Chiarina Loggia

A printmaker's progress


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Photo Fridays – Enraptured


Rapture

Rapture

While on holiday in Italy recently I became enraptured of the many beautiful sculptures I was fortunate to see. Some of these were wondrous creations in museums by the likes of Michelangelo and Bernini. Others, like this little jewel above, decorated tombstones in cemetaries, to be seen only by those familiar with the deceased or those lucky enough to walk by.

Great weekend to all!


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Tuesday Tales – I Sit Beside The Fire


Island Heat

Island Heat

My dear friend, Sven, passed away yesterday, just as the sun was setting. He was holding his wife’s hand and he is now out of pain, two very good things. His hearty laugh will no longer be heard and his big bear hugs will no longer be felt, two very sad things. I could go on and on about what a wonderful person he was but my heart is not in it right now. I am too full of grief and sorrow, especially for his wife who now has to carry on without him.

When looking for an artwork that could be a suitable tribute to him I came across the piece above, called Island Heat. The image of two empty chairs looking out onto the sea with the fire behind them seemed fitting, and it reminded me of my favorite poem from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings. It is a sad, wistful poem that the old hobbit, Bilbo, recites to his younger nephew, Frodo, before he sets off on his harrowing adventure. The poem is titled I Sit Beside The Fire And Think. The second to last verse always chokes me up, more today than usual, as I sit and think of Sven. I hope he is off on an adventure!

I Sit Beside The Fire And Think

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

J. R. R. Tolkien

Island Heat, a 5″x10″ photopolymer gravure etching is offered this week at $100, unframed, $120 framed.


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Photo Fridays – Remembering My Dad


Coming to Canada - March 19, 1964

Coming to Canada – March 19, 1964

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 81, but he passed away in 2009. I wrote about his passing and the effect it had on me in an earlier post. I still get choked up when I read it, even after so much time. But I also smile when I realize where my own life has taken me since then, to new and unexpected love and adventures. It seems my life has always been a series of adventures, beginning with that eventful trip to Canada in 1964. That’s me on the right in the picture above, looking like a little waif.

Looking at this picture I can see character traits in each of our faces that still hold true to this day: a stubborn strength in my sister on the left, a gentle intelligence in the one on my dad’s knee, a kindness exhuding from my mother, and I note she is the only one smiling, and hesitant reservation in my father. (The stranger posing in the background and the huge jugs of wine on the tables still makes me laugh.) Absent are the sister who was left behind in her grave and another yet to be born. I see this picture and I wish my mother’s arm had been around my shoulder for I  look so lost and forlorn. I wasn’t used to change and, to this day, I remember the strange taste and texture of the bread on board the Saturna, though little else except having to go on deck with life jackets in a storm. My mother tells me we were all seasick for a good part of the eight day voyage but I seem to have blocked that memory. I remember nothing of our trip to Naples to board the ship, and only a few images of the countryside while travelling by train to Montreal from Halifax. Again, I do remember our first meal at my aunt’s house when we arrived. It was chicken soup with little bow pasta. It tasted strange as well, and I couldn’t eat much. I was a very picky eater as a child. I still am, though I don’t mind strangeness nearly as much. I have lived in far too many places to let newness bother me. In fact I rather look forward to new experiences and feel restless when life becomes too monotonous.

My father never really liked change or adventure. His penurious circumstance propelled him to a new country in the hopes of a better life for himself and his family. This he achieved quite well. His courage to bring his large family to a strange new world and start fresh with no education, no skills or even language leaves me in awe, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities this opened up for me and my sisters. But my dad never really enjoyed his life in Canada. He spent his years there wishing to go back to Italy to retire. This he never managed to do for he became ill shortly before retirement and was hospitalized for the last years of his life. He did manage numerous trips back and spent a few wonderful summers there. The picture below is from his youth, riding atop his mule, Giulia. I hope somewhere, somehow, that memory of a lost youth is still alive and bringing him joy. I know the thought of it makes me smile.

Copy of dad_and_giulia - Copy-2

Dad and Giulia

A few more pictures of my father can be seen here.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend! Hug your dad if he is close. Call him if he is far away.


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Tuesday Tales – Boston Calling


Through The Darkness

Through The Darkness

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post today. The news of yesterday’s tragic bombings in Boston have left me terribly saddened. While any act of terorism and violence is abhorent to me, the fact that  it was directed at a running event brings it just a little closer to home. I have friends who have run the Boston marathon. I run in races myself all the time. These are events that have no political or social agenda. Rather, they are a celebration of human endeavor, spirit and community. It seems especially cruel to have targeted the finish line, the place where feelings of accomplishment and elation should have run high, and the place where families and friends gathered to cheer on the participants. Instead, a shadow of sorrow will forevermore haunt this place and those unfortunate families who were hit hardest with the blasts.

I have no words of comfort for them. There are no reasons that make any sense of such tragedies, other than in the twisted minds of those responsible. The world is as dangerous , and as beautiful, a place as it was two days ago. Only once again we are reminded to pay attention to our lives, our loved ones and our dreams. To be kind and giving and charitable. To try to make the world a better place in whatever way we can. Only then can there be any good out of such tragedy.

The monotype above, measuring 5″x5″, is a demo I did for a class. It is the kind of abstract I like to do that references light and passages, time and space. I thought it would make an appropriate offering for today. It is priced at $60 unframed for this week.

I have also found this video to be a wonderful balm for the spirit. May it bring you peace today and always.


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Two Thumbs Up For Kindness


Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Today I read an article in The Chicago Sun Times about the passing of Roger Ebert, probably the most well known movie critic ever to grace the media. It was quite a long, well written article about the man and his life, well worth a read. Many of us will remember his long running weekly show along with Gene Siskel, Siskel and Ebert At The Movies, where the term “two thumbs up” was coined. I loved that show and often decided on what movies to watch depending on their reviews.

The article had much to say about his life, quite an amazing one, but what struck me the most what was Ebert  himself wrote in his autobiography. The words brought tears to my eyes for their profound observation of life as a human. The sentiment is one I agree with deeply and so I wanted to share it with you here.

“‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs,” he wrote, at the end of his memoir, “Life Itself.” “No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

It is instinctual with me, to want to contribute joy in this world with my artistic pursuits, but sometimes other motivators get in the way which often lead to frustration. I was glad to be reminded of this essential directive today. Thank you and may you rest in peace, Roger Ebert.


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On The Blog of Innocence


Far Yet Forever Dear

It’s two days before my art show opens at Collective Works Gallery and I would normally be blogging a final post about the show about now, but tonight I want to bring your attention to another blog, an exceptionally thoughtful one by an exceptional man, Chris Al-Aswad. Chris was the creator of Escape Into Life, http://www.escapeintolife.com/  , an outstanding art site that brought an enormous wealth of beauty and inspiration to the online artistic community. It inspired me tremendously in my work and in my life. 

Chris passed away just recently at a tragically young age. His writings, a large library of them, are fortunately still here for us to peruse and savour. They can be found on his blog, The Blog of Innocence, here:   http://www.theblogofinnocence.com/ I encourage everyone to have a read and cherish the brilliant spirit behind the words.

My deepest condolences to his family and friends.


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Solstice – Back Into the Light


You can only come to the morning through the shadows.” J.R.R.Tolkien

As the longest night of the year stretched out before me several nights ago, I thought about how just six months ago, less than two weeks after the summer solstice, my father passed away. After a long, devastating decline from Alzeimer’s disease he was suddenly at death’s door. There had been numerous close calls over the years so I didn’t immediately get on a plane to go see him until his death looked imminent. As I waited to board my plane in Victoria that morning, I got the call that he had died in the night.

The wall of grief that hit me was surprising in its intensity. My father had been in an advanced vegetative state for a very long time and I thought I had said my goodbyes to him. I knew his eventual passing would be a bittersweet one, but the bitter far outweighed the sweet. I was happy that his spirit would no longer be trapped in his ailing body but I resented all those wasted years after he took ill and, as I sat on the plane heading eastward, I wondered about the years before. Had he lived a happy, fulfilled life? Had he felt loved? Had he said all the things he wanted to say, done the things he wanted to do? I didn’t have the answers to these questions for my father had been a guarded, taciturn man whom I never really understood. And when he died I found myself mourning for the father I never knew and the relationship we didn’t have.

 The artwork below, completed a week ago, is titled Ashes To Ashes and is dedicated to my father. The poem in it reads:

 And I’m left to mourn

You who left so long ago

Ashes to ashes

Ashes To Ashes

One thing I did know was that this controlling, fearful figure from my childhood had matured into a gentler man, one, I realized in my adulthood, who cared for me in his reserved way. And in his passing he gave me an unexpected gift.

 His death and the awful waste of the last years of his life made me examine my own. As I looked in my own mirror I determined not to waste the remainder of my life with inaction and indecision. I would take the steps I needed to take to bring peace and purpose back into my life.

 I took those steps and found myself by the end of the year living completely on my own for the very first time in my life. My marriage was ended, my last child at home had decided to strike out on her own, my in-laws left to start anew in their old town back east, even our dog decided it was time to head for new pastures. Seeing the light go out of his eyes made me grateful for having missed seeing my father die.

 So the year is ending with a loss and re-ordering of relationships. They are hard to bear but easier than the indecision that weighed down my spirit. The peace and purpose I’d hoped for still seem far away though they tickle my feet like waves along the shore. Perhaps I need to step further into the sea.