A Winter’s Day in 2023

It’s the first minus-thirty-something day of the winter, so it’s as good a time as any for a website update.

For me, the highlight of 2022 was having my art chosen to decorate a traffic box at the Olive and Cassells St. intersection. It’s a real treat to drive past this corner and see my work standing out; my urge to use all the crayons in the box pays off, because it’s the most brightly-coloured thing in the landscape.

In 2022 I finished one painting which I’d had in the works for a couple years. I painted this one on an incredibly unforgiving wooden panel, so there was no time for blending. I had to just slap the shapes down and hope for the best. I’m very proud of it. Fans of The Cure will no doubt recognize it.

Robert Smith on the Rooftop

I also discovered round canvases, after building a website for Judy Gouin. I’ve finished two and have two in progress:

A Second Attempt at Rainbow Roses

Last year I did a painting featuring rainbow (pride) roses, and raffled it off to support OutLoud North Bay. I wanted a similar one for my own house so I thought I’d tackle another, similar one. I also submitted this to North Bay’s Public Art program, hoping they may choose it to wrap a traffic-control box in downtown North Bay. We’ll see!

A Year Of Homebound Art

This past year was one for the record books; I have a partner who is considered high-risk if he catches Covid-19, so we’ve had to be about as careful as it’s possible to be. Which means we’re coming up on a year of barely leaving the house.

I have not visited my art studio much, but I brought home my more portable easel and my supplies and set to work on a few large-scale pieces. Here they are:

Overall I feel my technique has advanced pretty significantly over the past year, and I’m proud of all three of these paintings. The roses were raffled off to support Out Loud North Bay and the other two are currently hanging over my couch, available for sale but priced to stick around for a while.

Manfred May

Et in Arcadia, Ego: Manfred May

I was sorry to learn that Manfred May has died. (Read his obituary here).

This is one of his pieces; it almost directly inspired the name of my website. Manfred lived a few blocks away from me, in this incredibly interesting house that he designed – see below (he was an architect).

He’s known for designing the St. Joseph’s Mother House, and a church-in-the-round on Manitoulin Island, which I’m very interested in taking a road trip to visit.

I didn’t know Manfred well, but I had a few very interesting conversations with him after I stumbled across his property while out on a walk. He displayed his sculptures all over the property, and at the time (2014) he was still allowing people to photograph them.

Later on he became worried about theft, but now it seems all but the heaviest pieces have been removed, and I have no idea where they’ve gone now that his house has been sold.

Manfred's House on 3rd Ave

Here are a few photos of the pieces that really struck me when I first explored his property:

There’s almost no information about Manfred available online; I’m interested in finding out more about him, as well as his sculptural and architectural work. If anybody local has any information or stories please contact me.

Walking into the back yard was like going into a sun-dappled fairyland. The place was overgrown and wild, and the art was almost unearthly. I hope the new owners of the property do the house justice, with the restoration it badly needs.