Sunday 23 June 2019

Quirky Ottawa

Quirkiness, noun:
“The quality of being unusual in an attractive 
and interesting way.”
- Cambridge Online Dictionary

Ten days ago, when I was in Ottawa for Quilt Canada 2019 with my husband, I took the opportunity to explore downtown Ottawa. I’ve always liked Ottawa, despite its snarly traffic, never-ending construction, and occasional pretention. What struck me most during this visit was its delightful quirkiness. 

Wandering through the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the ByWard Market, the Rideau Centre, the Sparks Street Mall, and Parliament Hill was great fun. And my camera agreed.

By wonderful serendipity, I was on Parliament Hill as the annual Carivibe Ottawa Caribbean Festival parade inched its way brashly along Wellington Street. What a feast of music and vitality! Such a contrast to the gothic solemnity of the Parliament buildings.

The weeks ahead: I will be flying to Iowa on June 30 for the annual Friends General Conference (FGC) Gathering for a week of Quaker nourishment. About 1200 members of the Religious Society of Friends (aka Quakers) will attend the Gathering at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. The theme of the Gathering is Peace in Our Hearts, Justice in the World. As part of the Gathering, I will be participating in a five-day workshop entitled “Photography and Social Justice.” What a grand opportunity it will be to spend five days with twenty or so other Quaker photographers, thinking and talking about how photography can make the world a better place. 

Such a gift this week promises to be. I am filled with gratitude, excitement, and maybe a little apprehension. I look forward to writing about the experience in this blog...but not until I take a couple of weeks off to recover.

See you back here at this blog in mid-July. Meanwhile, enjoy Canada Day (Canadian readers), Independence Day (US readers), the summer weather (northern hemisphere readers), the winter weather (southern hemisphere readers), and anything else you are celebrating in your life. 

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these photographs of quirky Ottawa.

Oh – and one more thing: if you are in the Belleville area on Thursday evening, June 27, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, please feel free to attend my artist talk about Tasmanian Grace, the photo exhibit I currently have running at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery. The gallery is located on the third floor of the Belleville Public Library, 254 Pinnacle Street, Belleville. The talk will feature the fifteen photos in the exhibit, a slideshow of other photos from Tasmania, a selection of my street photographs, and a look ahead at some projects I’m working on. Free admission – and free parking in the adjacent parking lot after 6 pm!

Window Display, Rideau Centre

"Torching Maman" 
Repair work on Louise Bourgeois' sculpture Maman
outside the National Gallery of Canada

"O Train" sign outside the new Rideau 
light rail transit station.

Camel VIII by Nancy Graves (detail)
National Gallery of Canada

Window display, Rideau Centre

Café chairs, Ottawa Art Gallery

Outdoor deck chair, Ottawa Art Gallery

Joy by Bruce Garner (detail)
Sparks Street Mall

Carivibe Dancer

Carivibe Dancer

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Quilt Canada 2019

“Quilting is like love.
Enter it with abandon or not at all.”
- Anonymous

Last week, I attended my first Quilt Canada convention in Ottawa. What an experience - a feast for the eyes and a gift for the camera!

And the quilters? Vibrant, determined, skilful, funny, generous, focused – and the list goes on.

If you are a Friend of Fabric, the EY Convention Centre near the Ottawa airport was the place to be.

And it was certainly the place for my husband to be. He had three quilts in the National Juried Show, taught two classes, and made a two-hour presentation about his quilts, complete with a standing ovation at the end. 

I was so very proud of him – in the world of Canadian quilting, he is part of the royal family.

While my husband basked and networked, I got to know some of his peers, people that previously I had known only by hearing Bill talk about them. I look forward to nurturing these new friendships. Let’s just say that there are some seriously interesting people involved in quilting.

I also took the opportunity to photograph some of the quilts. The photos that follow feature mostly detailed close-ups. I hope they do the quilts justice.

And if you’ve never been to a quilting show, I suggest you give it a try! 

Meanwhile, enjoy the photos.

Surviving January
by Bill Stearman
Quilted by Deanna Gaudaur

The Choice
by Judy Leslie

Technicolor Dream Parrot
by Roxanne Nelson

Cree Hunter II
by Maggie Vanderweit

Turning Point
by Bethany Garner

by Jasmine Travers
Quilted by Kathleen Riggins

My Vision
by Pauline Clarke

Third Colony
by Betty Busby

by Dianne Chrétien

by Jeanne Santoro
Quilted by Sandra Bruce

Saturday 8 June 2019

Tasmanian Grace

Blog Post, June 8, 2019
Tasmanian Grace

This week’s blog post features the fifteen Tasmanian photographs that are currently on display at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery in the Belleville Public Library, 254 Pinnacle Street, Belleville Ontario. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday (link), and the exhibit runs until July 31. Many thanks to Susan Holland, the Parrott Gallery’s curator, and Bernard Noel for hanging the exhibit.

On Thursday, June 27, I’ll be making a presentation about the exhibit from 6 – 7 pm in the gallery. It will include a slideshow with about 180 more Tasmanian photos, other slideshows featuring my work, and a look at future projects. Please join me.

The photos are all 16:9 ratio – the same as most computer monitors – and are mounted on foam core. Mike Gaudaur of Quinte Studios (link) did the excellent printing and mounting. The price of each photo is $75. Special orders are available. Please email me for prices. ( - watch the spelling of Tayler.)

You’ll find my artist’s statement below.

About future blog posts: the next few weeks are very busy, so I don’t know when I’ll be posting or what my topics will be. I’m planning to spend time in both the Ottawa Valley and rural Iowa, so there will be lots of opportunities for photography! Stay tuned...

Artist’s Statement
Tasmanian Grace

Tasmania is a magical place, full of wonders and delights.

Located about 400 km off the southeast tip of Australia, it is home to about 550,000 people. Physically, it is the smallest of Australia’s six states and is about the size of New Brunswick. It is known for its scenery, wine, sheep, apples, and sharp humour. For instance, many Tasmanians refer to mainland Australia as ‘The North Island’. You get the point.

The climate is moderate and inviting. It rarely gets as hot as mainland Australia – its proximity to Antarctica keeps things cool and comfortable.

For me, it is also a place of retreat and replenishment.

For the last three Canadian winters, my husband (quilt maker Bill Stearman - link) and I have spent extended time in Tasmania. This past winter, we lived six weeks on the island, five weeks of which were in a cabin in the breathtaking beauty of the Huon Valley, 45 minutes southwest of Hobart in Tasmania’s central south. While Bill created quilts, I photographed. 

A joyous time for both of us.

These fifteen photos, all 16:9 format, represent some of the everyday magic of Tasmania. They are culled from the 9000-odd photos I recorded during our trip. I hope you enjoy them.

Dawn, Graces Road
Huon Valley
9 March 2019

Cattle Paddock, "The Gardens"
Bay of Fires
20 March 2019

Dog Walkers, "The Gardens"
Bay of Fires
20 March 2019

 Eucalyptus Trees, Binnalong Bay

19 March 2019

Binnalong Bay Beach
19 March 2019

Eucalyptus Trees, Don River
18 March 2019

West Tamar Valley Highway
16 March 2019

'Coronet Protea'
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart
10 March 2019

Stormy Weather, Sandhill Road
Glaziers Bay
7 March 2019

Cattle Paddock, Sandhill Road
Glaziers Bay
7 March 2019

Rugged Shoreline, Mickeys Beach
6 March 2019

Blue Sky, Graces Road
Glaziers Bay
27 February 2019

Cattle Grazing, Graces Road
Glaziers Bay
13 February 2019

Fence Detail, Graces Road
Glaziers Bay
11 February 2019

Tree Line, Dillon's Hill Road
Glaziers Bay
10 February 2019

Sunday 2 June 2019

Street Photography Course Part 4: Toronto Is In The Details

Toronto Is in the Details

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” 
Ansel Adams, American Photographer
Last Wednesday afternoon was the fourth session of the five-part Street Photography course that I’m currently taking through the Art Gallery of Ontario. We met our instructor, Brian Piitz, in front of the historic St. Lawrence Market on Front Street East at Jarvis Street. What a great neighbourhood this is! When I lived in Toronto, my late husband and I would frequently go to the St. Lawrence Market early on Saturday mornings just to soak up the atmosphere of people buying fresh meat and produce. It was a gourmand’s paradise...and it still is! 

If you visit Toronto and only have time for one excursion, go to the St. Lawrence Market and surrounding neighbourhood. You’ll learn a lot about the miracle that is contemporary Toronto just by wandering around this place.

And, not coincidentally, it is also a great place for photography. Over the last three sessions of this course, I’ve been focusing mostly on people and faces. Last Wednesday, however, I decided to look more at architecture and streetscapes. The photographs that follow contain, by my count, one human being. So, it’s safe to claim that no human being was harmed in the making of these photos.

Most of the photos were made in the St. Lawrence Market area, with one side trip to the University of Toronto’s new Faculty of Architecture on Spadina Crescent. I hope you enjoy them.

The last session of the Street Architecture course is next Wednesday. Everyone is being asked to bring along 12 – 24 photos from our three field trips in downtown Toronto for feedback and discussion. I’m looking forward to seeing what my fellow students have been photographing. I will also be sad to see the course come to an end. It’s been great fun – and a great motivator!

In next week’s blog post, I’m planning to switch directions from Toronto street photography to the beauty of Tasmania. From June 6 to July 31, I will have fifteen Tasmanian photographs on display in the Corridor Gallery of the John M. Parrott Art Gallery, 254 Pinnacle Street, Belleville. I plan to feature these fifteen photos in my post next week and discuss why they mean so much to me. Of course, if you live near Belleville, please visit the gallery and see for yourself!

As always, thank you for following my blog.

University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, 
Spadina Crescent
East End Condo

View from the St. Lawrence Market

Front Street East Streetscape

St, Lawrence Market Peameal 
Bacon Sandwiches - The Best!
Across Front Street from the Sony Centre

Tulips in the Front Street East Boulevard

Shoe Display, Front Street East

Third Story Window on Front Street East

 New Side Entrance to the Sony Centre