May 30, 2017

First Quick Sketches

second sketch 

Third sketch - 5 or 10 minutes?

This one was almost an hour pose - still needs a lot of work ... click on them to enlarge

I think this one was 20 minutes and I did some more work on it this morning and will continue tomorrow morning if I find the time. All are drawn on my ipadpro using the Procreate App and the Apple Pencil. I love it! Get in touch if you are also procreate painting. 

May 17, 2017

I suspect Trump may have done himself in - watching ABC news. Comey will certainly be believed before the self confessed serial liar. Nice to think Democracy may actually work!

May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day to all of us! Recognized or not.

April 15, 2017

Another fun learning experience with using Procreate and my ipadpro. Trust me - the model looked nothing like this!!

April 13, 2017

Drawing the model ["Helen" in a 1 hour pose] in my ipadpro with my apple pencil and using the wonderful Procreate App at Go Figure in Collingwood. Click on the image for a closer look. I see mistakes but all in all I am pleased with it. I have a lot more to learn about Procreate but I must say this way of doing art is wonderful for an older person like me. No heavy materials to carry, no dirty hands or dirty clothes as well as no fumes to inhale. Just as challenging as "real" art.

April 10, 2017

Our world has gone crazy - I am depressed, disappointed and disillusioned by mankind. I hardly know what to do about it aside from attempting to talk to anyone who might read these words which I tap out, from my bed, on my iphone, at 6 AM. 
Those of you who haven't gone crazy might want to watch a documentary I watched on my computer last night. It is on AlJeera and about a sweet 14 year old boy who unwittingly started the war in Syria. 47 minutes long but it tells us so much. I would love to know how it affected you. Make a comment or write to me at

April 08, 2017

Does this photo [found in Al Jezeera] not speak 1000 words or more?!!!

April 04, 2017

iPadpro drawing in Procreate 

March 30, 2017

Stolen from The New Yorker - the caption is something like - "Oh nothing - we have just been home binging on CNN and the president". 

March 23, 2017

A lovely young woman modeled for us at Go Figure on Monday. I love these 2 hour sessions. 

March 14, 2017

Hey! I recently stumbled on this picture of me many years ago although it doesn't feel like it was all that long ago. I was somewhere between 42 and 45 at this Christmas party for Walter Coles Catering. Gee - I looked good didn't I? I am now paying the price for all those delicious cigarettes. I have fairly mild case of COPD but it is still enough to be life changing. If you read this and you smoke do stop or at least cut them down down down to give your lungs less reason to stop working properly.

March 07, 2017

Still learning Procreate which is a drawing program for my ipad pro  - lots to learn but I love it so far! Much easier to carry than painting materials! Nothing to clean up either ....
Add caption

March 05, 2017

This is my painting is of my brother Bob [Gillies]. He was boarded and killed while playing hockey 63 years ago today. 17 years old. The hockey player who pounded him into the boards and stood laughing over his unconscious body was charged with manslaughter. He was acquitted when his teammates lied for him. I imagine some of those teammates  are still around and having to live with themselves. Our sins seem to get magnified as we get older and closer to our own death. Bob was a good guy and a very clean hockey player. Still missed, still brings tears to my eyes. 

February 28, 2017

My Room at the Chelsea Hotel - This painting hung in the lobby for a month or so. Knox Martin of The Art Students League helped me place the bed - that is Chinese perspective in case you didn't know! The cast iron sunflowers were on my balcony overlooking 23rd Street. Always wondered who had occupied this room over the many years before I lived there. Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter lived down the hall and I had Thanksgiving with a very old French woman [about my current age!] who had painted with and swam with Picasso back in the day. 

February 19, 2017

Stanley Barb with someone I don't know in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel - read more about him and the Chelsea at

Oh dear! The New York Times tells me Stanley Bard died yesterday. He was 82 - as am I. Stanley “managed” the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. I lived at the famous hotel  the winter of 1991/2 while attending the Art Students League. I love the Chelsea and Stanley was a very good man. I called from Toronto  asking about a room. Stanley answered the phone - “come on down and we can decide how much your rent will be later …” With some trepidation I did just that. He gave me a great large room on the 6th floor with a little balcony and  2 double beds, a combined stove/fridge and my own bathroom. After several weeks and several requests he told me my rent would be $1200.00 a month - a pittance! 
Thanks Stanley - I see David says you had a stroke, I don’t think you would have like living like that so I wish you god’s speed and I thank you so very much!

February 12, 2017

This is the same model - also done in my ipadpro with Procreate - also kind of creepy - click on it to get a close up. I love these Monday morning 2 hour sessions. The only sound in the room is the pencil, pastel, charcoal or paint touching the paper or canvas. 

February 09, 2017

iPadpro Procreate sketch at Go Figure in Collingwood - his legs weren't real cut off!

February 05, 2017

Giving the Polar Bear swimmers a bit of body! I am using water based oils and  they are okay so far -  no fumes to speak of!

January 24, 2017

These signs were left on the Iron Fence in front of the Law Society on Queen Street West
Me marching with the Women [and many men as well!] in Toronto on Saturday, Jan 21/17 .... we must somehow keep up the momentum! Shouldn't that be "despicable"? ouch!

January 17, 2017

Half [or less!] of a Procreate ipadpro drawing [using the Apple Pencil] at Go Figure in Collingwood. I will try and find time to play with this some more ....

January 11, 2017

This model is 83 years old - Good for her! Great to get back to some drawing again! A 30 minute sketch at Go Figure in Collingwood.

November 22, 2016

Drawing with an Apple Pencil on ipadpro -
at Go Figure in Collingwood ....

November 20, 2016

Finally able to post in here [don't know what was wrong and didn't have time [or take time] to find out].  Awfully busy watching the nightmare my neighbours have brought on themselves [2/3 of them don't vote? we do get the government we deserve don't we?] mourning Leonard Cohen and Gwen Ifil as well as listening to Apple Music which is super because they publish the words behind the songs. It is nobodies business if I can't carry a tune! Last but not least I put a bit of paint on this painting. Click to enlarge it - its worth a click!

November 04, 2016

WHY TRUMP IS DIFFERENT—AND MUST BE REPELLED By Adam Gopnik , NOVEMBER 3, 2016 Donald Trump behaves exactly how you would expect an American fascist to act. PHOTOGRAPH BY MANDEL NGAN / AFP / GETTY Barrier Status: 'none' For the past months, and into this final week, as for much of the past year, many New Yorkers have been in a position that recalls parents with a colicky baby: you put the baby down at last, it seems safely asleep, grateful and unbelievably exhausted you return to bed—only to hear the small tell-tale cough or sob that guarantees another crying jag is on the way. The parents in this case, to fill in the metaphorical blanks, are liberal-minded folk; the baby’s cries are any indicators that Donald Trump may not be out of the race for President—as he seemed to be even as recently as last week—and may actually have a real chance at being elected. Disbelief crowds exhaustion: this can’t be happening. If the colicky baby is a metaphor too sweet for so infantile a figure as the orange menace, then let us think instead, perhaps, of the killer in a teen horror movie of the vintage kind: every time Freddy seemed dispatched and buried, there he was leaping up again, as the teens caught their breath and returned, too soon, to their teendom. We joke because we seek sanity in an insane moment. For the idea that Trump might be elected is as crazy as the man is. Trump remains, as he has been all along, an open and committed enemy of liberal democracy and constitutional republicanism, and yet he is at most a few polling points from power. Indeed, we can be confident that, whatever the play of the polls this week, we will certainly arrive at next Tuesday with Trump retaining at least the chance that any candidate of one of our two major parties always has—a real one, with much depending on things that happen outside anyone’s control, often at the last minute, and in ways that cannot now easily be envisioned. Those are the stakes, and our emergency, our sleepless baby, our back-from-the-dead killer. Come, the skeptic alongside or within us protests, surely this account is at least a little hysterical, or exaggerated. Can Trump really be that bad? And would he truly be unguarded by constitutional constraints? For haven’t we heard all this, or something too much like it, before? It has been a convention of our quadrennial liberal pieties, after all, to insist that this election is the one that uniquely matters, with repeated spectres of looming apocalyptic authoritarianism often (and perhaps too carelessly) invoked. People said the same things about Goldwater in 1964, and about Richard Nixon in that grim year of 1968. Even Ronald Reagan, now as comforting an American icon as Ozzie Nelson, was greeted in the summer of 1980 with fearful warnings about the dangers of putting the nuclear button in the hands of a shallow and untested actor. The country survived. Hell, the country thrived. Can the oafish and absurd Donald Trump really be worse? Well, if one lesson liberals learn from 2016 is to be more discerning about the difference between bad policies and constitutional crises, between falling rain and onrushing meteors, it will surely be salubrious for them, and for us all. But, in truth, this time is different. Barry Goldwater worked within, and respected all the norms of, democracy—during his time as a senator, he and J.F.K. were not only friends across the aisle but talked of barnstorming together in 1964. “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” may not be a slogan all can embrace, but (to sound like Walter Sobchak, in “The Big Lebowski”) at least it’s an ethos—something to respect and debate, to argue over. The condition of the country in 1968 was surely worse than it is now, and Nixon had an inner life more paranoid than even now is quite believable—but he was also a normal politician who had followed a normal path, and when, in fact, his anti-democratic tendencies were revealed, he was expelled by the same constitutional order that he had betrayed. One never thought to have to say this in his praise, but Richard Nixon accepted the system that distinguished itself by ejecting him. And Ronald Reagan, whatever anxieties he awoke in the year of his election, could point credibly to his time as a successful two-term governor of our largest state. Meanwhile, the true previous American demagogues—Joe McCarthy and Huey Long and George Wallace—never captured the Presidential nomination of a major political party. Donald Trump is not normal in any of these ways, and yet we continue to treat him as though he were. Those of us who warned last spring that he was being underestimated and “normalized” by a sinister process of gradual acceptance of the unacceptable turned out, tragically, to be right. Trump is not normal. Nothing about him is. One need only look at his rallies, track the rhetoric they offer and the vengeful orgy of hatred and misogyny and racism they induce, to see just how different he is. His followers are not, shall we say, there to root on their favored libertarian in his pursuit of free-market solutions to vexing social problems; they are there to scream insults and cry havoc on their (mostly imaginary) enemies, to revel in the riot of misogyny and racism that Trump has finally given them license to retrieve from the darkest chapters of our past. (“Not politically correct” means openly brutal to minorities and women.) A ten-year-old screams, “Take that bitch down!” to laughter. One need only track the past month’s series of outrages, each quickly receding into the distance, to recall that he has done not one but almost innumerable things that in any previous election would have been, quaint word, “disqualifying.” His Twitter assault on the former Miss Universe was followed by his confession and boasts of being a sexual predator, which were followed by the confirmation of numerable women that, yes, indeed, he is a sexual predator—met only by his snarling denials, none of them the least bit convincing, and the familiar big-lie technique of insisting that their stories have been “debunked” when they have not even been effectively denied. The truth is that Trump’s “positions” on specific issues are more or less a matter of chance and whim and impulse (Of course women should be punished for having abortions! Ten minutes later: no, they shouldn’t) while his actual ideology, the song he sings every day, the one those listeners and followers gleefully vibrate to, is one anthem, and it is the sound of the authoritarian and anti-democratic impulses Americans have rejected since the founding of this country. Call them what you will—populist authoritarianism or extreme-right-wing ethno-nationalism—the active agents within a Trump speech and energizing a Trump rally are always the same: the worship of power in its most brutal and authoritarian forms (thus his admiration for Vladimir Putin and for the Chinese Communists who assaulted the protesters at Tiananmen Square); the reduction of all relations to dominance contests; the contempt for rational argument; the perpetual unashamed storm of lies; the appeal to hysterically exaggerated fears of outsiders; and, above all, the relentless sense of ethnic grievance that can be remedied only by acts of annihilating revenge. His is the ideology not of democratic patriotism but of a narrow nationalism alone—the glorification of the nation, and the exaggeration of its humiliations, with violence promised to its enemies, at home and abroad; and a promise of vengeance for those who feel themselves disempowered by history. He will “level the playing field” with the terrorist spectre of isis by forcing soldiers to commit war crimes; he will not merely kill our enemies but annihilate their families. His platform is resentment and his program is revenge, and that is an ideology with many faces and one name. This is fascism with an American face. Because it is fascism with an American face, it can look, as things American so often do, in its own strange way not merely repellent but grotesquely entertaining—so much so that on some of these mornings of this final week it’s hard to recall the magnitude of the stakes. (The Trump stakes, of course, are not to be confused with Trump Steaks, one more failed brand.) Trump’s aggression slips so seamlessly inside the practices of professional wrestling and reality-television shows that one has to stop laughing long enough to remember, as our parents used to say, that there isn’t anything funny about it. Trump does what he does, as all good demagogues do, by instinct more than instruction: he senses that the “character” part in a professional-wrestling match must be always and entirely unrepentant and must never apologize—and, important detail, that the bad-guy persona can in fact become a good guy to the crowd if he is only given a chance to drop-kick the Muslim Sheik or the Mexican Intruder. And the strange rhythm of repeated insult is exactly the rhythm of “The Apprentice”—each week demands another outrage. But take no comfort from the squalid comedy: this is exactly what you would expect an American fascist to be, and to be like. The priority, putting all others aside, is to stop him. And yet voting, the essential act, has to be supported by speaking, and by telling the truth about how we got here. One reading of Trump should be avoided—indeed, repelled—for the sake of intellectual integrity. It has become almost an essential piety even among his opponents that a special pathos clings to his supporters, who know not what they do, but are themselves victims of forces larger than they. The misérables of the postmodern period, the dispossessed of the globalized planetary era, his supporters are not really the “racists” they are thought to be—and if they indulge in the blind hatred of his message it is only because their alienation from mainstream America, and their increasing hopelessness in the face of job losses and meaningful occupation, makes them vulnerable to a demagogic ideology. They embrace from ignorance and misplaced hope rather than from shared hatreds. The trouble with this view is that, while Trump has his share of disaffected white working-class voters, the correlation between Trumpism and economic discontent is a false one, as has been demonstrated many times. One particularly detailed and persuasive example appeared on Vox: “Trump support was correlated with higher, not lower, income, both among the population as a whole and among white people. Trump supporters were less likely to be unemployed or to have dropped out of the labor force. Areas with more manufacturing, or higher exposure to imports from China, were less likely to think favorably of Trump.” Even if the correlation were minimally robust, the notion that belonging to the largely fluid category “the white working class” puts one in special possession of virtue—a notion that still makes Chris Matthews’s eyes moist every night—is, in a polyglot, cosmopolitan country, absurd. The white working class built unions and raised children and fought wars—and lynched black people and supported Joe McCarthy. Sometimes those attitudes could be held together in a single personality. No group is invulnerable to bad causes. We should have no hesitation in calling deplorable attitudes deplorable—without imagining that those who hold them are deplorable people. They can be wrong without being bad. And, in any case, it would be good to balance the endless hand-wringing about the pathos of the Trump voter with some countervailing sense of the pathos, still larger, of the Clinton voter: the Latina motel cleaner in Nevada or the single mother in Brooklyn. No category of voters in a democracy is especially virtuous, none immune from evil. The biggest single error, and the most tragic, that “progressive” or liberal thinkers made in the twentieth century was to imagine that ethnic grievances could be reduced to economic grievances, and that if the aggrieved could be made to see their “true” class position the grievance would go away, the nationalism, or racism, would vanish. It never has. Trump’s supporters demand our attention and deserve our empathy—but that doesn’t make the ideology they so feverishly share any less toxic or dangerous. And the notion that they have no agency or choice is the truly condescending one. (The reality, more hopeful, is that the views behind such grievances do not get out-argued; they just evolve out of us. The most encouraging of the poll-borne truths may be that Trump’s support drops among those younger than thirty, of whatever racial or ethnic or educational background.) The mistake in the analysis lies deeper, perhaps—in the assumption that only a strange and traumatic sequence can have made this happen. What can be causing Trumpism? We ask, and seek for an earthquake, or at least a historical oddity or a series of highly specific causal events. The more tragic truth is that the Trumpian view of the world is the default view of mankind. Bigotry, fanaticism, xenophobia are the norms of human life—the question is not what causes them but what uncauses them, what happens in the rare extended moments that allow them to be put aside, when secular values of toleration and pluralism replace them. It is a touching thing that Oscar Hammerstein had his people sing, apropos racial prejudice, that “You’ve got to be carefully taught.” Alas, as poor Oscar would have realized if he had stopped to think about the events that had led all those American soldiers and sailors to the South Pacific in the first place, you don’t have to be carefully taught to hate. The Hitlerians and the Japanese militarists hadn’t been carefully taught; they rushed to their lesson in the face of all evidence. Human groups, particularly those fuelled by religious fanaticism or the twentieth-century equivalent, blind nationalism, always tend toward exclusion. To eliminate the tribal instinct may be impossible, but to raise the accidental practice of pluralism to a principle is what enlightened societies struggle to accomplish. And they have. It just turns out to be a horribly hard triumph to sustain. Along comes 1914, or 1933—or, God forbid, 2016—and the work comes crashing down. What really needs explaining is not why the Trumps of the world come forward and win. It is why they sometimes lose. Not long ago, I had occasion to write of the divide in virtue that separates us from Shakespeare, making the point that Shakespeare believed in fate, order, and forgiveness, whereas we believe in history, justice, and compassion, and that, superior though our moral progress may seem, there are bitter truths in the old trinity. For, as Shakespeare would have grasped at once, there is no explaining Trump. He is one of those phenomena that rise regularly in history to confound us with the possibility—and black comedy—of potent evil: conscienceless, cruel and pathologically dishonest. That evil magnetizes followers of all kinds is another permanent truth. Overexplaining its rise is as foolish as pretending that it can be easily defeated. The threat it makes to an order that, however imperfect, is worth sustaining and defending reminds us of that order’s fragility. As to forgiveness, much will be demanded, even if the best happens—or the worst, at least, is avoided. #content  Adam Gopnik, a staff writer, has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1986.

October 14, 2016

I have been home from West Park for a month and most of a day. Unfortunately I came home with pneumonia although I didn’t know that until my family doctor received a report from West Park. After the pneumonia I got a wicked thrush infection from the antibiotics and I am still babying a boil that came from I don’t know where. Aside from getting infected while at West Park it was an excellent experience and I learned a great deal from dedicated staff, other patients as well as seeing myself in a different light. I urge anyone with COPD to go to the nearest live in rehab facility. If you can’t do that at least follow and practice the exercises on the internet. I like this 27 minute long demo from the Burke Institute - - and do it every day. I also wear a fitbit and count my steps. Anyone out there with COPD? I would love to hear from you and any advice you may have.

August 14, 2016

It was kind of a crazy week at West Park. On Monday morning I woke up with a runny nose and a bit of a cough so I was semi isolated behind the curtain in the room which I share with 3 other women. For 3 days! Boring but I did manage to get my laptop connected to WP's wifi which I hadn't been able to do previously. Due to being in isolation I was unable to start the daily routine until Thursday [Behind the curtain I danced with myself to try and keep in shape!] so I have only did it for 2 days before coming home for the weekend. Boy, the routine is tough but I feel better for it already! Breakfast is served at our bedside. The food is surprisingly good for a hospital. I receive 1400 calories a day and have lost 5 lbs - very nice. By 8.45 we are all in the workout room to practice breathing methods, 9.45 we start various physical exercises from 1. take your heart rate and enter it on your chart 2. walk for 20 minutes 3.take your heart rate and then we graduate from walking to the bikes and or treadmills and more difficult exercises. These exercises are repeated for an hour each afternoon. Dinner is around 5 or 5.30 and then we are free to go for a walk in the 27 acre part which is beautiful even if it was hot as hell last week. One evening we played bingo and patients who have been there off and on for many years told me their stories. I may ask them if I can tell you some of them .... If you smoke I hope you smoked less this week?

August 07, 2016

I only put this old painting in because I am not sure how to  write in here without putting  in  an image and don't want to take the time to find out. In any case it is somewhat appropriate..
I am currently living at West Park Rehab centre in Toronto and will be for the next 6 weeks so I won't be posting often although I come home on the weekends. I have COPD [don't smoke folks or if you do try to smoke as little as possible although I have already met 2 patients there who never smoked - they got COPD from second hand smoke!] I smoked for 40 or so years and I must say I enjoyed it very much. I stopped smoking when I was 60. I am now 82 - had pneumonia 1 1/2 years ago and 4 months later was diagnosed with COPD which has become progressively worse. Makes it difficult to breath which makes it difficult to walk very far etc etc etc. 
Luckily for me I was accepted for the 6 weeks live in rehab program at West Park. Rather than talk to people about this very confusing illness I will write about the experience in this blog. I also hope other patients will share their stories with me and allow me to blog their stories. Maybe we can help a couple of people stop smoking and therefore live longer. I live near the lakeshore in Barrie and I see people smoking near their little children - please don't - you are blackening their little lungs!!

July 17, 2016

My geraniums over Barrie - the smart people shop for their plants around the second week in July when they were less than 1/3 of what I paid for them 10 days ago! 

July 11, 2016

I am practicing the best way to put these web pages into my blog. Please excuse the mess. I took a picture of this page with Preview and than trimmed it [not enough!]. It might get better tomorrow but then again it might not. Click to make it bigger and I hope you can read the headings?!