Archive | February 2012

China Painting And A Change In Life Style.

Way back in the 1920’s, my dad had his own business… Russell Vogler Export Company… and he exported logs to Japan. He had an uncanny ability to look at a boom of logs, and could tell how many board feet of lumber it would produce, very close to the actual tally. He told me once that he looked at the boom of logs and the number just popped into his head!

When I was 3, we moved to 6075 Angus Drive to a house that dad had had built for us.

Dad “worked with the tides” so would be up and away very early some mornings. Mom always got up and made his breakfast no matter how early it was.

She was a morning person… loved to get up early and get her work done. Then she would have time for her hobbies. Knitting,  crocheting, quilt making, and sometimes she hand painted china.

I still have some of her china, in the cupboard up over my stove, where I can’t even get at it for a peek. It was painted – about 1927. After the stock market crash of 1929, she no longer had the money to buy the supplies for painting, nor did she have the time after we moved to Beaver Valley.

You have probably noticed I manage to turn one story into two (sometimes more).. so here goes.

When we lived on Angus, bread and milk were delivered door to door. There was a Chinese vegetable man who came around with his horse and wagon. There was even ice delivery for the Ice Box. No fridge in those days.

Beaver Valley was a different story. Mom had to make all their bread.  Milk came from milking a cow, and you made your own butter, and cottage cheese and buttermilk…and you grew your own vegetables, and picked wild berries to make jam. Dad had a permit from the Game Warden to shoot animals out of season for our meat. We would have a whole moose hanging in the hay loft of the barn in winter. Just saw off what you needed!

We didn’t have a washing machine. All laundry was done by hand, on a scrub board… after the water was carried up the hill from the well down by the barn, heated on the wood stove, then carried out to dump it after you were finished. You hung the clothes outside on the clothesline, even in winter, when they froze stiff as boards!. Irons had to be heated on top of the stove, so you usually had two or three of them. The handle was changed from one to the other.

I think maybe before it was thrown out, some of that water was used to wash the floor!

You had to get the water and heat it for a bath, too. You had your “bath “ in a washtub behind the stove, with a sheet rigged up to give some privacy.

Yes, it was a different time! And a different way of life!


Singing For His Supper

We moved to Muirfield Drive in Vancouver when the boys were small. Across the lane behind our home was bush for about a mile (I’m guessing at that!)

Some summer evenings we would have a bon fire and roast potatoes. Each kid in the neighbourhood would bring their own potato, and we supplied the salt and pepper and the butter. (Margarine) Sometimes we would even have marshmallows. Some of the parents would come and join in the fun.

This is when they would ask Ra to sing. He loved to sing… and as he got older he started to sing, professionally, at age 12 when he got paid one dollar a song.

I drove “his” band to many gigs and waited in the car while they played. At one time they rehearsed in our  livingroom… and another time in our garage. The name changed a few times before they settled on the one they used when they started recording.

They have 11 albums, and have sold millions of them. They continue touring, and play to sold out shows.

“Raise a Little Hell”, “We’re Here For A Good Time”, “Two For The Show” and so many more.

Yes. That’s Trooper!

You can read all about Trooper on their website,

Ra, their lead singer and “front man” is my eldest son. And he is a composer, an author, a designer, and a business man.

If you haven’t figured it out by now… I’ll spell it out. I am very proud of All THREE of my sons, for the men that they are, for the husbands and fathers that they are. I love them dearly.

A Monkey On His Back.

Skippy McGuire was a much loved member of our family. He was pretty smart, too.

We had a tiled floor in the kitchen, dinette, and hall, but the living room was carpeted. Skippy was not allowed on the carpet, and he respected our wishes.

My husband had a broken leg at one time, and he was resting on the chesterfield. He called Skippy to come to him. Poor guy… he wasn’t quite sure what to do… but you could almost see the wheels turning in his head. Finally, he jumped on the chair that was near the hall, and climbed over to the chesterfield to my husband. He did not walk on the carpet!

We got a pet squirrel monkey for the kids. We had a small room in the basement with bunk beds. The bottom bed got turned into a home (cage) for the monkey, with a tree branch to climb on. We even had to have a thermostat to heat that room for it.

The monkey was taken out, and upstairs at times, and it loved to get on Skippy’s back. Poor Skippy! He would tolerate it for a while, but then he would go under the rungs of a chair to knock it off. That didn’t always work as the monkey would hang over Skippy’s side..

Skippy won though… as the monkey was taken back to the pet store. My husband had warned the kids that if they didn’t look after cleaning the “cage”  he would take it back….   and he carried out his threat!

Wire Sculptures

My eldest and youngest sons both have musical talent, and some artistic abilities, as well.  My middle son, Danny likes music, but does not play an instrument, sing, or compose music.

Danny has been given a great talent for drawing, and painting, When he was in grade school, his teacher did not appreciate his ability. One assignment was to draw a sea scape. Everyone else showed a blue ocean with a sailboat on it. Danny did a drawing of a whale, all beautifully shaded.

When he took it up to the teacher, she looked at it and tore it up and put it in the garbage, saying that wasn’t what she wanted. I think she was jealous of his talent.

The next assignment came along, and Danny did it, took it up to her desk as he was supposed to, and stood there and tore it up and put it in the garbage. From there on, with that teacher, he didn’t bother to do the drawing, just tore up the paper in front of her and put it in the garbage.

In higher grades, when he had to do an illustration in his assignments, he was accused of having his dad do them for him!

Great teachers, don’t you think!

In his late teens Danny had been making metal sculptures… wall hangings,… and they were quite popular. Then he decided to go into something a little different.

He started doing wire sculptures! Of birds, or people in different activities, trees, etc. The wind-swept trees were a favourite.

At this time we had a pre Christmas show at Guilford, in the upper mall. With the Mall manager’s permission, Danny joined us with his display.

In this picture you will see some of my paintings and sketches in the background.

The Bust

mixing the clay

My husband and youngest son, Gary, went to the Vancouver School of Art, night classes and took the sculpture course. They not only enjoyed the course, but the time they spent together, one on one.

After the course was over, Gary decided to do a bust of his dad. What a messy process that was.. good thing he could do it in the carport.

hard at work.

First, he modeled his dad’s head in clay. Then he made a mold from that with plaster of paris, and then had to pour a mixture into that mold to get the “finished” product.

getting the feel

It stayed in that form for many years, and then Gary had it bronzed and gave it to me one Christmas. It sits on the other end of my “desk”.

I will have to let the pictures tell the story. I don’t remember  the exact details.

The bronzed bust

Painting In Public.

We had been out with painting displays many times. That’s how we made our living for quite a few years. In  the beginning, I took my husband’s paintings and looked after everything. He wouldn’t even go near the show. Finally he had to paint in a contest at Brentwood Mall in order to show his paintings, and hopefully, sell some. After that, it wasn’t a problem for him.

With the Group of artists showing paintings in Stanley Park, there were a couple of portrait artists. They did a pastel portrait while the model sat there…  took about a half hour.

One of these, a lady, was not that good at it. She did the same eyes for everyone. Mickey decided he should try doing the portraits. He had some people that had their portrait done elsewhere, come and ask him to fix it up! No, he wouldn’t touch another artist’s work, but in some instances, he did another one for them, free of charge.

Like a lot of my posts, I start out with one story, but get carried off in another direction as my mind pulls out another memory. I hope you will bear with me!Some ofpen and ink sketches

This was to be about the first time I painted in public. Oh well, its not that interesting!

After we had been part of a group of artists showing in one building during the PNE, the lady in charge wanted all of us to “do another show”. I think it was in October. There was nothing else going on at the PNE Grounds, and the show was not advertised well enough, so we spent a week with very little happening.

That’s when I did my first painting in public. Not too many “onlookers”, and if they did stop to watch, I could back away from my easel and look like I was trying to figure out what to do next, and they would move on. It worked, as I got used to the idea of painting with people watching!

I worked on pen and ink sketches on shows all the time. It didn’t bother me if people stropped to watch me do those. I was more confident doing them than I was doing the oil paintings… that made a difference.

The Snow Queen

In February, 1947, there was a lot of snow over on the North Shore Mountains. Hollyburn had a good supply. Mickey and I were just going together at the time.

His brother, Jack, had a jeep, and he thought it was a great idea for the three of us to head up Hollyburn so we could go and build a snowman. Although I was not dressed for snow I said, “Sure, let’s go!”  Who cares about cold wet feet when you have an offer like that!

When you build a snowman, and one of the participants is an artist, it doesn’t turn out like the usual ones.  Instead of a snowman, we built a Snow Queen,

After we were married, Mickey built one in our front yard and somebody phoned the newspaper. They came and took pictures, and it was featured in the Sun.