Living & Learning in the Salish Sea

Category: Free Inquiry

Showcasing the development of my passion for art and children’s storytelling.

Book Making: Practicing Watercolour Techniques

After one of our art classes, I was lucky enough to receive a watercolour tutorial session from a fellow teacher candidate who is a very talented artist.

We practiced a variety of techniques:

  • Wet on wet — paper is lightly covered in a thin layer of water (we used a spray bottle) and then wet paint is applied over top. The resulting effect is a paint that spreads upon contact with the wet paper and blurs at the edges. You can see a good example of this in the top left quadrant of my experimentation
  • Wet on dry — in this technique, we are applying wet paint to a dry paper. The effect is a paint with a distinct, non-blurry line. We can see this clearly in the top left portion of the top left quadrant as well as in the bottom right quadrant.
  • Blowing — this is a really fun technique that can have a really neat look. This is were you put wet paint on paper and then blow it to have the paint spray out on the page in multiple directions. You can see this in the lower left quadrant. I also used it in the lower right and then painted in between the splaying lines.

My colleague then got us to think about an emotion or feeling that we were experiencing. I was asked to think about which colour(s) would best represent this and then translate this onto the page. At that moment I was feeling very scattered. I have so  many concepts floating around in my mind and felt like I am struggling to connect them all in a way that allows me to feel confident in my understanding. The cloud like formation at the top of the image below represents the concepts in my mind, and the thin bridge to the bottom of the page represents how much of that I feel that I have understood.

Next blog post, I will be starting on my book!

Learning Swedish: Week 1 progress

In this first week of learning Swedish on Duolingo, the main focus has been on building the basics with:

  1. Verbs:
    är (to be)
    äter (to eat)
    dricker (to drink)
    har (to have)
    läser (to read)
  2. Pronouns:
    jag (I)
    hon (she)
    han (he)
    vi (we)
    ni (you pl.)
    de (they)
  3. Nouns:
    ett barn / barnet (a child / the child)
    en flicka / flickor / flickan (a girl / girls / the girl)
    en pojke / pojkar / pojken (a boy / boys / the boy)
    en kvinna / kvinnor / kvinnan (a woman / women / the woman)
    en man / män / mannen (a man / men / the man)
    ett äpple (an apple)
    bröd (bread)
    en smörgås (a sandwich)
    ris (rice)
    mjölk (milk)
    vatten (water)
    en tidning (a newspaper)
    en bok (a book)
    ett brev (a letter)
    en meny (a menu)
  4. Conjunctions:
    och (and)

Next up are some basic phrases, foods and animals!



Blog 1: Video Editing

On Friday, September 27th, 2019, I along with many in our cohort joined thousands of others in a Climate Strike that has swept the entire globe. We marched in solidarity with the future health of our home, Mother Earth, at the forefront of our minds. According to Greta Thunberg, the world is losing approximately 200 species every day to extinction. At the same time, people are standing up and holding their governments accountable to their actions, saying enough is enough; it is time for meaningful change.

Here is a video I put together to commemorate the day. I used many of the techniques we practiced in class before heading off to the strike. I slowed many of the clips down and added a sepia tone to all the clips leading up to the march. We had Rich McCue come to speak with us and share with us many useful tips in creating video using iMovie. I chose to incorporate music (Michael Kiwanuka’s Love & Hate) as well as some audio clips from Greta Thunberg’s address to the UN in New York, September, 2019. Enjoy!

Also here is a documentary I found to be particularly inspiring. It shares the stories of the youth-driven grassroots movement that is sweeping across Europe.



Enhancing My Understanding of the Climate Crisis: Following in Greta’s footsteps

This Friday, on September 27th, 2019, at 12pm, a climate strike will occur in front of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia as part of a global climate strike inspired by an emerging leader in climate and social justice: Greta Thunberg. The following TED talk highlights her story:

On September 23, 2019, Greta delivered a powerful speech at the UN Climate Summit in New York imploring world leaders to put truth and meaning behind their words by addressing the climate crisis full on.

Backed by over 30 years of hard scientific facts, Greta stated that “we are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all [governments] can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you.”

The earth doesn’t belong to us, we belong to it. It’s time we acknowledge this plain fact and shift our worldview to reflect this. We must divert our attention away from the preservation of the almighty dollar and place it instead on the preservation of Earth’s complex ecosystems that sustain us. We must do this. We must do this now. All future generations are watching us.

With that said, I beg each and every one of us to show up and vote (for us Canadians this comes as soon as Monday, October 21, 2019), and to furthermore hold our governments accountable to their words of promise. For the sake of literally everyone who is alive right now, human and non-human, as well as those who wait in line behind the doors of life, we must push our governments to become better then they set out to be.

On September 27th I will be out in front of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia demanding that we begin to govern with Earth’s best interest at heart. Will you join me?



Book Making: Setting the stage

I have always been fascinated by the beautiful artwork people are able to produce from watercolour.

As a child, I remember walking through my grandaunt’s art studio and feeling a sense of awe when I saw her watercolour landscape paintings, especially the one of Mt. Hood in Oregon where the setting sun rendered its snow-covered peak a soft pink hue. I believe that watercolour is an ideal art form for books as one can be very diverse in the ways they choose to express an image with the paint.

Recently, I have come to realize how powerful storytelling can be — it shapes our worldview, allows us to experience the world from other perspectives, and reminds us what it really means to be human; to feel, to wonder, to make sense of things in order to quell our countless anxieties.

For this reason, I have chosen to dedicate an inquiry into learning how to write, illustrate and bound a book from scratch. As a teacher candidate in the Elementary Education PDP Program at the University of Victoria, I am particularly interested creating children’s novels. These novels I hope will inspire children to share their passions and realize their dreams in an ever-changing world.

I begin my exploration of this topic by understanding how to work with watercolour. Here is a introductory video to watercolour that I found to be useful:

I went to a local art store and picked up some supplies; watercolour paint & brush, watercolour paper, a rotary mat, ruler & OLFA knife (to make the pages the size I want), sketching pencils, Scotch tape, and a few fine liner Micron pens to write with.

When it comes time to book binding, I will need a few more supplies. However, this is all I need to get me started on the process! In the next blog, I will post a picture of my experimentations with water colour. Until then, happy days!

Learning Swedish: A journey begins!

In early 2013 (I’m sorry, I misspoke in the video), I was lucky enough to travel to Stockholm, Sweden. Upon my arrival, I immediately felt at home with the culture and the environment. Something was very familiar about the place, it was as if I had been there before. This inquiry is designed to provide myself with a working knowledge of the Swedish language so that I may go back one day and converse with locals, learn from them, and ultimately establish a sincere connection with a country that calls to me.

Please note that although I’ve been to Sweden once before, my current speaking level is what I would call non-existent. I hope to change this. To start, I will work my way through the Swedish language on Duolingo. I will upload weekly videos showcasing my progress with the language, and hopefully, engage in conversations with native speakers/fellow learners along the way.

This first video represents a starting point. With regards to any skill, it is important to remember that we all start somewhere. Find something you are passionate about, and gift some of your time to that passion. Here’s to making mistakes, getting dirty, and learning (Swedish)!



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