nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘our summer place’ Category

Watercolour lessons # 2

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In week four of the watercolour course I am taking, we are using the techniques we have learned to paint landscapes.

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First, we were asked to find an image/photo we like. I chose a scene from our cabin property, a photo of the lake through the trees, in late fall. It offered near and distant views and the colour palette I wanted to work with.

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lake at camp

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Then, we planned the painting, either visualizing the final presentation or actually sketching the landscape in pencil. I skipped the pencil because I love to draw and I guessed the end would be a full-blown pencil drawing.

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in the painting, I also wanted to try a technique I have seen on Pinterest. Canadian artist Holly Anne Friezen’s paintings of forest sometimes interpret the jumble of leaves in the canopy as stained glass, and I have wanted to try this for some time. Other artists have also used this technique.

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To do the painting, I took the work in stages:

  1. I used painter’s tape to mark the locations of the main trees. This way, I could concentrate on the background without worrying about painting the trees.
  2. I painted the background sky, lake and far shore using a wet on wet technique.
  3. I painted the forest floor of the near shore using the colours of the fall.
  4. I removed the tape and painted two types of trees, the mountain birch and the red maples that live along the lake shore.
  5. I switched to a fine brush, to paint the many branches of the trees. For the colour, I used some black, but also created dark grey by mixing the complimentary colours red and green, or orange and blue. I tried to criss-cross the branches so I would have many triangles and odd-shaped shapes to use for the stained-glass part of the work.
  6. After the paint was completely dry, I used orange, red, purple, yellow and green to colour the ‘stained glass’ shapes.

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I loved the result so much, I did three paintings. In my opinion, the third painting is the best.

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In retrospect, I would have created more transparent, pure colour in the ‘stained-glass’ by not painting the sky, lake and far shore under the areas where I wanted to paint the ‘stained-glass.’

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I don’t always frame and hang my paintings, but I like these so much, I am going to find a place for them in my home.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

March 9, 2020 at 10:19 pm

natural treasures – gems from a day in early spring

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After a wet spring, we were not certain when we would be able to reach our camp this year. Although the snow is gone, we don’t want to risk getting stuck or damaging our lane.

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just a week ago there was still snow on the road and the ruts we could see were very spongy

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We were so happy when we were able to drive all the way to our cabin door. We did a bit of tidying, put markers at the base of the little cedars we lost in the tall grass last fall and my husband did some clipping of trees over-growing the road.

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I did a small display of two of the treasures we found last year, a big pine cone and a chunk of pinkish stone.  But I can’t display the best treasures of the day:

  • the back and forth banter of two Barred Owls. This is the big owl who calls ‘Who cooks for you?’
  • the tremolo of a Common Loon on the lake. The tremolo is one of at least four distinctive vocalisations from this bird. The vibrating ‘who-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo’ is usually a call to warn of intruders or to announce arrival at a lake.
  • the ‘I love dear Canada, Canada, Canada’ of the White-throated Sparrow or the nasal ‘fee-bee’ of the Eastern Phoebe.

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I love our trips to our cabin and the treasures offered to us by nature every time we visit.

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Hope you are enjoying the spring season.

All my best,

Jane

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by jane tims

May 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

blue jay on a fall day

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Our cabin is a great place for relaxing. Sometimes we have work to do, but sometimes we just sit back, read, watch birds or talk.

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Often the birds come to us. I have had a hummingbird hover in the open door, just to check out what is inside that peculiar box on the hillside. We often see waxwings in our big pine trees or catch a glimpse of a goldfinch sashaying by.

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This past week, a blue jay came to call. It perched on our grape arbour for a while and then examined our ATV trailer thoroughly. I don’t think he had a clue he was being watched and photographed.

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dark choke-cherries, scarlet keys of ash

hang, counterweight to summer

blue jays strip the branches, berry by berry

v-beaks and hollow throats

                         (from my up-coming book “in the shelter of the covered bridge”)

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Wildflowers: Blue-eyed grass

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One of my favorite wildflowers in the fields around our cabin is Blue-eyed grass – Sisyrinchium montanum Greene.

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June, 2017

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Blue-eyed grass is not a grass at all, but a member of the iris family. It inhabits moist, open ground, fields and meadows, and blooms in late spring and summer. The plant is low and slender, with a deep blue flower and a bright yellow center, borne at the top of a straight, usually unbranched, stem. The stem is two-edged, flattened on the margins. The flowers are borne in the axil of a sharp, upheld bract called a spathe. In French, the plant is called Bermudienne. Montanum means ‘of the mountains’.

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June, 2017

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Blue-eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium montanum Greene

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I walk in grass

but it isn’t grass-

Sisyrinchium

it winks at me

with azure eyes

and I blink brown at them

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Blue-eyed Grass

stands straight and still

staunch Bermudienne

simple maid

with a watchful eye

and a sword above her head

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June, 2016

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

Written by jane tims

July 7, 2017 at 7:03 am

time at our cabin

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Although we have had our cabin at the lake for almost ten years, we have spent a long time getting it livable and comfortable.

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This spring, we finally had the cabin insulated and gyprocked. With the interior done, it seems much more comfortable.

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The time we spend at the cabin is very enjoyable. Mostly we walk around, watch the birds and work on clearing the trails. In the cabin I work at my writing and my husband and I whittle away at a book we read aloud.

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The book we are reading now is ‘Vineyard Chill’ by Philip R. Craig, part of his mystery/detective series — a Martha’s Vineyard Mystery. We read this author because his main character, J. W. Jackson, is so believable. My husband likes the detail about island life — digging clams, rod fishing and boating. I like the way Philip Craig repeats small snippets of J.W.’s experience in every book. I have read this series for years and feel like I know Martha’s Vineyard, although we have never been there. Each story has its own charm and moments of drama. To get started at this great set of mysteries, have a look here.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

May 26, 2017 at 7:01 am

planting trees at our cabin

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Last weekend, we planted about 30 Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings at our cabin property. There are lots of trees there already, but we are thinking ahead.

We bought our seedlings at the Irving Tree Nursery in Sussex, $.50 each. We planted them with the help of a metal dibble stick made especially for planting young trees.

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Here is a photo of our cabin, taken from far away, on the other side of the lake in early spring. Lots of tree there already, you say? You can never have too many trees!

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We still have more trees to plant, including some Red Pine and Eastern White Cedar. Great time spent outside where the black flies are never very bad!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

May 22, 2017 at 1:15 pm

something orange

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I love the colour orange. It must be so – it is one of the most used ‘tag’ words in my blog postings.

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This is a rather whimsical ‘side-view’ watercolour of an orange mushroom I saw recently in our cottage woods. I published the ‘top-view’ in an earlier post.

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November 22, 2015 ‘side-view of an orange mushroom’ Jane Tims

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November 5, 2015 'woodland floor' Jane Tims

November 5, 2015 ‘woodland floor’ Jane Tims

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Copyright 2105 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

December 2, 2015 at 7:05 am

colour on the woodland floor

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Today, we went for a walk along the trails at our camp. My favorite path runs along the boundary, next to our zig-zag cedar fence and among young white pine, grey birch, red maple and balsam fir.

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The weather has been very damp, so I expected to find fungi along the way. But I was surprised to see a beautiful patch of bright orange toadstools, each with a distinct orange-red center. They stood out among the red-brown leaves and green mosses.

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I am not good at the identification of fungi, but I think this is Caesar’s mushroom (Amanita caesarea). It is easily confused with the poisonous Amanita muscaria, so no one should use my painting as an identification guide. Just a celebration of orange and red on a fall day.

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November 5, 2015 'woodland floor' Jane Tims

November 5, 2015 ‘woodland floor’ Jane Tims

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

Written by jane tims

November 5, 2015 at 5:01 pm

summer spaces

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Occasionally in these posts, I talk about our cabin.  When I was a child, weekends were always spent at the cottage.  It was a special place, partly because my Dad involved me in its creation.  I still remember how proud I was to fill one of the foundation boxes with stones. It was a place where we could play in the woods and dabble in a brook.  So it is no surprise that as an adult, having a cabin get-away has always been a priority.

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a view of the lake at our cabin property

a view of the lake at our cabin property

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Our cabin today is built on a hill overlooking a lake.  Originally, the property was a field overflowing with blueberry bushes.

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our lake property in 2005

our lake property in 2005

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Today, it is a young woods, mostly of mountain birch and red maple.  We keep the paths mowed with a bush hog pulled behind our ATV.  The treed lane I once hoped for is now a reality.  I still have a few patches of blueberries and lots of blackberry bushes.

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one of our many paths through the birch and maple wood

 

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Originally, we intended to build a much bigger cottage – we even chose the plans.  But through the years the shed we built as a sort of garage has become our cabin.  It is small, only 19 feet long by 15 feet wide.  But it is big enough for my husband and I.

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building the cabin in 2010

building the cabin in 2010

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Earlier this summer, we hired a local company to finish the outside of the cabin.  We still have work to do inside, but having the exterior finished takes us a long way towards the time when our cabin will be a home away from home.

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our cabin, all the windows in and siding complete 2014

our cabin, all the windows in and siding complete, 2014

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We spent yesterday at the cabin.  We did some work on our entry gate, sat in the cabin and talked, and watched the dragonflies and blue jays.  Usually we also read, aloud, a couple of chapters of a book and have a picnic lunch. Life is fun!

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Do you have a cabin or a place to ‘get-away’?

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

August 20, 2014 at 7:04 am

the colour of November #1 (Winterberry red)

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Last week, we went out to our cabin to do some reading and cutting of the ever-growing vegetation.  In spite of the mower and the thinning saw and regular prunings, the field seems to grow vegetation behind your back.  When you turn around, an alder or a birch tree has filled in a patch you thought was only grass.

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As we planned a new path across the field, we considered each sapling before we cut.  To our surprise, we found another bush of Winterberry Holly (Canada Holly, Ilex verticillata (L.) Gray).  Many grow down by the lake, but up in the field by our cabin, we know only of one other.

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This time of year their leaves are bronzed and brown and their berries are orange-red.  The berries will persist on the leafless branches all through the winter.

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The berries of the Winterberry Holly are so much fun to paint.  I started with a layer of red, added orange and then layers of white, yellow and red in turn.  I finished with a dot of black and a dot of white on the majority of the berries.

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October 27, 2013  'Winterberry red'   Jane Tims

October 27, 2013 ‘Winterberry red’ Jane Tims

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 6, 2013 at 7:17 am

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