Monday, March 31, 2014

Slow Life

Un fantastique timelapse de 150 000 images mettant en scène des coraux et des éponges de mer dont les mouvements nous sont imperceptibles à notre échelle de temps. Slow Life est réalisé par Daniel Stoupin. A regarder de préférence en HD et plein écran.

A fantastic timelapse 150 000 images depicting corals and sponges whose movements are imperceptible to us in our time scale. Slow Life is directed by Daniel Stoupin. Watch it, ideally, in HD and full screen.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

This is a Human Woman

This parrot is in fact a female model who posed for ‘world bodypainting champion’ Johannes Stötter. The Italian artist spent weeks planning the transformation, taking four hours to paint his subject with ink. The model’s arm forms the parrot’s head and beak, and her legs form the wing and tail feathers. 

FABULOUS!! Digital Rube Goldberg

There’s a rapacious, run-amok energy to Italian street artist Blu’s stop motion animation, BIG BANG BIG BOOM. However long it took him, assisted by a slew of local artists, to render a host of painted large-scale characters across a primarily industrial landscape In Argentina and Uruguay, it takes less than ten, gloriously gritty minutes for his just-dawned world to destroy itself.

This is evolution at its most apocryphal (and least scientific). Crustaceans and giant lizards who mere decades ago would have terrorized the streets of Tokyo are here no match for man. In fact, man is no match for man, rapidly engineering his own demise as he chases about an appropriately circular, abandoned-looking silo. The necessary demise of his murals—animation frames, if you like—serves as a nifty reminder of the evolutionary fate of most street art.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Click on the photos to enlarge them. That way you can see the projected designs.

Visitors can make doodles on their phones and upload them to the site to project their images on the net.

Janet Echelman's sculpture of netting is illuminated at night. It was installed at the Convention Centre downtown for the TED Conference that just ended. It was exciting having TED in town and I look forward to seeing what happens next year. These photos were taken by my fish man, Costin, with his phone.

Paint Showers

Masterful Pencil Crayon Artist

My favourite medium, by far, for creating—other than words—is the pencil crayon. It often hurts holding the pencil for a long time, and it is slow going—you are painting with a tiny, tiny "brush." But you mix your colours right on the paper. It is magical, and 19-year old Jose Vergara is a master. He was born in Mexico, lived for a while in Spain and now lives in Texas, USA.

Beauty and Tragedy

I listen to a radio station in Lyon, France more than any other channel. One of the songs they play regularly penetrated my soul like no other and with a little research I was able to find that it was a song called "Endless Night" sung by one Jason Raize who sang it for three years on Broadway when he originated the role of Simba.

The purity of his tone moves me. There is a softness to his voice that soothes like few others for me. I am addicted to this song and his beautiful face and voice. I have been smitten for weeks.

This morning, I watched a different clip of him singing and started reading the comments about him only to discover that this magical young man, this magnificent voice is gone. Jason, bless his stunningly beautiful voice and nature, hanged himself in 2004 at the age of 29 years.

It breaks my heart to think that a young man with such a voice was so sad yet he and his voice made countless strangers like me love him. Some things hurt too much. His poor, poor family.

The lyrics are poignant given this lovely man's decision to end his life:

Where has the starlight gone?
Dark is the day
How can I find my way home?

Home is an empty dream
Lost to the night
Father, I feel so alone

You promised you'd be there
Whenever I needed you
Whenever I call your name
You're not anywhere

I'm trying to hold on
Just waiting to hear your voice
One word, just a word will do
To end this nightmare

When will the dawning break
Oh endless night
Sleepless I dream of the day

When you were by my side
Guiding my path
Father, I can't find the way

You promised you'd be there
Whenever I needed you
Whenever I call your name
You're not anywhere

I'm trying to hold on
Just waiting to hear your voice
One word, just a word will do
To end this nightmare

I know that the night must end
And that the sun will rise
And that the sun will rise

I know that the clouds must clear
And that the sun will shine
And that the sun will shine

I know that the night must end
And that the sun will rise
And that the sun will rise
I know that the clouds must clear
And that the sun will shine
And that the sun will shine
(Repeat to end)

I know
Yes, I know
The sun will rise
Yes, I know
I know
The clouds must clear

I know that the night must end
I know that the sun will rise
And I'll hear your voice deep inside

I know that the night must end
And that the clouds must clear
The sun
The sun will rise
The sun
The sun will rise

Monday, March 24, 2014


Great Dog Shots

Elke Vogelsang has three rescue dogs — a mutt named Loli and two Galgo Españols named Scout and Noodles. The self-taught photographer has mastered the art of capturing her pets’ silliness.
The dogs’ expressions are priceless in this series of photos reminds us that the pedigree of a dog is irrelevant to the joy it brings to its humans…

Sunday, March 23, 2014

70% Healed!

Imagine having a fungus growing on my vocal cords. Getting news like this is when you wish you didn't have an imagination. Hungry?

Anyway, I wrote to my doctor this morning because I can talk. Bruce Skyped me from Florence and there was my voice when I answered. Today has been a  happy day for me. One day without my asthma medication and five doses of the anti-fungal gargle that one must swallow and I can talk quite well and without straining.

I am always humbled by so quick and accurate a diagnosis and so relatively simple a treatment. It makes you wonder about when and how that learning was made part of the body of knowledge that GPs must have. Bless them all!  (And curse all the anti-vaccination people!)

Go to Google Images and type in "esophageal fungus." Enjoy!

First Pope Francis and now Sister Cristine

The Vatican is on a (rock &) roll!

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Pulmonary Cocktail

My kit.
  • White boxes: Antibiotic mouthwash that you drink. 
  • White plastic tube: How I measure my breath to know how much medication to take.
  • Blue Inhaler: Rescue Inhaler, level two for really bad asthma attacks
  • Green Inhaler: Rescue Inhaler, level one.
  • Red Inhaler: Regular twice daily medication.
  • Blue/clear plastic tube: A device for taking the Rescue inhaler, level two.
  • The large pill container: Prednisone for really bad asthma attacks
  • The small pill container: antibiotics for two weeks for really bad asthma attacks
  • The chart paper under everything is where I record my daily breathing history. I measure my breathing twice a day.
My voice: The doctor thinks my voice (that went missing three weeks ago) is gone due to a fungus growing on my vocal cords. The reason, he believes, is that one of my asthma inhalers contains a steroid that suppresses my immune system's efficiency in my respiratory tract allowing the fungus to grow. So now I go off my asthma medication until my breathing gets difficult and then I go back on it and hope that my voice is healed. 

I have to gargle with the antibiotic (and swallow) four times a day for a month. I have six bottles of the stuff. My doc knows another person who has been swinging off and on her inhalers for twenty years as her voice too, is affected. So I hear chronic and think of Joseph Heller. We are not amused.

Musical Perfection

In February 1994 Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars performed Antonio Allegri's Miserere mei, Deus on the 400th anniversary of the death of Palestrina in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, where Palestrina had trained as a choirboy and later worked as Maestro di Cappella.

The tenors sing with one voice, the soprano hits inhuman notes; it is musical perfection and could be, for me, the most beautiful music ever written. I love choral music more than any other, from the soul-soothing beauty of Gregorian chants to the amplified pop fun of Perpetuum Jazille and the story of how this score came to be in the public domain is amazing.

The Vatican forbade copies of The Miserere from being made to preserve its rarity, threatening the makers of any copy with excommunication. But in 1770, 14-year-old  Mozart attended two performances of the mass at St. Peter's on a trip to Rome with his father and he was able to transcribe it faithfully from memory.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Flame: April 2

Click to enlarge.
I am, as you can see, doing the flame on April 2nd. I think I am first up this time. But right now I have laryngitis, so I am going to the doctor tomorrow. The organizers, the fabulous Joel and Deborah, asked for "personal tidbits" for our introductions instead of résumé points, so here is what I sent them:

Personal Tidbits:  
  • I have never ever in my life been awaked by an alarm clock. 
  • I have been kidnapped. I was actually mugged but because he forced me to drive at knifepoint, he was charged with kidnapping.
  • I took math at UBC for a year when I was eleven.
  • I met and was a  houseguest of the Maharajah of Jaisalmer. 
  • I have met five Canadian prime ministers: John Diefenbaker (with whom I flew to Bermuda from Ottawa), Pierre Trudeau (who opened my theatre), Joe Clark, Kim Campbell and John Turner.

Essence of Sound by Susi Sie

All scenes were filmed by using lycopodium powder 
and a subwoofer and a Red Epic camera.

Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel

I re-learned a lesson thanks to Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel.

When I saw the first trailer for the film, I was very excited; I posted it on this blog because I loved every single frame. And—oh my God—seeing Ralph Fiennes as a comedian thrilled me (as I have written here). I even watched one of Mr. Anderson's past films, The Fabulous Mr. Fox, and revelled in a state of excited anticipation for Budapest Hotel.

But I did not like it at all. I fell asleep twice while I was in the theatre. For style, I would give it a 9.5, but for writing and content, I'd call it a 2. What I re-learned concerned the risk of excited anticipation.

At some time during my high school teaching career (1970-1972), a student named Bruce Davies reduced me to a puddle of tears telling me about Woody Allen's movie, Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask. I could hardly wait to go, and when I did, I hated it.

Conversely, I have been rendered euphoric by the unanticipated or even the dreaded. My experience with Nebraska, is an excellent example. I was vaguely interested but only viewed it because sa friend gave me a free DVD; even then, as it began, I doubted I would stick with it. But not only did I stick with it, I loved it.

When people tell me about their travels or when I read about or watch travel stories, if the narrator says something akin to being the first ("first world") person to visit the place or one of the very few, my attention drifts away. I cannot understand how the past experience (or non-experience) of others has anything to do our experience, so statements like that strike me as really odd.

But the sentiment speaks to our species' need for or love of discovery and I think "discovery" is a big part of being an art viewer or consumer. We love discovery. So I believe that when we see a movie or a play or hear something like Allegri's Miserere for the first time without anyone pushing us to it,  the experience can feel like a discovery which adds to our thrill.

When A Chorus Line opened on Broadway, it got a 22-minute standing ovation and nothing like that ever happened again during its long and international run because once that night had happened, critics and viewers for every ensuing production, all over the world, went to see a what they knew was a phenomena. Happily, A Chorus Line  was able to sustain its hype. Audiences were never disappointed, despite their knowledge, because it was such an intimate masterpiece in so unique a form.

However, discovered or recommended, Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel is a beautiful bore. If only his story-telling could match his eye for design.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Life with WOW

Wow Wow: She phoned at 4:50. My glasses were ready, so I bolted to the store to get them. Two pairs: one for walking around and the other for the roughly 35% of my time awake that I spend at my computer.

Walking home from the store—in fact all the time, so far—I read EVERYTHING. And seeing people's faces with one mouth and two eyes is amazing. And that night when I watched something on TV, it was like communion with God:  HD TV plus 20/20 vision is amazing. I am constantly giddy.
On another front…. I have been getting love letters. Two former students from the two academic years that began my working life wrote to recall my positive influence in their lives. How great a gift is that? It is particularly lovely because a decade ago I wrote to every teacher who did the same for me. they wrote because they saw my final column in the Opus Newsletter.
Boo Hoo: The Grand Budapest Hotel gets a very bad review in the New Yorker. But the criticism is all directed at Wes Anderson.

I am still going to see it because I truly love seeing great acting and actors and I am going to see Ralph Fiennes. Unfortunately, I saw The English Patient. It is one of my all time Most Hated Films, but I had no trouble accepting Mr. Fiennes as the romantic lead. He is a hottie.

Then came In Bruges, one of my all-time favourite films and he very convincingly played a psychopathic killer. I could watch that film every year for the rest of my life. And then there were the Potter films. Life is too short to take in Harry Potter either in print or film for me, but the Internet was overrun with images of Finnes as a villain.

And now, comedy. And from the clips I have seen, he aces it. The guy is an amazing actor.
Yay: And speaking of talented actors, I went to see my dear friend Nicola Lipman in Driving Miss Daisy at the Arts Club. I loathe the script but the extraordinary actors made caviar out of macaroni.
Big Step: I have lived in this condo for six years. When I moved in, I gutted the place and remodelled but I never finished neither the kitchen cupboards nor my bedroom closet, I have never been satisfied with the closet doors on my two closets so…. Yesterday Pablo and Sam were here to do the measuring and the talking to enable them to come up with an estimate.

In May, they will do the work and I will live out the rest of my life in a space designed exactly to my needs and desires: Small but (my) perfect, and my closet doors will be shoji screens built to my choice of materials. I am set.
Spring is like bipolarity: One day is warm and bright and dry and you feel inspired and have to be outside, and the next is cool, dark and wet and you want to stay inside.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

When we're not home

Yay Graphic Design!

The Truth Comes Out

Check out the original post over at Saint Hoax - via Visual News

Couldn't Resist

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
PMS jokes aren't very funny. Period.
She said she was a vegetarian but I'd never met herbivore.
A paper thesaurus is a dinosaur. 
Bladder infection and urine trouble.

Yesterday's walk 'round Stanley Park was lovely. I left home at 9:00 am but because it was the first day of daylight savings time, for most people it was still 8:00 am and it was, perhaps, due to the early hour that something happened twice that had never happened before: people saying, out loud, "Good morning." No one has ever spoken to me like that in years of walking the seawall.

Spontaneous greetings on the mountain are not at all uncommon no matter what the time of day. It seems from my practice, the more remote you are, the more likely a salutation is likely, but on the seawall one doesn't expect it. It was lovely.

The weirdest part happened as I approached the park and the wall. I arrived at the southeast corner as I often do and I wondered about walking clockwise around the park. I really thought about it but didn't do it. I walk the seawall, on average, forty times a year but this year is likely to be considerably higher due to my winter walking, and I have never once walked counter-clockwise.

Walking counter-clockwise increases the shade or puts the sun on your back and it has you facing the relentless traffic of skaters, bikers and those otherwise propelled who must go clockwise around the park on the bike lane.

Todays tasks: Taking gift certificates to the art room workers, Carole and (their) Rita, at Brock Fahrni. They were exceptionally kind and close to (my) Rita. And then I have to go to get Rita's ashes. That is going to be hard.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

HELLO Daylight Savings Time!!
Hello sunshine.
Hello warm temperatures.
Hello feet; hello shoes.
Hello morning, hello seawall.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sensitive Me

I have some of my report cards from elementary school and because I taught at the high school I went to, I could read (and photocopy) the remarks of my teachers about my teenage self. There are two themes: intelligence and sensitivity.

Virtually every single reference to my (relative) intelligence is back-handed: "A boy of Chris's capability should do better…." "…Disappointed, given his capacity…." "Expect more of someone of his ability…." You get the idea. It repeats and repeats in that way; there is not a single positive commentary about my intelligence. And the comments about my sensitivity would have you believe that I were Joseph (John) Merrick or a pedophile.

I am sure the messages about my academic achievement were meant to encourage me, but in my high school at that time, there was a cultural distaste for sensitivity. To be constantly criticized for being sensitive certainly made me curious about sensitivity so I read lots of books and many articles. But after all my reading, I still could not understand what sensitivity was. I did learn, however, that sensitive people can be hard for people to understand.

I learned from Dr. Elaine Aron that sensitivity was the reason my self esteem was so low. She also made me smile by making me understand why, whenever I travel alone, my first day always involves visiting the churches, gardens and parks closest to my hotel. These places, along with my locked hotel room, become my essential retreat/re-charging places.

This week a student expressed profound distaste for me and my course on her course evaluation form. Her choice of language and her vocabulary made her commentary feel hateful and it hurt to be so hated and such a failure for someone, even though I never lost cognizance of the better path of "letting it go" and "not taking it personally."

That was the advice of every single friend in whom I confided and whereas it is sage, it is pointless. I know already. And I also know that for me—a person Dr. Aron calls "a highly sensitive people" or HSP—it is just not possible. Instead, I take comfort in knowing that when I go to bed, it will hurt less in the morning. And the next morning etcetera. But neither my own intelligence nor the well intentioned protestations of friends can affect the emotional track of an HSP.

Catching Up

I went to see an ophthalmologist a while back. I realized later that I went unconsciously—like when you are flying along on the highway and suddenly you snap into consciousness and realize that you have been "somewhere else," daydreaming about something and not seeing the landscape you were in. I say I went unconsciously because last week I went to another one.

My name is Mr. Loranger but my twin's name is Mr. Anxiety. From the moment I made the second appointment I started worrying: What kind of person goes to two ophthalmologists in a month? What will I say when he asks why I am there? What if nothing is wrong and I am a hypochondriac?

When the day came this week, it was fine. I told her simply that I was sure that something was the matter with my right eye. So we got down to it and I covered my left eye and started reading off her chart with my right one. I did the best I could.

Then it was time for my left eye and whoa, what the hell?! I could tell right away that my left eye was way worse than my right eye. Now I was really confused. Turns out my vision is worse in my left eye  but I have a cataract in my right eye.

So now I wonder who, exactly, was comatose during my first appointment—me or ophthalmologist number one because after going to number two I found out about the cataract (and now use drops) and that life will be much better with my two new pairs of glasses.
Whopppeeee. Now, if and when I travel again, I can add 2 pairs of glasses to my medical bag.  MY friends Bruce and Beth wonder why I have lost my desire to travel. Well, I wonder, how big are their medical bags?  Seriously! I have a large breath meter that tells me how much asthma medication to use, and the two inhalers, allergy medications, migraine medications, HIV medications and all the crap you get in case of gastrointestinal viruses and malaria etc. Honestly, one needs a medi-wallah when one travels. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Endings: Because of Rita's death, I cancelled a gig leading a Focus Group for the City of Port Moody. And because of lack of enrolment, it seems likely that a 2-day workshop for the West Vancouver Sketch Club will be canceled.

My last column for Opus, after 28 years and 300 newsletter editorials, came out this week. And the changes in management practices of an artistic career continue to change. The copyright act has changed and social media have me questioning my relevance to the course I teach at Emily Carr. I hate the marking and the infrequent problem student, but I do like teaching. What to do; what to do….

Here is my last column for Opus (I really like the quotes at the end):

“And how do people perform that ceremony of parting, Jane?” Mr. Rochester asks Jane in Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre. Saying a permanent goodbye, like other major life changes, is a dynamic renewal to some and anathema to others.

Creative people are good at adapting to change and optimists are also good with transitions. And so, as a creative optimist, I am embracing the change that this last column in the Opus Visual Arts Newsletter brings.

This is column number three hundred in Issue #300. More than twenty-eight years of writing this column has been a highlight of my life, as has been receiving the one thousand-plus inspiring emails and letters you have sent me. (The two pieces of hate mail I could have done without, though.) Writing to you each month has been a remarkable experience that cumulated in the writing of two books and an offer of a teaching position at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

I have some very vivid memories as a result of past columns that I will never forget:
  • Writing about a Shell Oil supply boat touring in the Arctic that had a free stateroom for an artist and later hearing from an artist who that took that life-changing trip.
  • Getting almost two hundred letters and calls when I wrote about finding my birth mother at age forty-five and her turning out to be a revered and accomplished artist.
  • Introducing the Gorilla Girls to Vancouver artists on two occasions by bringing them to speak and perform at the Stanley Theatre.
  • Presenting the Opus Series, a series of presentations by feminist curators Whitney Chadwick and Marcia Tucker.
  • Commissioning and presenting short plays about Emily Carr, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe. I had the courage to undertake this only because I knew you would buy tickets to attend.
  • Making a success of Artropolis 2001, thanks largely to the ability to “spread the word” through this newsletter.
And then there is my most unique memory. I had gone to the cashier to pay for some clothes at The Bay whilst a sale was occurring that had a contest component. When I handed my credit card to the salesperson and she saw my name, she kept scratching and throwing away the contest discount scratch cards until she found one with the maximum percentage off for me because she enjoyed these newsletter columns so much.

I look forward to whatever lies ahead, but I will always look back at the writing of this column as the most remarkable professional experience of my life. And for that, I am forever grateful to David van Berckel, Scott Cronshaw and Opus for providing me with the privilege of this platform.

This is how I describe myself on my website: “I research, teach, write and publish about professional development for visual artists, seeking to maximize the pleasure, productivity and success of the creative practitioners I deeply respect and admire.”  I mention this because of that last part about you.

Making art was only a hobby for me. I have only modest skills; hence my reverence for the truly talented. My admiration and respect for creators of visual art led to a determination to serve artists. Founding and running Presentation House Gallery and the Alliance for Arts and Culture, founding this newsletter in 1986, teaching, writing books and leading workshops — all these activities have been ways to serve you.

During my tenure writing this column I got a devastating diagnosis of HIV. I faced a path of challenging treatments that could not cure and that would end in the ultimate ceremony of parting. But a medical miracle led to a very positive and unexpected outcome. On the day I was given back a future, I went for a walk along the Stanley Park seawall. I will never forget that walk in the sunshine.

I felt like the luckiest person in the world to have escaped death and to have lived the creative path I chose. I may not have found wealth or glory, but I reveled in the joys of colour, composition and texture. And my supreme moments of consciousness were those of majestic pleasure in the presence of great work by great artists. (Brian Jungen, you are my God.)

I am envious of all of you who are blessed with true talent. I hope you never take it for granted and that your talent and your process will forever truly fulfill you, because looking at your work is the most valued thing that I and many others do.

So to make celebratory this parting, here are some famous words for you:
  • “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”  (Vincent van Gogh)
  • “Every artist was first an amateur.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • “Painting is easy when you don’t know how and very difficult when you do.” (Edgar Degas)
  • “Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes; work never begun.”
  • (Christina Rosetti)
  • “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes; art is knowing which ones to keep.” (Ansel Adams)
  • “[Making] art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” (Twyla Tharp)
  • “Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.” (Stella Adler)
  • “An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.” (Charles Horton Cooley)
  • "I foresee it and yet I hardly ever carry it out as I foresee it. It transforms itself by the actual paint. I don't, in fact, know very often what the paint will do, and it does many things which are very much better than I could make it do." (Francis Bacon)
  • “As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward." (Vincent van Gogh)
  • “People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love.” (Claude Monet)
  • “No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist.” (Salvador Dali)
  • “Damn! And just when I was starting to get it!” (Edgar Degas on his deathbed)
And so, goodbye and good luck.