More Helen Andersen art news

The recent discovery of dozens of paintings thought to have been lost has inspired renewed interest in the body of Helen Andersen’s life work. I hope to create an online database of as many pieces as possible, not just the newly found ones but others, too.


To help start things off, Sarah Thompson of Kelowna, BC has provided this photo of an oil painting she owns. It depicts two young girls playing cards. One of the girls is my sister Joni, the other is her friend Theresa Sneed. Theresa was the daughter of our piano teacher Ruby Sneed.

The painting measures 36 inches by 24 inches and it was painted in 1963. Thank you for your information and photo, Sarah.

Recommended: The Inconvenient Indian

inconvenient-indianThe inconvenient Indian : a curious account of Native People in North America
by Thomas King

Good book. Easy and entertaining to read, filled with fascinating facts. Best of all, it’s right up to date, covering issues as recent as the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipeline controversies.

If you’d like to get a good handle on where we are with relations between native and non-native people in Canada and the U.S. (Turtle Island), grab a copy.

In it you’ll find humour, irony, history and current affairs. You won’t find easy answers, but you’ll probably learn how complex cultural issues can be. Beware, though. It might change your point of view on a few things.

Colombo quotes Frye in a big way

frye-quotesIndefatigable John Robert Colombo, “Canada’s Master Gatherer” has another important book to his credit. The Northrup Frye Quote Book will soon be available through publisher Dundurn Press and it’s already in the online catalogue.

Although many Canadians will be unaware of Northrup Frye‘s writings, he was a literary critic of the highest international status. Colombo has been working on this book of quotations for years and I will be very happy when I can get my hands on a copy. It will make the wit and wisdom of Mr Frye more accessible, although his entire oeuvre has been published in 30 volumes by the University of Toronto.

I enjoy a sneak peek, reading the quotation on the cover about advertising:

Advertising — A judicious mixture of flattery and threats.

The cover, by the way, is not one of my designs but I like it very much. I might have cropped around Northup’s mane more carefully, but that’s a quibble. It’s a well chosen photo of Frye. Great facial expression and I get a kick out of the devilish way the red quotation marks stick out of his head like horns.

Congratulations on your latest publication, JRC. You continue to live up to that Order of Canada citation you received years ago.

Danica’s mom was a smart lady

When she was a little girl and complained that she had nothing to do, Danica’s mother would say (in Czech), “Take off all your clothes and run around naked”.

Here, in Stana’s memory, Shelley Silverstein’s Nothing To Do

NOTHING TO DO? Shelley Silverstein

Nothing to do?

Nothing to do?

Put some mustard in your shoe,

Fill your pockets full of soot,

Drive a nail into your foot,

Put some sugar in your hair,

Place your toys upon the stair,

Smear some jelly on the latch,

Eat some mud and strike a match,

Draw a picture on the wall,

Roll some marbles down the hall,

Pour some ink in daddy’s cap –

Now go upstairs and take a nap.

My support for Minuum

The developers are asking for support, any way they can get it… so here’s mine. It looks like a great invention. Minuum got some help from the MaRs Centre over on College Street and the guys are from U of T. Could this be Canada’s contribution to the world of electronic keyboards? Sure looks like it.

With Blackberry back on the rise, Waterloo exploring quantum computing and now Minuum, we seem to be growing out of our role as “drawers of water and hewers of wood”.

Lloyd and Cheryl view Edward James

20130318-215758.jpgThat’s Edward James, in a portrait by famous surrealist painter René Magritte. Mr James was something of a surrealist himself… poetry at first, then art collecting and finally fantastical architecture in the bejungled hills of Mexico.

James was a Brit born in 1907. He inherited enough money to pursue his artistic interests early in life, then built his wealth further as a coffee plantation owner. In Xilitla, he had enough cash, land and cheap labour to create a quirky 87 acre concrete garden complex.

Friends Cheryl and Lloyd Cooke just sent photos of their visit to Las Pozas, Xilitla.

Top left: Cheryl with one of the picturesque waterfalls that must have drawn Edward James in the first place. Top right: Stairway to nowhere (or Heaven, if you are so inclined, says Lloyd.) Bottom left: One of 5 Jesuit-built missions in the vicinity. Bottom left: Detail of concrete work at Las Pozas

Some 200 large creations, part sculpture, part architecture, part maze, were completed before James’ death in 1984. His efforts remind me of the obsessive productions of Spain’s eccentric Antoni Gaudí and Los Angeles’ Simon Rodia.

Here’s a YouTube view…