Observations from life

Downtown Victoria on a Wednesday afternoon:

Tall thin man in a full steampunk suit, tails, tophat and goggles, juggling.

Beautiful young Japanese waitresses arguing in Japanese about Interac receipts.

A dingy thrift store below ground at the bottom of a sketchy stairwell, called Vintage Buck.

A stone lionface fountain spitting a steady stream of water in a brick courtyard.

A powerful white pitbull or mastiff cross dog on a leash, regarding me with soft intelligent eyes.

A steady rock beat from a drum kit fills the busy street, coming out the window of a second floor loft apartment where a guy is givin’ ‘er on his drums, live and vibrant.

A huge construction pit crawling with workers in hardhats and flourescent coloured vests, two stories deep, riddled with heavy equipment, dump trucks, cement forms, metal pipe, and at the very bottom the ancient bedrock underneath the city, exposed and scraped at by human ants.

Fresh graffiti on the side of Woodfire bakery, windows plastered in high class graphic design posters for local concerts.

Me, gaping at it all in amazement, able to see so many details because I’m only able to walk at a snail’s pace.

 

4 am, outside our bedroom window last night:

A series of high pitched wailing squeals woke us up. We heard these sounds twice during the night. It sounded like a distressed baby animal of some kind. Maybe a kitten? or a raccoon? or squirrel? I got out of bed, put on a sweater and got a flashlight. Couldn’t see anything out the window, but the sounds were coming from very close by in my neighbour’s yard. They are away for a couple weeks so I thought I’d better investigate.

I was very cautious and a little spooked as I slowly went into their yard, not sure what I might encounter in the dark. Just inside the gate I found a baby bunny, visibly undamaged but obviously dead. I guess the bunny was doing the screaming. Who killed it? A mink maybe? I scanned all the garden beds and shadows with my flashlight. Went through a second gate into a courtyard and happened to look up for a moment, right into the eyes of a big barred owl! “Oh hello,” I said, “I guess you must be the bunny killer.” The owl was perched on the shed roof, about five feet away from me, glaring balefully at my bright flashlight. Undecided what to do for a few seconds, she just sat there, clearly uncomfortable. Then she took off and flew over my rooftop and perched in the outstretched branch of a tall cedar, watching me.

Relieved that I didn’t encounter an aggressive mink or raccoon, I made my way back to bed. I left the bunny where it was in hopes the owl would eat her kill so it wouldn’t go to waste. Unfortunately my disturbance put her off eating the bunny. My wife went to check on it in the morning. Still there. Well, one less bunny eating my garden I guess.

Later on while I was still in bed I could hear the robins down by the creek squawking and scolding because the owl was still around. Later though it was quiet by our house. I heard the owl calling just before noon from the trees in the nearby park.

Saanich Inlet

New Website Launch 2016

Hello world, welcome to the new website for Caroline Stengl’s Creativity Studio!

With the new year comes new and exciting growth and recovery for me. With the launch of this new and beautiful website I am revitalizing my art studio practice after a long hiatus due to illness.

" Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once (s)he grows up. "Pablo Picasso

Linocut cards production

I used to make linocut print greeting cards every winter for Christmas, Solstice, Hannukah etc. Last year I didn’t do it because it is SO MUCH WORK. But I thought it would be fun to share what the process looks like.

Healing with the Arts

To see the video in HD quality go to https://vimeo.com/143664018 or play the YouTube version right here in this post.

In this video I talk about how music, art and creativity have helped me to heal while going through treatment for a serious illness. I also talk about my involvement with a non-profit arts organization that uses the arts for healing.

Rough Skinned Newt

This tiny amphibian was just crawling along the trail in Cowichan River Provincial Park. I just about stepped on him! Such a neat little critter.

California Quails

These cute little quails are neighbourhood residents where we live. This spring I was lucky to spot a flock of them with more than a dozen fluffy babies no bigger than a toonie 2$ coin! They were sooo tiny and cute! Too quick for my camera though. Here a few pictures of the momma and poppa birds with an older chick.

Botanical Beach

We went to see Botanical beach this summer. The trail down to the beach had some impressive twisted trees that remind me of bonsai. The tidal pools are marvelous! I also spotted some bear poop by a hidden stream running onto the beach.

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Congratulations Elizabeth May!

This lovely lady is Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands. This week she was re-elected in her riding and is the sole elected MP representing the Green Party of Canada.