2017 Calendar

In May of 2016, I traveled to Europe for 2 weeks. The purpose of my trip was to volunteer at an English garden to celebrate 20 years of working in horticulture. This garden is called Godinton House and it is located in Kent county about 45 minutes south of London. From there I went to Paris, France for a few days and then Valencia, Spain. I decided to make my 2017 calendar from a selection of photographs from this trip. You can see more of my photographs in the Travel section of my site or by clicking on the name of the month.

January

This photograph was taken from the window of my friend, Jero’s home in the Russafa area of Valencia. Jero and I met when we busted our asses for Mountain Equipment Co-op in Vancouver in 2013. I went to visit him in his hometown. I thought that this photograph would be a nice way to begin this year’s calendar- as one door closes on 2016, another opens in 2017. Happy New Year!

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February

In Paris, there are 37 bridges crossing the River Seine. On one particular pedestrian bridge called Pont des Arts, tourists have been placing ‘Love Locks’. Couples attach a padlock with their names engraved and throw the key into the Seine, symbolizing their committed love to each other. There have been concerns about the additional weight the locks are putting on the bridge- i feel like this could be a metaphor- is there enough love to take down a bridge? So love- all you lovers! Happy Valentines Day!

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March

This photograph was taken from the Battle of Britain museum on the top of the White Cliffs of Dover. I was really excited about visiting this historical place. These cliffs reach up to 300 feet in height and stretch for 10 miles to the east and west of the town of Dover. They face France across the narrowest part of the English Channel. It’s difficult to imagine that these cliffs are made of chalk until you see and feel it…sooo smooth! The chalk consists of sea shell fragments and the remains of small sea organisms–is soft, fine-grained and streaked with black flint.

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April

This photo was taken at Godinton house in Kent UK, on the grounds of the garden where I was volunteering. I really love this photo. The old buildings, the barn and the clothes hanging on the clothesline, ah! I can smell the freshness in the air. One of the first signs of spring when I was a child was my mom washing our sheets and hanging them on the clothesline. There is no better sleep than the sleep in freshly air dried sheets! Thanks Mom!

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May

This photo was taken on my last day in Kent. My gracious hostess Margery, provided a whirlwind tour of this incredible area of the world. There is literally beauty EVERYWHERE! It was a feast for my senses and soul. This is a barley field in May. The colour of this crop in contrast with the blue sky- delightful!

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June

Since June is my birthday month, it is always my favourite picture in the calendar. This photo was taken in Valencia, Spain. The day I visited the beach was what I would describe as a perfect day. The temperature was around 22 degrees Celsius, not a cloud in the sky and a breeze. The beach was mostly deserted when I came across these guys. In the original photo the two guys on the outside are kicking a soccer ball to each other and the guy in the middle is raking the sand. As much as I loved the composition of the three men, I didn’t like the idea that these guys were using the raking man as a target. I decided to crop out the two jocks, allowing the raking man to be beautifully alone with his thoughts..and the mysterious ball! Happy Birthday to me (and Jill and Leslie!)

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July

Mais oui, Paris!

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August

Plataja La Malvarrosa (Malvarrosa Beach) in Valencia. I love the colours in this shot and the illusion that the palm tree is growing out of the hippo’s back. This photo makes me smile- I hope you enjoy it as well! Summer Daze!

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September

The Turia river used to flow through Valencia. It would often flood the city, so the government devised a plan to divert the river so it skirts to the west of the city and into the Mediterranean. The old riverbed has been converted into parkland called Jardin del Turia or Garden of the Turia. It is a beautiful nine kilometer green space that is full of attractions. There are 18 bridges that span across this green space and this is the view from underneath one of them.

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October

Meanwhile, back in the the UK… This photo was taken in Hothfield in the Ashford Burrough of Kent. This photo is highlighting the architecture that is common in the area and the excellent use of  ‘Kent Peg Tiles’ a traditional tile that is produced with locally dug clay. You can read all about it here. http://www.kentpegs.com/history/

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November

This is Godinton House, a 900 acre estate 3 miles outside of Ashford UK. Volunteering in these gardens was the initial purpose of my trip. The gardens themselves are made up of 12 acres and include a walled kitchen garden, Italian garden, Rose garden, herbaceous borders, lily pond and wild, native garden. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to spend time here and to meet the staff and volunteers- Thanks Viv and Margery, I hope to return soon! http://godintonhouse.co.uk/gardens/

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December

Hippeastrum known commonly as Amaryllis is often sold as indoor flowering bulbs particularly at Christmas in the northern hemisphere. I photographed this display while attending the Chelsea Flower Show in London. The show, which runs for 5 days in May, is put on by the Royal Horticultural Society. It is the most famous flower show in the world and showcases horticulture at it’s finest. It was an absolute pleasure to attend. https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show

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I hope that you have all enjoyed your 2017 calendar. I love making them!  Thank you for supporting me as an artist and allowing me to continue to have an audience and medium to display my work. Any of these photographs, as well as any from previous years can be purchased as framed or matted prints in any size. I cannot wait to see what is in store for 2018.

Ali ox