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A stream coming down the hill marks an S-curve at the entry to Glen Villa.

A Year in the Garden, Part 1

On a surprisingly mild winter’s day — not at all typical for Quebec in December — I’m remembering the garden at Glen Villa as it looked earlier this year. January brought lots of snow.       February brought snow and gloomy skies.     In March, skies began to brighten.       April conformed…

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This little spruce tree is attached to the chimney stack. Some years I put up this tree, other years a wreath. The tree takes less work.

Topiary for the Holidays

Do Christmas trees qualify as topiary? We never think of them as such but they fit the definition — the Oxford dictionary calls topiary the “art or practice of clipping shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes.” And surely Christmas trees don’t grow naturally into the perfect cones commonly seen but have been pruned and clipped to shape them.     As…

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The dead pine and the tree stump were part of the inspiration for this section.

The Past Looms Large

For the last eighteen months or more I’ve been working on an art installation that stretches along a 3-4 km trail at Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec.  The trail moves in and out of fields and forests, and each environment has its own character. When I started the project, the idea behind it wasn’t entirely clear.…

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This statue on Richmond

Monuments and Memorials

Paintings on rock made by indigenous people many years ago give us insights into their daily life and the events and objects they valued. (I wrote about rock paintings here.) Monuments and memorials serve a similar purpose. So what do they show about what we value today? Traditionally monuments were erected to great men and generals who led…

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For rock art to survive over the centuries, it needs to be located in caves of other sheltered places like this overhang in Australia.

Rock Art

Cave paintings on the island of Borneo showing animals and human hands have recently been dated back some 40,000 years, making them the oldest known example of figurative rock art in the world. (Details of the story can be found in various articles, including one here from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.) Think for a moment about how long ago that…

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