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Shavasana Gallery & Café is Re-Opening!

As I’m sure most of you would agree, the last year-and-a-half has been…strange. It’s hard to attach one word to our collective experience since early 2020…strange for some, challenging & tragic for others, a CERB/CRB fuelled holiday for yet others. Despite our individual and unique experiences though, for most, it has not been “Business as Usual”.

After a very busy season in 2019, and feeling a little sense of burnout, I closed in October of that year with a mind to taking a 6 month break before re-opening in the Spring of 2020. My intention was to spend more time with my partner Cathy, maybe take a winter vacation to Mexico, and use Shavasana Gallery as my “Getaway Studio”… a place to just go and chill…work on a few creative projects, and visit some of the lovely friends I’ve made on Mayne Island.

Obviously, it didn’t quite turn out as planned. I’m almost shocked to realize that I have now been closed for 21 months. Regional travel restrictions (between health districts) have just been lifted, and I am in the process of gearing up to re-open.

It’s like starting a brand new business – and I know I’m not alone in this. Sunny Mayne Bakery, The Groove (Das Nest), Tru-Value Foods, Mayne Island Books, Dragonfly Gallery, The SeaCuterie – and others – have all changed hands or are new businesses which started up during the pandemic. I’m looking forward to getting acquainted with them all as I re-integrate into MI culture.

Long story short (as I get ready to load up my van for a trip to Tsawassen, The Salish Raven & Mayne Island )I am planning on re-opening my little Gallery Café Studio Thing at 9:00 sharp on Thursday July 15…the coffee will be hot & fresh, cookies & squares will be yummy (now being supplied by MJ Tiller, as my good friend & baker Astrid moved to Ontario in 2020)and the Arts & Crafts will be available for purchase.

Please come by and say Hi – I look forward to seeing you! 🙂

* Special thanks to friend and artist Mary Jack for the lovely pen & watercolour sketch of Shavasana Gallery 😊 ❤️

Shavasana Gallery & Café Update – May 21/21

Like most of you (I imagine) I have spent a good part of the last 14 months of this pandemic in anticipation of a “return to normalcy”, caught somewhere between hope for an end to masks and sanitizers and distancing, and disappointment when the finish line keeps getting moved farther down the field. As of this writing 50% of Canadian adults have received their vaccinations and this seems to be reflected in ever-diminishing numbers of cases and deaths. We seem to be heading in the right direction and for this reason I am more optimistic now about re-opening Shavasana Gallery & Café than I have been since March of 2020 when this ordeal began in earnest.

Most Mayne Islanders have received the first installment of their Pfizer/Moderna or AstraZenica shot and I received mine in late April. This provides some level of confidence as we slowly roll back the personal and collective restrictions that we have all been facing. I did come over to Mayne for 3 days this week – after a 2 month absence – for some much-needed (and essential )attention to the state of my business & surrounding grounds. It was 3 days of cleaning, organizing, mowing and weedwacking which really hadn’t been done since June of 2020. In some places the grass was up to my waist…and I’m not short.😆 On these very infrequent trips that I have made over the past 14 months, I always bring my own supplies and basically remain onsite to minimize my contact with others. I look forward to the day when this furtive and isolated behaviour is behind us.

Even 3 or 4 months ago my guesstimate for re-opening was May…but that’s obviously not happening. My sense now is that all of us will feel more comfortable to completely re-engage with the world when we have had our second shot and when the regional numbers show a significant decline. Although we were initially told that the second round of vaccinations might be 4 months away, I’ve heard rumours that additional shipments of vaccine may reduce that to 2 months…or roughly late June, early July.

So, all that being said, I’ve got my sights set on a possible July re-opening. Hopefully, immunity will come with Cafés being allowed, once again, to have inside seating, and the opportunity to finally ditch the masks & hand sanitizers. I’ll keep you posted with a further announcement as we approach that long-anticipated day🙏😷

I miss you all! Hope to see you in person soon🙏❤️

xo

George

(I don’t know who took this photo, but she/he sent it to my pal Jordy in Vancouver as I was having coffee with him because “she knew he knew me”…small world synchronicity 🙏)

Seasons Greetings from Shavasana Gallery & Café

It’s December 23rd…a few days before Christmas and I’m sitting here at my home office desk in Kitsilano. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted anything on my business website and subsequent shares on social media so it seemed like a good time for a little seasonal update.

As those of you on Mayne Island are quite aware, I am still closed – as my signage will attest – and fully intend to remain so until we all get more of a “green light” to comfortably return to some form of pre-pandemic behaviour (being purposely vague here 🙂 ) As I don’t live full-time on Mayne my own situation is a little more compromised than that of other full-time residents & shopkeepers. My eagerness to travel to Mayne on a weekly basis to run Shavasana Gallery & Café has pretty much been put on hold as I follow the provincial travel restrictions and the request from Dr. Losier to “Not visit Mayne unless it’s absolutely essential”. Now, I know there are some of you who’d say, “Having a coffee and looking at art is essential”, and of course I’d agree with you, but powers greater than I forbid it 🙂 .

Last time I came over to Mayne in early December (I pretty much bring all my own food and isolate within the Gallery – so I can have a coffee and look at art 🙂 ) I picked up my van and brought it back to the city so I can avoid public transport & stay in my car on the ferry for future trips. Anyways, without getting into the minutiae of my activities, here are a couple of photos of my exciting life.

A 20 minute wait to get into The Parthenon, my neighbourhood deli ; The Hummingbird feeder that provides company and amusement in my Covid-Islolated world…in this instance, covered with 4 or 5 tiny house wrens who also seem to enjoy sugar water; Cathy and I in front of our newly-decorated tree…it’ll be just the three of us this year, and perhaps a Zoom Family Xmas.

Wishing you all the best for a lovely Christmas and a healthy & happy 2021! ❤

The Accidental Curator (Episode 1 – Introduction)

This introduction gives – as you’d expect – a rough outline of the content of The Accidental Curator as I see future Episodes evolving. Getting Episode 1 “out the door” felt like a necessary step to help me understand the process of working with GarageBand, hosting on WordPress, and publishing on the various Directories. Podcasts – like life it seems – are a work in progress…not perfection 🙂

October 16, 2020 – Shavasana Gallery Café Update

I just realized that I haven’t done an update on the status of Shavasana Gallery since May 26 – neither blog nor post – so, while I have a little time and I’m sitting at my desk here on Mayne, I thought I’d let you know what’s been going on.

Although the Gallery Café has been closed TFN due to the pandemic, I have been managing to come over and use the space as my own studio hangout.

(top left); I’m here now working on a new mask for a M.I. Arts Council online exhibit; August harvest of blackberries on the property and subsequent cookie-making. (Bottom); and also working on some content for a new Podcast I hope to launch soon called “The Accidental Curator”,

It’s been a blessing to have a retreat away from Vancouver, and for this I’m grateful. I think the decision to close was the right one. As a guy who “commutes to work” , I travel – as a foot passenger – between here and Kitsilano twice a week during my open season which now runs April thru December. The commute itself has become far less enjoyable due to masks-wearing and social distancing, and infinitely more risky as I navigate 3 bus connections, the Canada Line, and the ferries.

Top row left: managed to get one of my masks “Archduke Ferdinand” into the “Arts on the Islands” book; middle: this is Cedar Christie’s pallette – framed; and evening treats of blackberries & Americanos overlooking Active Pass from the adirondacks. Shavasana remained a popular spot for meetings and visits: Friday’s Spiritual Reflections met here on occasion as did the Friends of Public Safety on Mayne (bottom row: – had a lovely jam with Gail Noonan and Mary Jack (lower right), here’s a pic of Jennifer Peers and Jerryann Haggart at one of their weekly coffee visits on the porch

Given that we are now into a second wave of the pandemic (Canada had over 4,000 new cases a couple of days ago) I’ve decided to remain closed, likely until my new season starts in April 2021. So…I will miss you all and the joy I receive from running my little business in the heart of “The Village” (“Uptown” as the Groove Kitchen and I like to call it 😆 ) I do hope to see many of you (if not all…it’s a small community 🙏 ) casually/socially/distantly as I come over to use my studio.

Sunflowers from my garden that I bring back to Cathy in Kitsilano; my first effort at making Focaccia (delicious!); a rose through frosted glass; sunset from Shavasana; I turned 65 this year and am now a Senior Cougar according to BC Ferries! 😆

Shavasana Gallery & Café Update – May 26, 2020

After careful consideration I have decided to keep Shavasana Gallery & Café closed until further notice. I have cancelled all four art openings that were scheduled for the 2020 season and will not be re-opening to the public as a café until I deem that it is absolutely safe for my customers and myself to do so during this uncertain time.

I am adopting a “wait and see” approach to the evolution of the Covid-19 outbreak and will reopen when the time is right for all. I think we will all know when this time arrives – when islanders and seasonal visitors alike feel completely comfortable returning to their pre-pandemic social habits…which include attending Art Openings and dropping by to enjoy everything that Shavasana Gallery & Café has to offer. I look forward to that time…..stay safe!

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George Bathgate

Proprietor – Shavasana Gallery & Café

(ps..I will be using the Gallery space as my own studio during this period so I look forward to seeing you all when I’m on Mayne ❤ )

 

 

 

Tanya Clark – A World of Art

As Shavasana Gallery’s first show of the season, “Tanya Clark – A World of Art”, ( May 7 – June 4) is not proceeding due to the pandemic, I’ve decided to do a little write up of Tanya’s fabulous art for you so you may, at least, have an idea of what was in store for you -sans canapés – had we been able to put together an Art Opening and month-long show for her.

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A picture of Tanya standing in front of         “Kelp #3” (sold) in her Gallery in Anguilla

Tanya has had an extremely interesting and well-travelled life, which is reflected in the diversity of media & styles that she employs in her artistic expression… “Tanya is a formally trained Canadian artist who studied painting and printmaking at Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver, before moving to Tokyo in 1985 to study the art of woodblock printmaking with world renowned artist Toshi Yoshida.” Tanya immersed herself in the Shin-hanga style of printmaking which gave her an “appreciation for the Japanese aesthetic with its subdued and subtle approach to colour.  In 1991, her work was awarded ‘Gold for a New Member’ at the Nihonhangakai, the largest international juried competition for woodblock prints.”…the first non-Japanese woman to do so!

“Morning Alms/Thai Quartet” – 11 x 22 Woodblock on Handmade Mulberry Paper

After five years in Japan, she relocated to Phuket, Thailand where she was “seduced once more by a completely different palette. The bold, saturated colours of the Andaman Sea and the visual explosion of tropical flora, both above and below the water, inspired a different direction in her work.” Here Tanya turned her attention to vibrant oil colours and expressive brush strokes  on canvas – a departure from the subtle colours of her woodblock training.

“Bed of Anemones” – 22 x 32 Oil (Sold)

In 1994 Tanya moved to the small island of Anguilla in the Caribbean where she “continued to explore the vibrant tropical elements of water, cloud, mountain and reef” She eventually opened “Phoenix Gallery” where she was able to exhibit her wonderful art and provide much-needed framing for island residents. In 2015 she spent time in southern Africa which inspired “a new collection of drawings and paintings featuring the inhabitants of Namibia and Botswana.”

“52 Degrees Celsius in the Shade” – 9 x 19 Charcoal on Paper (Sold)

Unfortunately, Tanya had to leave Anguilla in 2017 when Hurricane Irma (the strongest on record) destroyed her business and her gentle Caribbean island existence.  The Caribbean’s loss was Mayne Island’s gain as she chose to relocate back to her native British Columbia, and settle on another small island (Mayne) for a time, painting and drawing and providing framing services. She now resides in Victoria, preparing for new artistic inspiration and outlets for her creativity. 

“Moonrise” – 22 x 34 Fabric, Beads, Coral, Paint on Panel

Although I’m disappointed that I can’t bring you her lovely work in person, I hope that you can take some time and visit her website to get a better understanding of just how significant and grand her work truly is: https://www.tanyaclarkart.com/

“Autumn Crocus” – 16 x 28 Oil on Linen….From her website, “Employing a maturing repertoire of media and technique, she hopes to create work which will inspire an emotional connection to the majesty and mystery of an ever changing world.” 

If all progresses as we hope, the Coronavirus will be defeated soon and life can return to normal. Tanya and I have discussed mounting her art show next year when social gatherings are back in vogue  – fingers crossed! 🙂

(the Featured Image to this article is called “Veil of Tears” – 20 x 45 Oil on Linen…and is available for purchase)

Goodbye Astrid! We will Miss You!

Our very own, prolific, dependable, delicious, hard-working, generous, and big-hearted Astrid Bellem will be moving to Ontario on or about April 24th, and will be leaving a very large void in the bellies and hearts of all Mayne Islanders who have come to know her and rely on her stellar abilities in the kitchen.

As Joni Mitchell said, “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”, and I’m afraid there will be very many residents, weekenders, part-timers, and tourists alike who will bemoan Astrid’s absence from the food scene on our hungry little island. “Where’s Astrid?” will be a question raised on so many lips longing for the pleasure of her loving creations, and at so many events where she has become a stalwart & reliable provider of appies and baked goods for the masses.

Astrid’s long-time presence at the Saturday Farmer’s Market might be her most well-known public face as a go-to stall for a never-ending array of yummy baked goods – cookies, tarts, squares, cakes to name a few as well as some delicious savoury items such as her ever-popular Jamaican Patty, which even Chris Bennett (our resident Jamaican) said was, “pretty damn good, man”.

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But what many Islanders may not be aware of is Astrid’s foodie presence at so many essential functions and fundraisers. She has provided food, through her home-based business – Astrid’s Kitchen –  for the M.I. Conservancy, M.I Little Theatre, the Ag Society, the M.I. Art Society, art openings at Shavasana Gallery, the Food Bank, Farmgate Store, she has also made countless at-home meals for clients & friends, and, almost single-handedly helped raise $24,000 for St.John Point with a series of fundraising dinners held at Tim Hurley’s home…all in her humble manner.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of participating in any of her irresistible food offerings at the above events, you may have encountered her smiling face at the many Mayne Island businesses which employed her over the years: The Gas Station, the Post Office, the Springwater, the Mayne Inn and the Farmgate Store. Like most worker bees on Mayne Island, Astrid has worn many hats. What you might be surprised to learn, is that before coming to Mayne Island she had worked for many years as a Reproductive Endocrinologist – I’ll let you look that up 🙂

For me personally, Astrid’s parting will hurt doubly, as I am going to miss her good friendship (and her irrepressible border collie JC!), and her services as the provider of wonderful cookies, squares and other baked items, and fabulous catered foods for Art Openings at Shavasana Gallery & Café. Her and I have had this friendship & business relationship since early 2014 when both of us were still relatively new to the island and I have come to rely on her culinary skills, and dependability. Each week, as I was closing down my shop and doing inventory, I would text her my order for the following week, and they would magically be waiting for me in the “secret place” when I arrived to open up. She never missed an order – not once – and often I would be the delighted recipient of her “samples or extras”…sigh…these will be big shoes to fill.

I’ll miss you Astrid! Wishing you safe travels as you head across Canada to your new home in Douglas, Ontario! With Love –XOXO

 

 

Shavasana Gallery & Café Update

I thought it was time to do a little “shout out” to friends of Shavasana Gallery & Café and anyone else who follows my website or Facebook link to let you all know what’s happening with our 2020 season, which was scheduled to begin in early April.

Wow…what a difference a few short weeks and months can make in all of our lives. First, I just want to send all of you some good wishes for personal well-being during this unprecedented time. The pandemic has been creeping up on us but now it has arrived and I’m sure that you and your loved ones, like me and mine, are doing their best to follow these new strict rules for self-isolation and social distancing that will – hopefully – keep us all safe.

A few photos from previous art shows we’ve had at the Gallery – from our non-socially distant recent past 🙂

With regards to Shavasana Gallery & Café, I am following Federal & Provincial guidelines as long as they remain in place, and am respecting the requests of full-time residents of Mayne Island that anyone with a second home – like myself – remain in place until this crisis has passed. With all of this being said – I really do not have a clear picture of when I will, safely, be able to re-open. As of this writing (April 4), May is looking more and more unlikely so I’m hoping for a June opening…if conditions allow 🙂

I’m missing Mayne and all the terrific friends I’ve made there over the last 7 years! I look forward to this storm blowing over so we can all return to some semblance of normalcy, and sit together over a cup of coffee, surrounded by beautiful & clever art. Til then…here are a few more photos from happier times. 🙂

Weekly jam sessions, Saturday meditation group and various events and visits…

I miss you all!

“Adventures in Leather”

The rewards of running a Gallery Café on a small island are not always financial…as I think about it, in my own case, they’re not financial at all,  because I really don’t make a lot of money at this gig. What the Art Gallery Café may lack in remuneration though is more than compensated…well, mitigated perhaps…by a depth & breadth of experience that I have come to cherish…tolerate…endure…and fear.

Mostly it’s been good…fabulous actually…how can you not love it when friends and neighbours drop in with fresh baked scones and home-made preserves just out of a spirit of generosity. It’s a very giving community and I’ve been the happy recipient of so much largesse…food of all sorts: smoked salmon, various teas and coffees, baked goods of all kinds, numerous bouquets of flowers, award winning sunflowers, canned items from homegrown gardens, and perhaps one of my favourites, the friends who showed up with an entire ice-cream maker full of freshly made blackberry ice cream…God that was good, perhaps the best ice cream I’d ever dipped my spoon into.

And the fearful? Well, at the moment the bucket of ice cream scares me as I try and shed 20 pounds after my winter excesses. All kidding aside though…it’s people. When you run a retail operation, as I do, it’s a public space open to all, and you never know who is going to walk through the front door. I’ve been fortunate, I know, as I can safely say that 99%+ of those who have graced my Gallery with their presence have been kind, funny, happy, bright and engaging.

And the <1% ?…mostly a garden variety of quirky individuals whom we all encounter from time to time who trigger our awareness mechanism in a way that speaks of unpredictability. We know that our ability to communicate and understand might be challenged and may try our patience. But these individuals are – ultimately – harmless and wander off on their quixotic journeys. Then there are the in-your-face recovering drug addicts who generate wariness and, of course, the irritating drunks who wander in eliciting anger, wariness and thoughts of self defence…

….and then there’s Colin*. Colin was the “1 in a 1,000” deeply troubled individual who walked in one fine spring morning and stayed for a year and a half. I’m not going to go into detail but suffice it to say that Colin’s depth of personal pain had created a malevolence filled with hair-trigger anger, paranoia and threats of violence which I became privy to on an almost daily basis. His appearance, and my exposure to his toxicity made me seriously consider closing my shop…and then, one day, he was gone!

The experiences I have come to value the most (next to buckets of ice-cream) are those which feel unique and fresh and unlike anything I’ve previously encountered. Situations or events which arouse my sense of the absurd….friends who drop in by horse, performance artists appearing with giant puppets, phone calls to help move a giant pot-bellied pig to a Church Fair, a friend showing up with a truckful of retrievers, a hunter coming in with a bag full of bloody deer hooves for “my art”, and, one of my faves, an elderly friend dropping off her late husbands collection of retro leatherwork magazines which I’ve captured in this short video “Adventures in Leather”

The magazines went to a good home as I decided against a new career in leatherwork. The adventure – now in its sixth year – continues 🙂

*Colin is the name I have given to “He who shall remain nameless”…