Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A Wonderful Antique from my Photo Scanning Project

In one of my boxes of old photographs, I found this truly wonderful gem. It is a small cardboard folder to hold photographs after they were developed at the photography store. That is, once one had shot a roll of film, it was taken to the store for developing and at the store, they mounted the developed photos in these little cardboard folders, or albums (as it says on the cover). This little folder is about 4 inches by 4 1/2 inches.   

This is what the folder looks like when I open it up and lay it flat. There is a little advertising for Kodak Film, "In the Yellow Box" on the back. In the drawing of the Kodak film box, you can see the the words "Verichrome" and "Safety Film" (whatever that means). I also like the spaces on the folder where someone could write something on the line next to "Subject", "Place" and "Date". No one wrote anything on this folder - I remember that we rarely did. 

When you open the folder, there are 6 photos held in place by a metal fastener. I suspect there were more originally but some have fallen out. This "album" has pictures taken at Christmas, circa 1956. On the left is my brother Paul, who got a drum set for Christmas. I am in the middle, looking more interested in Paul's drum set than the doll I got for Christmas. My sister Marilyn is on the right, hugging her new doll.    

The photos are turned over like pages in a book (or album, of course). The photographic paper is notched around the edges. The way they are attached is rather fragile, so it is impressive that the photos are still in this album. This is a photograph of my sister on the left, me, my Mother and my brother Paul. My Mother was reading a book to us but when the photo was taken, she was looking up at the photographer, not the book.

This is the back of the last photograph in the folder. You can see how they are attached and held in place by a metal fastener. The statement "They don't make them like they used to" sure does apply to this little album. Does anyone else remember these quaint relics of a bygone time?

Monday, 28 November 2011

Seeking Light at the Darkest Time of the Year

It gets dark so early at this time of the year - the hours of daylight are so short. When I go out for a walk in the evening, I find that I am attracted to storefronts with lots of lights, or streets that are brightly lit up, or anything decorated with lots of bright shiny things. For example, I liked this storefront on a little side street in the Byward Market with two branches suspended in front, decorated with lots of little lights. Very cool!

Some buildings are beautifully lit up, like the Chateau Laurier. I took this picture while walking along a terrace between the Chateau and the Rideau Canal. I have always thought the Chateau Laurier looks more interesting from this side, at night. 

The light of the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill is wonderful in the dark, displaying endlessly fascinating patterns - especially on windy evenings, like this one.  

In a little park near the Rideau Centre, this display of lights creates wonderful swoops and swirls in the trees. Three angels mounted on poles stand guard.   

And speaking of angels, this window display in a store called Crystal Dawn really caught my eye. So bright and pink on a dark night. Isn't it fabulous?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Art Show and Sale in Dunvegan

This past Saturday, I went to an Art Show and Sale in Dunvegan, Ontario. Three terrific artists - Ronna Mogelon, Holly Kelleher and Natalie Rowe - showed their drawings and paintings and ceramics and wall hangings and other wonderful works. It was a great chance to buy some beautiful and interesting pieces.

Holly had wonderful drawings of owls and various animals. But I fell in love with her paintings of butterflies and bought one of them. 

I also really liked this print of a rooster by Holly. The colours are great. 

Ronna's little paintings of cats and chickens are always fun - so bright and cheerful. 

I am a big fan of Ronna's painted wood wall hangings and have several of them in my apartment in Ottawa. It was great to see more of them this year. 

Ronna also had her wonderful painted ceramics on display. I particularly liked this collection of tea pots and the cow creamer. 

Natalie had some beautiful bird drawings and wall hangings. 

These wall hangings of Natalie's were amazing. I had to have one of the cows, but the chickens were pretty tempting too. 

Altogether, it was a really fun show and I was pleased with my acquisitions (a painting of Holly's, a drawing of Ronna's and a wall hanging of Natalie's). There were lots of people there and I got to do some visiting, catching up, with people I haven't seen for a while. There was even some wonderful music played by Holly's talented husband David Kelleher.  

I think Ronna and Holly and Natalie enjoyed themselves, too. Here Ronna and Natalie are having a good laugh over something or other. Great stuff, you guys. I can hardly wait until your next show.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Pay Day Market

Every two weeks, the government employees in the complex of buildings where I work get paid. And every two weeks, on payday, a whole little market of craftspeople springs up like mushrooms in the foyers and hallways of some of the buildings. Several dozen tables are set up and the vendors put out their wares, and people gather round to see what they can spend their money on.

There are always lots of craftspeople selling jewellery. I have bought some great earrings at one of these payday markets in the past. 

This vendor was selling scented candles. I really liked the display, with every scent labelled. They are supposed to have healing properties, but mostly I found that this display smelled wonderful.

There are also lots of scarfs and sweaters and shawls. Lovely colours!

This was my favourite display. They are all hats, but they looked like toys waiting for someone to come play with them. The lion hat looks like his front paws are hanging over the side of the table in a very relaxed pose. Who knew that headgear could be so much fun?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

First Snowfall in the City - Creating a Bruegel World

Ottawa had its first snowfall in the early hours of Wednesday morning. When I left my apartment to walk to work, I found that everything was covered with a fresh frosting of snow. It was still coming down as I walked along and the world was a grey and white Bruegel painting.  

Sidewalks hadn't been shoveled and I followed the track made by other pedestrians. 

I passed by the Peacekeeping Monument and noticed the bronze statues were looking very white on top. 

I liked the way the flag seemed to be reaching down to brush this statue. It added colour to a very grey and white scene.  

The sidewalk descending to the Alexandria Bridge was also not shoveled and rather slippery. Good thing I found my boots this morning after digging through the bottom of the closet. 

All the people looked very black and white in the grey-and-white Bruegel landscape. This man was carrying an umbrella, which was wise because the snow was quite wet. 

On the Alexandria Bridge, people walk on the left and bicycles ride on the right (when you are going North, that is). You can see both sets of tracks here. I was impressed that anyone would bicycle on a day like this. 

As a matter of fact, I didn't see many bicyclists. Here is one of the few brave - or maybe just determined - people that I saw on a bicycle.  

On my way back from work this evening, I saw that there was still some snow left although it had stopped snowing and a lot had melted. It wasn't quite so much like a Bruegel painting because the street lights and brightly-lit store displays added yellows and reds to the landscape.

Oh, those determined bicyclists! This bicycle was locked to a post, sitting in the snow at an intersection. Well, I guess it isn't time to put away bicycles yet anyway. The temperature is supposed to go up to +10 degrees this coming weekend and the snow will be all gone. Goodbye Bruegel landscape, until the next snowfall.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Challenge - A Drawing a Day

Recently, I decided to challenge myself and try to do one drawing every day. The idea is that they would not have to be "good" (whatever that means) - they could be scribbles or quick sketches or fast doodles - as long as I turned out something every day. Sometimes it is really hard. But today, I realized that I have managed to do a drawing a day for the last 5 days in a row. This is drawing #5 - a felt-tip marker scribble that was a lot of fun to do. Now if I can just keep going for another 5 days!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

More from the Photo Scanning Project - A Visit to England

In 1993, Peter and I went to England when I attended a conference in Oxford. After the conference, we drove around the southwestern part of England for several days and packed in visits to as many interesting places as we could. I recently came across photos from that trip while working on my scanning project. This is a photo of me, climbing up to the ruins of St. Michael's Church near Glastonbury. Peter liked the fact that we had to walk among a bunch of sheep as we climbed the hill. 

It was foggy at the top of the hill. You can barely see the upper part of the ruins and Peter looks very ghostly near the entrance.

Another day we were driving around Wiltshire when we saw one of the amazing white horses in the chalk hills. We drove to the top of the hill, parked the car and walked on the path along the top of the hill. Peter asked me to go stand on the part of the path at the top of the horse while he walked around to the other side so he could take picture of me.  

And there I am, under the red arrow. I am barely visible, I know, but that little insect-size smudge is me! I stood and waved at Peter, who seemed very far away. Then I reached down and patted the horse's ear. The thing is huge but can be seen from very far away on the plain below.

Later that day, we visited Avebury, which is a prehistoric stone circle - like Stonehenge but with larger circles. Peter loved this stone - I think it appealed to his sculptural sensibilities. 

And here I am, in a bright red sweater (which my talented daughter, Sarah, knit for me), standing beside one of the smaller stones. There was so much to see and I am glad we got to see as much as we did. I am also glad I found these photos again. Great memories! 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Some of Peter's Apple Drawings

I have been neglecting my photo scanning project lately and decided to get back into it. I still have so many to do. Recently, while combing through a box of old pictures, I found these photographs of some drawings that Peter did many years ago for a show. He was making a lot of sculpture based on apples at the time and so his drawings were of apples too. I particularly like this drawing. The apple looks like it is made of silver.

Peter's drawings could be so light and delicate-looking, but they still had a sculptural quality. He was obviously fascinated by the structure of the things he was drawing. 

We had some peaches in a bowl in the kitchen, so he decided to draw them too, with one apple in the background. I am so glad I found the photos of these drawings - I had forgotten about them and they bring back a lot of memories. A beautiful find!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

New Sculpture at the National Gallery

About 2 weeks ago, I saw some men doing what appeared to be construction work on a traffic island I cross every day, between the National Gallery and Major's Hill Park in Ottawa.. Then, last week, as I crossed the traffic island on my morning walk to work, I saw this marvelous sculpture that they had installed there. I found out later that it is called "The Three Watchmen" and it is by the Haida artist Jim Hart. Isn't it fabulous?

Here it is taken from the other side. I wanted to see what it would look like with the National Gallery in the background on one side and Louise Bourgeois' sculpture "Maman" on the other. Three different styles but harmonious, nevertheless.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Creepy Christmas Decorations

Hallowe'en is over, Remembrance Day is over - so now, right on cue, the malls are hauling out the Christmas decorations. The shopping mall and food court downstairs in the building complex where I work have put up the same decorations every year for the past 5 years or so that I've worked there. Most of them are the usual tacky decorated trees and tinsel balls and nutcracker figurines. But some of the decorations they put up I find particularly creepy. These bizarre creatures are made of a cloth cone placed over a fake tree with an alien-looking face on top. What really gets me is that the eyes are closed and they look blind! 

They are placed in various places around the mall. They have no hands, although this one has sleeves that come together near a sparkly star. 

The neck on this one is horribly long. Here is a close-up of the face, which is the same on all these weird things. Isn't it creepy?

The colours of this one's coat (or dress, or whatever it is supposed to be) is not very Christmas-y. It also looks like it has some sort of large white alien bug climbing up its front.  

After I had taken one of these pics, I started talking with a woman working in a store nearby. She was watching me so I told her I found these things very creepy and just wanted to get some photos of them. She told me I was the second person today who had taken pictures of them and told her that they were creepy. Wow! I am not alone in my opinion.
Have a creepy Christmas, everyone!