December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! Postcards from Canada

The official part.

Happy New Year! Have a wonderful 2011!

The unofficial part.

December 30, 2010

Stephen - Young and Talented

Stephen's photo

I was so impressed when I accidentally found this young and talented photographer in the shining, vast, and cold expanse of the cyberspace. His photographs present fragmented information about Stephen's world and his relationship with the world of photography. His camera is a tool of individual expression of everyday live 15 years old boy. I believe that with his talent Stephen will be a stunning photographer of any subject. I just wanted to bring his blog to your attention.

I hope he keeps up his work!

December 28, 2010

December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays!

This post is dedicated to the people who are celebrating Christmas by themselves without choosing to. Or to those who are feeling down this season. Or perhaps to those who haven't completed their resolutions. Or maybe there's something who is so tired that they have no energy left to act cheerful. I'm not going to say anything particularly special for the occasion. I just want to give you a couple of videos; some beautiful, some stupid. I hope you find something you like.
Happy Holidays!

Today's Photos and Write Impressions

If I need to buy something beautiful, I go to Write Impressions.
(2215 Bloor Street West)

December 20, 2010

St. Lawrence Market Brocante

If you're looking for a unique present, particularly for someone who enjoys collecting things like watches or old toys, you should visit the St. Lawrence Market.

I really enjoy exploring flea markets. I think there is something special about them in each country. You can also meet all these different types of people - collectors, tourists, or someone who just stopped by out of curiosity. The most interesting people at the flea market are the vendors. To my surprise, this time at the St. Lawrence Market, there were many young vendors.

For My Virtual Friend

Dear  Happy frog and I
Thank you!

December 18, 2010

The wallet and Karl

  This photo has nothing to do with the post. Its purpose it simply to draw your attention. (I guess it also has another Karl in it. I took it in 2007 on the Red Square in Moscow)

Yesterday, my husband found a wallet in the garage of our apartment building. He went down to get a pack of water bottles from the car, and he stumbled upon that object. He opened it, and found that it contained a driver's license. Finding the owner was pretty easy after that. He lives in our building. My husband told this story so calmly that you might think he finds wallets like that every day. Meanwhile, I was jumping up and down, asking these question 1) "Why didn't you take me with you to give back the wallet? I would have loved to see the expression on the people's faces." 2) "What else was in the wallet? Maybe a treasure map?" 3) "What did they say? Did they already know they lost it?"

It turned out that he didn't care what else was in the wallet. He knocked on the door of its owner for a while before anybody answered. My husband asked the man who opened the door "Is it yours?", and he said that it was. Then his wife appeared behind him, quietly saying "Oh my God..."

"So, if anybody comes up to us later to say something, it might be them," my husband said to me. Then he added "Do you remember Karl?"

This is the story of Karl:

Two years ago, we were riding in the elevator, when we saw a poster about a lost cat named Karl.
It was summertime. Three weeks passed since we saw the poster, and we were on a walk. We were a little way away from the building when we saw a cat in the evening dusk. I remembered Karl, and I had this hunch. I called him by his name. The cat stopped, and looked at me. We decided to try picking him up and bringing him back to our building, but he wouldn't let us touch him. So, my husband stayed to guard the cat while I went to get the owners.
I knocked on their door for the longest time, but, even though I clearly heard some footsteps in the room, nobody opened it. A guy came out of the door nearby; I explained the situation, and we started knocking together. In a little while, we agreed that I will go and help guarding the cat while he continues knocking.

A while passed, Karl's very sleepy owner came out, and together, we started the hunt. I'm pretty sure Karl remembered who she was. He would approach her, and then get back, but he wouldn't let her pick him up. It seemed like he'd had a hard time for a while. His owner saw that and started crying about the state he was in.

Some people passed by - some of them stopped to help us, while other looked at us like we were crazy. I remember one girl even tied her dog's leash to a tree, and started crawling around in the bushes with us, after Karl. More and more people joined in. We were worried that he would climb up on the tree, and we would have to call the fire department. Eventually, we made a sort of chain together, and trapped him by a flowerbed. The owner took off her shoes and pretty much jumped on the cat, finally capturing him.

I saw her a couple of weeks later, and she took quite a long time thanking me.

December 16, 2010

Today's shopping and a question.

The question is. How did you survive Christmas shopping? Shopping for me is a very stressful procedure. Maybe because I usually don't have any time for shopping. I admit I also procrastinate, because I don't look forward to it. I go shopping when everything around me is about to burst to flames. (For example, this time, I needed an outfit for the reception for my solo exhibition in January. I knew about the exhibition in the beginning of the summer, but I left it so long). The thought of having to choose and try things on is terrifying, because the process can be so exhausting. It's very interesting - are there really people who enjoy shopping? It's nice to come home with new things, but the process of finding them is so frustrating.

December 14, 2010

Today's photos and a question

Sometimes I need clarifications regarding the most obvious things. For example, what are your favourite movies to watch for the hundredth time on Christmas? What movies do you only watch on the holidays, regardless of the circumstances? Do you have any movies without which Christmas just isn't the same? Something without which it loses a small and simple yet sacred element, like the beautifully decorated tree, the smell of freshly cooked treats, or the morning spent opening gifts. I'm sure there are some movies that you can only watch on that day. If you can think of any, feel free to share.

December 13, 2010

Sound of Music

I found a post in A Woman Of No Importance blog that features a nice flash mob. Here is another one which I like.

December 10, 2010

A risky post

Recently, I’ve had some interesting luck with older ladies. (I have to say that, in my experience, it is usually safe to call someone slightly over 80 an older lady.)

The first scenario happened at the drug store, where I was buying some cough syrup. I saw a lady near one of the shelves, struggling to reach something at the very top. She even jumped up a little, all to no avail, because she was very small. I turned to give her some help. It turned out that she needed some Attends. I had to put up a lot of effort as well, because they were shoved really deeply into the shelf. Having finally retrieved them, I just thought I’d hear something like “Oh, thank you.” Instead, what I heard was, “One day, you’re going to be needing some of those.”

At first, I got a little upset, then I was really irritated, but I couldn’t find anything to say in response, and so I went about my business. It was only after I left the store that I started laughing so much that I frightened one man and two pigeons.

The other scenario took place where I was walking with an acquaintance of mine to the bus stop. She noticed that her bus was leaving, and so she took off after it. This was done despite the fact that no one ever tried to catch a departing bus in Canada, and she was born here. At that moment, one of her shoelaces came undone, and she stepped on it, and sprained her ankle. Her first phrase after that incident was “I suppose there won’t be any dance lessons for me for a while.”

The third scenario happened at a Polish deli. I was standing in line next to a pleasant lady in a lovely hat. When we reached the cashier, she slowed down a bit. I just figured she must have remembered something important. Then I saw the expression on the face of the young cashier, and I realized that something was up. Then I noticed that she was dozing off. The winter sunlight was coming through the window, making us all more relaxed. 

I wonder what I’ll be like fourty years from now. I really hope I’ll be cute. Of that I can never be sure. But I do know for a fact that I will thank everyone who helps me out at the store when I start needing some Attends.

December 8, 2010

Abstract winter ideas

Here are some photos from previous years and some from this year. With an emphasis on minimalism.

These are the questions that I ask myself when taking a photograph.
What form do the objects take?
What composition should I choose?
Did I push my creative limits?
What is the impact of the light on the subject?
What colors  need to be represented?
What kind of textural structure do I want to emphasize?
If the camera sees everything, what is really necessary in each photo?
If my task is to make order out of a variety of objects, how would I prefer to do it?

December 6, 2010

December can be a surreal month

Whenever it is December in Canada – a lovely season of holidays, presents, and unexpected visits – I remember one episode that took place nine years ago around this time. I was riding in a car down our street. I was wearing warm boots, jeans, a sweater, and a winter jacket. The sun was setting, and large flakes of snow were descending from the sky. It seemed like in one moment, everything turned white. From the window, I saw two people walking down the street. The first one was a tall and thin man, draped in a white cloth. He also had a white turban, and on his feet, there were some flip-flops and beads. The second person was a woman; she was a little shorter than the man, but still taller than average. Her outfit was also made out of thin white fabric, which was wrapped around her body. She had an elaborate hairstyle, and she wore shoes with little bells. Both of those people had the kind of perfect posture than you only see in ballet. (The kind that you also will never see on anybody who spends a lot of time in front of the computer.) Their heads were raised high, and they moved with so much grace that it seemed like it was nothing for them to walk around a snowy street in shoes I’d only wear in the summer. It’s as if the snow was actually sand. To me, the people really looked like they emerged out of the spirit world.

This image made such an impression on me, leaving me entranced for a while. I still like to imagine the sound of bells ringing down a snow-white street.

December 2, 2010

That was close

Yesterday, something awful almost happened. I was working in the studio when my husband called. He needed to ask me something right away. I had a plastic container of acrylic paint and a paintbrush in my hands. Absent-mindedly, I stuck the brush into the paint, and put it on a nearby table. Out cat – a nosy animal – immediately jumped onto the table. My intuition made me turn around at that moment, and I saw that the paint container was just about tipping onto the cat. I screamed so loudly that, instead of getting splattered with paint, ran away, and hid under the bed in the other room for the next hour. I told my husband about what happened, who was still on the other line, hearing the sounds, but not knowing what was going on. He reasoned that our cat had almost turned into an art installation. I told him (as my mind painted the picture of a clean shaven cat, since acrylic paint doesn’t come out of anything) that first, there would have been something more like performance art.

This is why I can’t see myself getting a dog. I can’t guarantee being able to prevent the occurrence accidents and victims. Once, a friend of mine came over with a wonderful Labrador Retriever. We popped into the kitchen for just a moment. When we returned, the dog was licking the canvas, which was covered with a mixture of glue and chalk. If cats are hard enough to manage, then dogs just aren't meant for an artist's studio.

December 1, 2010

A vacation afterword

 Thanks to everyone who could stand my photo marathon. Our vacation had a particular mood. The moment I saw that place, I wanted to capture every part of it, and share it with you. Keeping a blog gives you so much motivation to use the camera more often. Once again, thank you all who commended. Because of you, I know I didn’t waste my time, and I had so much fun. I hope you did too.

In order to stay grounded in reality, and give you a more balanced perspective, I’ll tell you that I saw a small cockroach in the hotel bathroom. We didn’t end up as friends. I only made friends with other humans in the hotel. (Perhaps, if one of them isn’t too shy and sends me a photo, you might see a real Russian hunter in this blog one day. Also, I’m going to have to be careful with my language, because I now have one reader under 12.( Alina, say hi to your parents!)
If anybody has a business offer for me, to promote a hotel or a restaurant, you know where to find me. Right here, in my blog. Keep in mind, I only travel with four assistants – 1) My husband (computer specialist and moral support) 2) My daughter (editor and moral support) 3) Daughter’s boyfriend (musical and moral support) and 4) Cat (just moral support. I’ll cover the costs of the vaccinations).

The only things left on my to-do list are writing two long letters to my parents and my husband’s parents. There are still people in this world who appreciate a real, handwritten letter.

Also, Christmas is coming! And pretty soon my art exhibitions will start again.