Arrival of Spring – late May


Inspired by the guests on #usktalks Mike Daikubara (author of Sketch now, think later) and Rita Sabler (reportage sketcher) and this week’s challenge to record change, I grabbed my fude nib pen and a brown paper sketchbook, headed down the road a bit and started quickly recording the change in the landscape next door. I have avoided confronting it, until now.

I stood and sketched (spoke with a neighbour also disturbed by the change) then sat on my back deck, with a view of the action, to add colour. All the while, a ceaseless, tiring soundtrack of metal on rock and grinding engines filled my ears. I chose not to block it out with ear buds.

This is but a small moment in the grand scale of industrial agriculture (often financed by distant investors) where regard for the long term health of the land is secondary to cash crop profit.

It was a powerful experience to document this. I would never have done it if not for the #usktalkschallenge to document change.

(Usk is Urban Sketchers. Check out

The rocks and boulders were all almost all dumped is a big pile at the edge of the land. Perhaps some will end up in a front yard landscape design.

Arrival of Spring – May 16


This little corner of my garden has changed a lot since I sketched it on May 3. It contains a variety of textures, blooms, plants still dormant and those just emerging. The rock in the front is a favourite, dug up on our property a couple of years ago. The driftwood is a keepsake from Grand Lake.

It should be noted that this was sketched while wearing a bug net shirt and hood – it’s black fly season.

Arrival of Spring – May 14


I have seed potatoes almost ready to plant. Hopefully the harvest will be worth the effort and space in my garden. As I examined these spuds drying on the counter I asked myself, how can I make these looks pretty? I’m happy with the result.

Arrival of Spring – May 12


Finally some sun and warmth is here or on its way. I was feeling very glad about that as I sketched these narcissus. I’ve been planting different types every fall for the last 5 years – these are just a few. There are more yet to bloom, so I’m happy!

Arrival of Spring – May 11


It feels like Spring will never come. However, The recent unseasonably cold weather has kept the narcissus looking fresh and lively. But I’ve had no desire to sketch outdoors. But I can pick flowers to sketch indoors where I can get a close-up view.

Arrival of Spring – May 4


It will be another couple of weeks before it’s warm enough for dining out back. By then, the rhubarb may be blooming at the end of the deck and the perfume of the lilacs may be wafting past. In the meantime, the umbrella stands at attention.

Of course, sharing this spot with friends would be optimal.

Arrival of Spring – May 3


Lots of clumps of healthy green leaves are coming up all over the garden. This is just a small section viewed from the front door where, for the moment, the rocks and the dominant feature. That will change in a couple of weeks.

The bird is a metal sculpture, not a long-legged cardinal.

Arrival of Spring – April 28


This large and contorted Manitoba Maple is more fragile than it looks. It has some decay and splits and, one day, it won’t be able to hold itself up any longer. Once it leafs out, it casts a lovely shade, but the arborist advised me not to set up the hammock under it, for safety’s sake.

I went a bit crazy colouring/painting it, which was fun. At its base is the first narcissus bloom in my garden.