One hundred years ago one of Guelph’s better known sons, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a soldier, physician and poet wrote ‘In Flanders Fields.
As part of exhibitions marking the occasion the Guelph Museum is hosting a juried exhibition of related artworks. My print ‘The Survivors’ was one of the artworks chosen.
To me the war conjures up visions of more than poppies and crosses. I envision the other casualties of war, of the long lines of refugees and of wounded soldiers returning to their homes. I see the shells of buildings and a landscape badly scarred.
My print was for those people who, having survived, were now ready to move forward towards a sparse landscape but one with a promise of better things to come.
The poem reads as follows:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. .
Outside the wind chill makes it feel like -30C. I’m back inside now, huddled over my mac for warmth and wondering why my ancestors paid good money for passage from England to this frozen real estate when they could have just stolen a loaf of bread and been given a free trip to warm, sunny Australia.
I spent a (much warmer) day last March wandering around a bush near here sketching the aftermath of a snow storm. This three colour print is from one of the sketches.
No matter how nice an air mattress I drag along when I’m camping I wake up about 4:30 – 5:00 am then turn from side to side to side like a rotisserie, trying to get comfortable. I never do so I get up. The upside is that I have lots of drawings done in the early morning calm. I liked the tree in this sketch and so, pining for the north, so to speak, engraved it. It’s 6.5×9 with five tones of grey ink on Stonehenge paper.
There’s a voyeur aspect to train riding that I like; mile after mile after mile of backyards. If you were on the right train you’d see mine. I did the drawing last summer but changed it to a winter scene to cover up all the stuff that was scattered about and to spare me the pain of engraving tree leaves. The lazy way to clean up a yard.