A walk to Kurelek’s house

Danica and I hoped to recognize the street William Kurelek painted in 1972. Titled “Balsam Avenue after a Heavy Snowfall”, it fetched $240,000 at auction in 2008.

    Kurelek was seen taking reference photos from his porch at 175 Balsam Avenue.

We found the house easily enough. 175 Balsam Avenue is marked with a front yard plaque.

The house, like the rest in the area, has been altered and renovated extensively. Trees are 45 years older, or gone altogether, and telephone poles have been replaced. The changes, plus the snow covering in the painting, make recognizable landmarks difficult to identify.

    From the sidewalk in front of the house, the curve in the road looks sort of right.

What looks like a red brick schoolhouse in Kurelek’s picture is nowhere in evidence. A newer school sits on Balsam to the south of Kurelek’s old house. We guess that the old one was knocked down and replaced.

    The house as it looks today. The closed-in front porch looks new.

Next: the view looking north, also from in front of the house. Kurlek probably referred to his photos for details, but rearranged perspectives and composition to compress and strengthen his image.

    Balsam Avenue looking north also curves the the right.

The view looking north is more uphill, like the painting, but this shot was taken across the street from the house, to show the curve. It would have been barely visible from Kurelek’s side.

    Painting titled: Heavy Snowfall on Balsam Avenue (Looking the Other Way).

So take your pick of directions. I can’t tell. Here’s a free Kurelek art book you can download,

Crack-the-whip effect

I felt a surprising lurch, swing and jolt yesterday, going around a corner in one of the Bombardier Flexity (extra long) streetcars. I was in the last section, which whips around corners noticeably faster than the front section does.

Despite extensive remedial work, including complete replacement, our streetcar tracks are, let’s face it, less than silken-smooth. That last-car acceleration on corners magnifies the shortcomings, even when you are lucky enough to be seated.

Is that the ghost of Rob Ford I hear laughing?

Canadian art books online

A recent trip to the Toronto International Art Book Fair introduced me to a major publisher of books on Canadian artists. Amazingly, we can download them from the Art Canada Institute site.

These are examples of available titles. Click the image to go to the collection.

Remembering the tribute trip Danica and I made to London, Ontario after the artist’s accidental death in 1992, my first choice was the Greg Curnoe book. I made this video flick-through for you.

Our country has produced excellent artists. This is a wonderful opportunity to know and appreciate many of them.

Dana Green at GAS

Dana Green’s solo show is up at the Gerrard Art Space and will continue until December 1st. Here are 3 examples from her goddess series … freely rendered on panels in acrylic paint and India ink.

I was able to meet the artist today at her opening reception and received permission to post the photos you see here. The panels are impressively large, about 4′ tall by 2′ wide I estimate. A number of smaller pieces, similarly themed, line the west wall. I like a couple of them in particular for the natural drawing skill they display.

Some of the words and imagery may shock, I suppose, but they shouldn’t. Female fertility obviously has a history in art going back as far or farther that phallic symbols of male potency.  Brian lent me a tourist guide book from his recent trip to Angkor Wat and the shrine had stone dicks everywhere.

Green’s goddesses frequently salute us with middle finger gestures, so there is a message here, more than a mere celebration of reproductive power. The goddess is asserting herself, like it or lump it.  I happen to like it, and this show exemplifies much of what I get from my visits to Gerrard Art Space. Think of the all galleries where you would not see such work.

New WordPress Block Editor

WordPress version 5.3 added new layout features, like columns. Posts are created in an online editing window called the Block Editor.

There have been enough changes to make me glad that I did not teach Block Editing to John Robert Colombo when I planned to. The lessons would have been out-of-date, already.

Frankly, I am struggling to control the new editor, as you can see.

Scary! I took the picture for my illustration on Halloween. The windstorm we had that night took out our power, so my selfie was made by flashlight. I used a Rubik’s Cube app for the block look.

Goodbye, Ian

Ian McPhail, who loved to sign his email messages with his perfect initials … IMP … died November 13th at Michael Garron Hospital after a few days in palliative care. 

Ian was my all-day-breakfast buddy. We were regulars at the King’s Diner on Kingston Road for years. IMP had a gift for surreal humour, written and spoken. I will miss his wit and wry commentary. He went too soon (77) but he packed a lot of living into his time.

Ian’s sister Eileen has posted an obituary in the Toronto Star.

Words and pictures at the Hub

On the way home from lunch, I remembered to stop in and see the posters on display at the Riverdale Hub.

Girls in their teens posterize ideas about racism, hatred, and religious intolerance, with remedies.

The idea is to express rather than suffer in silence, and to work collectively rather than hurt in isolation. Lead artist Lara Lucretia Mrosovsky is quoted saying she is “building connections between activists that use words and those that speak in pictures”.

Silkscreen is chosen as the medium. Cheap, easy and quick, it has a long history in protest movements.

Unprecious, informal hanging is part of the message. Art into action, not stuffed away in museums. One of the nice things about silkscreen is that you get lots of copies. There is a pile of them, FREE. Choose one to take home when you visit the gallery.

I picked this one. Strong graphics and a positive message.

Let Love Grow appeals to me because it suggests love as sort of a default state. If we just let things be, love grows on its own. That’s my experience. Without negative influences, people are mostly inclined to be decent to one another.

Live from Longo’s

The upload signal is under 1 Mbps, so I an not optimistic about success. I have arrived early for lunch with Brian Hickey. Sitting comfortably on the mezzanine with a nice cup of coffee is no hardship.

Leaside Bus 56 brought me right here from the Donlands subway station. So fast, I’m 30 minutes early.

The building that houses Longo’s supermarket is appropriately long. I think it used to be a repair station for railroad cars. Very industrial, now very upscale. 

See what I mean about long? Longo’s on Laird Drive