chest lines

It was one of those days with a slough of minor to medium irritants and then the phone rang. The Dialysis clinic wanted to know if I wanted my chest lines taken out on Good Friday morning over in Orillia.  I had heard that some patent over at the Barrie satelite clinic had been told his chest lines would come out in September and I had been trying to get my brain ready for a long wait for mine to be taken out. It was difficult to do since it might mean losing another summer of swimming.  But now I have the retoration of swmmming for this summer and I am over the moon about this.

new extension Midland Library

The public library in Midland, Ontario has opened in its new extension this past week. the old builiding is now closed for renovation and the whole thing will officially open in June. From this photo you cn see the former exterior wall of the old building is incorporated in the addition. This was taken from the second floor, the adult books, looking down the atrium well to the first floor, children’s books, and a small meeting room. You can clearly see the old stonework of the formerly outside wall.

Another view of the inside outside wall:

The old library had very few seats for reading, and few tables to write at.  There are lots of chairs, comfortable, and tables spacious now. The roof has large glass panels, with powered sun shades, to defeat the hot sun coming this summer.

Lincoln – another old pencil drawing of mine

I have been reviewing my old pencil drawings, I hope in an effort to resume attempting this kind of portraiture. this was based on a Life magazine cover of an old photo of Lincoln. I rushed it some and it ended up more folk art than photo realistic.

sliding into Spring

Well the snow is gone and Georgian Bay is open.   The warm weather has gone.  We are back down below freezing overnight.  Everything seems drier earlier than usual.  Now we worry that there is not enough moisture for the farmers and their crops.  It seems like each day new birds are back on the scene.   I heard a woodpecker machinegunning a few moments ago.  Maple syrup festival coming up this weekend at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre outside Midland. I got a call asking if i wanted to be a volunteer photographer for them this weekend and I accepted.   My plan is to take two cameras: Pentax K10D and two lenses: 18-55 and 100-300 and the Sony H50 which has a 31-460mm zoom lens and two batteries for the Sony.  The Pentax does not drain terribly fast so I have never seen the need for two batteries for it.

my pencil drawing of Winston Churchill

about ten years ago I took a pencil drawing course and discovered that I needed to develop more patience if I was going to pursue drawing. I am still trying to grow more patience. This was based on a backlit phot of Churchill in a biography I happened to be reading. He is one of my heroes. I need to try some more drawings.

a microscopic essay about painter W.J. Wood

(I wrote this for the Huronia Museum blog)

William J. Wood painter, etcher (b.  May 26, 1877 d. January 5, 1954)

A simple, evocative expression of small town Ontario life in the first part of the twentieth century can be found in the numerous etchings, watercolours and oil paintings of William J. Wood in the collection of the Huronia Museum. Woods was a painter and etcher who chose as his subjects, music, nudes, and scenes around his home of Midland, Ontario.  His work examines with warmth the peopled environment not the empty, raw landscape of his contemporaries. He was a close friend of several members of the Group of Seven: Arthur Lismer and A.Y. Jackson. In 1923 at one exhibition Wood is listed as a member of the Group of Seven, replacing Franz Johnston.  Wood has been overlooked as an artist both during his lifetime and afterwards.

William J. Woods was born on a farm near Ottawa in 1877. By 1896 he left home to work on ships, travelling to the United States and Europe.  During this period he took some art classes in Boston in 1900.  He had two winter sessions at the Central Ontario School of Art (now the Ontario College of Art).

In his autobiography, A.Y. Jackson writes a chapter entitled, “Art Appreciation and Otherwise”. In it he describes the precarious living that Canadian artists faced in his lifetime. Among the people he writes about is Bill Wood. It is an illuminating passage.

“Years ago I met Bill Wood, who worked in the shipyards at Midland. He had always wanted to be an artist, and he had managed to put in a few months’ training in Toronto in the winter-time when he was a Great Lakes sailor. Then he got married and raised a family. When he took up etching, he made his own press and prints. His efforts at etching and painting were all made after the day’s work or at week-ends.
“Hart House purchased one of Wood’s paintings of a girl playing a violin. His own letter regarding the painting appeared in Canadian Paintings in Hart House. ‘It represents’, he wrote, ‘more to me than a “Woman with a Violin”. The woman whom it recalls is a lassie playing by ear the songs and hymns of Auld Scotland, the homeland of my father. I painted “Memory’s Melodies” when the Grants visited us in the evening and Mrs Grant played her violin…after I had ten hours in the auto-body works in Penetang. The mellow colour of the canvas is due no doubt to its being done at night by the usual electric light. The paint is home brew from dry colours. Do I love a violin? Do I? it’s as beautiful as a bark canoe I once bought of an Indian at Byng Inlet and lost the next day as belonging to another Indian. My attitude towards the arts is that where your heart is, there your art is also.’

“In their modest little home at Midland, where his wife helped out by sewing and other work, Bill, painting signs, making etchings, talking like a philosopher, was a most cheerful soul. The Art Gallery of Toronto has one of his canvases, “On the Beach”. Whenever I see it I can’t help feeling that if he had only a quarter of the opportunities some of the young artists have today, he would have proved to be a genius.” (A Painter’s Country: the autobiography of A.Y. Jackson. Clarke, Irwin & Company Ltd. Toronto, 1958 p. 147-148)

To support his family W.J. Wood  worked in various jobs: painter/burnisher at a shipyard, carriage painter, house painter, did restoration work on Martyrs’ Shrine.  During the depression his job at the shipyard was lost and he refused “relief”. 1941-49 he was employed as a sign painter on boats.  When unemployed Wood had more time to devote to his art, but lacked the funds for materials. He often painted small canvases.  He would grind his own pigments and mix his own oil paints.

In 1906 he married Jessie Reaman from Severn Bridge.   1908 he worked for the Herald Printing Company, stationery printers and publishers of the Temiskaming Herald for which he did illustrations. By 1911, Wood was in Toronto and had made contact with a group of young artists, some of whom would form the Group of Seven.

During World War I, Wood served in the Canadian Army in England and on the Continent, returning to Canada in 1919.  While stationed in England he took art classes at the YMCA.  At this time he may also have seen and been influenced by the work of Walter Sickert. He certainly attended exhibits of the Royal Academy.

Major influences:  George Reid (himself influenced by Velasquez and had been taught by Thomas Eakins) and Anders Zorn. In1920 Wodd joined the Canadian Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers. He exhibited with the CPE up to 1950. In 1933, he was a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters. During his lifetime he participated in 92 exhibitions of art in Canada.


A Painter’s Country: the autobiography of A.Y. Jackson. Clarke, Irwin & Company Ltd. Toronto, 1958

W.J. Wood: Paintings and Graphics. Christine Boyanoski and John Hartman. Art Gallery of Ontario, Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Oct. 22 – Dec. 4, 1983 and travelling to other galleries.

and so it goes

a bunch of stuff:  I did rent The Hurt Locker on DVD and thought it was an enormously powerful movie.  Operation declutter continues with some fresh action today…. the old dresser full of camera gear has moved out of the hallway and into the corner of my room….. Grace and I had a special training moment today…. I looped the leash through the end loop and with it around my waist and the end clipped to her collar we walked about 300 metres home without any fuss, she right by my side without pulling…stole that technique from The End of My Leash on TV, thanks Brad…..I set a personal goal to get something done by the end of tonight and missed it, I resisted getting it done…..not certain why… fistula has been running well lately and I sure hope it continues to do so, that may prompt the removal of my chest line soon, which I very much want…..cats are getting more at ease around Grace the wonder pup and that is less stressful generally in the homefront of the age old cat vs dog thing…. my new mantra is “Life is the question. Love is the answer.”

Poem – Out My Window

Out My Window

The ice huts have appeared

looking like the tops of ships sticking

out of the lake ice, proof of a sudden catastrophe.

The sun looks a lot warmer than it is.

Summer seems like a dreamland

a million miles off.

In July we will miss the refreshing cold

as we swat mosquitoes and check

our tan has not turned to lobster red.

In Fall, the leaves turn our eyes inside out,

our neighbours burn them and

in our new smokehouse home

we slam our windows shut.

In Spring, we watch the dog tramp in mud

stare back at the rain steel sky.

Settling for a season does not slip easily

over our ears and nose.

Weather complaints must be guaranteed  in the Constitution.

Our common right.