It was a true Christmas miracle. As the hour neared midnight, the snow began to fall, and by the time we got up on Christmas morning there was a blanket of white as far as you could see. It is very rare to get snow on Christmas Day here. The weather on this stretch of coast is influenced by several ocean currents that keep the area a few degrees warmer with less snow than the city of Vancouver or Vancouver Island. When it snows here, it usually doesn’t last that long, so to get it exactly on December 25th is extremely rare.
We got together with some neighbours and walked down to Twin Eagles Bluff to show them the progress on the house. Our back forest was a winter wonderland and the view across the Salish Sea was equally spectacular. One of the things I really enjoy about this stretch of coast is how different it looks depending on the weather, the clouds, the sun. It’s as if it has a closet full of designer clothes and is not afraid to revel fully in all its sartorial glory.
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. Brian and Mitch.
It’s been Mitch’s dream to have a Christmas Enchanted Forest walk through the woods in the back part of our acreage. As soon as we bought the land, he was planning power outlets, clearing paths and dreaming BIG dreams.
Being the first year, it was a bit of an experiment. The walk takes about ten minutes and is a pleasant stroll that takes you in a big circle. It starts from the North end of the property on Twin Eagles Road. From the street it doesn’t look like too much but as you enter the property, the lights guide you along a path way and you can hear Christmas music echo through the trees.
There are a number of vignettes as you work your way through the forest, including Snoopy in a bi-plane coming in through the trees. The forest is very dark at night, so the lights really stand out. We were lucky this year that the weather was clear and dry and there was a full moon which added another layer of mystery to the walk.
Half way through the walk, we had a little fire to warm your hands and all the adults were offered a shot of Baily’s Irish cream and kids a chocolate bar. Mitch and I were there to greet everyone and it was as great opportunity to meet neighbours and other town folk.
The last 1/3rd of the walk was through a darker part of the forest where it was quieter and more peaceful. One of the best effects was a projector that created the illusion of vivid, colourful sparks or fireflies drifting through the dark evergreens.
It was a big hit with the neighbours and a good start to what will be an annual tradition. We had about 200 people walk through over the five evenings it was open. Spreading Christmas cheer to everyone. Happy Holidays from Brian and Mitch.
In Autumn Beauty Stood. Painted December 2021. 16”x16” Acrylic on Canvas
Last week, my mother mentioned that she was looking for a painting of flowers to hang on her wall and decided to put her eldest son to work. I’m always up for a challenge and jumped right on to it, so I’d have something in time for Christmas. I’ve been adapting my approach and painting technique, trying to make the painting process more fluid and less of a struggle. Spending more time planning out my painting before I started slapping paint on canvas, was a good strategy. I don’t think I was aware of how much of my painting time was spent correcting problems or adjusting the palette. I usually find myself spending several days making minor corrections or changes and I never know when to stop painting. This endless “tweaking” drives me crazy but was almost non-existent this time.
Having never done a still-life before, I decided this would be a good challenge for my last painting of 2021. I find sunflowers both beautiful and endlessly interesting in how they curve and twist, the petals are never uniform and there is plenty of light and shadow to make the composition more interesting. They may not be the most colourful of flowers, but these other attributes more than compensate. I’ve also been struggling with a certain “flatness” in my paintings, so I wanted this one to feel more three dimensional. I ended up going with a very dark background to allow the brilliant yellow sunflowers to shine. Incorporating some fruit allowed a little extra colour, and the overall composition kept your eye moving around the canvas.
Unlike most of my paintings (I am by far my toughest critic), I was happy with the outcome of this painting. I liked the composition and balance of this painting. The colour palette was close to what I envisioned, and I felt good about the secondary components of the painting – the table, the fruit and the clay flower vase. Overall, it was a painting that I felt proud to hang on a wall. Most importantly, my mother who has never been reluctant to share her unvarnished opinion with any of her children, was very pleased with the end results. And now it’s time to put a period on 2021. Have a festive holiday and bring on 2022.