For the last couple of months, I’ve been in the small rural village of Lyn, Ontario, helping out a friend who is having health challenges. Spring has been wonderful here. The temperatures have risen and the scents of cut grass and lilac are in the breeze, backstopped by the songs of flying creatures. I’ve enjoyed the pace of life here. It’s only a ten-minute drive from Brockville, but it’s country living, and I like it.
Walking around here is much quieter than in the city. There are several options for walking routes, and very little traffic.
Brockville has walking trails, too. Park the car and walk anywhere along the St. Lawrence River.
Small, local businesses have been hard-hit by measures taken to control this pandemic. Some of these businesses are also great supporters of the arts community. One such business is ZakZ Hair ‘n Lounge, located at 633 Somerset St W in Ottawa. Owner, Margos Zakarian, has been exhibiting the work of local artists in his hair salon for many years. Today, March 1, 2021, he reopens his shop displaying a selection of photographs from a series I shot a few years ago. They are photographs of waves.
To quote myself:
The Wave prints on these walls were first exhibited at Il Primo Ristorante in 2017. The photos were taken during a summer vacation in 2016, while staying in a cottage on a small island on Bras d’Or Lake, Cape Breton Island.
Walking the beaches and listening to the waves led to sitting on the beaches and watching the waves. Watching the waves led to being absorbed by their rhythms, surface textures and internal structures. Drawn into the constant churning of form and floating elements, one could see how permanent structures, like rocks, affected the shape of the moving water. Considering what these waves, varied in shape and reaction, might have been bringing into the shore led to thinking about water in general; what we are putting into it, and how we are changing it.
These photos were taken while lying on my belly on the beach, trying to look inside – and sometimes at the surface – of water on the move.
Additional prints on display are from places that hold some significance in my life. This usually means they are places where I spend a fair amount of time. They might be worksites or quiet getaway spots.
I’d like to thank Margos for the opportunity to share these images with his clientele.
Like everyone else, it seems, since the pandemic began, I’ve been getting regular exercise. This includes walking. I usually walk a set route in my neighbourhood, but I like to try different places as well, just for the change of scenery. I just realized that it’s creeping up on a year that I have been getting regular exercise. I haven’t been this physically fit for almost 50 years. It feels good. I try to take one day to rest, but it is now a part of my day, and I don’t like to miss it.
I hope to accomplish the same thing with this website. All previous versions, for the last 10 years, or so, have been started, but I couldn’t maintain them – I spent more time on social media. Now, I plan to camp out here until I can get into the habit of using it, and we’ll see how it evolves.
Stay with me, please, as I think out loud here. That may be the way most of what follows gets added; impulsively, excitedly – planned and unplanned.
My point of view will be as a member of the Ottawa arts community, and that includes the city of Gatineau and western Québec, as well. It excites me that we have artists working away in all of these different corners of our region. There should be no shortage of things to talk and think about around here. I hope the neighbours and friends and families of these artists are paying attention and understand how fortunate they are that these artists choose to stay and work in this area.
I’ll be using this website to share some of the creative endeavours I will be working on. These could be exhibitions, photobooks/magazines, photo or video assignments/productions, podcasts, workshops, collaborations with other local artists and whatever else I might be thinking about at the time.
I retired from the City of Ottawa at the end of October 2020. I worked as an Arts Programmer at Shenkman Arts Centre, that beautiful building in Orléans, Ontario, in east Ottawa. The best parts of my job involved working with local and regional artists, and I’m going to keep doing that on my own. I already miss working with my dear, former colleagues. What a team we had. COVID disrupted operations but the spirit lives on in that special building. Things will get rolling there again, and I will be cheering them on. On my own website, I can be as biased as I want, so there will probably be a fair amount of news about Shenkman Arts Centre (and Meridian Theatres at Centrepointe) in this humble space. I will still be checking out as many other venues as I can, and if anything catches my eye, there will be something about it here.
So, this site will be about what I do, and what others are doing. I hope there is interest, but ultimately, it will kind of be a way for me to organize and make sense of my time on this planet.