Showing posts from August, 2012


This year, I've been showing photos that I used in the calendar I make for my family every year. You can find the previous months, along with a link to the text that they illustrated this year, here . August is the month I most closely associate with being here. We couldn't vacation before August -- my parents taught summer sessions; the competitive swimming season didn't go on hiatus until the end of July. August gave us a few short weeks of freedom before school started again, for all of us. I try to keep these familial biorhythms in mind as I make this calendar every year. Sure, my siblings and I are all (ostensibly) adults and have been creating our own families and vacation traditions for decades. But I suspect that August  in Thunder Bay is a default setting for them -- it is for me. And here's the view that I most closely associate with August. It's one of my default shots. I take about a bazillion pictures from this beach at all times of the year, ever

Lingo: A Patterned Dish Story

Don't you love the English language? I've written before about my devotion to reruns of high-art TV like America's Next Top Model . I have recently discovered Canadian home style icon Sarah Richardson and her "design sidekick," Tommy Smythe. You can watch reruns of Sarah's House at this link . I find the show immensely entertaining, even beyond its content. Sarah and Tommy are funny. The show isn't a competition, so the half-hours don't include catfight scenes. Clients, tradespeople, and others on the show don't always agree, but they remain respectful and get a job done. They also work in the "real world," with actual concrete items (which I talked about briefly in relation to my summer, here ). Plus, the language! All specialists use language in specific ways. Scientists, politicians, MBAs, therapists, lawyers -- and yes, artists, writers, and designers. My sister often emails phrases from clothing design shows, like Proj


One of my favo(u)rite aspects of summer is working outdoors. No, I don't take my computer outside -- I do (some) outdoor work in what is commonly known as "the real world." I also go outdoors in winter, but it's more often related to play. My husband does the shoveling and snow-blowing. So when I'm out, it's to go skiing or sledding, to take pictures, or for some other recreative purpose. Like doing nothing. The summer is different. Waaaay different. In the summer, we maintain structures, mow grass, deal with trees. (In the winter, we clear downed trees off the driveway, but otherwise, they stay where they are until the snow melts, the sap runs, and we deal with them. Or not.) And by "maintaining structures," I mean -- well, a lot of things. Painting, cleaning, clearing, re-roofing, draining. Lots of verbs. My point is that unless it's raining, there's always something "productive" to be done outdoors in the summer. And I al

Yes! That One!

This year, I've been showing images from the 2012 calendar I make for my family for Christmas. A link to previous months (that also includes a link to the text I illustrated) is  here . When I put together a calendar, I start by making a folder in Picasa with candidate images. I try to mix winter and summer shots; I try to find pictures that are different from those available in commercial calendars. And of course, because my audience is my family, who experienced this place in the summer and have warm feelings for particular scenes and views, I include a fair number of those. Sometimes I have text first; sometimes I find it later. I have a couple of candidates for 2013 already, but I'm always on the lookout. After I have the file of images and the text, I set aside uninterrupted time to read the text while looking through the assembled photos -- usually at least double the number that I can possibly use -- to see what speaks. When I got to July, I knew immediately the

What's a Meta-Phor?

Last week I mentioned activities that don't show results until they do. Namely, rowing. I've spent more time in a rowboat in the past couple of weeks than in the previous 12 months. Rowing is a lovely activity that engages body and spirit, while leaving the mind room to play. Ergo, I've had plenty of time to consider nautical metaphors. Like: Ships are safe in a harbor, but that's not what ships are built for. Before your ship can come in, you have to send it out. Rowers are natural historians, because they always look at where they've been; canoers (or kayakers) are natural explorers, because they always look at where they're going. But mostly I've been thinking about the point in a long project when I despair of ever seeing progress. In the boat, it's the spot when I'm rowing out toward an island in the bay (a convenient destination for the family since 1925), and suddenly I hit a hole in the space-time continuum and ... stop ... moving. O