Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer haze.

Leo is calling "maman" from his playpen in my room. His maman et papa are moving house today so we are staying out of their hair. Day time sleepover at my house. Here is a photo diary of my summer in progress. Lazy afternoons, intricate salads, sitting beside my begonias in the rocking chair, walking around town, camping with Stef on the Lachine Canal at Montreal's Folk Festival on the Canal. Easy breezy. 

There has been a shift in the plates, change is stirring.

Begonias for Auntie Marj; Montreal 2011.

Summer lunch; Montreal 2011.

Pepper on the run; Montreal 2011.

There she goes; Montreal 2011.

Wandering around town, Montreal 2011.

Cruising on Fairmount; Montreal 2011.

This looks intense. Ordered chaos; Montreal 2011.

Father's Day lunch with Chanel; Montreal 2011.

Saturday afternoon room clean, these are my feet; Montreal 2011.

Collection of Small Things, a 3D collage; Montreal 2011.

Stef the happy camper (we went Urban Camping); Montreal 2011.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ghost Sale.

Below hang the ghost shots, ragged due to not understanding how to operate my camera in bright ass sun. Sun is tricky, the dark trickier.

I miss Chanel, she tells it on the mountain these days (a la British Columbia [what a name]). Be safe!

This is weird, but I came across an old car parked so secretively and obviously at the same time on one of my alley tours. I love looking at it at night, visiting it with Leo in the afternoon. It is strange to feel so connected to an old car with wooden spokes! Shit, thin tires, box frame, it is a BEAUTY. Chanel and I discovered it together a few weeks back on while on a pilgrimage under the full moon. I hope I drove that thing in another lifetime, my corset flying wild from the tailgate! The vehicle itself is very old with impeccable restoration. Time machine, I have no doubt. I have shot many photos of it, all the rolls suspended somewhere out of sight, mid process. We'll see.

Now for a photo entry, the curation of it a bit random. Flop shots in my books, but shots none the less. Their story is faint.

Ghost pictures!

Ghost dog at the Ladybird Sale; Montreal, June 2011.
Ghost Stef drinks Poor Man's Sangria; Montreal, June 2011.

Ghost chaps; Montreal, June 2011.
Ghost laugh; Montreal, June 2011.
Ghost with the Most, Christiane; Montreal, June 2011.

Ladybird Sale ghosts; Montreal, June 2011.

Ghosts of Italian Vogue; Montreal, June 2011.

Laura Beeston and Isabelle Guimond, babes; Montreal, June 2011.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Doors thrown wide.

June is slip sliding away. Summer, so far so good. After a good day with Le Poulet (one more week in his home until he moves up the street), I had a cat nap in the sun on the front balcony and then hopped on Alba and hightailed it for magic hour at Parc Jeanne Mance. While at the parc with some friends, I met so many Concordia alumni. Art students. Nearly all of them were in some sort of art study. I was most thrilled to meet a girl who reminded me of Molly! Celina, Fibers artist! Maybe this sounds silly, but I can't even explain how thrilling it is to hear word about the programs I am signed up for, never mind to meet people within the actual studio. She is second or third year in, obsessed with any process related to fabric. She told me a bit about the class, the dipping, the dying, the deconstructing, the burning, the weaving. I had to leave I was so excited. School for the arts. I can hardly fathom such a thing!

I left, too much excitement. Simon was wearing his Greek fisherman's hat (black with a fat braid) and it made me long for my Nikon, nowhere near reach. I guess I was seeing in Contrast Vision today, for black all over objects or sudden stripes in my line of vision just get me fired up. I met another girl who is slated to begin photo studies in September as well. She was asking light meter questions and I laughed aloud when she looked to me for answers. I had little to string together for her other than a few funny tips that she clearly did not follow. How does one teach a feeling? Silly. I need to be slapped upside the head with technicalities and numbers. AHHH. 

Picked up some photos today with Leo running wild and barefoot in Excellent Photo, a family run print shop in my neighborhood. The Ass Hat behind the counter had no idea what was going on. I came within moments of hopping over the counter to help him with his search. 

Sigh. Yes. M-E-G

Two of out ten. The rest were overexposed, glaring sun wiping out the picture. Ghosts at a Ladybird Sale. How does one learn anew? Time to trade feelings for pure mechanics. School is NEAR! Shit. Shit. Shit. Liza. Shit. I am excited. 

Fibres: Print and Dye
Photo Darkroom: Black and White

These are my two studio focuses this year with many photo theory and history classes in between. Wild times ahead. I need to learn fast before this trade of mine fades away!!!!! Below are two shots that sum up my handle on life these days outside of how I pay my rent: working on art, cooking in this home Laura and I have made for ourselves. 

I leave in thirteen days! Can't wait to learn how to tie knots properly. 

Dinner with Lola; Montreal, June 2011.

Parent Stencil; Montreal, June 2011.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bonne ecoute.

Dusting one's room is work of a rigorous variety. Everything off. I dust about once every two months. Terrible! Je sais. So today while moved by the spirit, I emptied the tops of everything. Came across some weird stuff. The pile of things I have collected over time smaller than the size of ones palm, is vast. It is no wonder I lose things. I also did a quick account of my things, my books. What would I reach for in the account of an emergency? Ma petite camera. Nikon Nancy. Why do I hold onto some things and let go of others? What constitutes nostalgia? So many categories of reasoning here. All from a dusting frenzy. My room is small, my time is my own at the moment (much appreciated), freedom abounds. I spend a lot of time at home.

Cleanliness goes hand in hand with progress, and Lord knows production is nil without an organized environment (I do say this picturing the basement of Martha Street Studio, well planned). To feel no shame in spending such an incredible amount of time at this desk, it is kept clean. I love the process of moving things around. My room is an ongoing 3D collage. Layers upon layers, applied and removed in no order.

I need to alphabetize my records because the chaos is confusing. But first, here is a list.

10 records at the front of the pile:

- Townes Van Zandt's Delta Momma Blues
- Baby Dee's A Book of Songs for Anne Marie
- Joanna Newsom's The Milk-Eyed Mender
- Abner Jay's True Story of Abner Jay
- Kurt Vile's God is Saying This to You...
- Cat Power's Jukebox
- Patti Smith's Horses
- Buffy Sainte Marie's Illuminations
- Brahms/ Gould's 10 Intermezzi for Piano
- Karen Dalton's In My Own Time

10 bedside books:

- Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost
- Robert Hough's The Final Confession of Mabel Stark (my favorite novel)
- Stephanie Harrison's Adaptations: From Short Story to Big Screen
- The Broadview Anthology of Poetry
- Anne Michaels' The Wiinter Vault
- Miriam Toews' The Flying Troutmans 
- Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential
- Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude
- Anne Michael's Fugitive Pieces (top of the pile)

10 Small items lying about:

- a small hunk of Amethyst
- Covergirl 350 Eternal
- orange nailpolish
- a miniature chair from Lisa King
- a tin of nibs
- a shallow mug from A. Daryl filled with rubber bands.
- Annie Kroeker's shears (RIP little bird)
- rabbit parts, cut and ready
- stamps of a house, a crest and the date
- manilla tags

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bonne Saint-Jean!

Tout la monde, Bonne Saint-Jean! June 24, 2011 perched at my work table. Bon Voyage Chanel, enjoy the mountains of BC.

The old Long and Lean; Winnipeg, MB 2006.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bell Island.

Here is to hoping the Kiev will handle any and all salt water spray because I am taking leave in two weeks and hauling the heavy beast along. A train trip is in order! Halifax, Nova Scotia here I come. Lord only knows where this adventure will lead. I can only imagine. July tenth I am set to board a train called The Ocean. Falling asleep in Quebec country only to wake to the Atlantic. Island living for eleven days at my friend Simon's childhood home. Can't wait to explore Fools Cove together on foot, aimless walking in a giant hat and bathing suit, diving for clams, porch poetry and lessons in cooking sea creatures. Holiday.

Fools Cove, Conception Bay, Bell Island.

Sailing, seafood and salt water.


On y va.

Sailing, sailing, sailing, sailing home. With __________ in my vessel I can __________ at the storm, __________ at the storm.

Sunday school songs of Christmas past lodged in thought. Red Rock bible camp, there is no escaping your tight grip on memory. No mistaking the loopy grin on my face today. Happy lady. Interesting what hopefulness a sudden journey in the wings can bring. My pa always says it is the looking forward part to a trip that he loves most. I couldn't agree more Cal. Leo and I zipped around the neighborhood today. Errands here, photocopies of poetry for Liza and Lynch. Then we found a Tonka truck resting on top of a junk pile on the sidewalk. Spray painted silver to boot. Leo almost shit his pants he was so excited. Dump dump dump. Dump truck double truck. Dumpedy duuuuump. Happy boy he continues to be, mon ami Le Poulet.

While speaking in short sentences with Lisa today, she brought me back to exactly this time last summer with two words: Percy Lake. Lisa and Jillian had kindly offered to drive me back to Dryden, Ontario to finish up the planting contract (after a week long break; and finish I never did). We drove alllllllll the way to Dryden, through Kenora only to turn back around and head for home. What an incredible journey that was: fancy fries at the craziest Golden Girls-esque lady diner in Dryden, an afternoon dip in Percy Lake on the side of the No. 1 highway, one hundred rolls of film, sad eyes knowing how hard it would be to tear myself away from those women. Tear I did. But not before freezing laughter and nakedness with camera and film.

Percy Lake, we will be back.

Giles and Margot; Percy Lake, Ontario 2010.
Ilford 35mm B&W double exp.

Hi Vis and raspberry lips; Dryden, Ontario 2010.
35mm slide film, double exp/ X process.

The one and only Giles; Percy Lake, Ontario 2010.
Ilford 35mm B&W, double exp.

Boots and No Pants; Percy Lake, Ontario 2010.
35mm slide film/ X process.

Turd Burgs; Percy Lake, Ontario 2010.
Ilford 35mm B&W double exp.

Season fin; Ontario 2010.
35mm slide film/ X process.

The one and only Lisel; Winnipeg, Manitoba 2010.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tong work.

In a great show, Spring dropped her towel to reveal herself to any curious enough to look. Summer exposed like body parts, blooms and plumage pushing up and out between small spaces, cracks and crannies. Strong smells, warm winds.

I have been reading a small book of poetry titled The Shanty Horses by Bob McGee. Chanel bought it for me on our Sunday date, walking around the neighborhood in bathing suits and stupid hats. The cover called out to me: James Bay poetry. The language of the poetry transports me to the bush, it is incredible how the universe handles want and sadness simultaneously.

Last night I made dinner for six and ate alone. These funny portions always make me laugh and think of Aunty Marj who always cooked for an army, just in case. I can hear her laughing as casserole dish after steaming casserole dish were laid on the tablecloth "in case someone shows up hungry". Come hungry, hungry family. I was waiting for Simon, hoping he would just show up hungry despite my ongoing issues with communication. Telepathy failed, so I enjoyed my glass of dollar wine and white fish (breaded in milk and Cream of Wheat [thought it was the jar of breadcrumbs, not so]), weird pasta, perfect June evening in my rocking chair beside the begonias.

Forty seven year old virgin.

I just had an incredible conversation with my old friend and colleague Kate. It never fails to amaze me how restorative conversation of these sort can be. Kitty is one of the most determined women I have ever met. Her decisiveness frightened me to death when we first worked together on a sandwich bar, her strength coming out of every movement, fast tong work, fast sandwiches.

* Sorry if those photos offended anyone. I noticed too late their offensive nature, I apologize. No harm meant.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday salute.

Cal, my dad; Rosenort, 2007.
I love you; Amsterdam, 2007.

Summer haze over here. Woke with the day well on it's way, gasping at the time while rising. Lazy everything; beans and eggs with coffee, bare shoulders, no clothes, bathing suit bottoms, little shoes. 
Chanel came over and the nothingness of the day ensued. We wandered and plucked, ate ice cream and poutine, saluting our dad's in between sips of cans of cola, the hot sun on our shoulders through the open window at the sandwich shop. 

Happy Father's Day pops. Love you a lot. 

Peter Pana Puff; Winnipeg 2008.
Sugar Shack; 2008.

Canada's Greatest Dad; Winnipeg, 2007.

Sprinkler duty; Rosenort, 2008.

Like bees to the hive; Gimli, 2008.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tap dance.

Mozart and Hoegaarden on a Samedi midi. I woke at 6 or so this morning, having slept on and off throughout the night. Waking inside of a tent to the sound of rain beating against the fly was wonderful. Steph and I took a very impromptu camping trip last night. Montreal's Folk Festival on the (Lachine) Canal  was quite something. We set up our tent and wandered around the modest festival grounds tucked in alongside the canal across from the Atwater Market. Urban camping, there is a first for everything. Success!

I woke up in a tent this morning, my feet sore from dancing so ridiculously wildly last night (sudden tap came right out of me) kicking up dust on the gravel dance floor. I love a good groove. The weather was perfect and the one performance I saw by Belz√©buth was incredible. This week I was thinking to myself how I could inspire new work when I came across a list on the internet that recommended changing the scenery, waking up in a surprising place, wood wandering, listening to new music and interacting with new people. Killing birds with one stone. The music made me think of Aunty Daryl, who I could feel somewhere in the crowd, just out of sight.

Steph and I ate breakfast outside and came home by train early in the morning. The Saturday putter around began and I finally cleaned up my work table which was buried in crap and paint supplies. I have been experimenting with gouache lately. I bought a little child's set from a French toy store near my home and have been enjoying playing around. Careful floral, little wreaths, Ash bows. Bored with the paint, I left to pick up my Kiev from Chanel's, loaded it up and took off for a mountain climb. And climb I did. All the way to the top along little footpath's leading to nowhere through the underbrush. Shot around lightly, my eyes having a hard time finding the contrast. Contrast vision. I shoot black and white film very differently than I do color, vice versa.

Came home, had lunch, and went to my favorite store Les Touilleurs to have a look about. Good Lord, french cookware. I love that place. Wandered around and lingered in front of the Global knives just long enough to catch the attention of the staff. A beautiful french woman approached me and we made conversation easily, both of us taken by the other's excitement for cooking utensils. Had I two hundred dollars to toss to the winds, I would have loved to waltz home with an almost cleaver by Global knives and Jamie Oliver's latest cookbook. When I asked her her favorite item to cook, she responded excitedly with "meats". I sighed, my hesitation in cooking meat in part to the lack of a roaster. "I need a god damned roaster". She laughed. Her face was incredible, wish I shot her portrait in store. I just didn't have the gumption to ask for portraits this afternoon. Empty handed, I returned to my home.

Later en route to pick up beer for Chanel's party ce soir, I came across a black and white speckled roaster  sitting on the sidewalk. A donner. To give. Perfect size, exactly what I was looking for. Life is funny. Off to Chanel's.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lee Godie.

The work of Lee Godie hooked me like talons when I stumbled upon it via the Dossier Journal yesterday evening (the fear of dying behind me, expelled by writing. Bodies are temporary, life is precious). Enchanting and wee bit crazy by the looks and sounds of things, my kind of woman. Childlike but decisive, her scope of color is so warm and delicate. Beautiful colors. My favorite piece is found at the bottom of this modest pile aptly titled 'Portrait (Blue-eyed Woman in Orange Top and Hat)'.

Rest you, Lee Godie. You have found yet another fan in me.

Caris Reid for Dossier Journal, sheds a little light on the eccentricities of the artist:

Lee Godie was a Chicago based outsider artist, who spent much of her adult life homeless, selling her paintings in front of the Art Institute of Chicago for $5 or $100, depending on her mood.  Now her paintings can be found at auction houses, selling for thousands of dollars.

* Excerpt taken sans permission from Dossier Journal, click here to see for yourself.

SA Women (A Woman with Orange Leaves)
Paint and pen on canvas

The Seagull (Pink Seagulls)
Paint and Pen on Canvas

Gibbson Girl (sic)
Paint on Canvas

Miss Gibbson (sic) (Gibson Girl in Profile)
Ballpoint Pen on Canvas

Portrait (Blue-eyed Woman in Orange Top and Hat)
Paint and Pen on Canvas


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fear of dying.

It was frightening to realize last night while lying in bed that when I do speak up these days, it is usually in a series of anecdotes relating to the past. Am I regressing by holding on to whom I knew I was then? Probably. Life in Montreal is challenging in areas I didn't think to prepare for. Thankfully, the constant passing of time makes forward motion inevitable.

I need to leave the house more, go beyond the neighborhoods surrounding the Mile End, push further to the east, the west, north, south; exploring both on foot and on my bicycle. What am I afraid of? Truthfully, I am afraid of being killed while riding; seeing my own death fast approaching, an accident scene unfolding before it happens. I don't live in constant fear, but I push the thought of death away nearly every time I swing into the saddle. That probably seems silly, but it is true. More often that not, I opt to walk in lieu of riding out of fear. Not sure when the spook will pass, but I trust that it will.

Aunty Marj, you are deeply missed this morning.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dad Beard and Chanel.

Just got in from an alley tour. The change in perspective was a welcomed one. Training eyes on the backs of homes illuminated against the dim of dusk. Heavy canopies of vines.

Samedi, a day of rest. Woke late, red wine flowing in place of blood in the bed of my veins. Party time. Last night after entertaining dinner company, I attended an impromptu bush birthday ripper down the street from my home, only to come back to find the Wives and Charles heading to Casa Del Popolo for biere and disco. Rode along happily, guiding Jessica Alba along the bike path. My bicycle is finally straight as an arrow. A little tight in the stem for my taste. Where is the balance? I continue ask myself this. Je sais pas.

Went to Chanel's as per usual. Coffee for breakfast, jazz in the jungle of her living room at the Bro Pad. What company I have found in those Petshop clowns--Dad Beard and Chanel. I like starting my Saturday morning amongst all those happy plants she has on the go. Dealt with my wheel for the low price of fourteen dollars and walked home (sans wheel) triumphantly. Strike. CHECK. Tomorrow pick up and then the first parade ride of the season. Looking forward to coasting around corners on Ruby.

En route, I ran into a gentleman whose portrait I shot a couple of weeks back (pictured below left). He was disheveled and I wished I had a cigarette to offer him. He was crossing Fairmount while I waited for the light to turn and all he said when he came into my line of vision was "Photographer". A delay, then sudden recognition on my part. "Ah oui, merci pour la photograph". He looks like he could be a famous film star on haggard holiday. Interesting features, brusque speech, impeccable Anglais. We walked side by side and after a time he asked me why I shoot around the neighborhood.

Good question. For practice, was my first answer. To challenge myself to slide out of the comfortable and ask difficult questions, to document, to freeze moments that catch my eye. I often wish my camera was less conspicuous, it is far more difficult than it seems to shoot and run. Then again, it is the very exchange within the portrait session (no matter the length of the encounter) that thrills me. This was the first time in my life I have ever reconnected by chance with a previous Street Portrait subject. It was interesting. Always wishing I had something to give, there was nothing on my person but clothes.

Business card, get on it.

My neighborhood is quite interesting. Summer is in.

Ca va; Montreal, Juin 2011.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Lookout.

The ever ending wheel project and some CRAZY shoes; Montreal, June 2011.

Ping of a typewriter, carried through the air from somewhere. The never ending wheel diaries. I am trying to build up a new bicycle. Her name is Ruby, she is a little red pony, Velosport, size 50 or smaller, nothing to write home about. Riser handle bars, a huge change in body position from Jessica Alba's drops. Pretty much in running order, save for the last project pictured. The front wheel, missing two spokes (NEVER ride a wheel with broken/missing spokes, rim tension goes out the window). So there is that, I like the weekend hunt. New seat, new pedals, grease, vinegar, Pledge (yes, I Pledge my bicycle as it is an excellent dust repellant). In other news, a very attractive chef (je pense) lives across the way from Leo's back balcony. I like watching him snip herbs in the afternoon sun, making lists for himself, concocting sauces with a tea towel thrown over his shoulder. Men who can cook? Yes please. 

Vendredi, hallelujah. Blue skies, warm sun. Even the birds are excited. Tonight I am making dinner for a new friend, Laure. Fish last night, fish again tonight. Rocket salad with a zingy dressing, bean salad from a recipe of Pat's. This week has held dinner party after dinner party. Last night was no exception. Michelle Hooey's whirlwind Eastern Tour dropped anchor in Montreal and she came by Casa Clark for dinner. That woman is a force. It felt so good to just sit around a table together, Martha Street memories so close to the forefront I could almost taste ink.

Jeanette, Lola, Michelle and myself sat around a table sighing with summer bounty, candles lit, Peter and the Wolf playing behind us. I love summer cooking! Holy hannah I have been so inspired, sure and comfortable in my summer kitchen this week. Feeding five? Two hours to plan, shop and prep? Alright. Yesterday I whipped around my kitchen in a frenzy, thinking of my ma as fish was prepared, vegetables diced and ready to go, a new tomato, spinach sauce on the go to top off the fish.

- smashed garlic, add sliced onion once garlic colors golden (nice and low)
- roast a bit of coriander seed in the oven, grind, add
- splash of red wine, reduce
- nob of butter
- salt and pepper
- around 12 plump italian tomatoes (one size up from cherry), halved
- splash red wine vinegar
- handful of clean spinach
- let this roll for a while on med low; delicious on Tilapia

Coriander seed. One of my favorite spices and totally under utilized in my kitchen. I found it unopened while rooting around for peppercorn (which I am forever running out of). I have been obsessed with concocting salad dressings lately. They are incredibly easy to make, they keep forever in glass in the fridge. Trying to challenge myself to concoct a dressing per week as an attempt to eat more greens. Arugula, kale, spinach, greens greens greens. Yesterday I hit up the PA (neighborhood grocery) with a sizable list for the Martha Street reunion dinner and was shocked when the total was under 20 dollars. What? SEASONAL produce is back, thank goodness. 3 pounds of strawberries for five dollars? I made a cake. It turned out, didn't flop! Went to the Poissonnerie and picked up two pounds of Tilapia (the salmon was $18.99/lb! Too much for this gal). Someday, I hope to get my life in order enough to have a freezer stocked with meat and fish. Simple goal, not so doable right now.

While I may not have much to say these days, I seem to have no problem cooking for the masses. I find it more difficult to cook for one than for five or six. Entertaining holds me accountable to the state of my home, the cleanliness of my bathroom and kitchen (which are very close together). The older I become, the more I appreciate this skill set within me passed down from generations before. I called my mum and she was in her own kitchen, hustling around, seventeen things on the go. Timing is everything, I learned this from her. Nothing beats a full-set summer table, table cloth, napkins, happy bodies, food babies, red red red wine.

If art school flops, I am going to cooking school, no contest there.

Other than cooking and entertaining, I have been shooting. Yesterday while on a mission to wrap up some loose school ends, I picked up a few rolls of 35mm film shot in the last couple of weeks. Sometimes I feel lonely here but in the last few weeks I have met some pretty incredible people. Luan from Brazil and Laure of France, two photographers as kind as the day is long. It was interesting to hang out in the park together, 10 personalities on a blanket. I am finding it easier to be at ease around the people I have met, but am frustrated by my tendency to remain quiet. Unable to understand the flow of conversation 96% of the time, active listening and laughter are it. Luan shot a photo of me at the park the day following the Ladybird Sale. I think it sums up my newfound character to a tee. Reserved, quiet, vulnerable, wistful, steady, content.

Megan at Parc La Fontaine; Montreal, June 2011. Photo by Luan Banzai.
This is Luan, quietly handsome; Montreal, Juin 2011.
Laure in the light; Montreal, June 2011.

Jamille in the rocking chair, a beauty inside and out; Montreal, June 2011.

Teens on Rue Clark; Montreal, Juin 2011.

Leo's ma and pa came to visit; Montreal, Juin 2011.
Barber shop Jade jungle on Parc; Montreal, June 2011.
Jessica Alba's new look Pt. 1; Montreal Juin 2011.