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October 2015

Pumpkins and Squash

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I can honestly say I have never seen so many pumpkins and squashes in my life

The word ‘harvest’ has come up again in my blog, since the raccoon post, as it’s that time of year. The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, is known as a huge produce area, people will come down from as far away as Vancouver (400km) for the weekend to break for the weekend, and in addition to activities or just hanging out they’ll pick up huge bags of fruit and vegetables on their way home.

On our way to Osoyoos we passed through Karemeos, also in the Okanagan valley. I was astounded at the amount and variety of squashes and pumpkins, apples, aubergines and other fruit and vegetables there were for sale directly to the public, a huge farmers market.

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I love the fact people are so obviously dedicated to this as a way of living, despite the fact these are growers who supply across the province (if not country) there were varieties of apples, onions, courgettes and aubergines I have never seen before. I also admired the spirit of the grower markets; the fact that the stalls were bigger than mini-supermarkets at home in London, the range of creative displays and handpainted signs created a sense of community.

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Vancouver has great coffee, and great coffee shops (such as my favourite ‘Our Town‘ in Mount Pleasant – where this photo appeared on ‘Road to Wherever’ last year). Soup bowls full of rich coffee are served to customers, like myself, who sometimes over-indulge.

So I was in Our Town, with a sketchbook trying to get into the flow of drawing. It wasn’t forthcoming, when a couple sat directly behind me. While listening to their conversation, which may have been over-caffinated, I began draw. Their exchange was a little peculiar, I honestly have no idea if it was a first date, breaking up or perhaps  they were rehearsing a play. I also couldn’t really hear what he was saying – men talking at a lower frequency in a crowded place are hard to hear (sadly), but she was a bit fierce and really articulate – my favourite line of hers was “Don’t be pretentious, it brings me out in a rash” she then challenged him on his heterosexuality (twice) and they left together for dinner… quite happily it seemed.

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I’m often amazed at other peoples’ conversations. London’s listing magazine, Time Out, has a section called word on the street – pieces of overheard conversations which are often quite funny / weird / ridiculous – if you like that kind of thing do have a look.

I think this particular conversation had a direct influence on my drawing!

An old Plymouth from the 1050's lies abandoned under a bar sign on the Crowsnest Highway to Hope
An old Plymouth from the 1950’s lies abandoned under a bar sign on the Crowsnest Highway to Hope

Passing Spotted Lake on the way to Osoyoos, I had heard it was unusual; a mineral rich alkali lake and a sacred First Nation site. Waters that been used for healing. On the first pass through, the sun had already gone down, the light was unkind – offering only a little definition, the lake also had one viewpoint from the highway, which was a shame, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to enter the site, beyond the gate, seeing as it was sacred.

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Visiting a couple of days later everything had transformed, it was obvious the spots on the lake were mineral rich and ‘lakes within the lake’, if you see what I mean. The low sun picked everything up, and it was worth capturing, even with the lens flare as it appears above. After a dry summer most of the water in the lake had evaporated leaving the moon like surface you see here. In addition the gate was open, I could see figures on the lake setting something (that looked) scientific up. Although this didn’t grant me access, it did offer a sense of scale, looking at the figures on the lake I realised it was actually huge.

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Pictures from the town of Osoyoos, in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada.

Osoyoos after sundown
Osoyoos Travel / Subway – Osoyoos after sundown
Osoyoos after sundown
Dairy Queen – Osoyoos after sundown
Osoyoos after sundown
Turquoise office – Osoyoos after sundown
Osoyoos after sundown
Husky Garage – Osoyoos after sundown

The harvest

And there he was, in Stanley Park, sitting at the top of a tree, gorging himself on berries as if on the stroke of midnight they’d never exist again. Like he was an extra in one of those japanese paintings with blossom trees, charming, beautiful, greedy and totally uninterested in us watching below.raccoon-2

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Life Drawing

A selection of life drawings made while on holiday, if you’re in Vancouver and want to do this I can thoroughly recommend Basic Enquiry’s sessions. Three hours and $15 (currently about £8) is bargain.

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