green gathers under

The morning is still still and grey weighed down by two feet of spring snow.  Even the sky is heavy.  The birds do their best to lighten things up but we have no warm welcome for them this year after the long flight north.  Just heavy grey, heavy snow, covered in old rabbit tracks.

It is the other end of winter.  Still fine and clean here in the country, but since the weather has stayed cold we are in a kind of stasis, shifting restlessly under the great white blanket that gets heavier and heavier even as it thickens each night with new snowfall.   Like a dancer who has been told to sit still, a singer told to be silent, and just wait……


But Winter is not for waiting…  Winter is for telling stories to each other, to ourselves, is it not?   Winter is for listening.

I am glad of it this March of 2013, as we approach Easter next weekend.  I have gone deep this winter, deep deep into the ideas of legacy and inheritance, gifts and projections.  Into the effects of choice.  My work with these paintings and the music I’m writing has naturally taken me there, (amazing to me, what hand tools have inspired)  but other encounters and events in these months have resonated – some most alarmingly.

I’m almost, but not…  quite…  finished….  this process…. like a whale returning from the bottom of the ocean I need this extra time to find the surface again…

When I do emerge, it will feel very very good to speak to real people instead of paintings and recording devices, computer screens and cello strings.  It will feel so deeply rewarding to take my own garden shovel and just dig with it, rather than painting the idea, then the deeper idea, then another layered idea… of shovel.  (I’ll post the painting here so that you can see – a ridiculous layering of images, just to try to present these ideas about legacy and choice – ack, me.)

I can feel my feet tingling in anticipation of the soft cold mud that will receive them in my first barefoot walk outside.

Until then I work to finish.  This is also a fine, fine thing.

Tonight, the Georgian Bay Symphony and the Georgian Bay Concert Choir (some 180+ incredibles!!) will play a program composed entirely by Schubert.  Along with many many dear friends, my Mom is in the choir.  I will be in the cello section.  Mom & I haven’t played together in a big concert like this since Carnival of the Animals when I was 16.  What a joy.

HA!  As I wrote that last paragraph, the spring sun emerged through the grey.  Suddenly, it’s quite a different world out there – full of life and warmth, though appropriately (for me), still covered with a thick coat of white.



the joy of stupid

I awoke into one syllable:


There’s been lots of lunar stuff, what with the Blue Moon and all. Enough that I’m craving solar, for balance….

And then another:

What day is it?



holiday weekend; shoes to kid for 9am, studio; funeral at 2pm; kayak & good, time at home
Where am I?

Full Moon.  You are in a full moon.


And then I remembered how much rich, satisfying fun I had playing with david sereda last night.

I love this man – his music, his humour, his graciousness, his wickedness. Lucky me to get to play with him.

To those of you who came last night – thanks for singing and laughing with us. That was FUN.

More coming from david:

Sept.15 at the Flying Beaver Pubaret in Toronto (New Moon), finally Sept 29 with Keira and Tyler Wagler for Songs in the Key of Tom in Owen Sound and another Full Moon. Syncin’ up with the heavens! 

I’m going to get some blessed sleep this weekend, now that the moon’s howl is lessening.

Then the September orchestra engines roar to life, writing and painting continue.

I love it all.


I really am stupid today – so just to be clear, what I mean is that nothing feels better than working your ass off at what you love.  It’s also good to sleep.

studio re-volution

inspired inspired by all the input these past few days – New Zealand, Ukraine & the Balkans (via Toronto), Russia, Romania, Rwanda, Scotland – folks from all these places gathered here to talk, play and sing about change & re-volution.  All of it a huge call to collectively change the way we think.  Well, I’m in.

My shovel now has a larger context:  add guardrail and heavy truck from a 410 drive down to hot hot Toronto this summer, and I feel I’ve managed to pull a story into this painting.

Here’s the rough underpainting before adding images – it’s in greyscale because the composition is easier to see.

Grant’s grandmother, on her return from Poland in 2008 told me that she’d seen a long long line of road workers building a road with only shovels as tools.  They simply do not have heavy trucks to work with, so they do it the old way – with backs and legs and shoulders and arms and …shovels.

…and with the HWY 410 images added in photoshop as a sketch – also in B&W so I can see. I have them drawn onto the canvas now – very exciting.

If I do my job well, questions should arise out of the contrasting images:  how did we get to be so disengaged from physical work?  In the context of the entire show, the question of sustainability should arise, along with a re-valuing for simple, old, beautifully made hand tools.  I’m hoping to inspire folks to reconnect with the ground, with simple tools, with physical labour in a more personal way.
More coming.  We shall see what happens!