Monday, April 17, 2017

Noetic Narratives

I'm back again, thinking of letters and words and critters and feeling the Need to Note the events of my life over the past few weeks.  I've Neglected the letters "K" and "L" and "M" for ABC Wednesday, but a few minutes spent at the Phrontistery site provided quite a Number of New-to-me "N" words, so I'll try to employ a few of them in the post.  As for critters, there is no one more committed to providing a Nexus of communication between those who love them than Eileen.  Her Saturday's Critters meme has been hugely popular for several years and I am most grateful for the opportunity to post a few recent wildlife photos to it, as well as considerably more than a few of my dear Black Jack.

I saw this Wood Duck a couple of months ago as it bathed in Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park.  I loved the Naevous (speckled) image created by water splatters and the duck's own markings. 
Some of you know that I am a Neophyte when it comes to drawing or painting. My first drawing was completed on January 14th, and exactly four months later, I completed this, my 7th project (the others are in past blog posts), a painting guided by the above photograph of the Wood Duck.
Each undertaking has been a struggle but I concede that I've come a long way from the "I-can't-even-draw-stick-figures" mentality that was a part of my perception.  I guess you could say it's a multi-media effort, with acrylic paints used most, but watercolour pencils and even a magic marker employed here and there when Necessary.  The biggest frustration was that I failed to recreate the effect of light on the duck's body.  Bill and I made a few trips to the dollar store, selecting 11 different acrylic paint shades (what a great resource that place is and what a wonderful art-enabler Bill is!), but I realized I had failed to buy any shades of brown.  As there were so many different brown hues in the duck, I once again turned to my friend Google for help.  This site and also this one had great instructions for creating browns by mixing primary colours.  I painted over that duck's back several times, adding and then covering over various white accents, changing the balance of hues and generally doing everything I could think of, but the illusion of Nitency (lustre) Never did happen.  My back-up plan is to finally try an art class.  Luckily, the Roundhouse Community Centre is a few steps away from our building, and they have a drop-in option for an acrylic painting class that I'm going to try a week from Monday.  Maybe the instructor will be able to help me figure out how to improve the painting. I hope so.  Still, I love my duck, because he represents progress in my artistic journey. :)

Though Vancouver has had way more than the Normal amount of rain this year, Bill and I and Black Jack have still been able to go for some wonderful bike rides.  We were at Jericho Beach twice lately, and on the second trip, saw these rabbits playing around some logs.
Black Jack loves to hunt for rabbits, and though she missed the ones above, she was convinced that Navigating a different log..
would bring success.  No rabbits were found, but she sure had fun looking.
Bill and I continue to visit our favourite Buzz Café at Harrison Gallery almost daily.  We also are Njoying (that spelling, believe it or not, was in a thesaurus dictionary!) our "new" (but not latest model) iphones.  Here, Black Jack waited for Bill to return to our table and I experimented with a "selfie" shot.
The most fun, however, was the Narrischkeit (foolishness) that ensued when we tried to get a photo with all three of us in the shot.
"You are my Nirvana, Bill!"
Some success, after a Noble effort, here. :)
I see many photo-ops as we go about our daily treks, but often, I am Nervous to ask permission to get a capture.  This gentleman's face is hidden, so I feel a bit less guilty for showing him as he enjoys a quiet read, with a Canada Goose resting just feet away from him.
I know Black Jack's image is no longer a Novelty but..
the Nuances of her..
Natural behaviours still..
make me smile.  Here, she is Nestled in her basket as we make our way to Granville Island on the Aquabus.
We follow two eagle Nests within biking distance of home.  This is one of the pair that resides at Vanier Park.
While we watch eagles, Black Jack rests Nonchalently in Bill's arms, happy to investigate her surroundings from the perspective of his height advantage.
One eagle, most likely the male, sat on a branch, but it seemed the female was hiding in the Nether regions of the nest, with no plans to emerge.  When she finally flew out, she appeared to..
Nosedive but I think she was just inviting the male to follow her.
They were off for about a 10-second flight and then returned to the nest.  I've been told there is at least one egg in the nest, so we may have some Newborn eaglets to report in a few weeks.
This distant shot was the only one I managed to capture when we were at Jericho Beach of the other eagle pair we follow. There is a Narrative attached to Bert and Ethel's adventures.  You can read about that here.
So many of Bert and Ethel's progeny over the years fell from their nests that concerned citizens in the area went to great lengths to construct a safer habitat for them.  If we get back to the park, I'll try to update you on how that is working out.  I'll add here one of the new words that I learned today.  "Nidificate" means to build a nest.  Who knew? Perhaps, you did. :)
While we were at Jericho Park, we saw some Ring-Necked ducks.
If you look really carefully, you may be able to see the reddish colouring around the neck that helped me make the identification.  If you are Nonplused about that, not to worry.  It is so faint as to rest almost completely in my imagination. :)
I Never fail to be impressed by the agility and Nimbleness of squirrels as they make their way up, down and around tree trunks and branches.  This one was rummaging in the undergrowth beneath the Jericho eagle nest.

Finally, a bit of an update on our recent Noetic (of or associated with, or requiring use of the mind) pursuits.  

Chris and Jennifer Harrison, of our beloved Harrison Galleries, invited us to attend a talk given by one of the photographers featured at their gallery.  I'll be honest.  We see Steven Friedman's work around us every day, and while his photography was the first to draw Bill's eye on our very first visit, and while we've continued to admire and appreciate his work, we've become so used to having it around us, I don't think we fully realized how much there would be to learn from his talk. I know Steven travels far and wide to get his images, and I know he hikes to impossible places and waits for days (sometimes, years!) to get his beloved trees in just the right light and in just the right amount of wind, and in just the right balance and arrangement, but still, there were many things I didn't know. For example, until he gave his talk, I had no image in my mind of his wife, Joni, by his side, no matter the challenges.  Her Name came up over and over again as he described the life his photography entails.  One of those stories brought back an image of Bill a few years ago when he wiped insects and blood from their bites from my legs as I strived to get an image.  But Joni went one better than that!  Can you believe she even had to remove bloodsuckers from his legs on one occasion?  Who knew photography's perfection could cost such an effort? 
Joni and Steven kindly posed for me at Harrison Galleries.  It was the first time I had seen the entire gallery Nurtured in the warmth of Steven's images
Steven and Joni and I all thought Chris Harrison, the gallery owner, should pose as well.  He considered that a Nuisance but was good-Natured and cooperative after we reminded him that he had started the whole process of arranging the talk to highlight Steven's art.
Here, Bill poses with two of Steven's works.  If ever you were entertaining the Notion of acquiring an outstanding piece of art, I can't recommend highly enough that you pay a visit to Harrison Gallery.  For now, the place positively hums with a colourful energy that speaks of a dedication to one's craft that I can only imagine. 
This is Indiana Jones, who once accompanied Steven on many of his treks, but now stays at home with a trusted dog-sitter due to his advancing years.  I took this photo of him in 2014, the first time we met Steven and Joni.
And speaking of partners that go the distance in their support of each other, this is Jennifer Harrison.  NtRtaining (yes, this was in the dictionary as well!) a large number of avid photographers requires jobs I hadn't even considered until I saw the weeks of preparation that went into the talk.  Who knew one of those jobs would require standing on the table? :)
Jennifer's laughter is truly Notable.  We love her joie-de-vivre.
Steven's work centres mostly around trees, although he will occasionally be drawn to another subject.  I'll leave you to stroll through the gallery here, but there is no substitute for actually seeing his work up close and personal for yourself.  I'll throw just one more "N" word out here before you set off on your tour.  I learned that Nemorphalist means someone who loves the woods.  A truer description of Steven would be hard to find.

This Natty rainbow was an unusual find that Steven knew he couldn't pass up.  Even then, his talent and years of disciplined photography stood him in good stead.  He knew exactly where to run to find the perfect viewpoint to catch the entire rainbow spread evenly over the vista.
And here, I resort to pictures with very little commentary, and probably the "N's" will be few and far between.
Ballet BC
Ballet BC is one of Vancouver's best kept secrets. Their director, Emily Molnar, took over in 2009, and one of the first things she did was to hang tutus on the parking metres outside the dance centre.  Her message to the world was, "Whatever you thought a ballet company was, we are going to change that view forever.  I loved their Programs 1 and 2 so much that, if there had been an opportunity, I would have wanted to see the performances again and again.  Now, we are looking forward to their Program 3 in May. Here's a small video excerpt of one of their dances.
I had the opportunity to take pictures of one of their dancers, Scott Fowler (he is all the way on the right in the above photo), and can attest to the truth of Emily's message, but more importantly, to the enormous respect and love all of the dancers feel for their art, and for Emily.  Last summer, Scott was incredibly kind in agreeing to pose for me at Beaver Lake, Stanley Park.
I hope I am correct that Alexis Fletcher and Peter Smida are shown below, taking their bows after an incredible dance in act 2 of a world premiere called "Swan" that was choreographed by Wen Wei Wang. This was definitely one of several highlights for me.  

Travis Wall (latest touring show)
Performance at Queen Elizabeth Theatre

I was really excited that Bill got tickets for this performance.  Well, truthfully, I am thrilled every time Bill tells me he has just ordered tickets for an event.  He chooses many of those events himself, but I can also be pretty sure if I ever indicate an interest in something that is coming up, he will quietly order the tickets just to make me happy.  Thank you, Bill!  In the end, we were very happy to have seen Travis Wall, but we both agreed we came away with an even deeper appreciation for Ballet BC.

In the photo below, one of the dancers is midway through a back flip.
That dancer has just landed in this next photo.  He is on the left.
These next photos show two dancers in an aerial duet performed on trapeze-like ribbons.  Just beautiful!
"Room 2048" Performance by Hong Kong Exile
Here's Bill outside on the deck before the performance.
Another "Natty" shot - also on the deck outside.  I love this one!
The performance was unlike anything either of us have EVER seen before.  Truly unique use of light and movement.

Bob Liley - Jazz Vespers - St. Andrew's Wesley
Bob Liley has had an illustrious career as musical director and jazz drummer, but he is showing no sign of slowing down.  We saw him a few years ago, and I was impressed then, but honestly, it is not an exaggeration to say that he "keeps on keeping on" (expression borrowed from Terry Clark) getting better.
Below, you can hear "Del Sasser" as performed by his quintet the day we attended.  II you are interested in particular solos, Jerry Cook is on tenor sax at 0:22, Norm Quinn on trumpet at 1:43, Roy Sluyter on piano at 3:05 and Bob Liley brings the house down with his drum-set dialogues beginning at 4:26 to 5:17.  I must mention Mark Bender on bass as well.  My camera didn't do a great job of picking up his sound, but there were no weak links in this ensemble.  Every member was a star!    

Oh, and I HAVE to include this shot of the clouds along the False Creek walkway.  Why?  Because I have another New N word for you.  Did you know that Nephelococcygia means the act of finding shapes in clouds?  Okay, I admit it.  I don't see a single shape here, but perhaps you do.  If so, definitely let me know.  
Here is our beloved bike path lined with cherry blossoms and yours truly in her new Natty (?) bike jacket.  Photo courtesy of beautiful Bill!
Does this strawberry look like a heart to you!  It did to us before we ate it for breakfast. :)
Bill said to dump this shot, but I think it is my best cherry blossom one this year, so it stays. :)
This one is for Phyllis, Bill's sister.  I had to prove to her that some days have been shirtsleeve weather when we play pickleball.
This is one of our better volleys,  though I lost :(  And the weather proves we are not wooses. :)
Okay, I love this scene too.  It is steps from our apartment building.
Another chance for you to engage in the process of nephelococcygia.
And a final shot of Black Jack looking Natty and chillin' out in her bicycle basket, as happy as can be.  That's it, folks.  Just an hour or two under the deadline, as usual.  Many thanks for stopping by. Wishing each one of you the very best.