I know, first hand, how wonderful it can be to receive a Birthday parade during Covid times because my friends did exactly that for my birthday. Well, this year is pretty important because our ‘fearless leader’ turned 91 yesterday. My treasured friends in fine arts education came together to create a drive-by parade and then a Happy Birthday circle yesterday.
Joan has been one of the most inspiring people to serve as Supervisor of Fine Arts for the Calgary Catholic School District in the days when fine arts were understood to be essential to the development of learning within a child. We were a part of a period in education when Fine Arts advocacy was well and growing in schools. Teachers received regular support, exemplary modeling and resources in terms of professional development, in order that they could deliver solid programs. So, Joan was all that.
But, at the core of ‘who’ Joan is….she is a treasured friend. She has a brilliant mind. She is a superb artist, one who has looked at her world and nature with precision. Her observation skills can be surpassed by very few. Joan is an empathetic listener. Joan has an appreciation for song and celebration. She is playful and fun to be around. Little sayings filter in to every conversation. I love Joan with my whole heart and she has been a blessing in my life. Happy Birthday, Joan!
My grandson, Steven, helped me get ready for the parade by painting two banners. Unfortunately, when I hopped out of the car, I forgot that I had this taped up, post parade. It looked better during the drive by.
Joan, sharing words of appreciation. Always self-effacing, she made certain she drew attention to the strength of our team, pointing to each one, “You, you, you and you”…pointing to each one and making eye contact.
Before the fall…
Thank you to the organizers. These events are so important for these times. Each person has to determine what proximity they can have in every situation as we enter into stage 2 with the opening up of our economy. However, it is always important to keep in mind the safety of our senior citizens and those who are vulnerable due to various medical conditions. Thanks to this residence that provided us with a safe circumstance in order to celebrate our forever-friend.
It’s a very other-worldly feeling to be journeying life through a pandemic. In the grocery stores, yesterday, I felt to be plunked into the opening scenes of a Sci-Fi movie. Sometimes a person just has to find a way to ground themselves when all else; health, economy, events and travel are floundering. I almost feel that this is a guilty pleasure in these times…writing about children and painting. But in doing this, I feel like a rope has been tied around my ankles…someone is tugging…and I am easing my way, like an overfilled balloon… coming to rest on the ground. This is what I do.
This year, my friend, Claudia, inspired me by the painting she did with her students. My practice, as a guest teacher, is to promote painting with children. It can be so messy…there is the preparation and there is the clean-up…but Claudia doesn’t shy away from any of that. She is a remarkably inspiring Div 1 teacher. Thank you, Claudia!
After seeing the results of Claudia’s art lesson, I went out into a Div 1 classroom and painted the very next week.
And following that, Gillian also painted with little ones. Gillian has had a long and accomplished career as an educator and she is also not one to shy away from paint.
I wanted to post all of these resulting paintings at the same time in order to illustrate the variety that can be achieved with paint….same concept…same lesson…but, each and every painting is unique and each of the three sets of paintings is using a different palette of green. If you look about the hallways of elementary schools, if you see that there is a sameness about the works that children create, there is the possibility that their outcomes have been engineered to be close-ended; it also means that the means to get there may have been closed. (the trouble with most Pinterest activities) Try letting go, just a little, at first. The resulting projects may not be as predictable, but this is what creativity and visual art should excite in children.
Children are magical. May they be safe and may their teacher’s be safe through these trying times. Happy March! Happy GREEN!
Claudia’s Palette. (I didn’t include images of students painting because their little faces were in the photos.)
We just hosted Christmas dinner and Nigel and Angela were with us. I have to write this down because, given the experience of being swept up in gravy and my grandson, there wasn’t a single photograph archived of my dinner guests. You know the one…the one where everyone is gathered into a collective and asked to say CHEESE! There is always only one person left out of that photograph. Well, this year…well…no need to get redundant.
12/6/17, 4:11 PM I received this message.
Dear Kathleen, I will always remember you as “Mrs Hanrahan”. I don’t know if you remember me, but you taught me grade 7 art some years ago. I have been searching for you for some time, but it is only appropriate that I should find you now, as I am about to embark on a new adventure; teaching art. Would you be interested in a get together and perhaps imparting some of your wisdom to me?
NIGEL???? Remember you???
Of course, I remember you!
Following our reconnect were stories of remembrance of the Junior High variety…students working things out in my storage cupboard…stuff like that. As I revisit those years, Robbie Fernuk isn’t far away. He was a big part of the creative energy that lived in that particular art class. So was Nigel. Oh, how the years have sped by…
Photos from our first get together, when I got to meet Angela. Oh my goodness! It was as though we had never been apart.
I treasure our friendship. Nigel is life-giving. He is kind and smart and funny. Angela has become a new friend and I hope that we have the years to build memories and share experiences. Both Angela and Nigel are animal whisperers, brilliant, well-read and artistic. I love them!
(looking for Angela’s birthday photograph, but can’t find them in my archives…sheesh)
This afternoon, People’s Portrait Prize came down. Yesterday, I was pleased to be able to immerse myself in all of the different pieces created by so many artists, all on my own. As artistic subject matter goes, I especially enjoy portraiture. Each artist relies on a subject/reference/idea, but puts down very personal marks during the process of painting, sculpting or drawing. It was a fantastic exhibit, so varied and was demonstrative of the vision and effort of many people. Congratulations to all of you!
I enjoyed the wander-about, as well. It was a wonder I could wander out of the stairwells because I became captivated, as I always do, by Katie Green and daniel j. kirk’s Imaginarium, 2017. I hope that they won’t mind that I did my point and shoot with my phone as I walked backwards up the stairs. Amazing and surprisingly restful!
Imaginarium by Katie Green and daniel j. kirk 2017
Imaginarium by Katie Green and daniel j. kirk 2017
Imaginarium by Katie Green and daniel j. kirk 2017
Imaginarium by Katie Green and daniel j. kirk 2017
I stepped in and chatted with the gentleman at reception for Alliance Francaise (don’t know how to get that accent under that ‘c’). I was smitten by the remarkable library and the impressive line up of activities that are handy for people who want to access resources or up their game as French-speaking Canadians. A wonderful and welcoming spot!
I was carried away by a variety of venues, all housed in cSPACE with a deliberate and tasteful aesthetic. The Alberta Craft Gallery, as part of the Alberta Craft Council, was a really ‘happening’ place yesterday. I loved the surprising and ephemeral works created by Dena Seiferling and Stefanie Staples. Participating in an exhibit titled PERCH, is it any wonder I love this stuff?
I guess I stopped wandering and started starting and stopping for the next longest while, completely swept up by the wonderful efforts by so many artists. The portraits were next. I couldn’t possibly grab a photo of all of the portraits that moved me. My readers will get the gist…
I’ve been following a portrait series by Chris Flodberg as he’s been posting bits here and there on social media, so it was really, with fondness, that I had opportunity to enjoy these ‘in the flesh’ so-to-speak. These photos stink…but, I’m hoping you will follow the link that I’ve provided. Chris is represented by the Masters Art Gallery, here in town.
Portrait with Candles and Belt by Chris Flodberg Technique: oil on board Dimensions: 27×16 in.
I apologize…I didn’t even take note of the artist…but, had to photograph this one as I engaged it. If you can help me out with the documentation, that would be great.
Nick Rooney…an artist I met during my committed period at Gorilla House and then Rumble House, just always amazes me with his technical considerations, his hands-on approach to materiality and his connection with pigments as a traditional practice.
Dawn Escobar…just a dear and beautiful human being. This is a portrait she did of her mother. I find it interesting that I migrated to this piece, took a photograph of it and this morning, I read the following message on social media.
“You enter with hopes of winning some thing knowing that the chances are small. Congratulations to those who did win 🎉. The second hope is that someone saw your piece and you touched them. 😊. Thank you for having the contest. See you if not soon, next year. 💐💐💐💐💐. P.s. mom enjoyed herself “
Your work touched me, Dawn.
I didn’t leave cSPACE without first stepping into Assemble Work/Shop and spoke with Anne Kirsten. What a very exciting space. I’m going to let me daughters know about this! cSPACE is a bit of a wormhole…a person could disappear and not resurface for a very long time. I just got a taste yesterday, but I’ll be back.
It was time to rush off in time to view Humans as presented by TheatreCalgary. A nice light lunch was served and the Director, Vanessa Porteous, had opportunity to speak to us about her process, the play and future projects.
As we moved through Advent at what seemed to be warp speed, I had the opportunity to be with Ashley’s class of Grade fours for a day. The students were bright-eyed and receptive…an awesome little group. Woven through the day seemed to be a theme of gift. So, the story book that I had packed into my bag at home, seemed like it would work just perfectly.
In the afternoon, I pulled out my book and read it aloud to the students. No matter the age, students, for the most part, fall silent at the reading of a picture book. It was no different on that day. While I’m not crazy about this particular delivery, I did find the story on Youtube.
I would consider the painting activity to be an Expression lesson. I did not focus too much on skills related to depiction or composition, but focused on how to hold a brush and the idea of stroking paint instead of scrubbing paint. I guess the interesting thing about asking the students to paint two mittens is the idea that the patterns would match…so they were exploring two things in duplicate. At some point, I adjusted my own system of sharing buckets of coloured tempera, but quickly fell back to my fail safe routine when I observed the chaos in trading that can ensue. I had intentionally limited the number of buckets I prepared on this day for the simple reason that I didn’t want a big clean up at end of day, so I prepared 14 buckets for 24 students. Normally, I would prepare 18. So, you can imagine that, at times, you would hear someone belt out, “Are you done with the white?”
Thank you, Dana, for your wonderful assist.
The paintings, in the end, were lovely. The Pinterest crowd will find a whole variety of projects based on this story book including fabric arts, oil pastel drawings and paper cut outs…lots that you can do around a story. Advent and Christmas art abounds at the moment, I thought that these paintings might bring the spirit of winter into the classroom, for a longer duration. Thank you, Ashley. Thank you, Grade four students. I had a beautiful day!
I’ve always used the word loosely. No incantations…nothing showing up out of a top hat. It’s a way of being…a choice to live in delight…even when, like today, a 2 liter jug of eggnog spills out on the kitchen floor, just minutes before having to rush out the door. I’ve made an effort now and then to explain…but, it is too much about the un-explainable.
Yesterday, I painted with Grade Ones…tree ornaments…I thought these would be cool with a bit of an aluminum foil embellishment added. I still paint with kids around the city, every opportunity I get, but have stopped writing so much about it. Holding a brush is an important action…it’s something important enough to become familiar…to practice…to enjoy. I like to paint with kids.
Every darned day that I am a guest teacher in someone’s classroom, I am absolutely blown away by the mountain of responsibility and creativity that is observable in just moments of being in that someone’s learning environment. I am in awe of the magic of the teaching experience, interaction and output, both by teachers and by their students.
I usually go over to the window first and open the blinds. I like to see how the light changes things. I also have the time to reflect, something that teachers who are steeped in their careers don’t always have enough opportunity to do. I like to reflect about the spaces where I find myself enjoying, exploring and filling with hard work.
Yesterday, Amber generously shared her students (little guys) with me. Grade One! Wow! All I can remember about grade one is my coat hook and the fact that my brother ran so fast the first day of school, I felt really really panicked about catching up. I remember a man walking about the school yard, at a point, raising a hand bell high in the air and shooing us into the building. I still, to this day, want to call him Mr. Cannon.
I haven’t asked permission (now I have), but would like to share a couple of images I snapped while the students went up to the music room for their very first time.
Just look at these…tell me what you think.
The students were full of energy, but we enjoyed our time together and really engaged the process of chalk drawing and painting. (There was no white in the supply cupboard so…I used yellow to brighten some of the colour…but, tints are just so lovely!) The students were very attentive as we went forward and I’ve captured a few little images of their work and their journal responses. Magic. And yes! Could be an Easter Egg…could be a kite…could be an ornament! In the ‘end’, it is about the means…and NOT the END! The experience of painting is wondrous. There! You heard it from me!
I asked the students if they might do a journal entry about their experience and the resulting pieces were pretty amazing. Lucas told me he didn’t want me to photograph the following drawing until he had finished the light coming from the window.
Today, I left my paint bucket out in the car. I thought I’d meet Jen’s Grade Six students before committing to an art experience in paint, this afternoon. I wasn’t with them for ten minutes and I knew that they would enjoy and respond well with paint. Mayhaps it was the fact that the first wondrous thing I noticed, after looking out the window…were these!
Gorgeous, Jen!! Wowsah!
I decided that I’d use the very same lesson that I did with the Grade Ones. As I delivered my lesson about tempera paint, I could have heard a pin drop. The students were totally engaged and I was pretty grateful. Nice people. So, as I publish the next photos, I was wondering if my readers are able to notice the differences, schematically.
The past two days have been blessing days.
And, this evening…
Nigel left me a note. I’m over the moon about it. I treasured him years ago…and treasure his contact now.
I will always remember you as “Mrs H”. I don’t know if you remember me, but you taught me grade 7 art some years ago. I have been searching for you for some time, but it is only appropriate that I should find you now, as I am about to embark on a new adventure; teaching art. Would you be interested in a get together and perhaps imparting some of your wisdom to me?
What a beautiful exchange was had…looking forward to many inspiring conversations about art education with this new arts educator!
Reading and then meeting Kyo MacLear affirmed, for me, everything that’s been formulating inside me the past several years…about birding, art, nature and life. Many things have formed me into this person who shows up at the Bow River around 10 on a winter’s morning, taking pause above the river and observing wildlife.
My friends and family wonder and ask…mostly not asking anymore, “What are you painting? Why don’t you paint?” and at those questions, I can only sit with who I am and be grateful for the grace of anything and everything that led me to this place where I find myself. As I drove up from the parking spot this morning, I just kept saying, aloud, “I love my life. I love my life.”
I will paint again. But, the truth is…painting was a lot about ego. It was a lot about around-the-clock commitment. It was about trying to balance full time work, raising children and keeping it all together. My stomach sometimes hurt as deadlines for shows approached. I was terrified in front of blank canvases. I couldn’t assert myself with dealers, set boundaries or say what I needed. I didn’t have money to buy those outfits that seem to be required if you are an artist, especially a female artist. Painting had lost its magic and so, when I paint again, it will be profound because it will be for all the right reasons, not for all the wrong reasons.
Doris McCarthy said, “Paint every day.” I think more about her as days go by, without painting, than anyone. She explained how those muscles work. She explained how time also rushes by. Doris was my friend and she gave me a lot of strength. I think about Doris when I know that I will physically paint again.
Now…did the painting really stop? I argue, “No”. I have been intensely researching my next body of work for years now…having painted about 15 panels related to a Covenant series, I then began to connect again with the landscape. It just happened. It happened at the reading of two poems, the first, The Wolf Between the Trees by George Bowering. I used his poem, with permission, embedded in the poem along with a cup full of ash…remains of personal papers I had burned in the studio. This is the painting…
and secondly, a tribute poem written by Paulette Dube for the Caribou. I’m including her words, here. I hope you will read them.
In the new days, magic was on the surface of things, the shine of it all, quick and bright and fast as new rivers.
Now Rivers winds Under Earth, has to be convinced, to play her deep song, entreated , to show herself.
The Celts call these « thin places », where the other side is so close, the veil shivers your arms as you reach through.
The First People travelled (sic) these sacred pieces of earth, to think on things in the presence of Creator.
I know them as mountains. I see them with my spirit eyes, walk them with blood and bone legs. They teach, as clear as bird song or scolding squirrel lesson, bracing as clean water through moss.
This alpine terrain is grey onion paper, thin as ash. Feet must be wide to avoid lace-like flower and moss, spider web and lichen. Be mindful.
The Creator’s ear is earth as we do not see it. Make joyous noise if you want to be herd. Get yourself a song and string from bone to bone, a home of light and wind.
She moves. She feels her calf, inside, taking nourishment from her own bones and teeth. The calf moves (as my son once did) deep in the dreaming place. The cow’s thickening body keeps the Small one warm, keeps him from hunger, keeps her moving.
Born where the dark forest gives way to lake, loon’s perfect call – silver sharp tremolo – traces the surface of this morning sky : clear as mountain water scythes the earth.
Loon calls from the lake face, that voice – shapes my form- coming through the trees.
The land reacts to our presence when we belong
Noise of a sow grizzly and her two cubs. To each a place, to each, a means of prayer and play. To each, the necessary silence.
Sacred whorl of grey and brown, blow open the gate. Allow a wild glimpse of self.
When you descend to leaf litter, feathered legs and all, you are an angel – touching Earth.
The engine that is me, hears the song that is you…
…coming together is a song I cannot bear for long. Satiated by my own irregular rythmes.
Promises shape who we are, what we will become –
His brow is unfurrowed. Streamlined, he walks the wind, easily.
Healing is water over stones, wind over grass, gaits – fearless.
Feral hearts wander – oblivious to fences of human design.
Survival embodies existence but – does not define it.
He moves through sunlight to scrub, deliberate – elemental – muscle.
Hummingbird hears colour – Coyote knows crack in a leaf is direction – Bear walks trail made of wind.
If Humans could once again divine the essential – would we find home ?
A candle in a church is a thing of beauty – a flame in the wilderness is a miracle.
Find something big to pit against – to throw loneliness into – Amid bone, snow and stone – caribou. The precious, the delicate of design – we live here.
Fire and earth – water and air – there is no room for anger.
Memories permit us to speak of things –
our heart tends to in the night.
The resulting painting, upon hearing this poem is posted below. The words to the poem are written into the painting. It was at this punctuation mark in my life, at this painting and the other, that I realized my painting would always be about ‘place’.
So, as an artist, what I’ve been doing ever since is sorting that out….the surface, the paint, collage, text, subject matter. It might take a lifetime to make sense of it. I don’t know. But, in the meantime, I am energized and interested and creative and LOOK! I write!
Everything I’ve been doing, in the sorting, has made for this wondrous life of mine. It’s taken me out into the landscape. It’s caused me to notice more. It’s manufactured poems, paintings, photographs and connected me with videographer, Liam of Beam Media and the photographer, Jack Breakfast.
And this morning, I met Doug Newman. It was after two cups of coffee at home and after two posts about books that I have read that I headed out into the cold with Max man. The roads were bad, so I decided to get us down to a parking lot that edges the Bow River and to explore the first wintry day on the river. There was only one other car in the lot…a man speaking on his telephone. Max and I headed out.
This is what I wrote once back inside the car…and after snapping four photos on my cell phone…and after turning up the heat and settling in with CKUA.
I didn’t bring a camera with me, but hiked the edge of the Bow River this morning. I watched a Bald Eagle fish, its wings, so powerful. Three times, it landed on tree tops to the left of me, by 200 meters. The geese, exhausted and resting, lifted off of the dark water, along with the cacophony of gulls each time the eagle dove toward the water. Two deer swam, gracefully, from this side and shook off like wet dogs, once arriving on the shore across from me. A perfect morning.
From an interview with Kyo MacLear, writer of Birds, Art, Life… this…
While typing that paragraph, I saw the gentleman leave his car, carrying a camera and sporting a huge lens. I watched, discreetly, as he took photographs. I saw him pan as geese took flight. I saw him quietly observe for quite a long time. Finally, as he turned to get back into his vehicle, I rolled down my window and we began to chat.
It turns out that Doug also posts photographs to Alberta Birds. We introduced ourselves to one another and I began to ask him questions about photography, equipment and we shared some of our ‘bird’ moments. It is such a pleasure to discover another birder along the quiet pathways of my every day. It was nice to experience his enthusiasm and his excitement. He opened up his photograph of a goose taking flight and I was in awe of the detail and the strength captured in that single image.
…any excuse to tell the students about my memories of Expo ’67!
My teacher, Mr. Mackay, arranged a billeted field trip from DND Hornell Heights in North Bay, Ontario, to Montreal, Quebec to wander for a whole day at Expo. With no money in our pockets for rides and such, we covered a vast distance on foot, taking in at least five different Pavilions. I remember being in awe most of the time. It turns out that Canada’s artist, Charles Pachter, along with Alexander Calder, was hired to work on the sculptural representations of Canada.
In his book,The History of Canada Series: The Best Place To Be: Expo ’67 And Its Time by John Lownsbrough,
Lownsborough shares the following archive…
All this aside, given that this is Canada’s 150th year…I thought it fun to share with the students what was happening in the world, 50 years ago. To begin with, their eyes told me that they imagined a dinosaur was speaking before them…chatting away about what I was doing at the age of 12, with my teacher, my own grade five class and in the city of Montreal. I shared during the Reflection component of the lesson, Charles Pachter’s website and his short biography. We talked about moose, the Queen of England, satire, and simplicity of form. I showed a few of Pachter’s works, in order to lead into a depiction lesson, followed by a painted composition.
These were the pieces of art that I shared with the students and that we spoke about, in terms of the subject matter and the arrangement of very simple forms in the composition.
Some vocabulary…satire, silhouette, flat space…
Dressage by Charles Pachter painted in 1988
NONE Charles Pachter art__ Uploaded by: Goffin, Peter
As we viewed the works, we had a discussion about iconic Canadian animals. I asked the students if they had ever seen the combination of coloured stripes that appears in the background of Bay Watch. Someone mentioned a blanket. So, for a few short minutes, I spoke about the wool blankets that were made and sold by the Hudson’s Bay Company.
The students went to the chalk board and listed animals that they wished to explore in silhouette. I think that caribou, moose and deer were unpopular because of the challenge of the antlers and thin legs, but, there were still several students that took on the challenge.
Level II (grades 3 and 4) REFLECTION APPRECIATION: Students will interpret artworks literally.
A. Contextual information (geographical,
historical, biographical, cultural) may be
needed to understand works of art.
DEPICTION ACTIONS AND VIEWPOINTS: Students will select appropriate references for depicting. B. Drawing strategies, such as gesture to capture action, contour to study important edges and massing to show bulk or weight, are helpful in depicting animate forms.
COMPOSITION: Component 7 EMPHASIS: Students will create emphasis by the treatment of forms and qualities. A. The centre of interest can be made prominent by contrasting its size, shape, colour or texture from the other parts of the composition.
Component 10 (iii) MEDIA AND TECHNIQUES:
Students will use media and techniques, with an emphasis on mixing media and perfecting techniques in drawing and painting. -Use preliminary sketches as the basis for a painting, as well as painting directly.
Level III (grades 5 and 6)
REFLECTION ANALYSIS: Students will study and analyze the individual character of natural objects or forms. B. Natural forms can be examined for less visible characteristics.
Component 4 MAIN FORMS AND
PROPORTIONS: Students will modify forms by abstraction, distortion and
other transformations. I. Gridding can be used for systematically capturing or distorting the proportions of things.
Component 8 UNITY: Students will create unity by integrating the parts of a composition into the whole. C. Transitions of colour, texture or tone relate the parts of a composition to a unified whole.
Component 10 (iii) MEDIA AND TECHNIQUES:
Students will use media and techniques, with an emphasis on mixing media and perfecting techniques in drawing and painting.
-Use preliminary sketches as the basis for a painting, as well as painting directly.
The students were also asked to include the colours of the Hudson’s Bay blanket some where in their compositions.
Off they went to the races!
Next, large 18 x 24 paper was folded into 8 rectangles (in half both width and length and then lengthwise from each end, into the center), proportionally accurate with the 8 rectangles that were printed onto the 11 x 17 bond paper. Students prepared their own coloured construction ground, on the back, by edging with masking tape. (avoid ripping edges), flipped the work and began to use the grid to make relationships as they enlarged their silhouette in chalk.
Paints were mixed, as is my typical method. See former lessons under Teacher…and all went swimmingly. It’s time for me to seek out a great Netflix program for this evening. I’m sporting one heck of a head cold, but before I do, I’ll post a few of the photographs I caught of the process.
The months are closing on Canada 150. I’m happy that I had time to spend with these grades 4 and 5 students. They have been fantabulous!
I’ve left writing and art-ing and almost everything in order to tackle the new material of my life. As a result, while surfacing out of the cave that has been my last several months, I don’t know where to begin. I don’t think the events of my life are sequential any more…they will be presented here, slightly out of order. Yes, since June, there continued to be art and music and reading and friendship and family, but archiving became the least of my concerns while I was rapidly stitching what had become a torn life, back together again. Family was and is my focus. And so…this morning, I begin, with my difference.
I leave this post for a second and think about some pages I want to slip into this narrative.
I’ll begin with something small. I am smiling here.
I took a guest teacher role one day in the spring. During one of the classroom periods, I was to meet the young group of children in the library. There, magic happened. The librarian’s name has escaped me, but the library was/is housed in St. Boniface Elementary School.
The magic began with the reading, in amazing vocal expression and pacing, a book about snails.
The book was titled Snail Trail by Ruth Brown. Hilarious! And just look at the organization and the wee project created after this reading. Snails! A great idea for your elementary classroom!
The children moved seamlessly into their places at the round tables where they conducted the business of creating their own snail characters.
Other Snail books? I’d love to hear your recommendations!
Calgary weather has been less than cooperative, this past week, for anyone trying to grab a photograph of birds. Rain and snow and biting wind. What happens with grey skies and water and birds? Everything becomes soft-edged. New birds making their appearances: Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Night Heron, Eared Grebe, several more pairs of Red-necked Grebes, many Red-Winged Blackbirds, Wigeons, many more Redheads, Lesser Scaups and Coots. The pond is alive with activity. The Common Mergansers feel the most regal and demanding of attention.
It amazes me that in a single pond ecosystem, over six years, I’ve learned and experienced so much!
Yesterday, after teaching grade twos for the day, Max and I enjoyed short breaks in the clouds and hope for a blue sky today. At one point, a very cold wind and system blew in, but left just as quickly. I was finally able to get close to a focused image of the Grebe.
But first, the reading of some Eric Carle. We read the lovely book, A Very Tiny Seed…but, I spoke to the students about my memories of A Very Hungry Caterpillar. (same story, really) A book about how one transforms, changes, grows…
I chose to photograph the female goose who has settled into a particularly public place because she was so different, from the back, from the male and looks as though she’s ready to burst! I continue to make efforts to get closer to the Buffleheads, Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers, but they are all camera shy.