Dull Day Bright

1 December 2019 – Images from 30 November, a suitably overcast last day of a traditionally rainy month. But bright even so, bright with art and words that brighten the mind and spirits.

This great pop of art for example, lighting up a grey-scale alley just off West Broadway & Ontario Street.

A corner signature tells me the artist: Stefan Raupach — and later exploration tells me more. This is Morning Sun, created in 2015 in collaboration with the City of Vancouver and Tunari Gumi, a grassroots organization serving the Japanese-Canadian community. (Indeed, it is on the alley wall of the organization’s offices.)

No clear shot possible, such is alley art life, but lots to admire in bits & pieces. The flautist’s head and nimble fingers, for example …

and the morning sun itself, along with mountain peaks, waves and (inevitably) crows against the clouds still pink with sunrise.

I even like the sight lines up that staircase — a reminder that street art lives within its larger urban context. The macro urban-art installation, if you like. (Well, only if you like artspeak. Sorry.)

On I go, I am in fact heading for somewhere (though not with any sense of urgency). Next time I stop to cock my head, it is at a different kind of “macro urban-art installation.” (Smirk.)

It’s not the old house itself, particularly …

it is that parliament of owls on the porch roof. (Yes, “parliament” is the collective noun for owls. Isn’t that wonderful?)

I leave the owls to their deliberations.

Still heading west, now on West 8th between Ontario and Manitoba streets, the southern border of Jonathan Rogers Park.

Nothing macro about this next art installation, it is gloriously micro, eye-level and eye-scale.

I love this series — by now some 60 utility-pole plaques dotted around the city, an initiative of the Reading Lights program that publicizes B.C. children’s book authors & illustrators and makes their work available through the library system. This particular plaque brings us a snippet of Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin (by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Qin Leng).

I read the snippet …

and enjoy the illustration — and then I look north instead of south.

Straight across the park for another macro view of something bright on a dull day.

Very big, very bright — created during the 2019 Vancouver Mural Festival, the work of Germany-based “SatOne” (as Venezuela-born artist Rafael Gerlach signs his works).

Up there on the horizon, something even bigger: the Coast Range. Not particularly bright as yet, but look, there is that one vivid tongue of white on the Grouse Mountain ski run…

And, with that bright promise of winter, trot-trot, on I go.



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  1. Mary C

     /  1 December 2019

    That’s quite the collection of roof top owls! In response to a problem with pigeons or squirrels perhaps? Or just because? Also, I didn’t know that Vancouver has a mural festival too.

    • Don’t suppose they help, probably just decor? And oh yes, Vcr Mural Fest heading into its 5th year

      • Mary C

         /  1 December 2019

        I’ll look into V mural fest for 2020 although that sort of thing is popping up all over the world!

      • indeed, and the artists criss-cross around the globe as well, which I like to see — the VMF always has artists in from other countries (makes me think of Nuit Blanche creations in Toronto, or the lifeguard station winter art works in the Beach, sorry I’m blocking on the title — love the interaction)

  2. It may be grey, but there’s a lot of colour! 🙂 It’s getting dark here very early now, and even earlier when it’s overcast.

    • Sunset in Vancouver at 4:16 PM today & considerably earlier where you are, if you’re farther north. Amazing what a bit of latitude will do: at solstice, Toronto has one full hour more (or less) of daylight than Vancouver!

      • Sunset is at 3:16 right now, but it was also very overcast and snowing today so we were dark by 2:30 and really needed the lights on all day. Yes, it is amazing what a bit of latitude will do!

  3. Yes it’s amazing the magic hour starts here 15:15 today…time for lights and candles…the owls caught my eye too Penny… have a joyful walking week ~ smiles Hedy ☺️💫

  4. In the third photo, the parallel lines of the waves jam up against the parallel lines of the landing and it looks great. The car I could do without, but the staircase works well with the mural. We have to live with the cars, right? 😉 Those owls ARE like a mini parliament – very cool, good spot! And I’m impressed that you know that particular splash of white is a ski run up on Grouse Mountain. We see Mount Baker from town and other places around here, and after that spell of cold weather, there was more snow up there, as well as snow in the foothills. Very pretty.

    • The car I could also have done without yes/no — yes because it did prevent an image of the entire mural, but no because street art (even commissioned street art) lives in its context on the street. I used to do great contortions to get a shot that eliminated the surrounding stuff (cars, litter, whatever) or do without the shot, but now I usually kinda revel in art-in-context. As for identifying the ski run, well it was pointed out to me long ago and is easy to ID, being that one cleared swatch on the mountain and also brightly illuminated for night skiing!

      • That’s a well-considered answer re the context of street art, I hear what you’re saying. I bet someone somewhere has included something like shadows of cars or paintings of cars at the bottom of a mural to echo the cars that they knew would park under it. Thanks. 🙂

      • there are probably art-degree master’s theses being written on the topic as we speak!

  5. 🙂 That must be right.


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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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