Sunday, December 16, 2012

F-Art Tour

My friends, Maire and Helen, and I have known each other for over forty-three years. So we know each other very well. They're aware that I have been a Tom Thomson stalker since I was a kid. I spent my first honeymoon in Algonquin Park, canoeing and staring at the place where his abandoned craft was discovered. I went to his grave site. (Were those really his bones in there?) I have read every book written on his life. One of the best of these is written by local Canadian Roy MacGregor, called Northern Lights: The Enduring Mystery. The latter word, as Maire observes correctly, explains my obsession with Tom.

Thus when the McMichael Collection created a Tom Thomson tour, we signed up immediately. Helen is an artist, I am a writer, and Maire is our appreciator, editor, critic, and support. We love these cultural excursions (mostly planned by Helen, for which I am grateful), partly because of the lunches, but mostly because we're together experiencing something that's very often profound and beautiful.
I have an extra reason for loving these trips. It's research. In my Emily Taylor novels, her husband is a visual artist. I get a lot of my inspiration from Helen's art and from these excursions. Perhaps not surprisingly, my fifth book, although not an Emily Taylor, has an artist as a character and the centre of a mystery.

On this particular tour, we're surrounded by lots of other like-minded art lovers. Most of them are as old as we are, or much older. Canes and walkers are proliferate. It's a bit hot in the galleries after we crowd into them. The tour guide is enthusiastic, well-spoken and informative, though I don't really learn a whole lot that's new to me.

During the pauses in our guide's lecture, someone farts. This leads me to believe that s/he is farting throughout, only to be heard during the silences. As Maire and Helen and I discuss later, at our ages, we are not inclined to laugh. There but for the grace of digestion, fart we. But I do decide this should be entitled the F-Art Tour.

I do take home some tidbits for Sweet Karoline (working title of Book 5), despite the noise factor and Maire's observation that farts are particles that we can inhale.

Lawren Harris, among other artists, also wrote down his observations. "This land is mostly virgin, fresh and full, replenishing. This North of ours is a source of spiritual flow, which can create through us."

I decide my Artist will be a writer, too. If only I can give him such Harris-poignant words.

This exhibit has been designed with the juxtaposition of the original sketches and the completed pieces. Aha! Sketches! Some of the finished paintings differ from the trial in lighting, colour, and additions for the larger canvas. My artist is sketching!

The Group of Seven and Tom's paint boxes are displayed throughout the galleries. My artist will have a paintbox, too. Could it be a clue? What could be hidden inside?

Today, just before the #ImajinBooks Twitter Party, I am writing, writing, writing. Doesn't hurt that rain is pouring down outside, allowing me a guilt-free indoor day. I can't wait to get to the part where my characters find the paintbox and begin to understand what they've discovered! I just have to get through this part first LOL.

Thanks, Tom, thanks Helen and Maire. Off I go, f-arting all the way.

PS Go here to find all the info re Imajin Book's party and giveaways: Imajin Books. Hope to tweet you there, starting at 3 PM EST today.

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