what's kate up to?


POSCA Paint Practice – Perchers & 'peckers

With the unseasonably warm temperatures this week, the bird bath has been busy with hot & thirsty feathered friends splashing vigorously and gulping down beakfuls.

Speaking of feathered friends, here are some relevant paintings!

flicker An “intergrade” Northern Flicker at the bath.

I recently received a whole wack of colours of POSCA paint markers as a gift from my mum, and was eager to try out the new selection. I sifted through some of my bird photos and chose a few attractive woodpeckers and a robin to model for me.

Read more and see all of the paintings on the original Patreon post.  

  Kinesthetic Plunking

I recently bought a used hybrid nylon-string guitar (one with a lighter body and narrower neck for smaller hands like mine)!

Kinesthetic memory never ceases to amaze me: while I was testing it out at the shop, my guitar-brain magically began thawing after a dozen years in the cryogenic freezer. After about one minute of awkward playing, everything came rushing back and I was able to remember everything from where I left off (when I was about 19 and playing more regularly).  

So, just for fun, here's a little phone-recording of me running through a handful of tune-bits from my memories of guitar past a couple of days after acquiring the new axe. My dad taught me all of these tunes when I was a teenager, except for the last one, which I made up during my first year at art college.

Read more and see all of the paintings on the original Patreon post.


Album Cover Throwback Series – Part 2: Stories from the Northwest

January 2018 feels like a long time ago! That's when I made this art for my friend Jeremy—AKA Saltwater Hank—for his album, Stories from the Northwest.

It was originally intended to be the cover art, but a different aesthetic was chosen for the cover in the end (which I think fits the feel of the album really well), so this art became the next best thing— the insert-booklet cover, which also includes a few of my process drawings:

A few months after finishing the art, I went on a week-long tour performing around BC with Saltwater Hank and Vic Horvath, which was a super fun time (see my very weird three-headed, four-armed tour-poster on the original Patreon post, as well as process sketches, and more!)


Album Cover Throwback Series – Part 1: Never Say Never

In the summer of 2019, I got a call from a children's entertainer who I had previously met at an accordion-themed event in Vancouver. He goes by the stage name Ishdafish— “Ish” for short. He had seen some event posters that I illustrated and thought I'd be the perfect fit to redesign and illustrate the cover of his 2012 album, Never Say Never.

ish basket Cover detail

He was extremely enthusiastic and positive about the whole thing and had a lot of exciting ideas he wanted to include in the new cover. To start: a hot air balloon—full of instruments, just beginning to take off—surrounded by a parade of musicians and clowns and animals and children!

parade Detail of parade and other goings-on

Read more about the whole experience and see a bunch of process pictures on the original Patreon post!  

Spring Things

Hello friends! Hope this past month has treated you well & that signs of spring are becoming more prevalent in your neighbourhood.

Since I don't have any music clips ready to share just yet, I thought I'd instead share a summary of some of the things I've been up to this past month! Here goes:

1. Easter Pysanky

egg flower

Using the traditional wax-resist dyeing technique, Seán and I made 3 experimental egg designs each. Feel free to read more about the process in my blog-post here and see the full 360° of each egg in a short video here :)



On Painting Shoes

I’ve been wearing a pair of black SAS walking shoes almost every day for the last year, and decided to paint them on the anniversary of the day that I bought them (indeed— it’s such a rare thing for me to invest in a proper pair of new shoes that it is considered an “event” and goes into my datebook as such).


I like to let the shoe be a normal shoe for a while before painting it. I think I do this partly to just appreciate it in its original state, and partly to break down the intimidation of the “perfect, blank canvas”— let it get dirty and scuffed up a bit, then I won’t be as perfectionistic about it, and feel more free to experiment:

shoe-comp A compilation of past shoe paint-jobs

See more photos and read more about my shoe-painting journey on the original Patreon post!  

  Slow-life at the Banana Slug Bungalow

When I saw the call-to-artists for an upcoming show at the Metchosin ArtPod for 'art using photographs as a base', I figured I could manage to put something together for it (considering the massive pile of digital photos we have of things around Hum Hill from over the last two years, heheh).

Looking through the photos, I was inspired by several close-up pictures of various fungi and lichens. They seemed to scream, “you must adorn us with creatures!”, and so it began:

slughouse The first in hopefully a series of creatures digitally plopped atop photographed micro-scenes.

See more pictures and read more on the original Patreon post.


Hummer Taiso! ハチドリラジオ体操 !

Catalyzed by our virtual Japan trip, Seán and I have gotten into the habit of doing daily Radio Taiso calisthenics. They're fun & short workouts with just the right amount of silliness—and the perfect remedy for sitting at the computer more than usual.

I thought it would be fun to try out a very short & simple animation of an Anna's hummingbird doing some radio taiso exercises (see 1:43 for the portion that the hummer is doing). I chose that part of the routine because I find it to be one of the more fun(ny) ones :)

See the full animated hummer video, sketches and other behind-the-scenes bits on the original Patreon post !  

  S'more combined bits!

I'm writing this post in scattered bits while being distracted by various gulls, vultures and ravens outside the window who are soaring playfully in the gusts of wind. There's also a female Anna's hummingbird who is having a relaxed sipping session at the nectar feeder. It's nice. Birds are such good medicine— hope you can spend some time bird-noticing this week!

Here's another attempt to combine 3 more wee tunes I made up on the piano:

It seems to have a hopeful feeling to start, including several peaceful moments, and then some darker broodiness, only to rise up again for a hopeful ending. I'm pretty sure the first bit was inspired by memories of one of my uncle's piano songs.

Until next time! Kate


New Year, New Nectar

Here on Hummingbird Hill, one of our most important duties is to keep the hummers happy. We have a handful of hummers year-round who regularly come to sip the sweet stuff from our two saucer-style feeders. When we were still new at it, we found it difficult to remember which of us changed the nectar last and when. This resulted in confusion and—more importantly—the potential risk of unhappy hummers.

So, I came up with a solution.

Enter: Nectar Refresh Schedule!

hhhummers banner

Read the full article and download the schedule on the original post on my collaborative blog, Hummingcrow & Co. :)  

  One of the new ditties I'm working on

Back in autumn I was experimenting with several little tune-flows on the piano. Lately I've been trying to see if I can puzzle some of the pieces together— will they create one big tune, two medium-tunes, or just stay as a handful of tiny-tunes? This recording was an attempt to stitch together a few of the little tunes/phrases:

Read the full original post on my Patreon page :)

⚘ 2020 ⚘


“Crow Ho Ho!” It's...

santa caws


This is Seán's and my first collaborative lino-print. We passed it back and forth throughout the whole process— from sketching to digitizing; carving to colouring; printing to packaging.

santa caws carving process The block, almost done being carved

'Twas a fun & pun-tastic experiment— looking forward to collaborating more! ☺︎  

  Been Busy Making!

Hi folks! Hope you had some nice meals and warmth over the holidays.

December was a busy & creative month! I was a bit of an art-machine, making things for the local Metchosin art fair & creating gifts to send out for the holidays.

birds row Waiting patiently to be set up at the art fair

Some of the things I made this month:

  • Small bird-sculpture-ornaments
  • Avocado-pit carvings made into brooches, necklaces, earrings and ornaments
  • Gift tags printed with new stamps I carved
  • Origami gift boxes / nest boxes for the birds
  • Bracelets/hair-ties beaded with dried arbutus tree berries collected on the property

holiday wares comp hand-printed origami gift box; some brooches; a necklace; a turtle; an “acornament”

gift tags new stamps that have come in handy 'round the holidays

berry bracelet a freshly-beaded arbutus-berry bracelet

Full stories & more photos on my Patreon page.


Celebrating 1 Year!

Hi friends!

Huzzah! It has been one year since my first Patreon post!

I decided to celebrate by honouring the star of that inaugural post—my fine felted friend Leggy—by illustrating a twinkly caricature:

Read the full post and see more pictures— including a twinkly animated GIF— on the original post!


  Hummy's Gallery Sessions – #1!

Here's introducing a new series of little music-y videos: Hummy's Gallery Sessions!

Seán thought it would be a nice idea to shoot a hummer's-eye-view video of me playing a new improvised song that I had just came up with. So here it is! The song was inspired by a song by zmi that I had stuck in my head.

Since we're going to try to make this a new habit, I thought I'd seal the deal with a fun logo. Here's a peek at the logos I made, in English and Japanese:

Read about the whole thing on the original post!

      Hummingbird VS Hummingbird hawk-moth

While exploring in Japan last week, I discovered a new favourite creature of mine: The hummingbird hawk-moth!

It uses the same mechanisms as hummers to hover, and has a long manoeuvrable proboscis to sip nectar and pollinate with. Seen from a distance, it is quite easy to mistake one of these insects for the tiny jewel-birds that are more familiar to us.

Read more about this wonderful insect and see process pictures on the original patreon post!


Virtual Art Residency in Japan – 日本でのバーチャルアートレジデンシー


Two weeks ago, my partner Seán and I embarked on a journey to Japan! ....kind of!

shiitake siblings

To explain: we had been planning for an October trip to Japan, but since that isn't possible right now, we decided to “go to Japan” in the ways that we can while staying put in Victoria. (Here's the full idea in sweet blog-post form: https://write.as/hummingcrow/ittekimasu)

During our virtual residency, we've been making a habit of creating little art pieces daily, which has been fun. These Shiitake Siblings (しいたけ兄弟) are my latest digital art thing, inspired by some extremely cute shiitakes I got from the farmers' market to add to my Japanese cooking experiments.

I'll be posting this on the creativity-oriented Japanese social networking site note to accompany the rest of the art we've shared so far. Take a look at some of the things we've been up to on our note page: https://note.com/hummingcrow !

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