Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hamilton Landscapes (& street party)

Yesterday was a busy but fun day.  It might not have turned out well, for any number of reasons, but it all came together.  As it happened, I had taken out my ZipCar card and used it in a prop for a talk, and then couldn't track it down.  So I did a bit of scrambling Friday evening, and it finally turned up.

We don't really drive often at all, but the drive down to Hamilton was fairly smooth.  We got there and ate at the Farmer's Market inside this mall across the street from the Art Gallery of Hamilton.  Then we went over to the gallery.  Since they had closed down one of the special exhibits, they weren't charging for the landscape exhibit (and the upstairs galleries are always free).  I think that was a little odd.  We did donate upon leaving, though I didn't have nearly enough cash on me.  I'll try to make up for that on my next trip.  (That may be a little while as the upcoming exhibits aren't all that interesting to me.)

The exhibit runs through today and will be closing.  It is drawn heavily on landscape paintings from the Vancouver Art Gallery. It's worth seeing if you happen to be in the area.  It was 5 rooms or so, though I mostly focused on the last two rooms, which were mostly Group of 7, Emily Carr and a handful of David Milne paintings.  I had definitely see the Carrs before and I believe all of the Harris paintings, since VAG had done a Harris show (fairly heavy on his late career abstractions).  Many of the others seemed new to me.

Here are a few that I particularly liked.

Tom Thomson, Opulent October, 1915-16

Lawren Harris, First Snow, North Shore of Lake Superior, 1923

A.J. Casson, Thunderstorm, 1933

The Casson sort of mixes Harris early paintings of houses (in the realist tradition) with his softer, wavy lines in the clouds and the bending trees (or are they telegraph poles).

We went through the rest of the gallery fairly quickly, in part because my daughter was getting a bit restless, and I was starting to worry about the drive back (and dropping off the car in time).  We did get snarled in fairly heavy traffic basically a few km west of the 427 junction all the way to the Spadina exit on the Gardiner, at which point the traffic basically melted away.  I was starting to stress and thought we would drop off the car 10-15 minutes late, and we actually tried to sign on and extend the time but were unable to do so.  In the end, we made it with 5 minutes to spare.

After this, we had a big street party.  I had felt bad about missing the first 90 minutes, but really these things don't get going for a while.  It was almost perfect weather, especially compared to last year's, which was cold and damp.


I was signed up to watch over the bouncy castle for a half hour and the slide for a half hour.  Things were generally mellow, though there are always a few pushy kids, and particularly the youngest who haven't quite learned what queuing means.  At a certain point things tend to break down and there are too many kids on the ladder going up.  Still, no one got hurt on my shift, and that's really the most you can expect...

The street party featured quite a few games with one of the more entertaining being the donut eating contest, where you have to eat the donut off the string with your hands behind your back.  I had expected to take more photos of this, but got suckered into holding up the string.

All good things come to an end though, and around 7 pm, the crew showed up to take away the inflatables and even the dunk tank.

The music and conversation continued for a bit longer, but I was fairly exhausted so retired a bit early for the evening.  So quite an eventful day.

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