Thursday, 29 December 2011
Everyone on the trail today had a big smile...solar powered skiers.
This is easily the smallest cabin in the park, but the best for birds. I saw a downey woodpecker on the way in and there were two flickers at the feeder. The trail in tunnels through a hemlock grove which is one of my favourite places on the planet.
A sketch of the inerior and the story of this cabin's name : http://johnssketchjournal.blogspot.com/2012/02/chilly-chalet.html
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
We finally got enough snow to ski, so I headed up to Gatineau Park for a short ski. There are miles of nordic trails and several cabins which serve as destinations and allow skiers to take a break and dry off. I was first into Huron this morning and lit the fire in the wood stove.
There were the usual black capped chickadees and a flicker at the bird feeder, but then a flock of 6 or 8 bluejays arrived and pushed the smaller birds out of the way. Its unusual to see more than a pair bluejays together - they are such bickersome birds that its hard to imagine them getting along. To top things off, I came across a white-tailed deer on the way out.
The pole was a gift from the Hesquaiht people and the Royal British Columbia Museum in 1989 for the opening of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It was carved Tim Paul with assistance from Kevin Cranmer.
"The four main figures on this pole are from the history of the Hesquiaht people. The figure at the top is an ancestral chief, wearing an elaborate headdress and posed in a dancing position. Beneath him is Thunderbird and between his wings is a mythic hunter known for his ability to catch whales, sea otters and seals. The final figure represents the whale canoe that carried the hunter's rival out to sea."
Monday, 26 December 2011
Winter in Canada is not conducive to drawing outdoors, so I headed to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. There is so much there to draw that I didn't even get past the Great Hall, which is a display of mid 19th century native longhouses and totem poles.
Sunday, 18 December 2011
May you be open to all the blessings of the season.
I'm a big fan of the City of Ottawa's public art collections and program. One of my favourite pieces is by Jim Thomson. These three columns stand in the main corridor of City Hall. and I enjoy them every time I pass by. They are made of ceramic and stand about 2.4 m tall.
If you have looked at this blog you will see I am very interested in symbolism. The mythology and iconography of Haida carving resonates with me even though I live 3000 miles form the left coast. I think of Thomson's work as totems and it has inspired some ideas about totems I would like to craft.
The City narrative states:
On Top of the World is a three-part ceramic sculpture, designed to generate philosophical optimism about the viewer's life and existence. The turtle, dog, and the spiral interact to form a reassuring and celebratory environment. The clever and attentive dog symbolizes myth and paradoxes, while the turtle, carrying its home wherever it goes, represents history and experience. Both figures gaze towards the third vase, a spiral of pure energy, representing a timeless and all-embracing world.
Don't expect such high falutin text about any totems I might make.
This 'Red Cedar Carving' stands about 3m high and is about 2.4 m wide. One side is unpainted with the exception of the bentwood box while the other side reverses this with the figures painted in the traditional red and black and the box in a natural finish. The theme of the panel is trade and sharing of ides and goods.
This was donated to the National Arts Centre here in Ottawa by Ridley Terminals Company who have enjoyed it for many years in their offices. I'm sure they miss it.
An explanation of the work was on display;
"Northwest Indian people are divided into four main groups symbolized by the following crests: the Killer whale on the top of the carving; the Wolf on bentwood box; the Raven with the long straight beak on the left; the Eagle with the curved beak on the right. The frog is part of the Raven crest and is shown in front of the Raven.
The Raven is holding the daylight. When raven brought the light he also gave us knowledge. This figure in front of the Eagle is female and the figure between the Raven and Eagle is a male. They both represent the people. The four main crests together represent culture, unity and completeness. The bentwood box symbolizes trade because Northwest coast people used boxes for carrying trade goods.The rainbow, symbol of exchanges, ideas or goods."
This totem pole distinguished the front of a Haida long house in the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia. It was carved in the mid 1900s and seems never to have been painted. The symbolism of the creatures represented status of the family. Bears seemed to play a big part in that story. It must have taken a lot of time to carve, which speaks to it's cultural importance and the standard of life living beside the sea, that could support such craftsmen.
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
I often pass by these elegant doors to walk-up apartments in my neighbourhood and finally took a few minutes to stop and sketch them. I made a mistake in trying to black in the transom window of the Grenville apartment as the building name is in a flowing 30's style script...should have added it larger. In fact the detailing of several of the elements would warrant vignettes.
Sunday, 11 December 2011
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
As part of his training, Chief Hart worked with Bill Reid, another eminent Haida artist and like Reid has moved his work beyond traditional forms and motifs, while strongly integrating Haida cultural forms and legends. It is cast bronze which is not a traditional Haida material, but will be extremely durable and develop a rich patina get as it weathers.