Tuesday, April 30, 2024


 Life needs to move on. I visited my sister and watched prairie chicken on her front lawn. I helped William empty his studio (a week late) and we visited the student gallery (an MFA exhibition). We supported Margaret as she started the plans for the funeral. 

Monday, April 29, 2024

Gertrud Bessai, 1941-2024

Our dear friend, wife, mother, and grandmother Gertrud Bessai (nee von Gernet) passed away at the age of 82 on April 29, 2024. Deeply missed by her husband Frederick Bessai; her children Margaret Bessai (Gerald Saul), George Bessai; her beloved grandchildren William Bessai-Saul, Katherine and Kristin Bessai; her large extended family and many dear friends around the world.

The youngest of seven, Gertrud was born in Berlin in 1941 to Baltic German parents, Richard Johann von Gernet and Gertrud Johannson. After emigrating to Canada, she graduated high school at Prince Albert Collegiate Institute in 1960. Studying Entomology and Chemistry at University of Saskatchewan, she earned her B.A. and Diploma in Education. 

Married on May 29th 1965, Gertrud and Fred built a life together around the seasons: winter in Regina with the university and church communities; summer on the family farm in Southey. Gertrud was proud to be Canadian. With hugs for everyone, Gertrud welcomed all to her dinner table, never hesitated to say, “I love you” and was always there to help, whether fixing a combine or planting a garden. She loved many cats, good books, good conversation, and strong coffee. She had no tolerance for injustice—she was passionate, fierce and supportive. Gertrud had a wonderful laugh and a big heart.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Quieter day for Gertrud

 Yesterday's lucid and continuous conversations has given way to extreme fatigue today. We sit and hold Gertrud's hand. George's daughter Katherine arrived. As the crowd in her room grew, William and I retreated to the lounge and talked and drew. 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Palliative care

Gertrud's health has continued to decline. He pneumonia (double) is an extension of her TB-related lung infection that she has had for five years and as such is not responding to antibiotics. Yesterday she voiced hopes of coming home today. Instead, she is moving to palliative care. The unit is very nice with the staff putting compassionate care above all else. Gertrud was very conversational and told hundreds of stories today. She is surrounded by family and old photographs. 

Friday, April 26, 2024

Kodak order

Got an order in from Kodak - super-8 colour and 35mm black and white movie film stocks. 

Hospital vigil.

Gertrud's blood pressure fell dangerously low today. Margaret has been by her side all day. George even came back from the farm. William and I woke Fred up at 10 pm and got him dressed and drove him in to sit by her side. 


Thursday, April 25, 2024

Nachtigall at Slate

 Gertrud is sick and in the hospital so Margaret did not join us at Slate as Jeff Nachtigall opened a solo show of new paintings. The figures throughout are wearing hard hats and obviously influenced by his current job working in mining - heavy work that has him in complete darkness for the entire day and emerging after sunset to see the brightness of the starry sky. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Retirement party

 Dinner with Philippe Mather and Christina Stojanova this evening. Philippe is retiring this summer. Christina is still with us until December but she'll not be back in Regina again, so we celebrated both of them today. They have both been dear friends with whom I have always enjoyed speaking with. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Fish tank

 A couple days ago our fish tank filter stopped working. We used a bubbler since then to keep the water airated, but today I pulled the pump/filter out and explored it. I was going to go shopping but decided to try to clean it first. Eventually I got it working but also discovered that one of the filters was supposed to be changed every month and I've never changed it. A trip to the pet store where I bought it revealed that they don't sell those filters, but gave me components to jerry rig one. 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

AI generated images

 Watched a youtube video on how to use Photoshop to generate AI images. Fun. The "puppet theatre" interpretation was to put a large puppet outside the building. 

Friday, April 19, 2024

Fourth Year films

Film screening this evening. Very earnest work for the most part. Whole event went well with films being very professional. Well received. 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Quiet paint session

Yesterday's painting class was small. My sister couldn't come. No coffee break. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Snowed again today. Not just a few flakes, but it just continued all day and sat on the ground. Weather says it will not melt for 2 days. 


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Parade plans

 Talked to Erik Hood at the Last Mountain Lake cultural center  and art gallery at Regina Beach, and we discussed some interesting ideas about the Canada Day parade. 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

AGR member sale

 I didn't buy anything at the AGR member's sale this year, but needed to stop and look at this item. There were a few of these. The glasses arms are ceramic as are the bell shaped objects (but not bells). Wire threads between them but does not actually hold them together. Quite mysterious. 

Friday, April 12, 2024

Calmer day

While there was work to do, the day felt much easier now that the big opening for William yesterday is over. I raked the moldy leaves off the lawn. Spent some time at the university but had forgotten my keys, so didn't do any actual work (went to a reception). Couldn't get a covid booster because they changed the rules about reasons for needing one.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

William's BFA exhibition

 Huge day for William. His exhibition of bird people, made up of enlarged comics, 35mm photographs, and an installation of characters drawn onto foam core posed with "cartoonified" furniture, wall paper, playing cards, and a tv with animation playing on it, opened at the Fifth Parallel Gallery on the UofR campus. The crowd was big with about 100 people there during the artist talk (which William was impressively funny and personal and meaningful) and many other people seeing the show either before or after that. Great success. 

William and Emma

Allen Dotson

Neil Adams and Kevin Foote

With Marla and daughter

William with Geremy and Rory Lague

William with uncle George

George Bessai and Joanne MacDonald

Sandee, Sean, and others

Philippe Mather and Dianne Ouellette

William with Omi Gertrud Bessai

William with grandma Nettie Saul

William with UofR president Jeff Keshen

William with Ms Moser and Ms Counios

William with Kaeli and others

MAP Dean David Dick

William with Opopa Fred Bessai
Jon, Dana, and Victor

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Painting class

After a term away, I was able to sign up for painting at the Balkwill again. Nice to be in that space and talk to the regulars. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Gallery show open to public

 Lighting was arranged at the gallery last night and I was able to see it open today. People were coming in and reacting well. 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Birthday cakes


If Your Birthday Is Today

Singer Janis Ian (1951) shares your birthday today. You are bold, intense and passionate. You will fiercely defend your beliefs. You're filled with vibrant, positive energy when you love what you're doing. This is the first year of a nine-year cycle for you. Stay light on your feet. Be flexible and ready to open any door!  -- Georgia Nicols

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Still some snow

 Relaxing a bit today. William started trying to catch up on his academic work. I did a walk around the yard and found a couple square feet of snow. Temperatures at double digits so this will be gone soon. 

Friday, April 5, 2024

Installing BFA plus lecture with Philippe

I helped William with some of his install in the Fifth Parallel gallery. He hired Emma to work with him all day, which was great as that allowed me to attend the last university research lecture from Philippe Mather who is retiring this summer. 


Thursday, April 4, 2024

Second Carillon cover

The day before installing his BFA exhibition, his second Carillon cover hit the stands. This one connects with the show well. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Long service awards

 Attended long service awards today. It was long and may of the people I went to talk to actually left before the end. Sheila marked 35 years. Margaret brought Samantha around, touring her William's studio before she heads to Ottawa with George.