Dreaming of Birds

Finally, spring has sprung. The sun has been shining. The temperature has been well above freezing. The buds are swelling. I saw spring bulbs pop out of the ground in a neighbour’s garden. The birds have been singing their hearts out. The weather has been teasing us. It snowed on April Fool’s Day and I barbecued in the snow again last night. But… spring is coming. I can feel it.

dreambird-yarn Still need another wrap. KAL starts next Friday. Yarn has been chosen, and swatched. Yes, Stuart, I’m taking your advice. I’m pretty sure I won’t change my mind at the last minute. The pattern sits on my desk in front of me.  Can’t wait to cast on. Want to join me? The pattern is Dreambird by Nadita Swings on Ravelry. The pattern is available for purchase through Ravelry (about CDN$5 after the exchange). The photo really doesn’t do justice to the lovely, subtle colours of the yarn I’ve chosen. Misti Alpaca, in a dark, cool green and Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn. Did I mention that I can’t wait to cast on?

willow-sail First, I have to finish this one. In addition to being another layer to wrap around my neck this piece has been a second exercise in getting continental knitting into the muscle memory. The pattern is a wickedly simple but effective one called Sonnensegel by Ulrike Altrogge, free on Ravelry. When I chose the yarn, I thought that the solid was a lighter tone of the green fleece beside it. Beautiful spring willow green. Exactly what I need while the grey muck of winter’s end is hanging on. I was indoors under fluorescent lights. I should have taken the skein outside for some real light. Lessons in yarn selection that I’ve learned in the past but apparently forgotten. Always check in natural light. Hmmmm… it’s very yellow, isn’t it? Second lesson – if you start knitting and the colour is wrong, stop knitting! I continued anyway. Should have frogged it early on and chosen a different solid. Too late now since it’s a fuzzy mohair blend and I’d sooner rip out my eyelashes than try to frog that. Don’t get me wrong, the colours are lovely together, very vibrant. But yellow is just not my colour. If I don’t finish it before I start the Dreambird, I’m afraid I won’t pick it up again and I’ll have another WIP that gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. Then again, maybe the yellow is greener than I think. Really depends on the lighting and the proximity of the green fleece. I’m going to continue knitting and decide when it’s finished.

Zentangle by Scratch

The lunchtime art club has been over for a while but one of the kids brought this and I had to share it. She was given a scratch magic doodle book. You know the stuff… it’s got bright colours underneath a layer of black that you scratch off to reveal your very colourful picture. She decided to use her book to create zentangle inspired works of art.


Phrases “far out” and “neat-o” come to mind. I think they would be probably be misunderstood by the 11 year old who created these pieces of art. I shall stick with “holy doodle!” Aren’t they wonderful?”


OZAD – Day 11

ozad-11-1b Auras and rounding today. The first tangle has Flux, Mooka, Tipple and Amaze. You must be astounded that I chose those ones again, yes?

ozad-11-1c For a bit of variety in the organic theme: Flux, Opus, Rain, Fescu and Tipple.

ozad-11-2 This assignment involved using a brush tip pen and shading with water. Since my pigma brush pen was waterproof, I used a bit of watercolour to do the shading. Then I had to add a bit of colour. I seem to be working with a mossy theme these days. Must be spring trying to emerge in my sketchbook.

By the way, the website is 2 days old now and I’ve been backposting a lot of stuff. At least this particular category is all caught up. I’m reminded that there are lots of adventures to post. For now though, I’m going to go sit down and sip tea. And then, maybe I’ll continue with Day 12 exercises.

OZAD – Day 10

ozad-10-1 Lessons from landscapes. I think my lesson here is that this landscape is too busy. Not enough contrast between the layers.

ozad-10-2a Punzel, Cubine and Indy-Rella for this one. I like it better but now that I’m looking at it from a distance, I think the Cubine needs something more and the shading isn’t quite right.

ozad-10-2b I think it was raining on the day I did this one. Or, quite possibly, I’m longing for moss.

OZAD – Day 9

Woohoooo! Shinies!

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I have to say that I enjoyed this one bunches. I went digging through all the old pencil crayon boxes and tested all the whites and bright colours on black paper. And then I dug through the pens drawers and found all the Gel pens that would show up on black. Then it was playtime. I tested everything on both cardstock and black Canson Pastel paper (98 lb).

ozad-9-1a Between the Crayola, Laurentian and Prismacolor pencil crayons, the Prismacolor wins hands down on both paper types. I haven’t scanned the tests for the coloured pencils but Prismacolor showed up much better than the other types. The bright colours were vivid on black and many of the darker colours were quite visible. For the pens, the Sakura Jelly Roll in white and metallic both show really well. The Sakura Jelly Roll Star pens often didn’t show much colour but they did leave a very nice sparkle behind. The Sky Star and Marine Star seemed to have the nicest effects on black. Although it’s hard to see in these scans, it looks very nice on paper.

ozad-9-1b I also tried a Pentel Sunburst white pen with a medium tip. It produces a much finer line than the Jelly Roll which is going to be very useful even though the white isn’t as solid. It works well on the rough pastel paper but on smooth card stock it skips too much to be useful.


ozad-9-2a After playing with various implements for a while, I got around to doing a few tangles. The monotangle of Pardox is one I often do in classrooms with kids who are waiting for the next step of an art project. It’s easy to learn and the kids always have success with it, even if they struggle to understand the method in the beginning. How can you not have success with such an elegant little doodle?

ozad-9-2b Then, after all those straight lines, I had to do a tangle with organic shapes. Looking at a scan of a tile works sort of like stepping away to get a better view. Now that I’m looking at this tile on the screen, I think I need to carry the Fescu further across to the right.

Looking forward to some free time to play with the other coloured metallics and sparkles.

OZAD – Day 8


First, Chapter 2 intro assignment. The tonal value study was much harder than it looked. When I finished all the patterns on the squares, cut them apart and rearranged them I discovered that I had clusters of tones rather than a nice transition from light to dark. Sooooo… tangleations of some of them to adjust the tone a bit. I suppose I could have continued adjusting the values with some shading but I wanted to leave them unshaded. End result was that there was an improved gradient that still had clusters. I may well repeat this exercise in the future.

ozad-8-2 Day 8 assignment – from flat to 3-D in twenty minutes. Isn’t that what we all wished for when we were 13 years old? Not sure if this is an Easter egg or Christmas decoration.

OZAD – Day 7

ozad-7a The day 7 assignment was to create tangleations of some of the patterns we had already used in the book. I’m not posting the sketchbook exercises, just the two ATC sized tangles that were assigned. Once again, I’m using Hollibaugh. First a tangleation of of Hollibaugh and Crescent Moon. Seems a bit busy to me and the depth somehow isn’t quite right.

ozad-7b I liked Beckah’s example in the book and changed it up a bit for the second tangle. Hollibaugh as a net to support Flux with a dark background of Amaze underneath. These patterns all speak to me and I think the combination works well.

OZAD – Day 6


Some of my favourites in today’s assignment on one stroke patterns. I love the organic leafiness of Mooka and Flux. Amaze calls to my mind the Mola embroidery of the Kuna Indians of the san Blas Islands off the eastern coast of Panama. This has quickly become one of my favourite fill patterns.


On the second tile, I used Amaze behind the other patterns without letting it touch the pattern above. You can decide which direction is up for this tile. I haven’t a clue.


I’m following orders again. Yes, it’s hard to believe. But, I assure you, it’s absolutely true. I was told to share ZIA with people who aren’t conveniently near my portfolio to flip through. This is a watercolour wash on Arches 140 lb cold press paper with Sakura micron pen tangled on top.


(You who shall not be named… does this satisfy your demands?) There is also a small selection of a few of my favourites here just in case one wasn’t enough. I may add more in the future. If I receive more orders, I might decide to follow them. It could happen.

Aubergines and Thai Curry

Interesting painting class a couple weeks ago. One of my partners in splattering paint about brought in a photo from an unmentionable magazine. My first thought was “I need to buy eggplant to roast for the Thai Green Curry Chicken.” My second thought was “We’re not really going to paint eggplants, are we?” Guess what?


There you have it. (There are a bunch of my older paintings published here now if you’re interested. If you’re not, skip the link.)











We also had roasted eggplant in our curry. Yum. Sandra… this is for you:

Thai Green Curry Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken breast or any other boneless chicken parts you like, cut into small bites
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 jar Thai Kitchen Green Curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk (not light… go for the full fat and try to get one without added thickeners)
  • 1 red pepper (or 2), sliced into thin strips (but not too thin)
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks and roasted (toss with coconut oil, roast at 350F for about 40 minutes)
  • 1 chayote squash, cut into thin, bitesize pieces (this is optional but it’s delicious)

Melt coconut oil and saute onions and garlic until just translucent. Add chicken and curry paste and saute until the chicken is cooked through. Add the coconut milk, turn down to low and heat gently until just simmering. Add the red pepper, chayote and eggplant. Continue to simmer just until the veggies are hot. Don’t overcook now or you’ll lose the beautiful texture of the veggies. Serve in a bowl with a generous ladle of the coconut sauce and eat as though it were soup or ladle it over steamed rice.