Change is as good as a rest

I was travelling this Christmas. I took a holiday from my daily labours, trading the grey wintery skies of the West Coast for the snowy storms of the East Coast.

In my daily life, I tend to stop noticing my surroundings, finding them banal only because I see them every day. Travelling refreshes one’s eyes. There’s nothing like contrast for underlining beauty. So here are a few of my favourite photos from the trip which I hope you will enjoy.

We had two severe snow storms whilst I was there. The accumulation of snow was unusual. For residents, it was a pain for driving and getting about. For me it was a superb visual treat. However, on the third day in Ottawa, I slipped and fell. I was obliged to stay in the house for the most part because my ankle was no longer dependable and there was far too much ice to navigate that lay just below a disguising layer of crisp powdery snow. Most of these pictures have been taken through the upstairs and downstairs windows. A few are from the front door, so the quality is less than desirable but they will do me fine as reminders for paintings.


I loved this urchin snow man. He was leaning heavily after a day of rain but he’s neatly propped up by a shovel and a rake. At night, his facial features lit up with a glow and you could barely see anything but this red toothy grin, the blue eyes and the carrot coloured nose beaming out into the dark blue of night time snow.


There was a beautiful crab apple tree in the back yard. It’s skeletal shape is wonderfully curvaceous and it seems to be hung with a million red Christmas tree baubles, as precious as ice wine. These winter fruits are the fruit basket of many a winter resident – the black and the grey squirrels, a non-migrating robin, little sparrows, crows and other birds. By coincidence, the neighbour to the back and left has a matching colour house. The composition is glorously monochromatic. When the sun came out, it was a different proposition altogether.


Here’s the full chromatic range with the sun shining through. Following, here’s one of this winter restaurant’s customers:


As I had plenty of time to watch, I saw this fellow intent on a different dinner. A bit of meat for a Christmas treat, perhaps?


It was just wonderful to have the time to sit and watch.


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