Black Cat Artspace Salon of Inclusiveness

Composite image of people and life in Toronto
The bustle of city life in Toronto
The Black Cat Artspace has its 6th Annual Salon of Inclusiveness Holiday Show and
Sale coming up. I have one piece in the show. It’s called Movement and it’s the one you
see above.

Opening Reception details are below and here :

December 5th, 2019 – 7pm – 10:30pm
December 6th, 2019 – 7pm – 10:30pm

Exhibition runs from December 5th 2019 –December 31st 2019

Gallery hours: Thursday – Sunday: 2-7pm
Monday-Wednesday: Closed

Black Cat Artspace, 2186 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON  Canada

Drop in for a visit. You’ll see a load of varied artwork and all at affordable prices!

Discovering Morland Place

The Bell Tower in the barn at Morland Place in Ontario
The Bell Tower

So now I’ve discovered Morland Place! I can’t remember how many times I’ve caught sight of this curious-looking wood building with a bell-tower, set back from the road. Driving along Grey County Road 18 near Owen Sound, I finally managed to investigate it when I decided to make a stop at Inglis Falls, which is almost next door.

The overgrown greenhouse at Morland Place in Ontario
The Greenhouse, plants and statues bursting from the inside.

I reached Morland Place through an unobtrusive driveway off the main road. I came up to a fascinating collection of buildings and gardens that looked like something from a film set. The original stone house was built around 1920 as the home of the McCallum family. It was eventually bought by the More family in 1945 and they remain the owners now. Over time, numerous buildings have been added including the elaborate , gothic-looking extension to the house, built in 1870’s Georgian Regency style, complete with another bell-tower, or two.

The original stone house at Morland Place in Ontario
The original stone house.
The Georgian Regency-style extension to the house at Morland Place in Ontario
The Regency-style house extension added in the 1980’s, complete with plants creeping up the pillars and posts.
Some of the statues in the gardens at Morland Place in Ontario
Some of the many statues that adorn the gardens

Although the house was closed to visitors when I went, the elaborate and extensive gardens were open and were great to wander around in. All sorts of hedges, plants, gardens and tons of pots and statues everywhere. There is also a maze, though I didn’t get to that. I did wander around the ornate barn-like buildings and along the cornfields at the back, though. It was a beautiful autumn day with brilliant sunshine, and bright colours that highlighted the quirky nature of this place.

A large ornate barn by the corn fields at Morland Place in Ontario
Back to the barns by the corn fields

I’ll be going back for another visit, to do a bit more exploring. It’s well worth the trip!

Toronto Life

Composite image of Toronto life
Toronto Life. So much going on.

I’ve noticed how I focus on various themes and locations and how I’ve subconsciously avoided doing much work about Toronto life. I wonder if it’s because it’s too obvious, as I live here, and the fact that I see so many pictures of it. I think though, that you can say that about any place. Realistically, it’s probably because I’ve been trying to work out my own particular angle and interpretation.

As Toronto is a big city you can find examples of all sorts things. Industry, housing, arts, cultures, pretty much anything. As usual, I tend to the more industrial and derelict areas but I like all the vibrance and diversity of so many aspects of it. I’m also a bit preoccupied by the amount of green space and conservation around the city, which I love and am fascinated by. You’ve got to love old, solid, historic buildings being used as the basis of new ventures, and wetlands and nature being nurtured amidst an expanding metropolis. I’ve noticed many of my Toronto life photos focus on the conservation and nature areas that many people might not think of as the landmarks of the city. But they’re there and they’re remarkable. I keep seeing butterfly gardens, often running alongside new condo developments!

Anyway, apart from that focus, I’m also working on some new composites based on Toronto, that bring in many of its different features. The one at the top of this post is the first. I could explain my thinking but I’ll leave it to others to untangle. Look closely and see what you can find.

More of this type of image to come.

Learning about Photography

People learn about many things and in so many different ways. Learning about photography can be just as varied.

Image of cars in a wreckers yard
Cars lined up at a wreckers yard. Reuse and recycle.

I’ve always edged towards more artistic interests, as opposed to sports, sciences etc. Things that engaged me when I was at school and after, tended to be arts subjects – literature, music, history, art, maybe with the odd touch of geography thrown in, and gradually a lot of politics and social issues. After I bought my first camera, many of these things influenced how and what I took pictures of. Sometimes the people around me, but more often, the environment I live in. The old and the new, derelict and rebuilt, bright and dull.

Over time, and with the help of some structured learning through courses and workshops, practice and experience, my photographic skills evolved (I hope..) and my ideas have advanced. I am a stubbornly independent learner, but can still benefit from some group and structured learning.

Photography is a very popular and accessible subject these days, and one most people can indulge in to some extent. The rise of digital cameras, phone cameras etc has allowed for instant images at the drop of a hat. That said, there are courses and workshops for learning about photography to suit all levels of interest and capacity, including how to make best use of your phone camera, introduction to lighting, taking portraits, composition and so on.

A really good place to start, if you’re wanting to learn about making or improving your photographs is The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Photography. This will introduce you to different types of equipment to help you choose a camera you can work with, basic camera features and it’ll give you some great guidance on a range of subjects and composition. Take a look! You can find it at https://hobbyhelp.com/photography/

Life in the City

Looking up at Old Mill subway station you see a great mix of modern architecture hovering over the ancient Humber River flood plain and supported by excellent examples of indigenous artwork.

I am currently pondering the many joys and advantages of life in the city. It’s not exactly a new subject and certainly bearing in mind the fact that I’ve always lived in cities, but it’s always an interesting one.

With Toronto, I’m constantly impressed by the amount of green space, trees and conservation areas around the city, and how they can help make it a very livable place. I live an in area where many of the houses were built around 1960 and many of the trees pre-date the buildings so we’re living in a sea of giant, lush trees of various types. In the summer many of the houses are hidden by all this growth and it can feel like we’re in cottage country without needing to move!

Being able to take a break and a walk somewhere like Colonel Sam Smith Park helps maintain sanity when dealing with life in the city.

A mere 10-15 minutes drive can take me down to the lakeshore to Colonel Sam Smith Park to all the wonders of nature and the waterfront, as well as a great view of the downtown city skyline. Then of course, there are so many other places to bask in the glories of nature – High Park, Tommy Thompson Park, Scarborough Bluff, Don Valley, Humber River etc. Too many to name, but plenty to enjoy.

In the midst of all of this, there is the urban development that’s taken place over many years and in many shapes and forms. You can see art deco and neoclassical style buildings back to back, or blended in with more modern, angular structures, often to great effect.

Art and people crowd the beach.

As a backdrop to everyday life, along with all the arts, cultural and occupational variety, it’s really hard to get bored with life in the city.