Dan Price – Minimalist Living

Since 1990 Dan has been living off the land in Oregon.

He’s an artist. A writer. A traveller.

For the last 15 years or so he’s been living in a little Hobbit House only 8ft (2.4m) wall to wall with a roof only 4ft (1.2m) high at the entrance rising to 5ft (1.5m) at the back.

Dan has a website called moonlight chronicles where he documents his simple life.

Dan Price’s underground home, art & philosophy on $5,000/year

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Toronto HOLIDAY in December

Having traveled over 90 nations, IF you asked me where to go in December … near bottom of the list would be Toronto, OnTerrible. 😀

Yet for reasons I’m too embarrassed to relate, I ended up staying in a downtown hostel for 5 nights.

ON THE UPSIDE, the Planet Traveler Hostel in Kensington Market is excellent. I knew the eclectic Kensington neighbourhood from the  Canadian television sitcom which aired on CBC Television from 1975 to 1980.

The STAR of King of Kensington was Al Waxman, a household name in those days.

Waxman died in 2001 — but there’s a statue of him in a neighbourhood park. Crowded by homeless tents.

I really did enjoy funky Kensington, however. Weird shops, cafes, and restaurants.

I went looking for the #GardenCar. And found it.

There’s a lot of bad graffiti. And some excellent art.

My best meal was slow cooked ribs and brisket from Hogtown Smoke. I brought it back to the hostel where the wine was cheap. 😀

What do you do in a big city during wet, dark winter?

Photo by Vincent Albos on Pexels.com


First stop was an immersive van Gogh exhibit.

I attended my second NBA game ever. Toronto defeated the defending Champion Bucks — who were without their MVP Giannis that night.

My first visit to the Royal Ontario Museum was a surprise. Expensive. But excellent. The space compares well against the Prado in Madrid, for example.

My highlight? Light of the Desert, the world’s largest faceted cerussite gem, weighing 898 carats (179.6 g).

By Miranda1989

Next December? … Hawaii. 😀

My Name Is Rek” 

Visiting the Prado

Mike Sisson’s favourite work in the Prado Museum, Madrid, is Las Meninas (‘The Ladies-in-waiting‘) by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age.

It’s one of the most widely analyzed works in Western painting.

5-year-old Infanta Margaret Theresa is surrounded by her entourage. The artist is stage left. I like how the entire top half of the painting is wall and ceiling. 😀

Margaret Theresa died age-21.

For some reason, the painting below by Antonio Fabrés jumped out at me.
The Slave Girl. Of course it seems to more be his  erotic fantasy — not anything to do with slavery.

El Greco moved to Toledo, Spain in 1577. So different than anything that had come before that he’s considered unique. Imaginative, colourful and … weird. So different than the endless portraits and dark religious paintings of the day.

Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta caught my eye.

The model for nearly all of the female figures in his genre paintings was Aline Masson, the daughter of the doorman at the Paris residence of the Marqués de Casa Riera.

Immersive Van Gogh

I finally saw one of the many touring Van Gogh shows.

It cost $40 for a 33 minute presentation which I watched twice.

Impressionists and post-Impressionists are my favourites. Van Gogh in particular.

That said, I wouldn’t go again. BUT a 3D virtual reality wearing a headset would be cool, I would think.

Toronto December 2021

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Mike Sissons – Artist

Mike — originally from New Brunswick — has lived around the world. Speaks 5-6 languages. Started as a gymnast and coach. Moved into teaching Physical Education.

But is today an Art teacher at a private school in Madrid.

He lives in the neighbourhood of the major Art museums.

Mike and I have been friends for decades. I really enjoyed a recent chance to visit. Catching up on his philosophical world view and recent Art. He’s currently exploring painting on stained metal. One example:

He’s still sculpting, as well.

Mike works a lot in digital media with his kids at school.

Recently he did some commercial work — major art pieces for Cruise Ships under construction now.

Check his Instagram: sissonsart.

Michelangelo’s David

I was much affected seeing David in Florence when I was a teenager. 

Ever since, sculpture has been my favourite art discipline from the past. 

Unveiled 1504

Leonardo da Vinci was the great master at the time. Michelangelo the young upstart genius. it’s said the two were very competitive.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube

How to be an Artist – Jerry Saltz

Jerry Saltz won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2018.

Since 2006 he’s been senior art critic and columnist for New York magazine.

Astonishingly, he was a long distance truck driver until age-41.

One of the very LAST words I’d use to describe myself is artist. Yet even I found this book useful in my quest to become a more artistic video creator.

Click PLAY or listen to an excerpt on YouTube.

The Beauties by Anton Chekhov

I’ve never really got into short stories.  Nor Chekhov.

But I was convinced by Phillip Pullman that this short story is a masterpiece.

You can listen to it on The Guardian.

Chekhov’s genius lies in the way he manages to convey with such apparent effortlessness a profound sense of the mystery of beauty, and of the sadness of those who observe and think. The narrator of this apparently inconsequential tale fixes on exactly the right details, from a myriad of possible ones, to strike at the heart. It’s a masterpiece of minimalism.

A schoolboy is accompanying his grandfather as they drive in their carriage along a dusty road across the steppe on a sultry August day. They stop for refreshment at the house of an Armenian friend of the grandfather. The boy, the grandfather and their Ukrainian driver are all struck by the beauty of the Armenian’s daughter.

Some years later, now a student, the boy is on a train that stops for some minutes at a country station. He gets out to stretch his legs, and sees a girl on the platform talking to someone in one of the carriages. She is very beautiful.

It’s about as spare and empty of plot as a story could be; two impressions that barely even amount to anecdote.

Like Waiting for Godot, it’s a story in which nothing happens, twice

Who has not fallen in love at first glance of a stranger?

‘ Just a YouTuber ‘

6 months ago I still had a low opinion of those trying to make a living on YouTube.

It seemed a juvenile race to the bottom. I did not watch any of the top YouTubers. Not even my friend’s son, Cody Ko, who has 5 million + subscribers.

BUT — even then — I did follow a few favourite vloggers on HIKING and TECH.

Fact is, young people on YouTube and now TikTok are in the midst of a video editing revolution. Most future great film and TV directors are currently doing their own thing on social media.

Peter McKinnon, for example. In this fantastic 7 minute edit he pays tribute to the art form.

McKinnon is as skilled at video editing as anyone.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.