Thursday, March 30, 2017

TIME WARP - Spring 2017 Exhibit by Margaret Lindsay Holton

Please join me, in the evening, 7-8pm, during Hamilton's April Art Crawl - Friday, April 14th.
Exhibit will be up starting from April 11th & runs until May 7th. 4pm.
A selection of pinhole photography, (with one large photo-collage thrown in ... ) 

M.L.Holton with one of her hand-made pinhole cameras. Photo Credit: M. Sui. 

Showing in the Defacto Gallery, at the famed  
- Mulberry Street Coffee House-
193 James Street North,  
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Swing in for a peek & brew!  

Samples of pinhole cameras made by M.L.Holton, Canada. - Photo Credit: M.L.Holton

UPDATE: May 2017 - Great Exhibit! Thanks for coming everyone! 
Here's moi during 'installation' mid April ... 
Learn more about pinhole photography HERE

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fame & Infamy, Part 1. The Life & Art Career of M.L.Holton

.... Well, that's kind of nice. I have been nominated for the City of Burlington's 2016 'Arts Person of the Year' award.

(Burlington is situated on the western end of Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes, nestled in the Province of Ontario, in the amazing country of Canada.)

I don't stand a chance - there's such other great talent on deck. Still, it is very flattering to be considered.

Equally as flattering is to be listed as a 'Famous Person' from Burlington.

In the main, an artist's life, no matter where they are situated, is one of DOING. The rest - payment, recognition, accolades - is pure gravy. I have been at it for quite some time now, so again, it IS gratifying to finally be 'seen' by the larger non-arts community.

Next up for me is a pinhole photography show in the Defacto Gallery, at the Mulberry Street Coffee House in Hamilton. It's going up April 10th and will be there until May 7th. Entitled: TIME WARP , I'll be posting more on that shortly ...

Up UP and AWAY!
p.s. They are missing an art type in the above chart 
'naive-surreal-folk-abstractionism-by-canajun-M.L.Holton'  - wink, wink.
Colombine in the Back Field, by M.L.Holton
ps. Woohoo - I WON! :) 
More here

'Bush Chord', new choral work, by Canadian composer, Tobin Stokes, based on poem by Canadian artist, M.L.Holton

Excited to announce the official premiere of the new choral work based on one of my poems, 'Bush Chord', by Canadian composer, Tobin Stokes, commissioned by Vox Humana Chamber Choir, from British Columbia, Canada.

Happening June 2nd, 2017 (Ticket info below.)

What was the inspiration behind "the national anthems?" 

From the program notes, by Vox Humana Chamber Choir's musical director, David Lang: 

"Every country has a history – how it came to be, how its wars were won or lost, how strong its people are, or how proud, or how sad. We group ourselves into nations, but it has never really been clear to me what that means, or what we get out of it. Are we grouped together because we believe something together and are proud of associating with others who believe the same way? 

 Or are we grouped together because our ancestors found themselves pushed onto a piece of land by people who didn’t want them on theirs? It seems that all nations have some bright periods and some dark periods in their past. 

Building a national myth out of our bright memories probably creates a different character than if we build one out of the dark.
I had the idea that if I looked carefully at every national anthem I might be able to identify something that everyone in the world could agree on. If I could take just one hopeful sentence from the national anthem of every nation in the world I might be able to make a kind of meta-anthem of the things that we all share. I started combing through the anthems, pulling out from each the sentence that seemed to me the most committed. What I found, to my shock and surprise, was that within almost every anthem is a bloody, war-like, tragic core, in which we cover up our deep fears of losing our freedoms with waves of aggression and bravado.

At first I didn’t know what to do with this text. I didn’t want to make a piece that was aggressive, or angry, or ironic. Instead, I read and re-read the meta-anthem I had made until another thought became clear to me.

Hiding in every national anthem is the recognition that we are insecure about our freedoms, that freedom is fragile, and delicate, and easy to lose. Maybe an anthem is a memory informing a kind of prayer, a heartfelt plea: 'There was a time when we were forced to live in chains. Please don’t make us live in chains again.' " - David Lang.

Am super excited to see what Tobin Stokes will create with my poem - 


pine poplar willow and punk wood
spit and spark
while bone hard elm birch apple and oak
hum harmonious
fine hard woods - good wood to burn
these wonder instruments pressure whistle
chattering, cheering, cackling
crackling within a hesitant cyclone of light
flickering flames
of sublime delight, warming slow, they give us life

parse this minor miracle of mega bio-physics
of holy fire drawn down
from primal sun
through leaves to rugged root shoots far flung
look here now
to this instant, brilliant burn
an intense unrehearsed liquid fire
a sound symphony of sun struck lyres
complete and sacred
a rare but common gift

the honey musk smell of jumbled bush wood
burns deep into primal memory
     (remember those crisp sun-filled fall days
     of cutting, gathering, splitting, stacking,
     carrying, piling, drying, and cursing
     those back breaking loads?)

to get to this
this calm clear moment

to these bush chords
Have seen the preliminary score, but cant wait to HEAR it!
If in British Columbia in June, please do drop in for a unique choral experience! 

**Read more MLH poetry on excellent Canpoetry website**
(hosted by University of Toronto.)

p.s. NICE to be included in such august company!  
...  Margaret Atwood opera, another project by Stokes from three years ago  ... :) 

UPDATE. APRIL 4th, 2017: Just received the first draft of the score for this work ... WOW. 
Samples below ... 

UPDATE:  Complete sidebar, but of interest to some, perhaps: The National Parks Service of the United States of America used this poem, BUSH CHORD, in an educational park guide, without authorization by me. After I notified them of this 'copyright issue', they said they wouldn't use it anymore ... Kindly note, there was NO chit-chat about financial compensation for prior use  ... (ha! at least my NAME was on the poem! ) ... and it REMAINS on the internet Forever ...  For anyone who CARES, this is 100% WHY talented 'artists starve'. People STEAL/"borrow" other people's work for their own USE and GAIN.  Call it for what it is - THEFT and it's 100% WRONG -  See: 'Life in an Ecosystem' NPS/Gov, PAGE 28 .

Monday, March 27, 2017

Thunderbird by Canadian Painter, M.L.Holton

... Exploration & experimentation are main-stays of what I do as an artist  ...  Trying new things, especially when painting, means exploring new tools and the unknown to investigate a medley of thoughts and feelings. This particular effort is a bit crude, but, to my eye, it has huge potential. ... Starting with a ruby red undercoat, then applying a layer of metallic paint, then dabbing on coloured dots with the back-end of a paintbrush to outline a suggestive bird-in-flight, then letting strong LIGHT play all over the surface, well, wow, YES, I am liking it. Cumulatively, it creates for me a compelling & evocative untold story: one of quiet power, strength, ephemera, that whispers of Time, both ancient & modern. - All of it inspires me to reach higher, pursue farther, get further ... enjoy.

Thunderbird, composite,  by Canadian artist, M.L.Holton
If interested in purchase, kindly contact the artist direclty for size & price. Currently, it is unframed.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SPRING-A-LING! on Lake Ontario, by M.L.Holton

... the weather is erratic these days, to be sure, BUT there is solid warmth in that Sun now, even if the temperature is still hovering below freezing ... Courage Comrades! It's a comin'!!!
Lake Ontario Beach Strip by M.LHolton
UPDATE, April 2nd: Amazing what difference 10 days can make ... It's LOVELY out now. But there is still a whiff of winter weather in the air ... In the meantime, ENJOYing this SUN!

Snow Fence on the Beach by M.L.Holton
Natural Sculpture on the Lake Front by M.L.Holton

Lunar Beach, Photo by M.L.Holton
Lake Ontario, Photo by M.L.Holton
Snow Fence 2*, Photo Credit: M.L.Holton
*The temptation with this final shot was to 'blow it out' as much as possible to force a high-contrast with the stark shadows. I've done some of that here, but I think it could be cranked up a bit more ...and might, in the end, be better, in colour. See below ...

Snow Fence 2B. Photo Credit: MLHolton

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Granny Paints: New Short Story - by Margaret Lindsay Holton

Northern Friend. - Photo by Donald Marsh.
Author's preamble: I have a collection of short stories that I dip into from time to time, to consider my own evolving points of view, my progress and my craft. This little gem of a story is based on a period of time I spent with Winifred Marsh, (wife of Donald Marsh, an Anglican missionary assigned to Eskimo Point during the 1930s, who later became 'Bishop of the Arctic'.)  I was helping her collate his early photographs of northern peoples and their region .

During those long pleasant days, I discovered Winifred to be a kind, thoughtful, charming, sturdy, insightful and inspiring little woman.  For my contributing efforts, she gave me several of Donald's images, (sample shown.)  I cherish them to this day.  Her 'story' - re-written into this quasi-fictionalized account - has greater resonance as I grow older.  Elders - from any culture - are one of our most precious natural resources ... RESPECT.  


Granny Paints
           She had said dinner at 5 pm.
           At 82 years of age, she could call dinner at any time she liked, so I had said, ok.
           I arrived a little early, as usual, around 4:30, with the mandatory strawberry and rhubarb pie carefully tucked into my bulging carry bag. I had also picked up a half-pint of Haagan Das vanilla ice cream. I rang the doorbell and waited. She took a long time to answer.
           Her voice squeaked from the other side, “Just a minute.”
           Five minutes passed before I heard the latch turn, and she said, “OK! Give the door a push.”
            Ah Winifred. To see you thus. Bent over double, world weary and worn, but ever always, beaming from eye to eye with your impish generous grin. We greet warmly and I see that your eyes are clear and bright today. Winifred. Winnie. Win. I evoke your name to remind myself that these crystal moments are the best gifts.
           You are weak. I can see that every movement is a struggle for you. You are using both your canes today. Our eyes acknowledge the gnawing of age but we both put on a brave face. We joke. We tease each other. You are too weak to make the dinner, but this too is understood and also unspoken. I order you to sit down while I rummage in the kitchen for this and that. I move briskly, efficiently, and make periodic dramatic gestures to entertain you. To please your good eyes. You, lover of Life, remark on my new hairdo and shimmering silk blouse. I push buttons on the microwave and remark how one must tackle high-tech fearlessly. You smile. And we both remember stories from your youth: those years in the North, without stove, sink or refrigerator.
           On the counter I see that you have managed to prepare a small salad of sliced avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, carrots with an assorted mixture of salad greens. I know that it may have taken you over an hour to prepare. You would have had to remove the vegetables from the fridge, wash them, cut them, pull down the serving dish, and then arrange the items artistically.
           You did this for me.
           As we sat down to dine at the table by the window, I leaned over and put a cushion behind your back for comfort. You rubbed your legs and said the arthritis was worse than ever. We chatted amicably about nothing. And when I rose to get the pie and ice-cream for dessert, you are childishly happy and whisper conspiratorially as you pick up your fork, “I’m not supposed to have pie…” Our old secret. Later, you insist I have a small tumbler of brandy. You don’t drink, never have. I retrieve the bottle from under the cupboard and pour myself a stiff one, then lean back, and listen, as you tell me yet another tale of our family history.
           You are telling me a new story about Eskimo Point up on Hudson Bay. How my father, and your only son, Donald, had found the old bull seal while out trapping with my grandfather, and your husband, Archie. You remembered the day like it was yesterday. And in the telling your hands drift to the tabletop to fidget with the white tablecloth.

           The sky had been uncommonly bright and clear that day, the blue so remarkably blue that you had spontaneously dubbed it a colour from your paint box ‘Robin Eggshell Blue’.
            Archie had been out walking and checking the trap-line on the bluff with his son Donald tagging along. The North Sea was quiet with a gentle north-eastern breeze lapping the shore. The beach pebbles glistened like forgotten pearls fallen from Sedna’s throat. The lime-green sea grass flickered rhythmically imitating flapping bed linen.
           Archie was bent over a trap, busy, while Donald was idling about, twisting a braid of sea grass, when they first heard it. The breezy blissful scene was pierced by a startled screeching scream. Donald scanned the shoreline. Half a mile away, down on the rocks, a large bull seal was struggling inside the captive restraints of a mangled net. Plastic red and white buoys clattered against its rolling sleek body. Another ungodly belly wail sent the ever-present seagulls and terns skyward.
           Archie and Donald ran down and tried to grab hold of the bulky mess. But that old bull barked and struggled furiously against their intrusive and awkward hands. Archie told Donald to stay put, he was going to get his tranquilizing gun at the camp and he ran off.
          Donald stood off, bewildered by the moaning creature. He tried to think what to do. The seal heaved its heavy body again in its never-ending struggle to set itself free and as it did so a shard of entangled grappling iron jammed further into its already bloodied side.
          The tortured yelp was unbearable.
           Donald ran forward to the seal with his outstretched hands to pull out the rod. As he approached the bull turned on him and roared in anger. Donald fell down backwards onto the beach pebbles and burst into frustrated tears. He slowly began to crawl over the stones towards the bull seal extending his bruised hands. “Please, please, let me help you.” His own murmurs of pain punctuated the moaning groans of that majestic beast.
          Tentatively, gently, Donald placed his small hand through the netting onto the side of the heaving animal. This unusual child-caress momentarily stilled the wounded creature and Donald was able to move his hand carefully to the rod. He paused for a moment, speaking softly, then, with a strength he didn’t know he had, he pulled the rod clear and clean from the belly of the bull.  
           Blood gushed out at the boy. The giant sea slug convulsed in a painful spasm and Donald yelled in terror as the mammoth dead-weight crushed down upon him. He lost sight of the sky.
           By the time Archie returned with the gun he could not see Donald anywhere. He glanced back over the ridge to the trap line. He briefly thought how timid his little son was.
           Archie turned and shot skillfully into the still moaning bull seal. He then slowly approached the now inert mangled mess. When the seal lay perfectly still, hardly breathing, he bent over the creature to roll off the entanglement of buoys and netting.
           It was then that he first saw Donald’s blood covered hand holding the metal shard extruding from under the bull’s belly. Frantically, and with a ferocious strength, he heaved off the half-ton carcass. The buoys clattered forward onto the rocks.
           He gingerly lifted up the limp body of his only son. “God, dear God, not my boy!”
           He carried Donald over to the embankment, and laid him down softly on the sea grass. As he wiped the warm blood off Donald’s ashen face he saw that he was still breathing. Archie placed his big hands onto the boy’s small chest and administered a clumsy CPR all the while praying.
          “God, dear God, no.”
           Winifred paused and glanced out the window to the early night sky. She watched the clouds move for a moment, then turned and looked at me, “You know, Archie, your grandfather, wasn’t, and never was, much of a religious man.” I nodded slowly. I knew that.
           “Anyway,” she said, brushing the tablecloth …
           Donald finally sputtered to life, choking and frightened.
           He gazed up into the eyes of his ever-loving father and said, “Did we save him, Dad?”

           Winifred gave a gentle cough. Her sad sweet smile met my all-seeing gaze. Quietly, she said, “Your father was a strong little boy, Ruth. Much stronger than his own father ever believed.” She rubbed the top of her legs. I nodded slowly again and watched her age before my eyes.  “I’m sorry dear heart,” she continued, ”I’m getting a little tired now. That has to be enough for today.”
           I helped her from her chair and asked if she wanted me to stay until she was re-settled in her room. No, no, she said, just come back next week, maybe we can take a little walk outdoors. I promised her we would walk the tree lane behind the parking lot if she felt up to it. The yellow crocuses were just starting to push up, new spring shoots were bursting forth. I could come a bit earlier on Saturday, I said.
           “O’ goodie! ” she exclaimed, as she struggled forward on her canes, “I’ll bring my paints!”
           And I said, “Yes Granny, that’s a good idea. Bring your paints.”


Granny Paints: Short Story - Copyright - Margaret Lindsay Holton. 
Contact the artist for reproduction. / Photograph by Donald Marsh in Collection of M.L.Holton