Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Kay Pike

At the end of March, there was an article in the Toronto Star about Calgary model and artist, Kay Pike. Pike is an unusual artist, who paints herself, transforming herself with the help of brushes, paint and time into comic book characters. She is a fan of cosplay in which participants wear costumes and use accessories to look like specific characters from amine, comic books and cartoons. She even has her own company, Canada Cosplay, where aficionados can purchase gear, designed and sewn by Pike herself.

Image result for kay pike

I'm not a cosplay follower, but I'm fascinated by people who use body paint. Strange, since I'm a person who has never used cosmetics/makeup of any kind, not even lipstick. But I have quite a few posts (8, I think) on this blog that deal with body art, so go figure!

Pike has a Facebook page where she regularly post videos of herself getting into character. She also has a YouTube channel where it's easy to while away time watching her videos.

Here's one of her newest ones. It's fun to watch the transformation from woman to character. It's speeded up, so keep in mind that the entire process takes upward of 12 to 15 hours.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

How Does Your Garden Grow?

You never know what small action you take in the present will have repercussions in the future. It's interesting to contemplate how our lives might be different had we made a different choice at some time in our past. Just suppose....

Here is the result of something English garden enthusiast, David Latimer did more than 55 years ago:

In 1960 he planted a single spiderwort seedling in some composted soil in this terrarium bottle, watered it and put a cork in the top. In 1972 he poured in a little more water and replaced the cork. That's it! Other than those actions and placing the bottle in a sunny spot, he just watched what happened. The little plant, using photosynthesis created its own balanced biosystem and thrived. It watered itself, fertilized itself and grew and grew.


Bottle gardens work because their sealed space creates an entirely self-sufficient ecosystem in which plants can survive by using photosynthesis to recycle nutrients. The only external input needed to keep the plant going is light, since this provides it with the energy it needs to create its own food and continue to grow.

Light shining on the leaves of the plant is absorbed by proteins containing chlorophylls (a green pigment). Some of that light energy is stored in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that stores energy. The rest is used to remove electrons from the water being absorbed from the soil through the plant's roots. These electrons then become 'free' - and are used in chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates, releasing oxygen.

This photosynthesis process is the opposite of the cellular respiration that occurs in other organisms, including humans, where carbohydrates containing energy react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water and release chemical energy.

But the eco-system also uses cellular respiration to break down decaying material shed by the plant. In this part of the process, bacteria inside the soil of the bottle garden absorb the plant's waste oxygen and release carbon dioxide which the growing plant can reuse.

And, of course, at night, when there is no sunlight to drive photosynthesis, the plant will also use cellular respiration to keep itself alive by breaking down the stored nutrients.

Because the bottle garden is a closed environment, that means its water cycle is also a self-contained process. The water in the bottle gets taken up by plant's roots, is released into the air during transpiration, condenses down into the potting mixture, where the cycle begins again.

Read more.

Interesting Addendum: 

I recently read Tracy Chevalier's The Edge of the Orchard, a wonderful fictional account of 19th-century settlers in Ohio who had a passion for apples. In this book, you will learn more about apples than you even knew existed. 

In fact, I learned a lot about trees in general and about the harvesting of seeds and seedlings for transport overseas. The mid-19th century was the time of gathering North American botanical species of all kinds to ship to avid English gardeners, especially redwood seedlings which were sent to Wales for a wealthy landowner who wanted these magnificent trees on his estate (still to be seen at Penryn Castle). 

Image result for redwood trees in Wales

One of the ways of shipping young seedlings, described in Chevalier's novel, was in a Ward's case: a construction of wood and glass that completely enclosed the seedling, protecting it from wind and salt spray. Once the seedling was planted and watered, it was encased in glass which then did not have to be opened during the journey, a trip lasting several months and requiring several legs by sea and by land: down the coast by ship from San Francisco, across the Panama isthmus by wagon, then up the east coast by ship to New York, and finally across by sea to Great Britain. 

David Latimer's terrarium is essentially a Ward's or Wardian case, a remarkable accidental 1830's discovery by British surgeon, Dr. Nathaniel Ward, who encased a butterfly pupa in one, subsequently forgot about it for 6 months and then was stunned to discover a small fern growing alongside the dead pupa. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Nova Scotia Lighthouse Project

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse is one of the world's iconic lighthouses and every year hosts thousands of visitors clambering over its rocky point, many of them looking for that perfect photo angle. Nova Scotia is home to more than 150 lighthouses and like most around the world, since they have been automated there are no longer any lighthouse keepers.

Many of these lighthouses, suffering from shoreline erosion and general neglect, are in need of reconstruction or coats of paint, so in 1994 concerned citizens stepped up to form the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society (NSLPS). The NSLPS website is full of information about the province's lighthouses, which ones are open to visitors, maps, lighthouse sounds, reading lists and more.

The Original Cape Forchu Lighthouse
Original Cape Forchu Lighthouse near Yarmouth, also known as The Old Yarmouth Light

Cape Forchu Lighthouse rebuilt in 1961, automated and destaffed in 1993

Enter Larry Peyton and Cory Webb, Nova Scotians passionate about the beauty of their province. Peyton, an enthusiastic drone "hobbyist" and Webb, a musician, have undertaken to film Nova Scotia's lighthouses, using a drone, then to put them to music and make them available for us to see.

Drone-flying and filming can be a challenge in a coastal climate, so the whole project will take some time to complete. They often set out on what seems like a perfect day, only to arrive at the destination lighthouse to find it engulfed in fog or rough weather, or just too windy. So far, though, they have more than a dozen videos ready to view on their website, with plans for at least 100 more.

Here's a February 2016 video of the Coldspring Head Lighthouse first built in 1890 and located on the Amherst Shore overlooking the Northumberland Strait.

What I love about this video:
  • the map
  • the great views of the shoreline as well as all aspects of the lighthouse itself
  • seeing the guys and their car on the ground ;)
  • Cory Webb`s instrumentals

And here's one from November 2015: the Cape Forchu Lighthouse, same one as in the photos above:

For lots more lighthouse videos, be sure to click on the link above.

By the way, you can follow Peyton and Webb on Twitter @NoKaOiDroneGuys 

Cape d'Or

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Empathy or Sympathy?

The Oxford Dictionary defines sympathy as feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune and empathy as the ability to understand and share feelings of another. 

Sympathy is generally attached to negative experiences whereas empathy can refer to either positive or negative experiences.

Here are two interesting videos about empathy. Food for thought.

(Love these whiteboard videos)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

3-D Drawings

Sushant Rane is a 19-year old college student in  Mumbai who happens to be very skilled at creating 3-D drawings.

He uses Copic markers, apparently coveted by artists worldwide, but which few own because they happen to be pretty pricey, approximately $100 for a dozen. He carefully keeps them well-organized. His coloured pencils are also well-cared for.


Check out more of Sushant Rane's work here.

Apparently 3-D art is not all that uncommon. Don sent me this link:

and there are lots more videos of other 3-D artists  on YouTube. You can also find 3-D art tutorials on YouTube. Isn't the internet wonderful!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Calvin Nicholls Paper Sculpture

Calvin Nicholls is a Canadian artist based in Lindsay, Ontario. Using paper, scissors and scalpels along with a touch of glue, deftly applied so that the paper doesn't wrinkle, he creates 3-dimensional sculptures of animals and birds.

3d paper art

3d paper art

The attention to detail is remarkable and is illustrative of Nicholls' immense patience and craftsmanship.

3d paper art

3d paper art

See more on his Facebook page or his website. Or here.