Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Saturday, November 28, 2020

A Visit with Van Gogh

A Visit with Van Gogh

He started painting when he was 28 years old.  He died when he was 37 years old…. He painted 900 pictures in his life time.  So let’s say he painted 100 paintings a year, or roughly finished painting a picture every 3rd day…. Wow!  Relentless, very different, almost possessed he was so focused. If you met him face to face you would have found him paranoid, you would not have understood this man… this man Vincent van Gogh.

A Tortured Soul
For years now I have seen his works, I even went to Holland to see his pictures up close, very close… my nose almost touched the paint.

Wow!  It is incomprehensible to me how this pile of colors, this piled up paint, thick and so pressed onto the canvas, makes any sense. When you look at his paintings up close, especially really close, it’s just a pile of colors, which have no relation to each other. The colors don’t go together, you think… but when you step back, when you stare at the whole… Wow!

Images on the Car Beside Us, the Floor and Walls. 
Pipes and Wall Indentations Can Be Clearly Seen.

Vincent was pure genius, albeit a very troubled soul. I often wonder if man has to pay the price of insanity to be a genius. Not just in Art, but in many other aspects of living such as Science, and Life. What made his brain see like that, comprehend like that, explain himself like that?

Toronto had a well published show, a show in 2 segments… one was a drive-in situation where you experience the paintings covering all the walls and floor while you sit inside your car. The venue here was not ideal. 

Wall Indentations and Fire Alarm Distract
Such a Shame to Have These Distractions

Indentations in the wall produced a line across Van Gogh’s self-portrait and many of his other paintings. A large red fire alarm distracted the viewer in some scenes. It might have been better if we had been facing a different wall but we had to park where we were told.

Love the Sign
The other presentation was a walk in… not set up like a traditional museum but more hip in that a display ran via computer, along with piped in music that was like a performance, like a movie, but not really. The two shows were very similar but not exactly the same. Again the images covered all the walls and floor. The transitions from one image to the next in both presentations were very creative. You could sometimes see the paintings come to life before your eyes.

Due to Covid-19 we had some restrictions, there were circles on the floor where you could stand or sit in order to maintain appropriate distancing and masks were required. But all in all it was worth our visit.

The Master At Work

Just look at all the stuff below… no, I can’t describe each part… you just have to see it yourself in a city near you if this performance ever gets near you.


Van Gogh Painted 12 Canvases of Sunflowers

Some of the music was very modern like Luca Longobardi’s music.

Or some classical pieces:

Handel: Sarabande (HWV 437) in D Minor   

Bach: BWV 1007 in G Mayor (Suite#1)  

Samuel Barber: Adagio for Strings

The Picture Grows Before Your Eyes

The next 3 videos should be viewed in sequence as they were all part of a much larger video accompanied by the song "Non, je ne regrette rien" sung by Edith Piaf



Windmills on an Ominous Day
Circles on the Floor Show Where to Stand

From a Bamboo Forest to Japanese Prints

Shot Taken Into Corner of the Room

The next 3 videos are all part of a much larger video.



Creation of a Chair  

As Many Flowers on the Floor as on the Walls
Flowers Everywhere

  Love the flowers

Video of one of his Starry Night paintings

                                               A Series of Starry Night Paintings

            He did many paintings of Irises   

 The Prison Painting

Watch the candles go out 1 by 1   

Watch this beautiful video of Starry, Starry Night written and sung by American Don McLean

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Point Pelee


National Park Entrance

Point Pelee National Park is a worthwhile trip. There is no flamboyance to the park, there is nothing so outstanding that it would change the world, but it’s a great trip if you have the time and the means especially during COVID-19, when you can only visit Nature and admire her glory… All other conventions, mass meetings or rallies have been cancelled in 2020. The only option is to visit nature. At least that is how I look at it.

Lookout from the Parking Lot at the Tip
Carol and I were in isolation starting March 5; we did just the absolute necessary things, like going food shopping; getting gasoline or using the ATM machines and even then took precautions. So for us the trip to Pelee was a big first step in starting our traveling again. 

Path to the Tip

Land Is Coming to a Point

We booked a room at the Town ’n Country Motor Inn in Leamington, ON and while we were a bit leery it was a perfectly good place to stay for one night. The room was super clean, spacious and it came without breakfast. 
At the Very Tip of Point Pelee

The price CAN $100.57 (US 67.-) was within our budget too. I first thought we were the only guests at the hotel when we checked in around 3 PM on a Thursday but no, when we arrived later after returning from the Park, the place was packed... I would guess about 15 cars in the parking lot. I believe people feel cooped up. COVID-19 sure harmed most motels and restaurants. 
Lots of Driftwood

For dinner we had takeout Subway sandwich. For breakfast the next day we used the drive-through at Tim Horton’s. Most restaurants were closed, just a few could accommodate outside eating. We did not want to take a chance; we just ate a sandwich.

A Beautiful Monarch Butterfly
The purpose of our visit to the Pelee National Park was to see the annual migration of Monarch Butterflies. Monarch Butterflies collect themselves at the very tip of the park and then migrate, en mass, from there to Mexico. This peninsula is the most southern piece of mainland in Canada. Just a few small Islands (Pelee Island and Middle Island and others) a bit further south, also belong to Canada. 

Another Beauty
But we did not want to take a boat to just see the most southern land Canada has, we came to see one of the Monarch Butterfly migration start off points in Canada. The Pelee peninsula is where the butterflies ‘roost’ before their long journey south. Trees are covered with Monarchs… so we were told… and some pictures showed us that is true. We, Carol and I, waited for the Monarchs to roost until sunset and yes, we saw some butterflies, but not the thousand’s we had anticipated. One park lady, who is there every night, said that this year The Monarch Butterflies have had unusual behavior. While normally September is the best time to see the roosting, this year, because of chilly weather, most of   the butterflies had left already.  
And Another One

Is this a harbinger of real cold weather to come? These Butterflies travel all the way to Mexico

But on the way back north, the Monarchs will do the trip in stages, taking up to 4 or 5 generations to move north. 
Many Pathways to Safe Beaches Off the Main Road 
It's mind boggling to think that this fragile-looking insect can fly from this southern spot in Canada all the way to Central Mexico. But it has been proven to be correct. Some butterflies have been ‘tagged’ with special markers and those markers were found among Monarchs on arrival in Mexico. The markers attached to the Butterflies, list the year and location where the marker was attached. We for sure know that Monarchs fly in one generation from Canada to Mexico. 

After arriving In Mexico, laying eggs and then dying, their bodies are collected, taken to a collection point and the Mexicans are awarded $5 U.S. for each tagged Monarch body. Mexicans love to sort through the, by then dead, butterflies to get that kind of money.
Looking Back From the Tip

It is simply amazing. How do the butterflies do it? How do they know the way? How do they find the same spot in Mexico, over and over? Nobody knows… there are many theories, but nobody KNOWS for sure. And through studies, we know today that going north is much slower. It takes a few generations before the Monarch arrives in Canada again. But again, we have no clue as to how they tell the new generation where to go, when to go and to find Point Pelee.
GPS Shows How Point Pelee Juts Out Into Lake Erie
Point Pelee National Park Is the Green Area

A mystery of nature!

This Point Pelee peninsula is sticking out, facing south into Lake Erie. The most southern tip of the peninsula is the National Park. Nothing has changed much here; all has been left as natural as possible. The peninsula has marshes and wetlands that are still like Mother Nature established them. Maybe that is why the butterflies still like to come here. While the park is visited by thousands of visitors each year, Canada has the layout and the preservation of the park under control. There is no commercial enterprise within the park. 
TENTik Accommodation in the Park
Inside - 5 Beds Side by Side + 1 Bunk Bed

The admission for seniors was CAN $6.90/person which allowed us to stay until sundown. We first thought of staying in a ‘tent’ motel inside the park, but the tents were all booked out way in advance, hence our stay in Leamington at the Town ’n Country Motor Inn.
Many Well-Camouflaged Birds at the Tip

Carol and I scoured the smallish park as best we could, and spoke with other folks who came to visit the spectacle of the butterflies but we did not see many butterflies. We saw more people than butterflies. Darlene Burgess, a woman who has her own blog  was our source of information. She is hired by the Park to do nightly counts of the Monarchs. On the night we were there, she counted 65 Monarchs but saw no roosts.

More Driftwood

You can read a lot if you are interested in her well maintained blog on Facebook.
Naturally, we had to ‘walk’ to the end of the spit of land so that I can now say… I stood at the very southern tip of Canada. No swimming allowed here, the water for Lake Erie is dangerous with lots of under tows and dangerous cross currents. But since there is just a very mild tide, I felt very safe on the shore. Gulls flew about us, looking for food. Shore birds were striding about, pecking between pebbles and rocks, looking for morsels. This spot was a wonderful, natural spot and even though there were people all around us, it did not feel crowded. Driftwood, whole trees in fact, piled up along the shorelines. Lake Erie, even though it’s only a lake, looks like an ocean. The expanse is on the grand scale; water everywhere.
Viewing Tower to See the Wetlands

And wetlands, very huge wetlands, which filter the pollution out of the system, are part of this spot in Canada. Like a kidney cleans our blood, so these wetlands clean the environment around us. The park system built a large wooden board walk through the wetlands so that it was easy walking and it made one feel part of the whole. When we walked these planks it was early morning, the next morning after our Monarch experience in fact and we walked around the 1 km loop all by ourselves. The wind blew the reeds and 
View From the Tower
rippled the water a bit, which prevented us from being exposed to any mosquitoes. It was a perfect outing, just us and nature. We kept our shoes dry since we only walked on the wooden boards, but it would have been easy to wade into the muck and mud… which of course… would have been against the rules… Canadians are good that way… they don’t break the rules.
The Grass Is as Tall as Hans

Yes, we went back to visit the Park the next morning, we wanted to see Pelee Peninsula Park in the early morning hours, too. We also liked that hardly anybody was there in the AM. We witnessed people riding their bicycles for exercise along the many rustic trails throughout the park. The weather was perfect. A light breeze kept the bugs away, the sun shone and while it might have felt a bit desolate this early in the day, it was wonderful, too.

Wild Turkeys in Point Pelee National Park 

The more commercial area around Leamington, the main town near the park, is build up nicely. There is an appearance of ‘wealth’ that permeates the area. Wineries abound. We tried to visit Pelee Island Winery in Leamington, but due to COVID, the place was closed to visitors. Too bad, we would have liked to visit but no visitors allowed, only curbside, pre-ordered pick-up was possible. We drove all the way out to the winery to make sure, but no, closed until further notice. Sure we could have bought wine at the LCBO across the street but it’s not the same. 

A Lovely Smaller Home; Many Were Much Larger
We like to have a taste before we buy. Well, we need to come back here. It is a great area to visit.

We explored some neighborhoods too since there is wealth here. Some houses are on a grand scale, something I really don’t need. Yet we found ‘smallish’ places that were attractive, too.

Location is everything, and wow, do they have some nice spots along the shore line of Lake Erie. 

What surprised us was the number of commercial hot houses that are all around. I mean huge, commercial spaces. Acres after acres, covered with hot houses, to grow vegetables of all kinds. No longer does this farmer rely on the weather, but he controls the environment inside these hot houses for the best possible production. 

Hundreds of these Huge Hot Houses
I was really shocked to see so many hothouses. Do we, the people, really eat that much produce? Sure there were open fields but there were also lots and lots of hothouses. It is hard to photograph, but here is an example on how large these hothouses are…. And there are hundreds if not thousands of those all around here.

All in all, we had a good trip, a good visit.  

I guess we will be traveling more in Canada for a while. Going out of country is not advised, we will heed the advice of the Government. So, don’t look for exotic topics from us on this blog….

Sunset on Point Pelee