|The most interesting, at least most unusual, project of last
year: Lowering Simon Fraser, a
"bookwork" with lead artist Maddie Leach, published by the
Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver.
|I've finished the revisions to Toshiko
for the upcoming second edition (the first one is sold out).
More adventure, a more plausible romance and more complete
characters in a slightly expanded book. Stay tuned for a pub
|These are tone drawings with the Chinese ink stick and
brush (see the entries below for June and July of last year)
laminated onto a decorative paper and then onto mulberry paper
and glued into two scrolls. I've been wanting to do a scroll
for years and finally got around to it in time for this year's
Finn Slough Art Show, which I've participated in at various
times over the past decade or so. The show opens April 11th at
the Richmond Museum and Cultural Centre; I've put these images
on my chiaroscuro page and also on
the Finn Slough historical
page on this website.
|RIP Allan MacDougall (1947 – February 19, 2019), who died
following a terrible 10-year decline with Alzheimer's. Allan and
Mark Stanton got me going in publishing in 1981–2 by
distributing my early books, then came into my life again as
distributors for Whitecap around 1990, then published 4 books
under their Raincoast imprint from 1996 to 2000. A publicity
photo of him holding one of the Harry Potter books – his
greatest business triumph as the Canadian distributor of that
series – showed he had a poster for my Canada
book in his office. In the same room with fame, indeed.
|"New Reality," my 8 x 12 foot contribution to Susan
Gorris's wonderful mural project for a building on the western
outskirts of Aldergrove, BC, about 270th Street on the Fraser
Highway, involving 10 artists. Fun to work (for the first time
ever) at that size and in acrylics.
|Summertime seems to be oil painting time this year –
fewer of the commitments that break up the day, weather too
hot to do much outside from midday till 5 or so. Unlike the
other types of artwork I do, oils require a few hours (at
least) to justify getting everything dirty and then cleaning
it up. The two below are added to my painting
|I've painted a lot of black-white (without any
intermediate tones) chiaroscuro images in the last 20
years, including the illustrations for "Wiseacres" way back in
1999. Several years ago I bought an ink stick and stone in
Taiwan and just recently decided to do some tonal paintings of
the coast with them, adding solid black from a bottle of
Chinese ink. This is the first go – when I get more time I
will put up a proper page in my 'artwork'
section on all the monochrome stuff. SOLD
|Here are the upcoming public events for Julia:
• LAUNCH at Massy Books, 229 East Georgia Street in Vancouver's Chinatown, May 15 at 7 pm
• VanCAF, the comic arts festival, at the Roundhouse Community Centre on Saturday and Sunday May 19 and 20. I will be there for much of the weekend at the Midtown Press table.
• A brief talk and signing at Black Bond Books in Ladner, June 9, 10:30–12:30.
...and then later at ...
• Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre, June 26, 7 pm.
• Workshop on graphic novels at Selkirk College, Nelson (see poster above)
• Nelson Public Library, June 28th at 7 pm
• Bookland, Vernon, June 29, 3-5
• Salmon Arm Public Library, June 30th, 2 pm.
• WORD Vancouver, September 30th, time TBA
• Radium Library, October 16th, 6:30 pm
• Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, October 17th, 2 pm
• Friends of the BC Archives, Victoria, October 21st.
• Vancouver Public Library main branch, November 1, 7 pm.
• Vancouver Historical Society, Museum of Vancouver, October 25th, 7:30 pm.
• Langley Heritage Society's Douglas Day banquet, Fort Langley Community Hall, November 16, 2018
|My graphic novel/biography of Julia Henshaw, a notable writer
and explorer who won the Croix de guerre for her work during
World War I, exactly a century ago, is about to be published!
There's a preview here.
Details about the launch and public events will be posted here and on my Facebook page.
|The Alcuin Society of book collectors invited me to
speak at their AGM in the summer of 2017 and published my talk
– in effect of an overview of my career so far – in their
Summer 2017, No. 176 issue. There is a pdf of the
article downloadable here or
my clicking on the image above.
|The relentless rain in Vancouver reminded me of this
watercolour from late 2000 (unsold by the way, hint hint); the
little store closed, was renovated, and then reopened as a
cool café called Cardero Bottega, and the neighbouring
buildings are still going strong. However, the Landmark Hotel
in the background mist, the tallest building in Vancouver in
its day, is about to be demolished and replaced by luxury
condo towers. Sic transit gloria mundi.
And, a great set of photos of Coalmont from back in the day.
|It's been a long time since I posted anything here. Some of my
travel sketches from Peru and Mexico are on a Taiwan
lifestyle/fashion/art site called Muse
Creative, with the brief article in both Chinese and
English. And, we're just back from a month in Indonesia, so the
usual images and text will be added to the travel
page some time soon.
|"Mainly Vancouver," which is maybe my Last Picture Show (at
least as a solo show), opens on Saturday, April 29th at VanDusen
Garden Gallery, on Oak near 37th in Vancouver; opening reception
that afternoon from 2:30 – 5:30. Lots of watercolours done as
illustrations for my various books, plus chiaroscuro brush &
ink drawings and oils.
There's a complete preview here.
Below: another oil added to the "recent" file:
Tangier (or was it Guanajuato), 2017, Oil on linen, 40 x 40 inches, SOLD
|2050: A Post-Apocalyptic Murder Mystery, my new graphic
novel, will be launched on November 9th, 7 pm, at the Book
Warehouse at 4118 Main Street. Please come to the launch and
check out a preview of the book here.
|Prompted by the talk I gave on Bowen last month, I've put the
images and text, more or less, onto this site here
as part of the ongoing Vanishing B.C.
And, on July 15th, I'll be moderating another of the SFU Philosophers' Café events, this time on graphic novels – are they for dummies or are they a real art/literary form?
(Postscript: afterwards, as they ask you to do, I sent in the following to SFU, for their records, of a good discussion involving several librarians and a college instructor who attended:
•all children's books are graphic novels.
•graphic novels manage to tell both light and serious stories.
•the most accessible graphic novels tell a story from a personal point of view, i.e. first-person narration.
•a combination of cinematic artwork and text is very inviting for a reader; the best graphic novels tell part of the story visually, part of it textually
•early graphic novel pioneers include Franz Masereel and Lynn Ward; other classics include Maus, Persepolis, and works by Joe Sacco. Chester Brown's Louis Riel tells a complex story with very spare, elegant artwork.
•ESL speakers (or any second-language speakers in any culture) can get clues from the visual aspects of a graphic novel to bridge the gap in their comprehension of the language.
•graphic novels, such as Shigeru Mizuki's Showa series, may be a way to open a door into a deep understanding of history, while providing good historical grounding themselves.
•hybrids of "comics" pages followed by text are another way that the graphic novel format can tell stories.]
|A few last-minute notices of events:
June 17, "Whatever Happened to Free Time?" one of the SFU Philosophers' Café events, at the Oakridge Library at 7 pm.
June 19, I'll be talking and showing paintings from earlier days (at least my own earlier days) on Bowen at the AGM of the Bowen Island Historical Society, 2:30 pm.
June 20 – 24, my course (a set of 5 lectures) called Musings on Historic Vancouver, part of the UBC Continuing Studies program.
|What have I been doing lately? Working on a second
graphic novel, explaining my absence.
I've added a few notes to the Vanishing BC sections, including pictures of the now-demolished Judge Haynes house in Osoyoos, some more correspondence and photos about North Bend, and a 2000 article about a reunion of people at Tranquille.
Upcoming events include a couple of talks about Toshiko, teaching at UBC during the summer, teaching at SFU Harbour Centre in the fall, and a variety of other lectures, all to be added as the dates get closer.
|Art and a bit of writing from our recent trip to
Morocco, with time spent in Spain en route, added to the long
list of trips on my travel page.
|This is a good long podcast interview with Barry Link
about Toshiko. Click on the image above to go to it or find it
in the review section on the Toshiko
|I don't normally flag additions to the Vanishing BC
pages, as there are too many of them, but the set of photos of
the Tranquille Sanatorium
is very good, as is the information from Tara Rose about Blakeburn,
including a pay sheet of her grandfather's from 1929 – wages
of $5.60 a day for a coal miner.