“Music in Me” – An Art Divas Show

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LOFT Gallery hosts “Music in Me” – an Art Divas group exhibit featuring six talented artists

Vibrant Notes

Music has always been a common thread that brings people together and what better way to celebrate the power of music than to take its inspiration and apply it artistically through paint on canvas and photography. This new exhibit of artwork by select members of Art Divas Canada, called “Music in Me,” will be on display at The Port Credit Emporium – Loft Gallery from  Sept. 6th -20th, 2013.

Fluid Notes

Art Divas Canada was formed in 2011 by a group of dynamic women. These women found a way to inspire one another through their creativity. They meet in the studio frequently to paint together during workshops and art classes.

High Strung

The group also feels the importance of giving back to the community and has made donations to local charities and more recently it has supported, through donation, The Michaëlle Jean Foundation (www.fmjf.ca). The women chose this particular charity because of what it stands for:  “Arts for Action, Arts for Change.” The members of Art Divas Canada truly believe that in creating art together, they have revitalized their own personal creative development and, in turn, have established new friendships that have changed their lives.

Sound of Solitude

For more information on Art Divas Canada including artist  bio. and artwork, please visit their site at www.artdivas.ca  and don’t forget to like Art Divas Canada on Facebook.

Mystic Beat


“The Winter Vault” and Art Deco

Clarendon“It was past midnight by the time they reached Toronto. Clarendon Avenue was treelined,empty. The leaves of the maples gathered in the warm wind. Jean pushed open the wrought-iron door of an old stone apartment building, pendulous glass lanterns glowing in the entranceway.

-Step outside,said Jean,holding the door open for Avery to enter.

Inside,the foyer ceiling glowed with stars.

– This is where my mother and father lived when they were first married,said Jean. The painter J.E.H. MacDonald designed everything – the symbols of the zodiac,the patterns on the beams- and a young man named Carl Schaefer, climbed the ladder and painted them.”

An excerpt from “The Winter Vault” by Anne Michaels. The book was on the short-list for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize. The author also wrote “Fugitive Pieces”.

I read this book a few years ago for a book club discussion.The book was well received for its beautifully written story and descriptive detail.

A good friend of mine knows how much I love architecture and history so she introduced me to her brother who happens to know a lot about Toronto’s history. He met us on a chilly fall day and gave us a very informative and fascinating tour of city architecture. One building in particular –  the highlight of the tour, was this building on Clarendon Avenue.

The scene in the book literally came to life for me that afternoon ; it was like walking into the novel itself. When we read fiction, the writer’s words are descriptive on the page and each reader has their own visual interpretation of those words – that’s what makes the connection between writer and reader so intimate and anonymous.

The foyer, as described in the book, was painted by Canadian Artist, Carl F. Schaefer in September and October of 1928.  J.E.H. MacDonald designed the ceiling and was also a renowned Canadian artist ;  a leading member of the  Group of Seven. The owner and builder of the Clarendon building was Henry Falk, an American who had an appreciation for the arts and so he specifically hired the top Canadian artists at the time for his buildings. The colour and design of the ceiling took on an Art Deco style of the twenties, and the paint included gold leaf in the mixture. Also, a technique used for the first for its time; the ceiling was textured, poured concrete.

Carl F. Schaefer – http://www.gallery.ca/en/see/collections/artist.php?iartistid=4902

J.E.H. MacDonald – http://www.gallery.ca/en/see/collections/artist.php?iartistid=3428

The Winter Vault

© 2013 Ann Ivy Male

Lest we Forget our Fallen Soldiers

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I wandered into The Contemporary Canadian Art gallery on Queen West a few weeks ago and was moved by this series of  mono-prints overlaid with oil paint titled –  Fallen Soldiers. The artist is Nathan Cann and his work was one of the winning entries in BMO’s 1st Art, a province wide student art competition. The artist explains – “lifted from countless hours of multi-player video games,each kill shot is from an anonymous player or myself and creates a significant reference to The Falling Soldier, a famous photograph by Robert Capa.”

Inspiration: The Falling Soldier taken by Robert Capa during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.


These two depictions of the Fallen Soldier –  one defined from a virtual figure and the other one – real and captured in a photograph, inspired my thoughts on the senseless destruction and loss brought on by war.

Off the Beaten Path

I wonder what you might find, if you wandered off the beaten path.

A soldier, a sailor, a warrior – a man.

You fall from the sky, you ripple through the sea , you run across the land.

What consumes your mind as you fight for freedom – in the shadow of your death?

Who is left behind to weep for you and cling to your memory?

What sense can be made of this senseless act?

Let the games play on… but only in your virtual world.

Lest we forget you our Fallen Soldier.

Lest we Forget.

In honour of Remembrance Day, this entry is dedicated to all the men and women who fight for our safety and freedom.

© 2012 Ann Ivy Male

“Five Quarters of the Orange” and Documenting Time

“Green-tomato jam. Cut green tomatoes into pieces,like apples,and weigh them. Place in a bowl with 1 kg. of sugar to the same weight of the fruit. Awoke at  three again this morning and went to find my pills. Forgot again that I’d none left. When the sugar is melted,stir with a wooden spoon. I keep thinking that if I go to Raphaël he might find another supplier. I daren’t go to the Germans again,not after what happened. I’d rather die first. Then add the tomatoes and boil gently stirring very frequently…”

An excerpt from Five Quarters of the Orange – Joanne Harris

And so the mystery evolves in this book by Joanne Harris (she also wrote Chocolat). The above passage was written in a recipe journal/album left to the main character, Framboise Dartigen by her mother, Mirabelle. She describes the album as “not a diary…there are almost no dates in the album,no precise order. Pages were inserted into it at random,loose leaves later bound together with small,obsessive stitches….My mother marked the events of her life with recipes,dishes of her own invention or interpretations of old favorites. Food was her nostalgia,her celebration,its nurture and preparation, the sole outlet for her creativity.” The album also contained secret messages encoded by her mother based on personal events and tragedies that took place in her village of Les Laveuses during the German Occupation of Paris.

I truly enjoyed reading this book –  it was my summer read. I found it intriguing that the character, Mirabelle Dartigen, who was a widow, chose this creative way to document such a hard time in her life. She struggled with personal demons during a turbulent time in history. She used food as a bridge between herself and her three children to keep them connected to her. But her children, especially nine-year old Framboise, had some special secrets of their own and so the story unfolds. Joanne Harris weaves this tale so beautifully with her descriptive words and imaginative plot.

So I started thinking about my travel journals,”reflective thoughts” journals, poetry journals, recipes scribbled onto scraps of paper journals, notes/photos/drawings/pressed leaves and pansies tucked into gardening books or art books, half-finished songs and stories in spiral-ringed exercise books just waiting for a stage and a scrapbook marked “Christmas” containing holiday cookies and  fruit cake recipes, music recitals and present lists. I’ve always felt good about writing things down on paper and  documenting movements of time,thoughts, moments and memories. Today we have technology to help with documenting time – hence the reason I also write a blog. It’s slightly different, yet somewhat the same – it’s meant for sharing, it’s meant to inspire.

© 2012 Ann Ivy Male