Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Sometimes you just need to make something with your hands

In a recent article in the Lancet, a researcher suggested it would be "rational" for healthy people in self-isolation to wear a face mask if they need to leave home for any reason.

An appeal to make surgical masks arrived in my in-box this week. I had no intention of ramping up a production line at home, especially because I doubt that I can make a hospital-grade mask. I wouldn't want my mask to give someone a false sense of security. But in a pinch, it would be better than nothing.

The basic idea is that you make an outer envelope from woven cotton. The cotton is lined with a couple of layers of non-woven material, whether interfacing or batting. This kind of fabric is less permeable than woven cotton. 

So you want something that will block the passage of a microscopic virus, but still allow the user to breathe. You're also looking for a washable product, so that it may be re-used. Apparently the material used to make vacuum cleaner bags is very effective.

Mostly I relied on the first of the video links, below, for my instructions. I also made a few modifications:
- I zigzag-stitched some flexible wire to the upper edge of the finished mask. You can use floral wire, or the "twist-tie on a roll” available at the hardware store. This allows the wearer to mold the upper edge over the bridge of the nose. 
- I shortened the elastic to 6” for women.
- I made a mask for a 2-year-old that was cut about 6” x 6”, rather than 9" x 6”. Instead of elastic, I used some cloth tape (4 lengths of 12”) so it could be tied into place. The child wasn’t at hand for measurements but the mask fits quite well.

I chose cotton fabric suitable for each of the recipients, and cranked out a dozen or so. Yes, it was all rather morbid. Still, the activity was diverting, and let me feel I was doing something useful.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Art Film Festival on-line

In its 38th year, the Festival Internationale du Film sur l'Art has decided to offer its extensive programme on-line, from March 17 - 29, 2020. This is due to current global realities.

Originally, 244 films from 39 countries were scheduled for screening. FIFA is working hard to secure permission from all the filmmakers to have their films included in this now-virtual event. The plan is for the films to be available via Vimeo on demand, at a low cost of $30 for the entire duration of the festival. I believe this offer is limited to Canadian viewers only, due to licensing issues.

For more information on plans as they develop, please visit their website. The FIFA site has always been a little clunky, but I find it's worth the effort.

A complete list of films can be found here.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Kathleen Mooney workshop

So excited to have secured a place in a water-media workshop with Kathleen Mooney. It is planned for August 17 - 20, 2020, and will be held in Hudson, Quebec.

There are still places available in the class so, if you're interested, please visit Kathleen's website here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Colour with a U: conference and exhibition

This promo card features a detail shot of a
gorgeous work by my friend Helena Scheffer

I had been looking forward to the annual conference of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates), to be held in Toronto mid-March. It was to be the first time that the conference for this international organization was booked for a city outside the U.S.

Sadly, with concerns about COVID-19, the conference has been cancelled. Organizers are working hard to ensure that the presentations will be available in a virtual format.

And the exhibition organized to complement the conference will be staged as scheduled. And I am excited to have had a piece accepted. 

I chose this particular piece as one of my three entries, because I felt that the colour palette was indeed unique, and that the Quebec City architecture was distinctive and truly Canadian. 

The show continues until the end of May, and I hope to schedule a few days in the Toronto area to visit with friends and take in the exhibition.

Update: The Homer Watson Gallery is closed indefinitely due to concerns of viral transmission. Please check the gallery website for further information.

Rue de Buade #2

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Estate Sale at the Alan Klinkhoff Galleries

John Little, Rue Beaudry, de la Gauchetière, Montreal, 1963
oil on canvas, 24 x 30

Both the Toronto and Montreal branches of the Alan Klinkhoff Gallery will be involved in an exhibition and sale of the Mitzi and Mel Dobrin collection of Canadian art.

Robert Pilot, The Lane, Peel Street, Montreal, 1950
oil on canvas, 28 x 22 in

More than 90 first-rate paintings will be featured, from artists like Molly Lamb Bobak, Emily Carr, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Clarence Gagnon, Lawren S. Harris, and A.Y. Jackson. The paintings may be viewed on-line at the gallery website. Also on the site are the reminiscences of the Dobrins' son, Lewis, and of gallerist Alan Klinkhoff, who tell the story of the Dobrins' approach to building their collection.

Tom Thomson, Early Spring, Algonquin Park, 1917
oil on board, 8 1/4 x 10 1/2 in

To see this museum-quality collection of art, visit the Alan Klinkhoff Gallery in Toronto, March 12 - 21, 2020, or in Montreal, March 26 - April 4, 2020.

Toronto branch: 190 Davenport Rd, Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm

Montreal branch: 1448 Sherbrooke St. W., Tuesday - Saturday, 9 am - 5 pm

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

from The Westmount Independent newspaper...

... a review of my recent three-person show at Victoria Hall.  Click on the image below to enlarge.

I would be happy to exhibit there again: the space is beautifully lit, open every day for extended hours, and all those involved were very professional. Thank you to journalist Heather Black for her favourable and insightful commentary.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

"Recollections of a Picture Dealer", by Ambroise Vollard

I don't remember exactly where I read a review of this book, a memoir of the well-known Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939). But I hesitate to recommend it to anyone but the most avid fan of art history. Perhaps a good biography of Vollard is yet to be written.

Vollard's collection of anecdotes is populated with the colourful characters of the Parisian art scene, including Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, Manet, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Degas. Also included in his tales are well-known art collectors, like Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo Stein, Henry Osborne Havemeyer and Albert C. Barnes.

A caution: Vollard was very much a man of his time, and his stories are told through the lens of racist and misogynist views. No doubt a shrewd dealer, who generously supported struggling artists, he was not a particularly skilled writer. Nor is the translation especially accomplished. Vollard provides a glimpse into an intriguing world of salons and cafés, of dalliances and betrayals, slights and schemes, but stops short of sharing more thoughtful reflections.

Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, Paul Cezanne, 1899

I think the nature of Vollard's personality was that he was a true collector, not only of art but of people. He was also a "connector", bringing together disparate people with common interests.

Portrait of Ambroise Vollard, Picasso, 1910

In short, Recollections of a Picture Dealer was a disappointment. For an intriguing summary of Vollard's fascinating life and remarkable legacy, have a look at his Wikipedia profile.