Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall at the farm

I've always loved fall, its colourful carpet of dry leaves spread along sidewalks and parks, the cool air that lifts up the damp smell from the warm soil, the melancholy of trees shedding their lacy pattern of leaves. Fall seems to be a time to reflect, and it was with much anticipation that I left the city to spend a few days at Judy's farm.

We went for long walks. Along the lake, we sat down and listened to waves lapping against the dock, against the rocks. Their gentle rhythm is mesmerizing, bringing calmness to agitated minds, clarity in complicated thoughts.

In the forested area, it was fascinating to see perfect dots of dew sitting on bright red maple leaves. Those pearly dewdrops have something so magical about them when they shimmer. I held one leaf and saw an enchanted world through the clear droplets, reminding me of a verse from Blake's poem, Auguries of Innocence:

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

Observing the wonders of nature brings such a visceral need to connect to ourselves, to let go of pressures, worries, and let nature's self-sufficiency inspire us to trust our instincts. If we do listen, perhaps we'll hear the heaven within us.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Insularitudes de Paul Comarmond

"Près d’une personne sur dix sur la planète habite une île soit près de 600 millions d’individus. Peuplées au fil des siècles par des migrations maritimes et la réalité des exigences du moment, ces îles et ces archipels forment aujourd’hui près d’un quart des états souverains du monde. Un sixième de l’espace habitable et leurs zones économiques est composé d’îles. Elles sont les points chauds de la biodiversité mais aussi de tensions politiques; elles offrent des sociétés et des espaces distincts dans un monde de plus en plus homogène et sans géographie particulière.

Cependant, les sciences humaines et sociales ne semblent pas s’être intéressées à la dimension artistique de la réalité îlienne. Or, Paul Comarmond est né dans une île; ses ancêtres sont venus d’autres régions en cabotant d’île en île. Et finalement, là où il se sent bien, où il puise son inspiration, c’est surtout dans une île. Insularitudes, concept créé par l’artiste il y a près d’un an, est le fruit d’un périple allant de l’Océan Indien à Terre Neuve jusqu’au Labrador. Une trentaine d’aquarelles pour voyager et tâter le pouls de ces régions, tantôt tropicales tantôt glacées mais toujours intenses."

Paul Comarmond, a talented Toronto artist and friend, is showing his watercolours at the Francophone Centre, 20 Lower Spadina from October 5th to 31st.

Paul paints islands, their lopsided houses, their expressive people, their fishing boats, and the ever-present sea with simplicity, yet with details that show his sensitivity to their uniqueness. From the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, from tropical Seychelles, Madagascar, to freezing Newfoundland and Labrador, he takes us on a pleasant and engaging adventure with his confident brushstrokes.

Paul's love of islands goes deeper. He was born on one. Mauritius. But he also sees islands from a global perspective. In his invitation above, we are told islands occupy one sixth of habitable land, that one out of ten people in this world lives on an island, that they are hot spots for biodiversity, and offer distinct societies ...

Food for thought. So, let's embark on this journey and discover these islands with Paul. The Francophone centre is only steps away from Harbourfront. After you feast your eyes and perhaps buy one of his paintings, and you still haven't had enough of islands, you can take the ferry and head off to Centre Island, our own Toronto one ... yeah!