Thursday, 24 December 2015

Stocking Stuffing (8) - Cows

Calves Christmas Eve
(Ol' MacDonald Had A Farm - The Continuing Story)
Written by me!
Ol' MacDonald had a farm
E, I, E, I, O
And on the farm he had some cows
E, I, E, I, O

With a "Moo, moo!" here, and a "Moo, moo!" there
Here a "Moo", there a "Moo", everywhere a "Moo, moo!"
Ol' MacDonald had a farm,
E, I, E, I, O

Now the story stretches on
For the little calves.
They loved to play out in the snow
On the little farm.

Catch a snowflake here, and a snowflake there!
Here a flake, there a flake, "Hurry, catch a snowflake!"
Oh, these calves, they loved the snow,
E, I, E, I, O

Soon the day turned into night;
Tired little calves.
Mama tucks them in real tight
On their beds of straw.

See a sleepy calf here, and a sleepy calf there,
Here a yawn, there a yawn, barn is filled with big yawns.
Mama sings them off to sleep,
E, I, E, I, O

Time for gifts, it's Christmas Eve
Santa's coming soon!
Sweet, tasty treats I'm sure he'll leave
While whistlin' a tune.

Stocking stuffed here, stocking stuffed there,
Here some hay, there some hay, sweet and tender hay, hay!
Calves are in for a real treat
On this Christmas day!

"Stocking Stuffing... Cows"
 (watercolour, approx. 7" x 7")

This completes my Christmas 'Stocking Stuffing' series for 2015!
 My Dad suggested that I visit the farmyard in my series and 
depict some calves getting treated some tender green hay from Santa!
These were fun to draw and I got them painted just in the 'St. Nick' of time!

It has been fun to complete these illustrations and then write up something
to go alongside them... I took a lot of creative license with a lot of the songs 
I adapted. I never realized how difficult it was to work out a story to the tune
of 'The Christmas Song" (aka "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire") in 
yesterdays post ... that song has no consistent rhyme scheme or beat scheme!
As for today's choice of  'Ol' MacDonald Had a Farm", it is only a beat scheme, 
the original song/poem doesn't rhyme - it just sounds nice when spoken aloud - and it 
distracts young minds with lots of animals and their sounds around the farmyard!

My hope for each one of you is that you can sleep soundly tonight,
as you look forward to time with those you love, 
and that you truly enjoy the simple pleasures of the holiday season!

Thank you for your encouragement over this past year!!
Wishing you all the best - always!!
Merry Christmas Eve!!
♥ Cath- 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Stocking Stuffers (7) - Bunnies!!

Bunnies Eve
(adapted from "The Christmas Song" by me)
Bunnies playing in their burrow home
Snow is falling out of doors
Hot choc'late with soft marshmallow foam
Fills my mug as well as yours.

Everybody knows a bunny on Christmas Eve
Has excitement to the full
When it comes to Santa, they believe
In his sleigh the reindeers pull!

They know that Santa's on his way
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh
Every bunny knows they must be in bed
So "Twas The Night Before Christmas" can be read.

Now they're dozing off and sleeping sound
The gifts can be put under the tree
Stocking will be stuffed with treats all around
Christmas morn will be filled with glee! 

"Stocking Stuffing... Bunnies"
 (watercolour, approx. 4" x 7")
 This is another favourite! So many bunnies!! 
I drew the stockings out first and then after fitting in ten, 
I set to work fitting ten bunnies into the little burrow room! 
Some sprawled out, some curled up, and everyone snug and 
comfortable - there really is nothing quite like big families!!

Hoping you get to cozy up with your 
loved ones this holiday season!
♥ Cath-

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Stocking Stuffers (6) - Raccoons

Raucous Raccoons Christmas Eve
An adaptation of  "Santa Claus is 
Coming to Town" - written by me
You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town!

Where'd you get that egg?
Why won't you play nice?
Let go of his leg -
I won't tell you twice!!
Santa Claus is coming to town!

He knows if you are sleeping
Up soundly in the tree
He'll know if you are peeping
Don't make him count to three!
1... 2.... 

They're sleeping at last
Hopin' nobody shifts
Gotta be quiet and fast
Deliverin' the gifts!
Santa Claus is coming tonight!

"Stocking Stuffing... Raccoons"
(watercolour, approx. 6" x 6")

Sometimes Christmas Eve is not easy.  The kids can be rambunctious or even raucous.
The excitement and anticipation can be too much for li'l systems to handle!

Sometimes it all you can do to get them through the day  without bouncing off the walls,
and it's another Oylmpic event altogether to get them tucked into bed for the night!

But parents are geniuses when it comes to trying to get the gifts under the tree on Christmas 
Eve night... What's the famous ratio for genius? 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration - 
Yep,  the sounds about right, when you're trying to outsmart a couple of rowdy young raccoons!   

So, whether your kids are as quiet as church mice 
or as loud as two monkeys fighting over a banana,
I hope your holidays are full of joy and anticipation!
♥ Cath-

Monday, 21 December 2015

Stocking Stuffing (5) - Dogs

Deck the halls with bow-wows of Collies
Fa la la la la, la la la la
You'll be entertained by their follies
Fa la la la la, la la la la

Now for the Labrador Retrievers
Fa la la la la la, la la la
As for Santa, they're all believers
Fa la la la la, la la la la

Yellow labs join in the chorus
Fa la la la la, la la la la
'Specially the small pup named Doris
Fa la la la, la la la la

Santa's coming, we're so excited!
Fa la la la la la, la la la
We think his reindeers have been sighted!
Fa la la la la, la la la la 

Time to get to bed and snuggle up,
Fa la la la la, la la la la
It will be hard for excited pups
Fa la la la la, la la la la

Santa's here, pups are soundly sleeping
Fa la la la la la, la la la
Toys delivered with no one peeping
Fa la la la la, 
la la laaa laaaaaaa!!

"Stocking Stuffing... Dogs"
 (watercolour, approx 5" x 7")

I would typically choose Rough Coat Collies for a dog illustration 
- I have a real soft spot for them after having one for 14 years -
but I chose to depict yellow labs in honour of my friends
getting a new li'l puppy which they have named Molly.
Within a day or two of getting the news of Molly, our other friends 
announced that they would be getting a German Shepherd pup,
which they were naming Blu, that is why the pup in the illustration
is wearing a beautiful blue collar like the one Blu wears! 

So this illustration celebrates new puppies and the excitement 
associated with them and the holidays!

Hoping your holidays are filled with just 
the right amount of excitement for you!
♥ Cath-


Friday, 18 December 2015

Stocking Stuffing (4) - Cats

The Three Kitten's Christmas Eve
(written by me)
Said the three little kittens, 
"We cannot find our mittens!
What will we hang up tonight?"

"If only we had listened,
And cleaned up 'til all glistened
Everything would be alright!"

The three sad little kittens
Searched all day for their mittens
'Til Mother wished them goodnight.

"Whatever is the matter,
Your smiles could not be flatter,
Why are my kittens contrite?"

"Oh Mother, we do so fear,
E'en though we searched far 'n' near,
Our mitt'ns ne'er came into sight!" 

The kittens as they blubbered
Watched her go to the cupboard
And pull out an old flashlight.

"Come along, my dear kittens
We will find your lost mittens
E'en if it takes 'til Midnight."

They searched attic and basement
And every window casement
 Then to their joy and delight

Their Mother found the mittens
For the worried li'l kittens
 Laying across the skylight.

"Oh Mother, we had forgott'n
That on the roof we'd gott'n
When we were puttin' up the lights."

"It was so warm and breezy
There was no fear we'd freezy,
So we tossed our mitts out of sight."

 "Thank you so much Mother dear!
We now have reason to cheer
For this is Christmas Eve night."

"Now to hang our mittens 'round,
Then to get to sleepin' sound -
Santa is coming tonight!!" 

"Stocking Stuffing... Cats" 
(watercolour, approx. 4" x 6") 

These li'l kittens, although rather forgetful at times, are also very creative!
They are quite adept with a pair of scissors - just look at the snowflakes they've made!

Completely tuckered out from their mitten searching expeditions, but happy
that their dear Mom helped them retrace their steps to find the lost woolens.
Without them what would they have to hang for stockings?

Hoping you find joy in your holiday anticipations
and in the actual celebrations too! 
♥ Cath- 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Stocking Stuffing (3) - Giraffes

A Giraffe's Christmas Wish
(written by me!)
Twinkle, twinkle little star
If I could keep you in a jar
I'd wish upon you ev'ry night
Wishing for some snow, so white!

"I wish I may, I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight!"

In Africa the sun glows so hot
For giraffes like me, it's just the spot
But all the same it might be nice
To have a little snow and ice!

If I should wear some figure skates
I'd create some nice figure eights!
I'd glide across the ice so slick
Spinning, twirlin' 'round, oh so quick!

I know that is what I would want
A frozen pond on which to jaunt,
But other creatures might dislike
Their home becoming the Klondike.

So, Santa please, do what is best
For me, my family, and the rest.
Let's forget wishin' for snowfall 
I wish good days for one and all!

"Stocking Stuffing... Giraffes"
(watercolour, approx. 12" x 7")

These sweet giraffes are going to awake to find the juiciest leaves 
from the tallest of trees tucked into their stockings - the leaves they 
are not yet tall enough to reach! What a wonderful treat to awake to!

This is my favourite, so far, in my Stocking Stuffing series! 

I discovered, while researching how giraffes sleep, that they sleep for about 4 hours a day!
They snuggle down into these sweet little packages - all limbs and long curving necks -
and they curl their neck around to rest their heads on their hind quarters!

These li'l giraffes were SO much fun to draw! 
All curvy lines and knobbly knees!! And spots!!!

The keen observer may have already discovered that whenever I draw 
a giraffe, I hide a heart (or two!) somewhere among their spots.
 I love hiding hearts (when I can) in my artwork!
Can you find the hidden hearts on these giraffes?

I will join with the li'l giraffe in wishing good days to one and all!
All the best ALWAYS!!  
 ♥ Cath-




Monday, 14 December 2015

Stocking Stuffing (2) - Mice

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.
Because they were both tucked up,
Sleeping soundly in their beds,
While visions of yummy treats
Danced in their heads.

Papa Mouse sneaked in quietly
With cheese for his small mousies.
They were dreaming of Christmas Day
and visiting cousins from other housies!

"Stocking Stuffing... Mice"
(watercolour, approx. 12" x 6") 

Inside the walls, everything is quiet; we can't hear the parents prepare.
Tiny morsels have been collected and saved, so everyone can have a share.

Oh, the celebrations that will be beginning soon! The party is about to start!
So much thought has gone into the festivities, so much time, and so much heart!
"Wake up! Wake up! Wake up everyone! Today is Christmas Day!!
Look at the treats Santa left in your stockings before rushing off to play!"

 ♥ Cath-

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Stocking Stuffing

Stocking Stuffing
(by Catharine Fairchild)

Hot cocoa and popcorn as we sit by the fire,
Laughter and smiles, their eyes are getting tired.
Soon their heads nod and bob down in soft slumber.

Plump pillows, cool and cozy, nestle their sleepy heads,
Stitched quilts, tuck them into their warm and welcoming beds.
Sweet dreams will arrive as they doze into sleep.

Tiptoe out of their rooms to gather a few small gifts,
 Sneaking back to their stockings, hoping no eyelid lifts.
Tokens of love await them in the morning.

. . . . . . .

One of the most difficult things to accomplish during the holiday season
is not gift wrapping or baking seemingly endless cookies, but trying to 
get the gifts under the tree and into stockings without anyone noticing...

At our house, Mommy usually find a way to get the gifts under the tree 
while Daddy gets to enjoy the "milk and cookies" that our kids put out.
It's just a fun moment in time when the kids are sleeping, but excited 
for the next day at the same time.  They are older now, so sleep comes 
easier but the excitement is still the same on the eve of the big day!

I still remember when I was a little kid, trying my best to get to sleep 
but waking so often, anxiously wondering if I got one of the things from
my wish list.  The next morning it was always a treat to discover not only the 
gifts but also a stocking filled with small tokens of love in the form of a big orange
stuffed into the toe, some small gifts, and a handful of chocolates!

. . . . . . .

I've been working on a small series for the holidays titled,
- Stocking Stuffing -
Different animals, in their unique environments, gently slumbering while 
a parent plays 'Santa' and quietly fills each of their carefully hung stockings.

 "Stocking Stuffing... Bears"
(watercolour, approx. 12" x 6")

A cozy den under the tree roots, soft quilts cushion their sleep.
Yummy treats tucked into their stocking will make the morning so sweet!

♥ Cath-


Monday, 7 December 2015

Delivering Christmas Cheer

This year seems to have gone by as quickly
as my recently planted amaryllis bulb sprouts!

And like the rapidly growing amaryllis stalk, 
there has been something to be wowed by each day!

It's a lovely thing to realize that with a little water 
and a snug peat-filled pot that the amaryllis bulb 
will awaken from a 3-season slumber and begin again 
to sprout and stretch its gorgeous green leaves upward!

It's an even lovelier thing to realize that with a little care
and a snug love-filled hug that a neighbour
will feel blessed by a small gesture of kindness and will
produce a warm smile that will in turn make us feel blessed!

It's a beautiful time of year to show kindness!

I have found that at this time of year people are much more receptive 
to unexpected knocks at the door and the discovery of a basket filled
with fresh baked cookies sitting on their front porch.

There is something wonderful about this time of year!

We are all anticipating the first snowfall
We are finding ways to stay warm and snug...
Boots and galoshes, 
Hats and toques, 
Gloves and mitts,
Cowls and scarves,

Kindnesses, especially the unexpected ones,
can add a special warmth to someone's day
that simply cannot be replicated any other way!

When was the last time you shoveled your neighbour's driveway or sidewalk?
Or ran down the street after their garbage can lid because it was blown off 
by a strong gust of wind?  
When was the last time you baked them a special treat - just because?
Or simply dropped off a note letting them know that you're glad you're neighbours?

Now is the time to get your heart thinking of how you can share warmth
and show kindness to those with whom you share a street!

"Delivering Christmas Cheer"
(watercolour, approx. 8" x 12")

Be a Secret Santa!
Be a bold, carol-singing elf!
Be your own sweet self! 
However you choose to do it - 
just do your very best to get out there
and deliver some Christmas cheer!!



Monday, 5 October 2015

"A Collection of Nuts"

Autumn Is For The Squirrels
A poem written by me!

Running here, running there
Inspecting all the ruts
Dashing here, dashing there
Collecting all the nuts!

Leaping here, leaping there
Bounding from tree to tree.
Jumping here, jumping there
We're on a gath'ring spree!

Checking here, checking there
 Using our sense of smell.
Looking here, looking there
We buried them so well!

Scurrying here, scurrying there
Gotta tuck them away.
Bustling here, bustling there
We have no time to stay!
 Cramming here, cramming there
Working all day, 'til night.
Shoving here, shoving there
Packing them all in tight!

Watching here, watching there
Thieves are quick as a flash! 
Squawking here, squawking there
Gotta protect our stash!

The poem was written to go along with my newest illustration celebrating Autumn!

"A Collection of Nuts"
(watercolour, approx. 12" x 7")

Hope you find enjoyable activities to fill your days 
while everything out of doors prepares itself for Winter!

♥ Cath- 




Tuesday, 22 September 2015

"Leaf Leap"

The soft breezes that brought welcome respite in the Summer
now band together in the cooled air to create gusts...

The air turns crisp...

The gnarled limbs of apple trees
are heavy with ripened fruit...

The sunlight is simply delicious, bathing 
everything it touches in a luminous glow...

The brilliant foliage is transformed into stained glass...
...even the soft greens of late changing leaves look like
shards of peridot delicately suspended from narrowing limbs...

Walks out of doors are transformed with sights, sounds, and scents...
Kaleidoscope landscapes...
Crunching and scuffling leaves...
Wood fires warmly perfume the cold air...

{Insert contented sigh here}
I fall for Autumn every single year!   

...and so do these sweet li'l mice:

 "Leaf Leap"
(watercolour, approx. 6.5" x 6.5")

An ideal spot! A quick scramble up into a low bush, 
to the perfect branch that was spotted whilst on our walk...

One... Two... Three... 
Woo... hooo..... HOOOO!!! 

It's as though the toadstools grew here for this very purpose!!

As the puddle is to Spring, so the leaf pile is to Fall

The perfect day for a leaf leap!

Get out there and enjoy it!!
  ♥ Cath-

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Sketchbook Sneak-A-Peek

Summer break has yet again flown by 
with lots of sunshine and clear skies!
Just the way I like it!!
Two months filled with a mixture of busyness and laziness
and barely any structure or stricture to our days!! 
The kids took a break from school, I took a break from painting...
 We accomplished what needed to be accomplished and
found ways to fit in what we wanted to accomplish!
All in all, lovely!

Now, Summer break is over and everyone is back to school; the house is quiet... 
But I've adjusted to the quiet. Actually, I've now heartily embraced the quiet!
I've found it's the friend that can be gone for long periods of time 
but when you're again in each others company it's oh, so enjoyable!
I have to admit it was a wee bit different when I sat down with my watercolours!
I experienced an awkward, "I thought we were best friends, so why haven't 
we seen you for two months" feeling...
I looked over my brushes, propped inside a tall teacup, and 
felt like I was about to say, "You're, um, looking good! ...hee, hee...
Hey, you've lost some weight haven't ya'?... ha, ha, ummm, nice haircut!"  
- All my familiarity with them had diminished! 
I couldn't even be sure if they were all there! 
I pondered over their sizes and shapes and tried to recall 
which ones were the newest and which were my favourite!
I sat there for a few moments more and then a 
most shocking thought came across my mind,
 "I don't really need to paint today... I can load the 
dishwasher and clean the bathroom instead!"
 I knew right then and there that I had to get 
acquainted once again with my brushes and paints!!
When I see housework as more fun than painting, I know 
that my avoidance tendencies are conspiring mutiny!!
So I worked on a fun illustration and I'm 
in the process of painting it! Woo-hooo!!
But, you'll have to wait to see that one - 
it's still a few days away from being finished!
In the meanwhile, I will give you a small glimpse at my current sketchbook pages...
"S.S. Gravy"
Illustration idea, originating from a suggestion from my Dad... 
"The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker" 
...because, why not?  They may be future background characters to a children's book! Who knows?!
And throw in a General Store shop keep while we're at it!
No, this dragon is not thinking of small babies 
as he munches on a spoonful of pasta! Tsk, how could you think that??
It's just a matter of "don't-waste-paper-and-keep-the-ideas-flowing" 
and a "how-do-I-access-my-cropped-photo-files-on-my-tablet?" kind of thing!

And these are the sort of drawings that come from asking 
my kids to 'name two animals for me to draw!': 

"Turtle and Squirrel"
"Octopus and Goldfish"
That's all for now!
I had better get back to my watercolours and brushes,
gotta work to keep the relationship alive!! :)

Hope you all had a lovely Summer!
I, for one, am looking forward to 
falling for Autumn yet again this year!!
Wishing you all the best - always!



Monday, 27 July 2015

Painting Pieces of History

A few years ago, our local school and schools in three neighbouring 
villages/towns became the focus of an Accommodation Review.
Each school in the review had low enrollment and high maintenance costs 
so in order to best use funding it was determined (through a 3 year process) 
that all the schools would be closed and one new school would be built, 
bringing all the students together in one place and giving them all 
the educational opportunities afforded to schools with high enrollment.

I was asked by the principals to paint portraits of the four schools
- an honour I felt unsuited for, but eventually I accepted the challenge.

Now, most people who have followed my blog and are familiar 
with my 'work' know that I love it when my art "smiles back at me" 
- and school buildings don't smile.

So, it may be needless to say that I stalled out on these portraits,
I didn't know if they would ever come together!

I had a personal deadline I was determined to meet which meant 
I had to pick up the brush again and get busy, but how can I commence 
without the spark of enthusiasm that comes from smiling artwork?

I went to the one place I knew that I could get help
- I went to God in prayer!

I poured out my heart before Him, expressing my fears, 
acknowledging my difficulties, and my desire to use the abilities 
He had blessed me with to create paintings that would honour 
the memory of the much beloved schoolhouses.

I set to work with renewed vigor and you know what happened?
The schools began to smile back at me!!

The enthusiasm remained strong hour after hour, 
and day after day as I worked away on these four portraits!

 "Campden Public School"
- Built in 1874 -
(watercolour, approx. 11" x 14")

 "Jordan Public School"
- Built in 1944 -
(watercolour, approx. 11" x 14")
 "Maple Grove Public School"
- Built in 1944 -
(watercolour, approx. 11" x 14")
 "Vineland Public School"
- Built in 1895 -
(watercolour, approx. 11" x 14")
I love old buildings! Some have such character and charm that they practically sing
 with the time and talent that went into their construction and final aesthetic!

I didn't expect the emotion I felt when I knew that Vineland Public school 
was no more, but I soon realized that the memories of the school were not 
housed within those old brick walls, but carried about inside my heart and mind 
- going with me wherever I go in this world!  

So it is not with sadness that I drive by the school property 
- it is with hope for the future! 
Hope that many more generations of children will be 
blessed with the opportunity to learn within our community!

So I, for one, am looking forward to walking into the new 
school building and observing the beginning of this new beginning!

♥ Cath-

 I have been told that these portraits will have a home somewhere 
in the new school and the new building is almost finished! 
The doors are to be opened for the students on September 8th 
for the 2015/16 school year! 

Hmmm, maybe I'll paint a portrait of the new school 
to complete the collection in my portfolio!   

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Adventures in Woodcarving Continue: Miss Penelope

 The Spring session of woodcarving with 
my Uncle Mike is about to come to a close...

This is the third year I've been carving with Uncle Mike...
(Some of my first carvings can been seen here)
It's always fun - especially when I have no idea what to carve!

A couple of months ago Uncle Mike handed me 
an off cut (excess wood cut off from the block when 
cutting out a shape) and said, 'Look at it until you see 
one of your characters in it, then carve it.'

"Sure, okay! Yah, I can do that!"
"Ummm, okay... let's see here...."
"Hmmmm..... "

[25 minutes elapse]

Uncle Mike: Why aren't you carving yet?
Me: I don't know what to carve - I don't see anything!

Uncle Mike relieved me of my quandary when
he suggested a character with a big sun hat... 

That could work! The odd shape of the off cut certainly 
would allow for it! - Okay, where's my sketchbook?

That was how it started and this is how it finished up:

Meet Miss Penelope!
Miss Penelope is just on her way to market after gathering 
a pail full of flowers in the nearby meadows...  

"Miss Penelope"
(hand carved, basswood, approx. 7" tall)  

Uncle Mike helped me a lot with this piece!

- Did you notice how I italicized, bolded and underlined that?? -

Oh yes, I needed a lot of help! 
There were a lot of tight spots and angles I couldn't get quite right -
have I mentioned before how nice and patient my Uncle is?

He also thought to use an old wooden thread spool for Penelope's pail!
I'm glad he helped me find Penelope in that block of wood! 
She turned out really sweet!
If you happen to see Penelope's booth at a local market
this Summer, be sure to stop and say, "Hello!"


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Elderberry Hedge - Spring Woodland Wildflower Walk

Awww, Spring!

The temperatures may fluctuate and the rains may fall
but one cannot deny the renewal of hope that Spring instills in us each year.

The emerging emeralds, the charming chartreuses, and the soft celadons
awaken a part of my spirit that slumbers through the long Winter.

Each and every Spring my mind reacts to those delicious verdant hues
as though it has encountered something brand new and never before seen -
my impulse is to visually drink it all in, attempt to memorize it, and somehow,
somewhere in my mind, bottle it up so that it can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Yes, it's an impossible task, but maybe that is why Spring is so special!
Spring is a transition period between two strong and opposing seasons...

Spring is the peacemaker that gently coaxes us out of our huddled burrows,
 helping us forget the harsh cold days of Winter. It's warm days ease us toward
Summer's heat and refreshment is found in the still cool evenings.

Spring, in a word, is refreshing!

And we haven't even mentioned the flowers!
The joy of Spring is only increased by the beautiful colour 
that abounds in every garden, field, and meadow!!

That brings us to our most recent event held in Elderberry Hedge:
The Spring Woodland Wildflower Walk

Each year, the Elderberry Hedge residents are invited to take part in
this refreshing and informative walk through the nearby woodlands.
The walk is organized and hosted by the village librarian, Mrs. Robin Robins.

Mrs. Robins is always the first of the feathered residents to arrive back from her Winter travels 
and is always all a twitter about the beautiful things popping up in and around Elderberry Hedge
About a month after she arrives, Mrs. Robins has the flyers posted and the invites delivered for 
what she proclaims to be 'the most wonderful walk in the world!'

"Elderberry Hedge: Spring Woodland Wildflower Walk"
 (Watercolour, approx. 9" x 12")

 This year's walk was exceptional! A lovely group of Spring enthusiasts joyed in the
discovery of Woodland Hyacinths and the always pleasing periwinkle, as well as,
Johnny Jumps Ups, Jack-in-the-Pulpits, and the triumphant Trilliums!

Mrs. Robins beamed as she spoke of the history of each plant.
Her group would contentedly pause and observe the plants
with their unique flowers and ask questions that made
Mrs. Robins beam all the more as she answered each of them!

The walk continued on for about an hour and then everyone was welcomed back
to the library commons for a lovely luncheon and tea, where the happy hostess
flitted amongst her guests, showing them all kinds of books about wildflowers!

As the day stretched into mid-afternoon the woodland walkers, with full tummies
and happy hearts, began to take their leave but not before thanking Mrs. Robins
for a most wonderful day and assuring her that they would be back next Spring!

Mrs. Robins, exhausted but oh, so happy, quietly tidied up the library and
soon flew home, excited to tell Mr. Robins and her chicks all about her day!

  I hope during this season of transition that you 
make time to enjoy all that Spring has to offer! 

For, as Jane Austen has said, 
"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment."


Friday, 1 May 2015

Happy May Day!!!

It has long been a tradition 
in the pastures that border the village 
of Elderberry Hedge to celebrate May Day!!

The field mice take it quite seriously!
Well, as serious as a group of silly field mice can ever be!

They get together in March and begin to make plans...
 Throughout April they gather supplies,
and finally the BIG day arrives - May 1st!

After all their hard work and preparation the mice were thrilled 
to awake to a day that was sunny and bright!
The sky was a perfect blue and seemed to stretch on forever...
A few flossy clouds drifted by during the day - adding charm to the celebration!

 May Day for the field mice includes:
1) Flowers - everywhere!  
2) Fun - had by all!  
3) Food - a plenty! 
4) a May Queen!

Can you guess who the field mice chose as their May Queen this year?

Ellie, one of their most favourite friends in all of Elderberry Hedge Pastures
was unanimously selected as this years May Queen!!
Let me tell you, those dear mice worked almost non-stop for several days 
collecting enough flowers to make a "crown" suitable for their May Queen!!

Ellie was SO honoured to be May Queen 
and to spend the day watching all the festivities!!

AJ was also an honoured guest, sharing with Ellie in the enjoyment of the day.
She was thrilled to find that the mice had remembered that her favourite colour is pink
when they made her a lovely and bright flower wreath for her head!

The mice had thought of every nice thing in their planning!

They had a parade complete with banners, flowers, and music...

They had a wonderful BIG cake that had to be carried in 
on a huge platter by six of the biggest, strongest mice...

And they had a Maypole!

A Maypole complete with flowers, colourful ribbons, and exuberant mice
who pranced around and around, crisscrossing at just the right moments, 
so that when they were done they had covered the pole with beautiful woven colour!!

Someone else was joining in on the fun - did you see?
a shaggy, golden Shetland Pony named Kimbly!!

Oh, the mice had so much fun adding floral garlands to Kimbly's mane
and dotting her long, flowing tail with pretty posies!
Kimbly even gave some of the more adventurous spectators
a "bird's eye view" of the festivities!

Fun was had by all! Much cake was munched on and the flowers were collected.
All of the flowers will be delivered to Newt's stationery shoppe in Elderberry Hedge, 
so that Newt can add the colourful petals to her paper pulp and create beautiful notecards!

Ellie, AJ, Kimbly, and all the field mice hope you had a lovely May Day as well!!


P.S. My original painting was too large to scan completely into the computer and the above photograph of it does not show much detail... here is the most complete scan I could do:

"May Day in Elderberry Hedge Pastures"
(Watercolour and gouache, approx. 10" x 14")


Sunday, 5 April 2015

My 3rd Blog-iversary!!!

Well, much to my surprise I realized that today marks
the 3rd year of my adventures in blogging!

The bunny on the left was featured in my very first blog post.... 
the mouse on the right was featured about a week later.

                           "Springtime Joys"                                              "Springtime Joys Too"

When I was switching out my Winter themed home decor/paintings
for lighter Spring-ier designs I went through the paintings my Mom 
had made for me over the past several years and selected this one:

My Mom painted this for my birthday 2 years ago.
She chose the following Bible verse to go with it:

"The flowers appear on the earth... 
The time of singing has come."
Song of Solomon 2:12

Look at what Mom wrote on the back of the painting:

"The Joy of Spring"
The Lord gives nature a time to brush away the old and start fresh

We both loved the transition Seasons - Spring and Fall.
We both readily used the word 'Joy' to describe our feelings toward Spring.

I love that!!

I hope you all feel the need to smile as you experience the joy of Spring!
The warm sun, the brightening colours outdoors, the birds singing!!
Many blessings, many joys surround each one of us!
Open your eyes to them, thank God for them,
be filled with joy!!



Saturday, 28 March 2015

Having a Hoot With Hot Press and Sneak Peek

I have finally had opportunity to try hot pressed watercolour paper!
Hot pressed paper is satiny smooth - but not glossy...
Very similar to bristol board or poster board on it's surface
and the ability to lift colour off the paper is very good.
I and my favourite fine-tipped pens are rejoicing!!

I've been dragging my poor 
0.005mm Sakura Pigma Micron 
and 0.05mm Staedtler pigment liner pens
across the toothy dimpled surface of cold-pressed paper 
for the past few years as I add finishing touches on my illustrations 
and in so doing I have drastically shortened their normally decent lifespans!
The following illustrations are some fun "trying the paper out" doodles:

I love that the colours look richer/stronger on the hot pressed and the 
pen work can be so much bolder without fear of damaging the pens!

I'm in the midst of a couple commission pieces right now
but still making time for doodling (as seen above) and
working on a big illustration just for fun...

Here are a few sneak peeks of my soon to be finished 'just for fun' illustration:

The field mice are up to something! Whatever could it be? 
...Flowers? ...Banners?  Hmmm.....
And is that a resident of Elderberry Hedge that you have not yet met?

All questions will be answered in the coming weeks!