Art is highly subjective, what is beautiful to one person may not be so to someone else.  Techniques, methods and meanings maybe controversial or obvious to some, yet not to others.  There are as many opinions out there on a particular piece as there are art lovers.  This is one of the things that makes art so wonderful.  And after a period of self-study and actualization I have come to realize that I personally love exhibits that make the viewer work for it.

We’re heading back today to The Wacky Woods, an outdoor fine art exhibit created and presented by the late George Sawchuk.  George became an artist later in life and by using his own special materials and techniques he created a presentation that shares his views of the world we live in, often in subtle ways.  This post is a continuation of our running photoblog series featuring The Wacky Woods called “Two Toads in Wonderland“.

The Wacky Woods - Fanny Bay, BC, Canada

The Wacky Woods – Fanny Bay, BC, Canada

Many of the items on display make a lot of sense, almost immediately.  Other items require some introspective insight.  And in some cases I am afraid that some of the meanings may now be lost without the benefit of being able to talk to George himself.  Often times while thinking of George and his exhibit I become melancholy, wishing for a chance to have met him in person.  Sometimes though it’s just fun to try to figure out what he was trying to share with us all on a broader level.

As you make your way through and around the exhibit, literally every corner you pass leads you into another area of absolute wonder.  Items are on display literally everywhere, almost becoming one with the surrounding forests, almost blending in.

This gauge in the rock was one of my personal favorite items from our visit.  Why, I don’t really know.  Perhaps it’s the contrast of modern machinery embedded directly with nature in the form of the rock.  Maybe it’s the color.  The needle in the gauge is most definitely missing here, and I can’t help but wonder if that is part of the message.  Do you have any ideas as to what this may mean?

The Wacky Woods - Fanny Bay, BC, Canada

The Wacky Woods – Fanny Bay, BC, Canada

In some ways the forests here on Vancouver Island almost appear to be enchanted.  Widely considered to be a rainforest, the vegetation is green and lush almost year-round.  Old growth trees are everywhere and in some cases the way they grow takes on an artistic element.  As an engineer my lifelong fascination of fractal equations and Mandelbrot’s is often reflected back to me in the nature I find myself surrounded in.  Everything happens by design, there is no coincidence, even in the seemingly random way that trees grow.

As we turned a corner we were immediately amused by what at first glance seems to be a completely incidental road sign in the middle of a thick forest.   A brief sense of bewilderment overcame us as we took the scene in.

Then it hit us.  All of a sudden we were overwhelmed with a set of questions on behalf of the entire human race.  Are we all lost?  Which way do we go?

The Wacky Woods - Fanny Bay, BC, Canada

The Wacky Woods – Fanny Bay, BC, Canada

The constant intertwining of man-made and natural elements is strong in the exhibit.  I believe there to be deep meaning in how George created each piece and how his creations over time have completely melded into the surroundings, literally becoming part of the landscape they live in.  The fake flower planted in a yellow rock has been totally absorbed by the surroundings, making it almost disappear into the environment it inhabits.  If not for the vibrant colors of the flower, you might pass it by without a second thought.

It’s this constant source of wonder and discovery that makes a visit to The Wacky Woods such an experience.

Life is fleeting, my friends.  If you’ve got something to express or share with the world there’s simply no time like the present.  I find myself constantly amazed and inspired by the body of work that George has left behind for us all.  And because of it, I am compelled to take on the world and express my vision, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Many thanks for your visit today, we really appreciate it!  We really do love to hear from all our visitors, so we encourage you to leave us any comments or thoughts you may have!




  1. avatar Renee Besta says:

    Toad, this is a wonderful and inspiring post. What a fantastic idea for an art exhibit, right in the bosom of nature. These creations by George do indeed give great pause for reflection on the meaning of many things in life. You are fortunate to reside in and near such spectacular surroundings.

    Perhaps the pressure gauge in the blue rock was meant to represent a meteorite that had long ago fallen in the forest. Or maybe the rock represents the hearts of humans who do not commune with nature enough, and thus build up much pressure by stressing out and not blowing off enough steam. The color blue is a cold one emotionally, so that is the feeling I get.

    That is also what I interpret from the fake flower. How so many people are out of touch with the natural world today, passing right by many beautiful offerings, instead opting for superficial satisfaction from transient – as opposed to permanent – objects of beauty. The old growth forest will be here long after we pass from this world. It begs the question of what each of us has contributed to make the world a better, more beautiful place before we depart. Do we add real or fake flowers to the enchanted forest?

    Thanks for taking us on a trip into The Wacky Woods. This is so cool. What a wonderful post here, Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I just love how insightful you are here, Renee, thank you so much for both your visit and for taking the time to leave us your thoughts to enjoy! I particularly liked your metaphorical view of the flowers and their meaning, that really resonated with me here! Your ongoing friendship and support is so meaningful to us, my dear friend, thanks a ton for popping by!

  2. avatar Edith Levy says:

    LOL…these are some wacky woods Toad. You have a keen eye my friend. Wonderful post as usual.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you ever so kindly, Edith, we really appreciate your kind visit and fantabulous comments!! 🙂

  3. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Wacky woods indeed Toad. I really enjoy your images from there. Well captured my friend.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so very much, my good friend! It really means a lot to us to have you pop by for a visit, and for leaving these wonderful comments, Len. Thank you.

  4. avatar Lensscaper says:

    This may sound Heretical – but do you ever wonder if George was just ‘having a laugh’. Just placing objects randomly and for no particularly reason other than to cause future generations to scratch their heads and try to de-code them when there was no real ‘code’ in the first place. But does that actually matter. We can still play along and try to fathom the unfathomable!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Definitely part of the whole fun of it all, Andy, we just don’t know! I personally do believe that this is an organized and highly meaningful display, it’s just that some of the pieces are really open for interpretation. Regardless, it’s all fun to check it out and try to decipher it’s deeper meaning, even if there isn’t one! Many thanks for your gracious visit and thoughts here, Andy, we sure do appreciate it!