Archive for the “Art” Category

My dad, who is much of the inspiration and source for my artistic talent, passed away last month after living with Hepatitis C for 15 years. I am currently compiling an online retrospective on his art.

He was a large inspiration to my own work. Dad was born in Toronto, Ontario and was abandoned by his mother in a back yard, at only a few months old. Dad’s birth certificate describes his mother as “Indian Canadian.” Dad was of Ojibway descent. A foster child in the Catholic children’s aid society, dad moved through many homes throughout his childhood. Even still, dad’s talent was noticed at at early age and he was even asked to do a fairly large commission at the age of 12. Dad went to Ontario College of Art in the 70’s. He loved to work in chalk pastels. Dad struggled with drug addiction from an early age and I think that this competed with his ambitions and in many ways hindered him. Still, dad was a troubled soul and fought darkness that most of us never experience. I think that he did good with what he was given.

Like I said, he was an inspiration to me. I’m going to miss him. But I am glad that we got to spend the time that we did together. And we even made a mends of sorts in the last few years. One of my most favorite memories was when we had an exhibit together at The Old Ranger Station in Telkwa. The Ranger Station is now gone, and so too is dad; but I can hold on to the memory that will last forever.

We also had other memories. I remember the time, soon after the Station exhibit, when we decided to go painting along the riverside in Topley. Dad wanted to sketch the Bulkley, where it comes through Topley. I remember saying that the bugs were probably fierce and that we should probably use a tent or something. So, I brought a tent, but he refused to use it with me. We were out there for over 2 hours and he was quite eaten alive; but I think that he got a better sketch than I did. Something that he probably realized, and though it may seem obvious, is that an artist draws/paints/expresses what they see. So, my painting looked like it had been skewed and darkened through the lens of a bug net, while his sketch looked crisp. My wife, Amy, always says that my sketches look like they are drawn by someone who is near sighted, and she’s right–my near sightedness comes out in my sketches. My dad did get many bug bites that day, but he brought home a more true representation of the landscape. I don’t know what happened to that sketch of his (below is my painting), and I kind of wish that I had traded him for one of my own, but again we still have the memory and that’s what matters.

My dad told me once that presentation is the most important part of the art process. I think that dad used this knowledge to keep people away as much as he did attract them. I think of how he kept his house on the day when we went to go clean it out. Dad had some nice things, but I think he know that some of the people who he associated with would steal from him if they knew the value of these objects, so he made them look shabby so that only he would know the true value.

This speaks to me as a bit of a life lesson. The treasures in this world are buried in the dirt.

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“When Christ said that man does not live by bread alone, he spoke of a hunger. This hunger was not the hunger of the body. It was not the hunger for bread. He spoke of a hunger that begins deep down in the very depths of our being. He spoke of a need as vital as breath. He spoke of our hunger for love.

Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because without it we become weak and faint. Without love our self-esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look out confidently at the world…

But with love, we are creative. With it, we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others.”

Chief Dan George

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I just got my screen stuff in the mail today. I am looking forward to making some prints!!!

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And like the red words of someone’s thought bubble, spring is conceived…

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This is my newest painting. It is the first in a planned series on spring… Stay tuned.

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I have a thing about being in public spaces just to hear people talk. It is the next best thing to conversation when you can’t find a friend to talk with and when you really, really need one. Sometimes–actually always–God ordains something or someone to happen. What better day than on earth day that God should send me Peter and Paul, messengers of the Gospel to the world?

I was playing chess when another chess fan came up and asked me if I wanted to strike up a game. Peter turned out to be a magician, yes a magician, from St John’s, NB. He knows a lot about philosophy, ideas and even computer theory. We had a grand old time playing chess, talking deep and laughing it up. Peter introduced me to his friend, Paul, who like me, is a visual artist but from George. Paul is also Ojibway, like my dad.

Peter mentioned that he loves art. And the first artist that he mentioned? Escher!

Peter also mentioned that he was going to Haida Gwaii.

Peter finished off the afternoon with a bagel photo op (for a contest), and a series of magic tricks, including this amazing trick that involved a twisting fork with only one hand–yes, a normal fork…yes, only one hand…

God sent some friends when I needed them. Yes, it was quite unorthodoxically, yet characteristically God at work!

Please check out Peter’s blog at www.abramagic.ca and Paul’s blog at www.torarrow.com

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Happy Earth Day!

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