Painting Progression: Jean Sibelius Square Park, Toronto

June 7, 2020

The Finnish composer (seven symphonies, including ‘Finlandia’) is memorialized in a tidy little one acre park in The Annex area of Toronto, Canada, nestled on four sides by its red brick house neighbourhood.

The Vancouver Sun’s long-serving investigative reporter and author, Douglas Todd, [https://vancouversun.com/author/douglastodd2/page/2], commissioned a watercolour of this familiar setting he and I knew well when living nearby while in a theatre company commune in the mid-1970s.

A striking memorial was donated by Toronto’s Finnish community in 1959 and the park–originally known as Kendal Square–was renamed Jean Sibelius Square Park. In 2010, the park was officially reopened after a major redesign equipped it with an extensive playground and enhanced outdoor skating rink.

Approaching this watercolour commission, it seemed most appropriate to laden it with a 1970s feel–visually allowing Doug and my memories of Sibelius Park to surface and suffuse the painting with an autumnal feel.

A decision has been made to sacrifice accuracy to the bringing up from deep memories a vision of what we both recall and felt about this little space–this oasis from the complicated goings-on within our nearby commune. And we both remembered it being nearly always empty of people, strewn with fallen leaves, lit by street lamps, smelling slightly of wood smoke from the chimneys of the surrounding substantial, Victorian brick homes of the established Annex community.

Therefore, the end result will disappoint anyone currently familiar with Jean Sibelius Square, and its revitalized, playground-dominated landscape, as well as those who may live around it. None of the actual homes will be depicted, rather homes springing from our memory of those homes are being brought to the surface.

5 Responses to “Painting Progression: Jean Sibelius Square Park, Toronto”

  1. memadtwo said

    Memory is a good guide here I think. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ….yes. It’ll get added to in the days ahead. Photography is obviously not my forte, lol.

    Like

  3. I cannot see your sketch closely enough to enjoy. ):

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ….how wonderful having you with me for encouragement Meloney, thank you.

    Like

  5. Lemony said

    How wonderful, Lance, to infuse the watercolor with memories. It promises to be a rich and evocative painting.

    Liked by 1 person

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