Monthly Archives: October 2020

AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR CAPTURES OUTBACK TALE OF BETRAYAL AND REDEMPTION IN 1ST NOVEL “SPLINTERED HEART”

Over the past several months of Covid isolation and lack of film or tv production activity (i.e. potential clients), I’ve had lots of spare time to explore websites and news feeds from my homeland, Australia, and getting more and more homesick in the process. Thanks to viewing some fabulous films and TV shows on Aussie streaming platforms as well as Amazon Prime/Acorn TV,  I discovered Down Under’s favourite leading man, Aaron Pedersen (pictured below), star of Mystery Road the movie (featured at the 2013 Toronto Int’l Film Fest) and the subsequent TV series of the same name (the second series is currently airing in Canada on Acorn TV, part of the Amazon Prime service).pedersenHaving binge-watched 2 of his previous tv shows Water Rats (1996-2001) and City Homicide (2007 to 2011) and the Mystery Road movie sequel, Goldstone, I admit I’ve developed a huge crush on this handsome indigenous Aussie actor, so I joined a fun Facebook group made up of his most devoted fans, one of whom, Linda Dowling, is an award-winning successful author. Linda’s first 2 novels are currently available via Amazon Books, and I’m thoroughly engrossed in her first one, Splintered Heart, which takes place during the 60’s, an era when I myself was growing up in the bush just outside of Perth in Western Australia. So many references resonated with me but you don’t have to be an Aussie to fully appreciate the story, the heroine of the tale or the heat and vast emptiness of the outback. Dowling writes with great descriptive flair – I can almost hear the mournful call of the crows and feel the exhausting heat of the sun as I turn each page.new coverThis first book in Linda’s Red Dust series is set in the 1960s – teenager Lisa O’Connor is growing up in a brutal family environment living in the outskirts of Sydney, Australia. Abused and forsaken by those she should have been able to trust, Lisa is sent away to the notorious Parramatta Girls Home for ‘reform’ (this was, in fact, a real place which has thankfully since closed). While captive there, she experiences  the depths of human depravity and sinks even further into despair. Luckily for Lisa, she’s rescued from this abhorrent life by her childless aunt who takes her to live at a remote sheep station (i.e. big farm in the middle of nowhere) in outback New South Wales. Lisa finds herself in a world that is different to anything she has known before, and she falls in love with the homestead, the harsh outback landscape and the Aboriginal culture. With the help of her aunt and uncle, two female Aboriginal elders and Billy, a very special young Aboriginal man, Lisa’s splintered heart and broken spirit begin to mend.  Lisa’s determination and desire to overcome her horrific beginnings tell a saga unlike any other – both horrifying and inspiring, this is a book you won’t be able to put down.Linda DowlingThe award-winning, #1 bestselling author (pictured above) grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. During her childhood, Linda spent most of her time in rural areas and has continued to enjoy life in areas with natural surroundings. Her own aunt, a wonderful horsewoman, taught her a great deal about horses, riding and the outback and it was during her vacations with her aunt that Linda herself fell in love with the vast outback plains and the culture of the local indigenous population, their stories and their unique but simple way of living.  In her professional life, Linda has established and managed four medico-legal firms, including her own. During the course of her career, she has been involved in reporting on coroner-centric matters and inquests. She has also worked with the NSW Police State Crime Command Centre and in various Royal Commissions where she was exposed to the worst of human nature; she has drawn upon her professional and personal experiences while writing her Red Dust novel series, but the stories are a work of fiction and do not depict any person, living or dead.

Linda has already received many positive reviews and kudos direct from the readers, including:

A compelling read. Prepare to laugh and cry, this book will truly evoke a powerhouse of emotions. Steeped in culture perseverance and the unbreakable spirit of a young girl in 1960’s Australia.  Mary

I absolutely loved this book – an easy read that was hard to put down. A disturbing revelation into the brutal experiences occurring in the girls’ home in the 60’s and then a warming and uplifting transition to life in the outback and an interesting insight into our indigenous people. Looking forward to the next chapter.  Sandra

Wow! This book was an intense read. The author writes about the harshness of family life in general that many people living in Australia grew up in the 60’s thru 80’s can relate to. While the storyline itself was heart wrenching and a lot darker than anything I have experienced in my life, it left me thinking about the events affecting those in the book and the racism experienced by Aboriginals long after I had finished the book.  International Amazon CustomerIBA Book Award Finalist (3)

Splintered Heart is available in soft-cover and Kindle versions on Amazon so why not buy yourself a great gift for Christmas – order Linda’s book now!

TORONTO’S SANDRA AINSLEY GALLERY INTRODUCES DALE CHIHULY’s STUNNING NEW GLASS EXHIBITION OCT. 24

Back in 2016, I was thrilled to see the exquisite glass masterpieces of famed artist DALE CHIHULY at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; I walked around gasping at each stunning, delicate piece, marveling at Chihuly’s skill and imagination. Huge colourful chandeliers & installations stood alongside elegant vases and festive orbs (see my pics below)…so much to see…but dare not touch! 20161227_140807 20161227_135446Four years later, I am once again thrilled to view the upcoming Chihuly exhibition at the famed Sandra Ainsley Gallery when I attend their virtual launch this coming Saturday afternoon, Oct. 24th. Here’s what I’ll be seeing (and you can, too, until January 24, 2021)

CHIHULY, an exhibition by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly, marks the gallery’s seventh exhibition with the artist. It will feature a selection of work that represents the breadth of the artist’s career in the thirty years since he met Sandra Ainsley, including Aquamarine Icicle Chandelier and Sea Green and Yellow Persian Installation (pictured below), two new works created specifically for the Sandra Ainsley Gallery. For the  first time in Canada, CHIHULY will exhibit his Light Drawings—vibrant compositions on acrylic panels which are intensified by interior illumination.

Dale Chihuly Sea Green and Yellow Persian Installation (detail), 2020 © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

Dale Chihuly Sea Green and Yellow Persian Installation (detail), 2020
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

This carefully curated exhibition will present pieces from the artist’s best-known series such as Baskets, which Chihuly started in 1977 as an experiment testing fire, gravity and centrifugal force; Chandeliers, reflective sculptures designed to mass and control colour on a grand scale; Persians, featured in many of Chihuly’s most dramatic and well-known installations; and Ikebana, assemblages of long stemmed flowers and leaves of glass set within large-scale vessels. Works from some of Chihuly’s most technically challenging series will also be included such as Jerusalem Cylinders, vessels adorned with large glass crystals which Chihuly created for his landmark exhibition Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000, and Rotolo, dense coils of glass fused to a solid base that Chihuly developed in 2013.

CHIHULY will bring the viewer into the artist’s process and personal reflection through his Drawings (Works on Paper), Light Drawings, and the rarely shown Pilchuck Stumps. Drawings open a small window into the artistic process as Chihuly expresses his creative ideas on paper; Light Drawings are a reflection of Chihuly’s travels through Europe as a young man who marveled at the beauty of stained-glass windows and the power of natural light moving through them; and Pilchuck Stumps, glass vessels that were blown into wood and bark molds in 1992 and named for the Pilchuck Glass School which Chihuly co-founded in 1971.

Dale Chihuly Aqua Green Macchia with Russet Lip Wrap, 1981 7 x 11 x 7" © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

Dale Chihuly Aqua Green Macchia with Russet Lip Wrap, 1981 7 x 11 x 7″
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

CHIHULY will open to the public with scheduled viewings due to anticipated public demand. Sandra Ainsley Gallery is following all the recommended Covid-19 protocols and restrictions. Follow the Sandra Ainsley Gallery website or social channels for the latest information. To schedule an opening day appointment or private viewing please contact Sandra Ainsley Gallery at 416-214-9490.

Sandra Ainsley Gallery is the only art gallery in Canada to represent Chihuly’s work. Visit sandraainsleygallery.com for the complete virtual exhibition. Lots of parking and easy to reach via TTC, I highly recommend an in-person visit to experience this master artist’s unique craft…just stand and look, take it all in and feel the emotions each artwork evokes.

Dale Chihuly Fire Ruby Basket Set with Slate Lip Wraps, 2017 14 x 36 x 30" © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

Dale Chihuly Fire Ruby Basket Set with Slate Lip Wraps, 2017 14 x 36 x 30″
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

VISITING THE PEN @ KINGSTON AND OTHER DAY TRIP FUN STUFF

Regardless of the overcast, rainy weather yesterday, I boarded the www.ShortTrips.ca bus bound for Kingston, Ontario – so nice to get out of the city and see the beautiful red and golden leaves along the 401 highway heading east from Toronto.

The first couple of hours were spent wandering around the historic downtown core…I hit the waterfront first while the sun was poking thru the clouds…20200930_115310I then headed to the town square behind city hall…they have lots of colourful chairs to relax in as well as tables and chairs for casual take-out dining and meeting up with friends – all safely socially distanced.20200930_115847 (2) 20200930_134003 (2)I spent the first hour shopping, dropping in on several charming boutiques and injecting some $$s into the local economy! I particularly enjoyed Amanda’s House of Elegance, Send in the Clowns and All Good Things where I discovered all manner of treasures not found back the city. Won’t post pics here as I have a few Christmas pressies for family and I know they read this blog. If you’re visiting Kingston, do stop into www.amandashouseofelegance.ca   www.sendintheclowns.ca   www.allgoodthingshomeshop.com

I discovered this laneway leading to the famous Chez Piggy (below) which was not open at the time20200930_124129 (2)…but I did find this awesome diner, Morrison’s, with its fabulous mid-century signage out front and super deelish food inside. Established in 1921, the restaurant has flourished and has been owned by the same family for the past 30yrs. I had a scrumptious BLT, French fries & gravy….yummmm20200930_133926 (2) 20200930_130048The restaurant is located directly behind the town hall so you can’t miss it. The historic building looked beautiful even with grey clouds above. I did manage to snap a quick pic out front with blue skies before the downpour.20200930_134221 (2)20200930_115023The old Kingston train station has been transformed into a tourist hub complete with a vintage engine – isn’t she lovely?20200930_134625Back on the bus and off to the Kingston Penitentiary – now closed (whew!) and a major tourist attraction. The grey walls and guard towers loomed over us, but the tour guides and staff offered a warm welcome.20200930_143550 (2) 20200930_144226(1) 20200930_144623 20200930_150332 (2)Although the 90-min tour was packed with historic facts and escapee trivia, it was quite depressing to think that men and women were incarcerated in such primitive conditions. I was, however, impressed with the beautifully crafted architecture and stonework done by the inmates themselves….just look at this flying staircase. 20200930_152538The prison finally closed on September 30th of 2013, fortunately after many improvements to the original 1835 prison.  Check out more at www.kingstonpentour.com20200930_160526 (3)As our bus headed back to Toronto, the heavens unloaded and our driver, Gord, did a brilliant job of navigating through rain so heavy, I don’t know how he saw the road. Thanks also to our bus hostess/guide, Anna Maria, who shared levity and smiles throughout the day-long trip. Everything on-board was COVID-safe; the interior was sanitized between stops and there was social distancing on-board with vacant rows separating us. Definitely recommend you check out www.ShortTrips.ca for upcoming day excursions as well as 2 and 3 day out of province tours, too.