Autumn in High Park – Discovering Art!

After work the other day, I decided to go out for a walk and enjoy the autumn colours.  Now that B and I live within a 10 minute walk of High Park, I have no excuse.  I have every opportunity to enjoy the largest green space in Toronto.

It was a gorgeous evening and there were dozens of photographers floating around the park trying to capture the changing of the leaves, including me.

I don’t know why I don’t visit more often. The path near our apartment enters the park at the northern tip of Grenadier Pond and it’s a beautiful walk.  Paths like the one below always bring to mind Anne of Green Gables…a HUGE part of my childhood…and such landscapes make me want to sit down wherever I happen to be and start writing.

Our entry point to High Park

Saw some interesting ducks that I don’t believe I have seen before.  Cool markings, as though they got into a fight with some liquid paper.  And they all had this haughty attitude…as though they knew it would soon be time to go but “Damnit! Until then, this is OUR pond!”

 

 

There were some awesome fiery coloured trees in the park.  Unfortunately, I still haven’t learned the ins and outs of our new camera so the pictures I end up taking are never exactly what I’m seeing.

Sometimes, I think that’s the trick to photography.  Not only is it catching a moment, but it’s catching the moment as we actually see it…along with all the nuances and processing from our visual cortex that makes a sight so damn beautiful!

Often I find pictures similar to a dull photocopy of a photocopy.  They don’t carry the same impact as our actual experience.  Luckily though, done right, they can pry out a memory that is at times even stronger than the original moment and brings it all back…smells, reflections, thoughts, sensations.  Those are awesome pictures…and they’re few and far between.

Prior to my visit, someone or someones had spent A LOT of time creating an artistic rendering of fallen leaves.  I was walking across a small bridge when I saw this to my left:

Every leaf positioned perfectly and even the colouring chosen to give it a darker, deeper centre.  I spent a long time examining this creation. It was crazy how perfectly all the leaves had been placed and I wondered how long it had taken to create!

Then, I looked to my right:

 

Isn’t that absolutely fabulous!  So beautiful that I couldn’t help but take a dozen pictures! There is such movement in the stream, even though it has dried up and is choked with decaying leaves.  Whoever did this…thank you! It made my day!

I took some other shots on my way home…Grenadier Pond was quite still, offering some lovely reflections….

…and of course, a self-portrait had to be taken! 🙂

If you haven’t been to High Park…go!  It’s a getaway…a tiny piece of cottage country in the middle of a large, busy and often-times frustrating city!

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Ass-kicking Plants – In Art and Life

As I sift through my hundreds upon hundreds of photos from my trip to the Pacific Northwest and spend way too much time considering what I want to say and how I want to say it, I also take breaks now and again to check out interesting websites.

I came across one the other day called The Violence of Flowers by Carne Griffiths and rather than leave my blog here, drying out from lack of “ink” as it were while I figure out which pictures to share, I thought I would share these amazing paintings with my readers. Not only is it an amazing collection of paintings…but I can also relate it to one part of my trip. (If you are art bound and just wanted to see the paintings…click the links above or scroll down a bit as I have included a couple of my favourite paintings below from the collection.)

So….

Plants and violence…sure, we know the connection exists. Can anyone say Cactus?

How about Gympie-Gympie?

*giggle* Yep, the name made me laugh.  But the Gympie-Gympie is a serious plant with a violent agenda. This video made me raise my eyebrows and second-guess travelling Down Under:

So, yeah, that plant is not helpless by any means. If you have a morbid curiosity like me and want to read a little more, the Australian Geographic has an article on the amount the pain this plant can cause, by just brushing up against it.  Insane.

Moving on, we get to the plants we saw on our trip that fit this theme.

Well, they aren’t necessarily dangerous to us but I’m sure they’re pretty ass-kicking to the insect kingdom.

While travelling through Oregon, we visited the Darlingtonia State Natural Site just outside of Florence.  It was a small area with a very short boardwalk, dedicated to the protection of one plant, the Pitcher Plant.  < insert evil fear-inducing music here>  I like name Cobra-Lily better, especially after seeing their skin close-up and understanding how they not only capture bugs, but then go on to discombobulate them so they can’t tell which way is the Exit.

The bog contained hundreds of these plants…the landscape looked quite surreal, as though it belonged in a sci- fi movie.  And, I saw practically no bugs around…either all dead or all smart enough not to come near…I’ll go with the former. 😉

Close-up of the translucent skin. Once a bug is inside, the sun shines in from all directions thus well-camouflaging the exit!

So, you can imagine why The Violence of Flowers made me think of Darlingtonia….Highly recommended by the way as a stopping place if you are ever travelling through. It only takes a minute to walk from end to end, but you’ll find yourself wanting to simply stop and consider these awesome looking Cobra-Lilies!

Now, on to the art in question!

I came across The Violence of Flowers while using StumbleUpon.  If you haven’t used it yet…try it out…just be warned that it is exquisitely skilled in the art of time-suckage and you’ll lose hours!

There wasn’t much information on the page I found, so I did some searching and found the artist as well as their wordpress! So be sure to visit Carne Griffiths’ WordPress blog to see the whole collection. I have picked a few paintings that are up there on my favourite list but they are all spectacular! Every time I go back to look at them, my favourites change.

One of my favourites from the Violence of Flowers series. There is such movement and yet fragility to this piece.

This one is entitled Devoured. Who is doing the devouring here?

All his work has this spectacular movement and fluidity to it. Soft and supple yet raw and jagged at the same time.  So lovely and moving that I felt the need to share!

Giant Jellyfish!

B and I went put cycling today, specifically to go to the Humber Bay Bridge and look at the new art installation we had noticed from the highway. Squid? Octopus?

Ah! Jellyfish!

Pretty cool and nice to see art out in public locations 🙂

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I should also note that this is my first post done via my new iPhone so, if it’s all wonky, I blame the phone! 😉

Oil Paintings that Glow

I’m not one for bright rainbow colours.  I mean, my closet is filled with black and the odd hint of red/purple/navy.  So, usually, bright multi-coloured art doesn’t really catch my interest.

This isn’t a black and white rule though, as a friend recently proved to me.

She introduced me to the oil paintings of Leonid Afremov (afremov.com).  The colours he uses are spectacular…especially in his night scenes where it almost appears as though light is actually shining from the canvas.

He tends to use large, short brush strokes, creating the kind of painting that has a stronger impact the further back you are as you look at it.  

Rain Princess is one of my absolute favourites! 

Rain Princess

I love the figure in the middle…long and lithe, seemingly untouched by the suggested rain.  The painting itself reminds of those Magic Eye puzzles…you know the patterns you would stare at and bring close to your face until the hidden 3D image appeared?…except in this case it’s the opposite.  Staring at it up close, the environment seems to be simply  random brushstrokes but hold it away, or step back, and a whole setting appears.  So much created with so little detail.  Spectacular.

 The following two are also beautiful!  Alley by the Lake and Misty Mood really sum up what I like about his nighttime lighting.  It practically glows!  The environments are so rich and alive, the colours so dynamic!

Alley by the Lake

Misty Mood

 Although I’m not sure any of these gorgeous pieces would match my decor, I don’t seem to mind coming back to look at them again and again!

Just felt like sharing!  Happy almost-Friday!

Silkscreening Fun on Queen St West

I recently spent a whole Sunday at a silkscreen workshop in Toronto.  A friend and I were given an awesome 2-for-1 coupon for the workshop, held at Peach Berzerk in Toronto.  I highly recommend the workshop…and I also highly recommend doing it with a friend!  Much more fun that way! 🙂

I’ve always wanted to know how to silkscreen but never had the opportunity.  The women running the workshop were awesome; very energetic and willing to help out, answering any and all questions, no matter how inane some of them were.   They were incredibly knowledgeable about silk-screening and you could tell they had run the workshop many times before.  Their props, their explanations…everything was crazy clear and easy to understand.  I felt comfortable, as though I was learning along with a group of friends rather than strangers.

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