Monday 30 April 2018

Delightful Things!

“Love is the quality of attention we pay to things.”
- J. D. McClatchy,
American Poet, 1945-2018

A slightly different blog post today – a small meditation on one photograph, to which I hope to bring some quality attention.

The photograph features a painting and a water jug. Both these objects are above the fireplace in our living room.

There is a story behind each.

The painting is entitled “Glacial Surge” and was created by Dayna Law (Link), a gifted artist who lives in Wellington in nearby Prince Edward County. The fact that Dayna is a good friend of my husband, Bill, and me makes the painting that much more special. Dayna has an amazing sense of colour and flow in her paintings – you can feel the energy pulsing through them and reaching out to you. That energy is one of the reasons Bill fell in love with the painting when he first saw it at an exhibition in Prince Edward County about four years ago. Dayna even loaned us the painting to ‘test drive’ in our home. It looked beautiful, but for whatever reason, we decided against buying it. We met the painting again last summer at Dayna’s studio. And once again, Bill was smitten. It grabbed his heart and wouldn't want to let go. That’s the way it often is with people and objects that you fall in love with. I call it the “Velcro Factor”.

But Bill couldn’t see his way to actually buying “Glacial Surge” that day, although we had talked about wanting to have one of Dayna’s paintings in our home.

Coincidentally, I had been thinking about what to buy Bill for Christmas, and I suddenly knew: “Glacial Surge” would be the perfect gift.  The painting had waited patiently for the stars to line up. I conspired with Dayna to buy the painting behind Bill’s back and picked it up while he was away at a quilting conference last autumn. It is no mean feat to keep a secret from Bill Stearman, but I managed to do it. He was totally surprised on Christmas morning. “Glacial Surge” has now claimed its rightful, permanent place above our fireplace. And it looks gorgeous, especially early in the morning when the light catches it just so. As it does in the photograph.

The other object is a titanium blue F!NK Water Jug that was made in Canberra, Australia. I first encountered – and fell in love with – the jug at Gallery Salamanca in Hobart, Tasmania, last February. Bill and I were staying in the nearby Battery Point area of Hobart. It is adjacent to Salamanca Place, a major arts hub near the Hobart waterfront. For several days, Bill and I sauntered into Gallery Salamanca to admire the jug, drink in its sleek, elegant design, and fret about the cost. We learned from the friendly gallery attendant that the jug had been designed by Robert Foster, a talented and well-known artist who founded the F!NK Studio (Link) in Canberra in 1986. Sadly, Robert Foster died in a car accident in 2016, but his family carries on the Studio. Finally, I admitted to myself that I simply had to have it, so I gulped, pulled out my VISA card, and did the deed – something the gallery attendant knew I would eventually do. Apparently, I am not alone in going through this process! And so the jug sits on our mantle, looking beautiful. We have never used it as a jug. Who knows whether we ever will? Doesn’t matter a whit.

Each of these objects can stand on its own and generate joy just through its physical being. But the two of them together, especially in the early morning light, are spectacular. They talk to each other. 

I feel blessed having them in our home. Enjoy the photo.

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Fifty Shades of Grey

"To see in colour is a delight for the eye, 
but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul."
- Andri Cauldwell,
American Photographer

Just a brief posting this week - and late! I have been working on another project and missed my usual Monday deadline for posting. 

The theme this week is my ongoing fasciation with black and white photography. The photo challenge for the April 8th meeting of the Prince Edward County Photography Club was "Fifty Shades of Grey" where members were encouraged to explore black and white photography. These five photos are the ones I submitted. They all come from the trip Bill and I took in Australia in February and March.  I'm really enjoying working with the 1:1 aspect ratio. More on the different aspects of aspect ratios soon!


Arrivals area, Sydney International Airport

College Street, Sydney

Manly Beach, Sydney

Salamanca Market, Hobart, Tasmania

Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney

Monday 16 April 2018

Toronto's Newest Subway Stations!

“Don’t sleep on the subway, darlin’!”
- Petula Clark

Last Tuesday, April 10, I spent a fine day in Toronto working on photography projects. (More on these in future postings.) I also explored Toronto’s newest subway stations, the six-station Toronto-York Spadina Subway extension that reaches northwest into the City of Vaughan.

There are six new stations: Downsview Park, Finch West, York University, Pioneer Village, Highway 407 (aka, the IKEA stop), and Vaughan Metro Centre. Total length of the extension: 8.6 km. Total cost: $3.18 billion.

Construction began in 2009, and the line opened in December, 2017. It was jointly funded by the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario, and the Federal Government. The line has been a political football for years, not surprising given the torturous history of transit planning in Toronto.

I have been reading about the art and architecture of these stations for several years and wanted to explore them with my camera. Five of the stations are stunning – beautiful, elegant, and user-friendly. The design dud, for me, is the Downsview Park Station, which is bland and bleak. I wandered around the deserted station and photographed it, but the images are as dull as the architecture. In fairness, I have read positive reviews of the station, so not everyone agrees with me. I just want to get into the Downsview Park Station with grandchildren and paint buckets to liven it up a bit!

The other five stations are well worth a visit, especially if you’re interested in architecture, art, and photography. Sign me up for all three!

Rants of the Day: 
1. Alas, the extension does nothing to solve the overcrowded transit conditions in Toronto's downtown core. In fact, adding more riders from north of Toronto will only worsen the overcrowding. It will take the building of the much-anticipated-but-so-far-unbuilt downtown relief line to ease the rush-hour squeeze.  
2. The York University station is expected to be the busiest on the new line, while the other five stations will likely be among the least used on Toronto’s subway system. Who said transit planning had anything to do with logic?

Here are my photos of the five subway stations that danced their way into my viewfinder. Enjoy!

Finch West Station

Architect: Will Alsop
Artist: Bruce McLean

York University Station

Architect: Foster + Partners
Artist: Jason Bruges Studio

Pioneer Village Station

Architect: Will Alsop
Artist: Jan and Tim Elder

Highway 407 Station

Architect: AECOM/Parsons Brinckerhoff
Artist: David Pearl

Vaughan Metro Centre Station

Architect: Arup Canada Inc./Grimshaw Architects
Artist: Paul Raff