July 23, 2007

Giving An Inch

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While I take some time off to craft a new HOWieZine submission (theme: robots ... yes!), here's a grab from the vault to represent me for Photo Friday's current theme of vacation. If there's one thing I have, it's pictures that represent this theme. I adore vacations. And this is a snapshot, plain and simple, from a grand vacation Kerry and I had in Ireland in 2003. It was taken on bulk ISO 200 film with a point-and-shoot Pentax at Inch Strand in County Kerry, during a tour of the Dingle Peninsula. We had what could quite possibly be Ireland's first and last cloudless day, start to finish. It was in my favourite month of September, and I was dripping sick with a head cold, nicely sedated by European meds (soon she would be, too). An absolutely fine vacation day.

July 16, 2007

119: Hippo!

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I haven't drawn in a little while. I needed some hippos in my life. So it seemed a touch like destiny when Illustration Friday upped and decided their theme-of-the-week would be discovery. That's a theme as vague and wide-ranging as it comes. Destiny also came in the form of a rare summer weekend spent largely kicking back and otherwise staying around the house. Plenty of time to draw, which hasn't been the case of late.

The above is a fairly straightforward interpretation of 'discovery' – and I'm not ashamed of that in the least. Anyone can be faulted at least once in their life for wanting to draw a hippopotamus. I'd never tried it myself, and this sketch almost got through with the beastie having quite humanoid feet before I realized that probably isn't the case with real live hippos. I added stitches late in the game in case anyone accused my hippo skillz of not representing – so I could retort with an oh yeah? well it's a toy hippo and a toy hippos can look however they want. That sort of deal.

If you want to see a better look at some of the pen detail in this illustration, check the larger version on my Flickr site here (click on 'all sizes' to magnify).

July 14, 2007

118: All The World's A Stage

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Clockwise from top left: Jason Collett makes Kerry swoon; Amy Millan, a voice that melts butter; gruff-looking Millan bandmate; Mark Sasso of Elliott Brood gets primal on the banjo.

Last weekend I attended my 14th Winnipeg Folk Festival. My time spent on the festival grounds varies between the full four days or as little as one day, as was the case this year. My first festival took place a week or so after my high school graduation. I've experienced the festival campground as a teenager (and the booze that invariably comes with it), the mud-inducing downpours and standout performances ranging from Leslie Feist, Xavier Rudd, Neko Case and The Weakerthans to the Buena Vista Social Club, Billy Bragg and Sir Bob Geldof.

Of the 14 years, the 2007 lineup was the least familiar to me, but the performers I was keen on managed to all be on stage during the Saturday – so I focused on that (perhaps a poor decision; word has it Friday night kicked some butt). I brought my camera and zoom along this year to stay occupied capturing concert footage at the daytime stages, since the recent festival norm seems to be stifling hot days rendering me stir-crazy from heat. It's only a year – minus a week – until the next one.

A few more shots from last Saturday can be viewed in this Flickr set (including a couple of an Imperial Storm Trooper ... no foolin').

July 05, 2007

117: Take Off (To The Great White North)

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Top row (left to right): Kerry, stylin' as Indiana Jones; Duncan catches some late-day weeds; full moon over Lake Athapapuskow on Friday night. Middle row (left to right): the maw of a killer northern pike; the maw of a not-so-killer Anna. Bottom row (left to right): polyphemus moth rescued from the lake; foggy Monday morning just before we left.

Kerry and I joined her sister's family for an extra-long Canada Day weekend of camping at Baker's Narrows Provincial Park near Flin Flon. We purchased a tent, three years ago, but sadly its use had been limited to an initial setup inside our gigantic old apartment and lending it out to a friend once. So it was high time to put it to the test. We picked up some sleeping bags, an air mattress and a cooler a week previous, and our half of the provisions the day before ­ including cinnamon buns from Tallgrass and tasty-fresh other buns from Deluca's.

To get to Baker's Narrows is a 719-kilometre drive. There are pros (and a few cons) to such a long trip to go camping. While I enjoy the ability to drive about an hour to experience relatively unspoiled nature, there's a palpable difference between what is nearby and the rugged vastness of the real north country. This I loved. I also admired the unexpectedness of twilight extending almost to midnight, the traffic jams of loons and mergansers on the lake and the scent that comes from firesmoke-drenched clothing. I took exception to my first sleepless night of ear-buzzing mosquitoes inside the tent (this got rectified though, right quick) and the mind-numbingly empty road home through the Interlake. But the fact that, after living in Manitoba for 25 years, I finally caught a glimpse above the 53rd parallel made the trip absolutely worthwhile.

Baker's Narrows is on the shores of Lake Athapapuskow (say it like you spell it), the epitome of the Great Northern Lake. Unlike many of Manitoba's provincial campgrounds, conscious effort has been put into retaining as much nature around the sites as possible ­ – and because it is out of reach for most weekend urban hooligans, the place quieted down come nightfall even on the long weekend. Any urban hooliganry was reserved solely for Monday night's White Stripes concert, a far cry – mebbe the farthest cry humanly possible – from the quiet and foggy morning we experienced packing up to leave the lake.

Stay tuned to my Flickr site for new photo uploads from the weekend, including better looks at the ones in the grid above.