Switching gears

An unexpected family event this summer brought us together and a chance conversation with a cousin whose been good about keeping in touch brought up the topic of spinning.

Her enthusiasm and gorgeous spinning skill have convinced me to take up something I haven’t touched in over a decade. It has been the perfect antidote for working through thoughts and calming a worried mind.

I’m currently handspinning half a pound of Northern Lights ‘Mulled Wine.’

spindle .jpg
Canon T3i. B. Wanhill 2016




Work in progress

Someone once told me that I can’t do everything, that I have to choose. And that is my problem. I still do not. I want to be a skillful artist, excellent teacher, adept gardener, household contributor, caring partner and family member, healthy, spiritual, intellectual, calm personality. I try for all of it, but do none of it well.

Try again… and again.

This linocut is the beginning of a reduction print. The ink is new to me: Akua intaglio. There are some things to be worked out.

In the mean time, an homage to my favourite spring flower:

Linocut. Akua intaglio ink. Strathmore print paper. 10 x 10 cm. B. Wanhill 2016

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Update, December 20, 2016: I did eventually get the second colour on this print and it took months and months to dry. In fact I took a print out to scan today and it is still smudging. I will be on the look out for a more reliable permanent ink for 2017 printing adventures.

Linocut. Aqua Intaglio Ink. Strathmore print paper. 10 x 10 cm. B. Wanhill 2016



My garden is small and Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Pixie Fountain’ is finally making itself at home in places I think it will be happiest. A photograph shows how light plays on it – even in winter. An image of a linocut I printed last week is a reminder of a pleasing time I had in November, studying and carving lines.

deschampsia pixie fountain
Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Pixie Fountain.’ Image iPhone 5.
Linocut. Oil based ink. Strathmore print paper. 10 x 10 cm. B. Wanhill 2016

Photo sketches

There is ease and immediate sense of gratification with photography. I find this even more the case with a phone in hand. Moments are captured quickly and become sketches for drawings that rarely materialize!

Last week provided the opportunity for some quick documentation of the hoarfrost that gilded our City – stunning against the clear blue sky.

In the garden, the still standing remnants of Cimicifuga ‘Chocoholic’ seemed to bloom again. Below are photos from last week’s frosty show and the Bugbane’s September blooms – all taken with an iPhone.

Cimicifuga Jan 16
Cimicifuga ‘Chocoholic.’  January 9, 2016.
Cimicifuga Sept 15
Cimicifuga ‘Chocoholic.’  September 25, 2015. All images iPhone 5. B. Wanhill


Dainty Blue

In August, my grandmother gifted me an exquisite set of tea cups and I have now just finished a rendition of one to give to her as a thank you card.

Drawing remains for me, an activity loaded with conflicting mind states: apprehension, contentment, concentration, judgement, excitement, disappointment, dislike… could this be the year where I turn that all off and just draw?!

For the sake of my students and my career in the visual arts, I think this would be a place worth moving towards.

2016: to a year of building concentration, perseverance and full time contentment in the process of creating.

Dainty Bue pc Wanhill16
Drawing. Pencil crayon on Strathmore print paper. 10 x 10 cm.



This post is dedicated to all the gardeners I have met and their willingness to share their knowledge (and plants) with me. These Papaver flowers are from seeds grown by local poppy breeder, Joe Aasland – he sells his seeds at the Calgary Seedy Saturday in March. These images are reminders for me to pay it forward when I can.

Papaver 2

Papaver in the sun

Papaver white
Papaver. All images Canon T3i. B. Wanhill 2015


Galanthus nivalis is such a tiny flower and difficult to capture with a regular lens. I’ve been enjoying a surprising number of blossoms this spring, scattered about. In time I hope the plants will grow into larger clumps. Here are a couple of pictures of this beloved spring ephemeral.

Galanthus flore pleno

galanthus march 13
Galanthus nivalis. All images Canon T3i. B. Wanhill 2015

The beginning of sky drawing

It has been ages since I’ve sat down consecutively, thoughtfully and drawn. One can see in the results of the images here that skills are uncertain and drawing is about learning to draw again. I now think that’s fine – to continue to pick something up that makes one feel familiar and grounded. It’s been a pleasure and challenge to work at drawing these and a theme I think I can continue working at for awhile longer. Presently, my goal is reacquainting myself with the pleasure of process over perfection of form.

Drawing. Pencil crayon, Gamsol and pencil on bristle. 5″ x 5″   B. Wanhill 2014
Drawing. Pencil crayon and Gamsol on bristle. 5″ x 5″   B. Wanhill 2014
Drawing. Pencil crayon, Gamsol and pencil on bristle. 5″ x 5″   B. Wanhill 2014