Here's a picture I sold on the weekend in Cabbagetown. It's a highly interpreted view of a storefront on Queen St. in Toronto, but it could be anywhere in the downtown, even elsewhere in North America.

Mixed media on panel, 36" x 30"

What I like most about it is the texture, hard to see in digital form. It always pays to see art in the flesh in my experience. Anyway, in the walls is a bit of crackling medium I've only just begun to fool with and in the shadows and elsewhere are bands of impasto. The wires and their shadows on the walls are scratched in.

For me, the figure leaves something for the imagination. His casual yet anticipative gait along with the long evening shadows, the cafe setting, and warm Mediterranean colours reminded me of a tertulia (if you can, read the Spanish explanation), or a person who attends tertulias, a contertulio.

Audibly, contertulio has a whimsical, bubbly ring which I like, too.

Tertulias are common in the Iberian and Latin American worlds. They're social gatherings held in cafes, bars, and other public venues, with literary or artistic overtones. The closest thing in English is a salon or Viennese-style cafe, except they still happen today, and they aren't necessarily for the same educated elite as in the past. I've witnessed many in Spain, raucous ones, and every time it struck me as why they don't exist in the same way here.

Anyone up for starting one?


  1. I've read that tertulias are sometimes centred around a visiting, renowned artist, musician, or writer. Whom could we invite around here? Perhaps Tom King, Andrew Hood, James Gordon, others . . . ?


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