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2006-08-02, 13:18
I'm going to Belgium and France for two weeks. I leave today and come back August 16th on Continental airlines. My wife, my four year old, and eighteen month old daughters are also coming.

It's the first time I'm going to Europe. I've been to Canada and Senegal before.

We will be staying with people we know in both places. Europe is small so maybe we'll end up visiting some other countries in the two weeks.

2006-08-02, 19:25
have fun....and don't forget your tootbrush

2006-08-04, 01:48
I'd worry more about the power adapters.

Have fun 'lurkie and try not to act too American.


2006-08-17, 23:33
Actually the power adapters are only a question of transforming the prong shapes for most appliances that one would bring on a trip, like the AC chargers. When I went to Senegal in 2003 I brought a transformer that didn't work on my camcorder AC charger. It was only later when I got home that I realized it was rated for 115~230 volts, so I only needed the prong adapter.

I get my film pictures back on Monday, and maybe in another post I will give a longer description of how my trip was.

2006-08-18, 00:31

2006-08-26, 20:00
So here is a description of our two week Euro trip. We spent our time in two locations: Ghent in Belgium and Paris in France.

Belgium is actually a place located between Netherlands and France rather than being much of a country with its own identity. So it has elements of both; with Dutch, French, and German as the official languages. There's no Belgian language. It's amazing to me that such a small country would have so many different languages. More people in Belgium understood English than in France. That is because German, Dutch, and English have a lot in common with each other. But also some of the French are terrified of losing their language or influence and have even tried to create their own words for things, such as "courriel" instead of "email".

In Belgium we stayed at the house of people who we knew from New York. They had lived there from 1999 to 2004 when the father worked at the U. N.. The family moved back to Belgium after he retired from the U. N.. The family used to live in Rwanda until 1994, when they fled as one of the lucky ones to Belgium right before the genocide (http://www.3-3-3.org/forum/showthread.php?t=424) started. The father was born in Belgium but had gone to Rwanda as a gynecologist to avoid military service, where he met his wife and raised his children.

We spent most of our time in Belgium and did some tourism of three cities: Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels. Belgium has a lot of canals and the cities we visited had old buildings such as churches and castles. The weather was surprisingly cold for me and it tended to rain a lot too. But in general that section of Europe is like that, with cooler Summers and warmer Winters than New York. It's because of the ocean and the tendency of the winds to blow from west to east. The weather is also like that on the west coast of the United States. Also Europe is actually more north than the United States, with Belgium being 51 degrees north of the equator.

I was impressed with how well the houses were built. They were solid, and the roofs were made of solid material too, instead of using tar paper. In general I noticed that things in Belgium and France were better built, such as having more spacious train stations under the streets of Paris. I think that the cheap construction in houses and in public works in the United States takes away considerably from the collective wealth and standard of living of the country.

We went to Paris for four days, and took a high speed Thalys train to get there, so it took about 80 minutes from Brussels. We stayed at the apartment of Tata's stepsister, who herself was staying at her boyfriend's apartment. Where we stayed was considered to be outside Paris in a place called Rueil-Malmaison. It was about as far from Paris as Brooklyn is from Manhattan.

While we stayed less time in France than Belgium, we ended up spending more money there due to eating out every day and because of Paris Disneyland. One ridiculous restaurant we went to near the Arch of Triumph landed a record-setting bill for us of 230 for four adults. My dish itself was a small piece of steak unable to cure hunger that ran for 30. Multiply by 1.3 to get American dollars. I also ate an expensive lunch on top of a building 59 stories high in a restaurant called Le Ciel de Paris that was probably similar to Windows on the World in the Twin Towers in New York before 9/11.

In general the pastries were good in Belgium and France. They have good croissants and Belgium waffles. I also enjoyed the crepes and ate several of them at one point while we sat on a street in Paris. In Belgium I discovered stroopwafels, which are a really good cookie that I also found here being sold at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market.

An interesting thing I noticed about how they prune their trees in Paris is that they give them a boxy shape. In the United States that is only done to bushes, while trees are allowed to have a natural shape. Paris reminded me a lot of Washington D. C. in its appearance and layout.

While in France we also visited Versailles, but the weather was really cold and rainy. And one day we took the train to Paris Disneyland. Some of it was annoying with the long lines for the rides. But I enjoyed the eating part of it, as they have restaurants within the park. I've never been to the Disney parks at Florida or California, and as a company which I despise, it's not something I want to do.

The pictures are back and I've uploaded them to a website. Tata has a digital camera and I use a camera which has film. There are three folders where you can view the pictures.

digital camera (http://www.tatom.org/photos/2006-08 Europe (digital)/thumbnails/)
1038-1047 = sandcastles in Bruges, Belgium
1050-1066 = local neighborhood in Ghent, Belgium
1067-1074 = Brussels, Belgium
1075-1089 = Paris, France
1090-1102 = Paris Disneyland
1150-1151 = Versailles, France with Tata's stepsister and boyfriend

film June to August (http://www.tatom.org/photos/2006-06 to 2006-08 (film)/thumbnails/)
12-13 = Ghent, Belgium
15-22 = Bruges, Belgium

film August (http://www.tatom.org/photos/2006-08 (film)/thumbnails/)
02-04 = Ghent, Belgium
05-08 = Brussels, Belgium
09-19 = Paris, France
20 = Paris Disneyland Haunted Mansion

There are more pictures taken with film but they won't be seen until the roll is finished and developed.

2006-08-27, 01:02
Cool, my Grandfather was born in Belgium. He left for Canada when he was 11 or so with his Aunt. Started smoking cigs on the ship.

Did OK for himself.

do a google on Henri Masson

btw... he is the one responsible for my avatar

2006-08-27, 01:56
I haven't seen your avatar displayed for several months here.

I did a search for your grandfather and found one page (http://www.ucanbuyart.com/HenriMasson.html) which had a biography of him, that I retrieved from the Google cache.

Henri Leopold Masson


Born in Namur, Belgium, he used to watch his maternal grand-uncle, Arthur Boumonville, an amateur artist, paint hunting scenes and rural landscapes. At an early age Henri built himself an easel and began to use colours. It was an early ambition of his to become an artist. His father worked in a glass factory where large panels were made and the boy lived in an atmosphere where beauty was greatly appreciated.

In 1914 the Germans invaded Belgium but the Masson family stayed on in Namur. His father died shortly afterwards and Henri and his mother moved to Brussels. There he attended public school and the Athenee Royale.

His mother met a Canadian soldier after the armistice and became engaged to him. In 1921 she left with Henri for Ottawa, Canada, where she married.

Henri, then fourteen, enrolled in the St. Jean Baptiste School, administered by the Christian Brothers. There for another two years he continued his education. At sixteen he became an apprentice in a metal-engraving shop and after two years he began to decorate jewels and chase metal ornaments (copper plates, coffin plaques, rings, silver plate and various decoration for the church).

He married Germaine Saint Denis in 1929 and they had three children, Armande (1930), Carl (1937) and Jacques (1939).

In 1932 at the age of twenty-five, he became a master engraver. In his leisure hours he attended the Ottawa Art Association where he took instruction from George Rowles. He visited the National Gallery from time to time and in the process discovered the colourful work of the Group of Seven. It was in viewing their paintings that he was inspired to develop his own colourful style. In 1934 he began to emerge as a painter of importance.

Describing the artist around this time, Dr. Marius Barbeau related some years later, "His field of action in the neighbouring landscape was, and is still, the rolling hills of Gatineau and Petit-Nation, north of the Ottawa River, the human toil, prayer and play of their settlers - mostly French-speaking, and the pastimes and occupation of the townsfolk in industrial Hull. On a Saturday and a Sunday in the afternoon, he usually sits or stands at work behind his easel, in a field along a country road. It is his only time for painting in the open, for all week he still remains a busy silver engraver for a firm of wholesale metalsmiths. At first in the company of his friend Flood, a government draftsman, and later with Tom Wood, a talented younger painter, he packed his sketch box, and left for the countryside. After working apart for a while, the men would come together and compare their results, with a critical eye.... His approach to pictorial art so far has been of the imagery or naive mediaeval kind, with a bent for mild irony and caricature. He is the antithesis of complacency and pedantry. Many canvases of Masson's are fine and original; they carry the day with them, even in the eyes of conservative onlookers, for instance, in a hilly landscape showing three humps, setting off the 'Return Of The Hunters'. These hunters carry a deer suspended on a long pole. None too satisfied with dull summer greens, he is at his best in the rich, earthy hues of the autumn. A rainy day and the winter snows around town suit him too, with boys skating or throwing snowballs at one another. Out of seemingly unpromising materials in crowded streets, he has spun patterns of real significance and power."

Exhibitions and Shows

During the forties his work was exhibited in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal where his shows were reviewed by important critics in the Canadian Forum, Saturday Night, Le Droit, The Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa Journal and La Revue Populaire. Some of the galleries included The Picture Loan Society (Tor.), The T. Eaton Fine Art Galleries (Tor.), Le Caveau (Ott.), Contempo Art Studios (Ott.), Photographic Stores (Ottawa, where many of his important shows were presented) and The Art Association of Montreal Gallery (Mtl.).

As early as 1941 important patrons, such as Princess Alice, were purchasing his work. Also in Ottawa publisher H.S. Southam recognized his fine talent and began to collect his work and to make gifts of them to various public galleries across Canada. It seemed that he had been regarded even during this early period of his career as an original and colourful painter. By 1945 he was able to devote most of his time to painting.

He exhibited as well in various group shows including: World's Fair, NYC (I939); International WaterColour Exhibition, Brooklyn, N.Y. (I944); Canadian Art in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro (I945-46); UNESCO, Paris (1946); "Six Canadian Painters" West Palm Beach (1947); Canadian Painting, National Gallery of Arts, Washington, D.C. (1950); Colombo International Exhibition of Modern Art, New Delhi (1953).

He also exhibited with The Canadian Group of Painters, The Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colours, The Canadian Society of Graphic Arts. He became a member of each of these societies during 1942. Earlier he had been a member of the Ontario Society of Artists (1938) but resigned several years later. In 1945 he was elected President of the Ottawa branch of the Federation of Canadian Artists with Lawrence Hyde as Vice-Pres. and his friend Wilfred Flood as member of the committee.

From 1948 to 1950 he was instructor of children's classes at the National Gallery of Canada, instructor at Queen's University, Summer School, 1948-52; Banff School of Fine Arts, 1954; Ashbury College, Ott, (1954); Doon School of Fine Arts, Ont., 1960-64; and taught up to ninety students at various private classes at his own studio.

Canadian art books made their references to him: Dr. Marius Barbeau (as mentioned), Graham McInnes who noted "His painting has immense vigour and his output is prolific. There is also a witty irony in his studies of children skating, of flooded householders at Gatineau Point, and in his many portraits of nuns, priests and friars in various attitudes of pious leisure and busy piety."; Paul Duval, who selected his charcoal drawing "Autumn" for reproduction in his Canadian Drawings And Prints (1952 from Douglas Duncan Coll.) and two paintings for Canadian Water Colour Painting (1954); J. Russell Harper chose his oil "The Artist" for reproduction in his Canadian Paintings In Hart House (1955); Dr. R.H. Hubbard in his "Les Patineurs" (The Skaters) noting how Masson invented a modern method of painting such interesting local genre subjects..."; and Robert Ayre reproduced his canvas "Joys of Summer" for The Arts In Canada edited by Malcolm Ross (1958). In 1955 Masson was awarded an Honorary Degree of LL.D. from Assumption College, Windsor, Ontario.

In 1954 he held his 25th solo show at Robertson Galleries, Ottawa, and showings there in 1955, 61, 63; Wallack Galleries in 1968, 71; Galerie L'Art Francais Mtl., 1971; and solo shows elsewhere.


Early patrons included Douglas Duncan (Tor.), J.S. McLean (Tor.), Mr. & Mrs. M. Cohen (Ott.), Miss G.B. Kenny (Ott.), Justice & Mrs. Kellock (Ott.), Mr. & Mrs. Alan B. Plant (Ott.), later, Juliana Force (N.Y.), Joseph H. Hirshhorn (N.Y.), Walter Koerner (Van.), Mr. & Mrs. Jules Loeb (Tor.), John McCauley (Winnipeg), The Mendell Collection (Saskatoon), Kastel Gallery (Mtl.), and he is represented in the following permanent collections of corporations, public galleries, and universities: The Nat. Gal. of Can. (Ott.); Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S.; Lord Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, N.B.; The Museum of the Province of Quebec; Sir Geo. Williams Univ., Mtl., P.Q Royal Trust of Canada, Mtl., P.Q.; Le Groupe La Laurentienne Inc., Co., Que. City, Seminaire de Joliette, Que.; Univ of Ottawa, Ont.; Dept External Affairs, Ott.; Queen's Univ., Kingston, Ont.; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Tor.; Hart House, Tor.; The University of Toronto; Imperial Oil Ltd., Tor.; The Hamilton Art Gallery, Ont.; McMaster Univ., Hamilton; Sarnia Public Library & Art Museum, Sarnia, Ont.; Willistead Art Gallery, Windsor, Ont.; London Public Library & Art Museum, Ont.; Laurentian Univ., Sudbury, Ont.; The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Man.; The Saskatoon Art Gallery, Sask.; Edmonton Art Gallery, Alta.; Coste House, Calgary, Alta.; Banff School of Fine Arts, Alta.; The Art Gallery of Vancouver, B.C.; The National Gallery of Caracas, Venezuela; The Museum of Vinadelmar, Chile; The Bezalel Museum, Jerusalem.

Henri Masson passed away in 1996.
Member of the Royal Canadian Academy (RCA) and recipient of the Order of Canada (OC).

-Colin S. Macdonald, Dictionary of Canadian Artists

2006-08-28, 03:54
Henri Masson passed away in 1996.
Member of the Royal Canadian Academy (RCA) and recipient of the Order of Canada (OC).

That was my Papa

He was a free thinker, had his own talk show in french on the Canadian public TV channel.

Was a bit of a 'commie' thought Castro was good for his country. Hated the Readers Digest (for good reasons) And most importantly . . .

turned me on to other ways of looking at what I was looking at.

If you dillweeds think I am foward with what I say, I'm nothing compared to that dude.

'lurkie, let me try to fing that painting I used as my avatar (it was me at 10). I would like to have it back here.

2006-08-28, 09:46
So Henri Masson was your father. I thought he was your grandfather at first. Are you Armande, Carl, or Jacques?

2006-08-29, 02:32
So Henri Masson was your father. I thought he was your grandfather at first. Are you Armande, Carl, or Jacques?

I'm Armande's 1'st child. Carl was a big time Canadian union organizer who passed away about 2 years ago. Jack who worked for the Bank of Canada is still retired in Florida along with lots of other Canooks.