Friday, May 26, 2017


Christine and I have enjoyed four days travelling (Miata top down) to and from and staying at D'Angelo Estate Winery in Naramata. It’s a five hour drive ton #3 and #97 thru winding rides just made for cruising in a sports car. Over the years I have painted four oil paintings for the D'Angelo family. Here is one of Stephanie and one of her little Luca. At their guest house in the vineyard we have found a quiet retreat overlooking lake Okanagan to which we have returned four times. I have come home with many ideas for future paintings. While we were in Penticton and area we treated ourselves to meals in special places. The Naramata Inn's Ambrosia Restuarant served delicious evening tapas. On a hot windy day at Lake Breeze Winery we were served an exquisite lunch while enjoying a shade pergola that overlooked the lake. Most memorable was Front Street Brasserie in Penticton, where chef John Burke and his wife Lisa with whom we spoke at length while relishing three special dishes and dessert all with a French cuisine flair.




He is being picked up today. Well, his portrait is. He is Jordan Cropper and he is an officer with the RCMP. Jordan and his wife Brittani recently commissioned me to paint this portrait of Jordan, the image taken at his graduation some years ago. They now have two children and they live where he is posted in northern B.C. I became proud of this man as I painted him in a moment of his aspirations and dreams. He has already seen some of life’s pain and sadness as he serves the public. When elements of RCMP receive bad press, think of these men and women who with their lives serve us.

20X24” oil on canvas

Friday, May 12, 2017


Taking no credit for the lyrics, I am sitting at my easel again, telling myself to, take the blue of the sky and the green of the forest, and the gold and the brown of the freshly mown hay; add the pale shades of spring and the circus of autumn, and weave you a lovely today.

Even as a child I drew and I painted. As an artist now I most happily remain the child. I put down paint, I try, I learn. It surprises me and I am filled with wonder. I am eager to fall asleep imagining the strokes I'll apply tomorrow. I wake and I can hardly wait to see what happens when I try again.


We are invitees to a wedding today. They are so young. Here Christine and I are in our 50th year and our encouragement to newlyweds or anyone is contained here in a Gaither song.

Tender words, gentle touch and a good cup of coffee, And someone that loves me and wants me to stay; Hold them near while they're here and don't wait for tomorrow, To look back and wish for today.


I went to Harry and Sons Barber in Cloverdale - Last week Christine scheduled an appointment for me with Troy at Michaud's, her hair salon. Well, not actually Michaud's since Troy has opened his barbershop next door to his ‘Michauds’.We discussed what he would do. Then he did it. Ohhh! Listen, hair cuts pour moi are non-essential. The top is barren soil. I manage the sides with an electric trimmer, as with the beard. But this … this was cloud floating. First, the golf green lawn mowing, short, short all over, head and face. Then hot towels on my face, and fragrant oils, then straight razor smooth as silk, and another hot towel & more delicate razoring, then a cold towel. $54 plus a $10 tip. It's a lavish experience. I will do it again, after I get a few more landscape and portrait commissions. -- Oh, and my daughter, Cari Unruh Locken, created the signage.

Monday, May 1, 2017


Edward Richard Unruh died May 1, 2008. He was my father. He was born in 1915. He was 94 years old.  He was a modest man, in height, in speech, in opinion, in abilities, and in appearance. Bald at age 18 he nevertheless won my mother's heart. Fetching dark eyes and a pencil mustache. He whistled, songs of the 30s, like Pennies from Heaven, Cheek to Cheek, and The Way You Look tonight. He served in the RCAF during WWII. His ambition was pragmatic, work hard, provide for those who depend on you, derive your best pleasure from their accomplishments. Life was never unfair in his mind. He was grateful, uncomplaining. He was content. His sadness came predictably during the four years when my mother was no longer able to stay with him in their self-care apartment. He himself walked daily. Never used a cane. He visited his Tina regularly as her mind slipped further into dementia. He stayed on duty until she passed in November 2017. Then six months later, he lay down. Well done Dad.

Friday, March 3, 2017



February 27
Journalism objectivity does not exist. If it is claimed, it's a myth (call it false news). In fact there is no attempt to conceal bias. That's how journalism has changed. Objectivity as it pertains to fairness, factuality and nonpartisanship was once a journalistic criterion. No more. News media have shifted from reporting information to presenting opinions and personal interpretations. In fact, biases make news sources unique. News recipients (the public) gravitate to sources that align with their own biases. This places an onus of investigative responsibility upon readers to discern the factuality of any information. These are freedoms within a democratic (free) society. Freedom of expression, speech and the press are necessary to democracy. We want these so we must live with their consequences, even the nonsense. Remove them and we are done. Radical authoritarian nationalism champions ultranationalism, populism, anti-immigration and suppression of opposition press. These urgencies expose Fascism. Fascism flourishes in obscurity, (a censored society with restricted commentary). Fascism may be taking new forms. Open speech and opposition press do not stop even under fascism.

March 1, 2017

...just my impression: Trump spoke like a U.S. President last night in his address to the Congress. It was decidedly un-Trump-like. His speechwriter and his speech coach should be commended. Will Trump's public communication today resemble the speech to Congress or the Inauguration speech? Perhaps he enjoyed the performance of his fresh vocal persona enough to stay with it. I am not hopeful. I assume that personal drafts and unscripted speech will feature unfiltered and unguarded bombast and provocative ad libs.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


I am a realist/impressionist/representational painter. I like painting subjects to look like recognizable subjects. In recent weeks I have been faced with an uncommon task, painting a theme. A client asked me to paint two trees with interlocking branches and roots as a symbol of a marriage union. This will be a wedding gift soon. That is, if I don’t destroy my two attempts first. If they survive and if my client likes one of them well enough, we will complete the sale. I am sure that I am harder on myself than the client will be, but I can’t be certain of that either since Christine, my resident art critic keeps pointing out features needing improvement. It’s been an exercise in self-realization. I am less able to imagine images to convey concepts than I thought I was. I have greater respect now for aboriginal artists who capture the spirit of nature and creatures, and for cartoonists who visualize thematic interaction between people. There has been some artistic enjoyment in this work and a strong dose of frustration. Since I was told that the engaged couple are deeply committed to their Christian faith, I have painted subtle symbols such as the Holy Spirit superimposed as a dove in the foliage of the joined trees, and the tree roots sunk into the foundational principles and truths of the ten commandments and the assurance of Christ’s divinity with the open tomb underground. The paintings are coming along, with more fine touches to be added. Yes, I did two paintings and that will give my client a choice. She can have them both but she can choose the one she will gift to her friends. Upon completion, I can hardly wait to get at my next two commissions, true subjects that reflect light and create shadow. I would be a lousy and dissatisfied abstract painter even though I often appreciate some other artists’ work.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


There are more than four bases on my diamond and consequently I am not touching all of them consistently. I have not posted on my Retirement Memoirs blog in a very long time. Managing several blogs with different emphases accounts in part for that, besides having invested myself in the writing of books and the painting of commissioned pictures and occasional preparation for preaching ... yes I still do the latter. Admittedly, well, at least it’s my impression, I am rusty at the delivery. I still have a confident voice but humbled by disuse. Christine still tells me that she would rather listen to me than almost anyone else. I think she wants another overseas holiday. To think that when I began as a full-time pastor in 1969 I was in the small town of Smiths Falls, Ontario at Calvary Bible Church, and there I taught a youth Sunday School class, preached sermons on Sunday morning and evening, led the youth Sunday evening program, and prepared a Bible study for Wednesday evening Prayer night. Five years of that. Preaching twice on Sundays continued in Peterborough, Ontario at Ferndale Bible Church for seven years, and at Wishing Well Acres Baptist Church in Toronto for ten years. At Cloverdale Baptist Church in Cloverdale, British Columbia, where I was lead pastor for ten years, congregational growth required two morning services so that I preached three times each Sunday. Only during the third year due to low evening attendances, did the church opt for no weekly Sunday evening service. As an adjunct prof, I taught homiletics at Northwest Baptist College in Langley, so you might think I have something to say about preachers and preaching today. I do. But primarily I listen. I have much yet to learn and areas of my life to which I must apply truth. Moreover, I am off to the gym now, 6:30 am. Been up since 4:30 am. Love the quiet hours. Great to be alive.

Monday, November 28, 2016


My brother Murray and I Facetimed today and he told me this.
My Dad was 92 years old and he was over the moon because he was going to a Christmas Dinner with his favourite girl. Mom had been in long-term care for one year while dad lived alone in an adjoining apartment facility. It was December and Dad's apartment neighbours were scheduling an annual Christmas Dinner. Mom's meds were balanced and she was feeling better than she had in a long time. Dad asked my brother Murray, "do you think it would be okay if I took Mom to the dinner?" Murray replied, "I don't see why not." Murray made the arrangements. The caring staff promised to have Mom's hair done and a lovely dress ready to wear. Mom could be seated in a wheel chair and if she grew weary during the evening, he could leave with her. Murray sensed Dad's excitement as the date grew nearer.  Murray had Dad's suit dry cleaned, and Dad had a favourite tie to wear. Murray said he would accompany Dad to Mom's room to insure all was well. Dad was noticeably pumped about this evening. His face and his mood told Murray that Dad was going on a date, a special evening with his sweetheart. They took the elevator to the first floor and as they walked down the lengthy corridors, an enthusiastic Dad surprised Murray by breaking out in song. The tune was unfamiliar to Murray as Dad sang heartily the words to 'Darktown Strutter's Ball' a landmark 1917 recording by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Upon finishing it by the end of the corridor to Murray's utter shock, Dad jumped off the ground and clicked his heels together.

I'll be down to get you in a taxi, honey
Pick you up 'bout half past eight
Oh honey don't be late
I want to be there when the band starts playin'

Remember when we get there, honey
Two step, we're gonna have a ball
I'm gonna dance out of my shoes
When they play the Jelly Roll Blues
Tomorrow night at the Darktown Strutter's Ball

Got my new threads ready
And they're really something
With you in yours we'll look a smash
We're gonna make a splash
And when the band starts playin'
Baby we'll start swayin'

Remember when we get there honey
We're gonna dance the night away
And things are gonna hit the roof
When they see the way you move
Tomorrow night at the Darktown Strutter's Ball

Mom and Dad have been gone since 2007 and 2008 respectively, and Murray, Neale and I cannot help thinking about them occasionally.