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.
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. Continue reading

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

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. Continue reading

Beach Hill bakes …

bake-o-ramaDanica will be coming through again this year, with offerings that I have sampled and declare excellent. In fact, the Beach Hill Neighbourhood Association is lucky I am letting any of the red and and green and white rice crispie squares out of the house. Same goes for the zucchini cake.
Fortunately, I can replace the household losses with fresh purchases.
Saturday, Naval Club, 1910 Gerrard Street E., near Woodbine. 3:00 p.m. to have your pick.

A nice find by Denise Lim

Dennis and Denise Lim own an original piece of Helen Andersen art and two of her lithographs, so Denise took note when she saw the following entry in Victoria’s Royal Oak Burial Park book. Anna (Danica’s sister) and Thorne Won (Denise’s bother) just forwarded this entry:

Cremated – no marker
Artist and activist, died December 23, 1995
Helen Andersen was born in Winnipeg, the daughter of
a physician, and grew up in a house filled with Indian art. She
worked as a nurse and moved to Vancouver where she began
her art training.
Andersen moved to Victoria in 1980. She was a student
of the Victoria College of Art and played an active role in the
Saanich Peninsula Arts and Crafts Society. The evolution of
Andersen’s paintings culminated in a series of bright and
expressive canvases about natives and women.
She was also a peace activist, and received a special prize
for her efforts at a conference in Warsaw in 1987.

Excuse the word “Indian”, Red Bear. As you know, it was a common, if inaccurate bit of vocabulary used in the 20th century. “Native” or “aboriginal” would have been better choices.

Thank you Denise, Dennis, Anna and Thorne; that’s a pretty succinct little summary. I’ll add to it with a scan of a previously unpublished photo of Helen standing in front of one of her larger works.
I am not sure of the year, but the flags suggest Canada Day and the location is Victoria, British Columbia. Helen was not afraid to work big. Indeed, it would be nice to know where some of her largest canvases are now. I hope they survive. There were some terrific large pieces, especially images of native elders. I have photos (on Helen’s web site) but no knowledge of the whereabouts of many of the originals.