From the Pacific Spirit Park on this Canada Day 2022 🇨🇦, with gratitude to all of our health care heroes who have worked tirelessly over the past two years or more so that we can all finally gather together once again, and remembering the lost generations of children from the residential schools who never made it home; but with disappointment and anger that too many of our fellow citizens remain an unworthy rabble that still fails to understand the meaning of the word Freedom. They need only to look to the brave Ukrainian people who are fighting not only for their freedom but for ours also, in their battle against the war criminal sitting in the Kremlin. That is freedom that we must all fight for in whatever way we can until this war is over and Ukraine is free once again. 🇺🇦
As a new year begins the magic continued today in the Pacific Spirit Park, Vancouver.
As we begin the New Year, in this 2021 Review – Part One I have chosen eight of my posts from last year with which to remember some of its highs and lows, all of which moved me to respond in the best way I know how.
The last leaf
On February 15th I added the last leaf to 851 leaves that I had begun drawing in October 2020 to remember all of the children so cruelly separated from their parents by both the United States Government under the last administration and by the Canadian Government over generations as described in my post Shame and Prejudice that was inspired by a visit to an exhibition of that name by the artist Kent Monkman at the Museum of Anthropology.
On March 15th, Yo Yo Ma playing Bach’s Cello Suite No 1 for those waiting to receive their vaccinations in Pittsfield Massachusetts after he had received his, was a truly inspiring moment of grace and beauty amidst the fear and despair felt by so many. If you open the original post “Thank you Yo Yo” you can listen to his playing the prelude from the suite and be moved by his mastery and humanity.
On April 12th I was honoured to see my tribute to the Vancouver General Hospital’s ECMO team,”The Meeting Point,” being hung in the ICU at VGH.
The drawing is also a tribute to all our health care heroes for whom the words “Thank You” can never be said enough as I expressed in the description that accompanies the piece:
When the Science of Medicine meets the Art of Medicine to save lives in the COVID unit at Vancouver General Hospital. I would like to suggest that ECMO, which stands for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, could also stand for Ever Compassionate Medical Optimism, thanks to the dedication and bravery of our frontline healthcare workers epitomized by the caring nurse-specialist portrayed in my drawing.
The Meeting Point
On September 2nd I completed my painting of 6 year old Suzy Eshkuntana being rescued from the rubble of her bombed out family home in Gaza that took place In the early hours of the 16th of May. She had been buried alive for seven hours after it was hit by an Israeli rocket that killed her mother and four of her siblings. Just a few days later I began the painting of her rescue, based on a photograph by the Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem, which as I wrote in my post The Rescue would “celebrate her life being saved, and in memory of the family she has lost.”
On Labour Day the often violent protest against our health care heroes was, and sadly continues to be, a shameful reflection of elements of our society that certainly can never be considered civilized. Whatever happened to reason, grace and gratitude? Read the heartbreaking words from one of our nurse heroes, which I quoted in full in the post.
“A miserable rabble of unworthy citizenry.”
30th September, Orange Shirt Day, was Canada’s 1st National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. The findings of the unmarked graves of so many children at the sites of the Indian Residential Schools brought us all together as a country in a state of national grief, shame and remembrance.
Every child matters
December 31st, New Year’s Eve, could not be a more fitting end to this look back to 2021, with the magic and beauty of the snow in the Pacific Spirit Park, a place of sanctuary and peace for us throughout the year and which gives us all hope for whatever the year ahead may bring.
Pacific Spirit Park, December 31st 2021
Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year
After our recent storm making the most of a downed photinia branch in the studio today, and once again using one of its branches as a pen for the ink drawing.
And so after five years the story returns. Do you remember From Yardwork to Artwork:The Photinia Story Part One. from May 2016.
666…in progress – Day XXXVI
12 new leaves together with their neighbours,
How could I not respond to my wonderful friend Tina from Travels and Trifles who is hosting this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge: Creativity in the time of Covid with her as always inspiring images and words.
A few weeks ago I was intrigued by my beautiful granddaughter’s Disney Read and Glow drawing tablet so my lovely daughter gave me a present of one for myself. Here are a few of my “creations” some of which I have already blogged about. In these challenging times it has been fun to explore the endless possibilities that this brilliant little children’s drawing tool provides.
Thanks Tina for always inspiring us with your Travels and Trifles.
On today’s third anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack in Barcelona this recent painting of bark from the magnificent trees in the Pacific Spirit Park serves to re-introduce my post from three years ago entitled “From Spirit Park to Spirit Dark” in which my painting of the park that day became transformed into a memorial for all those so tragically lost, as we remember them once again on this sombre day.
From Spirit Park to Spirit Dark – August 18th, 2017
Spirit Dark after Guernica, in progress
The evolution of today’s post:
The Pacific Spirit Regional Park in Vancouver is a beautiful jewel in our city, a place of peace and tranquility that I have posted about many times, and as recently as this week’s Photo Challenge from The Daily Post. On our last visit there one of my photos inspired me…
…to set up a number of sheets of newsprint on the studio wall and see where it took me with charcoal, crayon and paint.
I was happy that the image was progressing well and was close to being finished…
…and then yesterday morning came the news from Spain of the horrific terrorist attack killing and injuring countless innocent men, women and children from all over the world, enjoying a summer’s evening in Las Ramblas in Barcelona. The images were heartbreaking, and one particularly was unforgettable, a baby’s stroller abandoned on the sidewalk and a child lying motionless in the street.
I shall never forget the first time I saw Picasso’s Guernica in New York in 1965. It has haunted me ever since, and those images from Barcelona immediately brought it back to me. It is perhaps one of the greatest works of protest art ever created, painted by Picasso after the attack on the city of Guernica in 1937.
Suddenly my Spirit Park in the studio seemed a million miles away from the reality of the carnage and horror happening across the sea, and images relating to another time in history started to appear amongst the trees together with that stroller and that beautiful innocent child.
As I send sympathy and condolences to all those suffering from yet another crime against humanity, Spirit Dark in some small way is my way of protesting these evil times.
One more photo from that morning in the park perhaps allows me to end with a ray of hope in our dark world.
Post Script 17.8.20
Two years ago in October 2018 visiting the Reina Sofia in Madrid was a special day on our memorable trip to Spain, the highlight of which was seeing Picasso’s Guernica for the second time in over fifty years having first seen it in New York in 1965. Once again, standing before the painting, it takes one’s breath away with its impact as an artistic statement against the horrors of war and of man’s inhumanity to man. Sadly so little seems to have changed in our present times as we see dictators and autocrats across the world continuing to demonstrate that same inhumanity as they terrorize their own people and attempt to prevent democracies from flourishing. To my American friends all I can say is VOTE.
The painting was finished this year.
After yesterday’s post, in a New York frame of mind today, and a look back to 2015:
City of the Imagination I – VIII 23.9.15
City of the Imagination began on Day 261 in response to this week’s Photo Challenge: Grid. Variations VII and VIII were posted yesterday for Day 265, so today I thought I would put all eight together as a final City of the Imagination grid. Look for more to come in the next day or two that will definitely now be off the grid.
Seven years ago today on June 24th 2013 we arrived at Machu Picchu after an unforgettable six day trek in the mountains with Mountain Lodges of Peru, as we remember a time when travel was such a privilege, a privilege that I think we simply took for granted. Who knows when we will travel again in the same way, which is a good enough reason to look back to my post from seven years ago and enjoy the memories from our trip of a lifetime.
Machu Picchu – Trek Day 7 June 24, 2013
…Drum roll please! We made it; and what a day it has been. Up at 4:30, breakfast at 5:00; on the bus and up the hairpin road to Machu Picchu entering the site by 6:30, just before the sun came up. It is hard to put into words the impact, the drama and the beauty of this archeological wonder, but I’ll try. It really has to be seen to be believed. All the photographs, films and travelogues cannot really replace the experience of stepping into this other world and feeling nothing but total awe at what was achieved by a remarkable civilization hundreds of years ago. They were architects, astronomers, builders, masons, priests and artists of the most sophisticated kind and what they achieved here is quite simply awe-inspiring. As each new marvel revealed itself around every corner all one could think of was, “How did they do it?” How did they move those massive stones; how could they be so precise so that not even an eyelash could pass between them? As you will see this final day of our trek was a spectacular climax to a never-to-be-forgotten journey of a lifetime. Hopefully the pictures will do justice to our experience and tell the story of the day so that you are able to share it with us: the sunrise striking WaynaPicchu; the Incan terraces rising to incredible heights above us; the shadows of the tombs; the llamas strolling between the ruins; our exhausting climb to the top of WaynaPicchu in the morning and the long, long hike to Intipunku, the Sun Gate, in the afternoon. Our guide for the morning, Fernando, set the scene for the first two hours telling us the story of Machu Picchu in archeological terms but after that we were on our own and able to explore in our own time and at our own pace. Because we were staying an extra night we had to say goodbye to the wonderful members of our group who returned to Aguas Calientes for lunch in the middle of the day. I will acknowledge them all at the end of the blog because each one them helped to make the week so very special for us. After we had finally reached the Sun Gate around 4:00 pm we headed all the way back down to the entrance, exhausted, exhilarated and very grateful to have had the privilege of being able to spend a day in this wonder of the world.
Enjoy the pictures and if you would like to see the full post visit Machu Picchu – Trek Day 7