Imagine only having opinions that made you happy

Readers are starved of simple stories that make human happiness seem once again possible for regular folks

Imagine only having opinions that made you happyLast week I wrote about how happy making art makes me. It got 83 ‘likes’ in 24 hours. So what does that mean? Interesting to me is the total focus of the piece on happiness. Over the past several hours, I’ve been thinking about whether opinion pieces have simply become too negative, too querulous, too…

Letting your creative spirit loose

Back in the studio after a lifetime of sporadic art lessons, embracing the spirituality and fun

Letting your creative spirit looseMaking art is fun, spiritually soothing and a wonderful outlet for non-verbal, non-scripted creativity. At least that’s what I think after nearly seven decades of observing, sketching and painting. Each of several defined periods of my life was led by one or two talented art teachers, including my mom Frankie Robinson and her pal Peg…

Memories of a Transmission lost in translation

Transmission Difficulties: The Dignitaries once had a place of pride behind my father's desk. My mother eventually sold it. Now we know why

Memories of a Transmission lost in translationFor her 97th birthday, I offered to take my mother to Whistler for the day, especially to see the new Audain Art Museum. She was ecstatic at the prospect, and especially eager to see the in-house collection of works by Emily Carr and E.J. Hughes – her two favourite B.C. realist painters. Mom was a…

Small cities like Duncan, B.C., steward great artists

Reflecting on Canadian culture at the Dog House Restaurant and small businesses dedicated to local artisans

Small cities like Duncan, B.C., steward great artistsAs cities go, Duncan, B.C., is pretty small. In fact, it’s the smallest city by area (2.07 square km) in Canada. In 2016, it had 4,994 citizens. It was incorporated in 1912, as the star of Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, an agricultural, mining and logging centre first visited by Vancouver Island Gov. James Douglas and…

Localized and personalized: how to keep culture relevant

The world of arts and culture offers lots of examples of gross expense and imported notions of what’s important. But there are alternatives

Localized and personalized: how to keep culture relevantHow are the National Post and the Globe and Mail doing in your neighbourhood? In Powell River, the big Toronto newspapers are on their last boomer gasp at the newsstands. In their place, piles of the weekly Powell River Peak and monthly Powell River Living fly off the counters and adjacent distribution boxes. The local…

Rewriting our history won’t make it go away

Historical revisionists want to rename buildings, pull down statues and rename paintings. Leave our history alone, warts and all

Rewriting our history won’t make it go awayThe modern fashion of attempting to rewrite history appears to be gaining ground. Hector-Louis Langevin’s name no longer adorns his building in Ottawa, the statue of Edward Cornwallis in Halifax has been toppled. And now, the history rewriters are busily taking dead aim at the most famous Canadian of all – John A. Macdonald. The three…

Banksy, and art’s uneasy alliance with capitalism

The gift shop at the Toronto exhibit offers a swath of overpriced items. What would the ultra left-wing artist think of that?

Banksy, and art’s uneasy alliance with capitalismThere’s always been an understood link between art and capitalism. Even artists who reject the very nature of capitalism will still be part of this process, whether they like it or not. This includes the popular, controversial and mysterious graffiti artist known as Banksy. A product of Bristol, England’s underground scene, this person’s name and…

Out of the roiling heat of Montreal, into the heart of artistic genius

And a full dose of air-conditioned museum comfort certainly doesn't hurt the appreciation of Picasso

Out of the roiling heat of Montreal, into the heart of artistic geniusLast week, thousands of Montrealers began to experience what I expect will gradually become a new phenomenon in global art gallery visitation – viewing art to get out of the heat. The heat wave (CBC news referred to it as “a heat event”) really descended on the city on the previous weekend, with Saturday’s temperatures…

Discovering Monet’s lifelong fascination with architecture

London’s National Gallery exhibit offers rare glimpses into the artist’s examination of the play of light on human structures

Discovering Monet’s lifelong fascination with architectureOne of the great things about being a retired museum and art gallery CEO is that you know most of the basic tricks of the trade. For instance, you can get a very quick gauge of an exhibition’s successes and high points by talking with the gallery security staff. So as soon as we had…

Politics, propaganda and the Bayeux Tapestry

French President Emmanuel Macron has loaned the historic depiction to Britain for public display. Is he taunting the English about Brexit?

Politics, propaganda and the Bayeux TapestryThe Bayeux Tapestry popped into the news a couple of weeks ago when French President Emmanuel Macron announced it would be loaned to Britain for public display. Immediately, people imputed political meaning. That’s nothing new. Indeed, it’s fair to say that the tapestry has been political from the get-go. Created in the late 11th century, the…