Painting Progression II: Jean Sibelius Square Park, Toronto

June 8, 2020

This neighbourhood-emersed, one square acre oasis in the middle of Toronto [pop. 6,129,000], was originally known as Kendal Square due to being beside Kendal Avenue…

In 1959, in recognition of the diligence and passion of Toronto’s Finnish community, the little square was officially renamed Jean Sibelius Square and featured a striking monument with the Finish composer’s likeness crowning it.

My encounter with this petite and charming park was during the socially-disruptive 70s, when The Annex was transformed from a neighbourhood of red-brick mansion propriety, to one of red-brick mansion rooming houses populated by hippies and university students.

I lived in the former red brick Victorian home of a Toronto physician with fifteen other actors–including Doug Todd, who has commissioned this painting of Jean Sibelius Square. We were members of the theatre ensemble called Creation 2 (I for seven years, he for two), which was both commune and theatre ensemble:

Life for Doug Todd and I, and others within the group, was a mixture of great bonding, high demands, internal turmoil and personal confusion. What had started out as a dynamic experiment combining the best of ensemble acting with the ideals of a close-knit communal living, began taking on the telling characteristics of a cult.

The Jean Sibelius Square Park, being a block away from our living situation, provided us with a treed, quiet, people-free place of calm and restoration. The watercolour depicting that 1970s’ oasis-like feeling is now finding its expression as it goes from outlined sketch to the initial wash stage:

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

  1. Thank you Francis, for taking the time to comment and offer support. Your site is always distinctive and thought-provoking.

    Like

  2. Thank you very much. And I enjoy your watercolors.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. …I’m very glad it has piqued your interest Michael. I certainly do enjoy your moody, subtle and involving photography.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is fascinating to follow. It looks like you’re off to a great start!

    Liked by 1 person

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