Sunday, November 13, 2011


        It’s always been a mystery to me what people will hang on their walls and live with. I’ve seen paired paint-by-numbers of ducks in marshes, hanging a foot from the ceiling on living room walls. I’ve seen stamped out mall paintings arranged in diagonal groupings. And when I was only 11 years old, I visited my friend Carla at her house for a birthday party. There, in the middle of the wall, hanging over the couch, was the worst thing I’ve ever seen - a large black and white framed photo of a young girl in a coffin. (This was actually Carla’s little sister, who died tragically. Mrs. Sheerholtz thought it was crucial to remember her daily as the family walked through the house. Carla didn’t often have kids over and that day that mystery was solved.)
        Interesting choices, those, but are they art?
        Thanks to a gifted high school art teacher, I became a lover of art history.   By grade 12,  I was tearing apart Impressionist calendars and ripping out reproductions of Turner and Constable from old art history texts to frame. In university, it was the age of posters, and there wasn’t an art representation you couldn’t purchase. My walls were covered with thumb tack holes from pinning up Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer and A.J. Casson. In my spare time, I’d copy these works, trying to duplicate the skill of these masters of colour.

"Glenn Williams" by A.J.Casson

       Art delighted me and still does. We don’t have a great number of works hanging in our house, but mostly because there is a fear of holes in the walls. (I can't explain this. I won't try. Holes seem to indicate a commitment to a certain work of art, and we like to rotate ours.) Our art leans. There are two paintings we rotate on the fireplace mantle. Right now, A.J. Casson’s “Glen Williams” shows the glories of fall in a small Ontario town. (My delight is that this print is actually signed by Casson - a treasured gift from my husband a few Christmases ago.) Soon, the weather will turn brisk and I will put A.J. away for a bit and bring out an original oil by a man named Ole Pii. Ole was an 80 year old artist in a community we lived in up the west coast of BC. He was a master of colour. This particular painting is austere and cold, a painting he did from the side of a van on a brilliant day in Prince George in the seventies. I never tire of the range of colours in the snow in this painting.
          We have another of Ole’s paintings, of two old folks staring at their garden, as their flowers form the sky. This painting makes my heart sing as it carries a huge personal significance for my husband and I.
          And wonderfully, I have three oil paintings by our good friend Reijo. All three transport me to riversides. Just a couple of weeks ago, Reijo, out of the kindness of his heart, sent along this latest painting. I have admired it since the day I first laid eyes on it. It depicts the underside of a river bank, and it is so familiar to me. There is a small stream off of Lochlin Road up in the Haliburton Highlands that could be the subject of this work. On those coming dark and bleary winter days, I will look at it and it will take me right to the river! I know that there are fish there, just under the surface, waiting in the pools for juicy bait. I can smell the earthy underslope and feel a bit of slippery green algae underfoot on the river stones.

          And really, isn't this what art is all about? Good art, no matter the form, causes the heart to sing with a deep connection. It takes us somewhere familiar, it appeals at a heart level. So, I ask you, what is on your walls?

God bless Reijo for this precious gift!


  1. Beautiful, Michele. Casson painted in Elora too. I don't own any of his paintings, but I love them.

  2. He's always been a favourite of mine. Those transparent watercolours!
    Blessings, Mary

  3. Oh Dear, Mary
    I just re-read this and it sounds like I own a "Casson!" It's actually a print that was signed. Owning an actual painting is way beyond my wallet!

  4. Michele
    Thanks for your expressions in words for art - art for me, is worship, from the depths of my heart to my Abba Daddy God. This time of communion with Him so stirs and ignites passion and delight and love towards Him; it is one way that I can be quiet in His embrace and be refreshed and filled to overflowing with more of Him.
    My walls cringe to have another nail hammered into it - I too think about the holes and the repairs that will need to follow - so very confining, isn't it?
    So, my studio is in the very slow process of having a simple hanging system put up along the top of the walls with bambood poles, and chains and hooks hanging down to put up LOTS of artwork, which can also be switched around regularily.
    Glad to read your blog, and that you have persevered onwards....:)
    hugs evelyn

  5. Wouldn't it be great, Evelyn, if our new church home had that same system, that art could be displayed and rotated as a worship response....something to consider!