Christmas Day

I steered our Christmas Day walk past Spud’s house yesterday, to remember him and admire the lighthouse he made for his front yard.


Spud was a proud son of Newfoundland. I was happy to see his lighthouse still standing, but it’s only been a month or so since his death. Good to have a photograph as a keepsake.

So how did YOUR day go?


You might be interested in the faulty reasoning that led to the lesson above. White paint is white paint, right? Top quality outdoor paint should work just fine indoors, right? Might even be BETTER … it’s made to handle outdoor weather.

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. Outdoor paint acts weird indoors. It dries funny and it lumps up funny if you try a second coat too soon. Then it dries as hard as rock, which is evident when you sand and sand and sand the lumpy bits away and eradicate the deep brush marks.

The sanding does work and even removes stray bristles left behind by the cheap brushes Captain Paintcan favours.

Then you buy indoor white paint, which behaves itself and knows how to act in a civilized way. It is indoor paint, you see. Outdoor paint should be kept outdoors, like the beastly stuff it is.

Slideshow using Keynote

Our friends John and Ruth Colombo have provided me with so many opportunities to make book covers, I decided to update the list as I dabble with various apps I have for making slideshows.

Apple’s Keynote app does a pretty good job. It’s HD, so you can watch it BIG, if you like.

In posts to follow, I will try making other shows with iMovie and the Photos app that comes with OS X.

BTW, John Robert Colombo often likes to break conventions when suggesting cover ideas. You’ll see a wraparound title on Less of Light. The cover for A World of Differences offers a little game… the same image, back and front, but with a number of differences.

Ruth Colombo’s Sisters Agonistes is a trilogy, so the books are supposed to look like a set, but individually titled. Ruth appears as a young woman in a favourite photo that covers Words on Parole.

Now: Textile Museum of Canada

I had doubts about this one. Hooked rugs? An hour later, I left smiling and feeling happy.

 OK, some of the rugs are kind of clunky in design and unoriginal in subject matter. Even those have the simple charm of folk art. They are sincere and practical, using old scraps as they do, to produce art you can wipe your feet on. “Use Me”, said one.

As you look through my few examples, though, you’ll see some truly fine pieces. Some date back to the 1800s and still look bright and lively. Some are much more recent. I finished the slide show with my favourite … a big piece done in 1989 by Barbara Klunder. Fun!

Here’s a link to the TMC site.

Sculpture suffers in Toronto

My eye jumped to the window as we passed an OCAD annex building on McCaul. Lynn Chadwick! I didn’t know OCAD had one of his pieces. We rushed inside for a better look.


Chadwick was a celebrated international artist in the mid 20th century. He won the Venice Biennale prize for England back in the day. Sensitively placed, his semi-abstract figures can be haunting, even daunting presences that dominate and focus the space they occupy.

This poor thing has been parked on a stairwell landing, treated like a knick knack or piece of unwanted furniture. It looks out through dirty windows, as if in a muttering dialogue with its monumental neighbours, the CN Tower and the OCAD crayon box.

Turning to look across the street, I noticed that the once-prominent Henry Moore now looks rather small, squatting under Frank Gehry’s facade on the Ontario Art Gallery.


Moore once credited Toronto as so worthy of great sculpture that he gave the AGO its marvellous collection of full size plasters. Happy as I am that we have that huge, unique collection to enjoy, I wonder how Moore would feel about us today.

Before the Gehry facade, Moore’s “Two Large Forms” looked important on that corner, signalling with its size and organic form that the box beside it was indeed an art gallery. Now, even though it is on the same corner, its role is diminished. Maybe it would come back to glory if it were relocated to Grange Park, on the other side of the AGO?

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