My mother and I just spent a week on Tenerife. I knew little about the place when we set out, other than that it gets lots of tourists. As it turns out, the island has a fascinating human history, a surprising variety of micro-climates, and once you get away from the tourist centres, stunning volcanic landscapes and associated ecosystems. Perched in the centre is Mount Teide, which, at 3718 metres, is the highest mountain in Spain. Looking up from the coast, its peak is often obscured by clouds. These arrive with the northeastern trade winds and are intercepted by the island’s high topography, bringing moisture to the land in the process.
Owing in part to those clouds, the way ecosystems change with elevation is quite striking. My mom and I had a chance to observe this first hand on a one-day hike in the Teno mountains.
I just spent some time travelling and took along the ink pens. Here is a snail I found in a cabinet at one of the places I was staying. A very quick piece, by my standards. The main challenge was to capture both three-dimensional structure and the complex markings on the shell.
2016 is drawing to a close, and what a year it has been! Not everything that happened has made it onto this website, so before I unveil the final drawing of the year, I thought I would start with a recap of some personal artistic highlights.
For the first few months of 2016, I focussed on my Traces series, which culminated in a show that opened in late March. I then joined the Island Illustrators and had the chance to contribute to their colouring book, as well as a second major project that I will talk about in a week or so. I also took my first stab at juried shows, and got work accepted at both the Sooke and Sidney fine arts shows, the two major events of the region. One of my pieces made it into the finalist exhibition of the Nonesuch Art on Paper Awards, with shows in Parrsboro, NS, and Montréal. Lastly, in September, I became an Active member of the Canadian Federation of Artists, and two of the drawings from my Traces series were part of the Federation’s Sketch show in November.
Closer to home, my art has been on display in venues in and around Oak Bay throughout the year: the Spring and Fall Studio Tours, the Bowker Creek Brush-up, and shows with other Oak Bay Artists in places like Municipal Hall and the Neighbourhood Learning Centre. So perhaps appropriately, my final drawing of 2016 celebrates Garry Oak, the tree that (I assume) gave this part of the world its English name.
I had visitors these past few weeks, and we camped in the big mountain parks and explored the coast. For me, this meant re-visiting some amazing places I had last seen 20 years ago, and the journey brought many inspirations for future art. On returning though, I first sat down to finish a drawing I had started over a month ago.
The star of the show this time is a moss leaf, which is something I have wanted to draw for quite some time. The genus is Rhizomnium, and the leaf I picked (the one on the right below) is just over half a centimetre long.
I enjoyed the ink work for the peristome in my last post, so decided to stick with the medium and spend some more time with the moss that inspired it.
My bryophyte identification skills are a bit rusty, but I am fairly sure the species is Homalothecium fulgescens, an epiphyte that is very common in this part of British Columbia. I found it growing on the trunk of a big-leaf maple up by the university, and after the peristome, I decided to take a closer look at the rest of the plant.