Prayer Perfect

I know that in my head at night, I paint pictures.  Sometimes these pictures keep me awake.  My father, given that he has been blessed with the gift of music, recites hymns to himself as a matter of prayer.  Whatever the gift, I believe that it is intended that creative expression be offered back to our Creator.

Dad sang Prayer Perfect in the Moose Jaw Christian music festival a ‘few’ years back. (smiling, as I type this) and now he is thinking about singing it again, at the age of 82, likely in a different key.  I wish I could be sitting in a pew on the day that this might happen!

Robert Pounder would have been the accompanist for Dad in Moose Jaw.

Robert Pounder would have been the accompanist for Dad in Moose Jaw.

Parting Gift Presentation with Mrs. A. Weir, Choral Director

Parting Gift Presentation with Mrs. A. Weir, Choral Director


I have archived most of Dad’s sheet music. It only took a minute to locate the piece and  I’ve enjoyed, the past few minutes, learning about the history of the piece.  A poem by James Whitcomb Riley, the piece was later put to music by Ervine J. Stenson, and published by SAM FOX.  Dad’s copy of the score has a copyright date of 1930.  It cost 60 cents at the time.

When James Whitcomb Riley died,  Woodrow Wilson called him “a man who imparted joyful pleasure and a thoughtful view of many things that other men would have missed”.

  • The Prayer Perfect song /​ poem by James Whitcomb Riley ; music by Ervine J. Stenson.
  • Stenson, Ervine J.
Other Creators
  • Riley, James Whitcomb, 1849-1916.
  • Sydney : Sam Fox, c1916.
Physical Description
  • 1 score ([2] p.) ; 28 cm.
  • For low medium voice.
  • English

While there are other versions, this is The Prayer Perfect written by James Whitcomb Riley and musical arrangement by Ervine J Stenson.

P1150429 P1150430 P1150434 P1150435 P1150437A quick narrative…a memory.  My Dad kept his music in a beautiful old leather satchel and most times, it was kept in the linen cupboard.  When I was a little girl, I remembered one time when Mom’s back was turned, taking out some of my father’s music and colouring pictures on it.  For a very long time, I felt very scared that I had ruined something very special and did not ever make confession of my actions.  Just today, as I went through the music, I found such drawings and they made me smile.

Love Notes

P1150418 P1150419 P1150420My cousin, Margy, received Love Note #11.

I sent off the last two Love Notes two days ago, apart from the one that I have kept for myself.

P1150403 P1150406 P1150408 P1150409 P1150411 P1150413 P1150414I painted the series in 2004.  It’s difficult to believe that already ten years have passed.  Their story follows.

Love Notes

A Series of 12 Paintings



In 2004, I took up running along the ridge and down on to the lower trail along the Bow River.  I had stopped to take a break at a random point.  It was shady.  I was completely alone, and to the right of me, the river flowed a blue green.  I bent to tighten my laces, when at my toe, I saw a single rose.  Bewildered, I picked it up and held it in my hand, looking.  I spoke out loud at that time and said, “If this is some sort of a sign, Lord, thank you.”

I had lost at love again.  It had become a ritual with me in my life.  This time I was stumped and struggling to get back on track.  The rose was a gift for me, a gift of healing.

Just next to the path and under some trees, I found a bench.  I decided to sit and rest there for a time.  I didn’t notice them at first, but there, hung by ribbon from the trees, were eleven roses.  I gasped.  All of a sudden, I felt that the space, the landscape and the river were more sacred.  Something had happened at this location or someone special/an event had been remembered.  I sat quietly for the longest time.  Instead of continuing on a run, I turned for home, the rose still in my cupped hand.

I decided to paint a dozen roses…nostalgia, memory, love, symbols…

Eleven people have now received a Love Note…I have kept the one.  The process: I flipped the paintings over in a grid of twelve and I wrote out my own love note, left to right, from top to bottom.  Writing had, over the years, become an essential practice for me...this, along with exploring the visual world…objects…landscape…faces.

four by three

One to TwelveThe painting at the top left was titled Love Note #1, all the way to Love Note #12 in the bottom right.  If you received a Love Note, it was because something in you lit a spark in me.  This was a very random, but time-impacted process.  It would take an amazing moment in the gyre of life to bring the owners all together so that they might read the complete note on the back, something that connects all of you!

The original rose that I found at my toe remains in my studio, a reminder of the lessons taught in my favourite book, Le Petit Prince par Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  If you received a Love Note, I would love to hear from you…and hear about the moment when you received a painting gift from me.  I would enjoy reading your love note to me.

P1150422 P1150423 As time passes, I lose friends.  I hold onto their memory in words and images.

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Esker Happenings: The Way Air Hides the Sky

I’m thinking about the early-rise tomorrow morning.  I will drive over to my daughter’s place where we’ll watch the Canda-Sweden game together and share some breakfast.  4:00 comes early, but I wanted to archive a few more events/ideas before I head for bed, so that tomorrow is a fresh beginning to the week.  I feel so blessed for so many reasons.

Tyler Los-Jones presented an artist-talk at Esker this past week.  These sessions are always so rich and a multitude of connections are made.  Tyler’s piece is titled The Way Air Hides the Sky and is located in the Project Space tucked in at the entrance to the Esker building.

Tyler’s talk was both academic (heady) and in so many ways, humourous.  He was very authentic in his approach.  As a result of the talk, it is easier to enjoy the work…or form more of a relationship to it.  Also, I came home to do some more reading about Tyler’s process and intention.  I like the images found here.  The following image and the body of work related to it was most appealing to me.  Photo Credit: Walter Phillips Gallery

Tyler Los-Jones, we saw the reflected inverted image of our own age #6-2013

Tyler Los-Jones, we saw the reflected inverted image of our own age #6-201

I captured some images of The Way Air Hides the Sky, …and more reflecting…as the glass reflects my own image back to me…and I become an inclusion to the myriad of reflective surfaces already present in the piece.  An interesting program.

P1150249 P1150250 P1150251 P1150252 P1150253 P1150254 P1150255 P1150256 P1150257 P1150258On the Esker Foundation website, Shauna Robertson writes

December 16, 2013 – March 16, 2014

Much of Tyler Los-Jones’ practice is concerned with the way in which we frame nature and insist upon a detachment between it and ourselves: the anthropocentric assumption that we are distinct from it and not intrinsically linked to it, neither physically nor temporally. That nature is Othered to us and exists for our use, enjoyment, and consumption has long been inherent in the vernacular of landscape photography, and this type of mediated representation of the natural persists to this day largely unchanged.

The way air hides the sky suggests a meditative proposition for reframing or dismantling these invisible divisions, complicit hallucinations, and the uneasy relationship between humanity and the natural world. The installation borrows the language and materials of industrial and interior design as a vehicle for the natural image—light boxes, room dividers, rolls of wallpaper, and mirrors: tools for image-making—and deploys them within the conceit of a perpetually in-progress storefront. Situated in a space of commerce and high traffic, the sense of something in process—or, noticed eventually over time, in a mode of permanent stasis—gives us pause, for a moment, to become productively stuck.

Our expectation of the fictitious display window, with its conflation of sultry, slick, sexy, high-gloss theatricality and the serpentine infiltration of the provisional and the natural, operates—in the timbre of a whisper—as a permeable barrier that suggests that which we are already aware: the open secret that we exist not outside of, but within, an oscillating space between the real and the imagined, the interior and the exterior, the natural and the constructed, the opaque and the transparent.

Hear’s My Soul in the Orange Lofts

After such a ‘magical’ afternoon, painting…it was over to Nina Saini’s Hear’s My Soul Cafe for wine and celebration.  A gathering space in the Orange Lofts, this little cafe must be enjoyed by all!  This is a spirit-filled and ‘happening’ place.  Problems get resolved at Hear’s My Soul.  Inspiration happens at Hear’s My Soul!  Much connecting happens as a person looks out onto one of the coolest intersections of the city…people are warm and funny.  The wine is good.  The food is exquisite.  I settled in and relaxed with Wendy Lees, grateful for the friendship and conversation.

From the menu, I selected, Smoked meat, garlic aoili, grilled zucchini and red peppers, red onion, arugula and aged white cheddar PANINI!  Yummers…and Woodbridge Cabernet-Sauvignon 2012 as an accompaniment.  Fantastic!

P1150386There are powerful stories written on the walls…visual narratives that sing of heart, spirit, life, children, pain, mothers, resilience…this is such a beautiful space!  GO!

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I really enjoy attending THE FIRSTS of things going on in our city, and just happened to hit this event last evening.  Recently I attended the first of the full moon walks accompanied by cellist, Morag Northey, down in Fish Creek Park.  This particular intimate gathering of folk meant bringing out the paint, pencils and markers!  I recognized Sarah-Joy from Nikki Reimer’s Calgary reading from sic ages ago, so a lovely thing to reconnect.  On Hear’s My Soul Facebook page, the gathering is advertised this way.  Something else for creatives in Calgary to keep in mind.

“Hi all! First time drink and draw session will begin tomorrow, Friday 21st starting at 7pm! Once a month a group of artist…any type are invited to join other creators to do what you do best…kinda like a sketch session but it doesn’t matter what medium of art you practice. You can even just come by….chill with others…have drink of any sort ( as always I recommend booze) network or practice your art. Everyone is welcome. So come down and join!”

P1150400 P1150398 P1150397 P1150395 P1150393 P1150391 P1150390 P1150389 P1150388Thank you, Nina, for providing a space that is warm, welcoming, inspiring…a space with everyone can gather.

It Takes ‘A Village’

The East Village here in Calgary, is serving me up opportunities that I never imagined possible.  This past week, I’ve had another two sessions with creatives at the Golden Age Club, people who come from all directions, to this location in order to paint.  My inspiration this week was taken from a request on one of the pre-painting forms that I handed out last month…painting a simple landscape.

P1150402When we encounter art, beginning with representational art, there is a mystery.  The mystery is usually related to the illusion of depth that the artist creates, the casting of light and shadow, the techniques involved with creating textures and detail.  It causes within us, a sense of wonder.  There is a very long tradition of landscape painting worldwide, but of course, with the work of our Group of Seven and the vastness of our Canadian landscape, what’s not to wonder about?

Thanks to Wendy Lees of create! who set out fresh baking, hot coffee and tea and brought in an assortment of books that supported our ongoing exploration of colour mixing.  The space is gradually evolving into a wonderful studio space.

Several new painters arrived yesterday at one o’clock…Mr. Green and Professor Plum (lol) and four lovely and effervescent artists, bearing colourful scarves.  Not only was this an encounter of magical people and more-magical conversation, but I saw huge leaps of understanding as we moved from last month’s spheres in space, to foreground, middle ground and background trees.

After our introductory landscape lesson, Tuesday, yesterday’s focus was on contrast…light against dark.  It is easy to see the progression in the works based on this new concept.

Leslie’s work transformed with pops of white and detail.  I brought, to her attention, works by German Abstract Expressionist, Oskar Kokoschka.



Oskar KokoschkaAn earlier piece by Leslie…

January's Painting

January’s Painting

create 20d-rae added contrast and has begun with his deepest value to create a layering for shrubbery….light comes foreward…dark sets back.


A light blue background creates contrast and allows the evergreens on the ridge to visually pop.

A light blue background creates contrast and allows the evergreens on the ridge to visually pop.

Fran is very tactile…incorporates collage, texture and colour experimentation.  She is the first one in the group to move beyond the boundaries or expectations of the classes and explore the concepts in her own way!  Bravo!  She has been thinking about sunflowers…drawn to them.  In the end, she flips her canvas board over and creates all of the sensibility of sunflowers in a non-objective piece.  Beautiful!

P1150313P1150346 - Copy

Fran wears jewelery fashioned out of Milkweed pods...when I look at her, I am thinking of monarch butterflies.

Fran wears jewelery fashioned out of Milkweed pods…when I look at her, I am thinking of monarch butterflies.

P1150334 P1150356 - CopyIrving puts down his wee brush…picks up something larger…begins to add water to his palette…lets the colour move…and voila!  He moves away, gradually, from tubal colour to mixing.  Awesome!

P1150315 P1150342 - CopyTexture abounds, and Margaret considers selling me her beautiful mosaic, created while taking Michelena Bamford’s class.

P1150316 P1150338 - Copy Loretta’s work is full of wondrous mixing and has an impressionistic feel…all about the textures of landscape…the sky.

P1150318We missed Shirley yesterday…but she has strong design qualities in her style and approach.

P1150319Your first painting, Professor Plum?  Are you kidding?


Absolutely open to engagement...hunger to learn...wonderful conversation!

Absolutely open to engagement…hunger to learn…wonderful conversation!

Mr. Green adds the figure…not an easy thing for any of us.  I decided not to comment, but to let things happen.  We have a discussion about the central tree and I try to hit on issues around composition and center of interest.


A wondrous blast of conversation and painting shared by all!  Karen and I talk with one another about marketing work…her fascination with large paintings…her willingness to let go in the process and her avoidance of precious attachment in the creative process.

Karen's freedom with washes.

Karen’s freedom with washes.

Needs something in the bottom right?  OK!

Needs something in the bottom right? OK!


A water colourist takes up the challenge of acrylic paint.


Gary, a confident artist who practices abstract painting on large format, produces a landscape.

P1150335 P1150336 - Copy P1150322Georgie needs contrast?  Add red!

P1150343 - CopyFour new friends…

P1150352 - CopyMark sculpting on the side lines…

P1150349 - Copy P1150350 - Copy

Bruce becomes engaged with the science of colour and Jenn, GH buddy joins us on her afternoon off.

Edward becomes engaged with the science of colour and Jenn, GH buddy joins us on her afternoon off.

Wonder.  Gratitude.  Fun!

May 6,1878 Courtroom Drama: My Family!

Just recently, I’ve learned that my ancestor, John Moors and his wife, Grace Porter, lived at 42 Princes Street at Stamford Street in Blackfriars, London…this would also be known as Lambeth.

Here is a link recording that this very location has been renamed Coin Street.  The first appearance of a change in name came in 1912.

By some miracle, my ancestors’ misfortunes became my good fortune, in that only minutes ago, I located, in full transcript, an incident that brought my family members into a court room in 1878.  How often does a descendent have opportunity to read their ancestors’ recorded testimony?  I am so excited and will, of course, learn so much about my family by looking carefully at this transcript.

Thanks to my father’s application for information, I recently read the following records regarding my British Home Child Great Grandfather, John Moors.  The shopkeeper mentioned here would be my Great Great Grandfather, John Moors.

The shopkeeper’s son, John, left Britain on the SS Parisian on 8th of August 1889 and arrived in Montreal/Quebec on 16th of August, 1889.  He was 13 years old.

“On admission: this boy has highly respectable parents, but the father is afflicted and unable to engage in active work.  He and his wife keep a little shop but their earnings are very small.  This case is recommended by one of the Mildmay Deaconesses who work in South London.  The family are very thankful for John to emigrate.  He has been well brought up.”

Here are the pages from the court case of so many years ago…(All material is made available free of charge for individual, non-commercial use only.)  Located at The Proceedings of the Old Bailey: London’s Central Criminal Court, 1674-1913.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.0, 16 February 2014), May 1878 (t18780506).

Page One John Moors shopkeeperPage Two John Moors ShopkeeperPage Three John Moors ShopkeeperPage Four John Moors ShopkeeperTree John MoorsWhen he also left Britain for Canada, my great great grandfather received this time piece from St. Andrew’s Parish prior to his journey.


A description of the parish is here…

“The Church of St. Andrew’s was designed by Samuel Sanders Teulon in a style described at the time as “Geometric Decorated.” It seated nearly 800 people and cost just over £ 10,000. One item in the bill was for extra digging and driving piles “consequent upon the tides.” The church was consecrated in June, 1856. In 1874 the vicar, the Rev. Frederick Tugwell, bought additional land and rebuilt one of the aisles, inserting five windows in what had previously been a blank wall. (ref. 54)

During the war of 1939–45 St. Andrew’s was so badly damaged as to be rendered unusable, though most of its fabric still remains (Plate 9).

List of Incumbents and Vicars. 1846, Agmond C. Carr; 1850, Alfred S. Canney; 1858, Lewen Tugwell; 1865, Frederic Tugwell; 1883, Trevor Fielder; 1892, George Edward Asker; 1900, George R. Lees; 1915, Thomas Walton; 1926, Wilfrid G. B. Middleton; 1938, Arthur W. Burfield; 1949, Eric W. A. Dean.

Architectural Description

St. Andrew’s Church, which is orientated approximately north and south, has at its north-east corner a bold tower and spire. The spire, which is octagonal, is slated and rises from the four gables over the belfry stage of the tower. The church is built in stock brick close banded with rough-dressed stone coursing. It has a clerestoried nave with aisles at each side. The light-coloured brickwork of the interior is relieved with red bricks in regular courses and in geometrical patterns. With the gabled end wall of the nave, the spire and tower close the vista at the southern end of Coin Street. The church shows strongly that Continental influence common in much of Teulon’s work.”

While I have not yet fit together all of the pieces, I have been researching and know that my Great Great Grandfather was likely raised up for several childhood years in the Lambeth Workhouse, as many orphaned children were.

I have located an 1868 map at this location…Map Of London 1868, By Edward Weller, F.R.G.S. Revised And Corrected To The Present Time By John Dower, F.R.G.S.  In the bottom right hand corner of this segment, one can see Princes Street where it intersects with Stamford Street.

Map credit: Map Of London 1868, By Edward Weller, F.R.G.S. Revised And Corrected To The Present Time By John Dower, F.R.G.S.

Map credit: Map Of London 1868, By Edward Weller, F.R.G.S.
Revised And Corrected To The Present Time By John Dower, F.R.G.S.

The above section has been magnified out of the overall map seen below.

1868 London MapToday, Princes Street is called Coin Street and you can find the same location top right of the map below.

Coin Street

Word Paintings

Last night, I attended Mount Royal’s guest speaker session and heard a talk delivered by Dr. Linda Henderson on the topic, Photo Essay: Method and Memoir.  She used published photo essays produced by her late sister, Janet Rose.  I felt blessed to be in attendance, not exclusively because of the deeply shared session, but also because I was able to meet Shirley.  I think that’s the bigger story here, but I’m too caught up in the floaters in my brain (ideas) to write about it.  It’s Valentine’s day and everyone is writing about love and thinking about what they’ve won and what they’ve lost.

I opened a book of poems.  Here are a series of photographs that feature some words that paint pictures…words written by Rev. Robert Aris Willmott.  This book, 19th Century Poets, was given to M.J.B. with the compliments of C.R.L. in Brantford, January 24, 1900.  Wowsah.  I love the words in this book…the engravings…and celebrate Cathy Larsen who gave it to me some years ago.

P1150196 P1150197 P1150198 P1150201 P1150202 P1150203 P1150205 P1150206 P1150207 P1150208 P1150209 P1150210 P1150211 P1150212 P1150213Always…read between the lines.  Pay attention to the Word Paintings!

It was 2008!

In 2008, I left behind a drawing/message a day on a piece of fabric.  My friend, Cathy, then quilted it all together in love.  Today I am thinking about that friendship and in going over the bits of writing, I am considering just how rich our lives are, particularly if we have the reminders of a snapshot each day, left behind.  Yes, life is a struggle at times!  And although life does not promise to be easy, it is a many-layered, magical memoir.  I am putting MY 2008 out there, as a healing sentiment for all.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

Photo Credit: Jenn Hall

Photo Credit: Jenn Hall

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Love is in the Air! Talking to Grade Ones

Grade ones…well, what can be more fun?

Of course, we will do our calendar!  Where is my engine? Where is my caboose? (a unique approach at assigning helpers…and yes…you’ve got it…for their special day the engine leads the line and the caboose is at the end! LOL)

Here’s a valentine’s story book…gather on the sharing carpet, please.  Isn’t it funny that the little girl made a card for her dog?  Are you excited?  (Heads nod)

Time to get our work done first!  Let’s do our worksheets.  They are supposed to be done at the end of the morning, but let’s do them first…let’s do letter “J” in our printing books at the end of the morning,  OK?

OK! They call out in unison.  For a while, the students work hard at their four pictures of red things and their matching questions about chocolate, pink, valentines and cards.  It takes some effort to figure out the difference between valentines and cards.  Even the teacher is stumped for a while.  Those are collected up…

Let’s paint before recess, so they can dry while you are playing outside!  (A cheer lifts from the desks.)

Is it alright if we move your desks a little? (The class explodes into a burst of energy and commentary…all about the various concerns around moving the desks…the tape markers on the floor…who is away) Can we move them across the room?

Let’s create a LAND OF LOVE!  And…how about during the days of the dinosaurs?  Let’s talk about the shapes of dinosaurs.  Do you know the names of any types of dinosaurs?  (We draw turtle shaped dinosaurs on the white boards…long necked dinosaurs…)

They eat from trees!

One young boy, stretches out his t-shirt (I think one arm is out)…his eyes and head down….and he shouts out, “Look!  T-REX!  He eats meat!”  (One can never be so grateful for small surprises on days when one is teaching grade ones to paint dinosaurs!)

In your practice book, draw the dinosaur shape that you want to paint today.  Touch all four sides of your practice book.  YES!  It has to be THAT BIG!  Imagine when you get big paper!  Look how big your dinosaurs will be!

Let’s paint the main shapes of the dinosaurs before recess.  You can look at your practice book dinosaur.  You can draw them in chalk first and wipe anything that makes you unhappy.  You can start over and over again with chalk.  But remember, in art, there are no mistakes!  How to share the paint bucket with your partner?  How to care for your brush?  Dip. Wipe. Stroke. How to decide if your paper is ‘up and down’ or ‘wide’.  Don’t forget to touch each side if you can!

P1150117 P1150118 P1150119 P1150120 P1150121Now…let’s wait for those to dry.  Outdoor recess this morning!  It’s above -16 degrees!  Toques! Gloves! Snow Pants! Crackers on the floor!

How do you know your paint is dry?

Mine’s not dry!

Yes, it is!

Except for here!  It’s dark here!

That’s right!  Your paint is darker when it’s wet!

While we’re waiting, LOOK, I have different valentine’s colours!  Will you each cut out 15 hearts…I don’t mind…any sizes!

15?  That’s too many hearts!

You can do more if you want!

Wild decoration begins…

What’s a colour family?  Let’s decorate in our colour family.  Choose your pinks, red, white, purple out of your oil pastel boxes…

Can I do a green palm tree?

No. (It is here that I consider why not…and think about the outcome for a class if I invite one student to colour a green palm tree)

A monologue begins in the back of my mind as I’m answering other questions, sorting out oil pastel boxes and dealing with one little girl who is painstakingly still painting in her dinosaur shape.

(I guess I’m like an artist here and have made a decision about an overall composition…I’m busy creating unity in my piece…if one boy draws a green tree…my composition falls apart.  Is that what is going on?)

Piles of hearts begin to heap on student desks…things are happening.

P1150130(A boy asks routinely to go to the washroom…I say, “sure”, and moments later the kindergarten teacher from the hall sticks her head inside my classroom and informs me that my student has had an accident in the hall.  You know what that means.  I approach quickly, mouth hanging open…dinosaurs growing throughout the classroom…she says…”Never you mind…everything is under control.”  I say a prayer of blessing.  I am so grateful.  No one knows what layers unfold for a teacher in a single day.)

The dinosaurs are dry!

P1150123 P1150126Have fun now!

P1150137 P1150138 P1150139 P1150142 P1150143 P1150145 P1150147 P1150148 P1150149 P1150151 P1150155 P1150156 P1150158If you are finished, you may clean up your desk area and practice your letter “J” in your printing books while you are waiting for your friends to be finished.



A student comes from the back of the room with a single paper towel.  With one more trip to the back of the room, I avert a major disaster!

How are we supposed to draw a picture of Joe Just Jokes?  That’s a bad sentence!

Oh, just draw someone laughing!  (I laugh to myself as I tuck the art into stacks as they are finished and pick up red paper bits that are scattered everywhere.)

As I head out the door for lunch, I quickly tack some of the amazing creations to the bulletin board!  An awesome morning with grade one!

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My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.

Pablo Picasso

More Made in Calgary: the 1990s!

Poster produced and published for the purpose of advertising the launch of Made in Calgary: the 1990s and Worn to be Wild

Poster produced and published for the purpose of advertising the launch of Made in Calgary: the 1990s and Worn to be Wild

It was a bitterly cold night, but I decided that I really wanted to take in the events at the Glenbow, after leaving Contemporary Calgary (formerly AGC).  The walk was nice and there was a definite hum as I was going over the delights of the evening in my head.

I didn’t take photographs in the Glenbow, but am pleased to notice that there is good coverage about the present exhibits on line and in the news..  The air was charged with conversation and excellent music when I arrived.  I guess you could say that ‘the place was rockin’.  Extensions of one another, the art happening at the Glenbow complemented the Contemporary Calgary experience.

First, the Graceland Arcade offering by Bart Habermiller and purchase of two post cards.  The background for Grace’s land Calgary and the arcade piece is articulated in the following note of appreciation left on the event’s Facebook write up.  It is evident that there were wondrous experiences shared out on ‘the land’.  “Grace’s Land, formally Calgary Demolition was 7 acres of land, out buildings, scrap materials, energy & fire on the edge of Calgary, Canada from 1986 -1997.”  I selected two cards from the vending machine, the one at bottom Music Student 1 by Carmina Trsic 2014.

P1150114“Thank you to the many friends who came out to celebrate the 90’s show that Bart Habermiller was curated into as a result of his impressive 11 year collaboration with the Calgary Art Scene called Graceland. Way back then, Grace Coulter provided bart with an opportunity to make art on her land and in true Bart fashion he did not hoard the opportunity but shared it with anyone who wanted to make something interesting happen. Art rodeos, performance art, and massive sculpture and installations were a regular occurrence, devoid of funding agents, institution protocol or collect-ability. It wasn’t about how to make money with art it was about how to make friends, art and good ideas. It was raw and it was real. Graceland was an important part of the shaping of what Calgary’s art scene is today and I am tremendously proud of all that Bart has done to try and make things happen for artists. Oh and the proceeds of his art piece, the vending machines (for which once again he shared his opportunity with other artists) that are in the lobby of the Glenbow will be donated to the elephant Artist Relief fund, a not for profit that helps artists financially during the serious stages of illness.” (sic)

CKUA featured a bit of description of Bart’s search for a community of artists who built an important ‘happening’ on Grace Coulter’s land, on January 26 on ArtBeat.  Go to 5:11.

Chris Cran’s monumental work welcomed me on the feature wall to the right, as I made the walk up the stairs into the main gallery where I enjoyed the Made in Calgary: the 1990s, curated by Nancy Tousley.

Directly from the Glenbow exhibit…

“Featuring over 100 works by 55 artists – Rita McKeough, Chris Cran, John Will, Faye Heavyshield, and Allan Dunning, among many others – Made in Calgary: The 1990s reflects this exciting time which saw local artists continuing to redefine both their own art and the city’s place in the global art scene.

Made in Calgary is a multi-season exhibition series explores the character of Calgary’s artistic community from 1960 to 2010. Each exhibition reflects the contributions of individual artists in the context of the social and cultural factors that influenced their worked”(sic)

I enjoyed artist, David Garneau’s piece How the West, created in 1998...a piece that nicely transitioned this exhibit into the fun experience of Worn to be Wild!  Nancy Tousley describes the piece as a rewritten history of the west.  “He was making it look like an advertisement or look like an illustration from a child’s historical account.”  This, found in The Calgary Herald, February 6, 2014…an article written by Jon Roe of Swerve.  From Glenbow’s own collection, the piece is visually demanding and magically engaging. The image, here, is a detail of the work from Glenbow’s own site.

garneau_ecardWorn to be Wild clearly demonstrates the history of the black leather jacket.  It is beautifully displayed and is potent in its content and its colour.  I want to get out and buy myself a black leather jacket after viewing this one…and certainly, given the crowds of opening night, I am going to return and take this exhibit in again.  A list of the artifacts on display can be viewed here.

The following photographs were borrowed from the official collection of Harley-Davidson and the photographer is not credited there.

Execution Style

Execution Style



As I stepped out of the Glenbow and into the cold night air, I met up with two bikers, both wearing their black leather.  I asked them if they had been upstairs to the show and told them that they were dressed perfectly for the exhibit.  The female laughed and said, “We are the REAL DEAL, sweetie!  We haven’t had these jackets off for 30 years.”  We stood and visited for a while…a very fun exchange!

Taking the train south that night, I felt that I had reached the saturation point on my art experience for a while…time to take up some of the labor and get out to the studio.  My apologies that this review is coming out five days later, but it’s taken some time to do the research.  There is much to take in in Calgary…get out there, Calgarians!  Our city is rocking the art!