Tag Archives: pictures

My Lifelong Envy of Artists and Their Sketch Pads

Regular readers of my blog might remember a couple of posts in which I talk about how other artists inspire me as a writer, even when their works of art come from other creative disciplines.

Musicians who can pick up an instrument, anytime, anywhere, and start playing beautiful music are mind-blowing to me. I am also in awe of singers who can not only carry a tune, but bring such depth and complexity to a song by smartly using their “instrument”. It is also a joy to behold when an actor can take a script and breathe such life into a role that I am able to completely suspend judgement and believe in a fictional character.

I especially envy visual artists who can take a pencil and a sheet of paper and produce picture-perfect images worthy of a gallery showing.

In high school, while certain teachers droned on in that Charlie Brown teacher’s voice, I remember looking over at my artist friends during class, pencils blazing over whatever piece of paper (or flat surface) was at their disposal. Blank pages were magically transformed into masterpieces with images of eyes, faces or pets from different angles, and all from the perspective of their mind’s eye.

There was seemingly no struggle to their process. They did not stare at a blank page, think hard about it, draw, erase, draw, erase and start over. It just seemed to flow out of them like they were on auto-pilot. They made it look effortless. Continue reading

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Filed under Inspiring, Writing

How Nature Photography Might Get Me to Appreciate Winter

I admit it… I like the great indoors and my creature comforts. When the weather outside is frightful, especially in winter, I can’t think of anything better than staying inside, cozying up with a pillow and a blanket on the couch, listening to great music, reading a good book, watching a fun movie or even getting a few crazy story ideas committed to paper. To me that’s heaven on a cold, blustery winter day… or pretty much any winter day, actually.

However, it seems that through my renewed love of photography and my commitment to keeping the Instagram account freshly updated, something changed. After the first snowfall of the season here in Ottawa, I suddenly found myself meandering outdoors, chasing after the ever elusive nature shots. How did that happen?

Let’s be perfectly clear. I might not be inclined to spend more time outdoors than I have to on a blustery, stormy day. That would be pure silliness. That is when I will invoke the aforementioned “creature comforts” clause.

But after the storm has passed and the pathways have been cleared, it might be a different story. I am definitely warming up to the idea of getting out on a crisp, sunny day, and wandering out in the winter wonderland to take shots of the birds that didn’t fly south or the squirrels still running around gathering food.

I admit, a fresh, clean blanket of snow can lend itself to a certain beauty and majesty not found in other seasons. When snow crystals glitter in the sunlight, it can have a magical effect. To capture it in a photo might be my “thrill of the hunt” challenge this coming winter. Continue reading


Filed under Humour, photography

Breathing New Life in Family Photos

beginfamilyIn my recent post “Blogging… More Than Words“, I mentioned how blogging became more than just about the writing, it also rekindled my love for photography.

In doing so, I found myself digging through old photo albums looking for photos to scan. Whether it was to add to my own collection of stock photography for future blogs or to post on social media to breathe new life into old memories, it has been a fun journey.

But along the way, I noticed that some of the albums from the 1970’s and 1980’s were starting to deteriorate. In a few albums, the sticky “magnetic” pages were starting to get yellow. In some cases, the pictures themselves were changing colour. In others, the pictures weren’t coming off the sticky pages at all. I then felt like a surgeon using any flat headed tool I could find in my tool box or art supplies, to delicately remove pictures from the albums without damaging them.

I was reminded that these albums probably date back to a time before photo albums mentioned “acid-free” pages. Who would have thought that the albums intended to save memories of family and friends might have a limited life span themselves. Did anyone see this coming?

And so began the unexpected project of taking all of the pictures out of the albums that were showing signs of age.

The activity became a fun walk down memory lane, reliving the good old days with family, friends and colleagues. But the clock was ticking as I did not want these precious photos to suffer from more damage. Continue reading


Filed under How to, Humour, Inspiring, photography

The Cat Bed Dilemma

To get Ivy a cat bed or not… that is the question.

Since we adopted each other almost one year ago, I have checked a few books and web sites on cat care to see what they say on the topic. I think the general consensus is that a cat bed is a good thing.

But I cannot tell you how many times I have looked at cat beds in pet stores and home furnishings stores asking myself if I am a horrible father for not getting Miss Ivy a cat bed of her own.

But then I go into a bit of sticker shock when I see cat beds …at the foot of cat trees, with hammocks intersecting into a network of tunnels, ramps and bridges. Suddenly the cat bed has turned into a major infrastructure project. I then ask myself if I need an environmental scan, an engineering study and a permit before breaking ground on one of those? Then of course I look at the price tag and think… “Mortgage payment or Ivy’s dream condo”?

It is not that I am being cheap about it. Honestly, if she ever demonstrated the slightest hint of needing one, trust me, I would get her one.

The truth is that she has three favourite spots in the house where she has the “quiet enjoyment of premises” and a comfy blanket, where most of her quality napping takes place.

But the fact is that Ivy is pretty much the princess of improvisation and seems to be able to relax for a bit on any number of surfaces… see for yourself.

10. Canadian Tire Grocery bags
I don’t think this is a candidate for a cat bed, but when I’m getting ready to do groceries I think this is her saying, “Nooooo, don’t gooooo” as she sometimes refuses to get up.
Canadian Tire grocery bags

9. This cat toy I found at the dollar store
Even though its intended purpose is to encourage the hunting instinct with its pockets to hide balls and toys, she seems to like lying on it for hours
Cat Toy

8. This fluffy colourful comforter

7. Of course, her favourite blanket
This is the one they gave her at the shelter… I think this is her security blanket as she seems to get the best sleep on this one.
Fave Blanket

6.This fluffy fuzzy blanket
It was one of my favourite throws until Ivy claimed it as her own.
Fluffy Blanket Continue reading

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Filed under Cats, Humour, Uncategorized