Gramma’s Treasured Time

I had a couple of weeks where I had a chance to spend the days with my grandson and don’t want to be remiss in acknowledging that time.  I look back on those days with a warm and happy heart.  He is changing so fast and so much and he is just such a funny person.  I love to talk with him.  I treasure every moment.  A collection of images for our times shared will be included here…but first…

All of the poems I read on the internet…poems for grandsons…were stupid.  The intentions were lovely and they were very very sweet.  But, none of them suited my grandson.  ‘Perhaps one day I will try to write a poem for you, my wonderful magical Steven.’  For now, the poem that best suited our little boy who loves ants and lady bugs and spiders is this one, written by William Carlos Williams, for his grandson.  It is titled, The Turtle.  I apologize that these bits are unclear.

I love you, Steven.

 

Food Narratives and Traditions: Pierogi

It was the second year that I had the opportunity to work alongside Michael, a friend who grew up in the tradition of his mother making Perogies, spelled Pierogi (for those who really know what they are doing).  Last time, we took the project on in my little U shaped kitchen and this year, in the far more organized kitchen in Michael’s home, edging the bike path where, at this time of year, tall trees are clothed in glorious colour.

I am very grateful for the experience and feel like I really did get into the groove of the pinching and such.  I tried to be a support back-up person for Michael who moved through the kitchen rolling and boiling and pinching as though a well choreographed machine.  We stopped about half way through our shared experience to sit and sample the goods and they were delicious, but this only after whipping downtown to see if we could pick up a batch of miniature books on the topic of the 94 calls to action, resulting from the Truth and Reconciliation process.  I explained to Michael that I really wanted to make certain that each person who attended this years THANKS-giving feast would leave with one. No such luck! We arrived at the stroke of 4:14 when the Native Counselling Center closed at 4:00.  Drat!

Back to our culinary experience…

These tasty treats will be shared around with many friends and family members over the coming days and I really hope that Michael and I can make Pierogi as an annual event.  Good music, cold drinking water and much activity makes for strong friendships.  Working side by side in the kitchen is a great way to really get to know your friends!  Highly recommend!

(Thanks to Ellinor for the sour cream!)

Amounts for a single batch…divided and rolled a third at a time, after a half hour rest in a plastic bag.

5 level cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold milk
1 cup hot water (not boiling hot)

Whisk together your wet ingredients and then add your flour gradually.

Fillings this year… and we think we made approximately 30 dozen of these little gems because we worked up three batches in all.

#1 Potato, cheddar, homemade pickled peppers

#2 Mushroom, leek, truffle oil and dill

#3 Potato, cheddar and green onion

Thank you, Micheal, for your generous heart.

 

A Monet Moment With Gillian

Nothing is more fun than spending an afternoon with another retired teacher…woman…and friend, painting Monet Magic in a wildly energetic dance of colour and creativity!  And that’s what it was…a dance!

Often times I have spoken to students about the personality of our individual mark-making.  In fact, marks become so highly recognizable that often times artists do not sign their work in the formal tradition of yesteryear, but instead, simply include information on the back of the panel/canvas, so as to not distract from the image.

Like some sort of choreographed number, Gillian and I switched places every five or ten minutes this afternoon, in order to collaborate and weave our marks throughout the piece.

Gillian had a dresser, originally brown in colour, that she recently finished with a purple coat of paint.

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 011

The dresser has some interesting design details.  (apologies for the bright light in the photos…but…it was such a lovely atmosphere for painting, especially after the noon hour treat of a Cobbs ham croissant!)

Given that it was already prepped, we worked together to create a free-flowing piece, somewhat symmetrical, in the spirit of Claude Monet.  For those of my readers who do not know his work, here is a section of a water lily painting.

water-lilies-1919-2

Because of the depth of the purple paint, I decided not to use the impasto tints most associated with Monet’s work, but to build layer upon layer from the deeper colours, forward, to the lighter.  We kept all of the marks very free flowing.

This series of photographs show the process.  We will follow up with photos once the piece is varnished and off of the fly sheet.  It will be quite spectacular.  Thank you, Gillian, for conversation, laughs and shared energy.  It was a beautiful afternoon!

Drawing boundaries for water, sky and vegetation with loose drawing marks. A decision to use Ultramarine for sky atmosphere and Pthalo for water.

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 012

Incorporating a little bit of lavender into the sky atmosphere.

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 015

Building up colour into the central area. Deciding on some wild irises to create a bit of a vertical movement.

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 016

Could I ever complete a piece without injecting red?  I don’t think so!  Gillian was daring and didn’t even hesitate!

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 017

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 020

Important that the entire piece be integrated…top and sides, included.

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 022

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 024Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Happiness Frank's and Gillian 023

Yummy surfaces!  Thanks, Gillian, for sharing colour, light, conversation, travel stories and invention!  And for the record, this is a very cheesy music video….but, it’s perfect and well-suited for the experience!

 

 

A Library, Phil, Tim, Good Snacks & Lea Bucknell, Artist in Residence

P1130185I hopped on the train after Esker and Max and stopped at City Hall.  The CPL is right there on the opposite corner and as is always the story about the library, great things were happening last night.  An Artist in Residency program is under way!

Torn directly out of the social media event description…this…

The New Gallery has partnered with the Calgary Public Library to implement a special residency program. Beginning in the fall of 2013, this collaboration encourages social practices and public engagement. Lea Bucknell, the inaugural artist-in-residence, will be building a wooden structure, Graphite Mountain, at the Library’s Central Branch (616 Macleod Trail SE) to act as a place for public gathering and a venue for cartographic and drawing-based workshops.

Both poetic and playful, Graphite Mountain resembles an idealized mountain form and provides a unique and unexpected experience for library-goers. Clad in old wooden fence boards that have been cut and arranged to mimic mountain stratigraphy, the structure’s interior cavity becomes a studio for the artist during her residency. A curiosity in the library, this mountain environment collapses notions of picturesque landscapes and retreat spaces into one stand-alone structure.

I treasured conversation with former student, Tim Belliveau and his Bee-Kingdom buddy and mine, Phillip Bandura.  I also learned some new things from Lea’s talk and look forward to learning more about ‘the follies’ and participating in the various related workshops happening with the library during her residency.

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Surprise #5: Taking Care of Business!

P1120253 P1120254 P1120255 P1120256 P1120257 P1120258 P1120259 Randy Bachman really shook up the crowd.  One awesome act after another, but this one seemed to inspire YouTube video and got the most people up off their seats.  I was surprised that his set resonated with me so deeply.  I had no idea that of all the music to be heard the evening of the Alberta Flood Relief Concert, Bachman’s tunes would so reach into my heart and memory.  He was not only entertaining, he was genuinely musical.  There was so much energy in the band that the crowd could not help but get pumped.  Nice going, Randy!  And, thank you!

This would be the YouTube video that really put a smile on my face.  I was too busy dancing to create one of my own!  This one’s titled, “Guy givin’ er at Alberta flood relief concert”

Birth Days and Mother’s Days

I was born on Mother’s Day in 1955.  This May, I’ve thought often and hard about my mother who has struggled the past few years with Alzheimer’s disease.  I thought about Mom on my birthday.  And I thought about her again on Mother’s Day…and I’ve thought about her pretty much every day since I left her bedside last month.

Christmas St. SylvestreI want to thank those of you who brightened my days with your love, your wishes, your prayers and your cards.  It has been another year filled with blessings as numerous as challenges.  I am grateful for all of it.  I am grateful for you.

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Hugo

The movie, Hugo, really struck a chord with me.  Most of you saw it a good while ago…I had heard that it was beautiful.  And it was.  I was especially taken by the artistry of the film…its incorporation of all things sculptural, emotive and colourful.  I was delighted by the various links to early films, story boards, set design and sketches, but especially intrigued by the automaton that became as much a central character as the young boy, Hugo Cabret, played by Asa Butterfield.

If you haven’t seen this film as yet, please do.  Reviews cover the spectrum from admiration to disdain, as always…many complaints about various aspects of this Scorsese film, beginning early with the english accents in a french setting.  To state the obvious, movies, like music, speak to the individual heart.  Hugo spoke to mine. Fabulous!

Today I’ve spent some time exploring automatons and wondering about the complexity of their construction.  I’m posting a few bits here.

Leonardo’s programmable cart.

I Look to You

I Look to You

I don’t really know, Mom, if you have understood your own strength in life.  You inspire me with your tenacity.  Nothing is more precious to me than the few minutes I can grab to see you and interact with you, face-to-face, on Skype.  Because of technology, I feel as though I’m in the same room as you, Mom and Dad, when in fact, I am thousands of miles away.  After our Skype date this evening, I headed for my bank of photos, tucked into files on the computer and found this one.  It made me smile.   You shared such satisfaction clearing this piece of land!  You inspired me then and continue to inspire me today.

Clearing Land

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.
— Anais Nin

An Unfinished Life

This film struck me as a study in character, and while it may seem cliche at times, sitting through nights in the theaters or curled up on your couch at home, it is another story about human strength and what it takes to ‘heal’.  All sorts of obstacles may come our way…but how do we negotiate our way through the darkest times and set our own hearts down on a cloud of hope and peace?

The Wyoming landscape and small-town experiences speak to something in me.  There is enough strength in the characterization for the viewer’s interest to be sustained.  It is a story that has been told to us again and again in the novels we read and in the movies we view, and yet it is fresh and heart-warming enough to keep us engaged.  It is one that I watched at night while the teenagers were out.

Einer Gilkyson is played by Robert Redford and his sole companion is Mitch, played by Morgan Freeman.  Jean is played by Jennifer Lopez.  This is a story about melting hearts that have been chilled by the ice of critical circumstances.  A good film, I thought.