Cat Ladies and Other Good Habits

In 2007 I met one of the most gracious and fun-loving women of my life.  There was a huge context there and quite a history, but as of today, we jokingly share that we met in rehabilitation.

My readers will know that I lost my beautiful cat, Peanut Meister, this past year…well, I had to go and visit with Kirsten to get my fill of cat loving and at the same time, eat my belly full of beautiful white chocolate and berry scone!

We shared updates and laughs and took photos of Zebbie and Mitz from every angle, while sipping a home brewed latte flavoured with just a wee bit of vanilla.  YUM!  It was an awesome start to my day.  Thanks, dear Ya Ya!

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DSC_2531I am now going to wade through the kazillion photographs of these precious siblings and post a small selection here.  I also want you to notice what I was willing to do in order to capture these photo moments.  Zebbie is the one who looks somewhat like a zebra because of the markings down her back.  Mitz (not to be confused with Mitts) is a chill sort of guy…totally different demeanor as compared to his sister.  My purple winter coat became a fascination to both cats, but especially Zebbie.

First… one of the crazy cat ladies. (Because the other one doesn’t like her photograph taken. I am true to my word with people like this.)

Kath at Kirsten's 2(Anything for a picture of Mitz)

Kath at Kirstens 1Here’s the cat lady who shall remain out of photographs (for the most part).

DSC_2558And here just a couple of the little sweethearts.  It’s easy to see why cat videos and cat books are the norm these days.  They just put a smile on your face.

Mitz...and in the case that you didn't get a good look at that black marking under his chin, he will give you a better look.

Mitz…and in the case that you didn’t get a good look at that black marking under his chin, he will give you a better look.

Can you see it now?

Can you see it now?

Zebbie just loved the purple coat.

I see you.

I see you.

Oh, Go Away!

Oh, Go Away!

Intensity.

Intensity.

You're annoying me!

You’re annoying me!

We were thinking you might leave this coat behind.

We were thinking you might leave this coat behind.

I had a great morning.  Filled up with friendship, good food, good conversation and two beautiful cats, I headed home to my adoring canine, Max.  The weather was so beautiful…it was time to play!

 

A Matter of Time

The weather is changing…in fifteen minutes, I had collected up my bag of litter and Max and I were off to enjoy the shift in temperature and remarkable scenery.  A woman stood on the ridge looking, I suppose, wondering what I was up to.  Two pigeons strutted about the east side of the glassy pool of open water, two muskrats slid, slippery, into the dark water on the west rim.  I never cease to be in love with this small bit of the world.  A jet black crow dipped, unbalanced, with nesting material already spilling out of its beak.  Spring is just around the corner.

Always company, no matter the weather.

Always company, no matter the weather.

February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

A shift in the weather.

A shift in the weather.

The Unspeakable

I have the luxury of being semi-retired from my teaching career and so I have the luxury of designing my schedule so that I can take care of myself and also take care of others.  It is a good feeling.

This past week has been given to my before-sixty colon screening.  I wondered about writing a blog post about the process because I think that generally it’s viewed as a private subject…or that is the stigma of the past, at least.  Let it be known, I’m going to encourage the more healthy approach…this is a preventative step that all of us can take to better health and personal safety, so it needs to be demystified (to a point).  While I am tempted to post the three photographs that were snapped of the inside of my colon, I promised my father that I wouldn’t.

First, let it be known that the Forzani and Macphail Colon Cancer Screening Centre is an amazing facility and team under the umbrella of Alberta Health Services.  After receiving the necessary paperwork from your family doctor, off you go for a two hour information session about the process and the benefits of having a colonoscopy.  I had already completed a FIT test and with 75% accuracy, it is less invasive than the colonoscopy, but a bit messy, if you get my meaning.  (sidenote: for your collection, the saran wrap-over-the-toilet-approach can be unsuccessful…just saying).  I had passed that test with flying colours, but still wanted the 98% assurance of the colon screening.

The most inspiring event along the way was sitting in the lecture theater next to a similar aged woman.  She had sat next to her mother in hospital when she was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. She watched her own mother endure a huge fight for the last two years of her life.  This gracious daughter was so matter-of-fact about her approach to screening and yet held in her heart such an enduring story, that I could not help but feel motivated.

Everything I had heard from others was true regarding the prep being more unpleasant than the test itself.  I chugged my four liters of CoLyte (an intense laxative) as specified.  What is funny about this is that I spoke to the husband of one of my teacher-friends over the phone about all of this to minimize the anticipation factor.  He was so bang-on about his description of the experience that absolutely nothing was surprising. I really appreciated that.  Basically, you learn your own way of managing the taste, the amount and the experience.  After the fourth eight ounce glass I DID have a bit of anxiety, but I called up Health Link and they calmed my jets.

What worked for me….thinking about this being a medically amazing adventure…focusing on the benefits to my health…watching the birds nesting in the neighbour’s vent across from my kitchen window (visualizing a focal point)…breathing.  After each eight ounce glass, I swished my mouth with mouth wash followed by a swish of nice cold water.  The solution can leave a slightly metallic flavour in your mouth otherwise and create a bit of a fuzzy feeling on the tongue.  I kept myself well-hydrated on power drinks and the process was managed swimmingly. (You guys were all eating pancakes, bacon and sausage for Shrove Tuesday…my Lenten fast not only started early, but was taken to the next level!)

Very specific directions are given and excellent scheduling times, so that nothing in the process is surprising.  My daughter was generous and made herself available for the entire afternoon of the procedure.  I think it is such an important thing to be supported when experiencing a new event such as this, so hurrah for the care givers out there!

The day of the procedure, (Ash Wednesday) I was welcomed by a warm and friendly care nurse, Janet.  If it’s possible to make an unpleasant experience, lovely, this lady made my day.  She placed, on my tray, a juice box and some shortbread cookies as motivators to get all of this over with.  After a two day fast, these were exciting to see.  I informed her that “Yes, I WANT TO BE SEDATED…if not knocked out!”  Apparently some patients do this without sedation.  Wowsah!   When you are sedated, you DO have some recollection of pain, but it is muddled and after two twinges of this, I seemed to go off to sleep.  Air is injected (for lack of the proper word) into the colon so that the wall of the colon can properly be explored for the sign of any polyps (most times benign, but sometimes ugly).

I came out of la la land in a sort of euphoria.  Janet’s voice spoke to me about my cookies.  She had told me before hand that she would be letting me sleep for fifteen minutes and then would wake me for snack…so there were no surprises.  Time flew by. After the snack, a complete report (along with photos) is given and it turned out that 1. I had done an excellent prep and 2. my colon is in super condition.  I was told that my next screening could be done ten years from now.  I’m so grateful for this result.  I felt absolutely normal apart from some gas pains in my tummy.  At home, I was stooped over for a while as these pains increased in intensity, but once things started moving (inject laugh here), it was a breeze. (if you get my meaning).

I guess if I could give my readers any advice, it would be, if possible, book off of work on the day preceding the test (a fast day) and the day following…just be good to yourself and turn on your favourite Netflix binge.

The day after my test, yesterday, I began my spring litter clean up at Frank’s Flats.  The recent warm weather 8 degrees allowed for some serious picking to begin.  My daily litter pick always begins as a positive aspect of my Lenten journey.  I just wish that citizens would take better care of our landscape.  Some aspects of life seem to be unspeakable.  We are faced, daily, with challenges.  I hope that my post will remove some of the fear of the Colon Screening process.  I am grateful for the excellent program that is available to us in Calgary.

Second to that, I wish to challenge each of you to find a wee piece of land; a sidewalk that you travel each day, one edge of a park where you take your children to play…a place that you can regularly pick throughout the spring and summer.  If you are disgusted by something, then be proactive and take care of it.  Don’t grumble…just be the change you want to see.

February 19, 2015 Frank's Flats

February 19, 2015 Frank’s Flats

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Every Day is an Opportunity

This is a role I didn’t ever imagine filling…a Home Economics (Career and Technology Studies) teacher for Junior High School.  Awesome!  I took Marilyn’s classes for four days, an opportunity that saw me teaching Health, Sewing Room Safety, Textile Arts, Sewing Buttons and Junior High Drama!  WHOOT!

I shared with the classes in Home Economics the fact that this was my single opportunity to inspire them and so, of course, spoke to them for fifteen minutes about my mother and her abilities in the kitchen as well as in every possible act of needle work.  At the end of the classes, I showed them some images of Mom’s masterpieces.  The students were all so receptive and appreciative.

Sewing Room Safety was great fun and here, as well, some personal narratives helped to illustrate the importance of preventing unnecessary accidents.

For sewing two types of buttons, I sought our a few Youtube videos. (there are A LOT of really bad Youtube videos)  My favourite video was from the Art of Manliness, demonstrating the sewing of the sew-through style of button.  I liked that it included the spacer and while it didn’t show the back stitch tack onto the front of the garment, that was easy to demonstrate after the fact.

I liked this one because it demonstrates how a tight button looks, given that the woman did not use a spacer.  Dolphin down and dolphin up actually became a bit of a fun bit of terminology once we got sewing.  (Initially, this was annoying.)

The first REAL challenge was threading a needle!

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Back tacking on the front of the garment.

DSC_2403Placement of a spacer…

DSC_2406Great effort and willingness from the students!

DSC_2408Knotted on the back, instead of the front back stitch.

DSC_2409DSC_2412In textile arts, in preparation for Valentine’s Day…the students created three stuffed hearts, edging with blanket stitch.  So fun!

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Drama is something that’s really in my comfort zone, so I did a lot of skill development with both classes on Focus, Self Control and Posture, both from the stand point of being an audience member and a performer.  The grade eights and nines will be auditioning for parts in the up and coming spring performance, so as well as reviewing their audition selections, I showed them 5 Minute Acting Classes: How Not to Audition.

What awesome students!  And, Marilyn, excellent planning and organization!  I don’t know that I could teach them how to make an omelette.  This was an opportunity to do something really different and I dedicated it all to my mentor in most creative endeavors, my mother.  I love you, Mom.  Thanks to my neighbour, Todd, in the shop, for his support throughout my four-day visit!

Post Script: Did I mention that I got to supervise a school dance?  Blast from the past!

Finding Blake

I was thinking about why I title these sorts of posts, “Finding_________”, instead of “Meeting _________”.  At first, I wondered if it had been influenced by the movie title, Finding Forrester, one of my favourites. But, no, I have come up with another answer while hiking Frank’s Flats today, enjoying the sunshine and the melt.

?????????? Since I’ve retired from full time teaching, there is not a single day goes by where I do not seek out new knowledge, revelations or relationships.

Today, I found Blake.  I’ve seen him before…tucked between trees on the ridge that surrounds the flats, but today I decided to introduce myself.  This afternoon, he had his easel set up on the north slope.  The sunshine was exceptional and his colours danced, even as I hiked some distance away, edging the pond.

“Hi, there.  Do you mind me grabbing a photograph of your work?”

“No problem…sure…go ahead.” (broad smile…warmth in his voice)

DSC_2496“It’s meant to be viewed the other way…a pyramid…pizza.”

I asked him if he would turn the canvas for me…we step back together.  The conversation opens up so that I forget to snap the second photograph.

I notice, “It looks as though there is a hole through the pizza that leads somewhere else.”

“That’s cool.  I didn’t notice that.”

“Where do you pick up your stretched canvases?”

“45% off at Michaels.”

DSC_2497“Have you heard of the Gorilla House? Rumble House?”

From there we talk about connections…art…street art versus destructive painting…youth.

“How did you get started painting?”

“I used to be a skateboarder…snowboarder…until I was found to have an inherited liver disease.  I had to say good-bye to all of that.  I paint now.  For the most part, I give my paintings away to friends.  I’m forever indebted to my uncle who gave me a big chunk of his liver.  That’s why I’m alive today.”

“Come down to paint with us.  Get connected with like-minded people.”

I hope Blake fires me off a note by e mail so that I can share some locations/links with him.  It was a great thing to find Blake.  Once again, I marvel at what people do and the reasons they do the things they do.

?????????? DSC_2499 I walked on from there…stooped…a piece of litter continuing the colour story.

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Mr. Man-Moth Flies In and Out of Rumble House

This post isn’t a tribute as much as it’s an expression of my heart felt sympathy for the loved ones who knew well, loved, shared experiences with, worked along side beautiful human beings who recently lost their lives, while making their way somewhere on blustery roads in Saskatchewan.  They lived, created, inspired…were fun and funny…sometimes despairing…sometimes challenged and challenging…I just feel sad that they are gone.

Among them, Michael Green.  Over the next long while, Calgarians will be discovering so many reasons why we miss him.  Some of this was felt at Rumble House last night, a visual arts space where artists of all walks can gather and paint with wild abandon.  As Larissa so eloquently shared last night, having struggled personally as a result of the High River floods…ones art is sometimes all that gets a person through the struggles.  “My art saved me.”  Enriquito has his story.  Dave has his story.  Frank has his story.

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I went to Rumble House with a bit of a heavy heart.  Earlier in the day I had seen an image that Frank shared on social media.  It was the image of the most spectacular and exotic moth.  I was thinking about the absence of beautiful beings and about what their journey must be once letting go of the body.  The body, through gravity, lives a part of its life grounded.  Beings interact with other beings through voice and touch and smell.  This is all so beautiful and I think that through such recent news as this, we are reminded to cherish the lives that engage us every day.  Look, with care, upon the work of others.  Value their creativity.

It is worth your while to read this poem in its entirety.  It’s lovely.  Thank you, Jess, for purchasing this piece at auction.  Thanks, Bruce and Enriquito.  Thanks for the image, Frank, and we miss you.  The moth struggles toward the light.

The poem, The Man-Moth by Elizabeth Bishop

Here, above,
cracks in the buildings are filled with battered moonlight.
The whole shadow of Man is only as big as his hat.
It lies at his feet like a circle for a doll to stand on,
and he makes an inverted pin, the point magnetized to the moon.
He does not see the moon; he observes only her vast properties,
feeling the queer light on his hands, neither warm nor cold,
of a temperature impossible to record in thermometers.
                     But when the Man-Moth
pays his rare, although occasional, visits to the surface,
the moon looks rather different to him. He emerges
from an opening under the edge of one of the sidewalks
and nervously begins to scale the faces of the buildings.
He thinks the moon is a small hole at the top of the sky,
proving the sky quite useless for protection.
He trembles, but must investigate as high as he can climb.
                     Up the façades,
his shadow dragging like a photographer’s cloth behind him
he climbs fearfully, thinking that this time he will manage
to push his small head through that round clean opening
and be forced through, as from a tube, in black scrolls on the light.
(Man, standing below him, has no such illusions.)
But what the Man-Moth fears most he must do, although
he fails, of course, and falls back scared but quite unhurt.
                     Then he returns
to the pale subways of cement he calls his home. He flits,
he flutters, and cannot get aboard the silent trains
fast enough to suit him. The doors close swiftly.
The Man-Moth always seats himself facing the wrong way
and the train starts at once at its full, terrible speed,
without a shift in gears or a gradation of any sort.
He cannot tell the rate at which he travels backwards.
                     Each night he must
be carried through artificial tunnels and dream recurrent dreams.
Just as the ties recur beneath his train, these underlie
his rushing brain. He does not dare look out the window,
for the third rail, the unbroken draught of poison,
runs there beside him. He regards it as a disease
he has inherited the susceptibility to. He has to keep
his hands in his pockets, as others must wear mufflers.
                     If you catch him,
hold up a flashlight to his eye. It’s all dark pupil,
an entire night itself, whose haired horizon tightens
as he stares back, and closes up the eye. Then from the lids
one tear, his only possession, like the bee’s sting, slips.
Slyly he palms it, and if you’re not paying attention
he’ll swallow it. However, if you watch, he’ll hand it over,
cool as from underground springs and pure enough to drink.

 

Elizabeth Bishop, “The Man-Moth” from The Complete Poems 1926-1979. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Reprinted with the permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. (because the Poetry Foundation provides for a share on Facebook and Twitter, I’m hoping this means that I may share the poem)

Source: The Complete Poems 1926-1979 (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1983)

 

DSC_2474 DSC_2473 ?????????? ??????????

Look at what Stacie does with those heaps of Scholastic Book Order forms!

Teachers amaze me!  I particularly like it when they find ways of reusing items that would otherwise head for a landfill somewhere.  Scholastic Book Orders are very exciting for most students, but let’s be honest, there seems to be an excessive amount of paper that, monthly, appears in your boxes and spread all over your staff room tables.  True?

ScholasticThis week I happened to notice Stacie’s solution and re-purposing of the leftovers.  In the past, I’ve had students roll sheets of newspaper to use in the building of a whole number of three dimensional constructions and also as a base for papier mache building.  I’ve used newspaper in the construction of masks and helmets as well, but I’ve never thought to harvest the piles of book orders and create impressive sculpture with the resulting rolled pages.  Longer rolls can be made rolling corner to corner…shorter and stronger, directly across, edge to edge.  White glue is necessary just at the ending lip.  If you are going to use brushes for this application, thoroughly clean the brushes out with hot water afterwards as this will permanently ruin your brushes otherwise.

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In researching the possibilities, I also found a few ideas that might also be explored using the same materials.  Here’s a relief sculpture.

Artist, Ophira Avisar and her creations with newspaper.

And while I often question the music and sound quality in these Youtube videos (Lol), this is the best I could find for making a newspaper roll paper basket.  I own a circular newspaper roll basket and really like it.  You could whistle while you build…:0)

Calm Can Be Found in Ashley’s Classroom

Monday morning, I wasn’t at my very best.  I knew I was coming down with something…head aching…throat, sore.  I hoped, from the onset, that I would have the energy to give these grade four children a lovely day and a bit of a painting experience.  I was already tickled to be welcomed by beautiful office and instructional staff.  These guys always rock!

I stepped into Ashley’s classroom and immediately felt a sense of calm.  I think that there has to be some sort of link between productivity, learning and an ordered space.  Is it possible to be creative when there is order?  I guess I’ll check out the psychology of that aesthetic as I think of Ashley’s work space.

Hmmm…the Psychology Behind Messy Rooms.

Tidy Desks and Messy Desks..

K…so I’ve wandered a little on the world wide web, sipping grapefruit juice as I go and what I can surmise is that our living and working environments need to be constructed/designed/maintained in a very individualized way, to suit our very personal way of functioning and creating.

On Monday, this ordered space was absolutely what I needed.  I have Ashley’s permission to welcome you into her space.

Love is in the air…first of all, it’s February!  Gracie was my #1 assistant all day.  Thank goodness for her efforts.  She really took up the slack!

?????????? ?????????? I just really like the philosophy behind these seven habits…language that grade fours can understand…but, ideas that we might all put to good use.DSC_2258A sense of space and order as I entered the classroom…I think I actually vocalized…”Ahhhhh” as I breathed out.  The new buildings are so wonderful because the flooring allows for spills, building, exploration and easy tidy-up.DSC_2257Winter art was cheerfully displayed.  I think that mats, while very inexpensive, somehow emphasize the individuality and the special nature of each creation.  Once the display comes down, the other side can be used for the next piece of art…so reuse!

DSC_2256 Light…so wonderful and necessary for a peace-filled day.  I like the touch of personal objects that give the children a sense of home and community.  A place for those teacher’s gifts.

DSC_2255 Storage buckets with a sense of humour.  These make me smile just looking at them.

DSC_2254A nook for spirtual objects contributes to a sense of calm.

DSC_2253 Ideas for daily physical activity!  Good stuff!

DSC_2251 Students like to know how they’re doing.

DSC_2249 DSC_2248 DSC_2247 DSC_2246I liked how every thing had its place.  I felt in control, even in moments when I would typically be feeling anxiety.  The desks were in such an arrangement that it made very quick work to move them into pods of two students for easy access to the paint station.  The how-to of this lesson can be found here.   Here are just a few of the students’ creations.  Thank you, Ashley, for a day with your class.

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Other Classrooms…

Elisa’s Classroom

Carli’s Classroom

 

Exit Through the Gift Shop

My daughter informed me that the film, Exit Through the Gift Shop was last year’s news and that somewhere along the way ‘I missed the boat’.  I also missed the conversation, apparently, because ‘everyone’ was talking about it.  Following the trailer I include below, you can view the movie in its entirety or you can find it on Netflix (Canada) as well.

This morning, early, my sister-friend, Karen, forwarded me, from A Good Movie to Watch, a listing titled

18 Best Movies On Netflix You Haven’t Yet Seen

18. The Goon (2012)
17. Ne le Dis a (with accent, however you do that) Personne (2006)
16. Frances Ha (2013)
15. Broken (2013)
14 The Ice Strom (1997)
13. I Saw the Devil (2010)
12. Samsara (2012)
11. Mr. Nobody (2009)
10. Boy (2012)
9. Get the Gringo (2012)
8. Submarine (2011)
7. Headhunters (2012)
6. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
5. Detachment (2012)
4. The Station Agent (2003)
3. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About a Father (2008
2. The Hunt (2013)
1. Short Term 12 (2013)

I’ve selected a number of these during my own viewing time and agree with some of the posted comments that generally this is a diverse collection of very intriguing movies.  Of the remainders to this list, I have to tell you that a number of them might be available on the American version of Netflix, but for whatever reason, they are not posted here in Canada.  Given that my prep for today’s colonoscopy (come on!  we can talk about this openly, right?) was cancelled/rescheduled due to the onset of a huge upper respiratory cold/flu, I decided to go in search of a morning movie. (DELIGHTFUL as compared to the alternative)

So…with box of soft tissue on the table next to me, a cup of hot lemon and honey, my fuzzy slippers and a big blanket, I curled up with remote in hand.

Broken, Boy and Ne le Dis a (with accent, however you do that) Personne were unavailable on Canadian Netflix…but, my fourth choice, Exit Through the Gift Shop (2006) was!  Love love loved the introduction to the film by Banksy!  As I settled in, I decided to click PAUSE and get my notebook because I sincerely felt smitten by the content that followed.

I guess that Rylan Broadbent was the first gentleman/artist/arts educator and all round smart man I’d met who taught me anything at all about street art and graffiti.  When I sat on a train from airport to central Paris, I remember leaning my forehead against the train window, in total awe of the images that appeared for miles along the grey cement retaining walls.  Apart from this experience and Rylan, however, I had little world knowledge about the movement of street art happening globally.

This movie was jam packed with information, as well as amazing archives of intimate happenings and interview segments between videographer, Thierry Guetta and some of the artists he had come to know through his own passion for making recordings.

All of the Mr. Brainwash stuff aside, I was intrigued by the fact that Thierry had such a strong compulsion to ‘capture’.  He had no interest in viewing his own recordings although he had carefully labelled and archived boxes and boxes of film.  Instead, he was obsessed for a period of at least ten years, with recording.  He had lost his mother at the age of eleven and had not been told, prior to her death, that she was sick.  From this, he developed a need to record absolutely everything as a response to his thinking…”Anything in my life would be the last time I would see it in this same way. I didn’t know how to stop.”

I have some sympathy for this and find, at times, my fascination with capturing ‘the moment’ in nature, reading, art, music, and my experiences with others, comes from a similar revelation about the temporal aspects of all.  Writing about or photographing a subject somehow causes it to be sustained for a moment in time.  I wonder if that is selfie craze is another manifestation of this practice.  Perhaps some people are insecure with the notion that their bodies are temporal and are evolving from youth to old age…and that photographs ARE the self.  The catch is, photographs are also ephemeral.

This movie got me thinking about a lot of things.  When Thierry Guetta takes on the mantle of Mr. Brainwash and successfully earns over a million dollars on his first exhibition, the viewer is left pondering the authentic aspects of art and confronts the forever-question again, “What is art?”  Mr. Brainwash has named himself well.  Even at the conclusion, other long time street artists are at a loss for words and Banksy promises to never be filmed again.

Street Artists mentioned in the film include,

Space Invader
Shepard Fairey
Neckface
Sweet Toof and Cyclops
Ron English
Dot Masters
Swoon
Borf
Banksy
Buff Monster and
Mr. Brainwash

I hope to grab some permissions from photographers so that I can post some photos here soon.  For now, looking for some shots that I took of street art pieces I found in Hamilton, Ontario two summers ago.

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Oh, Canada!

Art is everywhere in Calgary and I enjoy it so much!  The four-gallery exhibit entitled, Oh, Canada! is somewhat overwhelming for its extent and variety. It was nice, at introductory comments at the Glenbow, to meet in some respect, the curator of the project, American Denise Markonish.

Max and I got waylaid by a ton of fresh snow at the pond, so I didn’t get up to the Nickle Galleries or ACAD’s Illingworth Kerr for two of the first stops of the four-gallery art extravaganza.  Sometimes beautiful wonderful magical awesome life gets in the way of the plans we’ve made.  I just so absolutely loved my afternoon that I had to adjust for the wonder and the awe.

??????????For 6:00 p.m. I headed north on the train from Anderson, and landed at the Glenbow in plenty of time to enjoy a bag of chips and wander, in amazement, the fantastic exhibit of a portion of the original artworks on display.  At some point, my daughter Cayley and a friend landed there, so I had opportunity to share a glass of red wine and exchange some art banter as I did my second run at the exhibit.  It was fun to chit chat with and shake hands with such an iconic artist as Eric Cameron.

DSC_2206 DSC_2205I noticed in attendance, as well, artists such as Ron Moppett and John Will.  I feel invigorated about our arts community and loved this portion of the exhibit.

DSC_2204Great surprises…three more paintings by Janet Werner. (really really enjoyed her work at Esker in an earlier exhibit)

DSC_2196 DSC_2195 DSC_2194Wanda Koop’s work…powerful!

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Chris Millar’s work…amazing…involving.

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David R Harper’s work stirred up conversation and intrigue.  The most cell phones were out at this location.

I’m including the first paragraph of his artist statement here because it’s so relevant to the conversations I was overhearing…

“I am drawn to the form and idea of memorials, those markers that formalize links between memory and present experience. My main fascination is for the ways in which people bring facets of these ritual systems and objects into domestic spaces in order to amplify their personal identification with them, or perhaps with the cultures that support them.”

DSC_2214 DSC_2213 I stood in front of this piece, and wept.  All of the work coming out of Cape Dorset was powerful.

DSC_2211 DSC_2209Terrance Houle’s buffalo pretty much shouted off of a wall.

Given my mother’s Acadian side, I really appreciated the paintings of Mario Doucette and stood, captivated in front of the two featured pieces for quite some time.  Shary Boyle’s pieces were equally as mesmerizing and because of their location, it seemed that wee cubby was always very populated in the gallery.  Andrea Mortson’s canvases…romantic…warm and a relief. Of course, everyone who stood before the Douglas Coupland piece had a few things to say about Generation X and that is inevitable.  I enjoyed the art…I enjoyed the conversation.

DSC_2201Standing in line for the Bassbus, I chatted with Janet Werner’s friend from Saskatoon.  What a spectacular evening and live music performed by Chelsey Hazelton waited for me on the bus.  Chelsey’s beautiful vocals sang us quickly to our next stop and one of my favourite places in town, The Esker Foundation.

IMG_20150131_193047Once I had my coat checked, I entered into Esker and was first met by beautiful, Sue Hill…a generous and truly authentic woman, she once opened her place on Lake of the Woods to me and my family…shared chipping of wood…canoeing…crayfish catching…swimming off a dock…sitting in a biffy by candle light…good chats and refinishing furniture.  What a lovely way to make an entrance at the Esker.

The work at Esker was no less fascinating than the Glenbow, but perhaps I kept my camera more in my pocket. Kim Adam’s piece,Optic Nerve, did get a photo moment or two.  I enjoyed her work in the Winnipeg Art Gallery years ago.

 

 

DSC_2234 DSC_2233The Artist Collective, BGL’s La clôture also made the cut. (no pun intended)  The Esker runs programs for the public (please visit their website) and so I know that I will be returning again and again to this collection over the coming month.

DSC_2232 DSC_2231My favourite bit of work was an installation piece…quite complex and yet so simple.  I have a little bit of video from this space and when I get it ALL together, I might post it here.  You must see this work.

DSC_2225So from upended picnic tables…

DSC_2229…to backwoods cabin/pubs…

DSC_2236…you’ll see it all.

Treated to little dixie cups filled with seasoned french fries and on the other end of the gallery space, Nanaimo bars…the evening was a lovely and intoxicating one.  I hopped onto the Bassbus for another run, entertained by the music of Patrick Whitten.

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Back at the Glenbow, I made my way to the train, recharged and happy about my home town and the many beautiful people I have met over the years.

Calgarians, grab your passports and get out to these four venues over the coming month.  You will receive many insights into what is happening in the world of contemporary art and as Canadians, we have much to be excited about.

Oh, Canada Passport