Heirloom Spoon

I have a huge appreciation for skilled craft and for unique approaches to materiality.  I’ve always supported emerging/existing artists and artisans and when I first saw Adam Weaver’s spoons, I knew that I wanted to invest in a spoon each month for a year, so that I would have a beautiful collection to enjoy for a very long time.

While attending the University of Lethbridge, my friend, Brian, carved me a beautiful wooden spoon and I treasured it for as many years as I could, when at some point, the spoon split and it was no more.  The idea of hand carved spoons has been nostalgic ever since.  Sometimes I think that with mass-production, we have lost touch with some of these hand crafted items.

This morning, Adam Weaver (Heirloom Spoon) came to my place in order to deliver January and February and so that I might select, from a collection of other carved spoons, March and April.

We shared a coffee at the feast table and I had the chance to look at and hold the spoons as he set them out in front of me.  They were all so unique and so lovely.

I’m very grateful for the new friendships, Adam and Pascia.  Thank you for taking the huge diagonal across the city to meet with me and to visit about travel, tools, art and life.  May you be richly blessed on your journey.

If interested, you can access Heirloom spoons via Etsy, as well as through various artisan events.

January: carved out of maple…a beautiful long-necked spoon with a leather toggle at one end and a beautiful scooped bowl on the other.  The wood was gifted Adam from Brampton, Ontario…so, given my family history and my connections with Ontario, this one sings to me.


February: carved out of a piece of knotty birch wood, found right here at the edge of our beautiful Bow River.  It was harvested from trees cut down by some city workers.


It turns out that I couldn’t resist May either…picking up a coffee scoop as a gift for my own birthday. The scoop is carved from Applewood, harvested right beside the studios at Artpoint Gallery.  They’re demolishing everything around there to build the new C-train line. :0( I love the many concentric circles that draw the eye into the depth of the bowl of the spoon.

The smaller lighter spoon is made from a piece of Ash (Latin name: Fraxinus Excelsior!) found in a small village called Clare, in England.  I like the feel of this spoon in my hand…it’s flat and seems to have some sort of interesting weight/balance thing going on.  I just like it so much.

The big ladle…I chose for March…it felt the most womb-like to me and I was thinking about the birth of my son on March 17, 1990.  Adam used the natural curve of the wood.  This piece was from an arborist-friend of Adam’s again, harvested in Calgary.  I’m wondering if this would be my favourite arborist who trims up May (Mayday) every year for me, before the spring.



When Adam puts his tools down and stops carving, he plants and tends gardens and fits in a lot of travel… as well, he enjoys his authentic relationship with wood and beautiful objects.



When my London-born son-in-law hears or reads something really impressive or heart breaking or touching, he voices or writes the word, “Respect”.  I think it’s a nice response.  If he says it to me, simply, and without explanation or embellishment, I feel that…respect.

I’ve noticed in my world, the world of ‘EDUCATION’ that there is a loss of respect these days.  Readers, don’t jump on my perceptions…it’s just what it is…my perceptions.  I find students are often lacking respect for teachers.  I find that professionals are losing respect, in their words and actions, for their peers.  I find that people in positions of authority are disrespectful to people ‘beneath’ them.  I’m wondering what is going on?

Social media offers us a plethora of disrespectful ‘threads’ day in and day out.  We have, as a people, stopped listening to one another.  Brief blasts of tweets or posts or images, leave conversations dangling, sometimes making us shiver with their hatred, negativity and stone-walling sensibility.

Recently, I had the opportunity to engage conversation with and learn about one soldier.  I had intended to add his photograph to the bottom of a post about my great-grandfather John Moors.  Master Corporal Joe Green was the person who took on the task of cleaning my great grandfather’s Memorial Cross, a sterling silver cross that would have been presented to my great grandmother Mary Eleanor Haddow 100 years ago and another to his mother, Grace Rebecca Porter, as a result of John’s death during a German bombing raid in Etaples, France.  He had been lying in a hospital tent in Canadian General Hospital #51…a hospital situated with some proximity to a railway line.


Often times a person still hears negative comments about the military.  There are wide-sweeping generalities made about peace and war and defense and aggression.  “They shouldn’t have been over there in the first place!”  Oh…to be ye, who judge.  Oh, to be ye, who remain safe in your comfortable beds, with your comfortable thoughts, with your perfect opinions of other people, other countries, other politics because having been given the power, you would done everything differently!

I’ve been faulted for ‘living in the past’.  But I don’t.  See!  I live here.  I live now.  But, I am absolutely NOT going to lose ties with our common past.  I am always going to engage the touch stones of history, in order to do better.  I am always going to remember.

Maybe it was the fact that I grew up in a military family during the Cold War years…during peace time…that I grew up with respect.

I remember attending high school in Montana.  The MIA were still returning home, some of them, after the war in Vietnam.  In 1969, the students were participating in fundraisers and wearing bracelets to bring their men home.  Many, as my readers know, were never to return.

I picked up the Memorial Cross for John Moors and drove home.  The roads were thick with deep snow, but I felt like I was floating.  I was so elated to be driving home in 2018 with a 1918 Memorial Cross as my cargo.

I  wrote the name Joe Green into my google search.  This is what I found…article written by Cassie Riabko titled After the tour: Canadian soldiers reintegrating into society.  Among the profiles, I learned about Joe.  He made the correction with me, over electronic mail, that he had done two tours, not three, as noted in the article.  He had not read the profile until I pointed it out to him through mail.

Green IMGIn 2008, Master Corporal Joe Green started working in the civilian workforce at Flowserve where he pursued drafting design. “From going from carrying a weapon 24 hours a day to sitting at a computer, it takes some adjusting,” says Green on Mar. 24, 2017. Photo by Cassie Riabko

Master Corporal Joe Green

Three tours overseas (sic)

Status: Active

Master Corporal Joe Green first joined the Canadian Military in 2002, serving two tours in 2006 and one in 2008. His primary role was defensive operations, working in dangerous environments with firefights and ambushes occurring frequently. Most of his negative experiences came from his tours in 2006. They have been connected to his difficulties with integrating back into the civilian way of life.

The main memory that sticks out to Green was back in 2006 when his platoon was called out for a mission to help the American Special Forces Forward Operating Base. He had to stay back while his platoon went to aid as support. That night, none of the soldiers from his platoon came back to base, they were all in the hospital and one, Private Rob Costall, was killed in action. From then on the tour accelerated for him.

In 2008, Green began his integration process, starting a job in the civilian work force. “From going from carrying a weapon 24 hours a day to sitting at a computer, it takes some adjusting,” says Green.

It wasn’t until roughly 2010 where the thoughts and experiences from overseas started to have a major impact on his everyday life. “I started being less involved in the military, I started drinking heavily —  not on a daily level —  but when I would I would get extremely upset,” says Green.

With his job, he would have to drive in the city often. “There would be a chain reaction of thoughts that would lead back to something that happened on tour. I would dwell on it and I would be driving and I would come back to reality hours later in some random location in the city,” says Green.

That was when he realized that he needed some help. He relied on friends that had experience overseas with him for support and he also reached out to Veteran Affairs by calling the 1-800 number.

He was able to talk to someone right away. “One thing I felt guilty about was using the system. I didn’t want to be the guy to claim PTSD to get some sort of claim out of it,” says Green.

He remembers the woman on the phone telling him to leave it to the professionals to diagnose his symptoms as he was comparing his situation to others he felt had worse experiences. Shortly after, his file was processed with Veteran Affairs and he had appointments booked at an operational stress injury clinic.

Green was diagnosed with PTSD and an anxiety disorder all related to his experiences overseas in Afghanistan. He was prescribed medication to aid in sleep and also for depression. He soon began to see results.

“I went through treatment in 2012, and I just ended last year. I went through the whole process of weekly sessions for about two years — from going weekly, I was going every second week to once a month to every three months,” says Green.

His process spanned from 2012-2016. In October 2016 he was officially discharged in at the operational stress injury clinic in Calgary. He weaned himself off the medication with approval from his doctor.

“The OSI clinic took really good care of me. I always recommend it to other members who are going through similar situations. However, if they are not ready to help themselves — they have to want to be better,” says Green.

He describes his experience as positive and very supportive from the organizations that helped him. “I don’t have anything negative to say about Veterans Affairs,” says Green. Currently he is serving as a Reservist with the Calgary Highlanders and he has taken courses to earn promotions within the Canadian Military.

Read more on the reintegration of a Candian veteran by clicking here!


Joe Green

Master Corporal Joe Green

Upon reading this profile, I made the decision to write a post that dealt with this issue of respect.  While reading Joe’s profile, I found myself with tears.  I took pause and remembered, in prayer, Joe’s peer, Private Rob Costall.  Joe’s journey has inspired, in me, a new level or respect.  This is the man who all of these decades later, held our family’s Memorial Cross in his hands and with precision and care, brought it to a beautiful sheen.  I received his name through the centrally located Royal Canadian Legion Branch 275 in Forest Lawn.  I had met a most amazing historian, there.


I received this Memorial Cross (there were two that were sent out, one to John’s wife Mary Eleanor Haddow Moors and the other to his mother, Grace Porter Moors…this is likely the one that I am now holding), kindly, from my father’s cousin JR Moors of Roseville, California.  My Dad’s Uncle Bob had kept it safe and in his care and then left it to his son for safe keeping.  The day it arrived by mail, I was overcome with emotion.

John Moors (17)

John Moors medal front

Pte. John Moors Medal The Great War

John Moors back side medal


And finally, with Joe’s work…the refurbished Sterling silver cross.


As a part of our experience of respect, I think it is essential that we promise care of the objects that represent our soldiers and their service.  I highly recommend that you solicit the help of Joe Green, locally, in order to tend to these treasures.  Please contact me if you want his information and I will have him respond to your request.

I am blessed.  I am grateful.  I am filled with respect.

My cousin, James Perry, on my maternal side said it perfectly…

“A good polishing would bring back the shine of that silver too, IMHO tarnished medals are brought back to life with polishing, and are part of “Always remember, never Forget” and the sacrifice our families made to keep our world free from tyranny.”

Joane Cardinal-Schubert: The Writing on the Wall

I came into the house, after visiting the Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary, yesterday, and looked deeply at the painting by Joane Cardinal-Schubert that my then-partner and I bought on December 7, 1995 from the Master’s Art Gallery. It wasn’t as though we could ever afford to collect art, but, we were determined to collect art…we were always buying something and we did it in a disciplined way because each month we made an allocation of a specific amount of money toward our art budget.  A lot of people at the time, and still today, don’t realize that they can invest in art over time.  Ordinary people don’t have access to a budget that covers the entire value of many of the pieces that they grow to love.  This is how I was able to be a collector.

But…about yesterday…

After seeing the amazing retrospective, The Writing on the Wall,  I couldn’t help but see Joane’s work differently.  Appropriate that on December 1st of 2017, I should enjoy all of this and more.

I’ve written about Joane over the years…

Here and

Here and 


I just went upstairs and snapped a couple of photographs…the first, the painting that greets me each day as I enter my home, Protectors of Dreams.

And next, the book that I purchased as it relates to Joane’s narratives about the various works…and her practice.  I’m so looking forward to reading this.

The exhibit was so powerful that it hit me in the gut.  I sat down at every opportunity to process the messages of the work and to take it into my spirit.  I read every wall plaque and words, as best as I could, on every painting.  I’m just going to post the images and spare a great commentary.

Joane fought tirelessly against the building of the Old Man Dam and we reconnected once again in Maycroft, as well as at the Masters Art Gallery, for another exhibit.  At that show, she took the time to chat and to sign my poster, collected back in the fundraising days of the Friends of the Old Man meetings.

Joane came to visit with my students in 1980, right before I took them down for their tour of the Glenbow Museum.  During those years, I worked very hard developing curriculum for urban Metis and Indigenous students in my care. Our School District was aware that there were huge gaps in content for these students and that generally, many were struggling with attendance and performance on standardized tests.  Visits from Elders and people like Joane created a sense of role modeling that my students could not get from me. She showed them slides on a slide projector of her sweat lodge images.  All these years later, I will never forget her generous heart and her painful remembrances.  Yesterday, I felt my hand in hers. I am forever-grateful for our connection.

Tomorrow, I attend a friend’s funeral service.  One piece that really touched my heart was this one, Remembering My Dreambed…I stood before it and thought of my friend’s battle with cancer.

Remembering My Dreambed Joane Cardinal-Schubert 1985 recollections of invasive medical procedures related to cancer treatment.

Below…Homage to Small Boy: Where Were You In July, Hercules? 1985, Joane Cardinal-Schubert.  The colour is not near true…the blue is the most amazing ultramarine blue, in this piece.

Letters to Emily Carr…birch bark letters.  I loved reading the words…

The Lesson Joane Cardinal-Schubert


Where the Truth is Written – Usually first installed 1991 Joane Cardinal-Schubert

I have not yet included all of my references, but again, Max needs his walk.  I need to pull the decorations from out of the basement.  The roast needs to get into the slow cooker.  I want to end with a bit of music.  Last night, a friend and I attended A Tribe Called Red.  I want to insert the images here.

Photo Credit: Michael Collett

Photo Credit: Michael Collett

Photo Credit: Michael Collett

It was such a powerful experience.  The visuals, the dance and the music combined to speak deeply to the heart.  I feel changed.

Often during the evening, I thought about Thomas King’s book, An Inconvenient Indian.  I think that the stereotypes and misunderstandings about our Indigenous peoples were captured in the form of these artistic creations performed by A Tribe Called Red.

Powerfully executed…authentically created…thank you.

Janet Beare Studio: Belleville

It is a very snowy day here in Calgary.  A quick outing this morning, and I’ve decided that the roads are such that I’m going to bunker down, drink hot coffee (which I never do in the afternoon), and do a bit of nesting.

In looking over my archives, I realized that I didn’t get around to writing about a lovely studio visit that I shared with Janet Beare in Belleville, Ontario last summer.  I was blessed to have spent a summer painting poetry in my father’s apartment and to have exhibited a show for the Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor’s Artist and Artisans Studio and Gallery.  Through this experience, I had the chance to meet and enjoy the company of the community artists and musicians who are creating work in their home studios, and for the most part, exploring media and the arts with wild abandon.

Over the years, I have enjoyed conversation and support in a wide circle of female artists.

I really did appreciate the dialogue with Janet, one beautiful summer’s day, in her home studio just off Farley Ave.  Thank you, Janet for the trust and fun of sharing your studio space!

Janet has experimented in a variety of media and her subjects range from purely non-objective colour/textural studies to representational works in both water colour and acrylics.  Don’t you think it’s fun to explore other artist’s spaces?  I like the intimacy and personality of these spaces…one of the reasons I really pleasure in Wendy Lee’s Love Art in Calgary Tours.

I hope my readers will enjoy exploring Janet’s space and thank you for the warm welcome of a visiting artist in your sacred home of creativity!

Some people like her work, some people don’t.  I really really love Tracey Emin’s work, first seeing it during La Biennale de Venezia when my daughter and I traveled to Venice years ago.  Tracey’s early work enveloped a process of personal healing and it has evolved tremendously through the years.  I find it deep, meaningful and reflective of women’s issues in the world.

I like this little film because of the accessibility to Tracey’s space.

KOAC: Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre

This morning, I’m celebrating Wendy Lees and the Love Art in Calgary tours that she provides, here in the city.  Yesterday, we had the opportunity to enjoy the intimate and generous experience of visiting KOAC.  Harry Kiyooka and Katie Ohe directed a magical tour of their property, studios and home and today I am still ruminating about the conversations, the practice and the encouragement received.  Grateful!

Katie and Harry have done so much for our community and, both visionaries, they have a commitment to leave an amazing legacy for all of us.  But right now, they need our support, both monetary and philosophically.  Calgarians need to see themselves as both beneficiaries, but also contributors to this dream.  I hope that my readers will take the time to visit the website and explore how they can be a part of this.

We began our tour with the wondrous drive out to the property under an amazing chinook arch.  The light and arch contributed to the aesthetic experience of being on the edge of the city, looking west toward the mountains.  Good conversation, laughter and shared philosophies are always a part of a Love Art in Calgary tour and this time, I reconnected with a like-minded woman, Sharon, who I had met on a previous workshop at the Esker Foundation and Melissa, who has a long history of Gorilla painting with me.  So much fun.

Melissa and I went for a wander to look at a couple of the sculptures on the property before the tour of Katie’s studio began.


This one made a journey across the ocean in a crate…missed the sculptor’s name.


‘Dandelion’ a kinetic sculpture created by one of Katie’s former students.



Walking to Katie’s studio, we stopped and had fun, listening to Katie’s stories and being present to her larger-than-life energy!

I think this woman is such a role model for us.  She is so full of warmth and has such a generous nature.  And…she says that she writes a lot of reference letters! :0)

Katie Ohe, when speaking of her sculptures, touches them in such a special way and speaks about them in that manner, also.  It is evident that she has a very close relationship with the materials and knows and loves the process of creation in a very intimate way.  I cherish listening to her speak of her art.



Next, we went to Harry’s studio, a treasure trove full of discoveries and large canvases.

Harry is such a gentle and kind man, with such enthusiasm for the vision that has been forming over such a long period of time…a vision and partnership shared between Katie and him.  He is a huge promoter of KOAC and has announced that tickets are available for the next big fundraiser.

Next, the two artists invited us into their home and we sat and snacked and shared a coffee break, while being surrounded by amazing works of art, as well as an extensive collection and library!  Phenomenal!


I will never forget the strength of Katie’s hand wrapped around mine, as I thanked her for the afternoon.  What an amazing woman!

Previous posts…

Art Tour 2013

Poem For Katie Ohe

Katie’s Idea Books

Objects of Affection

North Country Dreaming

Winter!  Beyond November, it seemed that Calgary would not suffer winter…no snow fell and the temperatures were surprisingly moderate.  But what came to crush us was the current run of sub zero temperatures, -22 with windchill sitting at -37 some days, for example.  We are into our second week of this.

I don’t take my camera out to take photographs on my walks with Max because of the frigid air.  Instead, I perused the images saved to my computer, things I haven’t written about and came to this collection of images from a Paul Kuhn exhibit in April of this year.  Such colour wakes us up from our winter sleep!  Art makes me happy.

My friend, Ed Bader, was featured in the White Project Room, with his exhibit, North Country Dreaming, but first, I enjoyed the bold colour of John Eisler’s (the cast), in the upstairs gallery.


Ed and I attended the University of Lethbridge in a very  creative and high-energy period of its development from 1973 to 1977.  I include documentation of Ed’s conversation in the following series of photographs because I was intrigued by his large hand gestures.  I’m also including an early photograph of Ed, in conversation with our former drawing professor, Pauline McGeorge.  It appears that he has remained animated!


1977 Dennis Burton opening



The following photograph has been borrowed from the Grand Prairie Insider, Tuesday, April 5, 2016.


Blue Valentine by Ed Bader: Collage

“In 2015 I executed a series of collages based on my 2010 photographs taken at the North Country Fair. The Fair is a recreation, on a smaller scale, San Francisco’s  “The Summer of Love”, with its’ wandering jugglers, clowns and numerous kiosks and festive tents selling alternative health remedies, workshops, massages, international crafts, souvenirs and CDs from the local to international groups that perform. I have appropriated the high key colors, flat florid graphics of California’s Sixties art and counter culture i.e the posters of Peter Max and the art style of the Beatle’s animated classic, “The Yellow Submarine”.  The goal of this body of work is to celebrate the vibrant energy and values of Northwestern Alberta’s own counter-culture.”

I remember that day not being able to really connect with Ed.  Openings are like that.  However, stepping back, I enjoyed watching him make other connections.  I felt very proud of him.  It was a big day.

When winter has you shivering, bring life to your experience by perusing the galleries.  On my list…Glenbow’s Beaver Hall Group exhibit and Otto Rogers at Paul Kuhn.

Writing on the Studio Wall

I have a long history of writing on walls.  But, what a friend recently told me is that Sharpie fades and will only last so long on drywall. (this explains why my affirmations, written on my bathroom wall in metallic gold pen, have begun to disappear)  So, as I looked at my studio walls, I DID realize that many of the original song lyrics and early writings of friends have begun to disappear.  I have documented these so that as they fade, they can be remembered as they become a part of the history of place.

I’ll begin with the most recent signing…that of my furnace tech, having just cleaned out my furnace and vents for this year.

If you do not see your writing on my wall, it is time for a studio visit!  Scout…looking for your writing. ;0)


I need to change my filter more often.


Annie Lennox: The Saddest Song I’ve Got (yup…sometimes when you’re painting, you feel sad and I would have been playing this CD while I painted, likely after I saw her playing a concert with Sting.)


My oldest Kananaskis Country map plastered on the studio wall. I think about the mountains whenever I’m not in them. When I thought to, I recorded the odd hike…just so that I could remember the circumstance. Most times I forgot.


Oh my gosh…winter hot dog roast at Sandy McNabb…that was a long time ago! I DID DO RAE GLACIER again!


I didn’t keep this up…but, I thought it would be cool to list the new CDs that came into the studio. Don’t know what the Martha Stewart Wedding memo was about.


This boy has a big influence on me. He got over some addictions. He helped me recently.


Alan put up some shelves in the studio when I first built it…now, that was a long time ago! It seems we reused wood. I painted it up and it looked great. I remember when the studio was empty.


Pat, from the Ironwood, was out with another buddy. I was bugging him about the fact that when the move happened from the present day Blue’s Can, they took Mussels off the menu. We were drinking wine in the studio that evening. These things happen.


My niece, Mandi, wrote beautiful words for me on the morning of my first born’s wedding…and it’s almost impossible to read them anymore. I treasure them and always will. I send her love, abundant love.


Bee, my dancing partner, when there’s good Honky Tonk music playing, continuously shares hilarious bits of blah blah…usually, I write them down.


Oh, good grief…weird stuff ends up hung on my studio wall, but, I am always prepared. Nothing’s worse than having to leave a painting, in order to floss your teeth…and times wasted looking for it.


Oh my gosh…I was obsessed with getting large storage for my big canvases. Thank you to all my friends and family who had to listen to my musings on this subject and to the two men who eventually built them. I’ve been afraid that they are going to fall on me while I paint, ever since. lol


Yes, I was this obsessed. To the right, a beautiful mosaic created by a Larche artist, a gift from Father Clair Watrin a zillion years ago.


One view of the storage that I love so much.


The other side…



Chris and Clayton…former students. Every so often the kids come back to visit…they’re both grown up now. We don’t forget, though. Proud of both of these dudes.


Broken hearted, I cut three travel journals up into little squares, when my trucker boyfriend dumped me over the telephone. (I may as well be honest). Chances are that if you’ve got one of my paintings since 2006, one of these squares is buried in your painting. I thought it would be good to send a bit of my heart out with each new piece…the nice thing to announce is that it barely hurts at all any more. This is what happens with broken heartedness.


Awe…my cousin, Clayton, just before he headed out for a huge walk for the support the Kidney Foundation? Correct me, if I’m wrong, Clay. Karina and Clayton…a gift to share an evening with them.


Jen Hall took the first and only ‘real’ portrait that I’ve had done of me…and Max…and she documented a few paintings for me. She’s awesome.


I have a habit of picking up things in old frames, especially if they look like they were hung in some one’s kitchen for a zillion years…where mayhaps tea was served and ladies talked.


I read stuff about our animal/bird/insect/plant species that are in trouble…I clip them here…I don’t want to forget. Some of these land in paintings…it all depends what I’m thinking about at the time.


My son….he was my very young batman…he wanted to keep everyone safe and happy and calm. These are two of my favourite photos of him. The other one…well, you saw it earlier.  James and sister, Cayley, at Angel Glacier.


Yeah…more journal squares…a piece from Ashleigh Bartlett’s workshop at Esker…more salvaged religious memorabilia from the second hand stores…a postcard of Tim Belliveau’s glass…my all time favourite glass artist.


Book suggestions…words from my sister-in-law, Grace. Aaron, Angela and Wisdom visited me and took away my teaching table so that I would never, again, be tempted to teach in the studio, but instead, paint.


Yes…my daughter’s wedding. Trying to remember neighbour’s names…


Karina…beautiful. I wish more of my relations from Raymond and Lethbridge and Magrath would stop in for visits. Love them so much.


Youngest person to visit my studio…Wisdom is growing up so fast. Love the Sponge Bob!


Leaves of Grass: Walt Whitman Read it! WHEN the true poet comes, how shall we know him— By what clear token,—manners, language, dress? Or shall a voice from Heaven speak and show him: Him the swift healer of the Earth’s distress!


Bill used to move my art…I loved him so much.


Bill Webb…still painting luminous landscapes of the Livingston Range and winter roads. New adventures are happening for my dear friend.


James Blunt…during heart wrenching moments in the studio.


Margy…oh my gosh…how many times did we watch the music video and sing along with this tune??


Bob Nelson…drove all the way from Helena and we went down to Knox and listened to acapella music. High school friend and talks about life, the world and Kant. I’m catching waves.


I didn’t see this note about the scissors until today. Cayley, sorry that I wasn’t helpful. lol The scissors are hanging in the scissor place over there!


Beautiful lady, Angela. And, I guess some sort of recommendation from Dylan. Dylan and Kristan, former students, have visited. But…it’s been a while. Both are doing inspiring and exciting things. I still have a JH self portrait in a portfolio for Kristan to pick up. lol


Oh dear…I can’t read this. Can you? Please let me know…something about meditation…I can read “Remain Radiant”


The goal of life is to be a vehicle
for something higher.Keep your eye up there
between the pairs of opposites
watching your play in the world.Let the world be as it is
and learn to rock with the waves.Remain ‘radiant,’
as Joyce put it,
in the filth of the world.”~ Joseph Campbell, Excerpt From: “A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living.” Joseph Campbell Foundation, iBooks


This young man…an accomplished and published photographer/journalist out of Toronto. Look for his stuff on cars…and his road trips! Proud of you, Clayton.


My brother, owner of Cliff’s Chinook Charters out of Comox, wrote about the plight of the salmon. I love my brother…he knows how much I think about him. I caught a big one out there, while sharing a trip with my daughter and father.


Leslie Champ, former student and amazing man! Christmas visit 2013. The little piece matted in purple, a piece of art created by student Katie McGreevy for me when I taught at St. John’s Fine Arts School…again, a zillion years ago. A couple pieces of my paint-by-number collection.


I cherish Leslie’s words.


Jen…another artist extraordinaire. A part of a powerhouse teaching team at AGC when it was before the boss woman went down in flames.


Middle Child, daughter Cayley, is one of my two daughters. Both have taught me about courage. I could not have learned the lessons of courage in life, without them.


Thank you.


Rita, I miss you. You opened up so much discourse. You supported me.


First born. I can’t type anything about her without getting teary. Such a warm, funny, organized, loving human being! Brave! Pam and Larry, that was a fun night! Such fun!


“The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.” ― Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark


lol You’re welcome, Larry.


In two places.


Jen, I miss you. A bit of a piece done with Asheigh Bartlett, as a response to work by Jack Bush.


People leave me stones, shells and earth from places they have traveled…these came from Australia. Thank you, Bob.


Natasha…former student studying art in Vancouver. Love you and so proud of you.


Darwin stones.


Prince Edward Island Sand…touch it every once and a while and my mother comes to mind.


Shells and stones…Prince Edward Island. I get teary looking at these.

Pick of the Week: Experience Inclusion

Thursday night and the City of Calgary was bursting with visual arts events of every sort!  I might have visited the Glenbow Gallery’s exhibits.  The gallery offers free admission on the first Thursday of every month. (some of you may not know that)  I missed the recent opening of the new exhibits and  I particularly want to see 1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group and Rough Country: The Strangely Familiar in mid-20th Century Alberta Art.  These shows leave us end of January/beginning of February…so, they are on my list.

Also on Thursday, presented by Foster MAK, artist, Belinda Fireman, celebrated her opening.  This is one my readers want to catch before the end of November.  Loft 112 is a fantastic venue for events that include writers, performance artists and visual arts.

“Belinda Fireman is one of Calgary’s most vibrant artists.  Her original paintings are characterized by inspiration, colour, fun and vulnerability.  She loves making live art at events and parties, and she competes regularly in local and provincial art battles.

Belinda is the incredible creator of Self Love 365 – a daily practice that inspires and generates creativity and self-worth. This year, SelfLove365 inspired many incredible portraits of people in Belinda’s life, surrounded by the writings of her vulnerable, honest and relatable thoughts. Through the month of November, her images and words from this beautiful project will be on exhibit at Calgary’s Loft 112, presented by FosterMAK.com.”

Beautiful things are happening every where…Jarvis Hall has an artist talk this afternoon, presented by Wil Murray at 2:00 following the opening, last night, of the current exhibit, Spray Can Sea, Ooh Bared Ass, Vet Her.  From the Jarvis Hall website, this…

“Wil Murray is known as the wild man of contemporary Canadian painting.  A lifted brushstroke here, a folded dried paint skin there: he creates a new visual dialogue that is equal parts paint, sculpture and at times, photography.  Always investigating his media and using traditional materials in ways the contemporary viewer had not seen, his previous work was as much theatrical sideshow as they were contemporary painting.”

So, what did I attend on Thursday night?  Experience Inclusion: Artist Studio Portrait Exhibition at In-Definiate Arts Society!  This was a fantastic event!

From Calgary Arts Development’s initiative, What’s On In Calgary and written by AMY JO ESPETVEIDT, this…

On October 6, 2016 a group of artists transformed the Calgary Municipal Building’s atrium into an artist studio. Pairing City of Calgary employees with In-Definite Arts artists, participants used marker pens on plexiglass to draw and trace live portraits of each other.

Thursday, November 3rd was the closing reception, a lovely event that involved mingling with artists, snacking on a beautiful array of treats and looking at some truly wonderful portraiture.  Another very special aspect to the evening was speaking with three artists; Roby, Jennifer and Tony.  These artists have not allowed disabilities to prevent them from expressing their creative nature.  I’m looking forward to meeting Jennifer again when I attend the group’s creative arts sale on November 19. Finally, I was very proud of my daughter, Erin and her colleague, Phil, who spoke to the exhibit and who spoke to the nature of inclusion and the process that our city is taking in order to ensure movement forward in matters of acceptance and appropriate accommodations.  I was happy to see my son-in-law, giving his generous support for my daughter.  I love him to bits!  Another employee of the City of Calgary, he is a dedicated worker who daily, has to consider inclusion as it directly impacts his department.  I am proud of you, Douglas.


My daughter, Erin, was partnered with Tony, an enthusiastic and sincere gentleman who I met, for the first time, at the In-Definite Arts reception.  Here, they met at the City of Calgary atrium, with the intention of drawing portraits of one another.img_2512img_2511

Here, they celebrate the follow-up exhibit at In-Definite Arts Gallery.img_2508img_2505img_2504img_2503img_2501img_2499img_2498img_2497img_2496img_2495img_2494img_2493img_2492


I am so proud of my daughter, Erin. (Human Resources Consultant for the City of Calgary)

It was a great pick of the week.  I felt relaxed because I did not cram too much into my evening and was happy to relax and read before sleep.  Oh!  I have some good books to share with my readers!  But, for now, time to enjoy the beautiful weather at Frank’s Flats. Max is waiting!


Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

How wonderful to share an exhibit of works created by notable female artist, Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842), with my two young nieces, Eliane and Ainslie.  The National Gallery of Canada produces the most exquisite spaces that showcase exhibits, with perfection.  A contrast to the Chris Cran show, this exhibit immediately captured the sensibility of the period.  We were enveloped in a warm and ornate environment.  I felt hugged by the space.

img_1008The first images posted are the sculpted terra-cota bust of Vigée Le Brun – 1783 sculpted by Augustin Pajou (1730-1809).  The piece is visiting from the Musee du Louvre. The artist, Augustin Pajou, enjoyed a long and continuing success as a portraitist spanning the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and the Empire. He was Louis XVI’s official portraitist and he completed many psychologically penetrating portrait busts of some of the greatest and most interesting figures of his age.

img_1007While I thought I would pass by the written captions that were placed within proximity of each piece, they were so absolutely interesting and well-written, that  I became pulled into the history of this brave and prolific woman’s journey.  I was in awe of the technical aspects of her work and so amazed by her determination within the context of historical events of the time.  I was proud of my young nieces for their shared admiration.  We shared in some very ‘smart’ conversations.

I won’t approach this post like an art history article, but I do encourage my readers to explore this artist’s story. A revolutionary figure, literally! I was reminded of the strength of women when I toured this exhibit.  I was also overcome by the detail and expertise evidenced in the works, themselves.  At a point, it was impossible to separate the paintings from the relationship of the artist with Marie Antoinette and to say to myself, “Wow, this artist was in intimate contact with and documented the life of this historical figure.”  The works transported me, the observer, into a different time.

Initially, I was a bit snap-happy, but then became absorbed and overcome by the shear numbers of paintings of royalty…I also had my ‘hand slapped’ by a security guard once he noticed I had taken a photo of a painting that had not been exhibited since 1982.  He was gentle with me, however, and explained that a no photos icon was posted at the base of the caption…subtle, but worthy of noticing.  There was one woman carefully documenting each painting multiple times and I was somehow irritated by that.  The gallery was well-attended, given that it was the long weekend and the exhibit will have its close tomorrow, on September 11.

As Ainslie, Eliane and I approached the final two rooms, we stood and stared at one another…I said…”Are we cooked?” and we all agreed we were on Art OVERLOAD at this point.  Some of you will understand what I’m saying.  I remember this feeling in the Musee d’Orsay, the Louvre, the Uffizi, the National Gallery of London, the Tate Modern and even in the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. I do want to note here, however, that of the great art museums of the world, I am very proud of our National Gallery.  This exhibit was stunning.  I feel grateful.

img_1009 img_1010 img_1011 img_1012 img_1013 img_1014 img_1015 img_1016 img_1017 img_1018 img_1019If you are reading this and living in Ottawa, sip your last bit of coffee, pack up your newspaper and off you go!  Thank you to those involved with sharing this exhibit.


Beyond Remembering

Listening to Fleetwood Mac’s When I See You Again, as I type.

I wrote away to Amazon for Beyond Remembering: The collected poems of Al Purdy before driving east, the morning of my mother’s birth day,  July 27.  Since then, I’ve been pouring through the poetry and visiting the places that Canada’s poet, Al Purdy, visited and sometimes thought and wrote about.  I heard Eurithe’s strong voice over the telephone, positive and supportive and carried to me all the way from Sidney, British Columbia.  Al’s wife gave me the generous permission to use bits of Al’s poetry in my paintings, all produced in my studio bedroom, generously offered to me by my loving father his summer.

I’m still working on small panels and told myself they would be completed by September 1 and I will hold myself to that and I will rest for September, taking in the new autumn air and visit my brother and sister in Ottawa before I drive west to Calgary.

If you haven’t had a connection with Al Purdy’s writing, do give yourself that opportunity some time, when it’s right.  The summer of 2013 was the right time for me.  I had picked up George Bowering’s book about his friend, Al, his writing…and I became suddenly, profoundly connected…not just with Al Purdy’s writing, but also George Bowering’s writing and more than before, Margaret Atwood’s.  I was excited by Al’s connection to my all-time favourite author, Margaret Laurence, and went in search of correspondences between the two and poems where he wrote about her…even to the point of the description he gave in one of his poems of his writing space and the images of both Gabrielle Roy and Margaret Laurence that hung there, on his wall.

Yes…I became a fan.  George Bowering co-authored a book with Jean Baird, The Heart Does Break: Canadian Writers on Grief and Mourning.  Drowning in a dark pool of grief for my mother, all of these beautiful circumstances, all surfacing through poetry, writing and literature, gave me a nudge into my personal journey of grief.  I have to say that tentatively, visually, my relationship with the folk of the Gorilla House (you know who you are) and then the Rumble House in Calgary, also provided a string to my practice.  But, I have to face it, for years, I’ve been broken and not particularly functioning on any level as an artist.  I painted in my head and pulled off these two hour blast outs every Wednesday night.  I was happy to let go of them at auction on the same night because I was suffering too much to want to hold on.

Somehow, I knew that this summer I had to create a segue into my practice of painting.  I had unloaded all of the furniture and other stuff that I had pushed into my studio space, as a physical way of avoiding painting.  I finished projects that were created as a way of distracting me from the fear, the incapacitation and the flat out avoidance of canvas or panel or paint.

And so I find myself here, painting the shape of Purdy’s words, in as much as I can over a period of four weeks.  I am sitting here crying as I type.  Dad isn’t home.  Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks…singing to me through the single speaker.  And…I feel good to be in the act of painting again.  A bit illustrative in nature, I don’t necessarily believe that this is the direction my work is going…but, it is the beginning of the direction and for that, I’m grateful.  It makes sense that I should begin in this beautiful, lush, humid, Victorian city of Belleville, on the edge of the Bay of Quinte…not far from Purdy’s resting place and his little A Frame on Roblin Lake.  I know that when I get home, I already have a ‘shitload’ of content from a pond that I love, that will give me a subject for my winter’s exploration.

I will add the poems, a bit at a time, to this post…I really need to get back to those small panels I mentioned.  After all, it’s the 28th of August.

Mom, I love you.  I love you with all of my heart.   Something about what I’ve painted this summer is about you…home…Canada…experience that is the very most mundane…things in the day-to-day that all too often go unnoticed.   Painting again, with joy…not pain…is home for me.

Thanks to Mary and Pat…two friends back in Calgary, who tentatively asked…and supported my journey of grief as it related to my painting.  Thanks to Pricilla.  You know why.  Thanks to my Dad, who feeds me.

The paintings can be seen, thanks to the generous opportunity given by Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor at Artists and Artisans: Studio and Gallery on Front Street, show beginning on Thursday, September 6, with a bit of a sha-bang on the 11th from 2-4 and with the potential of after hours viewing any time.  I hope some of you can see these.


From the poem, May 23, 1980 in the collection, Beyond Remembering…the final stanza.

I have grown old
but these words remain
tell her for me
because it’s very important
tell her for me
there will come one May night
of every year that she’s alive
when the whole world smells of lilacs.

Al Purdy