Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Good Man

I was about a block from the funeral home when this picture was taken.  Cpl Cirillo's cortege has just appeared.

Two Canadian soldiers were murdered last week, 

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl Nathan 

Cirillo.  Both are a terrible loss but Cpl Cirillo's death 

has affected us at a very deep level.  That's because

at the time of his death he embodied the archetypal 

'good man' actively protecting everything we hold 

sacred whereas Warrant Officer Vincent was simply

going about his daily life when he was killed. 

The archetypal 'good man' or 'good father' or 'hero' 

has not been a large part of our western society for 

while.  Many of our 'heroes' are rich, greedy and 

tend to debase and abuse women and children.

Cpl Cirillo has become a symbol that resonates in 

all of us. The protector/defender role model children 

need, particularly boy children learning what it 

means to be a good man.

I'll watch Cpl Cirillo's funeral and cry but I'll also 

know that he was a hero and in a way he could 

never have expected he was there when we needed 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thank-you, Cpl Cirillo

He was shot in the neck and bleeding heavily, a

young First Nations soldier named Flock out of 

Stony Creek.  He had hit Juno Beach on

D Day+1 with his fellow Argyll & Sutherland 

Highlanders of Canada. Somehow  his buddies got

 him to the ambulance.  They took off but in the

chaos the ambulance got lost and he bled out.

I know about him because my Dad, his friend

and fellow Argyll was with him when he died. 

The Argylls went on to be part of the liberation of

Holland and helped bring about the fall of Nazi


Many more died.

In their memory Cpl Cirillo of 

the Argyll& Sutherland Highlanders 

of Canada was standing guard at the National 

War Memorial yesterday by the tomb of the 

unknown soldier.

We won't forget.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

He Dances

Sometimes Death rides a horse.

Sometimes he simply drifts down a waterway like Twelve Mile Creek.

He's kind of a goofy looking fella but he always brings a gift.

He brought bubonic plague and famine to Europe.

He brought cholera to the Irish canallers on the Twelve.

He brought small pox to the indigenous people of North America.

And now he's dancing through north Africa.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrim

Americans are a patriotic bunch and as the first 

Thanksgiving happened on what is now part of the 

USA and is often depicted as occurring under a flag 

pole that flies the stars and stripes we often assume 

the Pilgrims were Americans.

Not true.

There was no USA when the Pilgrims landed.
No 49th parallel.

Even the Toronto Maple Leafs didn't exist in

those far off days.

It was British North America and therefore we have 

as much right to those sanctimonious, self-righteous 

bigots of old as they do. 

So you can rest easy on the Pilgrim front, Canada 

and have a great Thanksgiving!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Along the Twelve

Just as the mighty Niagara River flows into Lake Ontario so do a number of creeks that are found along the south-western shores of the lake.  The early settlers named them according to the number of miles they were from the river.

The community that eventually grew into present day St. Catharines, Ontario was on Twelve Mile Creek and was sometimes simply referred to as "The Twelve".

You can see Twelve Mile Creek in the centre of the picture.  Parts of it were incorporated into the first three Welland Canals.  Lake Ontario is in the upper right. Along the bottom are the colours of the abundant harvest that comes from our rich farmland.  The urban areas along The Twelve are represented by the houses at the top.

The 406 Highway that runs through the peninsula and joins up with the Queen Elizabeth Highway - Niagara's link with Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal and  New York runs parallel to the waterway in the picture.

This is where I live. It's home.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Song of Creation

Artist's Statement

I'm interested in symbols.  Not mainstream cultural symbols but personal images as they come to me in dreams or intuition when I'm sitting at my drawing table. 

I am influenced by North American Aboriginal art, Medieval art, the Symbolist movement, Celtic design, Jungian psychology (or my understanding of it) and many other art movements and artists.

My work often revolves around spiritual issues. I'm trying to find God but not in the traditional sense of being saved from my sins. I try to capture the resurgence of the Divine Feminine as She appears to me. 

I use oil pastels.  They look like crayons but consist of pigment mixed with a non-drying oil and a wax binder.  They are clunky, can be very messy and don't allow for too much detail.  

Before I use the oil pastels I prime water colour paper with India ink and a clear polymer glaze.  I start each picture with a single line or 'thread'.  Eventually an image comes to mind and I build the picture from there, section by section.  I cover the finished work with another glaze.

My art is a joy to me.  It is the first time in my life I've been free to investigate the inner landscape of my own mind.  I believe my mind is joined to all of humanity in what Carl Jung called "the collective unconscious" and so even though my symbols may seem obscure and personal they often resonate with other people.