John Lennon – inspiring art (and inspiring my thoughts about life)

August 3, 2013

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of my father’s death. It doesn’t seem possible that so much time has passed and that my daughter has now lived almost a third of her life without him, while my son has lived fully half his life since that day. He loved his grandchildren immensely.

And it happens that my husband, Deryk Houston, mounts an exhibition of paintings inspired by John Lennon tomorrow . We feel it is a nice event to mark the day:

I guess my dad loved Johnny Cash more than John Lennon, but — he didn’t hate the Beatles like some of his generation did — and he took me (at the tender age of nine) to park by the road near the airport when the Beatles came to Vancouver. I will never forget the excitement of that car driving by with John, Paul, George and Ringo just a few feet away from where we stood. I hope I thanked my dad that day because it meant a lot to me.

My dad’s philosophy wasn’t completely out of line with that of Lennon’s although I’m sure there would have been points of contention.  The pop culture of the 60s wanted to leap away from many of the values of WWII and much of what was said and done by young people at that time must have been very hurtful to vets who gave so much and lost so much (my dad lost a brother and a best friend). Of course my dad wanted a peaceful future but I’m sure he also wanted his efforts and pain to be respectfully acknowledged. It was a strange era.


But when Lennon imagined no religion, no heaven and no hell – he was totally in sync with my dad’s pragmatic beliefs. My dad didn’t rely on anyone but himself and he shunned religion right to the end – chasing a chaplain out of his room during his final days in hospice. At least that’s how I remember it and it makes me smile!

Like the famous Lennon quote, I’m pretty certain that for my dad, life WAS what happened to him while he was busy making other plans. Good times and struggles. Do what you need to do to keep going in an honourable way.

And I think my dad would have loved this Lennon quote:
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

My dad certainly never demanded that I “conform” to the expectations of school and I am grateful for that! And grateful for too many other things to even think of counting them.

“Love is real. Real is Love”

Deryk and Sam’s work at the Moss St Paint-in

July 20, 2013

Good to have work from both the guys on display today. And interesting to see how much love there is for John Lennon. So many people were drawn to his image and many took photos of their friends standing next to it.

One woman had his self-portrait tattoed on her ankle! So we knew she was serious when she said she’s an admirer.

Sam/Deryk Sculpture and the early morning setup.

Sam/Deryk Sculpture and the early morning setup.


Deryk’s “John Lennon” series will be seen at Bubby Rose on Cook St for the month of August.


People taking pictures of the image (often including themselves of their friends in the pictures)


John Lennon admirer


End of the day magic trick


End of the day magic trick completed