Years ago when my parents had a chalet in The Laurentians, an hour and a half north of Montreal, we would spend summers vacationing. During the evenings my dad and I would have fires and chat about life and dreams into the wee hours of the morning. We would dream of some day owning our own business. During my father’s retirement years, and battle with kidney cancer I would spend many hours in waiting rooms while he received treatment, reflecting on fond memories of the chalet and our family, and thoughts on death and dying which then triggered the creative juices of creating a children’s story that tried to explain grief, death and combined it with the magical memories of our summer chalet life.
My father, Frank Urbanski, spent his career in the cutting edge field of technology within the telecommunications sector and banking, shelving his dream to be an architect. During his retirement years he decided to resurrect his love of art appreciation and further developed his artistic talents. He called himself a copy cat, favouring to use the Group of Seven as his primary inspiration. During his battle with cancer he even tried to paint his cancer and his pain; the results were fascinating. About three years before his passing, my friend Deb Pendlebury suggested that we have an auction with his paintings. She said, ” He needs a project to give him hope.” AND hope it gave him. We put the idea forth to Frank. He spent about three quarters of a year adding to his collection and on June 27, 2009, ( three days before his 78th birthday) we auctioned off his paintings paired with poetry I wrote for each piece. We raised around $3000. which went with Angie Cule to support a village community home and other local projects in Kenya. At the end of the auction while Angie was showing slides of Kenya, my father looked up in the sky and saw a massive cloud cross formation….Hope, Love and Service.
Art for this story, was all done in shades of blue hints of purple and black. His figure drawings were quite elementary, however, still touching.