Monday, July 29, 2013

Four Minerals and a Crystal

 at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa -- Vale Earth Gallery, 3rd floor -- a great place to test your manual-focus camera skills.
Lizardite ("At the Mountains of Madness")

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Gary Evans at Paul Petro

 Gary Evans' new show Field and Stream opened at Paul Petro last Friday.
 Bill and I were among the first to arrive so we had the gallery almost to ourselves.
Thrilling to see a new body of work by one of our favourite painters. 
Paul told us there was a new Evans in the middle room upstairs. That's it on the left. 
Evans also has two works in the "Bad Religion" group show in the front room upstairs. This is my favourite. 
Continues until August 10th.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lord of the Steampunks

Boing Boing approved, Master Steam Punk Roger Wood, brought a little piece of his vast studio to The Guild Shop of the Ontario Craft Council this week.
The installation is called Fishtank.
Wood's Hamilton studio is an Aladdin's Cave of clunky, shiny stuff
from which he assembles clocks and things as yet unclassified.
A small selection of works are for sale.
If you are near Toronto's Yorkville between now and August 4th, be sure to stop by 118 Cumberland.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Greg Couillard's 60th Birthday

We swam through the deluge, last Sunday, to Sandy Stagg's house for Greg Couillard's 60th birthday party. We were greeted by Marion Lewis, one of the founders of the A Space art gallery.
Greg's sister Gay (Vienna Bakery), and Sandy (Peter Pan) did the food so we brought our appetites. Gay is dressing one of the salads.
Nice to see Gay's husband, Paul. He told us Greg and Sandy were in the garden. 
 Now we are 60 and looking every inch the superstar chef. Happy Birthday, Greg!
 Sandy, our hostess, posed with a lovely clematis.
It was fun to see Greg surrounded by friends and co-workers from his past. 
Bill caught me swanning through Sandy's lush garden.
You don't see strawberries growing on a lattice at eye level every day.
 Then it was time to eat. That's a divine potato salad at 12 o'clock. Gay said she throws everything in it. Smoked salmon at 9 o'clock, and gorgeous organic tomatoes at 6 o'clock. Time for shrimp and a bigger plate!
Sandy Stagg, most elegant of hostesses,
 proposed the toast for the birthday boy.
 Then it was time for more wine. Lana Lowen got attitude from an antique wine bottle opener.
Sandy's had long experience with the opener's little ways. 
 Richard's slippers were one of the hits of the evening.
"I only get a chance to wear them a few times a year."
I didn't know any of the ladies in the front room, but they were ever so interesting and fun to talk to.
And the front room got the first of the desserts. Greg's birthday cake was his sister's strawberry shortcake with lemon curd. 
After wolfing it down I found Gay in the kitchen plating the next round.
 Afterwards, Gay posed with one of Greg's waiters from his first restaurant in Toronto, The Parrot on Queen West.
 One of the guests took a portrait of Bill and me
in front of onlookers.
Later, pastry chef, David, told Gay how much he liked the lemon curd with the strawberries. She told him she'd also paired the lemon curd with rhubarb. We left them discussing the sweet and the tart, while Greg's party continued in the garden beyond. Great party, Sandy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Saint Agnes Outside the Walls

I'd been reading Margaret Visser's "The Geometry of Love" -- a book-length analysis of Saint Agnes Outside the Walls -- but I didn't expect to see the church. It would  have been too complicated a bus ride.
 Our Roman friend, Mariella, grew up in that neighbourhood and offered to show us.
 Visser begins her book with this line: "The church stands with its back to the road. It turns away, quietly guarding its secret." We had to descend the street beside it to an open gate.
A funeral service had just finished so we were able to enter into the 8th century Romanesque church while the lights were still up bright.
Agnes is about to meet her fate in this fresco.  She was beheaded for refusing to deny Christ.
The Byzantine-style mosaics over the altar are gorgeous. 
 A back staircase takes us to the crypt with St Agnes' tomb directly below the church altar. She was martyred 1,700 years ago.
This long staircase is another entrance to the church. Bill and Mariella and I used it to get to the Mausoleum of Santa Constanza. 
 The walls are scattered with fragments from the classical past.
Impossible not to want to snap some souveniers.
 If you enter at the top of the stairs this would be your view down the staircase.
 The Romanesque Mausoleum of Santa Constanza was built in the 4th century AD by Emperor Constantine for the tombs of his daughters Constanza and Helen.
 Why is it that Romanesque structures look like flying saucers landed from other worlds?
The Mausoleum is built in a circular form with light flooding into its center.
The building was later consecrated as a church with Constanza's tomb becoming its altar.
The frescos and mosaic ceilings are breathtaking.
Thank you for making our visit to the church and mausoleum possible, Mariella!