Saturday, July 31, 2010

July ATCs

This month I was inspired to use the "rubbing" technique to create my miniature artworks.

We all know this method from our school art classes: place a piece of parchment paper over a textured surface and lightly pass your pencil over the paper in a windshield wiper motion. The texture is captured on the surface of the paper. This is a handy method to copy engravings that cannot be moved or are not suitable for photography (gravestones, wall carvings, embossed texts).

The design was borrowed from classical still life paintings. I made a sketch of the shapes on my ATC sized parchment paper, then went around the house looking for different textures to use for each shape: a cardboard book cover, a brass plate from Morocco, a tablecloth, etc.. Using different colored pencils, I filled out each shape.

From the top:
Martha Alf: Pears Series 11 #7, 1978
Paul Cezanne: Still Life with a Basket, 1888 (used only the top right corner).
Georges Braque: Still Life with Fruit and Stringed Instrument, 1938
Frida Kahlo: Still Life with Parrot 1951 (without the parrot)

Monday, July 26, 2010


This is the best time of year to take a walk in the vacant wastelands to pick a bouquet of wonderful "weeds". As a gardener, I would not welcome any of these plants in my garden: they would take advantage of the fertile soil and regular moisture to overwhelm my cultivated plants. No, these beauties thrive on poor soil, intense sun and drought.

Here is a list of some of the flowers I was able to identify:

purple loosestrife
wild rose
mayweed (daisy)
viper's bugloss
bird's foot trefoil
bladder campion
Queen Anne's Lace
August flower (or lionstooth)
everlasting pea
common tansy
goat's beard
creeping bellflower

To identify your own collection of weeds, check out this great website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Exotic Flowers

Last month, I attended a special exhibition at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Horticulturalists from far and wide presented their special products: garden tools, floral arrangements, unusual perrennials or rare cultivars. I bought a small plant for $4.- that had no tag. Here you see the beauty it became. Sorry, no idea what the name of the plant is.

Another flowering plant (actually a vine) originating from tropical climates is the Aristolochia gigantea. They are grown by a nursery in St.-Remi, Quebec. The flowers are a feat of Nature's creative powers: purple brocade velvet bags about 12" across with a disturbing scent. Here is a picture of the one I saw in Montreal. Now I have the plant too. It can be kept outdoors in the summer and I am waiting for the first bloom.