43rd Birthday List Love

Birthday List Love #6: Major Art Exhibitions In and Around the Nation's Capital

Ottawa (Ontario) is wonderfully located to see art. Not only do we have the National Gallery of Canada right here in our city, we’re a day trip from Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts and an overnighter from Toronto and its venues, including the Art Gallery of Ontario.

I thought I’d highlight a few upcoming exhibitions that have captured my interest. With art by the likes of Picasso, Chihuly, van Gogh and O’Keeffe they promise to deliver!

If you know anyone else in the vicinity who might be interested in this list, please pass it on.

And if you’re not from the area, maybe it’s time to consider a visit?

For your perusing and planning pleasure, by city...



National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada is a beautiful building and a delight to visit. If you can find a comfy seat in its café, I highly recommend a splurge on a drink or a sweet treat just to sit back and enjoy the view for a while. This summer the Gallery offers a few interesting exhibitions that might be worth the trek downtown:

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (“Portraitist to Marie Antoinette“)

June 10 to September 11, 2016

“Discover Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, a celebrated 18th-century French portraitist who is among the most important female artists of all time. Exploring the life and work of a woman who was not only extraordinarily talented, but also publicity-savvy, this groundbreaking retrospective at the Gallery demonstrates both Vigée Le Brun’s exceptional skill and her ability to carve out a significant career in a man’s world.”

Woman power in the 18th century, yes indeed! This is the last stop for this exhibition so if you’re a fan, now is the time to make it happen.

Picasso: Man and Beast. The Vollard Suite of Prints

April 29 to September 5, 2016

"Considered one of Picasso's printmaking masterworks, The Vollard Suite is a treasure in the national collection. The entire series of 100 prints is now on view in Ottawa for the first time in nearly 60 years."

Though it doesn’t surprise me, I did not know that Picasso was an accomplished print maker. This collection looks fabulous and is for me a must-see.



Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The MMFA tends to bring in a lot of big names so I try to keep an eye on what’s coming up. It's where I discovered the bold colours of Fauvist Kees van Dongen and the visual poetry of Symbolist Maurice Denis. The building is impressive as is its collection. It's a perfect destination for a day trip or an overnighter.

Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque

June 18 to October 30, 2016

Paris, decadence and debauchery. Need I say more?



Art Gallery of Ontario

The Art Gallery of Ontario is one of my favourite places to visit in Toronto and it too tends to bring in some big names. These two upcoming exhibitions are case in point:

Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, van Gogh and more

October 22, 2016 to January 29, 2017

“The years between 1880 and 1930 were marked by rampant materialism and rapid urbanization. Disillusioned with traditional religious institutions, many artists across Europe and North America searched for an unmediated spiritual path through mystical experiences. They conveyed their feelings of unity with nature and the cosmos in some of the most famous landscape paintings ever created.”

Monet, van Gogh, mysticism and nature? Yes please!

Georgia O’Keeffe

April 22 to July 30, 2017

A collaboration between the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Tate Modern, the AGO is the only North American stop for this Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective. You might want to start making your travel plans now.

Royal Ontario Museum (a.k.a. the ROM)


June 25, 2016 to January 2, 2017

I’ve never been to the ROM, but I think a Chihuly exhibition might be the perfect prompt to make it happen, yes?


Next up, List Love #7, the last one.

Missed my previous lists? Voici:

Birthday List Love #1: Favourite Recipes

Birthday List Love #2: Personal Finance Books by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Birthday List Love #3: Four Female Canadian Artists

Birthday List Love #4: 25 Books I've Enjoyed This Year (So Far)

Birthday List Love #5: TV Shows, Movies & Documentaries

Birthday List Love #5: TV Shows, Movies & Documentaries

I'm back with some Birthday List Love!

Today’s list offers a few movies, TV shows or documentaries I’ve enjoyed so far this year. Some were sought out (The Prophet), others pleasantly discovered (The Secret of Kells), and others anxiously awaited (Outlander).

All of them come recommended.

NOTE: Most links are to trailers on Youtube, but a few are to Canadian sites like TV Ontario or the National Film Board of Canada. If you can't access the latter, maybe try your local library.


The Prophet

Starring Salma Hayek and Liam Neeson, each section in this adaptation of Kahlil Gibran’s text is animated by different filmmakers. Different styles, different colours, different music... some so beautiful they made me cry.


Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm, Tudor Monastery Farm, Victorian Farm

I know, I know, I’ve mentioned these here already, maybe even twice. But I find it utterly fascinating and humbling to see how people lived in the past without the modern conveniences I take for granted today. Farming life was one of uncertainty and relentless physical demands - it probably still is. I’m not sure I’d fare very well.

Though I enjoyed them all, I especially enjoyed Wartime Farm. Set in the UK during the second world war, it offers a glimpse into the sheer courage and resourcefulness demonstrated by those living in rural areas during times of scarcity and no doubt ever-present fear. It left me filled with awe and gratitude.


Everlasting Moments

A slow-paced Swedish film about a woman who discovers joy and independence through the lens of a camera. I picked this up on a whim at the library and it was delightful surprise.



Two words: Jamie Fraser. If you’ve read the books, you know. If you haven’t read the books, I highly recommend them. Once you've read the first one I recommend checking out the TV show, starting with Season 1.


The Secret of Kells & Song of the Sea

These two animated feature films were made by the same people. Both of them left me mesmerized. I beg of you, click on these two links and let yourself be enchanted by the trailers. If you like what you see and hear, the movies shall not disappoint. D. even enjoyed these ones.


The Lost Garden: The Life and Cinema of Alice Guy-Blaché

A fortuitous discovery on the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada’s Website that introduced me to yet another female pioneer in the creative arts. From the Website:

“This feature documentary is a portrait of Alice Guy-Blaché, one of cinema's most fearless pioneers. A filmmaker before the word even existed, Guy-Blaché made her first film at the end of the last century, when cinema was still brand-new. After directing, producing and writing more than 700 films, she slipped into oblivion. This film rescues her brave and shining memory.”

I was blown away by her foresight, her accomplishments and her creative courage in a predominantly man’s world.


Monty Don’s French Gardens

I’ll be honest, I think my enjoyment of these shows is 30% due to the actual content and 70% due to the passion its host, Monty Don, brings to the table. This man loves what he does and it shows as he walks us through not just fields and furrows, but history as expressed through our relationship to the land.

Originally aired on BBC, as I type, episodes 2 & 3 are available on TV Ontario, but for a limited amount of time (episode 1 disappeared today).

PS - If you’re an artist, you might be interested in episode 3 of this series, where Mr. Don profiles artistic gardens of France including those of Monet and Cézanne.


Et voilà, List #5.

A recap of lists posted, you say? Of course!

Birthday List Love #1: Favourite Recipes

Birthday List Love #2: Personal Finance Books by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Birthday List Love #3: Four Female Canadian Artists

Birthday List Love #4: 25 Books I've Enjoyed This Year (So Far)

Next up: Birthday List Love #6.