flower bed = bee bed

The marjoram is always a bee favourite in the garden, but this year it seems to have attracted a larger than usual number of yellow-faced bumblebees (Bombus vosnesenskii). The plant is teaming with them.

Most of the honeybees head off at the end of the day, and I always thought bumblebees did the same, but last evening I noticed they were settling down to sleep on the flowers, so I took a few photos of them just as the sun was going down. Continue reading

Pigs + Society6 free shipping until Nov 17th

There is a free worldwide shipping offer on my prints on Society6 until Nov.17th 2013, through this link.


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4-H pigs at the PNE

And, totally unrelated to prints, did you know there is a pig sanctuary in Mission, B.C. for unwanted ‘mini’ potbelly pigs.

I remember when there was the potbelly pig craze. And they were being touted as wonderful (small) house pets. And then people realised they weren’t so small, and actually required a lot of work, and unwanted pigs started showing up in shelters.

One day, when I was a kid growing up in a rural part of the Fraser Valley, an escapee potbelly pig wandered up our street and onto our driveway. Continue reading

sketchbook – 4-H animals

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Live livestock drawing…

I took a detour through the PNE livestock barns on my way home from a friend’s birthday celebration at the track, and couldn’t resist stopping to draw some animals (and tickling some pig snouts) before heading home. Most of the animals (not the bison) in these sketches are 4-H projects, at their final fair.

Now all I want to do is go back and draw animals all day.

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sketchbook – flowers for bees

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Borage & lavender | watercolour and pencil

Bees are having a rough go of it these days, so I’ve tried to make our garden as bee-friendly as possible by increasing the number of blooming plants they prefer, as well as those that bloom throughout the season. A few years ago, we added a mason bee house to the garden. In return, we’ve been rewarded with a much higher rate of vegetable and berry pollination.

The variety of bees and pollinating insects we now have in the garden has exploded in the last couple of years. It’s been pretty fascinating to watch them. We’ve seen the mason bees hatch from their cocoons, and watched other solitary bees carry cut leaves into little nest holes they’ve dug in the dirt of the potted plants.
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For the past couple of springs, there has been a chickadee pair trying to excavate a hole in a nearby telephone pole, without success. This year, we broke down and installed a nest box for them, but I guess they’d already found alternative accommodation because they ignored the box.

Last night we decided to have a peek inside the to make sure it wasn’t becoming a wasp colony (like the underside of the bbq lid) and were surprised to see it 1/3 full of moss and dryer lint. It didn’t resemble a bird’s nest, and there were no feathers or eggs visible, so I poked it with my finger and dislodged a very indignant queen bumblebee. We left her alone, and she went back into her nest where we’ll leave her to in peace to raise her larva.

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It must have been quite a job for her to excavate and carry all that moss up into the box; bumblebees aren’t the most effortless fliers unencumbered.

Crow print available

Common Crow [1]

Common Crow [1]

I really enjoy drawing and painting crows. I have a few pieces I’ve done in a variety of mediums over the years, and a bit of a project planned for the future.

Currently, I am giving society6 a try with a print of one of my crow drawings (the original is india ink on paper). I’ve toyed with the idea of prints for a while, but it’s just not cost effective for me to go get them printed – and frankly, I’d prefer to channel my time into work, not into printing, packing and shipping. It’s pretty cool that there are now a lot of choice with print on demand outfits that handle the fulfilment.

[Very limited info alert] – From now until March 17, 2013, midnight, shipping is free if you follow this link) – http://society6.com/Kirsti?promo=473c0c

After March 17 – http://society6.com/Kirsti

I’d recommend the smallest size – it’s closer to the original size of the work.


Some more crows (not as prints) – watercolour crow, unfinished crow oil painting, willow charcoal on vellum crow.

Sketchbook – Kaua’i

At long last! A blog post! Work took over my life for a very long time but I managed a Hawaiian getaway in the middle of things (but didn’t completely get away from work while I was there). These are a few non-work related things I got up to:

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National Tropical Botanical Garden Gift Shop, Kaua’i | March, 2012 | watercolour in Hand•Book trav•e•logue journal, 140 lb, 3.5″x11″

I haven’t painted for ages and it felt like I was starting all over again, but I’ve still got 950 bad paintings in me so I’m not too worried at this point. It was just nice to finally get outside and have a break from creating stuff on screens.
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