This weeks blog is going to be very different than what you may be used to. This story will not be for everyone, but if you join me on this journey I assure you it will be a hell of a ride. This is part one of what will be four parts. It always begins so lovely, like any relationship. It was Summer 2019. A guy was looking for a place to retreat from the stress of a noisy break up. He found this curious spot in Tweed Ontario. Riverside! It looked perfect. All gay male clothing optional. He had never camped before but that didn’t stop him. He got a tent and supplies and the dude was off to collect his sanity away from a 13 year dysfunctional relationship. Just him my tent and his non perishables.
When he arrived at Riverside it was so beautiful. A stunning pool just beyond the welcoming gate. Clothing optional admittedly he wanted to dive right in. The two guys in the office were nice enough. Both attractive in their individual ways. The fellow was honestly there to be on my own. Free from drama. Free from stress. Free from hostility and heartbreak. His site was perfect. It was very busy at first but as the camp sites filled up it was comforting knowing he wasn’t all alone. He stayed to myself. He had a lot going on in his life and was way too fragile to put himself out there. A couple across from this guy were very attractive, viking-esque. Oh the sites and sounds of this camping experience is going to be one for the books. As the evening came so did the invitation from the owners to attend their big bonfire at dusk. He really didn’t want to go but he didn’t want to look antisocial. Plus everyone seemed to be going so who knows? Maybe he’d meet some interesting guys. Boom the fire was lit.
Guys circled the crackling pit like witches at the solstice. Lots of beautiful fellows. He didnt stay long but long enough to acquire the nickname “Peterborough” given to him by this sweet and ever friendly guy. He went back to his campsite thinking he loved it here. The fellow sat quietly at his small fire. The fellows across from him had also return and were retiring in their trailor. It was so quiet. It was so dark. The sound of crickets and the moaning of two men in the throws of love making reached his ears. The shadows on their tent trailor casted a film like image of one on top of another.
He went to his tent to avoid the awkwardness should they come outside to their fire after they were spent. It took him no time at all to fall asleep. What a beautiful place. What could possibly go wrong? He was behind the rainbow ready for a great adventure.
Well where do I begin? This is my first Valentine’s single in 13 years. What the freak does one do after a lifetime in a relationship that – in spite of my best efforts – just could not even come close to what I was hoping for. A jagged little pill would be an understatement.
There are so many things one can do to bleach out the past on Valentine’s day. My choice was to get out and embrace the city. I hit up a couple of friends that know what I’ve been dealing with over the past year since my breakup. It’s been hell but there’s been some real friends along the way that, inspite of my outbursts of sorrow and hopelessness, have stood by my side.
One thing that can help chase the Valentine’s blues away is to support a local talent show. Not just any show, however, but one that highlights the artists within the LGBTQ community. Here’s some info on the one I checked out.
Producer and Hostess Halal Bae presents Living in Colour. An event with the aim to increase the visibility of and create a space for queer and trans performers of colour. It was created in order to give QTPOC an open space to show their artistic abilities, ranging from drag, dance, music and more. Every month at Glad Day Bookshop, there is a new theme which allows participants to share their experiences and truths. The hope is that it will create discussions and opening dialogue on issues facing the QTPOC community while celebrating their history and achievements.
If you want you can book that room at the Hilton you were going to book with your ex as an anniversary gift. I was fortunate enough to be the invited to tag along with a buddy who was doing just that. It was a great time and we’re looking at maybe booking another weekend trip in the near future.
The next effective way of chasing the blues away is with food. I know some say a terrible idea, but once in a while you gotta give yourself allowance to indulge. I decided to go to a hot spot called Belly Busters. It sounded like a fat burning place. As I got closer I realized it was a local sub shop. They have two locations in Toronto.
I love seeing old school sub sandwich shops and mom and pop stores, to me I would go the extra mile to get quality and something you can’t get at one of the chains. The prices here are more than fair for what you’re getting.
Had my first one last week and been craving another one ever since.
If things in your life are feeling a bit more severe this time of year. Check out Steve Tully. He’s a brilliant life coach I really get a lot of great life strategies from, posted that there is no sense becoming bitter but be happy for those who have found a significant other, and also take this special day to show yourself some love.
I also hope you will check out @STEVE_R_TULLY on Instagram. Great life skills and health & fitness.
This week I’m featuring one of my favourite painters, Dijon Curley.
Growing up in the south shore of Nova Scotia in Chester, Dijon has been surrounded by the natural beauty of the region and by art his entire life. His mother Rosalie Bishop and his father Donald Curley, are both established artists in their own right, through their encouragement and influence, he has acquired his own expressive voice in his art.
He draws inspiration from the local landscape. growing up along the ocean coast, he was exposed to rural life, the beauty and simplicity of the area. Trees, sky, open fields punctuated by his use of light, are transformed into dramatic vistas
Executed by his heartfelt response to his environment, his deep appreciation for the landscape is obvious to the viewer, whether it is a field of golden wheat or a coastal scene of deep blue.
Dijon has had successful showings at the Teichert Gallery in Halifax , Nova Scotia. In both solos and group shows for the past 12 years and also Amicus Gallery in Chester, Nova Scotia. he has collections in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.
He now resides in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
The interview: Bruce: When did you know you were an artist?
Dijon: I was brought up in an exceptionally creative household. Both my parents are successful commercial artists and always encouraged me from a very young age to explore my artistic and creative side. I realized pretty quickly that I wanted to follow in my parents’ footsteps.
Bruce: What’s your favourite medium for creating?
Dijon: I have always loved working with acrylic. With acrylic-based mediums, glazes and finishes, the possibilities are endless. Plus, I love that I can finish a painting and have it varnished and ready for a gallery three days later. Other mediums, like oils, take far longer to dry and cure.
Bruce: What were you like in high school?
Dijon: Like most teenagers, I had a great circle of friends, of which a lot I still keep in touch to this day. I majored in art in high school, so I was surrounded by other creative peers and encourage even in other curriculum to use my art in different ways. I was a popular kid and loved school.
Bruce: Who would you say is your biggest inspiration?
Dijon: First, I have to say my parents have always been my biggest inspiration, through their teachings and guidance, they allowed me to find my expressive voice in painting. They continue to be my inspiration with every brushstroke and painting I produce.
Other people who have inspired me over the years are artists like Vincent Van Gogh. I love his use of colour and forever movement with his brush strokes.
Alphonse Mucha is another inspiration to me. He lived in Europe during the Art Nouveau movement, at the turn of the last century. He created beautiful paintings, sculptures, furniture, and jewelry. He continues to be an inspiration to this day.
Bruce: How many art exhibits do you do a year?
Dijon: I moved to Peterborough in 2013 from beautiful Nova Scotia, where I grew up. I am quite well known in Nova Scotia and would have at least two solo shows there a year and would always submit to group shows as well.
I moved here and realized nobody is familiar with my work here. So I am currently looking for representation here. I still show in Nova Scotia at the galleries that have carried my work for years.
I also sell directly from my studio here in Peterborough. With social media and the internet, it allows me to show my work all over the world.
Bruce: What time of day are you at your best for creating?
Dijon: That tends to rely on what I’m currently working on entirely. If it’s a painting that flows right from the start, the best creativity is the entire process from start to finish.
My parents always taught me to challenge myself with each painting, and whether it’s colour or values or composition, I like to challenge myself with each work.
There are more times than not that the creative process is not flowing while working on a painting. I always try to find the positive in that situation as I enjoy the challenge and feel I grow as an artist with not only every work, but especially the ones that I struggle with now and then.
Bruce: Where can one go to see your work? On line? In-Person? Studio?
Dijon: All of the above. In Nova Scotia, the main gallery that has carried my work for years and have had a number of solo shows is Teichert Gallery in Halifax, at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. I’ve also shown at many smaller galleries over the years.
Here in Ontario, until I find representation, the best way is to view my work is on my web page, www.dijoncurleyfineart.ca or my Instagram dijoncurleyfineart. I have a Facebook art page under the same name.
I also encourage people interested in my work by inviting them to my studio. People love seeing the process and the place where all the creativity happens. My studio is in East city in Peterborough.
Bruce: What is your ultimate goal as a Canadian Artist?
Dijon: My ultimate goal as a Canadian artist is to always enjoy what I do and make the most of what I’ve been given. It’s hard living off my paintbrush as there are millions of other amazing artists out there, but I’m confident my work will always create a path for me to pursue my art and ideas as a career and living. Being self-employed is harder than being employed by someone else. I find I am constantly working on promotion and exposure all day and every day. It is exceptionally rewarding.
Bruce: If there was one thing you would like to accomplish before you are 80, what would that be?
Dijon: I have always wanted and hopefully will someday open my own gallery and art center and artist retreat. I have taught art to children and adults and love helping others find their creative flow. Plus, I have a huge list of places around the world. I’d love to visit and paint someday. Suffice to say my bucket list is pretty big.
Writer Bruce Christopher
Editor Bruce Law
Publicist Mike Tubbrit
Hair for Bruce by Henry’s Barber Shop Peterborough
Its beard time! What better way to kick off a month that has groundhogs and Valentine’s with this romantic bearded fellow. Very well-groomed with a mustache that is the envy of most. This is Rick!!
First of all, I’m a barber! I live in Palm Springs, California, with my two partners! This is known as a polyamorous relationship. I live a keto-lifestyle. I’m a big fan of singing. I’m a karaoke whore!
Well, there you have it, folks! If you’re going to be a whore, it may as well be a karaoke one! Thanks, Rick, for your fun facts! Head on over to my official Instagram @bruceinthecity and vote for Rick’s beard by hitting the heart on my two posts featuring Rick. You can also follow Rick’s Instagram @ric1guy