Posts Tagged ‘brick’

Sunny September days make good walking in the alleys days.   Here are some of the walls I saw and the compositions that they make.  The textures of wood and metal, bright colours as well as subdued ones, the effects of light and shadow, as well as shapes and patterns – these are some of the things that catch my eye and make me stop.  Throw a little nature into the mix and the following photos are the result.

part of an old wood door that is part dark turquoise and part blue, with a rusted latch holding the two doors together and closed

a vine with two red leaves hangs in front of a grey wall, sunny day so there are shadows on the wall fromother plants that aren't in the picture

three small windows in a wall, the top part of the wall is brick and the bottom is plaster that has been painted white

old rusty downspout with part of a wire coat hanger wrapped around ut, in front of a grey shingle covered wall that has been partially covered with purple spray paint

trunks of three trees growing in front of an old white building with a green door. windows in door are covered with plywod and a piece of plywood is nailed over parts of the lower half of the doors to keep them closed.

a bashed up grey metal door with splotches of light and shadow

part of a bright red double metal door in a brick building

a bright turquoise door in a building that has been painted white - some of the old brick shows throw the peeling paint.

part of a brick wall that has old windows bricked over in a different brick, an old window with old wood frame, unpainted, some graffiti on the wall

corrugated plastic panels on angle in front of concrete block wall with window covered with plywood

white drips of paint on a wood garage door, metal door handle

chainlink fence in front of rows of construction equipment

a grey plaster attempt to patch a broken rusted metal panel on the side of a garage - rust in shades of yellow and brown, a painted green stripe

red, white, and blue spray paint on three wood slats of a fence, tied together with string, some nails sticking out

paste up of a man's face over a wood door, door and wall have blue and red splotchy spray paint on them

This blog post is part of my continuing fascination with walls and the other things that you see on walls such as windows, shadows, pipes, bars, and other architectural details.  I like to look at how the elements interact visually and how they come together to form compositions.  Sometimes they tell a story and other times they are just an abstract picture.   Here are a few that I have collected over the past few months.   The first one in the group is a photo that I took this morning; it was the prompt that led to this post.

below: the contrast of red, black, and right angled yellow

red wall with black door and yellow pipes

below: blue from the inside, shadows on the outside

grey wall with peeling paint, small window with metal bars and a blue board covering the inside of the widow, telephone pole with shadow, metal vent in the wall

below: yellow pipe, orange concrete

bright yellow pipe against a bright orange wall, with shadow.

below: a window seat

bright red wall with window. A chair is in the window, also reflections of chinese signs, number 52 on the wall

below: frosted reflections

hazy reflection of a window and a grey wall

below: from a different angle, still a wall

on an angle, rusty brown coloured wall with horizontal windows on a white section

below: nailed links where the hinge once was

chain link fence nailed to a bright blue wood fence, corrugated plastic behind the chain link

below: aging shingles and plywood

grey and rust brown shingles cover most of a wall with two windows that have been boarded over with plywood that is peeling, three basement windows with pink trim

below: yellow people and books above and dandelion specks of yellow below

dandelions grow against a concrete wall that has large yellow panels on the upper part

below: dollar signs in the winter

grey concrete wall with window, someone has drawn a dollar sign on the wall, leafless shrub growing against the wall, winter time

below: cracked and peeling

yellow wood door with peeling paint, red gate, also with peeling paint, up close of parts of them

below: vertical reflections, horizontal grooves

horizontal window in a wall with horizontal grooves

below: open days a week and empty frames

4 nespaper boxes lined up on a sidewalk in front of a beige wall, store, with sign that says open days a week.

below: painted square shining in the sun

partly hidden by shadow, brick wall with reddish painted square on it.

below: At 972 and 972A, a hidden doorway and a trophy in the window.

brick wall with recessed doorway on the left and window on the right. There is a trophy in the window

below: rectangles, diamonds, and trapezoids

trapezoid sections on a concrete exterior wall

below:  a deep red curtain and a few exposed bricks

window with deep red curtain, grey painted brick wall, lower basement window

below: The last few pictures are of this wall and the ghost remains of a house that once stood beside it.

side of a building with the ghost remains of the house that once adjoined it.

below: (16″) 2 steps from landing

wall with patched brick and concrete sections, also words written in marker

wall with sections of brick and plaster. Plaster covers what once was a doorway

old exterior wall, brick, mortar, plaster

Previous blog posts about walls:
1.  wall compositions (Nov 2015)
2. walls in the abstract (Oct 2014)

I was out earlier this evening, venturing out to a gallery opening on Avenue Road near Dupont.  It wasn’t meant to be a photo taking adventure but it was a sunny evening and rather than wait for a bus on Avenue Road, I started to walk.   It didn’t take long before the camera came out (yes, I usually have it with me!).  Have I walked here before?

a yellow traffic sign in front of a store window. Window is lit and has two female mannequins in it. Sign says Turning traffic must yield to pedestrians.

On Avenue Road just south of St. Clair West there are quite a few older apartment buildings and most are in good shape.

below: It’s nice to see that this building is being renovated.

old 6 storey brick apartment building that is undergoing renovations, bottom few storeys are covered in scaffolding.

below: Most of the apartment buildings in the area are mid to low rise.   If I remember correctly, the building on the right is the tallest  (and newest?)

three midrise apartment buildings.

side of an apartment building with a decorative panel running up the center.

below: You don’t see brickwork or stone details like these on newer buildings.

detail of the brick and stone work on an older apartment building. There are three stone women lying under each oriel window, diamond patterns in the brick on the exterior as well

below: Looking southeast, generally towards downtown, as you come down the hill on Avenue Road.  The bright green and red on the left is the De Lasalle College playing field.

view of downtown Toronto skyline from Avenue Road, just south of St. Clair.

below: Mural along the side of the lead up to the railway bridge.
The signature is Leventhal ’96

mural painted along the side of a wall that is part of the embankment for a railway bridge Mural is a country scene, grass and fields, a farm in the distance and a couple of trees.

below: Under the railway tracks.   I thought that the blue tiles were a nice feature – are there other tiles like this under any other Toronto bridges?

under a railway bridge, steel girders above, street passes under, across the street the lower part of the wall is blue tile, a man on a bicycle is passing by

two women walk past a brick house with green wood features, porch, windows, garage door.

below: The turret (steeple?) of De Lasalle College

De Lasalle Callege building, an old brick house with a turret , trees, lawn,

below: One of the entrances to the Mayfair Apartments.

decorative entranceway for the Mayfair apartment building. Woood doors, carved stone above and beside the door

below: Another of the entrances (there was at least one more).  The stonework is similar but the old light fixtures are still in place.  In the picture above, you can see the holes  where the lights once were.

entrance to the mayfair apartments. 396 Avenue Road, stone work and old light fixtures

below: Old wood door on Avenue Road.

old wood door with mailbox and number 280

below:  The first signs of a republic… I had heard about the Republic of Rathnelly  but I didn’t know anything about it, including its location.    Back in 1967  the residents of the officially seceded from the rest of Canada, originally as a form of protest against the proposed Spadina Expressway that would have physically divided the community.    The founders named their republic after Rathnelly Avenue which runs parallel to Avenue, one street to the west.   Rathnelly Avenue was named after William McMaster’s birthplace of Rathnelly, Ireland.  (McMaster Avenue is there too).  William McMaster (1811-1887) was a founding president of the Canadian Bank of Commerce between 1867 and 1887.  He was also a senator.   The special street signs were designed in 2012.

Toronto street sign that says Poplar Plains Cr and also says Republic of Rathnelly

below: A painted sign on the side of The Avenue Diner (at Davenport Road).  It was closed when I walked by so I’ve made a note to myself to go back and see if the interior has changed much since 1944.

old faded mural painted on wood on the exterior side wall of the Avenue Diner. shows people sitting at a lunch counter with an employee behind

below: Across the street from The Avenue Diner is the Havana Coffee Bar. The old building still has a ghost ‘Tamblyn’ sign on it.  To me, Tamblyns was a drug store but was it something else prior to that?  I can’t read the smaller word below ‘Tamblyn’ on the building.  …. A quick check and the answer is ‘no’ – Gordon Tamblyn opened his first pharmacy in 1904 and by the time he died in 1933, he had a chain of about 60 stores.

old building with ghost sign on the upper storey, Tamblyns, bottom part now a dry cleaners and the Havana bar and grill.  A bus shelter is beside the building and some people are waiting for a bus.

…and then I found myself in Yorkville but that’s a whole different story!

a very large fake diamond ring, single stone, sculpture size, about 3 feet in diameter, stands in front of an old fashioned clock in front of some stores

I thought that I would see if I could find door pictures today.  When I first stepped outside, I wasn’t sure what that meant.   I just knew that it was a beautiful day and that I would find an answer to my doorish quest.   “Que sera sera” as Doris Day once sang.

Well, what is a door?

door: nounA hinged, sliding, or revolving barrier at the entrance to a building, room, or vehicle, or in the framework of a cupboard.

doorway: noun. An entrance to a room or building through a door.

Well duh, I think most of us know what a door is, at least in the literal sense.   As an image just a door on its own is often blah, B O R I N G.   There are exceptions of course, but if that was all I was looking for today, I wouldn’t be taking many pictures.

an ornate double door with windows in both doors, red brick house, stairs to the doors. closed.

I also think that most of us realize that “door” is so much more.   We find them intriguing. Door metaphors abound.  Open doors are opportunities and invitations, think “My door is always open”, or  “When one door closes, another one opens”.  Closed doors are mysteries, obstacles, or dead ends.   We talk about not knowing what goes on behind closed doors.

below: Closed for good. No mystery here, just a dead end.
With a smile for being upside down.

the front door of a small apartment complex that is about to be demolished. There is a blue metal fence in front of it with a danger due to demolition sign on it. The sign is upside down.

A closing door has a slightly different imagery – “slam the door in his face”, or “show someone the door”, or “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”.   Can you picture the scene in a movie where the hero walks into a strange room only to have the door close behind him.  Can you see the look on his face when he hears it being locked from the other side?

Doors, and their cousins gates, are both entrances and exits.    Entrances to buildings and rooms.  Entrances to other worlds such as “at death’s door”.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture to illustrate ‘entrances to other worlds’.  

below: But maybe this entranceway leads to something exotic?    That’s a better explanation than ‘someone went to Home Depot and bought lots of cheap corrugated plastic’.   It juts out like a sore thumb from an otherwise well maintained, nice looking house.

an old brick house painted turquoise with green trim. wrought iron fence in front. A corrugated plastic covering has been made to cover the entrance to the basement door. the covering comes out from the house to beyond the fence, all the way to the sidewalk

Doors are associated with privacy, protection, and control.   We feel more secure when we lock our doors.   Closed doors, especially locked ones, can keep things in or keep things out.  Closed doors separate, open doors connect.

below: Waiting at the door.   I can’t decide if he’s patient or impatient.  Perhaps bored?

a white metal door on a white concrete wall. A bright ornage line drawing of a man standing in front of the door with his arms crossed.

 

Back doors are private, hidden from view.  The expression “through the back door” suggests sneaking around.  Front doors are part of the face that we show the world.   They can be welcoming or not, a lot like the people who live behind them. 

below: Or they can just be a long way up.  How are your knees feeling today?

a small narrow one storey house. Many steps to get up the hill to the front door. The incline has been covered with patio stones.

side yard and side entrance to a wood clapboard house with one window on the side at ground level.

below: A bright red chair brightens the picture.   I wonder who usually sits there?

a bright red chair sits on the sidewalk beside the entrance to a building. The door has a large window which is covered by a curtain on the inside

below: Another bit of cheerful red.

a small house painted blue with white trim, a bright red door.

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.”

crooked concrete steps and metal railing lead to a front door.

below: Another closed door waiting for demolition.
How many people have passed through those doors since 1913?

blog_blue_church_door_1913

below: I’ve always been fascinated by the sign above this door.

an older woman in a bright red jacket stands on a corner waiting for a green light. On the other side of the street is the Emerald Isle Seniors Society

below: This door seemed to be out of place on the Danforth… it’s an entrance to the apartment above, not to the hair salon on the left.   I like to think that she keeps watch over the doorway.

blog_etched_glass_beauty_salon

below: These two doors (especially the green one) caught my eye as I walked along the Danforth.   On my first pass I had the wrong lens on my camera.  After changing lenses, I doubled back.   Just as I was getting ready to take a picture of the two doors together, the one on the right opened.  Dilemma – to shoot or not to shoot.  I’m not brazen enough to shoot someone in the face so to speak; this over the shoulder and hope it works shot is only second rate (or third!).   I only include here so I can briefly go off on a tangent and mention my #1 problem with door shots.  People.   Pointing my camera at someone’s house often makes me feel uncomfortable and I have no desire to have any kind of confrontation, even a friendly one.

two doors, one faded green and one greyish black . a man with a rather large stomach is standing in front of the latter.

below: What to do with leftover tiles.

a door with 1242 on it, brownish colour, green door frame, the wall on one side is covered with small mosaic tiles in squares

below: A contrast in colours.  The door is in the picture but it’s become just an element in the composition.

a green door is beside a large store window. The interior wall is painted yellow, the sun is shining in the window and the blinds are partially open and partially down

below: This is the last of the Danforth door photos that I took today.   Again, the doors are just elements; the mailboxes provide the focus and the interest.

three black mailboxes with mail in them, between a white door and a black door.

below: Doors are part of a building.   What you can do with a door is often limited by the structure of the house.

a small white house with a large tree in front of it, winter, but no snow

Having said that,  if you walk around the city there is a lot of variety.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go through all the permutations and combinations that I saw today!  I’ll limit myself to a few (sometimes I can do that!).

below: A few stone steps lead to a simple white entrance.

a red brick house with a white rectangular doorway. driveway beside the house leads to a garage with a white door.

below: A study in compare and contrast – the wonderful result of semis where next door neighbours with dissimilar tastes, habits, and decorating ideas share a common wall.

a semi divided house, on the left, a bright yellow door. On the right, an open porch with lots of clutter.

Many steps and many hours later I find myself nearing the end of this post.  It’s been a bit of a ramble, both in the route that I walked today and in the thought processes that helped create this post.    I hope that I have entertained you at least a little bit.    And with one final photo I will close the door on this post.    Last one out turns out the lights.  Adios.

looking down a street to an T-intersection. Two houses across the intersection with a large truck parked in front of them. A man is sitting in the truck and looking at the camera

“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.”  John Barrymore

Well, not really Camden Street, but an alley that runs perpendicular to the street….  If the lane has a name I don’t know what it is.  Google maps doesn’t even include it.  It’s a very short alley that runs both north and south from Camden street and it doesn’t go anywhere.  Both sections were painted with murals 9 or 10 years ago.   Amazingly, they have survived.

Let’s start with the south side of Camden Street.

below: Mural Project, “The walls won’t know what hit them”.  The mural was painted in 2006 youth from the   Harbourfront and Cecil Community Centres as part of the City of Toronto’s Graffiti Transformation Project.

part of a mural in an alley, yellow background, blue pistol with the word mural in large red capital letters, flag at the end of the barrel that says , white hand holding the grip with finger on the trigger.
below: The mural is painted in a quasi cartoon style.

blog_art_or_vandalism_mural

below: She’s upset and she’s expressing her hurt and anger with spray paint seems to be the start of the story.

part of a mural in an alley, a woman with bright yellow hair is spray paint out of a can with a word bubble that says "He crossed me first"

below: My knowledge of slang is limited, and this is 10 years old but this sheezy is cool.  It’s probably as simple as “this sure is cool”, i.e. spray painting graffiti is cool.

This seezy is off the heezy are the words in a word bubble coming out of the mouth of a man painted in a mural, short black hair, wearing a red shirt, and spraying a can of pink spray paint,

below: Oh no! I always laugh when I hear this expression these days… is there anywhere in Toronto where property values are going down? Okay, okay, so it’s part of the story – she’s complaining that someone has sprayed graffiti somewhere nearby, the vandalism part of the story.   The angry young woman or the “sheezy heezy” guy above have been busy in her neighbourhood.

street art, picture of woman with orange hair, wearing white gloves, hands on sides of head, words saying "On no, my property value went down"

below:  As you can see, a couple of things were in the way as I was taking pictures.   I am not sure exactly how the plot of the mural progresses from here because I couldn’t see the whole thing.  There are gaps in the story line.   A few missing pages so to speak.

looking down one wall of an alley, a mural is painted on it, in the foreground is a woman in profile (she's looking down the lane), very yellow hair. Two cars are parked in front of the mural

below: Flesh tones as dots in the face of woman who plays an unknown role in this story – the mystery woman?

part of a woman's face, painted in dots, bright red lipstick, brown hair, looking at the viewer

below:  I suspect that this is the “We’ve got to get rid of the graffiti” part of the story.  Is it improper to make comments about Rob Ford and his anti-graffiti program here?  I don’t want to insult the mural or the project behind it because I think that the Graffiti Transformation Project is an excellent program.

scene in a mural, a football helmet wearing head, with words I wish my school had an art program, also two men talking about how it's time to take out the trash

below:  If there was a mural on the other side of the alley, it’s long gone.

a red car is backed into an alley, and is parked there, along the wall beside the car is a lot of graffiti spray painted and written on the wall. There is a stair case in the back part of the wall.

A short walk across Camden Street to the other half of the alley….

below: You can see the taller buildings on Richmond Street West but you can’t get there from here.
And like most downtown alleys, garbage bins are a dominant feature.

looking down a dead end alley, lots of blue rubbish bins that are slightly overflowing, tall buildings on either side. The back of a two stroey building straight ahead with taller buildings behind

below: At the entrance to the alley.  There are words under the window by the sunflowers that say that this painting is also the work of the Harbourfront/Cecil Community Centre’s Graffiti Transformation Project, 2007.

wall of an alley with a long window with worn painting around it of flowers and sunflowers

below: A very low window with green arrows

a low window, close to the ground, with a green arrow painted around it.

orange geometric street art, with the words 'stay alive' written in orange beside it

two old windows with rusted and bent metal grille on the windows, a street art painting of a woman in profile with eyes closed is between the windows, White hair

below: And last, I’ll end with a weather comment because we’ve all been talking (complaining?) about it these days – someone’s a bit overdressed for this August weather although it doesn’t seem to bother him.  Maybe he knows something we don’t.   Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

street art on a grey brick wall, head of a young man in a fur lined hood of a parka

Stay cool!

This post is the result of a very wobbly and random circular walk around part of the Wychwood Heights neighbourhood last weekend.   A hodge podge of this and that.

below: The intersection of St. Clair West and Vaughan Road circa 1912

Historical black and white photo of a two sorey brick building at an intersection of two dirt roads.

below: I didn’t quite recreate the picture above but it is still obvious that the brick building is still standing after just over 100 years but that every thing around it has changed.

Two storey brick building, now Hakim Optical on the corner of an intersection.

below: Just to the north,  78 Vaughan Road…. didn’t this store used to be an ice cream place?

empty store front at 78 Vaughan Road, empty on one side a closed tattoo parlour on the other.

below:  Ah yes, there is still remnants of ice cream cones above the window so my memory is correct.
I wonder what happened to it?

side of a brick building that used to be an ice cream store. Painted red with some white parts, front has been removed from lighted signs, exterior decorations have been removed except a faint outline of ice cream shapes remain above the window.

There are a number of alleys to the north and west of the intersection of St. Clair and Vaughan Road.  Most of them are quite tidy and well looked after.   They were also full of surprises, bright little things that put on a smile on your face on a December afternoon.

below: Like little pictures painted on canvas….

A small canvas painted turquoise and the words say hello written in small red letters, attached to a fence in a lane

A small canvas painted red and a small yellow heart painted in the middle. The words say hello are painted on it too but they are harder to see. It is nailed to an old wood fence

A small landscape painted on canvas and attached to a telephone pole in an alley

below: and painted on wood

a two tone pink fish painted on wood, cut out, and nailed to a wood fence.

below: or painted directly on poles.

On a wood telephone pole, a small bird painted in white, black and blue.

below: There was a fence made of old wood doors

an old picket fence that is falling aoart, and a fence made of doors that is behind it.

close up of old picket fence that is falling aoart, and a fence made of doors that is behind it.

below:  There was a great creature with googly eyes and a rectangular orange nose.

Two big googly eyes attached to a telephone pole

below: And of course there were some painted garage doors.

street art on garage doors, musical instruments covering two garages, a guitar, a trombone, also the words sweet sweet music everywhere

below: These garage doors are a sample of the more than 40 doors that have been painted as part of the Kenwood Lanway Art Initiative.

painting on a garage door of a moose at sunset

painting on a bright blue garage door of the Toronto skyline with a large Canadian flag behind ithe skyline

While walking on the streets in the neighbourhood I saw a couple of little houses

little narrow white bungalow with a yellow front door set back from the road. There is a straight walkway from the sidewalk to the door, and there is a lot of shrubery in the front yard especially near the sidewalk.

as well as larger buildings with intricate architectural details.

below:  A checkerboard effect with the bricks on the La Salle Apartments.  As an aside, the small bush in front of the building was in the picture no matter what angle I tried.  It was a lilac bush and I am sure that there were buds on it.

Part of a low rise apartment building, over the door, no windows. Checkerboard pattern in the bricks. The words La Salle Apts in large white letters across the bottom of the picture.

below: A little fake balcony with a white post railing on a low rise apartment building.

A white framed window in a red brick building. Below the window are a few white pieces of wood that look like a balcony railing even though there is no balcony there.

below: A line of little arches across the roofline is echoed in the larger arch patterns over the windows.  There is a small relief sculpture near the top corner of the building (slightly behind the tree) but I can’t tell what’s on it.  A coat of arms maybe?

brick pattern across the top of a building. scalloped, or looking like little arches to match the larger arches over the windows.

below:  There were quite a few four storey brick apartment buildings that looked like they were built in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Perhaps there was a  little ‘condo boom’ at the time?

4 storey apartment building on Vaughan Road, red brick with white upper storey, diamond shaped details, two little peaked roofs over windows.

four storey apartment on a corner

front door and front of building, four storey apartment building in red brick with stone window and door frames.

 

Two four storey apartment complexes and a single family home on Vaughan Road.

below:  Like the condos of today, many of the buildings had names such as Maple Villa

Stone door frame and entranceway to Maple Villa, a brick low rise apartment complex

and Maplewood

stonework over the door of the Maplewood apartments at 172 Vaughan road, and the art deco like decorations beside it.

below:   The backs of all those apartment complexes are nearly as interesting as the fronts.
This is one of the only construction sites I saw although….

vacant lot with a number of low rise brick apartment buildings in the background.

… this Presbyterian church looks like it is about to be redeveloped.  It is one of three churches at the corner of St. Clair and Wychwood.   The church was built in 1926.  There is a brief description of the property on the Stanton Renaissance website but very little information is given beyond a “transformation” of the church and the creation of “high end residential boutique”.

An old brick church at a corner. It is now empty. There is a large sign in front of it advertising Stanton developments.

below: Mural for Sea With Fish and Chips on St. Clair West

mural for Sea Witch FIsh and Chips restaurant, a large sea serpent

A little yellow sticker on a bank night deposit box, looks like a little smiling creature looking over the sign that says contains no cash or negotiables, except that the word no has been scratched out

below: As I circled back the intersection of Vaughan Road and St. Clair West, I spotted a large doubledecker strawberry and vanilla ice cream cone on the side of Dutch Dreams.  Hey!  The answer to my question.  The ice cream place from 78 Vaughan Road has moved a couple of blocks south, complete with it’s collection painted old fashioned milk cans.

A very large plastic icce cream cone, double scoop, strawberry on the bottom and vanilla on the top, decorating a brick building. The shutters on the windows of the building are green, red and white

bright yellow entranceway, a line of different coloured milk cans along the exterior wall, sign says Dutch Dreams, candy and ice cream.

below:  One last picture.  As I waited for the Bathurst bus, I found myself standing across the street from this building.   The curve of the roofline is interesting, but even more interesting is the the fact that there is an occult store in Toronto.  Candles, herbs, incense, jewelry, I’m now wishing that I had crossed the street to investigate further!   And, smile, the store next to it is Pandora’s salon.  Pandora, the one who in ancient times opened a box and unleashed all sorts of evil on the world.

 

store front, one is an Occult Store, in an old brick building with a curved roofline over the middle of it.