Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

painted listening

amidst an ominous calm
forest companions
from crows to chipmunks
sound the alarm
there's urgency in the
buzz of the bees in the
delicate yellow flowers
of jewelweed and the
sound of the autumns
caterpillar industry
hitting overhead leaves
mimics the sound
of falling rain
in a strange quality
of daylight
i photograph
a reiteration of a painting
called " the past rushing past"
as the rumble of distant thunder
finally mixes with the
surrounding chorus
and get the painting inside before
the heavens open up

"requiem for a cheerleader" 48 x 66 in.

Friday, August 31, 2012

the scream

there are frogs
both peepers and pippins
and the crickets in the
full moon rhythmic pulse behind
a crisp lyric dancing
with the wind in the leaves
i scatter almonds to the
flock of grouse
on the lane-way
to this spring's firewood

i return to the quartz floods
and linseed, damar and turpentine
to paint the scream

this morning the blackbirds
congregated in the tree tops

"the scream" 48 x 66 in. ... as the past rushes past

Monday, August 27, 2012

forest mirage

painting in the woods
the heat of day diminishing
the sun settles toward
the distant ridge
the translucence
of the jewel weed
against moss-covered

sweeping the straw
from the cut-stone terrace
the stems of the succulents that
succumbed to the drought

perhaps the painting
contains some of the
forest's longing
for rain

 "mirage"    66 x 48 in.

thanks to all who came to the exhibition
and after-party ... there was a suggestion
that we do it again

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

painting in the woods

breathing in
and reflecting
between the "now"
of this time and place
and the emerging recollections
as the old painting gathers momentum
in new directions

A painting from winter of 07 
on Martha's Vineyard
of Plein Air wooden boat work
and of painting a record to share
but not a painting entirely from
either here from memory
or there
was "opened up"
as they say
but not with what they normally mean
because rather than making
a significant change
with paint and brushes
because the painting is on plywood
the "opening" was possible with
another familiar tool at hand-
the chain saw

48 x 36 in. oil on birch ply

and then in the revisiting of an afternoon of freejazz
and painting on canvas in public
the forest seems to have added its voice
and only as the sun set on this forest hillside
from the open valley to the west
illuminating the forest edge
from beneath the canopy
with the a spectrum of red from
cadmium red light to quinacridone
did the painted premonition
reveal its source

Premonition Forest Sunset  48 x 80 in.

Friday, June 1, 2012

calculating risk assessment

painting the key signature
of flocks-violet
en plein air
of maples
while calculating the
risk assessment of
cobalt and phthaloquinine blue
cadmium red
chromium green and
while listening to
a chorus of
hungry baby flycatchers


48 x 66 in.

deep high or deep low
in outer or inner space
reflecting energy unharnessed
it rolls into being then out again
without form, without function

simple love in motion


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

rail flowers

i just spoke with a back-hoe operator who is working on the property north of the tracks from IMICO.
He has worked on brownfields in Guelph, and dug holes all over the place so he knows what's where in guelph.
he says the City has severed and bought? the back half of the property to put in holding tanks to deal with the open sewer where i found 2 dead skunks
.... sound like research project?

Monday, May 14, 2012


looking into the
 shimmering moonlight
 on the evening of the
 ninth of may
 studio screaming 
 quartz-light  and 
 tortured strings ringing
 into the darkness
 of structures
 hurtling particles
 into a likeness
 of the elements
 of dancing
 a likeness out of
 the chaos and into
 a compound lattice
 through recognition
 without time
 but as a measure
 of the frequency
 of the vibration
 in and out of sight
 as plurality
 into unity
 and back
 into the
 at night

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Those profound moments of discovery in which she finds herself dissolving into the mysteries of nature are the moments that Detwiler attempts to instill in her work. Previously known for her international work drawing attention to nature’s beauty and the importance of its preservation Susan Detwiler has turned the page shifting into environmental action. Following the lead of Rudolph Steiner and his proponent Joseph Beuys, Detwiler has partnered with Peter Beckett in the Arts & Science Lab Project. The Project acknowledges the social discontent expressed by the occupy movement and takes up the cause of social architecture. Woven into her current work is a comparison between the interconnectedness of natural cycles and the mechanism by which human activity might shift into sustainability.  We have harnessed the energy of falling water, wind and sun historically to power machinery, for transportation and to generate electricity. This knowledge will play a vital role in the transition back into a more harmonious relationship to the biosphere. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012



wood piles
as deep as 
where the snow 
would normally be  

there were
white rabbits
like sitting ducks
in a green landscape

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Heat Wave

Colour Vision

Daylight differentially reflected as colours by 
metals and chemically dyed oxide particles. 
These "pigments" are suspended in 
a mixture of linseed oil with
 turpentine and damar varnish 
( both derived from coniferous trees ) 
The relationship between viscosity and gravity 
becomes evident as
 the "oil colour" is absorbed into the 
translucent surface of white pine board. 
The background is  
"stained" western red cedar.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

greetings from the Arts and Science Lab office

It's "spring break" and we have been walking the neighbourhood
with the petition and dog.
We've been getting an enthusiastic response to our proposal
i.e. close to 90% of the people we speak to sign the petition and
a number of people we''ve met have signed on to help.
A neighbour pointed out a house at Stevenson and Alice Streets
NW corner of the site and said that when they dug
some holes in the driveway they struck oil.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Eramosa River Walk

Dog walking
the riverside path
in sunshine
with swimming geese
and a rare Merganser
in flight.
Footpath alternating
black earth and ice
we came across
 a gaggle of
draped across
a living arch
of Manitoba Maple.

I told them a story and
took some pictures
with their cameras
I hope they'll send us
a photo to post

Monday, February 20, 2012

Arts and Science Lab

Fresh approach emerges for renewing Guelph’s IMICO brownfield site
— Much could be quickly done with a large parcel of vacant land in the centre of the city – if only it were clean enough to be developed.

A community group focused on rehabilitating the site is trying to kick-start discussion and imagination around the former IMICO foundry site at 200 Beverley St..

Bordered by railway tracks to the north, Stevenson and Beverley streets along its edges, the St. Patrick’s Ward site has sat in a state of toxic inertia since 1989. It is owned by default by the city after its former owner defaulted on property taxes.

More than 20 years is far too long for a potentially useful piece of property to sit, say people like Susan Detwiler. She’s a Guelph artist and resident of The Ward, who, along with others, has started Arts and Science Lab: Neighbourhood Revitalization Project.

Detwiler and co-chair of the project Peter Beckett, envision the land being used initially as a kind of ecological detoxification/research site, whereby its industrial contamination would be cleaned up through a long-term bioremediation process. In this vision, miniature biospheres incorporating streams, ponds, various plants and microbes would act as land scrubbers, filtering toxic elements like heavy metals from the soil.

The processes involved could serve a scientific and educational purpose, acting as an outdoor laboratory of sorts, Detwiler said Monday at the site. She also sees great potential for solar energy generation on the land property.

The land is currently servicing no purpose, and hasn’t since it ceased being an active industrial operation 23 years ago.

“It’s very toxic, and the price of conventional remediation is too high for it to be practical to make a profit for a typical developer,” Detwiler said in an interview, adding the site is “much more toxic” than the W.C. Wood property, on Arthur Street, which is currently being reclaimed.

International Malleable Iron Company opened a foundry on Beverley Street in 1912. IMICO specialized in producing malleable and cast iron pipe fittings. It owed the city more than $1 million in unpaid property taxes when it shut down, and the company failed to clean up the site before signing it over to the city.

“We see this as a kind of arts and science project,” said Detwiler, “bringing different disciplines of thinking and knowledge together to solve environmental problems. We are trying to hook up with some scientists and water technology people, because we need those science people.”

The group is also busy bringing local academics, researchers, artists and politicians into the discussion in order to generate diverse opinion on how to solve the land’s problems, Detwiler said. She said gradual remediation through environmental processes is a viable alternative. Had the brownfield site been a promising one for a developer, she said, it likely would have been developed years ago.

Colin Baker, Guelph’s municipal environmental engineer, said Monday the city is examining options for the land, which is contaminated primarily with heavy metals. There is surface and bedrock contamination with elements like zinc, related to deposits of foundry sand, slag and cinders left from industrial activities.

Baker said the cost of remediation is prohibitive for the city alone, estimated to be between $4 and $6 million.

“It’s probably not practical for the city to embark on the process of reclamation,” he said, adding that a 2010 study of the land, funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, helped the city better understand the cost of cleaning up the site.

City council at that time directed staff to engage the private sector to explore options for the site, including an initial risk assessment of the land.

The city remains interested in learning if someone in the private sector is interested in remediation and development of the land, Baker added. To that end, a request for proposals will be launched in April. Baker said it is possible that a consortium with the necessary financial and environmental resources needed for such a project might see potential in the property.

“We are trying to get that feedback from the private sector to help tell us whether or not that potential exists,” Baker said. “That is what this process is going to lead to.”

About 10 years ago, the city hired a consultant to examine that potential. Global engineering firm CH2M Hill came out with a report in late 2003. It found that the contamination on the site was “a constraint to development,” but still found potential in the site for a number of uses.

In its report, which is available online, the firm favoured residential developments over all others, with a townhouse development, a multi-storey residential development, or a mixed residential/commercial development, all getting high ratings in the report.

Detwiler and Beckett envision something quite different. The early stages of the remediation work would see a park-like natural ecosystem established on the land. As toxic levels are reduced, additional development could take place, most of it a type of artist/artisan village with studios, galleries, bakery, a farmer’s market and a performance pavilion.

To bring such a vision to fruition would require a consortium of diverse individuals and organizations, including educational institutions, all levels of government, business and environmental groups. 
By Rob O'Flanagan, Mercury staff,, Updated: February-07-12 12:55 PM

Back in the woods

There's snow in the woods
but not enough to
warrant snowshoes.
We went for long walk
following the trails of
wild turkey, raccoon,
rabbit and deer.
We were close enough
behind the deer to see
the last one of the group
disappear over a
stone fence and into a
long abandoned orchard.
The old dog bounded off -
not so much in chase as
in the joy of the moment.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012



birds eye view
the macro mimics the micro
split between the far and the near
everything becomes one again


Saturday, January 7, 2012

bicycle day

remnants of snow
remain in the shadows
like winter in Santa Fe