Friday, November 24, 2017

Winter's promise ....

In the depth of winter
I finally learned that 
There was in me
An invincible summer
Albert Camus, poet

Snowfall at Long Pine
Oil on canvas, copyright, Margaret Buffie

Monday, October 2, 2017

There's something about the water.....

There's something about the water - that solitary kind of peaceful feeling. 
You're on Earth but not quite. 
John C. Reilly

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

When you see a fish you don't think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water... If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest its movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirit. Constantin Brancusi

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire.
Pamela Hansford Johnson

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

I love to watch the movement of light on water, and I love to play in rivers and lakes...  Berlie Doherty

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

Clouds reflected in  water and a swirl from a Whirligig Beetle.
Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

 I will do water - beautiful, blue water. Claude Monet 
(famous for his lily pad paintings)

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. Lao Tzu

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

 Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

 Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks.
Morihei Ueshiba
Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

 Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. Loren Eiseley

I'm off to the lake for close-up of the cabin for the winter. Hope to take photos of autumn around the lake. 

To quote Claude Monet:
These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession.

All photos on this page are my copyright property. Please respect my rights. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Quote of the Week

"A flowerless room is a soulless room, to my way of thinking; but 
even one solitary little vase of a living flower may redeem it."
Vita Sackville-West

I agree. This time, however, my house is filled with the smell of white lilacs. Our neighbour's tree bloomed while we were at our lake cabin and I will probably have only one day to enjoy them. But the fragrance alone is worth it.

White Lilacss
Painting:  Oil on Canvass, © Margaret Buffie

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Oh, Spring! I want to go out 
and feel you and get inspiration. 
My old things seem dead. 
I want fresh contacts, more 
vital searching. 

Emily Carr

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

Photo copyright Margaret Buffie

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Eastertide brings renewal and hope.....

Chipping Sparrow eggs in my front hedge.
Photo copyright - Margaret Buffie

Easter celebrates the coming of spring, of renewal, of change and of hope. We need all of those now!

Like most of our ancient traditions, many of the symbols of Easter lie in pagan celebrations.

Rabbits, for instance, come from the pagan festival of Eostre,
 which celebrated a German goddess -  Ostara (Eostre) - 
 the goddess of birth, fertility and spring. Her symbol was a hare or rabbit.  

The exchange of eggs is also an ancient pagan custom, celebrated by many cultures. And eggs are also symbolic renewal, fertility and hope.

According to the English monk Bede, the former pagans in England called April, or the month marking Jesus’s resurrection, “Ēosturmōnaþ” — Old English for the “Month of Ēostre.”

In the Old Testament, the Israelites baked sweet buns for their favourite idols, and of course, the early christian leaders were angered by sacred cakes being baked at Eostre. In the end, realizing they could not stop the cooks who refused to listen to them, they gave up and blessed the cakes instead. Later this tradition was transformed into a variety of acceptable "Christian" bread forms - having a cross marked on each cake or loaf of bread. 

As my mother was English, and attended Sparling United Church in the West End, she always made hot cross buns. But as an adult, I also began to make Easter bread - Paska - to celebrate the German half of my familyBoth recipes use a lot of eggs. 

My Easter Baking
My hot cross buns
Photo © Margaret Buffie

Making the sponge for Paska Bread
Photo © Margaret Buffie

My Paska Loaves
Photo © Margaret Buffie


I didn't know the history of the colouring of eggs so I looked it up. This is part of what Wikipedia says:

Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, are decorated eggs that are usually used as gifts on the occasion of Easter of springtime celebration. As such, Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide (Easter season). The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs wrapped in colourful foil, or plastic eggs filled with confectionary such as chocolate. Although eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility and rebirth, in Christianity, for the celebration of Eastertide, Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus, from which Jesus resurrected. In addition, one ancient tradition was the staining of Easter eggs with the colour red "in memory of the blood shed at the time of his crucifixion.This custom of the Easter egg can be traced to early Christians of Mesopatamia, and from there it spread into Russia and Siberia through the Orthodox Churches, and later into Europe through the Catholic and Protestant Churches. This Christian use of eggs may have been influenced by practices in "pre-dynastic period in Egypt, as well as amid the early cultures of Mesopotamia and Crete".

My family has coloured Easter eggs for as long as I can remember. Simple plain colours.When I was a child, our parents would hide the hardboiled red, blue, yellow, purple and green eggs all around the house and we would search for them. one basket for each of us was also hidden and filled with a variety of candy and usually one large rabbit from our local chocolatier, Mordens Candies. Bliss.

Online photo. Photographer unknown.

As  I grew older I experimented with the simple colours. When I had a family of my own - and as an artist - I tried different ideas for fun. Here are a few  results....

Design and photo © Margaret Buffie

Design and photo © Margaret Buffie

                                                    Design and photo © Margaret Buffie

Design and photo © Margaret Buffie

2017 Eggs

Design and photo © Margaret Buffie


Wednesday, March 8, 2017


“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all 
Emily Dickinson

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Cold Comfort Camera

 I've looked at snow "from both sides now, from up and down" to quote the great Joni Mitchel, but I do know snow. I grew up in Manitoba.

Huge sloppy flakes, tiny beads that sting your face, curtains of snow, drifts of snow, hard layers of city snow like prehistoric layered ice and earth, soft snow that you fall back into without fear; crystal snow that creeps with icy fingers onto your neck between your parka and your scarf; that freezes your toes in your ice skates; that burns your face, cuts deep into your wrists just above your mitts and numbs your silly nyloned legs on the way to school.


And I see it. I see how it transforms my garden, my city, my street. I long to see it more often at the lake where we spend so much of our summer. 

I know the colours of snow in light and in the dark. I know the long shadows that fall across it: clear shades of blue; dust gray, mouse brown, sun pink, green tinged, sheer frosted white, and dirty sand brown. And when it begins to melt I recognize the pockmarks than deepen in the snow that mean a thaw is at work.

I know snow's indescribable smells - early snow that smell of earth and sun - and late snow in the city with the dark moist smells of tar and sand. At the lake cottage there will be the smell pine and the echoes of mouldering leaves feeding the earth below. I've tasted snow. I've felt it, formed it and built with it. 

My memories of lake visits always start with cross country skiing in; of the cottage floor and walls covered in frost until the fire gets hot enough to warm the wood; cutting and bashing through ice for water; snowshoeing through the woods dodging clumps of snow that slide off the spruce and balsam trees onto knitted caps and shoulders, and the whap whap of it falling off our warming roof to the ground below. Most of all, the deep silence broken only now and again by hushed breezes and distant bird chirrups in the night.

Deep red the bracken; its shape is lost;
The wild goose has raised its accustomed cry,
Cold has seized the birds' wings;
Season of ice, this is my news."

-  Irish poem, 9th Century

My Street in early winter
copyright Margaret Buffie

City Garden

"Nature has undoubtedly mastered the art of 
winter gardening and even the most experienced gardener can learn from the unrestrained beauty around them."
-  Vincent A. Simeone  

"I've been a dweller on the plains,
have sighed when summer days were gone;
No more I'll sigh; for winter here
Hath gladsome gardens of his own."
-  Dorothy Wordsworth,

Garden gate
© Margaret Buffie

Still morning 
© Margaret Buffie

The arbour that separates our two gardens
© Margaret Buffie

Icicles outside my studio window, overlooking the garden
© Margaret Buffie

Iced Alyssum Flowers
© Margaret Buffie

Through my studio window - late afternoon
© Margaret Buffie

My little winter hummingbird
© Margaret Buffie

Frosted leaves
© Margaret Buffie

The snow cones of cone flowers
© Margaret Buffie

Cotoneaster berries with frozen drops of water. 
I can see myself in one of the drops
© Margaret Buffie

Sage and ladybug held in deep frost
© Margaret Buffie

Early morning snow on my veranda stairs 
leading to the street. No mailman yet, to scar the smoothness
© Margaret Buffie

Drifts of shadow waves near the river
© Margaret Buffie

Early morning visitor
© Margaret Buffie

Nature has many scenes to exhibit, and constantly draws a curtain over this part or that. She is constantly repainting the landscape and all surfaces, dressing up some scene for our entertainment. Lately we had a leafy wilderness; now bare twigs begin to prevail, and soon she will surprise us with a mantle of snow.

David Thoreau

Swathes of snow, constantly changing shades 
and movement - yet all done in complete silence. 
Margaret Buffie

Shades of crystal blue
© Margaret Buffie

Stairway fence
© Margaret Buffie

"Ski slope" in my garden
© Margaret Buffie


It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, 
the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. 
This crisp winter air is full of it. 
John Burroughs

“December's wintery breath is already clouding 
the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer's memory...”
John Geddes

Behind a frosted window I see a small creature peering in at me.
© Margaret Buffie

Another visitor waiting behind the frost,  
white shoulders gleaming.. 
© Margaret Buffie

Moon Flowers
© Margaret Buffie

Dancing Frost
© Margaret Buffie

A little forest of frost
© Margaret Buffie

Knitted frost
© Margaret Buffie

Feathered Frost with Hidden Figure
© Margaret Buffie

Early Winter at the Cabin

Balsam cast in ice-white amber
 © Margaret Buffie

Stone and Ice
© Margaret Buffie

© Margaret Buffie

A breath of wind will puff it all away
© Margaret Buffie

The log cabin in hiding
© Margaret Buffie

Going to a snow ball
© Margaret Buffie

The old dock
© Margaret Buffie

Soon the ice will come and as it 
deepens and thickens, 
it with twist its wooden back.
© Margaret Buffie

Heading out for a walk
© Margaret Buffie

Settling in 
"There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you .....  In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself."  Ruth Stout 

© Margaret Buffie

© Margaret Buffie

"Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather 
golden moments, embark upon a sentimental
journey, and enjoy every idle hour. "
John Boswell


Neighbourhood "Walks"

The shed of leaves became a cascade of red and gold and after a time the trees stood skeletal against a sky of weathered tin. The land lay bled of its colors. The nights lengthened, went darker, brightened in their clustered stars. The chilled air smelled of woodsmoke, of distances and passing time.  James Carlos Blake

Earliest snows soften the leaves
© Margaret Buffie

Hatted fence soldiers on guard
© Margaret Buffie

Garnished ice branch
© Margaret Buffie

Light but relentless snow all night long
© Margaret Buffie

The artist of winter chisels silver icicles just for me
© Margaret Buffie

Shadow me  - between two elm trunks
© Margaret Buffie

Spring is not far off

 The days are getting long, the shadows longer still. The sun is warmer on my back. My boots are dripping and damp. Spring is creeping toward me.
Margaret Buffie

© Margaret Buffie

Ending with one of my favourite quotes about winter!

Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snowmen
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing,
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.
~Ogden Nash