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polarity

November 12, 2021

French multidisciplinary artist, Virginie Hucher begins every painting outdoors. “I need to see nature and a corner of the sky.” Trees, forests, meadows, nature is Hucher’s muse. “My whole life has been based on the balance between nature and the city.” Movement is central to Hucher’s artistic process. The former dancer uses her whole body and a stick to carve large symbols into sand, snow and soil which eventually wash away and later find permanence on a canvas. “My mother introduced me to dancing when I was only two-years-old. My father taught me French boxing so I’ve been practicing the two disciplines for years. I literally grew up around notions of softness and strength.” The theme of opposites plays out in every painting, with two forms or colours conversing with another. Hucher’s work is bold and lyrical. Have a look around; these images of her sketching into a sandy beaches and snow in France are quite beautiful.

brownie

November 11, 2021

Summers in Bermuda always included a boat ride with Lise and her family in and around the waters of Harrington Sound. We often came home with sand dollars, and I once remember diving for a sea cucumber. Lise is originally from Montreal, but she’s lived in Bermuda for most of her adult life. She taught my brother and I to swim, and has an optimism and zest for life that has always inspired me. Lise makes the most delicious brownies, at least she did when we came to visit. Her brownies were soft and gooey and stuffed full of raisins and walnuts. Most kids balk at dried fruit and nuts but my brother and I loved both. Years later, I asked Lise for her brownie recipe and she said that they came out of a box. No wonder, we loved them so much. Along with her tuna salad and jug loads of ice tea, there were few lunches more memorable.

walking title

November 10, 2021

We walked along the unused tracks of the Don Valley about a dozen times. We walked along Woodbine beach, the Humber River and the Mimico waterfront. We walked among the relics at Guild Park and among the mansions of Rosedale. We walked through dozens of the city’s parks, beaches and ravines. We walked when the sun shone, and we walked when the rain came down. The children often tracked their steps –– three thousand, four thousand, five thousand –- and if the shops were open, we’d stop for an ice cream. We’d talk, we’d sing, we’d imagine which house we’d want to live in. And sometimes, we’d walk in silence; good silence, awkward silence, the silence you can cut with a knife. Our walks were how we connected with a city in lockdown and how we stayed close to nature, to ourselves and to each other. These days, we walk much less frequently. The children are reluctant; they’d rather play with their friends. Occasionally though, I’ll think about our walks, how quiet the city was, and how much of it we discovered.

around and around

November 9, 2021

Tea sandwiches are the best sandwiches.

Richard Avedon and Sophia Loren, 1966.

Found nature in origami boxes made from old books.

Menno Aden’s aerial room shots.

Maids of honour at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II photographed by Cecil Beaton in 1953.

white collar

November 9, 2021

There are few garments cooler than the white shirt. Even the most avant garde riff on this wardrobe staple has a feeling of establishment to it which makes it the easiest thing to wear to pretty much any event. I have about seven white shirts, each one with its own unique personality. I’ve accumulated them over two decades and they’re my go-to when I want to dress up but I don’t want to dress up. My favourite white shirt is billowy enough to hide two people under, with interesting pleats, and a quirky Peter Pan collar to boot. It’s gone to the cinema, to the beach and to a dozen parties.

portrait of a lady

November 5, 2021

“Joyful, idealized, fantastical and aspirational,” are all words that photographer, Erik Madigan Heck uses to describe art that he’s drawn to, art that inspires his own work. “It’s a world that I want to live in.” His large scale, painterly portraits are just that; magical, bewitching, like characters from a fairytale. “Portraiture is more about the artist than the sitter,” says Madigan Heck who’s photographed dozens of Hollywood greats from Natalie Portman and Saoirse Ronan, to Tilda Swinton, Julianne Moore and Adele. “When I approach portraiture, I normally think of it more as just creating a work of art, something that I want to create around this person as oppose to a portrait of a person,” he says. “And so for me it becomes more about the use of colour, the person in a space, but it’s not necessarily a portrait of them… it almost becomes a portrait of myself.” The light and drama of old masters such as Caravaggio, Goya and Botticelli are strong sources of influence, as are the painterly colours of Vuillard and Bernard. His mother, also a painter, was an enormous influence; she took him to galleries on weekends and bought him his first camera. “She wanted me to engage with the world.” It’s Madigan Heck’s intense use of colour that distinguishes his work, and that renders his sitters regal, mystical and otherworldly. “My work is primarily about colour. The colour sometimes is the subject.”

gold mine

November 4, 2021

The thing about gold shoes is that they feel like jewellery for your feet. I have a pair of Louboutins with vertiginously high heels that look like they were carved from 22 carat gold. They are such a fierce colour, especially against the flash of red soles. I have another pair, Prada gladiators, that are closer to an 18 carat. They’re more subtle, but no less fabulous to wear. Lastly, I have a classic Monolo pump in a gold so mellow that it could have been plucked from a sunset. All these shoes live in their boxes, relics from another life. Once in a while, I’ll peek inside their boxes and admire them the way I would a ring, or a bracelet, or any other jewel. It would be hard to sell them, or give them away. Here’s hoping my girls have small feet.

around and around

October 12, 2021

The colour rich world of Indigenous Australian artist, Sally Gabori.

A beautiful smocked dress from earth conscious brand, A Piece Apart.

Train travel on the Venice Simplon Orient Express.

The transformative effect of hardware.

Nomad wedding in the Hindu Kush mountains, Afghanistan, 1969.

 

school’s in

September 10, 2021

It’s been a big week, Toronto. My heart swelled as I watched kids making their way to school on bikes and skateboards. Parents gathered with coffee cups and backpacks to breath a collective sigh of relief. Hope and gratitude filled the crisp September air. It’s been a big week, Toronto. Let’s keep this spirit alive.

around and around

August 17, 2021

The surrealist paintings of Gertrude Abercrombie.

Crip and colourful porcelain pottery from The Granite.

“Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style.” The work of Interior decorator, Billy Baldwin.

Pistachio, apricot and orange blossom cake.

Victor M. Alonso’s seascapes.

Sarolta Gyoker’s trees.

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