Tag Archives: travelling

Europa (unfinished) / sketches and remixes – vol. 3

Fields out of train window – somewhere in France, 2005, watercolour pencil on paper, 11″x17″

In 2005, i wandered Europa (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal) by train, car and tram. Along the way, i wrote an extensive cycle of poetry, and completed a solid dozen or so paintings (acrylic, watercolour and charcoal) – some of which you may have seen along the way.

I also started a load of other pieces which haven’t had a day in the easel yet — mostly because i like to let art ferment but also because i can never decide which medium to use to “finish” these. Acrylics were more exciting in the white hot moment of creating en plein, watercolour teases my rather clumsy and aggressive touch and i am tempted to use simple black ink and make something colour-able by kids and adults. Not sure how to go about this as its not a technique i am polished at (yet) but these do need a life beyond a shoebox.

Maybe you kind folks and artists can offer a word of advice or idea?

Regardless, they are nowhere near and as such, lonely and sad. So, here are rough drafts in ragged spontaneity and various forms and mediums.

This is Vol. 3 of a few (last one i think), pardon repeats and redundancies.

Fishing boats on beach – Salema, Portugal, 2005, pencil on canvas sheet 11″x17″

bonus: another version of Fishing Boats near cliffs in Salema, Portugal. copied and coloured

Looking out a window with a beer, v.1 -Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2005, pencil on paper 11″x17″
Looking out a window with a beer -Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2005, pencil on paper, copied and marker’d, 11″x17″
Garden, fountains and steeples – Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2005, pencil on canvas, 11″x17″
Sleeping human on train with wine – somewhere in Belgium or France, 2005, pencil on paper, 11″x17″
Laneway, door #24 etc. – Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2005, pencil on paper, copied and marker’d, 11″x17″

Europa (unfinished) / pencil on canvas or paper (vol. 2)

Beer and mussels in a cellar bar with wooden beams - Brussellex, Belgique, 2005, pencil on paper 11"x17"
Beer and mussels in a cellar bar with wooden beams – Brussellex, Belgique, 2005, pencil on paper 11″x17″

On a 2005 ramble through a few western European countries (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal), i carried a satchel of art supplies and painted / sketched along the way. Mostly on 11″x17″ canvas sheet and watercolour paper.

In most cases, i “finished” the pieces in one sitting using acrylics or sometimes watercolour pencils or pastels (these are catalogued, sold/gifted and posted elsewhere).

Little lane to a door (24) to elsewhere, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2005 - pencil on paper 11"x17"
Little lane to a door (24) to elsewhere, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2005 – pencil on paper 11″x17″

Anyhow, i have a several which never quite got finished and now sit in a folio in a storage locker elsewhere. I snapped photos and have considered how to finish – even soliciting advice which ranged from “they are finished” to “consider gouache” or “make a colouring book” which i did for my nieces and nephews.

Regardless, they are nowhere near and as such, lonely and sad. So, here are rough drafts in ragged spontaneity and various forms and mediums.

This is Vol. 2 of a few (maybe), pardon repeats and redundancies.

Café with wine and beer on tap, espresso, croissants and the like, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2005 - pencil on paper, 11"x17"
Café with wine and beer on tap, espresso, croissants and the like, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2005 – pencil on paper, 11″x17″

“Rolling to the End of the Line” Transit mixed-media essay on the Buzzer

As part of Translink (the greater Vancouver area transit authority)’s “I Love Transit” week, i was invited by Jhenifer Pabliano to contribute an article about why i love transit. I assembled a mixed-media package to tell my story a few different ways – words, photos, poems, twitters and a podcast (some video coming soon for extra fun).

Here it is for your convenience, here’s: I Love Transit Week essay: Dave Olson

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For I Love Transit Week, I’m happy to share a contribution from Dave Olson, who is a prolific and talented local writer, podcaster, poet, Canucks superfan, and much more. You can find all of his work at uncleweed.net — and here’s some direct links to his blog, notebook, Twitter, and three podcasts: Postcard from Gravelly Beach, Choogle On, and Canucks Outsider.

So without further ado, here is “Rolling to the End of the Line,” an essay about transit by Dave Thorvald Olson.

Escape

Dave's 4th grade science fair project on trolley buses. Photo from Dave's <a href=

Dave’s 4th Grade Sciene Fair Exhibit

Brother Bob and I would mimic the airhorns on the way to elementary school – same as we’d do for truckers and fire trucks, pulling the string down, hoping the bus driver would notice and honk. Seemed like a blast to me, tooling along in those big buses, filled with interesting people coming and going. I’d trace routes around Vancouver maps, then memorized provinces, states and countries – imagining myself at the wheel of some kind of bus. My 4th grade science fair exhibit extolled the wonders of Trolley Transit, complete with the proposed ALRT route traced off in felt pen on a GVRD map plus a stack of Buzzers to give away.

Later, transit became my escape. In the early 80s Vancouver was growing up – so much newness everywhere it seemed, except in my neighbourhood. So buddy Brad and I would skip out errr … wait until after … school and hop the 312 or 316. We’d roll down Kingsway, over an hour all told, to tromp down Granville to Odyssey Imports for records or Black Market for t-shirts. Then maybe skateboard over to that crazy new domed stadium place and hang out on the steps, trying to imagine would Vancouver would look like in 20 years. Then warm up in the law courts or the Vancouver Art Gallery before hopping a bus back home to the ‘burbs.

Exploration

My forays stretched later into night and ventured further afield – wherever there was an all-ages punk show or a sweet girl with busy parents, I’d find a bus route – navigating to shows at the York Theater on Commercial Drive or tracking down some old church or community hall on some route I’d never heard of charted out in a battered paper schedule. I remember missing the last bus to Surrey from downtown and hoofing all the way down Hastings to the PNE to catch another – a long walk in the cold Chuck Taylors before ending up at Whalley Exchange in the wee hours.

Dave's beloved VW bus. Photo from Dave's <a href=

Dave’s beloved VW Microbus

In 1986, Vancouver changed. A lot. The SkyTrain (or Airbus as I preferred) was running for a few years to New West. We’d hop a #319 and whisk downtown on the ALRT in 22 scant minutes for the barrage of international events in shiny teal buildings. Suddenly Vancouver was modern and everyone came to watch. I’d seen most all of Vancouver from Ambleside to Crescent Beach by then, so I got my own bus – a VW camper bus – and set off travelling.

Creation

Twenty-two countries later and countless bus, trains, trolley and trams rides later, I returned and moved high up Lynn Valley – “Just ride the 210 ‘til the driver turns off the engine,” are the instructions to visiting friends. Living on the Baden-Powell trail also means I ride transit – a lot. Currently to Kitsilano – that’s two bridges of patience. But now, I am more prepared – I strap on oversized headphones, grab iPhone for live Twitter updates, snacks in pocket, and travel mug with tasty bevvie. Importantly, a Moleskine notebook, inky pens and an audio recorder in my lunch sack allow me use transit as a creative space.

The Crazy Canucks podcast crew, on the back of a bus! (Dave's at far right). Photo from <a href=

The Crazy Canucks podcast crew, on the back of a bus! (Dave

Creation works best aboard the Seabus – the views stunning, you always get a seat, and if you are waiting, its your fault as the Seabus boasts punctuality the Germans would envy – indeed, “Otto and the Beav” rarely stumble whither windstorms or traffic jams (digression: i was hoping for “Sockeye” rather than “Breeze” for the third vessel’s name).

On my commute and weekend excursions, I mix up the routes for exploration and documenting the curious. I look to old-timers who rode routes toting heavy film cameras just to document the ordinary goings-on on 1930s Vancouver for inspiration. What I see goes into notebooks, snapshots, video clips and audio podcasts – sometime in the back seat recording a Canucks Outsider podcast, riding the SkyTrain end to end for a Choogle on podcast or documenting the SeaBus on Car-free day. Maybe writing freeverse and Twitter updates describing the scenes of life from the transit journey then co-mingling the spectacular and mundane of metropolitan Vangroovy into literary dim sum.

I love you, you’re perfect, now change

change my route to think about the neighbourhoods
March 30, 2007 – Dave Olsoni change my route
from time to time
to think about
the neighbourhoods

switched Cambie 15
for Main Number 3
or Fraser if i don’t mind
cutting across Kingsway

skirted schoolgirls Xavier-bound
headphones, sweaters
in rows

downtown exchanges
spake in broken halts
sometime gleaming
often rain
occasionally sleet, hail or ice

Here are two more transit poems from Dave: The Ferry Changes Tack, and Waiting Only Twice a Day

Aboard these cooperative transport pods are keys to a civil society – you mingle with strangers, you guess their stories, you accidentally eavesdrop on conversations, or hope for the character who amuses you to come on board. Tolerance and translucency abound onboard. For me, I roll with a load of billeted foreign exchange student chattering away in Portuguese, Japanese or practicing English. You begin to notice the same people and sometimes recognize your bus buddies at a store or a bar as “ahhh it’s that guy from the 228″. At least I do.

I tell myself I am helping reduce greenhouse gases and getting one more car of the road, but it ain’t always easy keeping it that way. Like any relationship, me and transit have rifts and differences – ask me about my issues another time. Despite my policy conundrums, I ride because efficient transportation is key to a pleasing living experience for more of us. So the escape, exploration, creative space, collective experience and chance encounters still get me running down the block – with a warm beverage, giant headphones and notebook – to hop aboard, flash my two-zone pass, and say “hello” to the driver while heading for the good seat in the back.

Rolling to the End of the Line – Choogle On! #77

Rolling to the end of the Line

Rolling aboard buses, trolleys, Skytrain and Seabus, Uncle Weed discusses changing routes and riding transit for escape, exploration, creativity, inspiration and adds in tourist fun plus concerns about free expression, aggressive security and love for the Seabus in a special documentary dispatch from Upper Lynn Valley to Kitsilano in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Hop aboard for: Rolling to the End of the Line – Choogle on #77 (.mp3, 28:00, 26MB)

See Also: Rolling to the End of the Line article in at I Love Transit Week essay: Dave Olson series at Buzzer blog and/orRolling to the End of the Line” Transit mixed-media essay on the Buzzer

Continue reading Rolling to the End of the Line – Choogle On! #77