Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A few (very few) pics from my short stay in Quebec City

At the beginning of this week, I was in Quebec City on a business trip. I was hoping to go out during my lunch hours and breaks and take some photographs since Quebec is such an amazing city. Alas, everything conspired against me. The weather was not great - cold and rainy. Also, I developed a wretched cold and felt too sick to go out much. However, the weather did clear up on my last day there and I managed to take a couple of pictures of this beautiful arched gate, which was just down the street from the hotel where I was staying.

The gate was part of the old fortifications of Quebec and there was a park on the other side along the historic walls. I really like this picture of a wooden soldier (sort of like a life-size Christmas nutcracker) as this girl walked past, texting on her cell phone. The old and the new side-by-side.

Quebec is a very hilly city and there are staircases and other neat places to climb. I wished I could have climbed up to the top of the wall here, but it was time to go back and anyways, I wasn't sure I could manage it while coughing and blowing my nose. Oh well - I will just have to go back someday (and make sure not to get sick!).

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Watching the Rain Clouds Roll In

The weather in Eastern Ontario this spring has been variable - which is an understatement! We have had lots of rainy days, then a few warm sunny days, then more rainy days. Today was of the sunny and warm persuasion. But this evening, as I was walking home, I watched as more rain clouds rolled in over the city.

These clouds were quite dramatic. The sky is always fascinating to watch, no matter what weather it brings.

Monday, 10 June 2013

June is time for Irises (and other delightful flowers)

One of the best things about living in both the city and the country is when I come home to my place in the country after being in the city for a while and see how my garden has progressed (mind you, this happens in the summer only). It is usually the first thing that greets me after I park my car and walk to my front door. This past weekend, I found that the irises had started to bloom and then fallen over, I needed to stake them all up.

Irises are such amazing flowers. Their shape is so exotic - almost like a tropical flower.

I have some yellow ones in another part of the garden. These have nearly gone wild and don't seem to have problems falling over like the big purple ones.

There are also true wild irises growing by the fish pond. Peter dug these up years ago in a swamp and transplanted them to our garden. They are wild but somehow more delicate-looking than the domesticated irises.

The other flower that looked really spectacular this past weekend was the Foxglove. One of my very favourite flowers!

This solo poppy was a complete surprise to me. It was growing in a part of the yard where there is no garden - just a weedy patch. What a lovely gift! But the month of June is like that - presenting floral delights everywhere.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Turning Repairs on the National Art Gallery into a Work of Art

Every day I walk past the National Art Gallery on my way to work, and every day I have been watching one part of the gallery become amazingly transformed. The National is undergoing major repairs on the section that houses the grand hall, and the work has been taking months already and will go on until the end of the year. To make these repairs, the workers installed a massive network of scaffolding outside the building - which was pretty cool to watch. And then, something special began to happen. They started to put up these massive tarps over the scaffolding.    

And they put up more tarps and more tarps. These massive pieces they have put up show parts of a waterfall - all blue water and white spray in a continuous picture as the pieces go around the scaffolding. So eventually the whole building will look like one great huge waterfall cascading down. It is really spectacular to see. I checked online to see if I could find an explanation about why they are hanging tarps with a picture of a waterfall over the scaffolding and apparently this is a "surprise piece of art" to complement the show going on in the gallery right now called Sakah├án. Highly recommended if you come to Ottawa. In the meantime, every day I enjoy walking past and seeing the progress as they put up more pieces to finish installing this beautiful, unexpected work of art.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Peter MacElwain (June 3 1948 - Aug. 3 2001) - A Memory

Recently, when I sorted through some boxes that had been sitting unopened for years, I discovered this old newspaper clipping of the front page of a local newspaper called the Tribune/Express (Hawkesbury ON), dated October 12, 1996. Peter and I had a show together at that time at the Arbor Gallery in Vankleek Hill, which we called "Uniting Mythologies", and a reporter interviewed us and took this picture. The sculpture is Peter's "Roman Duck" and the painting on the wall is mine (both later purchased so I haven't seen them for years either). Ah, the memories!
June 3rd is Peter's birthday and I will be thinking of him and remembering wonderful times like this.  Cheers, Peter!