Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cat # 6

"Black Cat"
An older "Tom",   going into one of those trance like stares that almost puts them to sleep.

The black cat has had much written about it over time and is connected with much superstition and symbolism. 
Bad Luck...  satanism...witches... sorcery... evil incarnate... a coat the color of mourning...   History reports black cats were mercilessly put to death just for the color of their coat and its associations.  Superstition is silly isn't it. Just things we make up, convince ourselves about and decide to believe. Silly Humans, and we think we are so smart.
I have even read black cats were unfortunately referred to, as "the rabbit of the poor" and you know what that means.
Yet they survive, proud and beautiful, their coats shimmering in the sunlight. Sleek and still with an air of beauty and mystery.
 Long live the black cat!

...approx. 4" x 6", charcoal, conte, chalk on heavy brown paper...
 I love how these mediums grab and react on brown paper.
... sinking into minute portions of it while other particles remain lying on top.

Other Cats in the series:

Gwen Buchanan at Desideratum Art and Jewelry Studio,  New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, 11 July 2014

End of Day

 The wood shed is full to the brim...  That was long, hot work ... so glad it is all under cover air-drying for winter.  makes you feel taken care of... a person does not have to use wood for winter heat here, there are lots of alternatives, and several are installed in our house...
  As a matter of fact when we built our house we put in a wood stove just to have as back up in case of emergencies but we ended up liking it so much that is what we use as our main heat source all winter... along with the sun..

Dusk ... from St. Martins, New Brunswick looking over the Bay of Fundy towards the coast of Nova Scotia.. 24-30 miles
 out my studio window... just finished work for the day...I believe it was about 8:30 pm.  
I am never disappointed by the cloud show

Close up of the Copper and Sterling Silver "Scarabs" ........ just sent these last pair off to a lovely lady.

 The Siberian Iris.... they are done blooming now but they did give a gorgeous show earlier in the year.

 There are at least a pair of Northern Mockingbirds nesting around the gardens... The repertoire of songs that these birds sing amazes me..
 I think they know every song there ever was... they are always performing in the tops of the tallest trees..
 ...morning, noon and night and all day in between.   I love it.

 We have another door on the end of the woodshed too ... makes it easier to fill.
...the slots in between the boards let lots of heat and air blow through and allows the moisture from the wood to escape.

Pretty isn't it?... beautiful to look at, really.  It will be almost a shame to burn it.
Maple and some Birch.

What can I say about that Nature out there....  makes a body feel fine....

I didn't write about the post-tropical storm Arthur ... I am trying to forget him.

Desideratum Art and Jewelry Studio, St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, 20 June 2014

Insect Studies

"Tis the Season... and I Don't Mean Christmas!'

I find Insects exceedingly interesting... especially in terms of drawing.. the good, the bad and the ugly.
...their structures, wings, antennae, eyes, legs, every part of them... pretty amazing...  so many tiny distinct parts.... like little much variety...

I mean, imagine if there were this many varieties of Human Beings.... Just Imagine... 
 but NO, there's only One of us.. all the same under the skin....  
when you think of it that way there is probably much more chance of survival for insects than for us human beings, as one deadly virus could wipe all of us out because we are only one species.

Insects have a definite advantage in the long run. 
.. but till then, the birds, frogs and snakes can eat all the bad ones they want.

approx. 9" x 12", pen, ink, wash, brush in my sketchbook.
Gwen Buchanan, Desideratum Art and Jewelry Studio, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, 12 June 2014

One of a Kind and Very Limited Designs at Desideratum Art Jewelry

While looking through my jewelry storage drawers the other day, I sorted out a few designs from our  very Limited Art Jewelry collection to post here.
They were fun to do,  experimental and cool, and are not in our catalog... so no gets to see them...
 and where's the fun in that! ... so here they are.

If interested, would like a better close-up of a particular design or would like more information ... Contact me here or call... my contact info is on the right hand sidebar.
Hand made by John and me, from Sterling Silver and Copper
 at Desideratum Art Jewelry, New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, 6 June 2014

June - Working Again on the Old Homestead Project

*** Part 2 ***
Feels good with everything greened up and the leaves bursting forth.
This is an outside view of the old place we are working on from the back field.
That tree in the center of the picture is a Cottonwood Poplar. It is so tall.
I haven't guesstimated the height of it yet.

The apple tree has come out in full blossom.. looks so beautiful... bees were buzzing all around it.
When we walked around the property we discovered 2 more Apple trees not in bloom yet, an old Honeysuckle bush, Rhubarb, Lilacs, Chokecherries, Viburnum  and Wild Grape vines growing everywhere.

Click   the Old Homestead Project to see the beginning/Part 1, started last Fall.

... the ripping, tearing and repairing continues...

**Scary picture**   One of the million things John has had to dismantle, dispose of and rebuild. 
This was the floor underneath the former bathroom which was in the middle of the living room and the kitchen.  (Lucky they never fell through in the bathtub).
He took down the walls first and then discovered this mess.  The bathroom is not going back in this location.

 He ripped the whole mess out, and cut back to good solid wood, squared it up and with the floor held up by jacks and new beams he began rebuilding the floor solidly with new lumber held in place with metal joist holders to the new rebuilt rear sill beam on the cellar rock wall... ( that sill beam was his major May job.  Very Difficult! and he did it all by himself.)
 That wall was the original outside rear wall of the house and the sill beam that the house rested on had almost completely disintegrated due to moisture over its lifetime.. and I believe it has been a very long life... as the house had tilted back a great deal.  After jacking and rebuilding and putting in the new beam the house has gained about 3-4 inches on the back and has straightened right up .

We will try to find out more history of the old place when we get things in better shape.

It took several layers of wood to get it up to the level of the present floor. Over the years they kept adding more floors over the old floors so now it is a really thick floor.  In this picture another couple layers are needed to bring it up to the same thickness. He finished it but I don't have a pic of it at the present.

 This is looking towards one end of the combined living room-kitchen...  it is a small place but not a small job.

Hidden under the ceiling tiles and a layer of fiberboard, and tarpaper and a huge compaction  of cellulose about 12" thick filling the entire space,  were these wonderful old adze marked Beams... we were pretty thrilled to see them and vowed to have them showing when we were done... plus it will add some much needed ceiling height.
   Along the back wall is some old paneling that John pulled off the walls that are now  covering/protecting our 3 outside doors .. 2 we had to buy new (darn) and one we got second hand from a fellow remodeling(we love being able to reuse things)... it is almost like new though... he must never have used it... we wanted them on site so we have the exact sizes when the time comes to frame up the openings, as two doors are going in different places than before.

 When he ripped off the old deck...

 This is what he found!! Rotten and decayed house sill beam. He did some searching and found a local lumber yard that had some long squared and dried 16'  Hemlock beams stacked in their yard... good and solid and excellent for the purpose he needed.... an old fellow in the yard said that is what they used to use for sill beams long ago because of their long lasting qualities.  This one  rotted because someone didn't install the door properly and water was constantly directed into the frame beneath the door instead of away from the house.  Water infiltration can eventually take a building down... Always have to be on guard for that.

 Prior to this picture,  John  removed the remainder of the deck, the associated debris, jacked the floor and walls up, removed the rotten beam and lifted into place this beautiful new Hemlock sill beam along the top of the stone wall (should be good for another 150 yrs).. and now he is wedging in a few more floor joists.. he pounded them in and then turned them on their sides and attached them to the sill beam the same way as the back with metal joist holders. Big huge job and took quite some time... but it all had to be done step by step, tying the house back together, carefully supporting the house all the way along.
This might be too much information for some people but I like to keep track of details... and I want to remember how much work was done to the place.

 These are some stones that were lying loose on the top of the stone wall that the squirrels were hiding their nuts in. 
 We'll probably mortar them in when we do the repointing and securing of any loose ones.
I wonder how many people handled theses stones and how long ago.  There must have been several other structures on the property in the past too, as we still see the stone outlines in the uneven grass.

He can still manage a smile even after working in all that grubby mess.   John says working on the place is like working and building everything backwards since so much has to be removed and then figured how to make new parts fit  back in the opposite way it was originally made.

One day while he was working in this area and hammering away, a baby squirrel that never even had its eyes open yet, fell out of the ceiling wall space above his head, landed on the floor and tumbled right outdoors.  it is a balloon-framed house (old building method) so the wall studs on the  main floor don't stop at the ceiling like in normal platform framing but go up all the way to the roof on the second floor (the wall cavities are open all the way up. Nowadays that is not allowed and for fire protection fire-stops have to be inserted between each pair of wall studs for safety, which we will do.) ...anyway the mama squirrel made quite a chattering fuss, as you can imagine when your baby falls out the open side of a house and when John went to look for the it, the mama had already scooped up her little peanut and taken it away.

 Holding up that beam is an old steel screw jack. John got a couple second hand.. he has used them almost every day to jack and hold floors, ceilings, walls, etc. so things could be lifted and secured so he could work on the place.

 The dogs came this time... they had to be shown their boundaries... they smelled the scent of squirrels and deer.... so we had to keep an eye on them.  There was an extreme amount of sniffing  and territory marking to do.
...although Toby did manage to head after and scare off a small herd of 6 or 7 deer grazing at our property border.
Here is the outside kitchen... a make-do table out of part of an old workbench gives a place to  wash up and cook. Camp-like but it does the trick.
Luckily there is a Farmers market just down the road, fresh food of all descriptions... Our treat was the steak this time... and had a BBQ for supper.. sure hit the spot. Love cooking outdoors.

We felt pretty good after John worked on the pump, hooked up the lines to the well, primed it and after nervously waiting,  got WATER.. We weren't even sure if there was going to be water... we were preparing ourself...

 Anyway that was a major step.... and he did this all by himself too.  He searched/studied online... there is a lot of info shared on YouTube....  the water was  rusty colored in the beginning 'cause the pump sat for a year unused... but after running it off and on for several days it is now clear as a bell. far it is just hooked up to an outside hose and we just use it for washing but we should have the results back soon from the water test for drinking.

...and I found these old mason jars, 2 Safety Seal and 1 Ball wide mouth, embossed Made in Canada with wire and glass tops, back in the woods where they seemed to have dumped everything way back when.  I love exploring those places. You can see when things changed through time by what they threw out... "Out with the Old, In with the New" when we look back much of the old was better than the new.

 and Look here, the 5 palmate leaves, crinkly, serrated edges ... No this isn't what you may think it is.. Can you guess?  It is one of my favourite trees ever.  it is only about 8-10" tall here and we found several growing out back of the little barn after we removed a ton of junk. 
...probably grown from a squirrels stash. I have tried in the past to grow these and none ever took root...  so it was a treat to find these.

Ok, I'll tell you, it is a Horse Chestnut.  These trees grow to a tremendous size and in the spring they have the most amazing show of blossoms that I have ever witnessed.  At least the ones I have seen growing in St. Martins do. In the fall they drop a multitude of nut pods/chestnuts.. They are not edible by humans but the squirrels love them.   I really hope the deer don't find the saplings and they have a chance to establish themselves...

 This tumble down shed has seen much better days and will have to go eventually.... actually it is sort of like a movie set because only this front wall and enough of a side wall is still standing to enable it to still stay upright at all.
...too bad cause it had been a cute little building in its time...that thick cluster of Virginia Creeper vines are just beginning to show their buds.

No that's not a hangman's noose but sometimes John may have wished it was with every new problem that arose on the old place. Hopefully he won't need it.

Everything good takes time, right.
Desideratum Art  and Jewelry Studio, New Brunswick,
and the Old Homestead Project.