Gorilla House LIVE ART: October 30, 2013 A Perfect Day

As my readers know, last week we lost Lewis Allan (Lou) Reed.  The inspiration for last night’s painting were Lou Reed Lyrics.  I wasn’t feeling up for attending OR painting last night, but ironically enough, it was my father on some form of social media messaging, who encouraged me.  Beautiful, Dad.  It was good to paint.  Now, for the back-story on the poppies.

As a junior high teacher, I had attended, over the years, too many funerals for my students.  I have recently lost Jessica…and Sheri many years back…but so many boys, other people’s sons.  Visiting a funeral home along with other teachers, greeting families at the loss of their child, was surreal over and over again.  When Jarrett passed, I painted a show titled Pieces of Gold: A Tribute to Two Sons…and then when Chris and Peter passed in a tragic accident out highway 22X on October 22 of 1997, I began painting furiously in my studio.  One of the lines in Peter’s obituary…”One of Peter’s favourite hobbies was sketching.”

I painted large scale oriental poppies…approaching Remembrance Day that year…I simply wanted to remember.  Born in 1979, how was it possible that such young lights had been snuffed out?  I was having a very difficult time with the tragedy that other families were suffering and was fearful for my own children.  When I painted red, I painted the pain, sadness, utter joy of life and the history of children…the huge impact that they have in our lives.  No issue between children and their families can stand in the way of love.  Mothers…fathers…love your children.  Do the best you can.

1997

1997

1997

1997

I saw my work as a tribute and felt that I could ‘work’ the struggle away.  Recently, a dear friend mentioned my poppy paintings…the Red Green Show came to mind, so it was only instinct that as a tribute to Lou Reed, I paint a poppy and after months of neutral colour, at the loss of Mom, I squeezed red out onto my palette.

I wrote the complete lyrics to A Perfect Day in gold text from top to bottom.  The words poured out of me.  With white chalk, I sketched in the two blooms…one about to burst open and shed it’s protective cover, the other, fully open.  Thank you to Phil and Laila who purchased the piece at auction.  Remember.

P1130962 P1130964

Phil and Laila

Phil and Laila

Songwriters: JAMES, TIM / ARMATO, ANTONINA

 

Just a perfect day
drink Sangria in the park
And then later
when it gets dark, we go home

Just a perfect day
feed animals in the zoo
Then later
a movie, too, and then home

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spend it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

Just a perfect day
problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
it’s such fun

Just a perfect day
you made me forget myself
I thought I was
someone else, someone good

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow

Not All Music

Grief is tough.  In early July, the cement balconies and brick mortar required maintenance on the building.  If you haven’t read it, pick up The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.  During this brief period of time, Juster’s chapters on Dischord and Dynne came to mind…more than once.

In the analysis of Chapters 12 and 13,

In the Valley of Sound, Juster ties Milo’s lesson on perspective from Dischord and Dynne to the larger theme of appreciating everyday life. Just as Milo fails to appreciate the beauty of noises, the doctor and his sidekick are unable to appreciate the nicer sounds. When he reaches the Valley of Sound, Milo learns what happens when too many people take Dr. Dischord’s perspective. Just like Milo and Dischord, the residents of this valley have an unbalanced appreciation of sounds—they seem to prefer one kind to the extreme. As Milo learns, the residents of the valley became so unable to appreciate beautiful sounds that the Soundkeeper takes them away along with all the noises as well. Notice the plot similarity here with the city of Reality, whose city disappeared because they failed to appreciate it. It seems that what people take for granted in the Lands Beyond disappears.

At the Soundkeeper’s fortress, Milo learns about sounds in much the same way he learned about words in Dictionopolis. Sounds become tangible just like words at the Royal Banquet or in the word market. When he is actually able to see sounds in their “true” forms and the elaborate catalogue system that the Soundkeeper uses to keep track of them all, Milo seems to gain a greater appreciation of both noises and nice sounds. When Milo catches the word “but” in his mouth, Juster returns to his motif of punning by playing off the popular expression “on the tip of his tongue.” Once the sounds have been restored, the Soundkeeper realizes that her inability to appreciate all sounds makes her just as bad as Dischord and Dynne. Beauty, as we learned in the last section, is a matter of perspective. The Sound keeper realizes the sense of this, referring to Rhyme and Reason, symbols of wisdom, and declares that she will try to use each sound at the right time.

P1110192

Still Going Back to Move Forward: The Chit Chat Cafe of Napanee

I am still trying to complete my blog posts around my months shared with Dad in Belleville, Ontario.  Sometimes the present really must squash out the past…but at other times, the past needs to be integrated into what we have in this moment.  I treasured my time with my father above any other time we have shared and I never wish to forget the fragile and strong of that couple of months.  Through my father, I met so many lovely people, people like Andy and Sherry of the Chit Chat Cafe & Corner Market.  This afternoon, I updated a Blog that Sherry and I set up for her business and linked it to a Facebook site, so I think their social media is about as current as it can be.

For years, Mom and Dad drove out to Napanee, Ontario; sometimes after church for a piece of dessert or sometimes on a weekend for a Dinner Buffet and Live Music concert.  Most important to me and my family was the kindness that these two folk showed my parents, especially through these last couple of very difficult years.  Always having time for kindness and cheerfulness, these two have a way of making others feel special and then feeding them the very best of food.

During this journey of grief, some Sundays Dad and I left the parking lot after church and turned north east to Napanee…and somehow the coffee, the good people and the eggs benedict managed to do some comforting.

The best eggs benny I've ever eaten.

The best eggs benny I’ve ever eaten.

The second dinner concert I attended, with Dad, was a performance by Jay Aymar.  A fantastic story teller and an authentic song writer, Jay left us with lots to think about.  Music is a big part of our family, so music coupled with good food is an especially  magical combination.  Jay Aymar’s blog, Road Stories, is very entertaining for the real-life experiences he shares.

Sherry's Peanut Butter Chocolate Trifle

Sherry’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Trifle

Lemon Poppy Cake

Lemon Poppy Cake

A First Serving

A First Serving

P1110855 P1110859 P1110860 P1110881 P1110903http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4mhhgk8Avg

Heritage Weekend at Calgary Public Library

Besides LOVING ART in CALGARY, I’m also very interested in history and so managed to get over to the Central Branch for their session on Calgary Stories in the John Dutton Theater.

A most entertaining session was delivered by three local historians.  Wowsah!

First, Historian Laureate, Harry Sanders, shared archival images Z-A and brief and entertaining snippets of our local history while he went.  Harry, your website isn’t current, but looking forward to reading content after construction ends.  For now, updates can be scanned via Mr. Sander’s twitter account.  His presentation was very entertaining and the public library promises that yesterday’s session will be taped for the purpose of viewing in future on Youtube.

Directly from Harry Sander’s website…this.

An historian from an early age . .

When he was a child, Harry Sanders found an old beat-up photo of the hotel his family owned and knew he wanted to find out more. That photo inspired Harry to research and write about the Whitehouse Hotel in Drumheller, Alberta and he has been writing ever since. Harry uses historic buildings as the catalyst to an exploration of the people and events that have shaped Calgary and Alberta history. He especially likes making obscure connections that others may not have noticed and relating current events to what has happened long before most of us were even born.

Harry has published articles in several magazines and is the author of 7 books on local history. He will have two new books published in 2012. As well as being a prolific author, Harry is also a popular public speaker.

Next, Harry Sanders introduced Historian, John Gilpin.  Now, with my interest in the river as metaphor for mostly everything I think and do, this talk fascinated me.  John Gilpin has authored several books, one being The Elbow: A River in the Life of the City.  The focus of yesterday’s talk was our history with flooding and the issues surrounding decisions on historical mitigation.  I took a couple of photographs in the dark…absolutely fascinating.  Visually, the projected images and the timeline for the building of the Glenmore Dam were of particular interest to me.  

P1130926 P1130927Fascinating that our city should have such a history around flooding.  Again, once the talk has been published, I will post it here…it was absolutely ‘spilling over’ with interesting fact and narrative.  John Gilpin is often involved with tours and talks and has participated in the Jane’s Walks events, an organization I hope to tap into this coming spring.

David Finch, dressed in his early oilman ‘get up’ was the last to speak and his focus was on the oil, natural gas and other related products as the industries developed in Turner Valley.  A charming speaker, this was another very informative and packed session.

I can not speak highly enough about the programs generated at the Calgary Public Library.  As I made my way to the theater, there was Artist-in-Residence, Lea Bucknell, busy with at least fifteen people of all ages, drawing and looking at books.  What a wonderful event!

Taking Notice

So, I had left the Jarvis Hall Fine Art Gallery and was walking back to my van parked some distance away.  The walk took me along some side streets.  That’s when I landed myself into the middle of one of those amazing moments…the kind when you say to yourself…”Wow…am I ever blessed!”  Autumn leaves were crunching under my feet.  Arms of giant trees reached up to a blue sky.  The air was filled up with the season.  I paused and took this picture.

P1130870I hope that when I look at this photograph, I will remember the magic of that moment of realization.

This morning, still dressed in my flannel nightgown, I looked out the windows and had the same experience, but over entirely different weather and situation.  I had slept in.  My head was filled with thoughts of what I ‘should’ be doing. Everything seemed to have been transformed over night.

I was profoundly touched, remembering the hours of pleasure I’ve enjoyed, watching the birds filling up ravenously at the feeder these past weeks.  Now, to see my little friends out in the snow, I wondered just how they manage to get through the winters.  I saw their beauty, as though for the first time.

P1130951 P1130941 P1130948

Some time later, Max and I headed out into the weather.  Remembering that I am living with a herding dog, I got him over to the pond for a good bit of exercise.  We were all alone. Everything was beautiful.  The ducks, dark boats on dark water…the sky white…the vegetation white…the wind, biting…the only sound, crunch of my feet on the stones and snow.  Max ran hard, playing and eating snow as we went.  I caught myself laughing out loud.

After circling the pond and heading back, I gave one big throw of his Frisbee and watched as the wind carried the thing up high, down past the tall ant hills and into the cat tails by the pond’s edge.  “Max!  Max!  No, boy…LEAVE IT!”  I saw the bull rushes moving and knew that my determined pooch was going to go into the pond, come hell or high water!  Sure enough, a very wet border collie came bounding toward me, proud as punch that he had retrieved the old and mucky toy.

We headed back to the van at lightening speed, Max carrying the muddied toy; both were icicles upon our arrival to the parking lot.  Into the kennel he flew, whining and whimpering.  I thought to myself…these are the daily occurrences that my readers rarely encounter on my blog…

I take pause and make note of that particular moment of realization.  Recently, what I’ve discovered, more than anything, is the blessing in the ordinary experiences of my days.  I am a blessed lady.

Beef Barley Soup...Always good for a wintry day.

Beef Barley Soup…Always good for a wintry day.

Love Art in Calgary: Aaron Sidorenko’s Studio

Always a few steps behind the rest of the tour group, I was grateful to be met by a very special door man, young York, as I made my way to his Dad’s studio space.  “Really?  We’re not taking the elevator, York?”  Exhilarating! I climbed several flights of stairs and followed the sounds of voices…the artist already in enthusiastic conversation with the tour group. “Thank you, York.”

Magic!  Pure magic!  I really really really enjoyed getting to visit Aaron Sidorenko’s studio.  Artists’ studios are fascinating places because they hold so many personal objects…they capture the mysteries of technique that has been developing over long periods of time…they contain book collections…they remove some of the mystery.  I felt as though I was stepping into a treasure chest.

I enjoyed bumping into photographer, Jeremy Fokken’s blog…it features some brilliant photographs of Aaron within his space.  Nice to see some professional photographs!  The quality is stunning.  Also, a great resource, Aaron’s website.  Thank you, Aaron, for opening up your studio to us.  I am so happy that when I left, we could all get a ride on the elevator!

P1130871 P1130873 P1130874 P1130876 P1130878 P1130881 P1130884 P1130885 P1130890 P1130892 P1130893 P1130896 P1130898 P1130899 P1130900P1130902 P1130903 P1130906 P1130909 P1130910 P1130911 P1130912 P1130913 P1130915 P1130920

Love Art in Calgary: Carl White at Jarvis Hall Fine Art

Shannon Williamson, Assistant Director of Jarvis Hall Fine Art, introduced us to Carl White.  She was bright eyed and smiling as she explained that this was the last day for the exhibit.  My readers might remember that I had written of the opening event, but this was a wonderful thing to be able to have the artist to ourselves for conversation and inspiration.  I circled Carl like a shark at the opening, but never did get closer than four feet from him…openings are just like that.  This tour was oh-so-much-better!

Some of the topics that Carl White explored during his artist talk were poetry, cursive writing, romanticism, art as layering of skin/flesh, teacher as facilitator and Gnosticism.  It was a thought provoking morning and the conversation certainly informed the work and our experience of the pieces.  Shannon generously pulled out some of Carl’s earlier works that contributed to an even broader context.  Thank you, Carl White, for your time and your thoughts.

Words carried away in my heart as we left the gallery…”Kath, who is your e?”

P1130862 P1130864 P1130866 P1130869

Courtesy of Jarvis Hall Fine Art

Courtesy of Jarvis Hall Fine Art

 

Love Art in Calgary: Red Line Gallery

At the Red Line Gallery, Harold Pendergast greeted us in typical good cheer.  A very diverse exhibit was curated by Steward & Creative, Redheaded Champion of Artistic Expression. The space that was both warm and intimate.  It was the perfect first pit stop for the Love Art in Calgary tour, lovingly planned by our fearless leader, Wendy Lees.  As is her impeccable style, again, we started our day with hot coffee and home made coffee cake.  Members of the tour group were treated to a variety of art magazines and ‘things-about-town’ reminders.

Coffee CakeThis was a very relaxing start to the day…moments filled with little conversations about art and life and reconnect with our Love Art friends.  A lovely space and home for the Oilmens Review.

P1130818 P1130823 P1130832 P1130835 P1130838 P1130840 P1130844 P1130848 P1130851 P1130853 P1130856 P1130858

Meeting David Bouchard

It was a magical thing to be a guest teacher where David Bouchard was doing an author’s presentation for the students at Cardinal Newman School here in Calgary. As a classroom teacher for 35 years, I had a love for books that contain life lessons and that hold the narratives of ordinary people. I wasn’t very satisfied with the movies I captured on my small camera, given that his presentation took place in a gymnasium. However, here at home, I’ve discovered some clear and representative videos.

David Bouchard’s short biography is available on his extensive website and most of David’s titles are listed here.  We received two stories yesterday morning, Rainbow Raven and Papa Lost His Lucky.  Amazing stuff.

I treasure listening to stories…always have.  A polished presentation, David’s stories captivated the very young audience seated before him and they contained rich histories for the adults in the room as well.

P1130812

David Bouchard: Author and Speaker

David Bouchard: Author and Inspiration

Mr. Patterns, Featured Documentary at the Esker Foundation

Last night I had opportunity to view the beautiful documentary, Mr. Patterns, at the Esker Foundation.  I was so happy to meet up with Wendy Lees of Love Art in Calgary and to sit back in such a perfect space, nibbling on popcorn and sipping lime bubbly.  If you have not yet visited the exhibit Fiction/Non-Fiction, please do.

The thirteen artists in Fiction/Non-fiction challenge mainstream cultural and political narratives by offering transcultural critique through works that propose counterpoints, rhetorical questions, and revisionist statements (often as increasingly abstract forms of representation) to official historical records or archives.

Sometimes people appreciate my book suggestions.  As related to the topic of the documentary, I recommend two books.  A 1986 book, Songlines, written by Bruce Chatwin is directly related to the Dreamtime of the Papunya Tula artists.  I had tears in the dark when I saw in the documentary, the artists singing the Honey Ants…a powerful piece of iconography, strong symbols, on the side of a building.

Papunya Tula Honey Ants

Papunya Tula Honey Ants

I also recommend, especially for my women-readers, Marlo Morgan’s Mutant Message Down Under.  These two books will introduce the reader to a context as it relates to the status of the indigenous peoples of Australia.  The documentary presented parallels to the stories of indigenous peoples the world over.  A must-see.

The Papunya Tula art movement says so much about the human spirit and Geoffrey Bardon is to be commended for his vision and his promotion of the artists throughout that period of history.  The documentary was laced together with 16 mm. footage.  I enjoyed that sensibility as it contributed to themes of memory.

Charlie Tararu Tjungurrayi

Charlie Tararu Tjungurrayi