nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for July 2013

watching for dragons – on paper

with 10 comments

As you will know if you follow this Blog, I have been learning to work with watercolors this summer.  So far, I have painted from views associated with my virtual adventures in France and England.  But today, almost against my will, two dragons popped out on the paper.  They are also determined to appear in this post, so here they are, along with a dragon I did in soluble colored pencil back in May.

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May 2013 ‘dragon #1’ Jane Tims

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July 20, 2013 ‘dragon #2’ Jane Tims

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July 20, 2013 ‘dragon #3’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

July 31, 2013 at 7:04 am

along a Cornwall road 7-5

with 6 comments

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farm tucked into a valley (image from Street View)

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map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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Today’s virtual biking trip took me toward the town of Downderry, along narrow roads lined with Western Gorse (Ulex gallii) in yellow bloom.  Gorse grows on sunny sites with sandy soil and is common on the heathlands along Britain’s Atlantic coast.  Before my virtual trips to France and England, I had heard of gorse but had never ‘seen’ it …

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gorse in bloom (image from Street View)

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I saw a few farms along the way …

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a house and barn (image from Street View)

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and horses in a green pasture …

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horses (image from Street View)

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Best View: farmstead not far from Downderry …  my skies are improving, don’t you think???

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June 8, 2013 ‘farm near Downderry’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

painting my way along the Cornwall coast 7-4

with 20 comments

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street in Crafthole (image from Street View)

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map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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One of the things I like best about my virtual journey along the Cornwall coast – the names of the communities: Crafthole, Portwrinkle, Freathy !

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a dog looks at me from the window of a house in Crafthole (image from Street View)

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Today, I drove through Portwrinkle along Finnygook Lane.

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July 3, 2013 ‘Portwrinkle’ Jane Tims

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Here is an interesting  sequence of photos and a visual commentary on the width of the roads.  First, I see a truck coming toward the Street View car …

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Help! I am sure there is no room to pass! (image from Street View)

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Then we squeeeeeeeze past …

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I look back and I don’t see any indication we did pass (no tracks in the shrubbery for example) …

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And, I was so busy trembling over passing the truck, I almost didn’t see this door in the side of the hill …

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you’d miss it if you weren’t looking (image from Street View)

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July 8, 2013 ‘hidden door on Finnygook Lane’ Jane Tims

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Best View: houses in Crafthole …

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I am having fun trying to understand painting with watercolors.  I have always worked with oils or acrylic, but watercolors are quite different.  I love that the colors have a mind of their own.  If I allow the colors to go where they want to go, sometime the surprises are wonderful, sometimes, not.

I am trying to use less paint, more water.  This improves transparency and gives a fragility to the painting.

I am trying to clean my brush well and to freshen the water more often.  This prevents ‘muddiness’.

I am also trying to leave more white space.  This provides white ‘color’ and space for adding color as the painting progresses.

Here are two attempts at painting houses in Crafthole.  I include the original image so you can see my inspiration.  As you can see, I used lots of artistic licence.

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In #1, I like the scaling of the houses, the houses in the background, the gardens, the pinkness of the wall, and the grey house …  I don’t like the windows …

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July 3, 2013 ‘houses in Crafthole #1’ Jane Tims

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In #2, I like the chimneys, the red door, and the background houses … I don’t like the windows however I think these houses have personality in their ‘lean’…

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July 3, 2013 ‘houses in Crafthole #2’ Jane Tims

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houses in Crafthole (image from Street View)

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Now, what do you think of that door in the side of the hill ??????

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims  

farms in hidden valleys 7-3

with 8 comments

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Tregantle Fort near Freathy (image from Street View)

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map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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Gradually, I am learning the layout of this part of the Cornwall coast.  The uplands are mostly devoted to wild land or agriculture (grazing or crops) …

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cattle in a field near Freathy (image from Street View)

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The houses are either along the coast, at the very edge, or in the treed valleys that peek at intervals from the countryside …

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fields and valleys … a reservoir in the distance (image from Street View)

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Driving down into these valleys, I find farmsteads, made up of clusters of buildings and usually associated with water …

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farmstead in a valley (image from Street View)

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ponds at a valley farm (image from Street View)

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Cattle must stray into the roads on occasion.  The entryway of the house below is guarded by a ‘Texan Gate’ or ‘cattle stop’.  I am familiar with these from my days in Alberta.  Cattle will not cross these gates because of the spaces in the surface, but cars can cross quite easily …

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a Texan Gate (image from Street View)

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Best View: the Cornwall coast stretching before me …

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July 2, 2013 ‘Cornwall coast’ Jane Tims

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Copyright 2013   Jane Tims

Paper Birch

with 14 comments

In the last five months, I have been learning how to paint with watercolors.  I’ve painted with acrylics for some time, and I love to draw with pencil, but watercolors always seemed daunting to me.

If you are a follower of my Blog, you will know my early attempts at watercolor have been of views from my virtual cycling trip in central France and on the Ile de Ré.  I have also done some studies of New Brunswick wildflowers.

Among the subjects I found fun to paint on Ile de Ré were the vine-covered trees that grow along the road.

This week, on a trip to see our camp, I studied some of the characteristics of Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), a tree growing everywhere on our property by the lake …

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Some of these trees are actually Mountain Birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh. var. cordifolia (Reg.) Reg.), a variety of the Paper Birch.  This variety is quite common in eastern Canada.  Its distinguishing characteristic is the heart-shape of its leaves, especially at the base of the leaf.

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The bark of the Paper Birch and Mountain Birch is predominantly white, although parts of the tree can be yellowish or quite black.  Its bark strips readily from the tree, in sheets, leaving  a reddish-orange inner bark which turns black with age  …

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To paint the birch, I used Painter’s Tape to mask the trunks of the trees.  Then I painted the background.  Once the background was dry, I stripped the Painter’s Tape away and added the bark details in the white space left behind.  Here are three paintings of Mountain Birch …

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June 21, 2013 ‘Mountain Birch’ Jane Tims

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June 22, 2013 ‘Mountain Birch #2’ Jane Tims

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June 23, 2013 ‘Mountain Birch #3’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

July 22, 2013 at 7:11 am

a holiday by the sea 7-2

with 2 comments

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a view along the coast near Freathy … note the houses down the hill nearer the ocean (image from Street View)

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map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)

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My virtual biking trip along the Cornwall coast has me totally enchanted.  I love the rugged landscape, the hills (huff, puff), and the huge variety of wildflowers …

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a view of the rugged coast and the yellow Gorse growing along the road (image from Street View)

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Today’s drive along the Military Road showed me that the people love to spend recreational time along this coast.  There are vacation communities …

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a vacation community (image from Street View)

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Homes and cottages were downhill from the road.  I am sure you could step from the road to one of these rooftops!

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a view of houses along the road (image from Street View)

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The cottages were small, not much bigger than our own cabin …

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cabins overlooking the ocean (image from Street View)

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Best View: acres of Gorse along the road …

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a ‘learning-watercolor’ note:  the first painting below was done on 140 lb paper made for watercolor.  The second painting was done on sketch paper of much lighter weight.  The second painting is wrinkled (see dark shadows in the left and right margins).  This is called ‘cockling’ and can be prevented by stretching lighter papers before painting.  I tape the edges of my paintings on a hard surface prior to painting.

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July 3, 2013 “Military Road, Cornwall coast’ Jane Tims

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July 3, 2013 ‘Gorse’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

July 19, 2013 at 7:00 am

along the Cornwall shore 7-1

with 10 comments

After completing my virtual bike journey through central France, I was faced with a decision …. where to go next?  I considered all sorts of places, but the winner has been the setting for some of my favorite literature  … the Cornwall coast of England.

A few minutes with Street View convinced me.  Along the Cornwall coast are the ocean views I love, the rugged shoreline of Daphne du Maurier fame, the hilly countryside of southern England, and numerous opportunities for side trips to see farmsteads, churchyards and ruins.   It was hard to settle on the 26 images that would take me through my first 30 minute virtual bike excursion.  So hard, in fact, I selected 39 images for the first trip!

I decided to begin just west of Plymouth, and I plotted ten, 3 km trips to begin.  Beyond that is a more than 300-km-distance around the entire Cornwall coast.

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Today’s trip took me through the hamlet of Rame, along the Whitsand Bay of the Atlantic Ocean.  The Street View image of the parking lot at Rame’s Head provides a view of 14th century Saint Michael’s chapel on a cone-shaped headland.  The chapel is now derelict and is thought to be the site of a Celtic hermitage …

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St Michael’s chapel is the tiny building on the cone-shaped hill at about 5 o’clock (image from Street View)

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The first part of the trip took me past the Saint Germanus churchyard …

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Saint Germanus churchyard (image from Street View)

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The church was dedicated in 1259, on the site of an older building.  In the church are pews surviving from the 16th century!  Since there is no electricity or gas, services are by candlelight.  I particularly like the lych gate in front of the church since my novel begins with my main character standing under a lych gate to keep dry from the rain.  A lych gate is a covered gate – during a funeral, the body of the deceased person is carried through the lych gate on the way to the church …

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Saint Germanus church in Rame (image from Street View)

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The next part of my trip was along the Military Road.  This road runs along the coast on the high land.  Other, narrower (!) roads run between the small communities closer to the coast.  My guess is, this road was built as a way to patrol the coastline for military purposes …

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Military Road near Rame – Gorse blooming along the road (image from Street View)

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I enjoyed my visit with a herd of horses along the Military Road …

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As I looked back along the road I’d just travelled (virtually), I was so glad I chose this as the next stage of my exercise scheme …

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Best View:  so many to choose from!  I liked a view of lilacs in the yard of a house near Rame …

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July 1, 2013 ‘Lilacs near Rame’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

July 17, 2013 at 7:15 am

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