Detours and diversions.

Today I took a wrong turn while driving through Hespeler. As I’m learning, though, it’s hard to discover anything new by always travelling the same road.

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It’s a good thing, too, because had I turned right instead of left, I wouldn’t have captured a door to share in Norm’s weekly feature, Thursday Doors.

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The facade of this building has a slightly different vibe than most art galleries, yes?

Back at home (I managed to get there without getting lost again, in case you were wondering), Google informed me (herehere and here) that the Underground is a gallery, store and studio headed by Ean Kools, a local street artist.

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As it happens, earlier today I picked up a flyer for the Cambridge International Street Art Festival, taking place this June. I had missed the festival last year, but I do plan on wandering the streets to check out this year’s gathering of artists as they work their magic (maybe I should bring a map?).

Thanks, as always, for visiting.

Drab to fab.

I don’t have grand, elaborate entrances this week for my submission to Norm’s Thursday Doors. In fact, today’s doors are pretty inconspicuous. They’re hidden inside a work of art.

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For that, we can thank artist Stephanie Boutari. This mural transforms the rear of this bland and generic strip mall into a unique and colourful canvas. Street art can truly add personality and interest where they may be lacking. I like the vibrancy and sweeping curves of this piece.

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The details were carefully considered to ensure the look is unified in the big picture. The lines are sharp, clean and vivid – even up close. Only the metal ring in the bottom photo, jutting from the wall, shows a little wear and tear.

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In this week’s post, the walls are more impressive than the doors themselves, but given the state of these walls, I didn’t think you’d mind. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Carved out.

Today I did something I wouldn’t normally do.

I went to the beach.

In the winter.

I like beaches. A lot. But I don’t really like winter. In my mind, the two just don’t go together. The beach is for hot weather. Warm breezes and sun and sweat. Winter is for… well, I don’t know what winter’s for. I will find any excuse not to leave the house between November and March.

Today, inexplicably – maybe just out of gratitude that I’m finally bidding adieu to my nasty cold – I willingly spent a couple of hours outside, beside a large body of water, while the temperature hovered at -15 degrees with the windchill (yes, I know, besides being an act of insanity for someone like me, this also seems like a recipe for getting sick all over again. I’ll definitely get a finger-wag from my Mom).

The beach, even this small one, has a totally different vibe in the winter – windswept and deserted, vast and lonely. The light is pale and weak. The icy crust on the sand and crackles beneath your feet. The trees are stark and bare, the snack bars are clammed up, the swings on the playground creak in the wind.

I grabbed a couple of nice shots near the water, which I’ll share tomorrow. My surprise gift, carved into a tree stump, was discovered while walking a paved trail along the water:



And when I looked up, there was another one:




I followed the path from one carving to another.


By this time my hands and nose were frozen, so I made my way back home, pleased to have stumbled upon unexpected tree stump art and also pretty proud of myself for willingly going outdoors in February.

Once there, Google led me to this article and this article, where I learned that these carvings are the work of Bill Le Blanc, a retired steelworker, who discovered his talent seemingly by accident.

Maybe all of us have a gift, just waiting to be revealed, in the right space and at the right time.

Thanks, as always, for visiting.

Paint the town.


Detail from a mural by Shalak. Cambridge, Ontario.

I’ve taken a shine to graffiti (the artsy kind).

I’ve always lived in suburbia, and admittedly I’m pretty sheltered, so I can’t say I’ve had much exposure to street art.

But a few quick searches on the web are enough to blow me away. I’m always amazed by people who excel at skills that, in me, are simply non-existent.

These artists execute their visions in massive, full-colour glory – often with complex tricks of perspective that are incorporated into the existing urban design.

Today’s photo displays detail from a mural spray-painted on a building in downtown Cambridge, Ontario, where an International Street Art Festival was held last summer. This, so far, is the only true street art I’ve seen up close. The face pictured was painted by Shalak, a Canadian-Chilean artist whose work embodies “psychedelic magical realism.” Visit her website for more lovely examples of her art.

I didn’t attend the festival, but I plan to be there this year so I can actually watch the art unfold.

And then… I may just have to find more time to wander the streets, camera in hand, looking for more magic.