For You/And Me

 

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I met Ashleigh Bartlett at the Esker Foundation. I was participating in a workshop that was a visual response/reaction to the Jack Bush and Colleen Heslin exhibit, one of the most powerful visual experiences I had had for a very long time.  Ashleigh really impacted me with her approach to the workshop and I saw the evolution of non-objective forms more clearly than I had in the past.  I also became very engaged in process, materials and colour.

Ashleigh is presently working out of Boston and she has become a social media friend.  I enjoy visiting the art exhibits she attends through posted images and sometimes get to see work that I admire, through her eyes.  Most recently…just yesterday…she posted an image of a piece by Kara Walker, an artist I’ve been intrigued by the past several years.  Her paper cut outs related to the topic of slavery are potent and important.  Anyway, point being, social media may have its downfalls, but more often than not, it creates interesting connections.

Ashleigh Bartlett curated the current/soon departing exhibit For You/And Me at the Paul Kuhn Gallery.  I couldn’t let it leave town without seeing it.  After all, yesterday was a snowy and grey day.  One other person was wandering the gallery, but soon, I was alone in the space.  And…my readers know how I feel about that glorious feeling of being alone with work.  I’ve snapped some photographs of my favourite works.  I’d describe this group show as elegant and restful.  While colour on the larger fabric collages is intense, there is a dominant sense of balance and that leads the viewer into an experience of meditation.

In regards to my experience, I was curious about the technical aspects of the work.  There were some very engaging approaches to use of media.  Jim Verburg’s approach in his two layer paintings was lovely…so subtle, that photographs would not do them justice.  Paint on mylar in front of paint on mat.  Nice.  Jessica Groome’s Glimmer, Gazer and Pearl, documented below…my favourites!

 

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This little piece was probably the one I wondered about the most.  Mark Clintberg’s Two Coins was simple, but complex at the same time.  I like the projection of the shadow onto the back mat.  I like the texture of the embossed gold leaf.  I wonder about the connections with Felix Gonzales Torres’ Drawings and Sculptures.  This captures the sensibility of the exhibit in full…elegance.  Congratulations to Ashleigh, the participating artists and Paul Kuhn.

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I’d love to have Erica Mendritzski’s Girls hanging in my home.  This is the stuff that dreams are made of.

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Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area…Getting a Taste

Last evening, before my pond walk with Max, I headed west and south to the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area.  We will be taking our grade threes on a field trip to the location and in order to be fully prepared, a session is required for all instructors.  I attended with friends and colleagues, Jenn and Emily.  Lots of laughs and beautiful sunshine were shared.  Having a brand new camera meant that my head was sometimes out of range once we were outdoors.  But certainly I learned a lot about the conservation area from Maureen, the presenting educator, while we were inside.  (I have to say that the three yellow finches at the feeder located right outside the classroom were a little bit of a distraction.) From their website, this.

“Sandy Cross is the son of A.E. Cross (one of the Calgary Stampede’s “Big Four”) and Helen Rothney Macleod.  Sandy started purchasing land south of Calgary in 1945 for what would become Rothney Farm and eventually the Cross Conservation Area. In 1987, Sandy and his wife Ann donated nearly 2,000 acres of their land to the Province of Alberta. At the time, it was the largest private land donation in Canadian history and was operated by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.”

The land is spectacular and the approach that is taken in regards the sustaining the ecosystems is, by my standard, fabulous.  What a beautiful start to Thursday evening!

Kath's Canon May 21 2015 040 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 039 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 038 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 036 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 035 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 033 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 032 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 030 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 029 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 026 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 022 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 021 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 018 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 015 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 013 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 005 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 004 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 003Cookies, juice, friendship and nature…it never gets better than that!

From the Conservation Area, I swung home and picked up Max.  The sun was beginning to set and the birds seemed to be very active at Frank’s Flats.  I played a little with my camera and while they certainly aren’t perfectly focused, I will never forget my encounter with the male Black-crowned Night Heron and his mate.  Beautiful call…huge wing span…and a circle on the blue sky before alighting onto the brush below.  I also had a visit with the osprey…trying to capture the front of the male, but shooting into sunshine.

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This far away.  Mrs. Kept low in the nest at the neighbouring platform....but, as I drove passed on 22X coming home, I saw her tending her eggs and sorting things out.

This far away. Mrs. kept low in the nest at the neighbouring platform….but, as I drove past on 22X, I saw her tending her eggs and sorting things out.

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Mrs. eye-balling me.

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Max-man, my forever-friend…smelling like a post-winter pond….but, very very happy.

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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

 

Thinking About the Planes of the Face

As a follow up to drawing cross contour scribble-dee-boo lines to capture the essence of a frontal face, the students began to look at how light falls on the facial planes.  Again, this being a frontal view, these were over simplified in order to create a mask-like sensibility.  I asked the students to grab three related colours from the oil pastel boxes and away they went.

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Cross Contour Still LIfe

cross-contour-line-drawing-face-2Cross Contour Face

??????????Planes of the face…construction paper/oil pastel…talking about light source and projecting planes…I drew a concavity and convex forms (lenses/bowls) on the white board using hatching.

?????????? ?????????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ????????The following Youtube video demonstrates a more advanced approach and I think that it’s very well explained.

Night Skies and Bats

The evening air was so refreshing tonight and the atmosphere very mystical.  Tree branches were being blown by a bluster of wind.  The sky was still slowly turning from blue to black, with a waxing crescent moon to the southwest.  Stars were visible in each of the windows between the clouds.  With such a bright backdrop, light etched the edges of the surrounding clouds.  In the wide open field I stood, gazing upward, taking it all in.  Every now and then, lightning flashed…but tonight, no bats.

For about a week, I was taking Max out to this open field in the dark of night. My head seemed to be dive-bombed by bats on each of these occasions.  It was so mysterious to me.  Darting away, again and again, I’d hear that distinctive call, and as if to be on roller coasters, they would speed across the navy sky, changing direction at will.  Amazing stuff.  On the first night of this phenomena, I didn’t feel at ease with the experience, but on following nights I took it all in.  Nature provides many gifts if we are present to her.

This short video shows the type of experience I enjoyed.

This next one helps to identify a bat’s sounds.  When there are several around you at once, the sound, of course, is amplified.

I was thinking that, as well as all of the other action we need to take to be good stewards of our communities and the world, we might also make the effort to be conscious of light trespassing…more and more there is a horrendous amount of light pollution.  It would be an awesome thing to do to think about your neighbours and turn off your lights.

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An astronomy update for August can be heard on Calgary Eye-Opener, here.

Light on Water

Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Photo Credit: © Kathleen Moors

The light is changing…that’s what I noticed as I pulled up to the house just before nine tonight.

Light has a lot to do with how we feel about things.  While I was out on the water with my brother, father and daughter, I enjoyed a different experience of light. The term I used out on the boat was mercurial…something about light bouncing off of water.  I got to thinking about my sister-friend who sails with her partner for a good part of every year.  What a wondrous experience that would be.  Does it all normalize after a time?

I thought that my family was more transparent out on the water…more beautiful; although I wonder how that can be possible.

It was important that I jot this impression/experience down because as time passes, these moments begin to exist in a more distant past.  I never want to forget the silver-white of every moment.

©Kathleen Moors

©Kathleen Moors

 

©Kathleen Moors

©Kathleen Moors

 

© Kathleen Moors

© Kathleen Moors

 

©Kathleen Moors

©Kathleen Moors

 

Gratitude to Cliff’s Chinook Charters.

Alex Colville’s Painting, To Prince Edward Island (1965)

Alex Colville, To Prince Edward Island, painted in 1965

Alex Colville, To Prince Edward Island, painted in 1965

July 5, 2014: What’s New in the Backyard Garden?

It’s a hot day.  The lupines have been cut back, to make room for the showy lilies to make their debut very soon.  However, this guy beat them to it.  These poppies are like weeds and reseed at will.  I recommend selecting the areas of your garden where you want colour and let them be, otherwise, you might want to pull them as they appear.  Welcome colour, but so saturated in today’s sunlight, difficult to photograph.  The carrots, beans, onions, radishes, tomatoes and strawberries are all coming along.  Rhubarb needs to be pulled for the third time.  Yummers.  I’m thinking of Pauline as I write.

Not to be confused with an Oriental Poppy.

Not to be confused with an Oriental Poppy.

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Mrs. Feeding Her Little Guys

Early morning was magical.  Max and I took a stroll of the neighbourhood…checked out the recent blooms and took our time honouring the beauty of the quiet and the light spilling over everything.  The magpie babes are growing in independence, three of them at one point, lined up on a garden fence squawking at us.  Even as we stood still, they stared us down and in tandem, belted out their annoyance with us.  Their tail feathers are growing longer.

At our own nest, the first siting of at least two young ones.  They bopped their heads out of the nest to meet the offerings of Mrs.  She astutely pushed them deeper into the nest again and again.

A cat was sitting boldly on our front door step, but Max quickly took care of that.  The neighbourhood is alive with energy, struggle and beauty.  Life is a marvelous thing.

(by 2 in the afternoon, I had seen a line up of two fledglings being fed by both Mr. & Mrs, but only caught two at any time in photographs)P1170606

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H. J. Mcfarland Memorial Home

Mom’s last weeks and days and hours were spent at H. J. Mcfarland Memorial Home in Picton, Prince Edward County, Ontario.  For me, it was very important that Dad take me on a bit of a journey of the grounds and halls that they shared together during that time. I wanted to see the gardens that Mom saw, before the roses came into full bloom.  I wanted to see the crops in the fields that they saw together, growing and changing day by day, as Dad pushed Mom’s wheelchair.  He said that in the first days, there was nothing but soil…and then the lovely green of spring sprouts came to be.  Gardens and the landscapes of Canada were always so inherent to Mom.

P1110198The day that I visited, I saw the courtyard that Mom would have seen from her window.  I saw the roses in full bloom and I sat in the shade of the gazebo where together, my parents would take quiet rest.  I looked out at the sprawling grounds and saw the mighty trees.  I could not help but connect with a sense of life’s cycles and about the continuity of all life: from the dawn of living things until the dusk…and finally, rest…knowing that the darkness is a step into light everlasting, aptly written by Rabindranath Tagore.

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

…and from the Psalms…

Psalm 18:28
You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness. (NLT)

The women and men who cared for Mom during her last days and supported Dad as he walked this journey, were people of great blessing.  Mom was given the dignity and light that she so deserved.  She was given beautiful meals.  She was able to touch soil for the last time, potting small plants in the springtime.  Mom and Dad were given respect and kindness and for this and more, I will always be grateful.

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Recently, I watched a Frontline documentary about assisted living and I know that for some families, there is a huge deficiency in the care that is given for their loved ones.  As our population of ‘boomers’ continues to grow, I think that it is imperative that there be stronger guidelines for the sake of those we love and advocacy on the part of all governments and citizens, for strong practice in the arenas of social, spiritual, physical, mental and psychological responsibility to our aging populations.  While I don’t wish for this post to become political, there is much to be said about these issues not being swept under the carpet, but for light to be shed on related issues.

I am in awe at the strength that my father showed in his walk with his precious wife and my mother and her journey with Alzheimer’s disease.  Because of his inspirational ‘walk’, I am far more aware and sensitive to the vast numbers of caregivers who are daily-struggling with some version of his own truth.  Society has to re-focus their best efforts where all of these interconnected issues come to intersect.

This being said, and looking again at the purpose for this post, I want to close by saying that I am grateful for the care that Mom received at H. J. Mcfarland Memorial Home. Below, a brief description of the man who generously donated the property and facility that in the end, was my mother’s last home in Prince Edward County.

A Man Called Harvey: A profile of H. J. McFarland, Picton’s longest-serving Mayor

Harvey McFarland grew up as a poor farm boy in Roblin, Ontario. His childhood experience drove him to seek a better life. After a series of jobs as a logger, and threshing grain and hauling rock with his team of horses, Harvey started a construction company that made him a millionaire.

Harvey James Mcfarland

Harvey James Mcfarland

Cat by J R R Tolkien: Starring My Peanut Meister

P1100785 P1100786 P1100788The fat cat on the mat
may seem to dream
of nice mice that suffice
for him, or cream;
but he free, maybe,
walks in thought
unbowed, proud, where loud
roared and fought
his kin, lean and slim,
or deep in den
in the East feasted on beasts
and tender men.

The giant lion with iron
claw in paw,
and huge ruthless tooth
in gory jaw;
the pard,[note 1] dark-starred,
fleet upon feet,
that oft soft from aloft
leaps on his meat
where woods loom in gloom–
far now they be,
fierce and free,
and tamed is he;
but fat cat on the mat
kept as a pet,
he does not forget.