pretty close in age).  I think most households would have had a macrame plant hanger in their living room sometime throughout the 1970s.

I did a quick Google search, and there's no denying that it can produce beautiful results...or perhaps macrame has changed since 1975.

And for anyone who doesn't know what the heck macrame's pronounced mak-ra-may and according to Wikipedia, "...macrame is a form of textile-making using knotting rather than weaving or knitting."

So there you go.  Another type of art that may be undiscovered by anyone under the age of 30 or so.

Seriously...everyone had a macrame plant hanger....everyone!

 I am reasonably certain one of my aunts had similar macrame owls.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for...Life Drawing (nudes)

Not long ago I took a weekend workshop on life drawing, or figure drawing.  For anyone reading this who does not know what that is, it's drawing from live models instead of from a photo.  The models are usually nude.

I'm not sure what possessed me to take this class, as I've only done a very little drawing and never of the human form.  The class popped up on my FB feed out of the blue, and I registered, out of the blue, not having any idea what to expect.

I thought the models might be nude, as the drawing advertising the class was of a nude, but I wasn't entirely sure.  It was also a charcoal class, and I had never done any charcoal drawing...two new experiences for the price of one!

I was slightly apprehensive about the nude component.  I thought I might be weirded out, or it would be really awkward.  I wondered if the models would start out clothed or partially clothed.

The class started on a cold, blizzardy Friday February evening, just four of us and the instructor, and a male model in a robe.  As soon as we shut the door, adjusted the lighting, and the students were came the robe!

So that answered that question.  There was no lead-up to the disrobing.  Clothes...No clothes.

As for being weirded out?  That lasted about a second, and then any awkwardness disappeared.  Everyone got busy drawing, and the time flew by.

Saturday morning we had a female model for the full day.  Both models were fantastic.  Very professional and totally comfortable with us drawing them.  I'm sure that makes a big difference...if the model is comfortable, it puts everyone else at ease.  I was very impressed at how they could hold the poses for so long.  I learned a lot.  I even completed a couple of passable sketches that I'm quite happy with.

So to any of you out there who may be considering a life drawing art class...go for it.  It was fun and not weird at all after 30 seconds.

I've included a couple of my's okay if you laugh at the first one :)

first attempt...we were doing "gesture" which is just supposed to be the very general outline of the body to capture the angles.  I had no idea what that meant, as is pretty obvious.

okay, better...

more detail...I was quite happy with my final drawing!

I spent a lot of time on this last one and was pretty pleased with the result.  Of course as an artist you want to do the model justice and not make a horrid drawing of him/her.  Before these two I had four or five miserable failures on Saturday, but in the end I was able to walk away with a few drawings I could be happy with.

I wouldn't hesitate to go again :)  It was a great experience.

K is for...Kids

More specifically, kids artwork.

My kids produce a voluminous amount of art, from drawings to paper creations and sculptures, at school and at home.

I enjoy their creations, but what the heck do you do with all of it?  Most of it goes to their room, and some I squirrel away in a folder for when they're grown, but a good deal of it is taped to my living room walls. 

Yes, taped to my living room walls, and the hallway walls, and the kitchen walls.  And don't forget the fridge.

I'm an artist, and when I finish a painting, I like to hang it up and look at it.  One day, not long after I began painting, my daughter asked if she could put up one of her drawings, I immediately replied, Of course!

How could I say no?  I mean, my artwork is hanging all over the house, and my kid wants to tape a piece of paper on the wall.

I love those pieces of paper, sometimes with curled edges and crooked tape.  I do try to get them to remove the seasonal paintings after a time, to make room for the new things, just like I change my art around as I paint new pieces.  We use Magic Tape so it doesn't take the paint off.  We don't live in a show home, by any means.

My daughter's room is covered with her paintings, floor to ceiling almost. 

I suppose it's a bit much, but I get it.  You fall in love with your art, and one of the best things about art is to share it :)

My daughter's room....not my living room!

hubby portraits are the best :)