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All text, photography and artwork is by GARY SIM unless noted otherwise.
BC ARTISTS EXHIBITION OPENS JAN. 23 2018 AT NATIONAL GALLERY
LECTURE TO CANADIAN ACADEMY OF INDEPENDENT SCHOLARS AT S.F.U.
MAUD SHERMAN OIL PAINTING ACQUIRED AT AUCTION
"SURFACE TENSION" SOLO EXHIBITION OPENS AT McGILL LIBRARY
WINTER GRASS LINOCUT SEASONS GREETING
TRAIN EXPO 2017
BACK TO WORK IN ARCHITECTURE
NEW LINOCUT PRINTS
NEW LINOCUT PRINT EXHIBITION AT DAILY GRIND CAFE
THE END OF ANOTHER ERA
MORE FALL EVENTS LISTED
TRIAL PROOF OF NEW RELIEF PRINT
BURNABY ART GALLERY 50th ANNIVERSARY PARTY
BRITISH COLUMBIA ARTISTS UPDATED AGAIN
THE SUMMER BOOK REVIEWS ARE STARTING TO COME IN
THE SUMMER BOOK LAUNCH AT SYLVIA HOTEL
BURNABY ART GALLERY TO CURATE SOLO SHOW AT McGILL LIBRARY
GALLERY IN SUMMER COMMISSION COMPLETED
THE SUMMER BOOK ARRIVES IN TIME FOR SUMMER
ALCUIN SOCIETY A.G.M. AT HYCROFT MANOR
NEW LIMITED EDITION PRINT BETWEEN TIDES
THE ADVENTURES OF NOMAN - CONTINUED
UNEXPECTED TRIP TO THE YUKON
BURNABY ART GALLERY COMMISSIONS RELIEF PRINT
MOTHER TONGUE TO PUBLISH SIM ARTWORK
TROLLEYS IN THE SNOW
SIM LECTURE AT MUSEUM OF VANCOUVER
BC ARTISTS UPDATE ISSUED
EMPIRE LANDMARK - FOR THE RECORD: No. 1
This is quite an honour, and is a significant achievement and recognition for not only my donations but also for my BC Artists project itself. Earlier donations to the NGC were recognized when my name was added to the "125 YEARS OF DONORS" wall in the Gallery's entry promenade, as well as being listed in an NGC publication of significant donations to the Library and Archives over a ten-year period.
The head of NGC Library and Archives, Cyndie Campbell, asked me a few years ago about my interest in the idea, and of course I said yes, and my large donations of the past three years probably helped this show be approved. At least two or three people at the Gallery are working on the show, partly because the decision was made to open it quite soon. Now I have to decide: fly to Ottawa or not?
Refer to BC ARTISTS - THE GARY SIM DONATION for more information.
I also purchased a number of art books and catalogues, including a 1912 5th Annual for the Canadian Art Club, and a 1947-48 catalogue for the Canadian Group of Painters.
I ordered a variety of new lino-cutting tools this year, including two sets of gouges made in Japan. I was trying out some of them on a cut-off piece of linoleum, then realized that the resulting pattern looked like grass, so I carried on with that idea. A little while later it was finished, probably less than an hour, and I made a bunch of prints. The first run of 35 was on Kozuke Kozo Washi, a few on Unryu, then 48 on Arches Text Wove, all printed using Cranfield Caligo Safewash Ink.
Although the whole process of hauling everything out there and setting it up one day and hauling it all back home the next was quite tiring, the two days passed quickly, and a lot of people were very interested in the process of making prints. I had designed, cut, and printed some railway-themed relief prints for the show, including Brooks Mogul 2-6-0, Train 'A Coming, and Red to the Rear. I made a lot of prints in the two days. My friend Jen once again provided excellent assistance with everything.
Refer to LIMITED EDITION PRINTS page for more information about each print.
From left to right: Gallery in Summer, Brooks Mogul 2-6-0, Summer Rest, Looking Away, Between Tides.
All these prints were created this year except for Looking Away, cut in 2005. This print was not able to be easily printed using the ink I had at the time, but with the upgrade to Cranfield's Caligo Safe-wash ink the print can now be pulled successfully as intended.
Refer to LIMITED EDITION PRINTS page for more information about each print.
Elsewhere in architecture and construction, things are booming, and many job openings are being posted. I've had a couple of offers already, which is promising. In the meantime, it's Labour Day weekend, and I have lots of art to work on. The MOGUL block needs a little more work to be finished, and I have two more designs for train-related relief prints to be cut: a modified crossing sign, and a front view of GMD GF6C electric locomotive #6004 from Tumbler Ridge days. I'm working on the drawing for the latter, trying to figure out how to do it as a simple white-line exercise, so that the prints end up looking somewhat like a blueprint (expecially if printed with blue ink).
Cutting the lino block for a new relief print is always an adventure of sorts. Trying to determine what's white and what's black is never easy. This is a scan of a trial proof from the second state. There is more work to do, but it's getting close. I'd rather take it slowly than cut away something that needs to remain. This print is intended for the Train Expo (see EVENTS), but when it is done I'm going to cut one or two more smaller blocks with train-related images than can also be printed at the Expo.
Opening remarks by Ellen van Eijnsbergen
The linoleum block inked up for printing
"I was expecting The Summer Book to be light “summer reading,” a kind
of elegant grown-ups’ version of those obligatory back-to-school
stories about “what I did last summer.” Instead, Mona Fertig has
put together a masterpiece collection of finely crafted and
evocative reminders of why summer is such a special season.
The charming artwork of Peter Haase, Briony Penn, and Gary Sim interspersed among the writing is also a valuable complement to it — though I would have liked to see the colours in Penn’s glorious watercolours. It is a tribute to this fine book that either the stories or the images could have stood alone.
Placed together in this generous way, the stories, linocuts, and watercolours – all produced and edited with consummate care — are a precious monument to summer in Canada from some of B.C.’s finest writers.
This is a book for reading in the hammock in the summer and leaving on the bedside table when the winter rains return."
Howard Stewart, The Ormsby Review
"Separated by understated linocuts, watercolours, etchings, drawings
and photos by Mona Fertig and contributors Gary Sim, Briony Penn and
Peter Haas, in black and white, that contribute to the sense of
scrapbook rather than artefact, the memoirs are more sketches than
complete narratives. Together they form a collage, their edges touching
and overlapping like waves on the beach."
Linda Rogers, Pacific Rim Review of Books
The room was only booked for a couple of hours, so a core group of folks packed up and headed to the lounge for further refreshments and tall tales. I ended up carrying 20 copies of the book home with me, for general distribution, gifts, marketing, the c.v., etc.
Please refer to Mother Tongue Publishing web site for additional information about the book, more forthcoming launches, reviews, and purchase locations.
The exhibition title will be SURFACE TENSION - Recent Work by Gary Sim.
I took the opportunity to take pictures of some older buildings in the area. The wood-frame building seen below is at the corner of Hastings and Columbia, and was considered some years ago as the second oldest wood-frame structure remaining in Vancouver. Perhaps by now it is number one. The entry stairs up to the second floor are on the right, screened by the tree.
I was very happy to get copies of this book in the mail, and eager to see how it turned out! The book looks great, the artwork reproduced really well, and the stories that I've read so far are quite interesting.
The Vancouver book launch is this Friday June 23 2017 at the Sylvia Hotel, Pendrell Room, from 4-6 p.m. Refer to MTP for more information.
The Alcuin Society, of which I am a Patron member, donor, exhibitor, print-making demonstrator, advertiser, and occasional author/illustrator in their journal Amphora, held their 2017 Annual General Meeting at Hycroft Manor, the lovely old mansion near Granville and 16th now owned by the University Women's Club.
It was a perfect evening, and the french doors to the patio were open to allow mingling inside and out. The obligatory functions of the Society were performed promptly, followed by a very interesting lecture by noted historian and artist Michael Kluckner titled "Art, Activism, and the Challenge of the Illustrated Book."
Having not yet received my copies of The Summer Book, I showed around my new print Between Tides and the Burnaby print in progress. Two visitors from Portland, Oregon, Ann and Andre Chaves, presented all attendees with beautifully printed multi-colour letterpress broadsides titled "Hope and Memory" and "The Many Side of William Morris - The Poet" printed at their Clinker Press for the occasion.
This little print (4" x 6") was designed and cut as a warmup exercise for the Burnaby Art Gallery commission. As well, it was done to test an oil-based ink made in Wales that I hadn't used before, on a new block of linoleum, to see how the ink handled and printed. The results were excellent. The ink, Cranfield Caligo Safe Wash Relief ink (this one printed with furnace carbon black) is formulated so that it can easily be cleaned up with soap and water, but dries waterproof, which makes it ideal for my purposes.
The tugboat is the Seaspan Raven, seen loitering in English Bay offshore from Stanley Park, waiting for the next bit of work to do.
This has become the longest-running series of artworks done about a single theme and in a single format. More than thirty have been completed, and a number more are in various stages of completion ranging from the initial pencil scribbled-idea up to well-advanced pen & ink work.
Refer also to The Adventures of Noman series and Drawings for additional images.
As is often the case, I was asked at work on Tuesday this week how soon I could get up to the Yukon to do a condition assessment of the Faro Air Terminal Building. Faro is about a 250 mile drive from Whitehorse, which is a 2-1/2 hour flight from Vancouver. I flew up on Thursday and drove to Faro, did the review Friday morning, then drove back to Whitehorse and took the return flight. 3,000 miles in 2 days. It was an interesting trip, but I was sick with a bad cold, so mainly suffered through it as best I could.
The edition of 100 is intended to be gifted to supporters and friends of the Gallery, along with copies of the book that is being published to accompany the celebrations. As noted in early news items, I have a short article on Jack Wise in that book, along with a shorter biography of myself.
Mona has selected an all-star cast of BC writers for the book, and after reviewing a proof copy of the book I have to say it is going to be a very nice and well-received publication. For more information please see EVENTS page, and MTP website at MTP.
A review of BC Directories (DIR) from 1886 to 1935 resulted in the addition of almost 100 artists not previously listed, expanding the DIR listing from 3 pages to 15 pages (so far, with 1919 to 1931 still to be input). A page by page review was completed for the seven volumes of Macdonald's Dictionary of Canadian Artists, with 480 BC artists noted of whom over 100 were new to BC ARTISTS. A review of Evelyn McMann's Biographical Index of Canadian Artists is underway.
Ongoing on-line searches at the Royal BC Museum & Archives vital statistics web page continue to provide additional information on artists. In particular, although the DEATH certificates are somewhat unhappy to read, they contain an excellent amount of information about the person, their life and family, that is otherwise almost impossible to find so easily.
Given that the redevelopment signs have gone up around the now-named Empire Landmark (formerly the Sheraton Landmark) Hotel, it's only a matter of time before it gets knocked down. After all, it seems like those signs are just a formality, everything is already figured out.
In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to take some pictures of this long-time iconic and slender tower while it is still here. After the Sheraton hotel chain sold it to asian interests, a huge display of neon lighting was installed on top of the revolving restaurant, resulting in numerous complaints to city hall from residents of the West End. The lighting was modified but not removed, despite not having been done with a permit in the first place. Money keeps talking around town.
The tower will be replaced with two lower towers, each with larger floor plates, as the hotel's floor size is too small to be practical any more.
A view of the hotel from Barclay Park, 1400 Haro St., with a light powder snow falling. The tree trunk visible at lower right is what remains of a large weeping willow tree that just fell over by itself one night a few months ago.