With European parents, appreciation of art was an essential part of my growing up and I would accompany them regularly to galleries and museums. Having come as refugees right after WWII, they were passionate about their new home and they passed that on to me along with a love and appreciation of the outdoors. Art has always been an important part of my life, whether creating or trying it in various forms myself, or viewing other people’s ideas. Fortunately, I have a husband and daughter who are as interested in art as I am!
I was an adolescent when I first saw the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. The setting of the gallery in the woods combined with Canadian artists just blew me away. It continues to inspire me: intellectually and style-wise.
Your favourite hero in fiction?
After much soul searching, I am not sure I have any single one! I tend to like a variety of genres so that makes picking any favourite hero a problem. It depends who and what I am reading at the time, and what mood I am in.
Your favourite physical landscape?
The gently rolling fields and forests of the Caledon Hills, Adjala and Mulmur areas north of Toronto. I spent a lot of weekends as a child on a farm near Alliston, which had belonged to a friend of my parents. Roaming the hills, forests and meadows there provided great childhood memories. My husband and I were lucky enough to meet because of Caledon, and now make our home there. I also love the open vistas and how the area changes its look over the course of the year. I have often sat still on the back of a horse, just viewing the landscape unfold from a high point in the trail. Discovering the history of these areas is another passion.
Your favourite work in our permanent collection?
A.J. Casson’s “Little Island”. As I walked into the McMichael gallery where it was displayed in the recent “A Like Vision” exhibit, I actually gasped! It has such simple strength to it.
Qualities you most appreciate in an artwork?
The light and movement captured, and the history the piece represents. Art is not just an expression of a place or idea in time, but reflects the whole context of social and economic history that goes with it, part of my learning process.
Your great extravagance?
Travel and my horse. I love exploring cultures, language and cuisine new to me! I try to learn from it and bring some of that to savour in pieces for my home. I usually do a cooking course wherever I go and save recipes I can make and serve to remind me of a place I have been. My horses allowed me to explore nature by connecting and grounding myself within it, “being at one” with another living being who did not also scare wildlife off. On one memorable ride, I was able to sit unnoticed right under a kingfisher swaying on a branch a few feet overhead, a memory I have savoured to this day. Horses also helped me understand myself and humans better!
Your favourite season at the McMichael?
Late summer because the heat wanes and everything is in full bloom. My favourite vegetables and fruits are being harvested. Life is good, and the beauty that is fall is yet to come.
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