Posts Tagged “Toronto”

My dad, who is much of the inspiration and source for my artistic talent, passed away last month after living with Hepatitis C for 15 years. I am currently compiling an online retrospective on his art.

He was a large inspiration to my own work. Dad was born in Toronto, Ontario and was abandoned by his mother in a back yard, at only a few months old. Dad’s birth certificate describes his mother as “Indian Canadian.” Dad was of Ojibway descent. A foster child in the Catholic children’s aid society, dad moved through many homes throughout his childhood. Even still, dad’s talent was noticed at at early age and he was even asked to do a fairly large commission at the age of 12. Dad went to Ontario College of Art in the 70’s. He loved to work in chalk pastels. Dad struggled with drug addiction from an early age and I think that this competed with his ambitions and in many ways hindered him. Still, dad was a troubled soul and fought darkness that most of us never experience. I think that he did good with what he was given.

Like I said, he was an inspiration to me. I’m going to miss him. But I am glad that we got to spend the time that we did together. And we even made a mends of sorts in the last few years. One of my most favorite memories was when we had an exhibit together at The Old Ranger Station in Telkwa. The Ranger Station is now gone, and so too is dad; but I can hold on to the memory that will last forever.

We also had other memories. I remember the time, soon after the Station exhibit, when we decided to go painting along the riverside in Topley. Dad wanted to sketch the Bulkley, where it comes through Topley. I remember saying that the bugs were probably fierce and that we should probably use a tent or something. So, I brought a tent, but he refused to use it with me. We were out there for over 2 hours and he was quite eaten alive; but I think that he got a better sketch than I did. Something that he probably realized, and though it may seem obvious, is that an artist draws/paints/expresses what they see. So, my painting looked like it had been skewed and darkened through the lens of a bug net, while his sketch looked crisp. My wife, Amy, always says that my sketches look like they are drawn by someone who is near sighted, and she’s right–my near sightedness comes out in my sketches. My dad did get many bug bites that day, but he brought home a more true representation of the landscape. I don’t know what happened to that sketch of his (below is my painting), and I kind of wish that I had traded him for one of my own, but again we still have the memory and that’s what matters.

My dad told me once that presentation is the most important part of the art process. I think that dad used this knowledge to keep people away as much as he did attract them. I think of how he kept his house on the day when we went to go clean it out. Dad had some nice things, but I think he know that some of the people who he associated with would steal from him if they knew the value of these objects, so he made them look shabby so that only he would know the true value.

This speaks to me as a bit of a life lesson. The treasures in this world are buried in the dirt.

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After reading a blog referenced in a recent article that someone showed me in the Vancouver Province, Confessions of a 29 Year Old Virgin, I feel the need to talk about someone who is on my heart.  I want to talk about a woman and not just any woman, but one who is my best friend.  I want to talk about my wife, Amy. 

Amy and I have been happily married for about 4 years now and I love her very much.  I believe that she provides all that I need in a woman and that is why I asked her to marry me.  She’s smart, sexy, committed to God, and she’s seen me at my *very* worst and still loves me for who I am.  It’s a tribute to her gracefulness that she is still married to me.

With all of my quirks, it is a bit of a wonder how we even made it past our wedding night.  Ah yes, our wedding night, that fateful night for all newlyweds who have waited to share intimacy together.  This was a night that that we may tell our grandkids about in detail, some day.  Yes, there is a story behind this and one that bears telling in detail.  So, what in the world happened that we would tell our grandkids in detail about, you ask?

Well, a bit of background.   We courted for a very short period in time, about one year, and were engaged for about 2 months after that.  We abstained from any number of things, including even, for about 2 months, touching; all with the intent of saving it for our wedding day.

The wedding came and we were off on our honeymoon.  I had booked us the most expensive hotel that I could find in Toronto, and had booked a massage for my new bride.  We wanted to go and visit family for our honeymoon, in Ontario.  We were going to spend our first night in the best hotel that I could find in the country–according to what I found online (a tip: save your money and ask someone who lives there).

So, here we were, newlyweds, travelling halfway across the country to a stange city in a strange, albeit extravagant, hotel; and not really knowing a thing about sleeping with each other.  Nightfall came and we were EXHAUSTED!

Amy told me later that she barely got to enjoy her massage.  I think that all that we wanted to do that night was sleep.  In an effort to make our wedding night perfect, we totally wore ourselves out.

And that wasn’t all.  Because we knew nothing of each other’s sleep patterns Amy didn’t know a little secret about me.  I sleepwalk–especially when I am exhausted.  For those who aren’t familiar with sleepwalking it often takes the form of a dream to the sleepwalker, where things don’t look like they do awake.

So, instead of intense passion, she got a husband who didn’t even know who she was, let alone that they were married.  And being the chivalrous sort that I was, I didn’t want to be in bed with a strange lady, and so I jumped out of bed with the blankets wrapped around me and blurted out “who are you?”  Amy, by this time was a little worried, when she replied “I’m your wife, we’re married”  To which I replied, “No you’re not, I’m not married!”  By this time, she was in tears and replied “yes we are” and showed me her ring and alluded to my ring.  at which I casually replied, “oh, I guess we’re married”, started humming a tune and went back to bed.  Amy phoned her sister and her brother in-law who knew all about sleep walking and told Amy “don’t wake him”.

All that I remember were bits and pieces and that Amy was in tears when I woke up.  And I asked her what happened and she told me the whole event and couldn’t help but laugh at the innocence of it all, but I felt kind of bad for putting her in that situation and making her cry on our wedding day, in a strange town, with no warning about my nocturnal tendancies. 

We laughed about it and even the parents are starting to laugh about it now, too.

But screw ups happen, no matter what (and sometimes because of) the arrangements you make.  Being graceful doesn’t come from controlling everything; it is sometimes most evident when you make mistakes.  Grace is a necessary part of being graceful…  I consider our wedding night to be one of our best “mistakes” ever and a testimony to God’s grace in our lives.

Now, you may be asking about what this has to do with the “art of purity”?  EVERYTHING!!!  *Only* God’s grace allows for purity of heart and true inspiration.  “Who can climb Mount God?  Who can scale the holy north-face?  Only the clean-handed, only the pure-hearted; Men who won’t cheat, women who won’t seduce.” ps 24:4-5, (The Message)

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