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Homage to Alex Gray

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Nov 6, 2016:  During my research for my school papers today I rummaged through piles of books in my collection and one fell on my lap.  There was a page that the corner was folded as a mark, a photo and inscription stared at me which brought tears to my eyes.  It is copied here. (“A Soldier View” by Blake Heathcote// Alex carried a large format camera, he worked as a RCAF photographer) Alex was one of a few older friends I had the privilege of knowing.  He passed away many years ago.  An Engineer by trade but also many other accomplished professions, Alex was a professional photographer, wood carver, artist.  He often talked about his photography work in WWII.  I learnt from him so many precious wisdom and through my visits we discussed tirelessly our love for art.  We showed each other’s works and exchanged ideas, all nurturing, all encouraging.  Alex had retired long before and settled back in Toronto after he served in the Army, sailed around the world on the yacht he built himself, he had done so many wonderful things and adventures before I knew him.  I was still working in finance and only dappled in […]
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Roaming The World And Home Sweet Home

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Summer 2016:   My nomad goal is somewhat achieved this year.  It began the day after the winter semester concluded in late April.  The two weeks+ at our retreat in Western Canada  were perfect before summer classes started.  The still snow-capped mountains were the best cure!  to top up, I was also rewarded with a sighting of a large Grizzly near Lake Louise area the day before my departure!  Until we see wildlife in their own habitat, we do not know that feeling of how precious this earth is, how our eyesight holds the most beautiful images of life in front of us. Despite the insane beats of summer courses, I was able to produce a couple of paintings then again boarding a flight to tour a series of cities in Europe.  Added to many we have visited before were a few more in France, Italy & Spain.  As I walked the town of Alicante with its unique fortress/castle atop a mountain, viewed the excessive wealth displayed in yachts lining the shore of Monaco, navigated the narrow paths in Calvi…I thought of the vast differences between the two continents.  Rome was so full of ruins and relics right in the middle of […]
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Busy New York

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May 2015:  What a time in NYC!!  Great trip to the neighbouring city for my group show and also, the endless art galleries there!  The familiarity makes things more endearing, Central Park is more pleasing, the streets friendlier.. May is not yet hot although still busy, the flows of yellow cabs are so unending! What different was the deafening noise: I had my earplugs on almost 24 hrs.  Tourists flooded every major corners and streets.   I spent a few hours admiring a small portion of the MET and another afternoon reserved for the Frick;  disappointed the beautiful “Countess d’Haussonville” (Ingres) was temporary absent along with most Goyas in the back section. For artists, we cannot have enough of this city!  The group show opening was well organised, upbeat with full attendance.   I regret not having enough time to visit the new Whitney museum nearby but next time soon!  what most wonderful was to see Rockefeller’s collection of Asmat totem poles.  It was perfect for a course I am taking, for the kind and brilliant professor of the course (that’s you Mark!)  .  It was such a juxtapose to view the works.  At once it is a privilege as we […]
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Note from Alberta

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May 5, 2015 There’s something about Banff!  Loving it more each time I return! What could be better than a chance encounter with a Grizzly on the last day of my sojourn?  I’d spent some time in Lake Louise area and further up on the glaciers area towards Jasper so on the eve of my departure, it felt right to look at the mountain ranges in BC and there it was: casually walking on the edge of the highway, oblivious of the few gawkers and big trucks now gathering below for the photo ops.  The ranger was already there moving his truck in tandem with the majestic animal to protect him/her from fearless gawkers.  As I snapped away my photos and video, more cars pulled in and it became a spectacle.  The ranger wasn’t pleased.   The beautiful, golden furred creature eventually moved up to the higher hill and disappeared beyond it. Until we see one in its natural habitat, it’s nearly impossible to know how it feels, to be in his presence.  It’s better than winning the lottery.  The thick golden fur and the large size distinctively marked by the lump on his back… the slow, determined gait.  The lift […]
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Spring is here!

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April 12, 2015 Has it been that long since I last wrote??  The passage of time is evident only with marks such as here on this site… one and a half years have passed since I had any leisure to pen a few lines.  Much has happened and some events are even blurry now but here I am, sitting in the quietness of my small office space at home pondering about life in the past few years. The world news is not a nice happy topic if not downright depressing.  I mourned the sudden loss of Nathan Cirillo, the senseless utter injustice and the cowardice act of cutting down a defenceless ceremonial symbol of our liberty and rights and to such a pure, beautiful young man was so gouging, for days I felt a deep sadness and a rage which had been subdued since my arrival in Canada long ago.  It was significant because of the violation of the most sacred place in this country:  at the tomb of the unknown soldier.  A peace monument to remind us of the violent past.  Then the turmoil in the Middle East where journalists and innocents were slaughtered.  The atrocity in Boston, silencing […]
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School life: a new beginning!

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Sept 2013 This past week I got the first hand experience as a student after over 3 decades away from the academic world!  It is a brave new world!  While nothing less is expected, the challenge is not about the studying alone but everything else around it too:  the subway rides 1 hour each way (again, I have not taken the subway much for the past 20 yrs!!)  and quite often it would stall for one reason or another (signal problem, someone pulled the security alarm…).  Not that this is any “hardship” : others full time students commute from different adjacent towns about 1.30 hours away, the rides on the GO train then subway would average 2 hrs each way!!  Perhaps nothing comes easy in life and what comes easy, might not be appreciated or valued?!   As the weather will get colder soon and then the snowy days will be shortened… the distance will become more arduous but, these few years I am sure will be worth it.  Many frown upon an art degree but they might not know, it is just as tough and challenging as any degree and for most, might not yield the instant employment results! […]
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Europe and thieves

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Aug 25/2013 Ah!  what a blessing for a brilliantly sunny and warm weekend!  Summer almost concludes giving in to serious research and practicing arts.  The 2nd time watching the movie Jackson Pollock stokes my interest in this artist altho I have been more of a Lee Krasner ‘s fan. Some of her works are stunning!! especially large canvas I saw in NYC last summer.  Pollock show at the AGO in the recent year didn’t do much for me but somehow, something in this movie I saw for the 2nd time recently… I wish I cd view that collection again! Worth mentioning.. from my recent tour along the coast of Spain & Portugal:  why do cruise ships have art auctions?  it is so crass, unprofessional and so…insulting !  like flea markets selling high end perfumes or Harry Winston’s jewelries, just not right.  Worse, all of the “arts” look like mall art!!  such an affront.  Cruise ships shd just focus on organising the best cruise! Why are pick-pockets so rampant in Europe?  it happened in Madrid last year and now, Barcelona…petty thefts are everywhere but I saw the face of a thief!! what shocked me was how ordinary he was!  an average, […]
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Time flies…

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Aug 6/2013 Already the 5th of August!!  Is it my old age or the hectic pace I’m having that blurs the passage of time?  the only thing that seems to stretch the time is the canvas I’m working on (tentatively called “Winter Park”) which goes on forever without a finishing line .. 🙂  🙂   My excuse is that I’m busy but not much work related proof for this “busy” claim.  Just leisure…McMichael’s gallery along with AGO & ROM sent several invites on their happenings!  I did see Ai Wei Wei’s snake (AGO ceiling) and Zodiac sculptures (City Hall) and attended a few local important shows but mainly the pleasure was in the many lunches with friends the first two weeks of July, every single day almost! Well, I have to live it up as the student life will commence soon and if this is what “hectic” is about boy, I should investigate the dictionary to find a new word that surpasses “hectic” come September when my Univ courses start!  🙂 🙂  but I promise, Winter Park will be done & posted on the webpage soon!  Hooray!
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