Saturday, December 02, 2006


I've been suffering blog withdrawal so I figured it was time for a little on-line methadone treatment. I may even visit a few blogs this weekend. I'm still not caught up on my Real Life, but then when am I, so what was I thinking, anyway? At least I'm doing better now that I've removed my head from the sand re. my father and his many challenges. Thanks to anyone who had to put up with me during this time. If I'm the one who ends up in 'assisted living', you'll know why.

Another challenge was November's weather. What's with more rain (and wind) in one month than the previous six combined? Last I looked we were thousands of kilometres from any monsoon zones. Then there was the cold and snow (as seen off our back deck), rare enough at any time here in Canada's banana belt, but almost unheard-of in November. I take my hat off to my friends in Winterpeg and other cold-winter-weather zones. I've never experienced my windshield wipers freezing for days on end. And if you make any cracks about how west coast drivers are tragic when it comes to handling more than a sprinkling of snow, may I remind you that it takes practice and we haven't had any.

But enough talk about the weather. Casual visitors might think we're all sitting around the bridge table at the nursing home. I haven't been entirely foresaking my precious laptop. First of all, I stumbled upon a hilarious blog that is compulsive reading. Secondly, I have continued admiring the work of a couple of collage artists, but particularly Kristen Peterson.

pictured: The Messages Behind the Birds' Song

But best of all, I've been withholding the following Photoshop challenge so I can enjoy it without having to share. Many of the entries are truly inspired and totally appeal to both my admiration of the great masters and sense of humour, such that it is these days. Check out the Worth1000 contest here and here and here.


This particular van Gogh-inspired entry reminds me of the following quote:

People are fond of spouting out the old cliché about how Van Gogh never sold a painting in his lifetime. Somehow his example serves to justify to us, decades later, that there is somehow merit in utter failure. Perhaps, but the man did commit suicide. (Hugh Macleod)

And, while on that theme (as I seem to be lately), I love these:

Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting. (John Russell)

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me. (Hunter S. Thompson)

Maybe he's only a little bit crazy, like painters, or composers, or some of those men in Washington. (Mr Shellhammer)

And, for our final course in this blog-post meal (and not entirely disconnected from the quotes on creativity and madness), I want to say a special thank you to my prairie friends. Through blogging I seem to have 'met' an unusual number of people from Friendly Manitoba. Even though my father was born in Winnipeg, and my first (I think) Canadian-settled ancestor (his grandfather) emigrated there in the late 1800s, I have listened to my father's bias against the place since I was old enough to understand what he was talking about. How wrong could he be? That great-grandfather, Ralph B. Pratt, put his stamp on Winnipeg and western Canadian train station architecture like few others, so I've been overdue for a proper tourist visit for way too long. Here's my photoshopped version of First Presbyterian Church (61 Picardy Place), one of his designs:



Blogger mist1 said...

Great quotes.

2/12/06 3:25 PM  
Blogger Angela Rockett said...

Cool quotes. And "Winterpeg"! I love it! I lived in Pembina, North Dakota for a year and half as a child, just over the border from Winnipeg, and my strongest memory of living there is how freaking cold it is in winter.

That's really cool about your great-grandfather too.

2/12/06 4:16 PM  
Blogger Ces said...

Cold, cold Canada. Mr. Mcleod's quote is okay if Van Gogh went out of his way to market his paintings. He did not and in fact during his time, he was considered a vulgar painter for defying all the rules of classic painting, of squirting paints directly from the tubes into the canvas, of using thick brush strokes to emphasize texture and shading. He was truly an artist who focused on self expression rather than earning a living. Thank God for his brother Theo who paid for his painting supplies.

I hope things start to settle for you. I am following a fellow blogger's advice about these busy times during the holidays - just let them happen. Get well wishes to your Father.

3/12/06 4:48 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Mist1: They made me smile.

Angela: I've never experienced that kind of cold, but would like to someday.

Ces: "Cold, cold Canada?" That must mean "Hot, hot USA." Oops -- not in Alaska or the northeast USA in winter (which is far colder than Canada's west coast). OK, then: cold, cold USA. Oops -- that doesn't work in Florida or Arizona. OK, then: dry, dry USA. Oops, that doesn't work in Washington state, does it? OK, then: wet, wet USA ... I think you get what I'm trying to say. :)
BTW I'm a fan of van Gogh, but I have studied his life extensively and also know that he wanted to be able to make a living at it (and that meant simply having enough money to buy food, pay rent and buy art supplies) but in spite of Theo's efforts on his behalf it just never happened. The fact that he was doing amazing work is only relevant because the philistines weren't open-minded enough to give it a chance.

3/12/06 8:16 AM  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

It's wonderful to have you back, even for a moment. Thanks for the links to the hilarious and really amazing photoshop contest. How interesting that your grandfather was also an artist/architect.

Thanks for the quotes on sanity, which got me thinking about the whole idea of what's crazy and what's not. It's an interesting topic, since there is such a connection between creativity and madness. I'm listening to a book right now called "Crazy" by a journalist who's college-age son becomes schizophrenic whose story he combines with the history and current state of mental illness treatment (or lack thereof) in the U.S. which is truly horrendous.

3/12/06 8:35 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Jana: I'm fascinated by the mental illness/creativity connection. My biggest problem with mental illness and the general public is the almost universal misconception that mental illness is the same thing as poor character. So many educated, intelligent, should-know-better people just can't make the leap to disconnect the two.

3/12/06 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Some of us get twitchy if your pithy writing/painting goes awol!
You're right about the societal blinkers when it comes to mental illness.Some bi-polar friends now call themselves "creative minds" cos that sounds less scary to "the public." Would van Gogh have been treated differently (better?) today, do you think? I doubt it.
Your work reminds me of Hundertwasser;did anyone else ever say that?

3/12/06 1:41 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Dinahmow, you flatterer you: I think van Gogh would still have been a fringe element type guy -- he was so intense apparently -- but he'd have more easily found his niche and maybe even been 'discovered' and marketed to the nth degree. And I could kiss you for saying my work reminds you of Hundertwasser. A friend told me the same thing about 6 months ago but I didn't know his work. When I saw it I loved it immediately and now I am his #1 fan. I adopted his spirals to use in some of my work.

3/12/06 2:45 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

We've been having strange weather too.. but not as strange as the BBC are predicting for Finland :-) (clue see my blog!)

I hope you are able to dig yourself out of all that white stuff.

Funny links!

4/12/06 4:45 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm just catching up after a few days away from a computer too - it's nice to see your little tribute to my home town. :-) That church looks familiar - I'm sure I've been by there several time. That's cool that your family has left a mark in our fair city. Thanks to people like your great-grandfather, Winnipeg has alot of character in its old buildings.

4/12/06 6:20 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Caroline: Finland, eh? Must check this out...

Heather: My great-grandfather also designed Winnipeg's Electric Railway Chambers, and the standard old-time small town train station design across western Canada was his. About the only thing left standing in the far west here is Vancouver's imposingly grand old Via Rail station.

4/12/06 7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Andrea, you'll have to be Fan #2. Besides, I come from the country with the Hundertwasser-designed loo!

4/12/06 2:06 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Dinahmow: You're right: loo trumps spirals! :)

4/12/06 5:29 PM  
Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

As a resident of Whateverpeg I can attest to the grandeur of your grandfather's magnificent creation..
and may I add my condolences for your surreal experience of being subjected to the manifestation of a real Canadian winter...
how pedestrian!

The rest of Canada understands that your ilk moved to the West Coast to avoid this sort of thing..must be bad for business at Wreck Beach!

I can never get that Kirk Douglas movie out of my head when discussing Van Guff..what was it called Lust For Life? Vincent is pretty much the poster boy for that whole suffering for your art thingamabob isn't he?
Hope that everything with your Dad finds a peaceful equilibrium.

5/12/06 8:25 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

HE: Yeah, I know. We're all flakes and wimps. Ya wanna make something of it?! :) We are Canada's homeless capital for a good reason! 'Course you're right -- they've (we've?) been avoiding Wreck Beach lately as it's under snow...

5/12/06 9:07 AM  
Anonymous AscenderRisesAbove said...

brrrr it looks chilly.

wonderful quotes re: crazy as those men in Washington!

you are not alone with the list of too many things to do. I have not even begun to christmas shop!!

10/12/06 12:10 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home