Michiko Suzuki: Hope Chests

Above image from the Burnaby Art Gallery website

A few days ago we visited an exciting exhibition of mixed media work at the Burnaby Art Gallery, by artist and friend Michiko Suzuki. I really recommend art critic Robin Laurence’s excellent review in The Straight, much better said than I could. We enjoyed the tent-like displays which invited one to step inside to look at the “hope chests”, the framed prints of the girls, and the video. I could not resist purchasing the attractive little catalogue printed by the BAG. Below is one of the better installation shots that I was able to capture with my modest little pocket camera.


We were very sad to have been unable to attend the opening because we had rarely seen old friends from Ontario visiting just on that day! I’m sure many of our mutual artist friends were there, whom I have missed and would have loved to meet. Michiko and I were part of the long-running Art Institute, Printmaking group at Capilano University, which some readers may recall was shut down along with all art programs in 2013. I recall she was working on some of the first pieces in this series back then and told me recently the whole series took her five years. She is one of the hardest working artists I have ever known personally, and one who has exhibited widely. If interested, you may find some of my postings about them here. (Please ignore the other famous Suzuki that comes up in that search.)

Winter Story 2015


Our granddaughters’ Lael and Niamh and their parents have once again created another wonderful Winter Story to share with all their friends and family – an annual tradition since 2003. Please visit it here then perhaps visit/revisit past Stories! They now live on a farm hence the many delightful farm creatures. Enjoy! Happy Holidays everyone!

Yue Minjun: A-maze-ing Laughter







Recently and finally I have seen in person one of the most popular sculptural installations in Vancouver, situated near English Bay for the Vancouver Biennale of 2009-2011. A-maze-ing Laughter, made by Yue Minjun of China, is a group of 14 giant painted bronze figures, all laughing merrily. Eventually it was purchased and gifted to the city by a prominent businessman.

My photos do not do the stunning work justice. Here is a the best I have seen of the entire group, and here is a review. After so many years of seeing and reading about it, I’m so happy to have at long last visited it and noted the happy the crowds around it. In a way, it reminds me of another more recent Biennale installation I saw and wrote about last year.

socks by Lucy




Pardon the long silence here for I have been busy with spring — much work in the garden, much work cleaning cobwebs indoors now revealed by increased sunshine giving proof of my lazy housekeeping. Having visitors is also an incentive.

I am also late in sharing my delight in a wondrous gift from THE artist of the knitting needles – Lucy of Box Elder. A little while ago, she had requested my foot dimensions so she could make me some warm slipper socks. It was like Christmas over again when opening the mail package for these are like those worn by the Finnish Santa and his elves. Red hearts are a beloved symbol in Finnish crafts, and red is my favourite colour often mixed with black, both in our home decor and my own wardrobe. Note the lovely craftmanship in the felted wool sole with silicone heart shapes for non-slippage!

My feet and I thank you, dearest Lucy, for this wondrous gift!

water stains


more play with another water-stained digital print
awakening memories of J.M.W. Turner’s paintings seen in London in 2009

Big Print Project


Peter Braune of New Leaf Editions, here in Vancouver, was one of the brains behind the idea of several artists making very large prints using 4×8 foot woodblocks which were inked and steamrolled right on the street across from his shop on Granville Island last summer. Now there is a great video of the event – do watch it and enjoy!

I had heard about this fun project developing last summer but did not make it out to watch it happen. Great to see a few familiar faces as well as others I have heard of but not met personally. Wonderful work by all of them.

As a side note, New Leaf Editions is well known in the printmaking community for running the popular BIMPE biennial of mini-prints. I participated in BIMPE VI in 2010. You may be interested in looking through some of the exhibition catalogues featured on the site.

gift books


Santa left two fabulous books under the tree for me: Marly Youmans’ Glimmerglass and a Phaidon monograph about artist Anselm Kiefer.

I already own and love some of Marly’s books and admire the illustrations by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, so this was a must on my wish list!

After recently writing about Anselm Kiefer’s huge exhibition in London and feeling sad that I could not go and see it, I desired a monograph or catalogue. The large Royal Academy publication looks stunning but is rather expensive with the shipping on top so after some research I chose this Phaidon edition, though smaller, for Santa to bring me.

Touching and admiring their beautiful covers (Marly’s book especially!) and browsing through to enjoy the images inside give me great pleasure while I wait to start reading each once I’ve finished my current library book.

Did you receive books at Christmas?

good reading


This fall’s rainy days and dark evenings have been perfect to cosy up with some good books. Here’s a short list of some that I have been enjoying:

1. Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos – this review says it all for me, though perhaps reveals too much of the story. Chapter 25 was most compelling for me with its vivid description of the creative process of breaking and remaking. This book was recommended by a reader in a comment to one of my many posts on broken china. The image above is a reposting of one such “break”.

2. How Many Roads? by Jonathan Sa’adah is a gorgeous book of his stunning sepia photographs taken in the late 60s and early 70s. My husband and I enjoyed revisiting that time from our youth when from a distance we read and heard about what was happening below the border from us in Canada. Wonderful essays too. We highly recommend it. Order from Phoenicia Publishing. We are very pleased to support our friends Jonathan and Beth Adams and to have this treasure to remember them by.

3. I wrote about Emily Carr recently and felt inspired to reread, afer many decades, her books Klee Wyck and The House of All Sorts – such sweet pleasures still underway.

Emily Carr in London


British Columbia’s own beloved artist Emily Carr (1871-1945) is well known in Canada but not so much in England. Now a large body of her work is on exhibition there for the first time, at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London.

Our Vancouver Art Gallery has a large collection of her work, some of which is in the London exhibition along with collections from other Canadian institutions. They have a website on Emily with link to a timeline and images of her work:

Emily Carr, born in Victoria, British Columbia, is one of Canada’s most renowned artists, significant as a landscape painter and a modernist. The most important BC artist of her generation, she is best known for her attention to the totemic carvings of the First Nations people of British Columbia and the rain forests of Vancouver Island.

I have been very fortunate in seeing so much of her work here and in Victoria. The Vancouver Art Gallery always has some of her work on display for the pleasure of revisits, sometimes along with a contemporary artist with the aim of provoking discussion about differences and similarities in approach or spirit. I love most her late period works of our magestic trees painted in a free expressionist fashion.

A Guardian review of the Dulwich exhibit calls Emily Carr Canada’s very own Van Gogh. Some images to be enjoyed here as well.

This 2006 review in the Vancouver Sun might also be of interest.

I am now recalling a superb exhibition in 2002 called Carr, O’Keeffe, Kahlo: Places of Their Own accompanied by a wonderful book by Sharyn Rohlfsen Udall which I recommend highly, if it is still available and you are interested.

Above image: Emily Carr: Corner of Kitwancool Village, c. 1930 – Oil on Canvas
© McMichael Canadian Art Collection, scanned from a card

Later: just found this in today’s Vancouver Sun newspaper

Robert Young’s exhibition

Last night husband, daughter Erika and I attended a wonderful opening of Robert Young’s stunning exhibition at the beautiful Gordon Smith Gallery in North Vancouver. It was the occasion of a release of his new print Bebop for the Artists for Kids, along with an exhibition with the theme of Spatial Understanding which included a number of his older prints, paintings and drawings plus a recently completed new painting.

It was a heartwarming evening! I was touched to receive a warm hug from Bob as I congratulated him on his show. We were also pleased to see many artist friends there from our former print studio, the Art Institute. How we have missed each other. (I was a bit watery eyed thinking of the evening later.) I’m sorry I was too busy to take many photos, most of which came out very yellow under the lights but for this of Robert as he spoke about his work to the gallery visitors:


The exhibition continues to January 3rd, 2015. Check here and here for more information about this unusual Gallery and its work. If you are in the area, it is well worth a visit to see this master’s impeccable work.

Some readers may recall a couple of posts I had previously written about Robert Young here and here, where some images of his work may be seen as well as at the links for more.