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.

An Unusual Book: A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

I realize that I wouldn’t be very good as a book reviewer…I read lots, but move on to the next book, without archive or recommendation.  But, I have to take pause with this one.

Mark Haddon, himself, warns his readers against using his popular novel, The Curious Incident With a Dog in the Night-time as a textbook about any particular state of being on the spectrum.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, for its innovative use of text and for its heart warming story.  Christopher John Francis Boone is an engaging character, the first of his sort that I’ve met in literature.  I read this book some time ago and over the past months encountered ‘A Spot of Bother’ by the same author in a second hand book store and so picked it up.

I am sitting here chuckling as I type.  The book has such a refreshing angle and similar to ‘The Curious Incident With a Dog in the Night-time’, much of the intrigue revolves around the development of a very unusual character, in this case, George Hall, the patriarch of a fabulously discordant family.  What is it about laughter at the expense of these fictional characters?  I gauge the success of a book these days, based on my reactions to the believable foibles of invented characters.  George is so unreasonable.  I find myself laughing at him until that inevitable moment when my relationship to him and the events of the narrative cause me to do a 180 and cry for the sad state of his situation.

I’d love to know what you think of this one.  I think that Mark Haddon is an especially gifted writer.

Impeccable description.  A connection of the most impossible-to-connect states of mind and experience.  Fabulous!

A Spot of Bother

Sheep-ISH Dog

Some of my friends on social media may have thought I was joking when I compared this fox to my dog, Max.

I just returned from my hike around the pond with Max…something we do at least once a day and when the weather co-operates, twice.  Lately, the wintry pond environment has offered new insights.  For one, during the huge spell of deep snow and icy temperatures, I found a kill site.  A predatory bird, likely some type of hawk, was evidently taken down by a large carnivore (I was initially thinking, a larger male coyote).  The feathers and parts of the bird were carried over a long trail.

I’ve purchased some casting plaster and will want to take a cast of the tracks that I’ve found circling the entire pond, simply because their profile is much larger than the other coyotes that have inhabited the area….more than four inches.  I want to do some comparison identification.  These matters always intrigue me.


Add to that, the presence of deer sign (very unusual for this part of Fish Creek because it is fenced off) and several skat sites that included lots of animal hair as well as the typical berries, and it is evident that the wintery weather is offering all of the animals challenges for food sources and water.

So, today Max was, as is typical, exploring all of this.  As well, he was showing his mousing behaviours, every so often, acting very much like the fox featured in the previous Youtube video…only difference is that he doesn’t do the exuberant leap into the air.  He does, however, bury his snout completely into the snow, even snow that has developed a bit of a crust in this morning’s lowering temperatures.

Today…YES!  He brought out a mouse!  And…NO!  It mattered not how many times I commanded “Drop IT!”



Max, consumed the mouse…yes indeedy!  Right in front of me…sheepishly relocating to a different spot every time I made a move toward him!  I know that my readers can imagine this.  I was so exasperated watching the horrors of a mouse being eaten bit by bit by my domestic pet, that I am still agitated.  Does Max know that I am angry?  You tell me.

Sheep-ISH Max January 22, 2014

Sheep-ISH Max January 22, 2014

Now, of course, my next concern….”Is this going to bite Max in the butt?  bite me in the butt?”  As I collected these photographs at our arrival home, he burped.  SHEESH!


I have the day off.  I woke with a dream…I’d say that it was a dream from God, meant to comfort.  Maybe you haven’t had one of those, but our Lord gives them to me on a not-so-regular basis.  Today I know that my dream was a gift.  So, there you go.  I felt as though I had a particular kind of courage for the day as I rolled out of bed and placed my feet on the floor.  Think about it.  Isn’t that such a powerful symbol when you put those feet down in the morning?  There starts the gratitude.

I shuffled to the yellow chair.  That’s where I get my grounding in the morning…lift up my day…ask for help…pet Max…give thanks…be.  Usually I make my coffee before plunking there, but today I didn’t.  Once up and at the counter, I stood there long enough to enjoy the aroma of those first drips of coffee into the pot and then I heard it!

…the revving on and off again, plunking and bumping of the garbage truck in the back alley and shocked, went into a panic mode about the absolutely filled-to-the-top black bin that cradled my garden clean-up leftovers!  YIKES!!  “WAIT!!!” I shouted to absolutely no one and tore to the back door, slipping on summer sandals along the way!

He was two doors down…his truck rolling along…his robot arms reaching out and embracing each black receptacle along the way!  I waved my arms while simultaneously looking into the bin that I knew was stinking and pouring over with garden materials and last week’s bag of refuse from the kitchen.  HEH!  WAIT!  I ran across the alley to see if the neighbours’ bins had been gathered up!  They had!  Like some sort of lunatic with a shopping cart, I spun the bin onto its back wheels and started running!

Did I even consider what this might look like to others?  Absolutely not!  Did I continue to wave my arms in the case that someone in that truck looked into a rearview mirror?  You betcha!  Were there any witnesses to this early morning event?  Of course!  One woman, bound for work and perfectly coiffed, was returning her emptied bin to its perfect spot by her perfect curb as I made eye contact, but flew past her.

I was gaining on the garbage truck!  By this time I was two thirds of the way down the length of the alley.  Within two lengths of his truck, he put on the brakes…came around…looked at me.  And he smiled.  Is it possible to fall in love with the garbage man…in a moment…a flash???  (just kidding).  I begged him, “Would you please take my garbage?  PLEASE!”  Now…how pathetic does that sound?  Would you please take my garbage?  That is just a pathetic opening line!  But…he smiled again…and said, “Move aside.”  I happily watched the container lift into the air and empty itself into the opened mouth of the truck.

He said, “Have a great day.”

I said, “You too.”

And pushing my cart, I headed back to my back gate.  By now, I was finally aware of my cold arms.  I looked down at my pink leopard print pajama bottoms.  I looked at the thin worn t shirt that barely covered me.  I flashed back to the face of the witness.  All of a sudden her body language made perfect sense.  Becoming fully conscious, I hoped that I would make the return without meeting up with anyone.

The question came to mind, as I neared the house, “I wonder if I slammed the gate shut.”  You got it!  In fact, the gate WAS slammed shut in the initial frenzy.  What about the shoelace that I had attached for such situations?  Yes, you got that also!  The latch and the shoelace were no longer one entity!

Reflecting back on Outward Bound days, I rammed the guilty bin up against the gate and without thinking, braced it and climbed up on top in order to break through to my own property.  I’d be darned if I was going to walk back the length of the alley, freezing now, and in such dress, and then back up via the front street to my locked house, with yet another back yard gate that was standing in similar circumstances.  The latch gave way and in I fell to the backyard, Max sitting at the back window staring at the calamity.

Here I sit…sipping coffee…waiting for my son to call.  I could not help but write.  I only wish you could experience the face of the witness…the warm humour of the garbage man (sorry, I think there is a more politically correct term for one of these, these days) and I certainly would like my ascent to the top of the garbage bin captured in film…but, instead…here are my words.  Enjoy.

The pajama bottoms…thrift store…and not all that attractive.

The random t-shirt…unfortunately transparent (if you get my meaning).

The sandals at the back door…unfortunately it had snowed night before last.

The latch…the shoelace.

The bin.

The alley: Count six black bins down on the right, you will see my target location. I know…you can’t count six black bins down on the right. My point.

Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe. Truman Capote