Thursday, October 29, 2009

change of scene

Dear readers, I retired on October 16th and flew away on the 23rd! After landing in Frankfurt, Germany, I took the train to Arnhem, Holland. There I visited my 98-yr. old aunt. We went out for a walk in the nearby park, admiring the ducks and swans in the pond and the lovely scarlet Japanese maples. I was picked up by my cousins for a stay with them in Bergeijk for a few days. On the 19th, I flew with Ryanair to Girona, Spain. My son, John, picked me up and brought me to his home in Empuriabrava. The first photo shows the canal behind his house in the evening. The backyards here are boat parking lots. All the canals join boaters to the Meditteranean. Then there is a wall of morning glories, and John´s lemon tree. The one in the middle is a strange mutation!

Monday, October 12, 2009

local monastaries

On this brilliant Thanksgiving Saturday, we decided to make an excursion to see two monasteries, located in the Laurentian foothills just north of the Ottawa River. We took the ferry over the river at Carillion and drove toward Lachute and then west to Brownsburg-Chatham. The monastary of the Greek Orthodox nuns was found about 8 km west, at the end of the Chemin de la Carriere. The Saint Monastere Vierge Marie La Consolatrice was founded in 1993 by a few nuns from Greece, who brought their yoghurt- and cheese-making skills with them. There are now 22 nuns living in the monastary and visitors are very welcome to stay in their guesthouse, to picnic outside their little store and to buy their products. Women must put on a long skirt (can be borrowed at the boutique) and cover their shoulders if they wish to walk the grounds and enter the chapel. I took a photo of the river rushing down the middle of the property . There is a small park, with gardens and benches just beside the river.

After a lunch stop in Brownsburg, we took the route north and soon turned west toward Harrington and the Riviere Rouge road north to the Buddhist Monastary. It was a magical experience to enter the gates and find the exotic pagodas, temples and commemorative statues of Buddhist heroes set below a hillside of autumn foliage. We were greeted very warmly by a Buddhist monk, one of the many living there year-round. It seemed a place of joy and prosperity, although there were no flower or vegetable gardens. Why? For the love of the deer, who came out of the woods to eat away whatever the monks planted! Here I am with the statue of a jolly Buddha, greeting visitors at the entrance.

I would like to try standing in this goddess's shoes for a while: all those heads and hands available to take care of earthly tasks!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Golden Puppies

My friend Rosanne, whom I met at work, breeds Golden Retrievers. Her last litter of 9 puppies was born May 8th; I have been visiting her almost every week, watching them grow, helping to clip their nails, to weigh them and bring them to the vet for their shots. Now they are all sold except for Caprice, the one she decided to keep, and Puce, my favorite, that Rosanne "secretly" wanted to keep too. It looks as if Puce will get a new owner this week anyway! So we had a photo session with our darlings. They now weigh about 30 lbs!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


My artist friend Anne Babbage, who studied art education with me at Concordia University in Montreal,asked me to submit a painting for a fundraiser. It was held to help her work colleague Sue, who was stricken with breast cancer. The silent auction took place yesterday at Sue and Anne's workplace, the Whitlock Golf and Country Club in Hudson, Quebec.

Reto and I went by and found an enthusiastic crowd, milling around the great collection of paintings, photographs, gift certificates and vintage wines to bid on.
My submission was:

“The Wave “ 2008
36” x 36”
acrylic on canvas

This work is the second to last in a series, in which I focused on the theme of rocks. Using a newly acquired technique, I was able to capture the various textures and markings of rock surfaces. I was interested in the personality of each individual rock. The arrangement of the rocks gave the painting the appearance of a family portrait. Finally, I became interested in including the environment of the rocks in my painting and working with the depth of the painting materials and a larger format. The series of rock paintings ended with a 36” x 48” work featuring sand and aquatic materials applied to the surface with acrylic medium. It was sold at the Art Fayre in Dunvegan, Ontario, June 2009.