Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Land and madeleines

Before I start I've been thinking about Proust, not because
I'm a fan, but because in an attempt to escape the sad
recounting of how Canada may have capitulated to power
in the vote, we went to a bookstore that has a good coffee
shop and drank decaf with madeleines, Proust's famous
shell-shaped cookies. If those cookies could transport
Proust back in memory, driving my school route with
Steven takes us over the road of lost lives. The farm
Steven worked on north of Toronto as a 15 year old boy,
is gone, the land covered in houses. The farm where
we bought our vegetables and wonderful Ontario
wine until a year ago is gone, succumbed to the same fate.

Here's a little painting I've been working on, which seems
appropriate tonight because I'm thinking about the land
-- Canada and land as a concept. A new government will
rule us tomorrow, and I hope in my heart of hearts that
that gang will respect both the country, and the land.
All around Toronto land is disappearing. This isn't poor
scrub land, no good for anything, but housing developments
anyway. This is prime farm land -- the bread basket of
Ontario. And it's tragic to cover it with cheap tract
housing, that will be ploughed under in 20 years because
it won't hold up. As I drive to school I watch acre after
acre of this beautiful country -- golden trees, forests
of pine, fields of daisies, places where hawks soar,
swallowed up by badly built homes.

Landscape in progress,
acrylic on canvas

So here's my little painting. Canada has a proud landscape
tradition stretching back before the famous Group of Seven.
Even in the early 1920's painters were hurrying to capture
the raw, wild, natural beauty of this place, before it
was invaded by industry. Landscape is not my
strength, but each time I paint a landscape I honour
my friends who do. Vote carefully my friends.

Have a proud-of-the-land day.


Unknown said...

I'm not Canadian, but I can understand your concern about the land disappearing, it happens all over, and it is sad to see. You are right, things aren't built with quality and pride anymore.
I had to say....I just love your style, your brave, bright colors.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Deborah,

Thanks for the compliment. It's true
that land is disappearing everywhere.
Of course we do need places to live,
but some cities set up rules about
growth -- like Portland, Oregon. I
wish we'd do that in Toronto.

Take care,


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!