Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Temagami and Me

(An Artist Should I Learn To Be)
Part V

Three Soldiers Standing
9” x 7”

It was about one month before our “walk” throughout Southern Ontario was to begin. My partner, Alan and I were very excited to realize that our efforts in creating ‘The Temagami Trail Tribute’ would bring to the public’s attention this ancient forestland’s struggle for survival as bulldozers and chainsaws were being fueled. We had the venues for our presentations in ten communities organized, travel and documentary equipment had been sponsored and now we were ready to focus on promoting these events.

Our next efforts concentrated on talking with reporters from each of the communities we were to visit. The overwhelming support that we received was very surprising and we were both greatly encouraged.

Each community newspaper wrote an article about our upcoming walk and what our goals were. These stories educated the public to realize that our environment was in jeopardy and many readers were inspired to learn more by attending our presentations. Reporters also attended our event and later, other stories were published to continue spotlighting the issues concerning clear-cut forestry practices in the Temagami region.

During our time in Woodstock, Ontario the local radio station caught wind of our expedition and soon Alan and I were sitting in front of microphones with many thousands of people hearing our story. Because of this unexpected interest in our journey our audience, that afternoon, was significantly larger when compared to other venues.

The local police helped with our walk, as well. After each presentation we asked those in attendance to join our walk for a short distance. Our small groups numbering from seven and sometimes up to twenty-five people filled the roadways for a kilometer or so and this turned quite a few heads. The police helped to clear traffic as our group traveled through each town with lit candles and torches.

Although Alan and I were the leaders of this substantial effort, the successes that we reached came about because of the voluntary actions of a great number of caring people. We knew that alone we would not be able to ‘change the world’ and all of the support we received made us feel united with the people who would.

(To be continued…)

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Three Soldiers Standing is the smallest of the seven artworks created in this series. It’s small in size, but it still took almost a month to complete.

I dabbled in the world of needlepoint for a couple of years and I really enjoy all the different ways that coloured threads can be used to create interesting textures. I don’t think I used the traditional ‘cross-stitch’ even once during my self-taught training. The stitch that I’ve used in this artwork I have named ‘the log stitch’ cuz it looks like lots of different sized logs placed either vertically or horizontally on the canvas.

The title comes from the three large White Pines that are found in the foreground of this distancing landscape – they are a bit darker than the rest of the trees in the foreground. The news article (above) has the caption “Temagami trek ‘last stand’ against forest destruction”. A ‘stand’ refers to a group of trees. The three White Pines reminded me of soldiers ‘stand’ing on guard and protecting the forest, thus the title ‘Three Soldiers Standing’.

The title also was inspired with thoughts of hope for the Temagami forestland. Because of ongoing positive developments founded on the work of so many interlinked environmental protection groups, I believe that our future will include the Temagami forestland! More work still needs to be done – much more work – but the first initial steps have been laid and all of this positive action has inspired these ‘Three Soldiers’ to remain ‘Standing’ for as long as it takes to bring peace and under‘Standing’ to this ancient forestland and our distancing future.

This series of seven artworks was entitled ‘Reflections of Temagami’ and in each artwork there is a reflection. Most of the artworks use a reflection as a main design feature, but this artwork doesn’t. The reflection in ‘Three Soldiers Standing’ is very subtle, and you can see it along the edges of the two small lakes.

Again, this artwork was given to a close friend, after my year-long art tour had completed. Joe M. and I have known each other since Kindergarten and we had a chance to meet up at another friends wedding, a few years ago. Joe lives in the U.S. close to the west coast, so we rarely get a chance to visit. I could have mailed the artwork to him, but it was nicer to have been able to present it to him in person.


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