Girl With The Red Umbrella

art and music

Girl With The Red Umbrella 

Dancing Under a Northern Sky

The sky is filled 
with colours tonight
Illuminating this remote 
Filling my senses with
a beauty that touches
everything in sight.

I can hear the faintest 
music...a sweet melody
as the northern lights dance
to a rhythm I can feel in
fibre of my being.

There's a power here tonight
there's a Spirit on this air
I'll wake up sometime later
this morning and remember
I've had this vision before.

Sault Ste. Marie Christmas Art and Music Show 

Once again, I find myself in the city of Sault Ste.Marie Ontario with my yearly ChristmasArt and Music show. The Station Mall is situated just a stone's throw away from the historical St. Marys River. If you were around a couple of hundred years ago this place certainly would look a lot different than it does today. Mid- November is prime spawning season for the Lake Superior Whitefish population which provided a valuable source of food for the Ojibwa who used this site Baawitigong...(Bawating) as a regional meeting place during the whitefish season.
Later the first settlers along with Voyageurs gathered here at this time of year to harvest these fish and have a little fun! Fiddle music, dancing and big fish fries were the order of day!

I hope to get up to Wawa later on this month for a few nights and catch a few whitefish.

Keeping with the tradition of the season, traditional folk music is performed every day here in the "Gros Sault" in our art store.  We are located two doors down from Wal-Mart in Station Mall.

A little "spring" in my step. 

It happened in the middle of the night. I was awakened by the sound of water dripping on the outside window sill.The cold weather that had us all huddling around
wood stoves and electric heaters here in Northern Ontario has suddenly taken a break. Hopes of warm weather around the corner put a little "spring" in my step as I pour another coffee and daydream of the first wildflowers poking their head out of these snowbanks...dandelions are welcomed!

Cherished Moments / Girl With The Red Umbrella Art and Words 

Girl With The Red Umbrella Art and Words

Cherished Moment

There is no reason for me
To be standing here on this coastline of mighty
Gitche Gumee
except for the fact that I’m dreaming again
of these beautiful hills
that seem to echo
a deeper longing.
To understand all of this in a moment
isn’t that what Eternity is? But a
cherished moment.
Isn’t that what we’re all looking for?
To live a life we cherish
with every moment of our existence
with every breath we take.
This dream will never end
I hope.


Walking in Mud 

Well summer has come and gone along with a lot of tears washing away the pain and anguish from the loss of our beloved son. Life goes on, seasons change and memories linger around every corner of my waking day.
Sometimes  it feels like I'm walking in mud and just barely making it through the day and then someone will come by, call or send an email with a funny story about my son Jamie and I realize that his life is totally imbedded in mine and a smile comes to my heart...shadows lift and the sun goes on.

I started painting again a little while ago and thinking of doing another music album in the next few months. My wife and I have decided to have my yearly Christmas show this year so everyone is busy getting ready for that.
We will be in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario in the Station Mall with my "Art Music and Fishing Show". If you happen to be in the area please drop in for a visit. Live music is performed everyday and our gallery / store is filled with hand made Northern Ontario Art and Crafts.

Diary of a Fish Addict/ Tom Thomson and Don Charbonneau 

Art and Fish Addiction

The great Canadian wilderness landscape artist Tom Thomson was a fish addict and I share this disease. Thomson had a short career as an artist and painted most of his masterpieces in a five year period in Algonquin Park. Why this location? You have to remember back in the early 1900's Algonquin was a remote wilderness area and only a few hour train ride from Toronto were Thomson lived and the lakes Thomson guided and painted on were full of fish! 
He was a good man in a canoe, the preferred mode of water transportation back in those days. He worked as a fishing guide and sometimes fire fighter and I like to tell the story that ever once in a while he would do a little painting...never far from his favourite fishing hole.
As a matter of fact the last person to see him alive on his faithful day was a game warden by the name of Mark Robinson.He observed him  letting out wireline from his banjo while he was paddling away from Mowatt's Lodge on Canoe Lake  heading in the direction of the Smokey Lake portage trail. 
For those of you who don't know what a wire line is and what it was doing on a banjo I'll take the liberty to describe it for you. The "banjo" was a form of a large fishing reel which was probably hand made by the artist and the wire line was a light metal line with just enough weight to get it down where the lake trout were feeding. Thomson died in July so  that means that the lakers were down about 60'. (Warm water sends the lake trout looking for shoals in deeper water.)

I admire the work of Tom Thomson and wrote a whole album of music celebrating his work and his art. I still have some copies of this album "Wildwood/ Through Tom's Eyes" which you can purchase in the CD store.


Sentinel / An Old Friend 


An Old Friend
A mature white pine with a distinctive curve in it's trunk standing it seems forever overlooking Lake Superior (near the Coldwater River) has disappeared from the landscape and is sadly missed by this writer. I first noticed it missing late last fall while driving to Sault Ste. Marie to set up our Christmas art store in a local mall. As I rounded the corner and started my descent of the long hill where this pine tree has stood for decades, I noticed a gap in the familiar landscape: something was missing. I looked in my rear-view mirror and still couldn't see it and decided that I must have been preoccupied thinking about the work that I still had to do. While driving home a few days later I couldn't believe my eyes. When I rounded the same corner traveling north, this magnificent white pine was no longer standing. The "Sentinel" which I had painted earlier in the spring as part of my "North of Superior Art series was gone.
This tree had withstood countless storms coming off Lake Superior and lived through some of the darkest events in the world. It witnessed the passing of a number of great Canadians. A.Y Jackson, a member of the Group of Seven drove by this tree in the early 60's when this highway was first completed. He was on his way to his cottage on Sandy Beach and would have local marina owner Lyman Buck take him on several sketching excursions. Composer Glenn Gould drove by it on his visits to the Wawa area. I often wonder if some of his compositions were inspired by the wind blowing through it's branches. It witnessed the passing of a young long distance runner on the race of his life. In August of 1980, Terry Fox struggled on the hill where it was slowly growing and taking shape and it's curved trunk reached out to him. It witnessed the westward migration of thousands of young Canadians on a search for peace, love and harmony. It was a journey that would bring them full circle and eventually confront them with their own humanity and mortality -including this writer.

By The Light Of My Soul/Girl With The Red Umbrell Art and Poetry 

Art and Word Fix for today: The Girl With The Red Umbrella made an appearance in my "Hole in the Wall Studio" again this afternoon. The girl just pushes me around and I just can't help myself.
What would you do with a lady that demands to be painted and puts words in your mouth?! (I kinda like it) here she is:

Girl with the Red umbrella

By the light of my soul

Creaking spars
Wind in the sails
I’m sailing in a land
way beyond my dreams
at the edge of the world
I’ll never be lost
I’ll never be afraid
and this dream will
never end.
My destination is always
guided by the compass
that’s built into my heart.
I can read it in total
darkness by the
light of my soul.

"Dying Star~Supernovae" = Big Bang Theory = Abstract Art 

 I just started reading Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" and can't seem to move forward from the supernova (The Reveverend Evans's Universe)chapter.
I close my eyes and try to imagine a giant star exploding and releasing the energy of ..."a hundred billion suns"...
Ok, I do move on with this book but before putting it down I always come back to read a bit more of this chapter!

What does Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" have to do with abtract art - well, have a look at this piece I just painted (I apoligize in advance about the long title) "Supernova/Dying Star/50 Thousand Light Years/F=Gmm':/2

Girl with the Red Umbrella Art and Poetry 

 House of Dreams

I woke up at Old Woman Bay
in the middle of this dream
that never seems to end.
I can hear her,
the girl with the red umbrella
..." wake up, wake up she whispers"...
and nudges me.
I sit upright in a bed and a room
I've never seen before.

Starlight fills this house of dreams
and I tell myself to take this feeling back 
with me...into my world.
I woke up this morning
with paint on my fingers.