Feather Gallery

It was best I not infiltrate the big Disclosure opening with my germs last evening, so today I nipped into  Feather Gallery  at 36 Woodfern Court,  just west of me in suburbia, all on my own.

I headed over to Woodbine after having a lovely visit with artists, Barbara Ballachey and David Foxcroft down at Calgary’s new Edge Gallery.  There’s a big opening there next Saturday.  I’m excited to see that one!

I’ve been a fan of Barbara Ballachey for a zillion years, having her as one of my first Artists in Residence at Cardinal Newman School the year after it opened up in the late 1980s..  She did a marvelous job conducting drawing sessions with almost 400 children.  Anyway, Barbara is always generous and welcoming and I considered her a mentor as I tackled the subject of landscape years ago.  I enjoyed, always, how she received pleasure from the land and had an amazing relationship with it.  While my work was very much different from hers, I think I had a similar passion for the earth, water and air and still do.

 

We’re blessed here in the south where entrepreneurs are popping up with some warm and wonderful spaces where we don’t always journey to the core, but sometimes hang out in our communities.  I consider  Michelena’s Wolf Willow Studios to be among those beauties.  For music, the Cornerstone Music Cafe is bringing in live performers that include Ruth Purves Smith (going on at this very moment).

 

So, once I made it to Feather Gallery, I had the chance to have beautiful, reflective and relaxing conversation with Samantha.  I love her vision for her space.  The gallery, a part of her living-breathing home, is warm and welcoming.

Directly from the Calgary Herald dated July 27, 2015, this…

“The home, incongruous among the usual mix of residential homes of Calgary’s suburbia, was built in 1931 as Leighton, recently married, set down roots in his adopted city. He’d been hired out of England a few years earlier by the Canadian Pacific Railway at age 23 — already acknowledged as a prodigious talent — and asked to paint the scenery of the Canadian West.

When he saw the Rockies he was stunned, so much so that, by 1929, he had put down roots in Calgary, resigning from the railway and accepting the role as head of the Alberta College of Art. Soon he’d met his bride-to-be and, once hitched, they decided to build a home, buying ten acres for $500 from rancher Alfred Crocker.

Fellow artist Walter J. Phillips visited Leighton and later described to the Winnipeg Tribune, the harrowing trip to the newly constructed home.

“A.C. Leighton telephoned to say he was coming to fetch us. He arrived very late, having driven all the way with the emergency brake on. We piled in the car, and having succeeded, by the grace of God, in getting headed in the right direction, we started immediately on an exciting seven-mile journey to his new country home.

“We emerged on a bare expanse of prairie, a desolate spot at night, but one which affords in the daytime an unrivalled view of distant mountains.

“In the East many artists’ homes have been built around a studio, but in the West I know of only two — Charles Scott’s in Vancouver, and Leighton’s in Calgary. Leighton’s is in the best tradition — high, wide and handsome, with plenty of light,” said Phillips.

Leighton and his wife moved on — their final home eventually proving the location for the art centre named after him near Millarville — and the house he’d built was captured and virtually swallowed by expanding Calgary. But something remained behind. A spirit of place, as D.H. Lawrence would have called it.

“It is a special place. There are a lot of people who come in and they feel something here. Sometimes we forget how special it is — people come in and they look up and down and around and you think ‘What are they looking at?’” said Samantha Malach.”

The artists are to be commended for a beautiful exhibit of figurative work…I’ve connected with so many of you over the years and I’m proud of your collective contribution to this show! (missed you, Paula, Daniel, Joanne, Mark, Luella, Bruce, Elena, Desere…)

Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 008Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 007Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 006Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 005Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 004Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 003Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 002Kath's Canon, February 2, 2016 Feather Gallery 001

 

March 25, 2015: Rumble House

I thought I’d attempt a sketch of a British Home Child on Wednesday night.  Given my connection to this story through my Great Grandfather John Moors and two of his sisters, Grace and Alice, I thought that this might be a subject I would like to explore sooner than later.  I have become very fond of a group of descendants through social media and through connection with people here in Calgary.

I decided to choose as a reference, the face of a boy that appeared as a vintage photograph on the Families of British Home Children / British Child Migrants page.  I chose Edward Seery. Edward Seery was sent out of Liverpool to Canada in 1909.  It seems his brother took the same journey in 1898.  These children were indentured servants in Canada and worked very difficult hours.  Most stories, especially the idea of being separated from all loved ones and finding yourself in an alien culture, were very sad.

I arrived at Rumble House at 7:30 (late again), but finished this first sketch in an hour.  I’ve got no history on Edward Seery and the sketch is not accurate in terms of its LIKENESS, so I brought the piece home and will try another more accurate portrait and post it here.  The facial features in this present sketch are all wrong.

BHC Edward Seery 2  His brother James Christopher Seery came in 1898I’m interested in contacting descendants who are interested in allowing an artist to explore their family narratives from this difficult time in history.  I would like to begin with Edward.  I’m still thinking about the media that I will be using, especially the type of surface I will paint/collage, but I wish to create a body of work that somehow addresses this potent moment in Canadian history.  My opinion only…but, I don’t think enough has been said about this and art DOES speak.  I would like the surface of the paintings to somehow mimic the subject matter.  I will be incorporating text into all of the pieces.

British Home Child March 25 2015 Edward Seery

Photo Credit: Andrea Llewellyn

I was feeling pretty mellow/tired on Wednesday night, but my heart was warmed by the presence of so many artists who I have grown to know and love.  One day, Aaron, I will snapple a piece!

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