Slimmer, trimmer Gerrard Art Space

Literally a peek inside the new artists collaboration at 1475 Gerrard Street East. It wasn’t open when I pressed my camera to the glass.

The Space looks a little less spacious than the previous location a couple of blocks west, at least in width, but it seems perfectly serviceable for gallery hangings and it’s definitely spiffier. I’ll return when there’s someone there and learn what’s new. The Gerrard India Bazaar strip is revitalizing and the new stores are not all Indian or Pakistani. Don’t worry, though. The subcontinental restaurants, kitchenware, fabric and food stores are all still there.

Anything happen today?


The advantages of ignoring the commercial product known as TV and Radio “News” are many. I have been avoiding the hype for a couple of weeks and I like it.

There was a time when keeping up with the news was a responsible thing to do, but in today’s saturated environment, it’s almost impossible NOT to hear every message that is fired at us. If I can actually avoid a message, friends are happy to find someone that they can tell about it.

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Front yard, back yard

Here, for no particular reason, is a comparison of the maple leaf colours of trees in our yard. The red-leafed tree in the front yard is still a skinny little thing. In the back yard, the yellow-leafed tree is probably as old as I am.

The leaves are just as the scanner saw them … no colour adjustments.

The last poems of Raymond Souster

come-rain-come-shineCome Rain, Come Shine
The Last Poems of Raymond Souster
Donna Dunlop, Editor
Contact Press
Printed in Canada by Asquith Press, 2014

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Naturally, there are many poems about death and loss and poor health and medical treatment. These are interspersed with sensitive, beautiful pieces about small pleasures and deep loves.

Is the “she”, whom he adores, one particular woman? I think so. His tender appreciations of her touch and her affection are moving. When he contemplates how her loss would destroy him, I am convinced. But “she” is universal, too, because the feelings Souster conveys are recognizable to any man.

The collection is not all profound themes and hard-won wisdom, though. There are some fine jabs at politicians in general and at the Ford brothers in particular. Human stupidity gets some knocks. Working class causes are defended and honoured.

Most of all, this very good collection builds a picture of an end-of-life seesaw that arcs through despair, resignation, opinion, recollection and love, pivoting on the poet’s courage to face oblivion without giving in to it before time is up. Raymond Souster dictated his last poem on October 5th, 2012. He died on the 19th at the age of 91.

Alex Colville at the AGO


A word with the artist, who is now safely dead

Alex Colville, you are irritating. Are you an artist of stature or not? Certainly, your output over a long lifetime deserves respect. Your work ethic, commitment and perseverance is unquestionable. Your technique, solid and consistent.

And yet, and yet … you seem so chilly, distant, stiff. Your renderings of human figures are awkward and oddly proportioned. When your subjects show their faces, their gazes are mannequin blank. When you hide their faces, the disturbing, anonymizing effect becomes predictable and a bit tiresome after a few paintings. Continue reading

Up Mud Creek without a paddle

Today, Peter and I started a nice walk from the Brickworks at the bottom of the Don Valley and climbed to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, then back down the hill to Bayview. The pathway edges along the course on Mud Creek, which empties into the Don River. To judge by the way the creek banks are built up and fortified, there are times when the creek is a mighty torrent.

It was perfect autumn day. We started out by bracing ourselves with coffee and fresh-baked blueberry scones at the Brickworks Café, then walked off the calories and took in the colours.

Was it THAT long ago?

serious-graham I have been clearing an old hard drive and came across this photo from the last year of the last century. Graham and Marguerite were at our place for dinner and the guys were hamming it up for the camera. I’m glad I found it and wish I had been able to give it to Gillian for her memorial slideshow at last week’s gathering.

w-e-andersen-paintingHere’s another image I didn’t know I had … a painting by my grandfather, W.E. Anderson. He was Helen’s father, a physician by profession, but an ardent amateur painter, too. I believe my brother has the picture.

I see how grandfather probably thought this was how “serious” painting should be done. A serious man, seriously old and sage, reading a seriously thick book with intense concentration. A borrowed “Thinker” fist-to-mouth from Rodin, a full bookshelf, taste in art objects implied by the ceramic vase.

There is a kind of paint-by-numbers naiveté about it, and at the same time, serious ambition. The old man/books theme was probably borrowed from Rembrandt, whom grandfather properly admired greatly. Helen liked to recall that he “owned a Rembrandt” that was lost in a disastrous house fire. I think he probably did own a Rembrandt etching that went up in smoke.

While I’m reminiscing, I may as well recall what my grandmother was reported to have said to her daughter, consoling herself after the fire. “Well, at least your father still has his education, and I have my permanent hairdo”.