Monday, 16 April 2018

Gallery Space

About 15 or so years ago a new Recreation Centre was built incorporating a library, some meeting rooms, a swimming pool and a fitness centre. As this town's population has grown over the years, it has become obvious that the building wasn't large enough to supply the town's needs.
After many months of on again / off again building plans and debates on the rising cost by town council, construction of the new expansion started a couple of years ago, and the project is almost complete.
The expanded library opens today with a great celebration, but unfortunately we've had a huge ice storm all weekend and I can't even get out of my snowy icy driveway this morning to go and see it. I'll have to wait until all the ice melts!
The new fitness area is almost complete, and will be ready by July.
And our small Art Gallery will be moving to a larger space in the new building.... with the entrance just inside the front doors, so much easier for the public to access the space dedicated to art. The Gallery is currently in a building set back from the main street, and somewhat out of the public eye.... you have to want to go there!
So in anticipation of the move, the gallery work space is being organised.

The gallery work space is used for art classes, children's art camps, school groups, paint battles, family art days. The walls are lined with shelves containing paint, markers, crayons, inks, brushes, paper, canvases, art books. I meet with my art group, AAP Collective, there on Monday mornings. It will be so nice to move into the new space when it's complete.

Meanwhile, there are children's art classes still continuing. I wonder how long these coloured pencils will stay colour-coordinated.....!

Friday, 13 April 2018

Come From Away

Have you heard about the musical production Come From Away? It's the story of the more than 7,000 passengers and airline personnel and some travelling animals on 38 wide-body planes that were stranded at the small town of Gander in Newfoundland in the days after the 9/11 tragedy in 2001. You can read about how all the travellers were taken care of by the good people of Gander and the surrounding small towns here.

Ten years after 9/11 in 2011, there was a reunion of the passengers, airline personnel and the townspeople in Gander, and an idea was born. Canadian writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein created the musical Come From Away to tell the incredible story of how a small town of 10,000 souls selflessly fed, housed, clothed, and generally cared for more than 7,000 bewildered and frightened travellers from all over the world who didn't know what was happening or what to think.

Tickets for this popular musical are hard to get, and also pretty expensive, but last January I got together with some friends and we bought tickets for April..... and earlier this week we saw the show. We went downtown on the GO bus and train (I hate parking in Toronto so public transport is the best option), enjoyed a yummy dinner at Marche, then headed to the Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street.
We got to our theatre seats, and immediately I recognized a woman who I worked with more than 15 years ago.... she was sitting in the row right in front of me! Small world, right?
The opening set of Come From Away. No photos during the performance, of course. The chairs that you see are mostly used as chairs, but can magically become school buses, planes, cars, beds, a lookout over a beautiful view, seating for a party, stage for a musician. And each actor can become many different characters depending on what hat or jacket he's wearing. The show runs 100 minutes with no intermission. There were side-splitting hilarious moments, and heart-breaking moments too. A wonderful show, I enjoyed it so much. It was worth waiting for.
If you have a chance to get your hands on a ticket.... it's a must-see show!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Trees Second Try

I'm not satisfied with the painting shown in the previous post so I tried again.  Always fun to see just how a different technique can change the outcome.

Similar colours, but the backgound was textured with plastic shelf liner, and the trees are acrylic paint marker.  I'll probably have another go at this subject later this week. Sorry, this is a really crummy photo.

Sunday, 8 April 2018


Just did this 8"x10" painting today, trying to be looser and attempting to use the palette knife, but I think the tree trunks and branches are too dark. And too messy.

Friday, 6 April 2018


The view out of my kitchen window about 5 minutes ago......

... yes, that's snow falling from the sky! In fact, it's been snowing all day.
Isn't Spring wonderful????

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Chair Time

As promised in my previous blog post..... the chairs in the AAP Collective art exhibition on display at our local Municipal Offices until the end of April.
AAP? What does that stand for? It could stand for many phrases.... Another Artist Paints, Amazing Art Projects, but in this case it's.....





ENDO by Diana B

FISH by Susan W


(Oooops I forgot the title, I'll have to look it up) by Sabrina S

More paintings and prints are on the right wall.... I'll post some more pics soon.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Have a Seat

Our Monday morning art group are hosting a mini art exhibition starting next week, and one of our art projects has been to renovate and decorate an old piece of furniture. It could be a chair, a table, a footstool, whatever has been discarded.

Sometimes treasures can be found at the side of the road on garbage day, you just have to be at the right place at the right time. I kept looking but didn't find anything suitable.

I eventually found this child's chair at the local thrift shop, and took it home, but when I started sanding it down I noticed one of the stretchers between the chair legs was missing, making the whole thing a bit wobbly and unsafe.

A quick trip to the local lumber store for a dowel and then some TLC from a friend with a saw and a hammer fixed things fairly quickly.

Then a spray can of glossy black paint covered up the worst of the dents and scratches, and the Three Hares design was carefully painted on the seat in gesso. 

The Three Hares is an ancient design found in many locations including China, the Middle East, France, England..... a puzzle really, with each hare having two ears, but only 3 ears actually appearing.
Then the hares were painted with colourful acrylic paint. 

Now I'm debating whether to add any colour to the existing pressed wood design on the back of the chair..... what do you think?

Blog edit a few days later: I've decided to leave the chair as it is, no more colour. Just a coat of gloss medium over the paint to give it some shine. I'll be posting pics of the other art chairs once we get the exhibition started.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

All Greek for St Patrick

Today, I went to a St Patrick's Day bake sale to buy some yummy goodies, but there wasn't any Irish stew or Colcannon anywhere in sight..... the bake sale was held by the nuns of the Holy Theotokos Convent.
The Holy Theotokos Convent is a small community of Greek Orthodox nuns located in tiny Cedar Valley in the heart of Ontario countryside. The nuns produce 100% pure beeswax candles for both church use and for general sale. They also produce natural products such as soap, moisturizers and lip balms. You can find out more about the convent here.

The shop was bustling with people who had all driven out into the country to the Convent to buy the pastries and the candles. It was a strange mixture of aromas of both beeswax and baking, beautiful candles for sale, colourful secular Easter egg and Easter bunny decorations, shamrocks and leprechauns and Orthodox religious icons, all presided over by the friendly nuns dressed from head to toe in black robes.

But they bake the most wonderful Greek pastries.
I came home with a custard tart, a pecan butter tart, a Greek cookie covered in icing sugar but I can't remember the Greek name, and two spanakopita pastries. Happy (Greek) St Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day! 

I'm admitting that this is a blatant repeat of my post published more than ten years ago, but maybe this will be the first time you see it! Anyway, Pi doesn't change, it's constant, and Pi Day happens every year on this date, so just read on and then go and have some pie.
Today is March 14 .... 3.14 ..... in other words, Pi Day!
(It's also Albert Einstein's birthday!) (And also the day that theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking passed away today 14 March 2018. An appropriate date.)

The Greek letter Pi is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is approximately 22/7 and is usually calculated to 3 digits, 3.14, and is the most revered mathematical constant in the known universe.
Remember your Grade 9 math class?

With the use of computers, Pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits past the decimal. That's a whole lot of numbers!

So celebrate Pi Day with nerds worldwide by singing this little song, to the tune of "O Christmas Tree", all together now:

Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi 
Your digits are unending,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
No pattern are you sending.
You're three point one four one five nine,
And even more if we had time,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
For circle lengths unbending.

Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
You are a number very sweet,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
Your uses are so very neat.
There's 2 Pi r and Pi r squared,
A half a circle and you're there,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
We know that Pi's a tasty treat.

(Lyrics by LaVern Christianson, math teacher Windom, MN, USA)

Friday, 2 March 2018

Back to Normal?

Oh-oh, I looked at the date and I haven't posted for almost a month! Probably because I haven't really been very far from home or done anything very exciting. Even though I was given permission to drive only 2 weeks after the hip surgery, YoungerSon had commandeered my car while his was getting some TLC, so I was without wheels. And then of course, there was the Olympics, and it was so easy to make myself comfortable on the couch and watch all those crazy athletes vying for medals. I loved it! Canada surpassed expectations in the medal count, Go CANADA Go, but we fell down badly in both the men's and women's curling, which Canada was expected to win. However we won gold in the mixed doubles curling, a new Olympic sport this year. Hooray!
So what else have I been doing? I went to see the movie "Peter Rabbit", yep those cute little bunnies wearing jackets are REAL I tell you! And I donated this small framed lino print for the silent auction at our Art Gallery Auction, I wonder if anyone will bid on it.
And the new hip update: all doing well, only 2 more physiotherapy visits left. The site of the incision is still a bit sore, but I'm walking upright and straight, and both legs are the same length, phew!
And just because it's still cold and a bit snowy outside, and winter isn't over yet, here are the lovely primroses (or are they primula?) a gift from my thoughtful daughter-in-law.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

HIPster Update

I know everyone out there in the blog world is anxiously waiting for an update of how my shiny new right hip is doing.... and the news is good.

A visit to the hospital this morning for a couple of x-rays and a follow-up visit with the surgeon.
I've had a giant waterproof bandaid on my leg since the surgery, with "Remove on Feb 6" written in big black letters, my own "Best Before Date". So it was carefully removed revealing a perfectly neat 4.5 inch incision held together with about 25 staples. Definitely a thing of beauty!
I was so impressed.

The staples were popped out (you can see them in the x-rays), some steristrips installed over the scar, and I was given some spare steristrips in case they fall off during the next few days, which no doubt they will. One was off by the time I got home from the hospital.

And that's it for today..... more x-rays and an appointment in 6 weeks.  Still a bit sore, and I'm still using the walking stick for balance rather than support, but I'll soon be able to get around without it.

And the best part..... I'm OK to drive my car again!
All this in 15 days since total hip replacement surgery..... amazing.
Thank you to my surgeon, he did a great job.

Friday, 2 February 2018


Today is February 2nd..... 40 days after Christmas. The ancient celebration of Candlemas.

Candlemas is a Christian holy day commemorating the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Some Christian communities bring candles to church, where the candles are blessed and then used for the rest of the year.

In France and Belgium, crepes or thin pancakes are a traditional Candlemas treat. Each family member cooks a pancake while holding a coin in the other hand, thus ensuring wealth and happiness for the next year. The pancakes are round and golden in colour, and are a symbol of the return of spring sunshine after a cold winter.

In Mexico, the presentation of Jesus in the Temple is celebrated with family meals of tamales. Whoever finds the bean in the king-cake at Christmastime is responsible for cooking the Candlemas tamales for the whole family.

There's a theory that Candlemas derives from pagan celebrations as it occurs halfway between the December solstice and the March equinox, winter's halfway point while waiting for spring.

Many people believed that Candlemas Day predicted the weather for the rest of the winter. A bright sunny Candlemas meant more winter to come, and a cloudy wet stormy Candlemas meant that the worst of the winter was over. This is the basis for the February 2nd tradition of North America.... Groundhog Day. Will the groundhog see his shadow? I wonder.......

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won't come again.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

I'm so HIP!

Many thanks to the kind bloggers who wished me a happy time away from home during the past week..... yes, I did have a good time, but not quite what you might expect!

OlderSon delivered me to the local hospital at 6:30am last Monday morning. At 8:00am I walked into the operating room, met my surgeon and his team, hopped up onto the operating table and was given a shiny new right hip joint using a new procedure for this surgeon, Direct Anterior Approach Hip Replacement, or DAA. By 12 noon I had recovered and was moved to the 3rd floor to join OlderSon.

The surgeon came to see me a couple of hours later, and encouraged me out of bed, and I walked a few steps up and down the room, the surgeon on one arm and a nurse on the other.

The next day, Tuesday, was busy with visits from the hospital physiotherapist, the pain doctor, the cardiac doctor, the pharmacist, numerous blood pressure checks, the surgeon wanting to check on his work, as well as lessons how to walk up and down stairs safely. YoungerSon came to get me in the afternoon, and I went to a local Senior Retirement Residence for 7 days respite and recovery.

Direct Anterior Approach Hip Replacement, or DAA, has only been performed at this hospital since November. Instead of a 10 inch incision at the side or back of the leg, DAA has a small 4 inch incision at the front of the leg. Recovery is much faster and there are no restrictions on movement of the new joint. I was able to walk with a walker immediately, and although the incision area is still a little tender, I'm starting to walk with a cane.

Staples come out next week, and then I'll start physiotherapy. And I'll soon be as good as new! I'm thinking positive thoughts. And it gives me the perfect excuse to stay in the warm during this cold snowy weather.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Blue Jeans and Buttons

Torn and faded blue jeans have been given a new lease on life by Judith Tinkl. To me these are no longer just slices of ripped denim, destined for the used clothing recycling bin, but have been turned in to lovely landscapes and architectural drawings, even maps.

Judith Tinkl's quilts and textile creations are not meant to keep you warm at night, although they could. They are meant to be displayed on the wall, and I think they are beautiful.

This one is called Oma, Opa, Obi and was stitched in 2011.

Post scheduled while I'm away this week.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Peculiar? Possibly

Not only is the outside of Viktor Tinkl's property fascinating... inside his "showroom" is just as quirky and different and rather morbid too. Lots of words can be used to describe his art.... peculiar, eccentric, unconventional, strange, bizarre.... they all fit.

Turn the wheel on the left on this device and the playing card skeletons come to life. Wish I had made a video of this.

Judith Tinkl is an accomplished quilt maker and textile artist and many of her works are on display along with her husband's weird and wonderful creations. Look closely at these pieces... what are they made of?

 A new use for surplus office supplies?

More photos to come. Post scheduled while I'm away this week.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Recyling Done Here

It's a wonderland of concrete, cement, recycling, metal, glass, whatever! Each outbuilding or shed is decorated with found objects, recycled objects, pieces of the artist's mind. A feast for the eyes.

The artist even keeps his own private army to guard all his creations. Each face is different. They march through the fields carrying their wooden rifles ready all day, all night, whatever the weather throws at them, but never getting anywhere.

More pictures to come! Post scheduled while I'm away this week.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Concrete Art

Just a few miles to the north of here is a little one room school house that provided education for lots of country students many years ago.
The school house eventually became redundant and artist Viktor Tinkl purchased it in 1965. And then the concrete moved in.
These photos were taken in better weather, all would be covered in snow right now.

I visit this place every time there's an Open House, it's fascinating to see what new creations have appeared in the grounds, or on the walls and roof of the old school house.
More pictures to come.