Two weeks have flashed by since I last wrote here — the comics festival has come and gone in a flurry of activity, after which I certainly needed some recovery time! My idea of recovery is to hole up in my studio and paint, so I’ve actually gotten quite a lot of work done, as any of you who have been following my webcomic, Mermaid Music, will have noticed. But today, rather than writing about art (or not directly, anyway), I’m going to take you on a tour of a lovely place I toured yesterday in preparation for my next art-showing event.
This Mother’s Day, I’ll be setting up my tent with a friend to show our wares at a fairy-themed event called the Enchanted Forest Festival. I always like to check out a venue in advance if possible, and today I felt like getting out of the city a bit, so I took a drive out to the Coast Collective Arts Centre, where the festival will be. One of the organizers, Tracy, gave me a tour of the grounds, and filled me in on some of the details of this fascinating place.
The arts centre is housed in the historic Pendray House overlooking Esquimalt Lagoon, a small body of salt water which is separated from the Strait of Juan de Fuca by a narrow strip of land with a bridge at one end, allowing the tides to come in. You can drive across the entire length of it, and I did, on my way back home. The building is a beautiful space, which houses a gallery, gift shops, and a huge classroom. They have some wonderful things going on there. There was a show being set up when I got the tour, and it was hard to not stop and peer at every piece, and I wanted to look at every single thing in the gift shop rooms! The classroom is in the old ballroom, and has a spectacular view of the water. A very inspiring place!
The arts centre overlooks a large field full of beach plants and driftwood logs, and I took a walk out to the little fringe of beach on the lagoon. In the picture above, you can see the road between the lagoon and the strait on the left.
I can never resist turning my camera up to capture light through leaves — the spring green of new leaves was like stained glass!
I have a thing for horsetails. I like to imagine when giant ones grew all over the world, back in the days of the dinosaurs! These were bordering a beautiful stand of skunk cabbage, but it was difficult to get good pictures with my phone camera as they were too far away.
Tracy told me that this is the remains of an ornamental Japanese pond, with little bridges and cattails. A very placid duck sat on one of the bridges and quacked at me in a languid sort of way.
This is the avenue where the fairy tents will be — it’s such a beautiful setting, and lovely soft grass mixed with moss to put my feet on!
The play of light and shadow on the lawn tempted my eyes into seeing fairies flitting from place to place!
This immense old cedar has about six secondary trunks higher up, and the branches coming off of the lower trunk form a maze on the ground. It is surrounded by many smaller trees which seem to have sprouted from the drooping branches, by the curve of their trunks (not in the picture).
The season for cherry blossoms is nearly over, but this tree is gracefully making the transition from pink to green.
This sweet little birdhouse (or fairy house?) was hanging on a camellia bush. Imagine living in a house surrounded by giant flowers!
A stately tree graces the grounds where the festival tents will be set up. It’s so hard to convey the scale of the big trees without a reference!
When I have my “proper” camera, I love to take closeups — but the iPhone does a pretty good job, too.
Camellias are such odd flowers; seems like they’ve hardly blossomed and they’re already falling apart. But I find the ones that are past their prime even more interesting than the perfect ones.
This fellow said goodbye to me as I was leaving the grounds. He’s a cheerful spirit, and I’m sure will welcome the fairy folk for the festival! It’s truly an enchanted forest.
On my way to the arts centre, I took the google-recommended route, and managed to take two wrong turns because it was so hard to read the teeny tiny road signs! On the way out, I decided to follow the map (a paper one) and drive back along the road between the lagoon and the strait. I stopped for a while and hung out with some gulls and geese and swans, and a few pigeons in a romantic mood. I never knew why they called it billing and cooing, but now I do *blush*! That little patch of white on the other side of the water is the arts centre.
And last but not least of the wonders of the day: as I drove down the road I spotted this vehicle, and stopped and took photos. I almost drove on, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t get a picture of this “Zombie Response Unit”!
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