fencing with teenagers

OUtdoor CLassroom 'fall in' design

Barrel of Bees


environmental arts mentoring no.6

this week was more focussed on the signs of spring, rabbit browse and a kill site we investigated. that may sound strange, though it was amazing to see the different tracks of dogs who had already run through the site numerous times where a rabbit was killed by the time we arrived in the late afternoon.

most of the dog tracks ran up to the kill, stopped, dug around, nabbed some bit of fur, and in a shark like frenzy (remember domesticated dogs also look for those rare moments when they can pretend they are wild like wolves) would run straight up the steep bank to savour their treasure. we mostly poked around with sticks and questions.

one person says: coyote

another says: hawk


it as harder to bring these lessons directly into drawing upon arriving back, so instead we set a different lesson: to try and draw a white pine terminal bud from a birds eye, or foreshortened, perspective.

here are the results. i believe one such result is the merfox-mermaid/fox (i have noticed that attention span in drawing is often defined by the faith you have to be able to render it so others can understand it. this was made a little more public, and therefore confidence was more strained, by being done in chalk while the weekend program was running in chimney court).

signs of spring…

Who’s that hiding down under the snow, but still green?!?

look closely...

look closely…

cooper’s hawks nesting in cabbagetown

These hawks build a nest and raise young in a busy central toronto park in the spring of 2012. This park borders two cemetaries, the don river valley and rosedale valley.
After a whole season of watching this pair we were moving away from the park, this large ash, and a small fort in the woods on the bank of the rosedale ravine, sitting in this fort before the move, woven with living riperian grape vine, in a lull in conversation one of the cooper’s hawks dove at an incredible speed through the thick canopy of trees that hid the fort, and alighted gracefully on a branch 8ft away and looked keenly right at us for a long moment.
So much learned in studying these birds and chatting to neighbors about them and the lives of they’re young, doesn’t really show up in this film of them and the nest….but here it is.


silver maple buds







silver_maplesilver maple buds are like stars, dormant during the day and bursting forth in abundant energy….if you take any fallen twig with buds on it, and put it in water for a week, some mysterious forces can unfold. i had a magnolia last week which flowered!



Environmental Arts Mentoring V

ever moving subject: ice

ever moving subject: ice

this session instead began with a journey up a mountain (ish) finding bark to slide down the ice and eventually harvesting a large chunk to draw. this was a very challenging subject as it was constantly moving and changing form, hence the bat person drawing who emerged when the ice became to difficult to draw….

new ‘towards an anarchist ecology’ zine from “knowing the land is resistance”

High time to honor people who seek, through sensitive observation, to understand the land they stand on, and help create tools to share that understanding…
The leadership shown by this collective, knowing the land is resistance ( http://www.knowingtheland.com ), has helped me to navigate the swift and muddy waters of my responsibility and place in relation to the communities of the lower don river valley.

Check out and share in the beauty of their latest achievement:

Click to access towards-anarchist-ecology.pdf

the dreaming tree – resurfacing 9 years later…

dreaming tree-feb-14it was not until i was half way through this drawing of a misfit willow sculpture created through these pores in some sort of vine i found in the forest when i realized that it is almost precisely the same image and process from 9 years before.

i was trying to articulate dreams on paper in my last year of art school in scotland, and had this dream of a tree form, with these progressive contractions which projected out from the central wood sculpture. i built and documented this form in 2005, without really getting closer to understanding the object or dream, but enjoying the inquiry all the same.

see the original dreaming tree here: