Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: art & garden busy-ness

art & garden busy-ness


I wish you could smell the heavenly scent of these first lily-of-the-valley flowers from my garden. The next virtual sense to come one day via the web?

I'm still busy in the printmaking studio finishing up work, then about to clear out my space for the summer break beginning in a week's time. My small home studio is in chaos as I try to find storage room for the new pieces I'm bringing home. Anyone selling second hand flat files that would fit under my work table? Maybe I should have a 'fire sale' to sell off old work to make room for new?

I was also busy getting a submission package of miniprints ready and delivered to the BIMPE VI International Print Biennial right here in Vancouver. It is the first time I've submitted because I so very rarely do small enough prints! I'm happy to support them and hope the jury accepts some or all of my work. If you are a printmaker reading this and interested in taking part - and I know this is late notice - the deadline is May 1st.

At home it is the busy spring gardening season especially with transplanting the tomato, pepper, cucumber and flower seedlings and cuttings into larger pots whenever the weather allows, like today. Still a few more seeds to start. It seems the nicest days occur when I'm in the print studio, why is that? Ah well, soon I'll be complaining of too much gardening and not enough art!

And I must see some exhibitions this week before they come down, especially this Leonard da Vinci one for he is one of my very favourite artists. Entry was free during the Olympics but I didn't want to deal with the long lineups. So why do I leave it 'til almost the last minute?

Too busy to blog, read and comment much lately, but I found this timely Letter from Reykjavik to be very much worth a visit!

EDIT April 22nd, 2010: In some correspondence yesterday, a friend wrote:

Believe it or not, people have been trying to digitize smell for a number of years, apparently with some success. You can read about their efforts here.

Thanks, Michael!


Lovely flowers, and I can almost smell them -- maybe because they happen to be my favorite flowers, at least for scent.

You can almost smell them. How good they look against the black background!

I do want to see more of your work some day. I'm hoping to get up to Vancouver this summer.
Best of luck with all your projects.

Maria, thanks, they are my favourite too and bring back such memories of my youth and my mother's gardens in Winnipeg.

Joe, thanks, the black background appears with the scanner in open position, as you may recall from early posts.

Hattie, thanks. Would love a visit from you, just a leave more time for it, please. I'd better get the studio organized by then!

There's something truly magical about these demure and fragile little blooms having such an intense and exquisite aroma. They are the true essence of new life awakening in the earth. Our season may be a bit further along since I've been sticking my nose into lilac blooms both on my way to and back from work. I was late one morning :-)

I envy you being able to see the Leonardo drawings as I haven't set eyes on originals in many years.

The Iceland link was excellent and her friend who wrote gave excellent voice to the problems they've suffered recently.

Susan, you are further south than we are, after all. Lilacs are another favourite from my youth, and our bush, too much in the shade now from the neighbour's trees, should be blooming in a week or so. I understand late :-)

As for Leonardo's drawings, I think the first time I saw the real thing was at the Uffici in Florence - I thought I'd gone to heaven!

Glad you liked the Iceland link as much as I did. I remember the shock I felt for them when their thriving economy collapsed overnight, and now this volcano and melting glaciers....

Those are beautiful and bring back a memory of a few Forget-Me-Nots that I once found pressed in one of my Grandpapa's old books. They were his favorite flowers.

R, that is a lovely memory! The forget-me-nots are also in bloom here right now. Hmm, I should try a photo or scan.... when it stops raining.

Hi Marja
I am so pleased BECAUSE for the first time that I have arrived on your website.....

I have a more advanced computer so maybe that is why !!
best wishes


Hi Aine, I'm so pleased for you, and for me! Thanks for letting me know.

(I still don't understand why you weren't able to see my images before...)

Good luck with your projects! Enjoy your garden, the flowers in the picture are fascinating!

Arle, thank you, kiitos!

lovely image of lily of the valley. Your season is much ahead of us! Enjoy the spring and the anticipation of fresh blooms.

Taina, thanks! I am enjoying our spring this year for everything is earlier and lusher than normal. Yesterday was cold and rainy and I felt annoyed that I could not get out and garden, but today was lovely and I managed to get some things done - so much to do this time of year! We're blessed with such a good climate here, most of the time. I hope spring is well on its way in the Lakehead region!

What a beautiful image - there's something about the dark background and the nearly translucent exactness of the flower which reminds me of a Northern Renaissance still life, with a twist!

Julia, thanks. Yes, the black background also makes me think of the same thing, and it's a bonus which I discovered quite some time ago when scanning with an open lid.