I've been snapping pictures here and there throughout the last month or so, and here they are. Click on the pictures to see the full images and to read my comments about them. Quite a few of them seem to be of things that made me say, "what??!!"
I'd been thinking of making a Christmas card and posting it up here, but that didn't happen, as you can see. I didn't make any Christmas cards this year (although I've made quite a few in years gone by, and you can see some of them here). Christmas is already past, and the next four or five months of cold and snow are looming before us. So, instead, how about a few words on the subject of winter.
I recently read a blog post by Calgary man-about-town Richard White, on the subject of whether Calgarians embrace winter. I have to say I'm not a big fan of winter, but it's a fact of life in this part of the world. Hiding in your (hopefully well-insulated) home for a couple of months is one option (and I sometimes think contemporary suburban homes are being designed to accommodate exactly that - several months of isolating hibernation during which there's no need to actually leave your house! But I digress...). Go outside, everybody! If you're brave enough to venture out, there are a few nice things to be found.
For example. Only in Canada would it occur to anyone to put the patio chairs out next to a three-foot snowbank. Hooray for my neighbours at Caffe Rosso for showing great winter spirit and giving us a spot to sit in the sunshine in spite of the cold! Sure, we didn't last long, but we loved it for a few lovely vitamin-D-soaked minutes!
Now, if you're wondering whether Calgarians embrace winter, take a look at Chandelierville. It's the latest "pop-up" arts event dreamed up by the Vibrant Village Society of Inglewood & Ramsay, otherwise known as the "find it" team, and the folks who brought you the hugely popular Inglewood Night Markets this summer. I happen to be a member of this team, although this year I haven't been able to be as involved as I would have liked (I was too busy having a baby!).
Anyway, this year our team came up with the idea of inviting the residents of Inglewood and Ramsay to create do-it-yourself "chandeliers" with Christmas lights and hang them up outside their houses and/or places of work. We've had thirty entries and over fifty votes for our "OOH AAH People's Choice Award" for the top three chandeliers. (Voting ends at midnight on December 31st - don't wait! Vote now!)
But not only did we create a dazzling light display around our neighbourhoods, we created a dazzling display of community spirit, inspiring all sorts of folks to get creative and get together to brave the cold and tour "Chandelierville." Did I mention I don't like winter? But I strolled all around the hood with neighbours I'd never even met before, taking in the sights, and finished up with a hot chocolate at the amazing Ramsay rink!
Here are a few of the creations on display now in Ramsay and Inglewood! And take a look at the rest at www.finditcalgary.ca.
We can't make winter go away, but we can enjoy some temporary respite. And in Edmonton, respite is pretty important. Just looking at these snowbanks makes me chilly. Somebody pull down the shades!
I used to spend a lot of time in Mainz, Germany, which is where I took these two photographs in two different seasons (and probably different years). It's just reassuring to see that there are places out there that do have seasons, not just endless winter. But let's be optimistic. Things are bound to change in Calgary, too, right? And when they do, I'll take some pictures.
Meanwhile, here are some April-in-Calgary pictures for now.
Here are a few photos I took last month (well, one of them was taken by someone else). Let's see if this becomes a monthly "photo journal."
Graphic recorder based in Calgary. I like local stories. I write comics when I have free time. And I leave eraser shavings everywhere I go.
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Some nice things people said about my work:
“If Breitkreuz and Foong [founders of the Calgary Comics & Entertainment Expo] represent the Type-A side of Calgary's self-publishing community, Hester may be the community's right brain.” – Tom Babin, FFWD Magazine
“…A strong graphic style similar to other autobiographically-inclined Canadian cartoonists like Chester Brown and Julie Doucet.” – Gilbert Bouchard, Edmonton Journal
The 23rd Story: an indie comics creator's tales of life in Calgary