Friday, May 31, 2024

Outdoor party

 While the rest of my family are having a party for my sister Sharon in Calgary, we stayed in town and ended up having a party of our own. We almost canceled due to weather, but the radar made me feel certain that the storm would pass at 6:30 and it did. It was a bit cold but otherwise a great evening to sit around the fire. 

Thursday, May 30, 2024

outdoor chair shoppig

 William and Margaret went out chair shopping and purchased two new ones for outside. William's back makes comfort difficult for him and he is often uncomfortable in chairs that I find perfect. Very unpredictable. These are good choices for both him and me. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Last painting class of season

 I hung this camera sideways and painted it sideways today. This was a suggestion made to me a couple years ago to see things differently. I also wanted it to catch the light from a different angle. In the end, I wasn't very happy with the result and made some corrections to it. This is the last day with Deb at the Balkwill until fall. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

ATC and collage

 I don't know what I was doing today. The only photos from the day are from Margaret's camera and indicate she was working with collage collective members, possibly on artist trading cards. 

Monday, May 27, 2024

New rose

 Grandma replaced William's rose that didn't survive the garage re-build with this one. The old one was also purchased by her for William. They picked this out together. 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Carfac meeting

Had our local Carfac mentorship meeting at Flatlands Studio today. Great conversation about a lot of stuff. We've gotten beyond just talking about the status of the mentorships and begun really connecting. Good day. 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Last day of Cathedral Festival

Margaret had to work all day today and missed, for the first time in decades, the street sale for the festival. William and I walked the length of it, buying a batch of mini-donuts and some comics from Jonah McFadzean. Talked with David and Angie at their book booth. Saw Ed Knopf, Jason Brtiski, Namsung as she was shooting documentarian (2000 stills today alone!), and many others. 

After supper we attended the sketch comedy but we just weren't swinging to it so we cut out and discovered Aaron Clarke's alley art and talked with him and Nigel (ex-student of mine, now back from film industry life in Toronto and living next to Aaron). We got a full tour of the house and it was amazing and intense. William was gifted with a portrait of Hitler. 


Friday, May 24, 2024

Screaming Banana

Screening at Cathedral Festival of 16mm films curated by Kyath Battie included my old short "I Can't Go Home" which is remembered for its introduction of the Screaming Banana. In discussion beforehand, I suggest that it could be good for all teachers to regularly show work that they made when they were the same age as their students. Anyway, for as much apprehension that I have when showing old work, I was reminded that this one always elicits a strong audience reaction. Lots of laughs. Great to have had it at the very start of the screening. Thanks to Robert for catching a snapshot. 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

YAAG and William's conceptual photos

 This year's YAAG exhibition wasn't widely advertised except by me, so the crowd was smaller (cooler weather didn't help). However, some very cool people were there. We kept it open about an hour beyond the close, eventually becoming a small inside party after Geremy got off work and arrived. Here is the text of the program: 

What is conceptual photography?

            Conceptual art in general is art in which the idea and context behind what the work is communicating is more important that the material qualities of the work itself. This is in contrast to abstract art (or instance) in which it is all about shape, colour, etc. (where there is nothing to “get” aside from just looking at it).

What is going on in this exhibition?

            The right-most print in the garage contains six  photographs of a figure standing on a pier wearing a plague mask. This was shot around sunset during an excursion into marsh land. This was a set of self-portraits with the camera triggered by a remote which meant that I did not know the framing of the images, which was further complicated by my wearing of the mask. The series is a narrative but the narrative is internal and therefore indecipherable to viewers who can only see the external figure.

             In the middle of the long wall is a prototype into my forays into 2.5 Dimensional which advanced in my BFA exhibition earlier this year. When photographs are taken of a building, that photograph is from a particular perspective which introduces distortions into the shape of the structure. What I have done here is extracted, amalgamated and re-storted this city block from a series of photographs, hatching together what I’ve taken myself and using the ever-seeing eye of Google Earth to fill in the gaps.

             The next work is a series of photographs from the gizzard of artifice. These spaces are areas of buildings that are regularly used by people but are not intended to be seen by anyone. There are areas of buildings intended for the public eye and are therefore built with a deliberate aesthetic and there are these spaces which occupy a purely utilitarian intention. They do not have a “look” but a look emerges anyway – from the vacuum of chaos. The arrangement of boxes in a store room cannot be said to have come from pure human vision nor is it any way natural. It is the kind of unthinking artifice one takes away when looking at a bird’s next or a beaver’s dam. This work is especially prescient today for showing hidden areas of places like the Regina Central Building and the old Sear’s Bargain Centre, both of which are slated to be demolished in the near future.

             At the back wall of the garage are a series created in the early wild west days of artificial intelligence. I was intrigued by AI’s capacity to create vaguely wistful and melancholy quotes that don’t really say anything. I got the machine to generate a string of sentences talking about a city and then I paired them with a bunch of snap shots I took while walking around my neighbourhood. The gallery viewers natural instinct narrative takes these two random gimbals and combines them into something apparently profound or even political.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Painting camera

 Whole body still feels tired from painting garage yesterday, making the painting of a camera feel like more of an effort than usual. Took long coffee break with Lori. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Painted inside of garage


Working over my head with a paint roller was quite exhausting. I didn't do a great job, but I did finish painting the inside of the garage (one coat of primer white). What it uniform and bright in time for the YAAG garage gallery event later this week. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

Comic Jam at Cathedral Festival


Gerri Ann is back from her European travels and we met up during the parade. We started copying files and getting set for some animation. We also met up at the Cathedral Arts Festival Comic Jam event for the second year in a row and again collaborated on a couple of comic pages. One one, I did the first panel. On the other, she started. After that we alternated without discussions. 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Brunch at our house

We had Fred and my mom over for waffles and bacon (a mini-brunch) today. I thought it might be too cool outside to spend time on the deck, but it ends up that when the sun was shining it was quite warm. 

Saturday, May 18, 2024

DVD for Fred

 I went to put on a DVD for Fred and discovered that the player was completely disconnected from the system. Probably has been for a long time. 

Friday, May 17, 2024

Talking Beethoven

 Spent some time with Fred today. He's always liked classical music but lately has not been listening to any. At the rehab centre today there was a musician who was "torturing his guitar" so back at the house I put on some Beethoven to "cleanse the ears" and I asked Fred why he likes Beethoven above the other composers. He told me because he read a book about him. I found what might be that book and he's been looking through it. 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Geremy's birthday

 William created a card for Geremy featuring his robots and mine. We stopped by Country Corner and got him a fresh Saskatoon berry donut and then arrived just as his "Robots in Popular Culture" course was ending and sang to him loudly in the middle of the Research Innovation Centre (with Zoe who had also come out of class). 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

quick painting

 I needed to be at work for the first couple hours of the morning but got away early enough to join my painting class for the last hour. I whipped off this Fujico standard 8 camera in that time. I'd painted it once before in 2019. Very differently. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Eating with Fred

 Margaret is working really hard to make sure her dad has people around him as often as possible. We brought some chicken pies that my mom made. Everyone enjoyed them.

Monday, May 13, 2024



Albeit short, William finally got a chance to sit and talk about stuff without the rest of the family and family issues hanging over them. She headed home this afternoon. William is back to the multiple deadlines in his life. 

Sunday, May 12, 2024


Mother's day. We went for coffee with Margaret and my mom (and Lori and William) but otherwise the day focused on going to the cemetery near Southey and placing Gertrud's ashes in the ground beside other Bessai family members. We headed to the farm for a short visit. The "cottage" is still standing and within it hangs the hammock. 


Saturday, May 11, 2024



Funeral today. Nicely attended. William read the eulogy with grace, emotion, and appropriate humour. Frank played a lovey violin piece. Italian Star catered it. Everyone gathered at Motherwell afterwards. 

Friday, May 10, 2024


Helping get stuff prepared for funeral tomorrow. My projector doesn't auto advance photos and doesn't run powerpoint, so (as advised by William) I just made a video of the slide show. About 11 minutes. Meanwhile, William is supposed to have the first two images of his Outside the Box show ready today. He also needs to practice the eulogy. 


Thursday, May 9, 2024

New art in progress

 William working on the images for an "Outside the Box" exhibition at the Art Gallery of Regina in a few weeks. Hell of a time to have deadlines. Margaret very stressed. Many details to work out for funeral Saturday. George seems to have fallen in love with catering. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Painting miniature

 With death on the mind this week, I opted to paint this non-camera. It belongs to Noelle and it is actually a small receptacle that contains some of her father's ashes. He passed away last year. He loved cameras and inspired her to study filmmaking. Every moment I was working, I was afraid of dropping or losing this object. Irreplicable. The colours were fun. 

Dressing Fred

 We took Fred to Colin Obrien's today. Margaret got him a new shirt (which needed a bit of tailoring) and they also did some adjustments on his jacket and a new tie was selected. Looking ready. No one noticed that we took him out without shoes (slippers only). 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024


 William and I got haircuts today. He usually gets one fairly often but this past few months have been too busy. Needs to be presentable for the eulogy for Gertrud this Saturday. 

Monday, May 6, 2024


 We drink a lot of coffee. A lot. More than almost anyone I know. So when we are out of coffee, finding a good price and buying a dozen is very important. Fates were with us today. 

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Helping with LOOK program

 I did some mentoring at the LOOK program that Trevor Grant has continued hosting. This is a frame of animation I was doing to demonstrate movement (not content). 

Thursday, May 2, 2024

One Take Super 8 Event

 Nice time at One Take again this year. Due to some shortages of film, the event didn't happen last year but they held it early this year (resulting in numerous films being shot in snow or cold weather). William and I shot together but his roll didn't turn out so we shared credit on the roll that worked. I cobbled together a soundtrack based on clips of audio he had created. It blended well. Risa's film was extremely over-exposed but since she was warned of that inevitability, she sat up on stage in the middle of the screen and recited a live soundtrack. That was cool. Eric Hill created a dramatic form film with his partner and it was both funny and heartfelt. My, what imminently becoming a father will do to a man.