World’s best apple pie

apple-pieYou may look, but you are too late to try. The Best Apple Pie on Earth was discovered in Windsor ON, rushed to Toronto and judged by me. The award goes to Angela Stipic, along with my gratitude. Thanks too, to Danica, for the speedy delivery. Freshness is all-important in these matters.

Floyd Joseph drum design

floyd-joseph-ravenSigned in pencil 164/180 RAVEN CREATING THE GREAT FLOOD Floyd Joseph “94” Tyee. Serigraph on paper

Among the works of her own that Helen Andersen had stored were a few examples of works by other artists she admired. This beautifully crafted and realized Raven design by Floyd Joseph is one of them. See the frog and lobster shapes and the water motif, coming into being? Joseph’s work belongs to the great tradition of West Coast aboriginal art but he extends it, creating original icons, images and colour schemes.

I was visiting Saanichton when Floyd came over to Helen’s studio to choose some pastels he would exchange for serigraphs. I didn’t know Helen had this one, but we have long possessed another Floyd Joseph that we hang over our stairs. That design, too, was conceived to fit on the surface of a drum head.

Floyd was particularly interested in scenes Helen had rendered of North Vancouver shores, because he had grown up on the reserve there and remembered the way things were, as Helen had rendered them in the late 50s.

Holiday Block Party: Gerrard St. East

Is it a selfie if you ask someone else to take a shot with your camera? I guess. Or maybe it’s an elfie, if you’re with the Jolly Old Elf himself. block-party-santa

Anyway, I am completely upstaged by the performer below (bottom right). She entertained the crowd with flair and confidence using all the moves to really sell her song. The audience gave her a big round of applause.

Fun at the Flying Pony today

There was a chance to meet the artists today, at the recently mounted Christmas Group Show . I have seen and enjoyed David Irvine’s clever, amusing work before at the gallery-café, but today I saw pieces that opened my eyes to his considerable skill with a brush, too. That’s Mr Irvine showing me one of his pieces, Bed and Breakfast, featuring a familiar looking Nosferatu vampire. We laughed and agreed that Art is very serious.

december-show

Flying Pony proprietor Andrew Horne is a very capable artist himself and has pieces of his own in the show (Not to mention the Hand of Creation sign he also painted. I added the zot.) Andrew does a lot with font imagery in this exhibit. He’s very good at it and has training in the old time sign painting craft, which he bends to artistic use. His iconic neon Flying Pony is representative of another facet of his work which often derives from ephemeral photos  re-rendered, large-scale and hand-drawn, in blazing, saturated colours.

I was lucky to meet another artist in the crowd, also showing two pieces this month. That’s Linda Deluca, inset. I got to tell her how much I liked her Red Cactus collage, for its visual texture, colour, pattern and composition.

If you’ve ever been intimidated by the chilly, snooty atmosphere in some commercial galleries, this place is a great antidote. You can enjoy good work and good coffee (and a fresh-baked cookie or scone) in a relaxed, easy-going environment. The art is VERY affordable, too. You can take home a small original for under $30! Even great big works cost only a few hundred.

I didn’t get to speak to Rob Elliott, the man who does the large, bright monkeys. He was there, but in conversation. Next time. Other artists in the show are Al Runt (of Lee’s Palace fame), Jungle Ling and Mayra Majano. Do drop in and have a cuppa while you’re looking.

Beach Hill Bake-O-Rama was a winner

… and it had some prize winners, too. Judges awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes for best baked goods. The neighbourhood association won sales and revenues for local spruce-ups and the event was a good opportunity for Beach Hillers to meet and chat.

bake-o-ramaI nearly missed getting any photos. A dead camera battery charged up just in time to grab a few shots before the event ended.

Great Mary Jolliffe story, via Peter Sever

mary-jolliffe
That’s Peter, letting me pose on his Black Bike after his return from a 2-year, round-the-world trip … another great story. But this one in the Globe and Mail tells of Peter’s association with recently deceased publicist Mary Jolliffe and the defection of Russian ballet star Michael Baryshnikov, in Toronto, 1974. I think you’ll enjoy reading it.

Peter has made a remarkable life for himself and, among many other things, sold me my first Macintosh computer out the the Mac Store he founded on Queen Street East. His interests are many, his enthusiasm for life infectious and his energy, seemingly boundless. A character with character, he is loyal to friends and colleagues. He wrote an email to his “list” in tribute to Mary Jolliffe, calling our attention to the newspaper story.

Charcoal life-study

life-study600This striking image was among the finds when Helen Andersen’s missing pictures were discovered in 2013. Although it is only a rough study on cheap paper, I want to frame it and get it up on our walls. I think you’ll agree that it has a lot of force and character. Helen was never interested in prettiness. Instead, she dug in after more interesting qualities of volume and expression. Sometimes she hit the ball over the fence and for me, this is a case in point.

I have been considering this work and a number of others, for a curated collection of works aimed at defining key characteristics of Helen’s style. She tried many different approaches to art in her career, but kept returning to human figures rendered in her quirky, visceral way. I hope to narrow the number of pictures and focus on the most distinctive ones.

When I have the collection online, I’ll announce it here.

A domain name, done

ma-memos-no-moreThe image above arrived a couple of days after I let this domain name expire. It invited me to renew the name and offered links advertising similarly named sites. Nothing goes to waste in the rapacious world of internet commerce.

I had used the URL for a few years to post notes and reminders to myself about solutions I had found to problems with Macs and peripheral gadgets. Why not share them with other sufferers?

Some people did find the site and used it, particularly to keep old equipment going, but I lost interest and decided to let it go.

Awww, our ash tree got the Dot of Doom

ash-boredInset photo: Golden ash leaves carpet the ground in better days

A last look at the ash tree we had planted 20+ years ago. We had hoped its relative isolation from other ash trees would protect it from infestation by the emerald ash-borer, but the damned beetle found it. So did the city tree guys. A removal notice accompanied the orange dot of death.

We have a history with the tree, so we’ll miss it. It once thrashed $300 worth of shingles from our roof, whipping them off in a high wind with its sweeping branches. City crews eventually trimmed it away from the house, so extremely that it came to resemble a palm tree … all trunk with a pom pom of leaves on top.

Funny enough, we chose the ash to add variety to the plantings around us. We figured that if disease ravished one species, at least others would survive. Ubiquitous Norway maples just keep chugging along. Our ash tree variant goes under. Our other attempt at variety, a sugar maple, strangled itself to death a couple of years ago. A skinny stick of a tree now stands in its place.

So our shade situation is taking a hit around here. What should replace the ash? A mighty oak might do the trick … in 40 or 50 years.