Monday, October 15, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blog Action Day

Monday is Blog Action Day. A day when many Bloggers will unite to focus their readers on one single issue: The environment. I am still trying to come up with something profound to post in this day, but I am sure it will come to me. Meanwhile here is a quick pen and wash sketch!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving day here in Canada. A North American holiday like no other. Unlike all the regular holidays that have been commercialized over the years, thanksgiving remains a stubborn event focused on the family and on introspective meditation of what we have in our lives. A moment in the year to stop. Take a deep breath and give thanks for our the abundance that we live in.



Who we give thanks to is irrelevant. This is not a religious holiday. It is a spiritual one that we all own. It is a day of humanity taking stock of gifts we are given in our lives. Not packaged gifts. No colour wrapping and glitter here. Just a moment to say we are so lucky to be and have.

The seasonal holiday, as most good ones, comes from an ancient tradition of harvest celebration. It was a time in the past to celebrate the goods the earth had given and the crop of the year. It still is in many ways a moment to ponder the harvest of our year and the many treasures we gather in laughter and friendships and good fortune and love.

Happy thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sketching tools

Before heading out to do our traditional fall apple picking Sunday, I thought I'd share with you what painting tools I take with me on my trips. So here is my tool kit (Top left to bottom right):

Super Deluxe Aquabee Sketchbooks (2). I love these sketch books. They come in different sizes and have 60 pages of paper that can handle watercolour sketching very well. Forget the molskins and the other expensive sketchbooks. You don't want to be counting the papers in your sketch book when you are out there and just want to sketch and play. These are head and shoulders above all others. I have even used a shelf-edging as a tight grip for these. I use a 4"x6", a 6"x9" and (not shown a 9"x9")

Our local art store also sells their own brand of watercolour blocks and pads. I use these all the time when sketching especially if I know I need a heavy wet-in-wet effect. (5"x7")

My trusted glasses (I can't see anymore).

My W&N souped-up metal box with 27 1/2 pans.

Next are my brushes, pens and pencils.
The pens here are Faber-Castell PITT artist pens (S,F and M).
I carry 3 Derwent Sketching water-soluble pencils (HB,4B,8B) along with a white Faber-Castell watercolour pencil.
I also carry a mechanical pencil for quick drawings before I paint.

The brushes are all travel brushes. I carry:
3 Isabey (#4, #6 kolinsky and a #00 squirrel Mop).
A connoisseur #8 Kolinsky Pocket
and a #10 Escoda Kolinsky.
These are more brush than I will ever need for sketching or painting on the road, but I like to have my options.

Next comes a dollar store sprayer. I use that to wet my 1/2 pans before using. If you do that, you will be able to get the same consistency from your dry 1/2 pans as from your tubes. Actually you can get a thicker consistency if you need it.

A white gauche. I almost never use it, but it is still there!

A kneaded eraser. A very handy and needed tool (excuse the pun)!

And my 2 film canisters with magnets at their base. These hold my water and hold well to the W&N box.

I carry all these in a Dollar store pencil pouch and take a water bottle along of course.

Well there you have it. My trusted tools. I carry a larger block if I am painting a full outdoor painting, but I usually don't travel far with these. I really don't have time for anything larger than a 6"x9" when I am away on business trips.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Vancouver Again

I was in Vancouver again this week. The rain was constant and it was damp and cold. I tried to go out for a walk, but got so damp so quickly that I just had to give up and retreat.
Stanley Park and the Sulphur Pile

Back in my room I opened the curtains and decided to sketch the view of Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge beyond. The trees are just starting to turn out there and the colours are a deep orange and burnt sienna mix. The flora out there is mostly conifer, but dotted with those lovely oaks and maples.



Lions Gate Bridge

On Wednesday I flew out to Calgary and the plane approached the city in a magnificent storm. The rain/snow was falling over the city but the sunset around the city was a deep golden hew on a rich blue and gray sky. I wish I had my camera with me. It was a symphony of colours and breath-taking shapes. Note to self: Never fly without your camera again.


On the way back home last night I did a small sketch of a picture from the in-flight magazine. All in all not a very exciting sketching week, but nevertheless, my brushes were thankful to get wet again!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Maritime Sketches (1)

I had a bit of time this afternoon to do a couple of small sketches from the reference photos I took last week. These are nothing more than studies. As you can see, I have some work to do in figuring out how to get that lovely gray in the maritime skies!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Peggy's Cove

I spent some time in Halifax on business and got a free day to go sight seeing last Saturday. It was rainy and overcast all day, but it was the perfect setting to go see the coves and fishing towns on the southern east coast of the island. We made it from Halifax to Lunenburg passing, of course, through Peggy's Cove.
I couldn't paint at all. It was wet, windy and just not the weather to bring out paper and try to do anything with it except fly it! I did, however, get a lot of reference photos and made a lot of mental notes which I will translate into sketches and paintings soon I hope.

The place that I was most drawn to in the day trip was Mahone Bay. An absolute dream like location for painting. I wonder if I were to arrange a group painting trip to Halifax sometime next summer what would be the response? We would need at least a dozen people to make it worth while and get good discounts. Any takers out there??
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Miami Coconuts

While every one is working on their poems for Sunday, I traveled to Miami for a couple of days and had a fleeting moment to study the coconut trees in these three little sketches. This my seem like a "daa" to many readers who live among the
tropical trees, but for a guy who lives among the Spruces, it was an "a-ha" moment. Coconut trees have leaves that spread leaflets from the stem, while palm trees have a fan shaped leaf with a long narrow stem that then opens like fingers mid-way up.
Anyway hope you like the studies.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Drawing tools

Neda had asked me to share how I did the street scene drawing in the previous post. Since I am so late in responding to her request (sorry Sis!) I will share with you all my drawing tools and techniques (such as they are). As you will see I am not a purist at all. I do not adhere to any rules and frankly do not treat my tools with reverence at all. I use them as the subject compels me to and I don't worry about the rest!

My drawing tools fall into three broad sets: Inks, graphite and chalks.

On the ink side, I really like using regular writing ink because I love wetting it after it dries and using it as a semi wash or to soften edges. I use a home made mix of Skrip yellow and black which gives me a delicious brown that I can't find anywhere else. Here is an example of this ink in action I use 2 pens for this ink. A very old Shaffer pen and an artist Ackerman pen. The Ackerman pen can take drawing nibs and it is a wonderful instrument to use. I actually interviewed the maker of the Ackerman pen a while back with the hope of posting an article about him here, but never got around to it. (sorry Charles).

I also use a set of Faber Castell permanent ink pens. They come in a set of Super fine (S) Fine (F) Medium (M) and Brush (B) They are excellent and a pleasure to use, and I have learned to open them and re-fill them with ink when they dry up. Here is a drawing done using them and a little sepia in the (B) pen after it dried. I also used these for the sketch on the plane in the previous post. I just added a bit of Graphite pencils shading in the sky on that one.


I don't like simple graphite pencils very much, but sometimes they are the only thing at hand and I do use them. I am always disappointed afterwards though, because you really have to use fixative if you want the drawing to remain crisp. What I love to use are the Derwent water soluble graphite pencils and the Yarka water soluble sticks. They are a real treat. I was introduced to them while doing a live drawing session and I adore them. Try these out by first drawing your object and then going in with a wet brush and spreading the graphite like a wash. You will fall in love I promise you. Here is a quick one I did of the kids today using the Derwent water soluble pencils.



What I call "my chalks" are really Conte sticks and leads. I use these dry, but I also enjoy wetting them on the paper similar to the water soluble graphite. They work well that way and I can enjoy them better knowing I smudge and swirl them around at will.

Of course it would be no fun if you can't mix and match these tools together and add some watercolour or coloured pencil marks to add some colour to the drawings. In short I would suggest that you go wild! Drawing is instinctively in all of us. Our cave ancestors used whatever they could get their hands on to draw wonderful and fanciful images on walls. What keeps us all from reaching back to this primordial skill? Fear. Fear of failure, or ridicule or rejection. Well think of it this way: Your first and second and 50th drawing will not make it to any museums. I can promise you that. So do 50 drawings for fun. Throw them away if you must or burn them so no one will see them. Then scan and post your 51st and let's have a look. What do you say? Use a bic pen if you want, who cares! As long as you are enjoying it!! I once did a very nice drawing using a bic pen and correction fluid. So disrespect the tools and go wild!

Here are a few more from a while back:


............

............




Sunday, August 12, 2007

Best Flight Attendent's Jokes

If you have been following this blog, you know that I have been flying a lot lately. No I am not going to bother beating up on Air Canada. Well maybe just to say that I have no idea how they won the best airline award. They must have employed Syrian vote counters, you know the ones who get Assad voted it by 99.99% of the Syrian population! These soviet style vote counters are rarely employed and Air Canada can afford to hire them to boost their horrible reputation - among the real flying public - as the worst airline in the world!

OK, now that THAT is off my chest, here are the two best jokes by WestJet flight attendants:

1) Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Toronto. The pilot has actually landed the plane in Oakville and will now be driving it to Toronto so please remain in your seats until we get there.

2) This is a non-smoking flight. smoke detectors are located in the lavatories for your safety. Anyone caught smoking will be asked to leave the plane immediately.

3) In case you have been living under a rock, we will now show you how to put on your seat belt...

OK, these may not be great jokes, but when contrasted with Air Canada's grim and cold service???

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sketches on the go

I spent the week in Vancouver on business again. I didn't have a lot of chances to go out and sketch, but I did one on the plane heading to Vancouver, and I did a quick one at the hotel looking out on the bay. Neither is that great, but then I was just having fun.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lowville revisited

I told you we would be back to Lowville Park and so we did. Yesterday. This time I decided to forgo the grandiose attempts at painting a masterpiece and simply sketched a couple of views with the idea of making my painting at the ehmm...studio...right...read over-crowded desk.

The kids ran after the toads and the tadpoles and I managed to absorb the scene. I wanted to just read the colours right. I had been struggling with aerial view for a while and I wanted to see the colours. I also wanted to compose not just report...and so I did.

Here is the first studio rendition of the creek at Lowville Park. Waddya think?

Lowville Creek


Friday, August 03, 2007

2 Sketches

Lazy day today. We stayed real close to home...actually real close to bed too. I managed to do these two sketches from memory.

Off Vancouver Island 5"x7"

On The Shore 5"x7"

Thursday, August 02, 2007

At the Wiltons

We spent a couple of days in Lake of Bays at the Wilton Cottage. What an experience that was. The lake-front Cottage (castle as the kids called it) is Idyllic in a wonderful area of Ontario.


In between the life guard and barbecuing duties, I was able to do some sketching. Once I knew what I wanted to paint, I did a small painting towards evening and another very early the next morning. The one I did in the evening was hard. The mosquitoes were out and it was distracting to paint and shew them away at the same time. The one in the morning was an experience I will cherish. I actually ended up setting my easel on a pathway between flowerbeds at about 6:00 am. The only creatures hard at work at the time were a swarm of bumble bees. We co-existed nicely and I actually enjoyed their deep buzz around me. It was wonderful and then to top it all, a humming bird decided to join us as well. I left the bees still hard at work and headed in for a cup of coffee. When I came back, the bees were done or they had finished with the flowers next to my easel. I was able to finish the painting and head back in time to meet everyone shuffling out of bed.


One thing about those idyllic places in Canada: Unless you find a cliff side or some other element to paint, the green hills and lakes do get hard to paint. It is hard to find a center of interest and focal point. but anyway, here are the two paintings for your enjoyment:





Lake of Bays from Wilton Cottage (1)





Lake of Bays from Wilton Cottage (2)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Montreal Airport

I spent a couple of days in Montreal this week. They were busy days as usual with no time to focus on the arts. Montreal is full of art. Not only its wonderful museums, but every nook and cranny of the city has or is a work of art.


It wasn't until I was at the airport heading back to the Big Smoke (AKA Toronto) that I had a few minutes for myself. The view from the airport of the mountain that gives Montreal its name was interesting as a vista far away. I had to sketch it... here is the quick result. I had less than 10 minutes to do it so the composition is not the best, but at least I didn't comeback without a sketch!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Plein-air Weekend Report

I am getting into the habit of going out on my Plein-air sojourns and coming back before everyone at home is up for breakfast. This way I get to catch the early morning light, face less traffic and onlookers and still get to spend the weekend with the family.

This weekend was so gorgeous, it was time for a double-header.

I went out on Saturday and did "Steeles and Heritage Rd." The morning mist was just lifting as I set my gear up. The actual scene was not very inspiring, but the spot that I found to sit in was a very good one and I had to compromise. The light was the key to this painting.


I hope I caught the sun as it struck the near trees and filled them with light. On the way back I found a great spot and took a mental note of it.


This morning I woke up very early and since I did not want to putter around and wake everyone, I decided to head out to the spot I had found on the way back on Saturday on Steeles and 9th line, and make it a productive morning. Again the scene was not very inspiring, but the spot I was painting from was easy to park at and had a nice clearing in which to set up my gear. You really have to compromise sometimes! This was the best I could do.



These are both quarter sheet paintings. I did most of the work en plein-air, but I did go back and tinker with them a bit at home.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Another Plein-air on 9th and Derry

We had another gorgeous day today, and yes, I was out early in the morning to do some work en plein-air. I went back to the farm house on 9th and Derry Rd. I wanted to capture it from another angle. The morning air was warm and comfortable so I decided that I was going to take my time on this one.

I did a rough sketch and then once I had the composition right, I settled down to do the painting. 1 1/2 hrs later, it was time for breakfast and I was satisfied with what I had done on location. The rest of the details could be done at home. I took some reference pictures, packed up and headed back home. But the day was just beginning.


Farm House On 9th & Derry Revisited 10.0" x 7.0"-
Order Original (US$75.00) Order number 210407_O
Order Giclee

This day was too nice to be spent indoors, so we packed our lunch, paints and paper for everyone, and headed off to a nature reserve about 15 minutes from our home. Up here, nature has still not had its morning coffee so to speak. It is still drab and earthy with almost no greens yet. Still, we had lunch in the shade and settled down to paint in the sun (see Marazine for the family painting results). It was just perfect!

Back in the neighbourhood after the outing, we grabbed some milkshakes from a fast food place and settled in the back yard for some more fun under the blue sky. I took some time to finish the painting and then grabbed a grapefruit-vodka. Ah! Yes. Winter is finally gone and we are blessed with every season.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Farm House on 9th & Derry

It was a glorious morning. Sunny and relatively mild this Saturday. I went out early and this time I knew exactly what I wanted to paint. No wasting time driving around looking for a spot.

I had seen this farm house hundreds of times driving back and forth on 9th line (a few blocks from my house). I had seen it in morning light and afternoon light and resolved to paint it in early morning to catch the shadows.

Farm House On 9th & Derry 9.5" x 6.0"
-
Order Original (US$75.00) Order number 140407_O

This was my first true plein-air of 2007. I left the comfort of the car, walked for a while to find the right angle and set down my gear. I put a plastic bag on the wet grass, and settled down for a quick painting. It was/is still a bit nippy, so I knew I had no more than 30 minutes to do this one.

True to all my plein-air painting experiences, I was greeted by an eager little dog with a chatty owner, but I did not let that bother me. I greeted the dog and engaged the owner in a review of the day's weather. I was enjoying this so much nothing could distract me.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Home Made Watercolour Bijou Box


Update:
It seems that the people at Home Depot rarely know what they have as products. I have received many emails saying that they don't carry shelf edging. NOT TRUE! The do. They are usually kept in black piping that is hug from the bottom of the wood section in the shelf isle. For your convenience, I stole a bar code so you can print it and take it with you and ask them to scan it and maybe that will alert them to the FACT that they have it!! Here it is:


For the watercolour sketchers, The Winsor an Newton Bijou Box has got to be on top of their wish lists. It is a beautifully compact and solid enamelled box that measures 79mm x 60mm x 16mm (or approximately 3" x 2.5" x 3/4"). I have always wanted to have one of these, but since I own two larger Winsor and Newton boxes and have made my own Altoids watercolour boxes before, I could not justify the cost of the Winsor and Newton Bijou Box.

This size box is excellent for carrying around in a pocket for sketching when you are out in the everyday world. It is the size of a Blackberry, and when coupled with a small size pocket sketchbook and a waterbrush, can turn into an instant pocket studio.

I love my Altoids box. It has been my companion for a while now, but over time it has become loose and clunky and with spring around the corner, it was time to retire it. I had been constantly on the look out for a metal box that approximates the dimensions of the Bijou Box. Call it an ideal, or just the fact that it is a classic and THE one to be imitated. I always look for boxes, mint boxes at convenience stores, metal boxes at garage sales. Anywhere I see a metal box, I try to envision it as a watercolour box.

A few months ago I was at a conference where they were giving away mints boxes. They called them "Manage-mints". Smart idea! I didn't care much for the mints, but the box? The dimensions of this small metal box were almost the same as the Winsor and Newton Bijou Box. They are exactly 80mm x 63mm x 17mm. It is professionally covered with white enamel, and I was able to easily remove all the marketing graphics off of the box by using a bit of my wife's Acetone. That left me with a very nice white enamelled box. Granted the Bijou Box is black, but hey! This was the home made version so white would be just fine by me.

In my earlier work on the Altoids box and in restoring one of my Winsor and Newton boxes, I used 3/4" shelf-edging to hold the pans in the boxes. These shelf edging strips work perfectly and allow you to change the pans and half pans easily, but hold them in place extremely well. For this box, I decided to use 5/8" shelf-edging. If you go to your local hardware store you will actually find three sizes of these shelf-edgings. 3/4", 5/8" and 1/2". The first two sizes will hold half pans very well in different directions, the third size is not useful for our purposes, but I am sure I will find a use for it soon. The reason I used the 5/8" edging is that three strips of that size, will fit perfectly in the box while only two of the 3/4" would fit in and I would be left with significant unused space in the box. Moreover with the two 3/4" strips, I would be able to hold 10 half pans, while with the 5/8" edging, I could fit 12 half pans into this box of 2.4" x 3.0" x 3/4".


Aside from the shelf edging, I needed a plain white vinyl tile, six 1/2" staples (The kind used with a staple gun), and a small piece of white adhesive shelf lining. I also needed the smallest drill bit in my tool box.

I started by measuring the inside of the box and cutting a piece of the vinyl tile to fit snugly in there. I also measured the inside of the cover and cut the shelf lining to size and stuck it there. The white shelf lining makes the inside of the box cover a perfect place mixing colours.

I then cut three strips of the 5/8" shelf edging to fit in the box and secured them to the vinyl tile by drilling holes in the edging and the tile and threading the 1/2" staples in these holes to hold the tile and edging together. The 1/2" staples hold the pieces together very well and you do not have to worry about them becoming unglued if you try to change the half pans. I fit the finished component in to the box, and filled the edging with 12 half pans.

I am ready for spring now. This blackberry-size paint box fits easily in my jacket pocket and with a couple of travel brushes and a small moleskin-like sketch book, I am ready and able to sketch any where, any time.

Watercolour artists fall into two groups: Those who use tube paint, and those who prefer pans and half-pans. Whether you are traveling near or far, you should consider using paint in pan and half-pans in boxes. There is a myth in North America, that you can't get rich colour out of pans. Not true. You can get colours that are just as rich from the pans as you can get from the tube. All you have to do is wet them before you use them. If you are still not convinced that you should give pans a try, maybe this will do the trick: With new carry-on travel restrictions on liquid and jells, tube paints are not likely to make it past the security counter at your local airport. So if you plan to travel with your paint, I hope that this article has given you an idea of how to make your own home made watercolour Bijou Box.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring?


It always happens. The April snow storm that is. So why do we always believe that just because all the snow has melted and we had a few days of rain showers and mild temperature, things are going to be different? Or is it as Jon said:

At the window, the silence of
naked limbs, fingers extended
with no apparent direction
reminds anyone, simply:
Time serves hope, else
hope serves time.

I don't know. All I know is that the weather man has predicted a few days of snow showers coming up, and I for one think it's enough already! I mean really, the buds are swollen and the grass is starting to turn green, do we need another snow storm? Can we vote on that?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Poetry Contest Results

Well folks, the time has come for me to make a decision on the best poem submitted in the contest. This was really hard. All of the entries were well done and I enjoyed reading them very much. I wish I could declare all of you winners and move on, but that would not be fair either.

First let us review the entries:

The fingers of limbs
direct the hopeful at Time's
extended windows.

Debi Cates

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'Tis the time of hope
the time of reminding someone
of silent windows
of naked limbs
apparently, hope serves no one

Anonymous
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The fingers of time
Silence
The simple naked hope
Of limbs
Extended
In the direction
Of anyone,
Extended
At no one


Rima Barrage

----------------------------------------------------

At the window, the silence of
naked limbs, fingers extended
with no apparent direction
reminds anyone, simply:
Time serves hope, else
hope serves time.

Jon

---------------------------------------------------

Naked limbs with fingers extended
Direction apparent.
Was anyone at the window?
No hope of anyone at the time,
Silence, the simple reminder.

Georgie

----------------------------------------------------

The silent fingers of limbs, extended,
are reminders of times direction.
The window of hope serves with apparent simplicity.
Should anyone serve silence else it extends?
No! Time was the hope

Donna Elio


As you can see, they are all excellent. So here, with a heavy heart, is my pick for the best poem.....

-----------------------------------------------------------------
At the window, the silence of
naked limbs, fingers extended
with no apparent direction
reminds anyone, simply:
Time serves hope, else
hope serves time.

Jon
----------------------------------------------------------------

Jon, if you send me your mailing address to barrage@sympatico.ca, I will have the ACEO on it's way to you next week. Congratulations. I really loved your poem.

So folks, shall we do this again? I am encouraged by your daring work. I think I will, so watch for the next contest coming soon!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Meadowvale Park

It was a glorious spring day today. The sun was bright and the air was just warm enough to be outdoors. Rima, my wife, made the kids a bag of bread and nuts each to feed the birds and squirrels, I took my paints and off we all went to the nearby Meadowvale park.

The ice was paper thin on the lake, barely enough for the seagulls to stand on. Mom took the kids for a walk and bird feeding (Thank you Rima) and I was left with my paints for a while to do what damage I could to a clean white sheet of watercolour paper.



Knowing that I would be using my new found technique of watercolour in a pen drawing over my watercolour painting, I did not fuss too much with this one in Plein air. I did what I needed to, and just in time for the kids to come back and want to join me in the "colouring" fun. NOT!

Back at home, the kids were watching Fairy Topia or something, and I put my finishing touches on this one using my Ackerman pen with Sepia watercolours in it. Many have asked about the Ackerman pen, I will post a full review of the pen soon. Suffice it for now to say, it is a pleasure to use!

If you are thinking you have seen this one before, you have. I did this scene earlier on a very cold day here. Back then the ice was thick and covered with snow and the whole scene was somewhat different.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Red Barn

Yes, this one is as busy as it looks. Actually I so enjoyed doing this painting that I am not sure if I won't be doing more and more busy paintings like this one. I know some of you may be wincing right about now, but I feel it is full of movement and activity, exactly like this soooo early spring thaw that is happening in Ontario today.



This is a combination of Watercolour and watercolour filled pen. I used my new and lovable Ackerman pen with Sepia watercolour in it. Yes I went crazy. Yes I enjoyed the heck out of it. Yes no one may like it. Sometimes you have to paint with no audience in mind; for the love of the process and for personal edification. Am I explaining too much? Do I sound defencive? Why are you looking at me like that? What what?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pink Panther's Update

Events sometime have a way of falling in place in a surrealistic way. After I posted my nostalgia entry about our band a few days ago, and within the day, I was reconnected with Pierre Kerbage our gifted keyboard player. It seems he was living in Austin Texas all this time. The kicker is that I lived in Austin for 7 years and we never connected there!!
Now for nearly 32 years, we have not seen or heard from each other whatsoever. Over the years, I had tried hard to find my closest friend in High school, our lead guitarist Ralph Shami (AKA Chami) but without luck. My latest attempt, a few years back was an email I sent to an R. Shami who bluntly told me he was not the guy and warned me not to spam him!
Today while Pierre and I were on the phone chatting for the first time in 30 some years, we Googled Ralph and for some reason Pierre tried Chami instead of Shami. We found an email address, sent a ping and.... YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We found him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dr. Chami, a former professor at Notre Dame and now with the IMF no less. After a quick email exchange, Ralph called Pierre promptly and we had a three way conversation. It was surreal.
The day was spent in a flurry of emails and tonight I still can't believe that all this happened.
So here is the update on the Pink Panthers:
- Pierre Kerbage (Keyboard wizard) is now president and CEO of his company Managed IT Services in Austin Texas
- Ralph Chami (Lead Guitar Magician) is a Division Chief with the IMF Institute in Washington DC
- Fawzan Barrage (me Singer/Rhythm Guitarist) is a Financial Sales Executive in Toronto
- Emile Bustani (Drummer) Is still in Beirut Lebanon and a professional musician as well.
- Jamal Hamadeh (Yes Ralph remembered his name) Our Base player is still A-wall. We have an APB on him and WILL find him sooner or later.

Ralph and Pierre are still seriously into music, I dabble but nothing like these two. We plan to reunite at least for a weekend and jam for old times sake. 30 some years later it is simply unbelievable that we could find each other like this in a few days.

The day was a double surprise for my wife Rima who went to High School with us was also friends Pierre and Ralph. She walked in from the snow storm today while I was talking to Ralph and Pierre. I handed her the phone without saying a word. You should have seen her face when she realised who she was talking to.

Yes it is a small world after all.