Late in November, I accepted an assignment to write an article for the Bruce Trail Magazine and website.
I’ve written frequently in my blog about my love for this 900 km wilderness trail and now I was being asked to write a profile about a hiker who had recently won the award for Top Fundraiser and Top Hiker in the 3rd Annual Bruce Trail Hike-a-thon.
I couldn’t resist.
I wanted to meet the woman I would be writing about, so she suggested we meet in Toronto at the studio of the artist who was donating a piece of his artwork to the Grand Prize winner.
So it was that three days before Christmas I was venturing downtown, to an area of the city which was largely unfamiliar to me, to meet several strangers, one of them the Canadian contemporary artist, Charles Pachter.
Now, I don’t know anything about art, the art world, or its various shakers-and-movers. I would go as far as to call myself ‘art stupid’. Art galleries make my eyes glaze over, and on those rare occasions I’ve been persuaded to go to an art gallery, I was more likely to be people-watching than admiring the artwork.
Having said that, I was more than a little dumbstruck on this particular December morning. Foolishly, I had not researched the work of Charles Pachter beforehand. If I had, I would have immediately recognized the distinctive style of this artist before I walked into his studio.
I may not have known his name, but I was familiar with his work.
The moose is an iconic symbol of his work and his versions of the Canadian flag fly in various embassies and government buildings, both in Canada and abroad. In fact, if you own a Hudson Bay Company pillow with a moose silhouette on it, you own a small piece of Charles Pachter.
I admit to subscribing to the stereotypical description of an artist – withdrawn, introverted, and modestly soft-spoken. Charles Pachter was none of these. He was in fact gregarious, chatty, and full of amusing stories which entertained us for an hour. I could have listened to his stories all afternoon.
I chose this particular photo to accompany my article for the Bruce Trail magazine because it couldn’t get more Canadian with the multiple Maple Leafs, moose silhouettes, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all gracing the background.
We were graciously allowed to tromp through his home with our wet snowboots on to see the view from his rooftop patio – complete with a Charles Pachter moose statue in the corner.
So, instead of working on my Bruce Trail article which is due next week, I’m playing with this blog post because my muse is still mute and words just aren’t coming to me without a battle.
I’m hoping for a little Charles Pachter magic to rub off on me.