The Yellow Flowers of Sudbury

Yellow, flowery, what more can I say...Location Taken: Dynamic Earth, Sudbury, ON, Canada
Time Taken: June 2010

These were some lovely yellow flowers outside the Dynamic Earth science center in Sudbury. I’d tell you more about them, but honestly, flower identification’s not really something I’ve specialized in. I can mainly tell you they’re yellow, have five petals, and are on a bush. And five minutes of googling haven’t yielded a decent flower identification site. It’s very tragic.

I can’t even tell if it’s native to the area, since it’s planted as part of the landscaping around the science center.

And yes, my family’s the type to visit science centers as the one thing we do in a quick stop into a city. It was fascinating, really. Sudbury’s got a really interesting geologic history. But, alas, it goes better with some of the other photos I took, so it shall have to wait. This is also very tragic.

To alleviate the tragedy, I suggest looking at the photo more. It’s full of yellow, a warm and happy color, one that reminds you of sunshine and hope!

I dislike yellow. And sunshine.

Darn it, still tragic.


Kitesurfing and the Thousand Islands

Location Taken: Thousand Islands
Time Taken: June 2010

Kitesurfing at the Thousand Islands sure seems like fun. Not that I’ve ever had any inclination to kitesurf. I don’t think I’d have the reflexes for it, or the knees. But it does look like a blast.

The Thousand Islands do look like a great place for watersports in general, really. And for those who are going “Isn’t Thousand Islands a… salad dressing?”, why yes it is! It’s also an island-filled stretch of the St. Lawrence River, on the border between New York, USA, and Ontario, Canada. The dressing (likely) just took its name from the islands, since it was (likely) invented there. Or named by an actress who thought the veggies in the dressing looked like the thousand islands. Sources are conflicted.

The islands are a fantastic place to visit, even if just driving by. They’re found where Lake Ontario ends, and the St. Lawrence begins. A part of the Canadian Shield cuts down into the USA, made of harder rock than that which was carved by glaciers to form Lake Ontario. The Lake, needing an outlet, chiseled its way through where ever it could find a crack, which lead to a large multitude of islands where the water carved away cracks on either side. One thousand, eight hundred and sixty four islands, to be specific, many quite small.

The criteria for what counts as an island is somewhat amusing. On the Wikipedia page it states that the islands have to be larger than a square foot, must stay above water year-round, and must support at least one living tree. This makes me think of a one-square-foot island supporting a one-square-foot tree. Just a tree, hanging out in the middle of the river, minding its own business.

There’s also at least two castles on the islands, Boldt Castle and Singer Castle, from the end of the Victorian Era when wealthy businessmen decided the place made for excellent summer homes. There’s also a lot of smaller houses on islands not too much larger than the house itself.

All in all, it’s a fantastic place, and it’s right by one of the few border crossings in the area, so if you need to go between the Ottawa area and northern New York state, you might as well stop and take a look.


A Lovely Lake, and What Lies Beneath.

Location Taken: Shore of Lake Nipissing, in North Bay, Ontario
Time Taken: June 2010

North Bay’s loveliest feature has to be the large lake right next to it, Lake Nipissing. My family stopped there overnight on our cross-countries trip that I mentioned last Saturday, in my very first post. Before heading to a local hotel, we drove along the shoreline to enjoy the lake, stopping and taking photos occasionally.

This particular photo looks out across the lake towards the Manitou Islands. Now, Manitou is a fairly common name for islands in the Great Lakes region, with these islands in Canada, two in Lake Superior, two in Lake Michigan, and, according to the disambiguation page on the subject on Wikipedia, possibly also a lake in Minnesota. Possibly. The link to that one’s currently red, and looking at the lake in Google Maps doesn’t even show a name for the island. And there isn’t even a link to the Manitou Islands I’m talking about. Hmm. If I was inclined to edit Wikipedia, I would fix that…

There is something rather interesting on the actual Wikipedia page for the actual Manitou Islands I’m talking about. Apparently, these islands, as well as a local bay, are old, eroded volcanic pipes!

I know, most of you are going “Whuh? Does that mean they’re going to explode or something?” while a few of you are like me and are going “Nifty! Are they kimberlite pipes?”

Alas, no, they are neither likely to explode nor are they kimberlite.

…Perhaps I should explain more.

Volcanic pipes form from the deepest volcanoes on earth, originating up to several hundred miles/kilometers underground, well inside the mantle, and only in areas of high pressure and temperature found below the thickest rocks of Earth’s crust. They tend to erupt only the once, but they erupt rather violently, bringing up material from deep below to the surface without giving the rock inside a chance to metamorphize on the way up. They’re one of our best ways to figure out what makes up most of this floating ball of mostly-molten rock we live on. There are a few rocks that are only found in volcanic pipes, such as kimberlite and its much more famous inclusion, diamonds.

Normally, when diamonds work their way up to the surface from deep below, they metamorphize to graphite on the way. For all their hardness, diamonds are fairly fragile stones, which is why we can actually cut them into gems. They’re certainly not forever, since given enough time in the pressures found at the surface, they will eventually turn into graphite. Don’t worry about your jewelry, though, I’m talking geologic time here, and they’ve got some natural crystal stability to them as well. Just don’t heat them to 700°C.  That will definitely start them turning to graphite.

If you want a stone that will last forever, go for zircons. No, not cubic zirconia, that’s zirconium dioxide, I’m talking about zirconium silicate here. The oldest rocks found are all zircons, dating back all the way to 4.0 to 4.4 billion years ago. The earth’s only estimated at 4.6 billion years or so, so that’s an awfully long time for these rocks to still be hanging around in their original form. So if you really want to show the length of your love, get her a zircon ring. Sure, it’s not a pretty stone, sure, most people will think you’re talking about cubic zirconia and that you’re cheap, and sure, any advantage it has over diamond won’t matter for millions of years, but it certainly can outlast all those sparkly diamond posers!


The Vagueness of the Illumina- No wait, it’s just an “About Me” post.

Oh, eek, it's the artist!Location Taken: Hurricane Ridge
Time Taken: Summer 2009

After two days of my mind-bendingly fantastic art, I am sure you are wondering who I am. Aside from someone who’s overly fond of hyperbole, of course. That one’s obvious.

My name’s Sharayah Schram, which, since there’s a very good chance you haven’t a clue how to say that, is pronounced “Sha” as in shard, “Ray” as in ray gun, and “Yah” as in “ya, I know it’s unusual”. The last name’s pronounced “Shram” rather than “Scram”, by the way. I’m the only one with this name combination in the world, which just seems appropriate given how unusual I am in general.

I am (hopefully obviously) an artist. I enjoy making a wide variety of art, from digital to photos to painting to Japanese braiding. I can’t stand oil paints, though. They make me twitch and feel oily, for whatever reason.  Most of the stuff I’ll be showing will be photos, simply because it only takes a second to create a photo as compared to the up-to-several-months my other work takes, so I’ve got more of them.

Some of this will go on the About page, by the way. I suggest you check that out, since I’ve put details on how this art blog is structured in there as well. And that will (hopefully) get updated as time goes by, while this post is set in time.

Anyways, a bit more about me! (I know, you can’t contain your excitement. Just squeal quietly, please.)

I’m currently 26, unemployed, and still living with my parents. I’ve got social phobia and some type of circadian rhythm disorder that means my sleep schedule’s set to “random”, so standard jobs are really tough on me. That’s a large part of why I’m starting this blog, since I hope to monetize it in the future. Blogs let me post at any time of the day, so no matter where my sleep schedule is, I can manage it. I’ll be setting up a buffer of posts and a set time for posting later, but for now, I’m writing this right before I post, even though it’s 5:30 in the morning (I’ve been up for hours).

I’ve got a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, with a minor in Geography, and I’ve read half the books in the science section at my local (very good) library, so I do believe I count as “Well-educated” and “Well-Rounded”. I’ve got a large vocabulary, and as my Mom says, I use ten-dollar words like they were a dime a dozen. I’m sure I’ll let some typos and grammar mistakes through, but that’s how such things go, and at least I won’t switch affect and effect.

I’m a bit of a recluse (but I’m not a spider). I mentioned the social phobia, but I’m also extremely introverted, naturally quiet, and generally asocial. I’m not shy, though! I managed to cure myself of that a few years ago!

I’m also asexual (and rather neutral gender-wise), which really doesn’t help with the socialization thing, since I don’t even have the possibility of canoodling to drive me to talk to people. It does let me see people as people, though, so I seem to be a pretty good judge of character. And it means I won’t really be talking about anything R-rated here. I’m even a bit pacifist (if blood-thirsty), so there will be not too much on the violence side either. I know, how boring. Don’t worry, I’m crazy enough to make up for it! Um, I mean “eccentric”. Really. Please don’t run away.(Running won’t work, anyway. Bwahaha.)

Anyway, where were we…  Ah right, more about ME! I mentioned hitting the library a lot earlier, so you’ve probably figured out that reading’s one of my favorite hobbies. I’m most fond of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Non-Fiction, with a focus on the sciences for the non-fiction, especially the geology section.

I’m also quite fond of video games, and will probably talk quite a bit about them in the future. Yes, I am quite thoroughly a geek. And a nerd, too. And yes, I can expound at length on the difference between the two.

I enjoy cooking, learning, and browsing the internet. And, apparently, occasionally writing like a personal ad. Ah well.

Hmm… not thinking of other things to put here at the moment. I’m sure much more will come out in my future posts, so it’s not too important anyway, but this at least tells you what sort of madwoman made the art you’ve been looking at.

And since I didn’t want to leave you bereaved of art today, that’s one of the very few photos of me, taken at the top of Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains. It was foggy (well, cloudy, but we WERE at the top of the mountain, and the cloud came to visit) and quite delightful, just hanging out in a cloud in an alpine meadow. And those aren’t sunglasses: I’ve got transition lenses, which were still adjusted to the bright sunlight that was there a few minutes earlier. I know, how geeky.


Dreamscape of the Queen

Dream a dream, of lands unknown.Time Drawn: 2009

There is something freeing, and yet terrifying, about making these dreamscapes. I create them working directly in ink (ballpoint pen in this case), so any errors must stay, forever, imprinted upon the strange worlds that come forth.

They come from deep within me, the part of me that bubbles with possibility.

Tapping that realm is tiring. I do not make these often, and they take months to create. Not so much due to the time required to draw it, but from the time required to recover from connecting my sub-conscious directly to my pen.

And yet, I feel as though I should create another soon, despite the toll it claims from me.

I cannot comment on the content of this art. It is as it is, and those who view it must decide what it is to them.

Well, except for one thing: that waterfall was fun to draw.