On Saturday, February 4, 2023 at 4pm, we’ll be hosting a “bièrenissage” to showcase new work by February’s featured artist, James Parry. Come on out to meet the artist and see 24 of his newest works of art. Live music with Pagoda Starling will follow at 7pm.
James Parry’s unique pen and ink pictorials are a kaleidoscopic view of the wonder and magic of nature that surrounds us, including beautiful butterflies, crazy critters, fabulous flowers, funny fish, and fantastic fauna.
James is a life-long journalist and writer for both national and local newspapers, including the former Hudson Gazette and The Journal, as well as magazines in both the U.K. and Canada. He is also a passionate gardener and worldwide traveller.
What led you to become an artist?
Having spent my entire professional life writing as a journalist for newspapers and magazines in both Canada and England, contending sometimes with second-guessing editors, the inevitable critical readers, and self-questioning as to whether I had nailed it or could have written the story better, about seven years ago I decided to give art a try. Sure, some people might not like it. But so what? And, in the final analysis, who cares! For me, it was a totally new vehicle for self-expression. And I loved it.
What imagery or themes do you return to most often?
Nature. Nature. Nature. And the wonder and magic that surrounds us every day here in our neck of the woods four seasons a year. If you just take the time to open your eyes and look around you.
Do you have a favourite piece you will be showing at Cardinal? If so, which one is it and why?
That’s a Sophie’s Choice question for sure. All are very special to me for different reasons but I am always happy when they find a good home to be appreciated elsewhere. As for my favourite, this has to be The White Stork of Ukraine, my first ever in colour – incorporating blue and yellow reflecting that country’s flag – and its national bird symbolizing as it does Family, Loyalty and Patriotism. While the original is not for sale but will be on display at Cardinal, I have reprinted a limited number of poster-size copies and every cent raised as a result has gone to the Toronto-based Canada-Ukraine Foundation to help families who have left their homeland for a better life in Canada.
What brought you to Hudson?
An escape to the country! Some 40 years ago, my beautiful Sunshine, Mireille Lemelin, and I were living on Nun’s Island when there were only two highrises there and we were looking to rent or buy a summer chalet not too from the big city. We explored The Laurentians and the Eastern Townships but when, on a whim, we crossed the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge and drove along the lake into the village centre, it may sound crazy but we knew this is where we wanted to live. And within a week, we found our dream home where we still live today.
Can you share a few of your favourite places or things to do in Hudson?
Where to begin? IGA for sure where you pop in for a carton milk or whatever and come out an half an hour later having bumped in to so may people you haven’t seen for a while. A real social hub. Ditto for the volunteer-run Hudson War Memorial Library and the famous Bunker in the basement. Also the two NOVA thrift shops, Hudson Village Theatre, the Greenwood Centre for Living History, and the Hudson Legion which does so much for so many.
If you were to pass on one piece of advice to a new gardener, what would it be?
Be adventurous. Be different. Think outside the proverbial box and, if possible, plan the very minimum of straight lines in your garden design. Go for perennials that you can divide and transplant year after year. And treat your garden like another room or rooms of your home. Most of all, have fun. And if something doesn’t work out on first try, try again. Perhaps with something different!
What is your very favourite place in the world?
South Africa without a doubt. For that is where I first met Mireille on a press trip. Me for the English media out of Toronto. Mireille for the French out of Montreal. That too was love at first sight and while we have since travelled the world together, we always look forward to returning home to our beautiful little village of Hudson.