Tuesday, 26 March 2013
A couple of days later back at home, going through my mail, a stamp caught my eye. Joe Fortes, in recognition of Black History Month. I had assumed Joe owned the restaurant. Not so - Joe Fortes is a local legend who is fondly remembered for teaching children to swim in English Bay and as the beach's self-appointed lifeguard. He is credited with saving at least 29 lives, although the real number is thought to be much higher. A monument to commemorate him was erected a few years after his death in 1922, with the inscription "children loved him" and a local library is also named after him. In 1986 Joe Fortes was selected as the Vancouver Citizen of the Century.
The Wikipedia description is worth having a look at - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Fortes
Sunday, 24 March 2013
The note on the back of the card was in the form of a press release.
"Canada invades Portugal, seeking compensation for overfishing of Canada's Grand Banks.
Portugal offers suntan lotion for Canadian's lobster leg sunburn."
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Blake, the Hotel manager noticed my suspicious activity and came over to investigate. Turns out, he is an artist and was pleased to see me taking a few minutes to sketch the Hotel. He gave me a little background on the building which piqued my interest enough to look it up. It was built by a famous sea captain and was the first concrete building in Vancouver, built in 1911. Captain Pybus and his Canadian Pacific Steamship, the Empress of Japan, are remembered for winning the Blue Ribbon for setting the trans-Pacific crossing record in 1897.
Today St. Clair is rebranding itself as a hostel, offering affordable accommodation to travelers.
Sunday, 17 March 2013
Friday, 15 March 2013
Rick's second piece is topped by a Thunderbird who's wings are spirally wound around symbols of coastal tribes and rock paintings. It represents the greater power or spirit which unifies the various ancient peoples of the west coast. An optimistic message of unity, expressed in Rick's poetic carving.
What a contribution to his culture and our country.
Rick was signing the salmon totem by carving his Bear Paw symbol which is proudly under scripted with the letters OBC - a reference to his Order of British Columbia. This recognizes his social and artistic contribution to both his first nation heritage and British Columbia (and Canada) as a whole. He wears the pin on his cap. Even better, he's a delightfully down to earth guy to meet and talk to. What an inspiring afternoon. His website is www.xwalactun.ca
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
I took a day off skiing while in Whistler this week to visit the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre. There were two master cavers working on totem poles there, which was exactly what I was hoping for in my visit. It was a pleasure to watch their deft progress over just a couple of hours carving. I sketched and chatted with both of them and was complimented to be invited to their "carvers union" break for coffee. They are both wonderful, warm ordinary guys to talk to who are making extraordinary art which is founded on their cultural roots but speaks to our modern world.
Aaron Nelson-Moody's ancestral name is Splashing Eagle, but he introduced himself as Splash. The pole he is completing is the fourth in a series called "Cedar Women". It is an 18 foot long yellow cedar log topped by a Thunderbird with a Lightning Snake spiraling down to its base. Splash has been a positive influence to many young people through his teaching of art and carving in schools as well as the legacy of his inspired carving and jewelry. His web site is splashingeagle.ca
Saturday, 9 March 2013
That's what I would have done when I was 18. The next evening I was passing through again and now that I'm sorta mature, I suggested to some British visitors that I take their picture standing in the rings.
Friday, 8 March 2013
I stood well back. I don't like being under heavy things swinging through the sky.
Thursday, 7 March 2013
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
It was a energizing and affirming experience to organize my thoughts and pass on some tips to the students. I think the most relevant one was thumbnailing to plan what you are about to invest 20 45 minutes of effort into, so that you don't run out of paper and are happy with the composition. Nice bunnch of young adults - they were very open and curious and seemed to enjoy seeing the stack of sketchbooks and my sketching tools. And I got lunch too!