Better without the tobacco glaze?

This oil sketch of our late Danish grandmother “Mor” dates back to the 1940s. It was done when she was a young wife, travelling with her husband on an assignment in Venezuela. Years of tobacco smoke and grime had dulled it, even more than the photos show, so I cleaned it.

Left: 1/4 of the face cleaned. Centre: Half cleaned. Right: All cleaned.

Obviously, this is not a great painting … akin to those sidewalk charcoal sketches fellows have done of their girlfriends. Oil, so a bit more ambitious, but there’s a lot wrong with it.

In this case, cleaning probably improves our view the painting’s shortcomings. Never mind. We loved Mor, so we like her picture.

Close-up of the 1/4-cleaned face. That dash of rouge looks sore.

Find the factory

You’d never guess that some of the best quality incense made anywhere is manufactured behind a little storefront on the Danforth. I know it’s there and I still miss seeing it, when I am looking for it!

Never mind. That’s the way Nora likes it. She doesn’t really do retail … except by mail order. Everything she can produce goes to her longstanding, loyal retailers.

Package designs by Karen Bell, using old-fashioned 2-colour ink technique.

I had an invitation to visit, so one day I dropped in and took the tour. No one is allowed to be idle. When we sat at a big work table for coffee and a chat, Nora put me to work packaging sticks. Lucky for me I don’t have to depend on piece work for a living. I’d starve … but I’d smell good.

Actually, I was overpaid in free samples. If you want to buy some, Carrot Common is a local source.

Today’s 12,000 steps

As it turned out, I wrote down 11:00 am for my meeting with artist Fred Franzen and he had it as noon, so we missed each other. C’est la vie.

While I was at Fred’s studio building, I took some photos of the Dupont Street neighbourhood, near Dovercourt. Old factory and warehouse places are disappearing as condos go up. That’s a problem for artists and craftspeople who need cheap space in which to work.

The slides start with Fred’s studio building. A defunct factory building at the corner of Dovercourt and Dupont also caught my eye.