Friday, 26 December 2008

Spider in... erm... Play-doh

Yep, Play-doh.

It was a Christmas present.

And if the person who gave it to me didn't see the first subject coming from a mile away, then she juuust isn't paying attention.

So, will this lead to more Play-doh sculptures showing up in the future? Oh, probably. The stuff's just about right for Yours Of The Short Attention Span, after all. Here, I'll even give it it's very own label:

Monday, 17 November 2008

Hey, here's something

Forgot to say the other day that for the first time ever (well, there was that one time, but it was sort of accidental) some of my doodles are on display in an actual gallery. They're part of a staff show here at work, and surprisingly enough I'm not horribly embarrassed to see my things framed and hanging. Sooo... if you happen to know where I work and want to see the doodles in person (along with some really good stuff by other staff members) make sure you drop by the place before mid-January.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Searching, searching

Nothing new this week. Yet. I've got to get off my lazy behind and do something, but real life's kind of interfering at the moment.

A quick hi to those who've made it here through search engines, though.

I'm always amazed at what kinds of search terms bring people to this blog, you know. Especially since I never really expected anyone much to see the blog in the first place. It was meant to be for me, really, and to give me a quick-reference archive when I need it. Which, oddly enough, occasionally happens.

Anyway. Searches. Anyone interested in my "most popular" posts (had to put that in quotes. It feels weird to think I have most popular posts)? Well, it seems that people have a thing for stargazer lilies and marbled orb weavers lately. Oh, and I get quite a few hits for maple keys as well, which kind of makes me laugh/scratch my head since that doodle was so obviously a... well, a doodle. Not a lot of work or thought put into it, to be honest.

As for the pointless poetry, it seems people are looking for astronomy stuff. No, I'm not going to bother linking to it. And no, I don't really get it either.

That's it for today, then. Happy searching, and if coming here has helped you find what you need... um, good? Just try not to be completely blatant when you "borrow" my stuff, ok?

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Life doodles

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Real life sort of intervened and I haven't felt much like drawing lately. And as for writing... well, let's just say that all of the poems on this blog are at least a year old. I only write poetry when I want to, and apparently I haven't wanted to for a while.

Anyway, I do hope to get back to some creative stuff soon. In the meantime, though, I thought I'd let you into a little part of the weirder side of Yours... um, Mutteringly. I was going to say Yours Blatheringly, but I guess that's me on my other blog, right?

The weird doodle that you're seeing above is a doodle pattern that's stayed with me for most of my life. It was something we were taught in about Grade Three in art class. I couldn't tell you why -- probably something to do with improving coordination by tracing shapes, or maybe choosing harmonious colours -- but we all were told to do these slightly trance-inducing patterns one day. There must be an actual reason for it somewhere, since I noticed that the students in a classroom I visited a few weeks ago had done the same project. If anyone knows more about it, drop me a comment. I'm genuinely curious.

What no one could have expected is that the doodle thingy apparently struck a chord with my OLF (that'd be obsessive little freak, and is courtesy of my co-blogger on the link above. If you want some unrelated fun try googling OLF. Scary how many things it stands for) brain, and I've been doing it ever since. Something about the pattern, naturally; also something about the sheer mechanics, and probably something about the organic nature of the process. Depending on what rules you set for what happens when a shape contacts another (or when a shape contacts a paper edge) you can get some interesting growth patterns. The second photo shows some variations on the theme, so to speak.

Don't get me wrong -- I do not regard this as art. Well, maybe slightly as art, but only in the patterns-please-me sense. In the end it's just something that I tend to do when I'm bored. When I went through my old university notes a few years back I could tell just how interested I was in each class by looking at the frequency of this doodle in the notebook margins.

It wasn't the only pattern, though. Ask me about the "brains" sometime when I'm looking for something else pointless to post here.

Or about the endless flower, for that matter.


Apparently I have more than a few patterns rattling around in this brain of mine. What about you folks? Does anyone out there have a particular doodle that's stuck with them? If so, I'd love the see them. And if not... let's just say that it's not exactly news to me that I'm a little weird.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

"Start Again" in watercolour and watercolour pencil

In honour of my new moleskine, today's quick doodle for Illustration Friday is a quick doodle in watercolour instead of my usual graphite.

See? I can do things in colour if I have to...

Oh, and click on the photo to see a full-sized version. You know, if you want to.

Anyway, this week's theme is repair, and while I definitely don't believe that replanting a clearcut forest really repairs the damage, at least it's a start.

Saturday, 18 October 2008


That do-over you asked for?
Leave the given space
and take a shadowed way.
Escape darkness
fly across time
hide in secret green forests.
and make the world glow.
Gravity cannot drive your spirit down
growing up too fast


Another magnetic poetry poem, with the same glow-in-the-dark set that I mentioned here. It's a bit of a challenge to make poem-y sounding poems when all you're given is science fiction-y words.

That's why I did it, I suppose.

Sunday, 12 October 2008


That is the story:
He shot eyes at her;
She saw his face,
hooked the tool.
He loved her skin,
lived in her hair,
and told dangerous secrets to the sky.
They kissed under a beaming moon,
but she was darkness
and ate his heart
in the shadows.


This is from quite a while ago, and the joke (well, it's funny to me) is that it was done with a Magnetic Poetry set. And not just a Magnetic Poetry set, but a glow-in-the-dark set that was supposed to be for children. I just wanted to see if I could make a more adult poem from it.

I kind of like to play around with magnetic poetry if I'm wanting to write something and end up blocked for whatever reason. Lately I haven't been writing anything at all... I suppose it's time to get the magnets out again.

Maybe not the kids' version though.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

String in graphite

A quick doodle for Illustration Friday, mostly just because I haven't done one in a couple of weeks. Today's theme is strings.

Ok, so I only have the one string, and it's actually a very ratty piece of knitting yarn that the cats play with sometimes.

This particular doodle features Max the Cat, who happens to be the worst hand model EVER. I swear, that cat couldn't sit still for a million dollars. Or a million dragonflies, which would probably interest him more. Ah well. You take what you can get. Good thing I wasn't exactly going for detail, I guess.

Sorry for the not-great photo, by the way. I only have access to a scanner when I'm at work, and I'm certainly not going in to work on Thanksgiving weekend. Not for a cat's paw, anyway.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Grape leaf in pigment pen

Well, I was feeling badly about not having drawn anything for a while, so I sat down yesterday and did this ten-minute scribble of a slightly curled grape leaf. It's not great (my brain's still too full of all the pleasantness that comes with a cold to really concentrate well), but I suppose it's better than a boot to the head.


Saturday, 4 October 2008

Still nothing new

As I said below, I've been busy at work. And now, in the realm of it figures, I have a cold. Not much in the mood for doing anything, really.


Here's another page from that old sketchbook. I don't think I've already posted it, but I'm too lazy to check.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Not abandoned, no

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've just been too busy at work to do much of anything, that's all.

I'll be back.

Take that as a promise or a threat. Either works, depending on your preference.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

The Path

Nine o'clock and darkness:
Short-cutting through pasture
To avoid the ice of early snow.
Knife-edge air slices skin
And shatters with a dead grass hiss
As I pass in shadow.
It would be easy to look down,
Leery of a fall reflected
In distant lamps
And headlights;
But I've decided to have stars in my world...
And, eyes uplifted,
Put faith only in the sky
To guide me home.


In real life this would be a good way to sprain an ankle.

In a poem?

Well, I think I'll just say you should judge for yourself where I was headed with this.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Sometimes you find them in the oddest places

This week's Illustration Friday topic is Island. Here's my little island of life in a concrete city.

Islands are interesting things. My first thought was to draw an isolated green space in a city neighbourhood. That kind of depressed me, however, because I was headed for the idea of Island Effect, and in population ecology that's not a happy thing. An isolated population isn't a healthy one. I'd elaborate, but that sounds a bit too much like what I do at work. You can google it yourself if you're curious.

The more I thought about city islands, though, the more my brain kept going back to the amazing effect that a simple plant can have on our so-called permanent structures. Life is tough and life is tenacious, and man-made things just can't stand up to that in the end.


Oh, and a note about the photo: I'm lacking a scanner again today, so my apologies for the flash-effect on the heavier graphite shading.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Something kind of weird

Ok, honestly? I have no flipping clue what was going on here. I started out with the intention of making something for Illustration Friday since I missed last week. This week's word is clutter.

I had trouble with clutter, apparently.

Well, I know I have trouble with clutter in real life, but in this instance my own brain clutter caused me to just doodle (really doodle as opposed to sketch doodle), come up with half an idea, get tired of that, and COVER THE WHOLE THING WITH VINES???

I... dunno.

The only thing here that actually was done on purpose was the muddying of the colours when I added the wash. Yeah, I meant to do that. And... yes, the "flowers" hanging from the vines (as opposed to the pseudosunflower behind the vine) are words. A word. I decided to muddy it too.

Ah well. I guess today the five-year-old with the short attention span came out in full force so that's what we'll go with.

No scanner access today, so excuse the cropped photo. It works. For what it is.

A doodle.

And I have no idea what the spider web is doing there. Just so you know.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Wild raspberry in pigment pen

A couple of years ago I started a berry bush display for work. I managed a half-dozen or so doodles (they're uploaded here, if you're curious and want to search around a bit) and then got busy with other things. Last year I didn't get back to it at all.

Behold! The return of the berry display!

Erm, more or less.

These are all meant to be scanned and added to interpretive panels (sometime in the next century, at the rate I'm going), so they're pretty much just bare line illustration with a minimum of shading. Or none, as today's effort seems to indicate.

One problem, and I'll have to see how it matches up: I did the first set with a dip pen, but I so much didn't want to fiddle with a dip pen today that I just used my nylon-tip instead. Less variety in the line, I suppose, but I hope it won't be too noticeable.

Friday, 22 August 2008

The Stuff in graphite

This is my go at Routine for Illustration Friday. Done very quickly on my lunch hour.

As usual.

One of these days I'll actually sit down and do this properly, you know. And then we'll all die of shock.

I had intended to do something completely different, but when I sat down with The Stuff and started sharpening pencils (a bit of a compulsive thing with me)... well, obviously it's the usual drawing routine that had to become the subject. The pencils, sharpener, polymer eraser (plus a couple of cut-off bits for detail work), the amorphous kneaded eraser for... to be honest, generally for cleaning my hands as I go if I'm doing smudgey things. Oh, and a backdrop of my pencil case, which apparently needs some dental work.

I did mention this was a lunch-hour jobbie, right?


Sunday, 17 August 2008

Quick question

It should be obvious from my various snarky comments when I post things that I don't consider myself more than a doodler and wouldn't ever actually pursue displaying my... for lack of a better word, work.


We have a staff exhibit coming up at real work, and I'm wondering what I should do about it. We're allowed to submit up to five pieces. I have a couple of photographs that might be suitable and there's still time before the deadline to force myself to sit down and do something that's more finished than a five-minute scribble... but are there things already posted here that I should consider having mounted?

I'm open to suggestions, I guess is what I'm saying. If you're willing to give me a few choice words, have a look at the blog's album here and tell me if you see anything that looks ok. If not, tell me that too. I'm a big girl. I can take it.

I can give it back, as well, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Wild sunflower in pigment pen

Detach for Illustration Friday. The petals are detached from the flower, the flower's detached from the stem... pretty sad all around, really.

This was a very quick sketch on my lunch break. I would have done more with it, but since I'm not likely to do much doodling in my apartment until it's a) much cleaner and b) much cooler, you take the time you can get. I wouldn't mind exploring the theme a bit -- in pastels, maybe, so that a person could actually see the yellow petals contrasting with the dark centre -- but at least this gives the idea.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Lunch-hour scribble

It's a tree.

More or less.

Yeah, thanks for that moment of obviousness, Dee.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Ars Poetica

Never trust in words --
oh never trust in pit-bull words
they only wait for lapses in control
To clamp you by the metaphor
and shake and shake and shake and shake
until the damned thing's only fit
for amputation

There's nothing quite so otiose
as throttling a stillborn thought
Ideas that were meant to spring
full-armoured from the godly brow
instead come scrabbling meanly
down the jugular like
mutilated gutter rats
and gnaw their way through fingertips
with scratching out and scratching out
on paper

That bloody pulp, the end result
just sits there staring back at you
and no more soars on angel wings
than garbage trucks or some such things
that rattle you from sleep at six a.m.

ah, may as well give up and start again.


A particularly violent spell of writer's block?

This was written quite some time ago, so I'm not really sure where I was going with it. Seems like kind of a bizarre mix of horror movie and W.S. Gilbert now, though. With a title stolen from Horace thrown in for good measure...

Weird, yes.

But somehow, fairly amusing. To me at least.

And just for the record, I have no idea (today) why there's so little punctuation in the thing.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Maple keys in pigment pen

Illustration Friday's word this week is Sail.

What? These are sails for a Manitoba Maple tree, aren't they? I mean, the only other way the tree is going to sail is if it's made into a boat...

Ok, the fact is that I'm a very landlocked person, and the first thing that came to mind with sail was sailing through the air rather than the water. As to the doodle itself, it was done very quickly this morning (in the time I should have been making lunch for work. Yeah, that was smart), and it shows. I'm not especially happy with it, but whatever.

I picked a few maple keys (samaras, technically, although around here most of the kids call them helicopters because of the way they glide when they fall) yesterday and then just dropped them in a pile on my table today to draw them. They aren't ripe yet -- still very green -- and that means they don't have as much textural interest as they will in the fall. Not like that matters for a ten-minute scribble too early in the morning, of course.

And yes, it's the second week in a row that the theme has sent me straight to seeds. What can I say? Naturalist, not artist.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Something weird

I'm not entirely sure what it is. Vaguely abstract-rose-ish, maybe?

Truth be known, I was just playing around with The Scribbler. Thanks to Sparroweye for the heads-up on that one. It's sort of fascinating to watch what it will generate from a silly doodle.

And obviously, if I'm posting a scribble I haven't bothered to do any real doodling these past couple of days. I also wasn't in the mood to look up a poem.

So there you go, I guess. Better than nothing.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Dandelion head in graphite

This week's Illustration Friday topic was poof! Their exclamation point, not mine.

Well, here's my version. Will I actually submit it this time?

Um, not likely. We'll see what I feel like in a day or two.

Oh, and the random speckles aren't really part of the doodle. The paper I was using was in a car accident.

Not my accident. Someone else's.

Long story.


Ok, edit:

I submitted.

Yay me.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

End of Day

End of day --
Hands jammed in pockets,
You and I shuffle through last year's soggy leaves
Searching for an opening.
Dead grass clumps beneath
And trees with skeleton hands claw their way up
Ghostly monochrome against the bruise-black sky.

This was once our time.
Back when the sleepy world turned to ice
Leaving lunatics and fools to bundle to the ears
And warm themselves by drawing silent pictures in the stars,
We owned this.
But spring's early warmth has hatched the party down the street,
The kids in the alley smoking something or other,
And the neighbour showing off his power with an obnoxious backyard floodlight.
Still, high above us
Orion shows his power in the heavens --
It's the same show, dear,
Just a different venue.

The noise disgusts you, I can tell --
You dig your feet in just a little deeper
As we stare out on those far-off lights
That our brains can't help turning into paintings.
I remember joining them --
The indistinct shapes pulling me along in the wandering,
The stories more real than anything on TV.
Now the skeleton trees demark my cage,
The bars which keep me from visiting the heights --
I'm chained to everyday...
You've broken my wings, my love,
But you don't know because you've never even flown.

"It's no use," you sigh,
"There's nothing here to see tonight."
Funny how the warmth has made the stars grow cold.
You trudge blindly back towards the house.
I stay, willing Polaris to point my way
For I am adrift on this ocean.
But stars are dead tonight,
And better sailors than I would be lost forever.

I see I needed winter chill to find us dancing in the sky --
New life has brought us to an ending,
And I shall mourn for you
Although you'll never notice I am gone.


Um, yeah. A companion to this one, actually.

I'm completely incapable of leaving well enough alone when it comes to love poems. The cynic in me just won't allow it.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Doodling on the bed

I got busy with some other things and didn't get a chance to do any proper sketching today (like my sketching is ever proper. It's all just doodling in the end anyway) so I figured I'd have a go at the Illustration Friday theme of the week after supper instead.

The problem?

Well, besides not really being in the mood to doodle...

This week's topic is canned.

Don't believe me? Have a look. Um, as long as you're looking on this particular week. Next week it'll be something different. That's why they call it a topic of the week, after all.

Anyway, I didn't get very far. And even with that I think it's a bit too editorial.

And... it's not very good either.

I'd only just barely started on the shading before I decided I was bored. Not at all obvious, is it?


Ah well, if nothing else it's a start. And if you were wondering (or if you're completely not picking up the tone of the typing), I won't be bothering to submit the doodle.

Next time? Um, maybe.

We'll see.

Meditations in an Emergency

Frank O'Hara was referenced on Mad Men last night. Google Book Search has this preview of Meditations in an Emergency available, so I thought I'd post it just in case anyone was curious as to the type of poetry that was involved in the show's plot line.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Boot to the head

No, it's not a post about the Frantics. I'm just trying to remind myself yet again about Illustration Friday, that's all. It's one of those things that I keep meaning to do and never get around to. Maybe putting the link here will give me the boot to the head that I need?

Oh, not likely. Can't blame a girl for trying, though.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Daylily in watercolour pencil

This one qualifies as not too bad, I suppose, especially since I was only able to do the initial pencil sketch and basic colour layout outside (it's a bazillion degrees out today and far too sunny to be staring at white paper for long) and then faked the blending and highlights at the dining room table.

Ok, so you didn't really need to know about the dining room table.

Hey, note that I said it's a bazillion degrees out today? I did this today. This afternoon, even.

Maybe there's hope for some regular doodling yet.


Edited a couple of years later to say that this has since been exhibited. Seriously. We had a staff art show in the Gallery, and this was one of the pieces chosen. I find that very strange. Other people -- non-internet people, I mean -- actually saw some of my stuff.


Sunday, 20 July 2008

Red-Osier Dogwood in graphite

I'm getting some weird scanner artifact on this one, but I'm not in the mood to fix it. Just assume that the real thing isn't one big grey smudge.

This was a quick sketch at the desk this afternoon, pencil in one hand and piece of shrub in the other. It's kind of a silly way to doodle (especially as the leaves get limper and limper), but there's enough of a breeze outside that I wasn't in the mood to fight it and actually field-sketch.

Nothing special, this one. Just wanted to prove that there is a bit of drawing going on this summer. A nice change from last year.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

More sketchbook

In other words, I didn't get around to sketching this week.

I managed a whole one week in a row. I am sooo good...


Monday, 14 July 2008

Peas Please

If I could only eat one vegetable for the rest of my life
I think it would be peas
But not your everyday out-of-the-freezer-bag peas
Oh no
I'm talking fighting your way through too-closely packed rows of twined-up vines
Listening to those swollen pods rattle
And the squeeeak as you nip them off with green-stained thumb and finger
To add them to their brothers in the basket
(Although many mysteriously find their way to the mouth instead)
And then the POP and RIIIP of those cocoons
As they relinquish their close-guarded treasures
Green globes cascading into Tupperware
And into laps when attention wavers
All leading up to that proud presentation at the dinner table:
Our heroes -- slightly chilled of course
Having never known the sacrilege of the cooking pot
Ready to explode stored sunshine with every bite...
Ah, I think that I shall never see
A veggie lovely as a pea

Unless you count those firm, crisp new carrots there
Mmm... carrots...


The was written a few years ago in a moment of pure silliness. I think, though, that it still has a little bit of something to say about the transience of satisfaction.

Either that, or it's a hint at the absolute relief that finally having fresh veggies again can give a person who lives in a country with a fairly short growing season...

Monday, 7 July 2008

Columbine in watercolour pencil

Ok, this version? Definitely weirder than this version. It started out relatively realistic, but then I got playing with the colours and a few colours ended up in there that had no right to be anywhere near the flower and then I got a bit carried away with bleeding things out because I thought it looked neat and then...

Hey, there's a reason I don't paint, all right?

It still looks a little bit like the original flower, though, in case anyone wondered.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Columbine in carbon pencil

I know, you're thinking "what kind of idiot draws a nice, colourful flower in black and white?"

Don't worry, I'm thinking it too.

Please do note, though, that the date on this doodle is NOT from two years ago. That's right, I've actually sat down and done a proper drawing.

Ok, maybe not proper exactly, but at least it mostly looks like a flower.

Erm... doesn't it?

Monday, 30 June 2008


Poplar leaf miners
left networks of tunnels here
Small city in green


Surprise! I can, on occasion, write short poems too.

Bet you never would have guessed.

Saturday, 28 June 2008


The week was mad, we agreed,
Confusing the brain like a tie-dyed veil.
It wasn't so much plan as release, then,
That led us to the wilderness.

At first we just drove;
Stopping now and then to watch unnamed streams
Hurtle down sheer limestone walls,
Or laugh at trendy tourists herding to Banff.
Our way was less defined --
We wound through man-blasted caverns
And, with some surprise,
At last arrived at the Springs.

We made the pilgrimage at dusk,
Passing giddy families returning to the comforts
Of scorched marshmallows and bug spray.
The evening bite of alpine air
Sent billows off the sulphur pool
As we fumbled in pockets
For the necessary fees.

An industrial change-room;
Swim-clad bodies protested in gooseflesh
As tender feet rushed over rough, cold concrete.
We nearly ran to the water,
Pretending not to know or care about the old-egg smell,
And plunged with relief into the natural warmth.

Steam rose in the half-light,
Obscuring a chiselled mountain face
And the ledge where marmots watch the world.
The street lamps seemed ghostly in the mist:
Unreal beacons from another, cruder plane.
I sat,
My mind following the water
Down crevasses to the planet's soul,
Accepting its fire,
Then bursting forth;
Returning inner heat to frozen hearts.

A light snow fell
As we walked to camp by flashlight;
Chill cousin of the warmth we'd left behind.
We did no talk,
But somewhere in our muffled steps
Or echoed in the silent pines
A quiet thanks was offered
I still believe,
Most happily received.


Not much to say here. It's an old poem, and I'd write it differently now.

Everyone should have a chance to experience a hot spring in cold weather, though. It does something to the mind, somehow.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

And it's... more field sketch book


I still haven't gotten around to doing any new drawing. Or writing. Or anything. I guess I'm just feeling like a great big lump of uncreative these days.

Here's hoping that summer will change that.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Fairy Bell fruits in pen and ink

This is the last of the pen and ink series of berries/fruits I did up a couple of years ago, and the only reason I'm posting it is that I'm sick of seeing that horrible five-minute tulip at the top of the page.

For anyone interested in the actual plant, look here. I'm too lazy to elaborate today.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Tulip bud in pen and ink

Ok, honestly? The only reason this half-assed five-minute ball-point pen doodle (enough hyphenated words in a row for everyone?) is being posted is to prove that I did draw something for Drawing Day, even if it's being posted a day late and is COMPLETELY LAME.

It was a cruddy, rainy day here yesterday. That's my excuse. I couldn't get outside and draw, I wasn't in the mood to play still-life indoors, and I ended up just playing with a couple of old photos instead. This one was a tulip bud taken from an odd angle because I liked the shape of the leaves... oh, hang on. I'll find the original. And ignore the accompanying blather. I was obviously in a weird brain space that day.

Erm, anyway. The doodle was pretty bad and was done with a ball-point (I hate drawing with ball-points), but at least it was something. Maybe there's hope for some actual drawing this year yet.


Now, about the poetry...

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Saskatoon in pen and ink

A more finished version of what I started to doodle in the field sketchbook.

I'm sort of running out of things to say about these particular sketches.

Bet you hadn't noticed.


In other news, it's Drawing Day today. I kind of like this idea, and I suppose I should use it to give myself a kick in the behind and post something that doesn't have a date of '06 or '07 on it. I've been more than a little bit lazy about doodling in the past while. Last summer was too messed up for me to find much time to get out on the trails and sketch, and for whatever reason my usual habit of spending time with graphite and still-life work on winter nights fell by the wayside this year.

This summer should be different. Right?

Ah well, we'll see what happens, and if the upcoming threat of a fall show makes me renew my enthusiasm somewhat.

In the meantime, enjoy the graphic:

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

More field sketchbook

Saskatoon this time. I thought I'd already posted the resulting pen and ink sketch, but I guess I haven't. Tomorrow, maybe, if I remember.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Another page from the field sketchbook

This time it's a Silverberry doodle. You can compare it with the finished product here, if you're so inclined.

In other words, I don't have much to say about it.

Sunday, 18 May 2008


Wax, wane, rise, set;
We have our phases like any other space rock
plodding around an insignificant star.
And what if we are Blue
creating marvelous green?
We are so small
statistically we don't exist.
Then how can this infested stone be everything?
Worlds on worlds within a water drop
is all...
I see more value in a dogwood leaf
than Mighty Mankind the Precopernican.
How, after all this time,
do we still find ourselves the centre of it all?
Better to know what we have seen:
That we are each of us worlds to some
and invisible to the next;
That we are made of the same stuff
as the amoeba and the elephant;
that we could fit
if we would but window our castles,
look out on the universe and see
a world within a world within a
drop in the ocean.


Like this one, POV was part of the longer poem I called Morph. It was, I suppose, a look at changes, appearances, and how they affect our views of ourselves.

This poem might sound a little less angry if you saw it with the rest of the cycle. Or maybe not. I don't know. Sometimes I just get really ticked about how self-centred and arrogant our species is.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

High bush-cranberry in pen and ink

See below to compare the two species. High bush-cranberry (Viburnum opulus) is also known as Pembina in some parts of the country.

Both bush-cranberries have edible fruit that bear a resemblance in taste to bog cranberry, but they're not true cranberries. Low bush-cranberry has the added excitement of smelling of old sweat socks when the fruits are ripe.

Mmmm. Yummy.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Low bush-cranberry in pen and ink

Not much to say here except that the vicious cross-hatching would seem to indicate that I wasn't having the best day when I did this one.

I was going to discuss the differences between low bush-cranberry (Viburnum edule) and high bush-cranberry (Viburnum opulus) --it's more than the low and high, believe it or not -- but that sounds too much like work just now.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Another sketchbook page

Yep, more sketchbook. I'm not sure if I'll bother with looking up a poem this weekend. Depends on the mood tomorrow.

This page is a detail of chokecherry leaves and unripe fruit.

If anyone's wondering why it's dated from a couple of years ago, it's because... well, because it was a couple of years ago. I didn't get a chance to do much sketching last summer. I'll be trying to correct that this year.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Silverberry in pen and ink

Another pen and ink wonder. Elaeagnus commutata, which translates as Silverberry or Wolf Willow. It's not actually a willow so I prefer the other name.

Unfortunately, it hides its fruit under its leaves (as opposed to hiding its light under a bushel) so I had to approach the thing from the underside if I wanted to get the fruit in.

And since getting the fruit in was the entire point of the doodle... well, there you go.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Tycho's Nose

The stars still shine on us
as they did on Uraniburg;
at least until they meet our arrogant modern halo...
Do they remember that moody man
who saw clearer than so many before
and yet could not see past belief to find the truth in seeing?
And did that man
as he stomped around his fortress
ever think on the god
who gave him eyes to map the heavens
and a fevered brain that left him just
an ever-present glue box
to prevent his silver nose from sliding off?


This is part of a longer poem (or a cycle, if you want to think of it that way) called Morph that I wrote a number of years ago. I'll often group poems with related -- or occasionally contrasting -- themes together just because I like the idea of juxtaposition.

Having said that, I'm not in the mood to type the rest of it today. Maybe I'll add it piece by piece... or maybe I'll be difficult and just not bother. We'll see.

Oh, and what's with the nose thing? Well, for that and his inability to completely let go of the Ptolemaic system in his thinking despite what his observations were showing, it's easier to give you a link to Tycho Brahe than to type a shorter version. In a nutshell, he was a genius but also very human. And who can resist writing a poem about a metal nose, really?


Most people, I suppose. I just happen to not be one of them.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Sketchbook doodle

I've been pretty lazy about drawing lately (I've been pretty lazy about a lot of things, really. I should do something about that), so for lack of anything more recent to fill space with I've taken a few shots of one of my field sketchbooks. Nothing terribly exciting, as you can see, but it might help illustrate the thought process, if nothing else.

As usual (and if you're desperate to read my scribbles. If you are desperate to read my scribbles I'd wonder about you, but whatever floats your boat), click on the picture to enlarge it.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


Too hot this time to think about thinking
so I float along in the hammock
hands shading eyes
watching poplar leaves shimmer in the sun
like shards of Tiffany glass
wrapped up in the silken blue of a
perfect Alberta summer sky

My uncle
who has lived too long away
tells me we live in Big Sky Country
and take it for granted, the blue
that goes on until forever on these days
when the air hardly moves
and even the farthest horizon is highlighted
across blonde canola blooms

I didn't know myself
until I found me enclosed for a time
in the grey of an artificial jungle
(and saw my eyes turn concrete to match)
how much of what I am
depends on days

of still, hot summers
scattered with green
and yellow
and perfect, open skies
touching endless fields
with neverending blue


A bit early to post a summer poem, I suppose, but yesterday's temperature put me in the mood.

This one is supposed to be rambling and lazy, so the near lack of punctuation is on purpose. Just picture swinging in the hammock, enjoying a warm day and a clear blue sky.

The open, blue sky is something about Alberta that I'd miss terribly if I ever moved. I've visited other places, obviously, and it's amazing how much the lack of a good sky can close a person in. I'd swear, it's almost a claustrophobic world for those of you who don't get the chance to really enjoy your sky.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Prickles and Poisons

That is your choice in the world:
Energy is finite,
And you can use it for barricades
or bitterness.
Either way, something will always
find a route around defences,
And you must discover a way to coexist
or be harvested alone.


This was more thinking out loud than anything else. The idea comes from plants, actually. They have two main methods of defence (physical things like thorns or chemical things like bad tastes or poisons), and energy expended on one isn't available to be used on the other. Prickly things often aren't (very) poisonous, and vice versa.

Extrapolate that to life in general, and... well, you get the idea. We all have our choices.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Chokecherry in pen and ink

Am I the only one who wonders why it's always pen AND ink? Shouldn't the ink part be understood? I mean, it's not like the pen does a whole helluva lot without the ink.


This is a chokecherry branch done with an old-style dip pen. Kind of silly, really. I own a decent pigment pen; why would I bother with a drippy dip pen in preference to a neat nylon tip?

No idea.

And at least it's not another tulip doodle.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Tulip in Conte crayon

This is a really bad photo of a fairly bad and faded effort, but the doodle served its purpose at the time.

I tend to rely too much on shading for effect, so I decided to do a purely line drawing of a tulip. The result is a bit pumpkiny overall, but I can't say that I mind too much.

Saturday, 29 March 2008


Why do you sing the same sad songs
when the sun is melting rivers in decaying snow?
The birds believe in spring,
you know,
but you still hide yourself in dead leaves
and sigh for last year's
forgotten flowers.

What sort of waste is that
to aim for tragic
when the whole garden wants you to dance?
All around the buds vibrate life
and even the icicles sparkle
in their ending.

For your sake
(if only yours)
let the new warmth touch you
through the open door.
You were not made to cultivate shadows
and the season calls to the
light in your veins.


I never commented on this yesterday when I posted it (it's today now, in case you wondered). I suppose that's because there's not a whole lot to say. It's a little too hyperpoetic, but it's an easy mindset to get into when spring's finally come after a long winter.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Long-jawed Orb Weaver in charcoal

Another from the spider display, because I don't have many more doodles saved on my stick to post. Guess I'll have to round up a few more to have their pictures taken.

These spiders are often found near ponds or waterways. They tend to make a tilted web, and they cut the middle out of it so they can move from side to side.

They'll also stretch themselves out to camouflage as a bit of vegetation, but I've spread this one out a little more to give a better idea of the anatomy.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Tulip in pastels

I don't particularly like this one. The colours aren't right, and I hate the paper.

Why is it here, then?

I don't know.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Borrowed Music

with a
drum beat

Then thrown to the pit of
unrelated lines and foreign instruments
each following different tempos
each existing in different notations
each living in different keys
and all
demanding to solo
in cacophonies of
a secret longing
for a lost

and you and so many will stay there
straining too hard to have your voices heard
with thousands of others
straining too hard to do the same

an unfamiliar note causes you to


and in that unfamiliar act you find
the note weaves its way throughout the discord
and once heard
it chooses themes
twines them together
strand by strand
creating harmonies you never realised
though they were there
to be found

and if you find that music
let your self know the rhythm

the song is not for you
and never was
but we are given a few short bars
to join
and know
what it is to be


This was written a while ago and I know what I was trying to do with it, but I'm not sure I quite got it. The structure (yes, there is structure) was meant to move from a simple heartbeat to sudden metric confusion (boy, did I get that part right) through to more of a calmness after listen.

The theme? In a nutshell (although there's a bit more to it than this), I think that if we would learn to listen -- really listen -- rather than forcing our own voices on everyone else, we might be able to make better music. Erm, so to speak. And as for the underlying harmonies... well, they are borrowed. The world, in the largest sense, functions with or without us. The song is always there, whether we're screaming above it or taking the time to try to actually fit ourselves to it.

I vote for the fit, obviously, but not everyone agrees with me there.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Cyclamen in watercolour pencil

Not really so much a drawing of a flower; more me playing around with blending.

Think of it as an abstract, I suppose.

Or an exercise.

Not sure why I even kept it, let alone took a picture of it.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Jewelled Araneus in carbon pencil

Or at least I think it was in carbon pencil. Hard to tell from the scan, but it doesn't look like graphite to me and I don't have the original right here to check.

What can I say? It's been a few years since I did this one.

Araneus gemmoides is a large-ish orb weaver whose most easily distinguished features are the two large bumps on its abdomen. So what do I do but draw the thing from an angle where you can't really see the bumps?...

Gotta wonder what happens in my brain sometimes. Logic certainly doesn't seem to apply.

Sunday, 2 March 2008


We had no thought of dying before daylight.
True, we'd felt the building move
and heard neighbours remark the rumbling,
but we were used to bombast by this time
and could only tell them
that the mountain knows its place.

So life trudged on,
hiding itself in semblance of routine;
but still we felt the magma surge beneath out feet
and ached to speak but could not
lest the curse upon us be discovered
and the pressure released.

We yearned for a sibyl.

That night
as we stilled our tremblings in the eggshell house
and watched the thickened air ooze from wall to wall
a single whispered word upset the scale
and the world exploded.
We swam in fire until the blood boiled in our brains
and smothered us in our own silence...
in the end
lacking even gods in the heavens
to echo our feeble cries.


This was brought on by a combination of couple of family violence stories in the news and a documentary on Pompeii. I thought it might be an interesting comparison, but then I got a little stuck and put it away before I'd refined it.

I still haven't refined it.

Am I happy with it? No.

So why am I posting it?

No idea.

Sunday, 24 February 2008


If I was to own a rabbit
(a situation that
were it to actually happen
would astonish both the animal in question
I'm sure
its owner)
I would never call it Fluffy or Sweetums
or any of those other cringeifying names
in their utter preciousness
would have any self-aware animal huddling in fear
of addled spinsters
in search of pseudochildren.

It's never helplessness
that makes the bunnies look scared
you know
it's the thought of hearing one more
simpering female
talk to them in pookywookywookies
and ask whether they wouldn't like
an itty bitty cawwot
for their wittle tumtums.

And really
can you blame them?

It's a lot for any being to bear without shudders
especially one tough enough to live
by coprophagy.

(bet you didn't know that one, Ms Snugglemuffin)

No, rabbits deserve better
and if I was to own one
it would be Thrasher
or Boris
or Rex
(complete with studded collar)

and if anyone dared speak to it
in misplaced
I would give it my complete permission
and blessing
to chew off every single one
of her daintily


Er... yeah. I don't do so well with cute.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Dying tulip in graphite

Complete with reflected flash and light fixture.

It's a really bad shot, isn't it?

Ah well... gives the idea.

The twisting of the petals as they aged was really kind of interesting to me. Line and shape yet again, yes. It's somewhat of an obsession.

Bet you hadn't noticed.

Monday, 18 February 2008


There's dirt and then there's dirt,
she'd say when I'd complain about the jammed-in crusts
that threatened to wedge off my young fingernails.
Some dirt's just good for the soul
that's all.

And she'd show me how to tease apart the root balls
in those bedding flats that ruled the house for weeks
until the weather turned.
No two-buck packs with dainty partitions there --
in those days you saved your seed
built up your stock
shared it out
and grew again.

Now they'd call it Heritage
I suppose
and charge you more to prove it.
Then it was just what was done
and no one thought it at all

Funny how a history
can be boiled down so
All we were
and all we are
is seeds

and dirt


My grandmother used to tell me that her mother would never go to museums because she didn't need to see "her" stuff under glass...

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Marbled Orb Weaver in charcoal

And now for something completely different.

Well, a little different.

This illustration was for a spider display I created at work a few years ago. The original is in (cheap, pressed) charcoal, but the scan loses a bit of the texture.

The species drawings were supposed to be fairly basic, and the first few were... but as is often the case I got on a bit of a roll and the later spiders started looking a bit more realistic.

I like spiders for a lot of reasons (not the least of which is that they eat insects), and the reason I like them from a doodling point of view is that they are, at least in my eyes, functionally beautiful. Nothing is superfluous on your average spider; it's all there for a reason.

That's cool.

Monday, 11 February 2008


One night
on a bleached-out beach chair in the middle of suburbia
that person looked across the sky
searching for nothing
And the stars accepted those expectations
took that person out of her
though she didn't see the loss

There had been two, once
Blindly holding hands in the dark
because they were supposed to
Straining for order in the dusty heavens
He, good catholic boy sent into the wide world
terrified that god was dead
She, laughing
because she'd known for oh so long
that he'd never lived

I know so much less now

The night draws paper leaves across the still pond
and I pull my wrap closer
looking blankly at confetti skies
I had made sense of this once
just once
I know less now

and the stars accept this resignation
take me out of me
and the loss
lets me fly


Remember being young, in love, and knowing everything? And then remember learning (however it came about for you) that you don't know everything after all?

There's freedom in accepting that you're not the ultimate power in the universe.

And what is? Well, everyone needs to decide that for themselves. Don't you think?

Sunday, 3 February 2008


There was a dead squirrel in the rain barrel that day.
It wasn't the first,
although we'd tried every manner of lid and mesh to keep them out.
Maybe it came down the gutter, she said
as we fished the blasted thing out;
maybe, I said, but it's hard to believe
something built for climbing couldn't make it out
of that beat-up old pipe.

I don't know why they keep coming here to die,
she said as we dug a hole by the spruce tree.
All these would-be swimmers
not to mention
the one who knocked down the wood pile
the one who kept teasing the neighbour's dog
and the one who ran back and forth across the front street
for a while...
That's some bad squirrel mojo.

I suppose you're right, I said
as we buried it under a rock
to keep the cats from digging it up.

Poor stupid thing.

The next day there was a squirrel at the bird seed.
I guess it just goes to show
stomach wins out over karma every time

(for a while).


I'm a little leery of saying too much about this poem. It's more carefully constructed than it might appear to be at first, and I hope there are a few more layers than might be initially obvious.

The repetition and parallel construction are entirely on purpose, by the way. As is the tone.

I do put a bit of thought into these things, surprisingly enough.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

No, I haven't given up already

I see from the counter that there have been people checking in. You're probably really sick of seeing the same pathetic tulip doodle at the top of the page, I expect.

I was unavoidably away from the computer for a while, to be honest (thanks, Canadian Winter). I'll see if I can't get something new posted in the next day or so.

Ok then.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Tulip in crayon

Cheap Crayola pencil crayon, actually.

Yeah, it shows... but I don't work in crayon enough to justify buying myself a decent set of proper sketching crayons.

Unless I find a really, really good sale sometime. Then I'd find a way to convince myself that I might work in crayon more if I only had some good equipment...

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Aqueous Humour

1. When you stop to think about it,
watching fish swim in a tank is a pretty stupid way to spend your time.
It's not like the fish will figure out how to use tools
or move into and actually defend the ornamental castle...
No matter how hard you stare at them, the fish will continue to swim
aimlessly back and forth
and forth and back again
all freaking day
looking just as clueless as they looked
when you started watching.

The most excitement you're going to get
from that particular pastime
is if you start taking bets on how long it will take
before all the plastic plants are uprooted by the inhabitants
or how many days the new charcoal filter
will continue to cloud up their otherwise pristine
fake environment.

I know for a fact that fish in tanks
are incredibly boring.

I know this from experience
because I watched them
for nearly an hour last night.

2. Fish eye lenses,
and I'm not talking cameras here,
are round little balls;
or at least the one in my Grade Ten biology lab was.
We weren't supposed to be dissecting the eye, but I was curious
and sliced open the sunken saucer when the teacher wasn't looking.
I wasn't expecting to find that plasticky-looking orb
hanging about in a dead perch
and was fascinated enough to sneak it into a paper towel to take it home.
I'd planned to show my mother, for some reason,
but thought better and threw it out a day later.
I sort of wonder now
if she might have been pleasantly surprised to learn that her
very neurotic daughter
had finally found something in life to
be squeamish about.

3. There is something about water dwellers
that calls to the water in us.
We are still water,
as far as we've tried to take ourselves away.

Sea water courses through our veins
and bathes our organs;
you may find us in deserts or on mountains
but without the oceans within we wouldn't even see the dry.

The water is us
as it is everything in this world,
and maybe that explains this need
for fish in tanks.

Maybe this world of artificial habitat
with its decorative rocks and carefully controlled tides
is just the water reminding us that it was,
in our history,


and as separate as we think we are
our cells will never forget
that for the largest part of our past
we were bathed in belonging.


An odd mood resulting in a bit of a prose poem. Nothing terribly earth shattering here. The title's a pretty awful pun (and for those who aren't familiar with the real term: aqueous humour), and the dissection story in the second section is, weirdly enough, true. It sort of marked the beginning of my interest in comparative anatomy.

One zoology degree later, I'm still interested in it.

Come to think of it, that lens was a fairly valuable discovery.

And yes, I was a pathetically squeamish child. Funny that I ended up in the business that I'm in now, really.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Tulips in graphite

Not much to say about these, except that as usual you can tell which part of the subject I was interested in. The flowers themselves are decent, and the stems... not so much. I was "done" already, so I didn't bother fleshing them out.

I've got to work on the attention span.

Sunday, 6 January 2008


the opening
when the one who'd always drawn in lines
woke up once
to find the world
and filled with


POV II because, obviously, I'd written another poem called POV. It's part of a larger poem, though, and I don't feel like typing the whole thing out today. It's a bit pretentious anyway.

This one? Is short.

That's about all I have to say, yes.

Saturday, 5 January 2008


The strung wire shrieks its tension to the rocks and foam below
as bloodied fingers scrabble up dripping stones;
the clothes whipped by fire-fed winds
from torches they've made to light the spectacle.
It's never successes they seek --
the graceful conquering of fear and gravity,
followed by reluctant applause --
Oh no,
they pray miscalculation:
a single step that takes a body from the line
and drops it to the hurling water;
limbs splintering on outcrops,
hands reaching vainly for nothing.
That's the real show,
and the audience leaves
with a smug grasp of satisfied horror.

I've seen the falls:
water thrusting through faults,
tearing new channels from the bedrock,
rushing to the precipice and shouting its way over.
I've seen them string that wire from crag to crag;
nothing below but fractured rock and thunder
and waterlogged bone.
I've seen men hunger for that height...
watched them climb
heard that scream above the torrent
and imagined the struggle beneath...

I have never dreamed to fly.

My hands will not fit those cracks in the wet cliff
but they will goad me to ascend
like the rest...
I will forget.
I will lose my faith in solid ground
and ache for colder air above the river...
I will force myself to walk the wire
aim for more attention than I wanted
lose my way at the last
and add my salt to the falls...

And they will gasp

and wait for the next one.


Hey, it's a ginormous metaphor!

Yeah, you can all roll your eyes now.

Briefly, it's ambition, lack of same, and humanity's seemingly inborn desire to gloat at others' failures. I'd say more, but I don't think I need to spell this one out.

Interesting that German has a word for it, though.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Tulip in watercolour pencil

I debated on whether to post any of these old tulip doodles because they're hanging on my wall and I was too lazy to take them down (erm... see the previous post, where I said pretty much the same thing). Ah well. I suppose you can put up with distortion and reflected flash.

This particular doodle is also faded as well as distorted. It was done a few years ago and it's been in full sun since.

Like I think I've said before, when I get in the mood to draw flowers I'll often buy a bouquet or a plant and sketch it in various states of decay (well, not so much if I buy a plant. They usually last a while). By this time tin the tulip bouquet's existence it was showing its age and the flowers were past perfection.

I don't mind that. Dying flowers still make interesting subjects, as far as I'm concerned.

I should have done this sketch on darker paper, though. It would have been nice to suggest the white edges by actually using white rather than faking them with grey wash. I'll remember that another time.
Related Posts with Thumbnails