Las Delicias De Un Ambiente Artísico
Saturday, May 22, 2010
in Spanish is not all that equivalent to either ambiance
. It is closer to the French milieu
. Since I can remember I was surrounded at home by an ambiente
of music, books and film. Because I am that old we had no TV yet. Radio was important and I listened to lots of it. At night my mother would put me to bed and she would switch on our wireless (as my father called our radio) to LRA Radio del Estado. I was lulled to sleep with concerts of classical music from the Teatro Colón. When people asked me what kind of music I liked I would always say, “The music of the Teatro Colón.” I had no concept of anything called classical music. In those late 40s and 50s of my life the Argentine tango being popular (in all the meaning of the word) meant that we never listened to it at home. My parents were snobs. I grew up to classical music. This was reinforced by visits to my grandmother’s apartment in downtown Buenos Aires. My mother would play the piano (Chopin, Beethoven, Schubert) and she would accompany my uncle Tony and my grandmother who sang songs of Gershwin and others that were popular during WW II. Sometimes my Aunt Dolly would play her violin.
I was no older than 9 when my father and mother took me to Bertolt Brecht’s play Galileo Galilei
in Spanish. I remember vividly that the play was in a theater in the round. They also took me to a summer outdoor production of the Barber of Seville. I must have gone to many amateur and professional performances of Gilbert & Sullivan musical. My father loved them.
I had to take guitar lessons (I was not very good) and I went to drawing classes. Before we left Buenos Aires for Mexico City in 1955 I had to take lessons in Argentine folkloric dancing. It involved lots of zapateado (foot stamping).
In Mexico I rebelled against the guitar lessons but my mother insisted I take art lessons. I never did tell her some of the unintended fringe benefits of her idea. My teacher was an English man called Robin Bond. During the war he had been drafted by the British Army to help in the camouflage of ships, tanks, trucks and warehouses. This kind of work served him well when he moved to Mexico City in the early 50s. Bond was an expert in how colours would reproduce in different shades of gray. He became the best set designer for TV in Mexico. He worked for the Mexican TV company Televisa. At the time, of course TV was in black and white.
Bond had his house and studio in la Zona Rosa which was not yet the tourist Mecca it became in later years. It was with Bond that I learned about the bohemian life. As Bond lived it, it meant that he would go to bed around 2 or 3 in the morning and he would wake up late morning. It meant that I often arrived to my class when he was still in bed and I would see some woman run, quite naked, into the bathroom. He would then offer his friend and me very strong coffee. He smoked lots. On other occasions I would show up and Bond would be drawing his friend (there were many different ones and they were always nude). He was so immersed in what he was doing that it was about that time that he began to mix his colours on his walls.
I was attracted to this sort of life. I was fascinated. Bond was always kind and gentle with me. To this day I have a memory for the smell of his studio which was a blend of cold coffee, tobacco and oil paints.
One day I could no longer paint or draw. I was too old (15) to be spanked when I told my mother that all I could do was to stare at a blank canvas or paper and that I could not do anything. She was furious but she realized it was futile to punish me. But by then the shape of my life had been set by the example of my parents and family. I had been raised in an ambiente artístico and I would never ever be able to live without a constant reminder of how important art, music and later dance would be in my life.
This ambiente artístico
hit its heighest moment when I befriended the Argentine painters Juan Manuel Sanchez
and his wife Nora Patrich. The situation lasted for close to 10 years until they abruptly decided to call their marriage quits three years ago and they went back to Buenos Aires in separate planes. For 10 years I shared their bohemian life, (not quite as I had to get up early to either teach or work). I talked to them every day (in Spanish) and we shared books and films. We worked on colaboraciones which were studio sessions (in my studio or in their home which was full of antiques, books, real Picassos and etchings of Goya. In 10 years Juan Manuel Sanchez gave me an arts education.
I marveled on how one day when Chilean director/actress/playwright Carmen Aguirre (a stunning woman) came to my studio. I checked my watch and within two minutes she was “en bola” (nude). Sanchez had and has a way just like Robin Bond had. It was Sanchez who taught me that my desire/obsession to photograph women in the nude was perfectly natural and logical.
One day Sanchez told me a joke ( a real story). It seems that he and some friends were having cafes cortados (strong Argentine coffee with a drop of milk) in a café in Buenos Aires when someone asked him who his favourite saint was. Juan answered, “Santa Conchita.” The joke is entirely Argenitine. Conchita is the Spanish (but certainly not Argentine!) endearing way of calling women who are named Concepción which is usually short for the complete María de la Santa Concepción. The problem in Argentina is that thanks to Linnaeus who identified the anatomical bits of a clam with sexual underpinnings, a concha in Argentina is a woman’s private part. A conchita would thus be a little cute one.
Taking Juan’s idea to its end we brought in several models of different ethnic backgrounds into his living room and Nora, Juan and I painted, drew and photographed ethnic Virgin Maries. The one here is a severely cropped (so you cannot see that which is the raison d'etre) of the picture of an Santa Conchita de Valparaiso or translated into English Holy Mary of Valpariso, Chile. Which brings me to C, the Chilean subject of today’s blog.
While I had been taking many nude photographs of women in my studio, the garden or in my favourite location a “suite” in the fleebag Marble Arch Hotel, I had never done so with two painters. This was a different and much more rewarding experience. I had to do my photo setups slowly so that my Argentine friends could sketch. This taught me to observe. We began to draw from each other for inspiration. With Sanchez and Patrich I took some of the best nudes of my life. As always because they were portraits they do not seem to suffer as much as they should when I crop them to fit within the standards of my blog where I determined over four years ago that I would do my best not to show nudes, or at least without the conchitas and the other bits and pieces that just might offend somebody.
and her animator husband were happy in Vancouver but they were unable to get a permanent visa and had to return to Santiago. They have been successful in obtaining that visa so they are returning in June or July. I look forward to taking pictures of one of my best muses.
C has what I think is a immensely erotic mouth, more so as it seems to be the right combination of petulance, disdain and voluptuousness. This voluptuousness of the lips spreads to the rest of her body. Her breasts are magnificent and her extremely white skin glows in some of the pictures here were I used Kodak b+w Infrared film. In some of the other photos I used very fast film with the existing light of the Sanchez/Patrich living room. There is some degradation of the image because of the cropping out of the interesting parts!
Last Tuesday I decided to teach my two Focal Point classes at home. The idea was to teach them to use studio lights in the garden and learn to mix existing light with artificial light. The weather was not cooperative so we stayed mostly in the house and they shot in the living room, the dining room, the den and the entrance. One of the models, a lovely woman of uncertain age willingly took it all of quite quickly and some of my students (in their 20s and early 30s) photographed their first nudes ever. I felt a bit frustrated in being the teacher and not one of the photographers.
But I somehow felt a bit like being on Robin Bond’s side and even Sanchez watching my students develop their style in my home with the help of an excellent nude model. I hope my students get to meet a Bond or a Sanchez who will explain to them the wonders and why we must all do this without ever feeling any pang of guilt.
Both Rosemary and I do our best to give our granddaughters a bit of that ambiente artístico in the hopes that they will grow up with inquietudes
. Inquietud in Spanish is a feeling of unfulfillment that can only corrected with a plunge into the arts.
Ona Grauer - One Of The Pleasures Of Photography
Friday, May 21, 2010
As I realized how the march of time is pushing me inexorably to that event of no-feeling that Epicurus advised us not to worry about I find myself reflecting on some of the things I have done in my life. Because I am a photographer I have been especially looking back through my memory to the images that remain embedded, or in the case of the ones here, that have been seared into cortex of my brain.
These were the first pictures I ever took of the extremely beautiful Ona Grauer
. I had met her behind the bar of Uphoria a restaurant owned some years ago by an Iranian who had been a financial advisor to the Shaw. Many of us went to the bar for two reasons. One of them happened to be the largest variety of single malt Scotches and town and the other was the snappy, almost rude Ona.
We lapped up her treatment of us with relish. I made it my mission to photograph. These are the first pictures I took of her. She came back to my studio many times and I photographed her in my garden twice. Then she got busy appearing in science fiction series being filmed in Vancouver and I lost track of her. I have found her again.
Of the many women that I have photographed, it was Ona that my wife Rosemary was the most friendly to. I have never know quite why. I remember that with another woman, whom I will call here the Baltic Surprise, Rosemary seem to not like. Every few minutes Rosemary would open the window into the garden and shout, “Alex is phone for you!”
Since at least 14 years have passed since I took these pictures, I believe I could take pictures of Ona that would be fresh all over again. Fourteen years ago she had this extremely happy personality that was almost unsettling. Perhaps with age and experience she will have become another person. I would like to take her pictures and compare. This is one of the pleasures of photography.
Buddy Holly - The Young Man In The Big Glasses
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I introduced my granddaughter Rebecca to the suave man with creamy white hair. We (and with my wife Rosemary) were in the lobby of the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage of the Arts Club Theatre, moments before the opening night performance of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story. “Mr Robinson this is my granddaughter Rebecca. I told her that you met and interviewed Elvis Presley and that once your hair was red.” Red Robinson answered, “I also met and interviewed Buddy Holly and (pause) it is hard to believe that my hair was once red!”
Red Robinson had looked at me quizzically when I had approached him to remind him that many years ago I had photographed him with a favourite painting of his of Elvis Presley, an original by American artist Leroy Neiman. “I gave it to Bruce Allen down the road from me.”
It was about then that the ever-smiling and ever-prosperous looking Arts Club Theatre Company Executive Director, Howard Jang approached me to tell me, “Red has a special place in today’s show.” I was curiously intrigued.
I was intrigued but not in the least interested by anything having to do with Buddy Holly. I was at the show to make sure my granddaughter gets a balanced education on all things musical, theatrical, dance, etc. I won’t go as far as saying I hated Buddy Holly when I was young. I will simply say I had several reasons (to be listed below) not to like the man. It had all to do with his looks. I was prepared to see a show and to not be affected by it in any way. I was to be proven wrong.
The beginning of Holly’s career paralleled my beginning of my stay as a boarder at St. Ed’s High School in Austin, Texas. We were in a huge dorm which had around 35 bunk beds. The ceiling, a neo-gothic building was so high I could imagine clouds on some days. My fellow boarders were mostly cool kids from Texas with a smattering of Latinos from Mexico, Central America and Peru. The cool kids were up and up with all that was new. I was stuck in my appreciation for the music of Mexican guitar trios. I didn’t loathe rock and roll, I simply did not like it one way or another. The only station that played music that my fellow boarders liked was KTBC. It was a local station owned by a Texas senator called Lyndon B. Johnson. The station did not call itself anything in particular so it played songs by Conway Twitty, Brenda Lee, the Everly Brothers, a few token Presley songs to prove it was cutting edge plus stuff from Paul Anka and others. By the second year in 1958 one of my roommates, who was from Buddy Holly’s town of Lubbock drove me crazy playing Buddy Holly. When it wasn’t Buddy Holly it was Paul Anka droning on with Diana. My roommate'sgirlfriend back in Lubbock was called Diana.
I had an admiration for Dan Sherrod (seen, below right), another classmate of mine from Odessa, Texas. He was sophisticated. His father owned the Aston Martin dealership in the town. Dan read Road and Track and knew how to pronounce Peugeot. He liked Shelly Berman, owned that prized album The Gibraltar Grand Prix with Peter Ustinov and was the only person in all of St. Ed’s who knew who Juan Manuel Fangio was. Then one day I spied an album on his desk. It featured a nurdish looking guy with big glasses. I looked at it. I then went to the bank of mirrors on one side of the dorm and looked at myself in the mirror. I came to the conclusion that Sherrod’s attraction to Buddy Holly had all to do with the glasses. While Sherrod had warmed to this resemblance I was indiferent. I left it at that and rock and roll never did affect my passion for music one way or the other. I must admit I liked the harmony of the Everly Brothers and I was not all that repelled by the foghorn voice of Brenda Lee. I simply could not understand what Buddy Holly was all about. If anything I hated (yes! Hated) how he pronounces pretty in Peggy Sue. My roommate from Lubbock had dumped Diana for a Peggy!
My relationship with rock and roll would change in the late 70s when I first heard Art Bergmann at the Smiling Buddha in Vancouver. It was then that I began to appreciate the wonders of a well-played electric guitar.
I have no idea how accurate this extremely professional musical is. Buddy manages to chart a course on how Holly progressed from country music to that new-fangled stuff called rock and roll. With my granddaughter Rebecca I felt we were taking an interesting course in music and learning about all the steps. How and why did Holly incorporate a celeste into his music? How did a sleeping and drunk drummer contribute to the rhythm section of the Crickets? Important for me was how it soon became evident to Holly that he needed a second guitar. As I looked at the big smile on Rebecca’s face, who seems to know much more about Holly and Richie Valens and the Big Bopper than I ever knew, I realized I was becoming enthused with the music of Buddy Holly. I was doing my damndest not to tap my feet as I just might indicate to Rebecca that I liked it a lot. That would certainly be verboten! “Do you like this?” she asked me. All I could do was to nod a yes.
By the time Michael Scholar Jr. (as Ritchie Valens) interpreted a swinging and almost flawlessly devoid of any accent La Bamba I was hooked to this show.
The cast, headed by Zachary Stevenson as Buddy Holly (he can sing, he can act, he can play a mean guitar, he can hop around the stage like a pro) is professional, musical and inspiring. Jeremy Bryant, as one of the Crickets who plays bass has even contributed to Joey Shithead’s DOA. He can play that bass while riding it like a camel. I could go on. But I must first mention two local performers who stood out. One is Sibel Thrasher whom I first met while being a stills photographer at the CBC in variety shows of the late 70s. She was spot on as a performer of the Harlem club The Apollo. Rosemary was especially enthusiastic (very rare with my dour wife), "The old man who played the Clear Lake MC (Alex Willows) was terrific."
The other performer that stood out for me was Denis Simpson
. He is smooth as the MC at the Apollo. He can sing, he can dance and he can even doo-wop.
As we left the theatre with a smiling Rebecca (and surprisingly Rosemary, too) I felt that I can now look at myself in the mirror with the glasses and say to myself, “Well Alex, looking a bit like Buddy Holly isn’t all that bad!”
Buddy Holly is on until July 11. It would seem to me that as many parents as possible come up with the idea of taking the children they might find special stuff to learn from this charming musical.
I found out what Red Robinson's contribution to the show was. His voice was used here in there to announce that a Holly tune was number 1 in Vancouver, etc and it was Robinson's voice that finally broke to us the bad news of Holly's airplane crash. It was Rebecca who seemed to know that while all that was up on the stage was a skilled performance by eager and professional actor/musicians, the man with the cream coloured hair sitting a couple of rows in front of us, was the real thing. Rebecca's parting shot was, "What a voice!" Even Rebecca may have noticed the decline in the voicemanship of those who are in radio today.
Wiseman On Harrison - Harrison On Art & No Fun
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
By Les Wiseman
I may have met Tom Harrison (seen here with Iggy Pop) when we were both interviewing our mutual hero Lou Reed on his Rock’n’Roll Heart tour. Tom was immediately nice to me, which I appreciated because he was a bigshot and I was writing for The Ubyssey, UBC’s student newspaper. I remember when I first started covering punk for The Ubyssey, my editor, Bruce Baugh -who had actually MET the venerated Tom Harrison, told me that Tom liked this “punk crap,” so maybe I should give it the benefit of the doubt.
Tom has always been nice to me, immediately giving me gigs at The Georgia Straight when I got out of university in 1978. Sharing his beer at umpteen Commodore gigs. Tom has always had a rock’n’roll heart and he has given to rock’n’roll as much as it has given to him. Rock journalism in Vancouver IS Tom Harrison.
He has hung with the greats. I remember him at a Pretenders gig at the Queen E. He was ecstatic at having interviewed Chrissie Hynde that afternoon and having finished the invu harmonizing with her on some old garage-rock tunes. I remember having dinner with him at his house one night when he whipped out a pic of him and Keith Richards together -man, was I envious. We were in his home, which was lined with records. He asked what I wanted to hear and I said the third Velvet Underground album and off he went in search of it. When he had been gone for a long while, we went to find him. The quest had proved too much for him and we found him passed out in a chair among a zillion albums.
I recall one night after a concert by Squeeze, we were at an after party at the Luv-A-Fair. It was Tom’s birthday and we got thrown out. So I went back in, under the guise of getting my coat, and smuggled some beer out. We went across the street to a construction site and sitting on stacks of Gyproc we drank and had a great time, just the two of us.
But, even without him being a terrifically nice guy, he would still be a cultural treasure because of the massive volume of articles he has written about the greats and those he felt just deserved some ink and recognition. Tom has given a lot of breaks to a lot of musicians. He has made careers, mine included.
Of course, Tom continues to write today, as incisively and honestly as ever. He is a great journalist and a great entertainer. He has also been a broadcaster on both radio and TV and is an accomplished drummer and singer.
The greats in this business are known by the addition of an expletive adjective inserted as their middle name. He is Tom “Fuckin’” Harrison.
OUT FOR LUNCH - CONTINENTAL
By Tom Harrison
The Province, Friday, May 10, 1985
It was Doug Hughes, the former regular occupant of the Out For Dinner column, who suggested Niki’s Caprice Restaurant. “I go there all the time,” said Doug, currently the assistant marketing director of the Vancouver Symphony.
“He comes here all the time, “said Chef Niki, the one-time owner of the popular Chez Luba. That’s what he said,” said I, author of today’s review.
“I like your pictures,”offered Art Bergmann, surveying the hundreds of autographed photos of dancers, film stars, musicians and other celebrities that had made the trek with Niki from Chez Luba to his Richards location two years ago. “Those,”Niki boasted proudly, expansively, “are all my girlfriends. Who,” he asked, suddenly curious and fixing Art with an inquisitive stare, “are you?”
“He,” I explained,” is the leader of one of the city’s best rock bands called Poisoned.” “You are a good-looking young man, Niki told him, glowing with Hungarian good cheer. “Rock music, eh? Oogie boogie. Striptease!”
Chef Niki, if you haven’t guessed, is an extremely personable, gracious gentleman who will be 93 years of age next week. His Caprice Restaurant has an old-fashioned continental style, informal and quaint but with an attention to service and detail.
If Art and I had come to dinner Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening we would have basked in the radiance of a blonde woman at the piano and her violin-playing accompanist performing, in Niki’s words, “beautiful gypsy music.” But this was lunch, so I made do with a special, poached turbot in lobster sauce, while Art was attracted to the coulibiac.
The turbot, Atlantic white fish, was served with a mound of rice, spinach and carrots. Coulibiac, Art discovered, is similar to a coarse pate in a light pastry crust.
“Let’s face it,” he said, probing the solid pink slice, “It’s salmon loaf.”
Fair enough. The exalted coulibiac, a favorite of Russian royalty, equals salmon loaf. Art Bergmann’s trademark as a songwriter is that he doesn’t mince his words. One of the most respected figures of Vancouver rock underground, he has taken steps to “cross over” with a powerful new six song mini-LP, simply titled Poisoned.
Niki’s Caprice Restaurant, 722 Richards. Telephone 685-2352. Open weekdays from 11:30 to 2:30 for lunch; 5:30 to 11:30 for dinner. Saturdays, 5:30 to 11:30. Closed Sunday, All major credit cards accepted.
Tom Harrison is a Province music Critic.
OUT FOR DINNER - Chi Chi place to drop anchor
By Tom Harrison
The Province, Friday April 19, 1985
This column has reviewed family restaurants in Surrey before, but never with the esteemed Surrey-ologist, David M (left in picture below), and his musical collaborator in the rockin’ folk duo No Fun, Paul Leahy (bottom right).
“We come here all the time,” says M as we are seated in the smoking section of Chi Chi’s Restaurant. “It is our favorite place,”the murmuring Leahy concurs. “Foodwise, it’s a lot like McDonald’s, except Mexican,” M says. “The food is cheap and the servings are big, which appeals to Surrey’s people quite a lot. Surrey people are big eaters.”
“Try not to be negative, David,”cautions Leay. “We want to come back here.” “Hunter S. Thompson says that no matter how fragmented your life is, everybody has a psychic anchor,” M says. “His is breakfast: mine is Chi Chi’s.”
Scanning a menu dotted with such items as Chimichangas (four types of filled tortillas plus beans and rice, $5.25), the Chihuahua (three flautas, choice of filling, the ever-popular beans and rice, $6.95), margaritas and Mexican “fried” ice cream (French vanilla deep fried in corn flakes and cinnamon coating, $2.95), M immediately decides on his staple, Nachos Especiale (nacho chips covered in cheese, tomato and onion) with a side order of refried beans.
Leahy likewise opts for his usual, the cheese and onion enchilada ($3.25) and is in luck – today the cheese and onion is Chi Chi’s luncheon special: $2.95 with beans and rice.
“At our level of the music business,” M explains as he gingerly slides a Nachos Grande (chips under cheese, ground beef, beans and jalapeno slices, $5.95) off a hot plate, “you have to be cost conscious.”
No Fun last Friday managed to divide a sellout crowd as opening act for Al Stewart at the Commodore. At least half the audience hated the duo; the other half has expressed an interest in the band’s two latest releases, the abridged cassette version of No Fun’s massive Snivel boxed set, and a new cassette of old No fun nuggets, realistically and drily called Old.
While David and Paul explain how Leahy no longer is a pizza delivery man since being robbed and beaten in a church by pizza bandits, I consider the Chajita. The beef Chajita for one ($9.95) is strips of beef, sizzling on a bed of onions, accompanied by rice, shredded cheese, guacamole and sour cream. You can have a wonderful wallow by slapping various portions onto your tortilla (you get three), folding it like a burrito and chomping down.
Chi Chi’s is fun. As David M seest it, Chi Chi’s doesn’t try to present itself as authentic, and as franchises go, it is a lot smarter and several steps up from the ersatz Mexican junk food pit stops. More like the Keg of Mexican restaurants than a McDonald’s. Chi Chi’s is at 15140 – 101st Ave, Surre. It’s open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday; until midnight Friday and Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sundays and holidays. Chi Chi’s accepts Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Phone 589-2145
Tom Harrison is a music critic for the Province
A Time For Grieving
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Tomorrow I will listen to Roddy Doyle tell Eleanor Wachtel
on CBC Radio 2 something like this (it is the already fading memory of a quote to come). It will enable me to write tomorrow what will appear here today.
“Without going too much into the privacy of my family I must say that my children are now big enough that I can no longer call them children. They cannot be picked up and I cannot hug them unless they want to be hugged. When they fall they don’t come crying to me or to their mother. It is a time for grieving.”
When our daughters were 9 and 6 and then when they were a bit older (in times when children could travel alone in airplanes) we would send them to Mexico for a few weeks in the summer to spend time with their friends and our friends, the Zamora
family. We did not opt for cheap airline tickets. We sent them direct by Japan Airlines. The Japanese stewardesses (they were called that then) were extra kind and took good care of them.
Phone calls from Mexico or to Mexico were mostly of the “Can you hear me?” kind. So we knew little of their adventures in Mexico. The most exciting moment would come when, with lots of anticipation we waited for them to arrive at the airport. Ale and Hilary, both sun tanned, and with Hilary having her blond hair bleached by that hot Mexican sun, would run to greet us, perhaps holding a Mexican hat or one of those cute (but useless) Mexican puppets, whose strings would already by tied beyond the Gordian.
Driving home, it was all fun as they told us of their stay in a perfectly correct and precise Mexican Spanish. When I see my daughters now, I can still see some of that sweet young innocence and I can re-live those days of missing them, counting the days until their return, and then that exciting drive to the airport to pick them up.
Yesterday Monday Rebecca arrived from her exchange trip to Quebec City. Phones have improved and the day before she talked at length to Rosemary (via Skype). It seemed that her Quebec family went to bed by 9:30 in the evening and Rebecca never managed to un-jetlag herself. She spent lonely evenings in an almost foreign place missing her family, and by extension her grandparents.
While she will never quite know this as she is much too young to understand, I missed her lots. A granddaughter has to be a surrogate daughter. Rebecca is close enough to our house that I can drop in or call her up or we hear from Hilary every day who tells us what Rebecca and Lauren are up to. We find out what they did in school and if they have tests to study for. Rosemary is usually concerned and worries about them passing their tests.
So I asked Rosemary today, “Are we going to visit Rebecca and see how she is?”
My intensely logical Canadian wife answered, “We are going to go with Rebecca tomorrow to see The Buddy Holly Story
at the Arts Club Theatre. We do not need to see her today.”
It seems to me that Canadians must, every once in a while, use less logic and trust their emotions and impulses. A visit to Rebecca’s today would have been very close to a trip to the Airport to pick up our daughters. Some fond moments return if you allow them to. The time for grieving will soon come.
Lauren Eats A Manila Mango, Manila Style
Monday, May 17, 2010
Today I spent it cleaning the house thoroughly in preparation for tomorrow’s class in synchro sunlight with my Focal Point students. It looks like it is going to rain so we will have to shoot inside while keeping the views outside the windows at “proper” levels.
Today was the last day without Rebecca (she is in Quebec and returns tonight). This meant that I picked up Lauren at school and had her all to myself until Rosemary retired from her Sprott-Shaw School classes. I was much too lazy to cook for the two of us. I told Lauren we would have an unusual lunch. We were going to have fruit (mangoes and a miniature Mexican watermelon). She thought this was a good idea and we indulged in the back of the garden on the metal seat enojoying the last of the day’s sun with Casanova the cat lurking nearby as he begins to adapt to the garden.Manila Mango
Synchro Sunlight On A Rainy Day
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Every year Rosemary and I open our garden for the city tour or for some garden club. A couple of years ago we opened it for the Ballet BC garden tour and 1500 people all but killed a shady grass area of our garden. After two years of a concerted effort both the grass and Ballet BC have come back from the brink. I almost have a superstitious idea that my lawn and Ballet BC are intimately linked. I must take care of that lawn.
The purpose of opening a garden is two-fold. The idea that a garden is only ours is a folly. One must share it with others. Some would say the impulse is a selfish one as we simply want to show off. Whichever way you look at it, opening a garden puts a goal in one’s mind. This year we had no goal and the garden was not at its best.
I came up with the idea of having both my Focal Point classes come during the day (this coming Tuesday) so that they would learn the difficult (for many) concept of lighting portraits with soft artificial light while maintaining a balance with the existing light. By bringing the class to the garden Rosemary and I would have to work hard to bring it to snuff.
This we did yesterday and today. What lies ahead, tomorrow is the thorough cleaning of the house. If it does rain (that’s the forecast) my plan B is to use the interior of the house for shooting while insisting that my students keep the outdoor lighting of the windows into account.
It took me years to get rid of the fear of shooting portraits outside with mixed light. Once I learned, it became part of my style and one of the art directors of Western Living in the 90s maintained it was what I did best. I want my students to learn this. It served me well. Perhaps it will serve them well, too.