The Ramblings of Joy Laking
Nova Scotia Artist, Joy Laking, posts ramblings while she's travelling and painting in South America.
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Herman the Seagull
My grandfather and I had a friend, Herman the Seagull. Everywhere we went Herman would be waiting for us. I am the old lady now, my grandfather long gone, but Herman still waits for me in almost every season and every country.
Herman and his seagulls friends flap and swoop overhead. Their raucous voices call back and forth. When they catch an updraft, they lock their wings and glide, riding the wind, at one with the sky.
He and his friends fish in shallow waters and rest atop roofs and chimneys. They cock their big white heads and stare with unblinking eyes.
It is when I scatter chips, crumbs and crackers just like my grandfather taught me to do, that they congregate in front of me. They edge closer and closer to me, their hooked yellow bills almost smiling as they grab my tasty treats.
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Word picture February 23, 2020
All night, we lay comfortable and warm,
Between clean sheets, under a fluffy duvet.
Both doors are wide open to the Atlantic.
The cold night air rushes in,
Bathing us in the soothing,relentless,
Pulsing, swish and thunder of the sea.
With the morning sky,
Comes a blush of rose along the horizon.
The cliff, still in deep mauve shadow,
Is home to the flocks of swallows
That race across the sky.
My foreground is crisscrossed with
Power lines and weathered tile roofs.
Just for a second, I lock eyes with a lone sparrow
Sitting right in front of me.
Dozens of seagulls slowly flap overhead.
A high one flashes pink as it catches the morning light.
The lines of waves in the dark cerelean sea continue to roll in.
Now in addition to hearing them,
I watch as they explode in glory, fury, froth and mist.
Flashes of early morning light race along the top.
And then the wave is spent,
Rejoining our world as just droplets of water.
he Spice Cottage of Burgau, Portugal.
I am honoured to be allowed in the kitchen to watch. Three chefs, with small round white hats, flashing white smiles and dark lively eyes perform together to create amazing delicious Indian food in this sparkling clean kitchen, where everything and everyone has a place.
One chef flattens a dough ball, adds two triangles of Swiss cheese and then seals the cheese inside flattening it until the cheese is an even inside layer. Gee is rubbed on the top followed by a big layer of freshly crushed garlic and a layer of fresh coriander. A showman slap sticks the garlic and coriander to the naan surface. Draped over a round cloth shape, the naan is lifted onto a wall of the hot brick tandori oven. A large round lid covers the oven. In a few minutes the naan is puffed up and cooked. It is removed from the oven with two long metal pokers. A bit of gee shines the surface and it is cut into four and then our starter is served in a basket with yogurt mint sauce and a sweet orange sauce.
Earlier in the day, the large chicken cubes have been marinated with spices and cooked in the tandori oven and a Marsala sauce has been made, a kilo of spinach has been boiled for two hours, and the rice has been boiled and then fried with saffron. Now some of the chicken and the Marsala sauce are mixed in a large frying pan. The chef stirs vigorously over the high gas flames. Gee is sprinkled in, then a splash of milk, a drizzle of cream and then pinches of the freshly ground spices, star of anise, turmeric, coriander, cumin and hot chilli pepper. After it is in the wonderful little copper serving pot with the candle keeping it warm, a sliver of almonds, and another drizzle of cream makes this perfect. Next they start the Paneer Jalfrezi. I taste the bland paneer cheese, made earlier in the week. It is mixed with the long cooked spinach sauce, the spices, a bit of gee and the cream and stirred over the high gas heat and suddenly it is is the best thing I have ever tasted. The rice, refried with mushrooms, or eggs or cashews and raisins, completes the second course.
Two years ago, when we ate at the Spice Cottage, we never made it to desert. Now we get Nazeen to package up some of the main course just so that we can savour small chunks of the world’s best, creamiest home made ice cream, Mango, Coconut or Pistachio.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
This morning I went up to our big deck and took with me a Cala lily that a friend had given me and a terrific Chinese vase that just happened to be in our casa. I did these two quick sketches in my notebook and then I started the 1/8 sheet painting. After finishing it, I drew it up on smooth half sheet paper. Unfortunately this was hours later and the sun is now in a completely different location, and so I will wait until tomorrow morning to take the big painting further.
Two more paintings finished; both with a different approach to my usual
The first is the lemon tree. One day I did the little sketch and then next week I went back and started a half sheet. I worked on the lemons with no real idea of how it would come together. Then back at our casa, I fought with the number of lemons, the size of the lemons, the shape of the trunk. There was more scrapping, scrubbing and white paint in this one than I have ever used before.
The second painting is the street behind our casa. There are steps at both ends so I decided that I was safe to sit right in the middle of the street. Since the stool that I brought had collapsed a couple of weeks ago and I had to through it away, I used a little ladder/stool that I found in our apartment. Unfortunately, the legs didn’t lock open and on the rough cobbles, I suddenly found myself down on the ground. Now this wouldn’t be a problem for most of you, but I have muscular dystrophy 2 and my legs and arms are weak. Emilia, our landlady, heard my fall and rushed around the corner. She doesn’t speak any English and so she kept trying to help me up and I kept asking her to go and get Jim. Eventually, she did and somehow, before they got back, I set up the stool again and used it to launch myself to my feet! I found the whole thing embarrassing and depressing.
So when I was working on this second painting, it was all grays and all about the shapes and shadows and it seemed depressing too. I took the challenge in hand, and added the people, the flowers, the birds. I can imagine using this image in my next children’s book, “The Adventures of Dog and Table”. I can just see Dog and Table prancing down this street and all of the people smiling and watching.
- ▼ February (9)