Category Archives: photo


preliminary sketchesPreliminary sketches, done from photograph.

I like to paint. I’ve messed around with watercolours for years, sketching from life but never having any actual training. I’m sure my technique is appalling. It wasn’t till my second year of university that I took my first painting class, and it was a revelation. I’ve long talked about how drawing helps me to see things more fully. I’ve also talked about it fixes moments in my memory – how looking at a drawing years later can bring me back to the moment in which I was drawing it – the weather, smells, sounds, the people I was with. But painting taught me to see in a way I’d never seen before. Colour, shape, texture, light and shadow, the endless illusions our eyes create for us. I also learned how to look at art in ways I’d never experienced before. The two painting classes I took enriched my day-to-day life, and improved me as a person – as an observer, a recorder, a witness to the earth – more than perhaps any other classes I took at Princeton.

I didn’t do much painting for the past three years. But recently, I decided to give it a go again.

work in progress - painting of alexI painted a portrait of Alex yesterday, working from a photograph. Here’s a rough work-in-progress photo.

messy desk!The finished portrait, showing my messy desk and working setup, as well as my sketchbook:

using up extra paintI’ve been using up excess paint by making postcards. These were glued onto rectangles of old cereal box cardboard and will soon be mailed out!

portrait of alexFinished painting.


english countryside

I love these gnarly trees. They remind me, a bit, of the wind-twisted trees on Dallas Road, back at home.

Just some grass.

textures, england

Textures from a recent excursion to Coalbrookdale, birthplace of the industrial revolution! I want to start painting again and I’ve been collecting interesting colours and textures… I think these are amazing, the patterns formed by centuries of weathering, water dripping down ancient brick…

weathered brick, coalbrookdale

weathered brick, coalbrookdale

february snow

Excuse me while I dump some old photos… I should have posted these ages ago! Photos from Victoria’s snowstorm, Feb. 24 2011.

The witch-trees rise up in my front yard.

Spins on the road.

Magical tree.

Extremely windy tree, covered with dead ivy. Tentacles.

The Building Formerly Known as Red House. I think there’s something a bit Japanese-wood-cut about this photo.

2010, winter solstice

The night of the solstice, I danced for hours.  I sang, clapped, drummed my feet upon the floor and reached up to the ceiling shouting, ululating.  Filled myself up with the wild rumpus.

I woke up at home, surrounded by feathers, the clear winter light streaming in through the window.

Now the axis begins its slow tilt once more, tipping us back towards the sun.

went out last night

Mt. Finlayson

On Saturday I climbed Mt. Finlayson with H.  

I’d been thinking about climbing it since going to Goldstream a few weeks ago, and decided that this weekend was the one.  It’s a beautiful hike – about 3 hours round-trip, with gorgeous forest and views.  The climb is steep enough to provide a challenge, but short enough to be friendly.

I found some beautiful fungus along the way!

The view was lovely, but sadly spoiled by the Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club – the last time I climbed Mt Finlayson (a long time ago!) it had just been erected and since then it’s exploded.  There’s an ever-increasing spread of construction, and eerily well-manicured golf greens among the trees.  Despite the eyesore, it was a crystalline day, and Mt. Baker was stark and close on the horizon.

We’d climbed up the eastern face of the mountain, and when we reached the top there was a sharp dividing line: on the west, the slowly-moving line between sun and shadow also marked the line between frost and melt.  We’d encountered no ice on the way up, but at the top, wherever the sun had not yet reached, there was a thick frost.

It was a good day.  I don’t spend enough time outside when it’s winter, but once I actually get OUT, I never regret it…  There’s something about the clarity of cold winter air that always seems like a bad idea when I’m in my nice warm house, but invariably reveals itself as an excellent idea once I’m out and about.