Respite From the Cold

Toronto is in the southern part of Canada and though it gets cold here, it’s not as cold as other parts of the country. However, we have had a spell of pretty cold weather this week.  This morning it’s -22C and with the wind it feels like -30C. It’ll be going up to a balmy -15C later. Yesterday, though, it was a more moderate -8C. On that cloudy day, I decided to lift my spirits and went off to the Allan Gardens downtown where I hadn’t been for a few years. The Gardens are in a park in greenhouses first opened in the mid 1800s. Inside are 16,000 square feet of flowers, trees, tropical plants, cacti and, yesterday, many visitors young and old. The Gardens have seasonal displays along with their year round inhabitants. I snapped many photos and you’ll see the Christmas displays among the plants. What a great respite from the cold and grey.

Here’s the central area, the Palm House, with the dome rising above:

And a floral peacock:

Another scene I loved:

And 2 photos of cacti from the cactus house, a favourite place of mine:

and outside later:

Dear readers and fellow bloggers, I wish you a New Year of good health, peacefulness and times of joy whatever your circumstances, whatever is going on around you. Strength to us all.

Further Drawings from Newfoundland

Here’s 3 more drawings I made in Newfoundland in the presence of sweeping ocean views. The more dramatic the scenes became, I fewer lines I used. I didn’t have any plan to do this. It was just the only way I found I could put anything on paper, so magnificent were the views. So a few gesturing lines and some broad movements were what arose on paper.

Here’s 2 drawings from Western Bay, with a bit of a boardwalk showing in the second one:

 

 

And here’s a drawing from the East Coast Trail that we hiked:

And the photo near the spot that the above drawing is from:

Plus another photo at the start of the Witless Bay entrance to the trail:

Terra Nova, Drawing and a Surprise in an Alley

When we were in Newfoundland we hiked in Terra Nova National Park by the ocean. One afternoon and the following day, we went to Buckley Cove. I carried a sketch book and pens with me during our trip and sat on a rock to draw part of the cove. When faced with such beauty, I found myself recording feeling and the movement of the rocks, trees and water rather than looking for exact representation. In this way, I was able to be with the place and feel the land and ocean. I began by quickly drawing the sweeping line of the cove and continued from there. That way I was not overwhelmed into inaction by the strength of the scene. Here’s a photo of the cove and the line drawing I did.

And, here’s a scene I found touching this week while walking down an alley back in Toronto. It seemed to me that whoever planted these flowers in the midst of concrete did an act of love.

 

Back from Newfoundland

I’ve just returned from a terrific trip to the Canadian province of Newfoundland, off the east coast of the mainland. The beauty of the land and ocean were healing. In addition to hiking and other sightseeing, I drew every day and will show you some of these pieces later. Meanwhile, here’s 2 photos from our trip.

 

I have some of my artwork in my etsy shop which you can see here: artsofmay.etsy.com

Some Thoughts About Hatred

I’ve been working on several art projects as once.  I’ll be completing the linocut from my last post. Meanwhile, I’ve taken some time to edit linocuts and poems for printing. When I get the physical postcards back from the printer, I’ll show them to you.

As I work and go about my days, part of me is always contemplating the climate of hatred in North America–the new president of the U.S., his withering executive orders, the recent murder of 6 muslim men at worship in Quebec City, Canada….

I’ve been thinking about hatred, which when left unexamined seems to me the curse of our species.  Perhaps there are some people in the world who have never felt hatred, but I believe these would be in the great minority. Hatred, being a human emotion, is something any of us can feel.

I have found myself wishing to abolish hatred. However, when I’ve thought more closely about this, I realize that the greatest ill is not the hatred in our hearts. If we do the hard work of deeply looking at ourselves, we can develop the capacity to understand why we hate–what pain we have suffered that the hatred has arisen from–and not project this onto scapegoats. We have the capacity, then, to turn aside from violence of word and action. Instead, I see the greatest ill is when influential people stoke hatred and create scapegoats to gain power. This is what is most disturbing to witness at this time, both here in North America and overseas.

I didn’t know if I’d write about this on what is an art blog. Or tell you how fantastic the women’s march in Toronto on January 21st was. However, since I don’t work in a vacuum and since we are living in a critically important time in history, you have this post from me. The photo I’ve chosen is an antidote to hatred that I took several years ago while visiting friends in Saskatchewan.

hatredthoughtson

Aftermath

We watched the U.S. election closely from Canada.  In the wake of the outcome, I have felt fear and sadness.  Yesterday, I headed off to the Art Gallery of Ontario to be amongst art works that helped me feel calmer.

Today I thought of posting two oil paintings I did in 2008. The first is called Closeup, the second, Sight.  At the time, they expressed feelings of being a witness to hard times. The women in the paintings are wounded, that is obvious. But they are also piercing witnesses, very present and connected to the life force of nature. The works seem no less appropriate today.

closeupop500x495

 

sightop408x500

The Past Few Weeks

It’s been a radiant fall in Toronto and is just past the peak now.  On an abnormally warm day (it’s going up to 19 degrees celsius) and before the leaves fall any further, here’s three photos from the past few weeks. The middle photo of the maple is on the University of Toronto campus–on Philosopher’s Walk. The last photo of the flaming oak against the blue sky is from Evergreen Brickworks.

Autumn Oak

Autumn Maple

OrangeAndBlue