Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Karen Bailey - An Artist who Finds Great Things in Ordinary People

As Karen and I ventured into the process of creating her life story for 'The Portrait', she was forthright in revealing to me, what drives her onward as an  artist. Her unabashed statement, "I paint people" brought many questions  to mind.

Let's begin with her official painting of Michaelle Jean. Can you imagine, anyone but Michaelle Jean, hanging an  official portrait of herself in  Rideau Hall : A painting which includes 19 figures, and a dog? A wonderful work  that captures the spirit of  our  former Governor General, Michaelle Jean.

In one respect there should be no surprise for Michaelle was indeed, a Governor General, of and for the  people.  And when she ended her term of office, there was a lot of pressure exerted upon the Government to invite her back to serve for another term.

Karen was born and raised in Ottawa. and her solid family bonds gave her the strength and spirit to travel to England to further her Heraldic education  Her years in England, were wonderful  years in which she fell under the influencing spell of such artists as Camden Town Group, (Harold Gilman, Sickert) the Scottish Colourists (Cdell, Peploe), war artists Dame Laura Knight, Doris and Anna Zinkeisen.

Karen graduated with honours in 1981 and in that same year she exhibited her heraldic art at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Karen's experience in Heraldic art peaked with her receiving the prestigious Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant for drawing and painting.

During her stay in England, Karen worked and lived in Ireland for about half of each year. These were three productive years and they provided her with  some great free lancing experiences. Karen says of her life in Dublin; "It was there that I made contact with the publishing company Appletree Press (based in Belfast) and began illustrating a series of books for them (Irish Family Names, Irish Proverbs, Irish  Toasts, A little Irish Cookbook, A Little Scottish Cookbook, A Little American Cookbook and a Little Canadian Cookbook. Not just that, but she also did freelance calligraphic work for the Irish Department of Public Works and private companies.   Karen says, "I, also produced on my own, a series of  architectural drawings of Irish shop fronts for exhibition in Ottawa."

Ever since those first years, Karen has dedicated her professional life to art. She works today out of a shared Ottawa studio called the Rectory Art House, which is three blocks from where she lives with her husband Iain Main.

'Karen's life near the Rectory, provided more opportunities for her artistic development: "My husband and I were involved in starting a non-profit housing cooperative in a heritage apartment building, The Shefford, in Ottawa 1988-92. It was at The Shefford Apartments that I first met Miss Marjorie Isabel Gray and formed a friendship. She passed away in 2005 at age 94. In 2006, I began to paint the “Marjorie” series in an attempt to remember a woman who might otherwise be forgotten."

Karen was later accepted by The Canadian Forces Artists Programme (CFAP) to travel to Afghanistan to be a combat artist. She spent a lot of time there with Canadian military nurses, at Role 3 Hospital in Kandahar. Karen brought with her a well established family background.  Her grandmother served as a nurse with the American Red Cross in Italy during WW2 and her mother trained and worked as a nurse. Karen applied to the programme because she wanted to paint "behind the scenes people.

Karen says; "I didn't inherit the medical gene but I am able to tell the stories of military nurses, medical technicians and doctors through my  art."

When Karen searched for the story behind the story she says: "I felt strongly that the nurses and medical technicians working at the Role 3 Hospital in Kandahar should be recognized for their dedication and tireless efforts to heal the wounded and dying. Karen's background as a court room artist, helped her develop the craft of drawing quickly and accurately. This proved invaluable when working in challenging hospital situations.

Karen has an inclusive attitude towards art. While many of us may wish to have our life stories told with a visual representation- "it is not only the wealthy, famous, or young who should be depicted in portrait form." Karen befriended an elderly lady named, Miss Marjorie Isabel Gray, whom she met while living at the Shefford Apartments, in the non-profit housing cooperative in a heritage apartment building in Ottawa. Marjorie passed away at the age of 94.  Karen turned her friendship with Miss Gray into a rare life opportunity to create a series of paintings - of a woman whom Karen says "might have otherwise been forgotten."

An overview of her life provides Karen with the rich memory of her mother's work for church teas. "I have empathy with the church tea ladies." says Karen. "Part of my personal history can be found in this milieu having observed my mother's participation over the decades. Our culture does not acknowledge the contribution these women in their seventies, eighties and nineties make; they have become invisible and their work is often taken for granted." You are invited to visit her website by clicking this link.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Karen Bailey at the Presentation of Her Official Painting of Former Governor General Michaelle Jean

Taken at the unveiling of the public display of 'The Official Painting of Governor General, Michaelle Jean (right). Governor General David Lloyd Johnston (far left) standing beside him is its creating artist, Karen Bailey. The painting has found a place of honour in Rideau Hall.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Okpik Pitseolak, Cape Dorset Artist Dies of Cancer

Her work has also been featured on several Canada Post stamps over the years, including her most famous print, Enchanted Owl.

Ashevak was born in 1927 in a camp on Baffin Island and lived the traditional nomadic life on the land before settling in Cape Dorset.

Okpik Pitseolak, an artist from Cape Dorset who knew Ashevak personally, said she brought Inuit art to the world but was "very humble about her work." Pitseolak said that when she appeared on the radio to talk about her art, she didn't want to come across "as someone who brags" about it. But she was "thankful for the fact that she was given this gift.”

Ashevak died after a long battle with cancer.

One of Canada's great artists
Director of Feheley Fine Arts Patricia Feheley, a Toronto dealer who handled Ashevak’s work, said she should be remembered as one of Canada’s great artists.

Please click here to red the CBC news article st source.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Suzzane Rivard Le Moyne, the Passing of an Art Visionary

When an institution becomes fundamental to a culture's creative well-being, we easily forget the vision and determination needed to create it. The people responsible for the extraordinary support the arts enjoy today often remain hidden from view, and many prefer to let their achievements speak for themselves. Especially if, like Suzanne Rivard Le Moyne, you deeply believe this should be so.

Our present art world owes much of its vitality and strength to this singular individual – a rare combination of artist and administrator, visionary and pragmatist. The achievements of Suzanne Rivard Le Moyne stretch from coast to coast and cover more than 50 years. From the creation of the Canada Council's Art Bank, to new programs for emerging art forms, to innovative university programs, Rivard Le Moyne has touched all of our visual culture. As Victoria Henry, current Art Bank Director, says, “everything she did made a difference.”
All of these remarkable accomplishments have a very particular source: Rivard Le Moyne is first and foremost an artist. Her strength and conviction, which have guided her as teacher, innovator and administrator, spring from the understanding and intelligence of the artist.

Suzanne Rivard was born in Quebec City. She received her fine arts diploma from the École des beaux-arts in Quebec. In many ways she was going against the grain of her milieu. She was a very young artist when she began teaching there and, a few years later, at the École des beaux-arts in Montreal. During that period she spent summers in Europe and a very productive two years in Paris, unusual for a young single woman at that time. Her painting career took off, and she exhibited regularly in Montreal and Paris, winning prizes and awards. She was a passionate teacher, and in her 25 years of teaching she enriched the lives of more than one generation of artists: “I have always lived and worked with, and among, artists. As a studio professor, I had the privilege to have young students such as Yves Gaucher, Jacques Hurtubise, Roland Poulin, Pierre Ayot and several others who later became very well-known.”1 Roland Poulin would later comment: “She stood out from the other teachers. She was the first woman I met who engaged with me intellectually.… It was very exciting to be in her class; she was strong, articulate and well-informed, and always ready to debate ideas.”

Rivard Le Moyne might have comfortably remained an artist and professor, but a different path presented itself. In 1969, her husband, the late writer Jean Le Moyne, was asked by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to join him as adviser and speechwriter. Rivard Le Moyne left her productive studio in Montreal for a new, unknown life in Ottawa. She was soon asked to bring her experience of the arts to the Department of the Secretary of State, where, under André Fortier, she worked on cultural policy and special projects. Shortly after, she moved to the Canada Council to become head of visual arts.

She says of this precipitous move: “Coming to the Council … I had no experience in administration, except for a few months at Secretary of State. I had never sat behind a desk. I was an ‘apprentice administrator.' ”2 But, as Dale McConathy has noted: “She was an artist, and she had a way of asking questions.”3

Rivard Le Moyne says: “That ignorance was both a handicap and an advantage. A handicap because I had to learn quickly…. It was also an advantage: ‘Innocence is bliss,' as Pierre Théberge said with humour when I invented the Art Bank. At best, innocence can give someone a fresh, non-conventional outlook that sometimes experts tend to lose with time. A capacity to analyze and evaluate the ‘usual way of doing things,' to upset them, or propose new, unexpected ones.”4

When she began at the Canada Council, the arts were in a period of expansion and flux. The Council had become the catalyst for this exciting scene, and in her action-packed four years there, Rivard Le Moyne would revolutionize the visual arts section, expanding its role for both artists and public alike.

Rivard Le Moyne knew how diverse the arts had become through the turbulent and stimulating 1960s. Aware of the needs of new practices, she instigated new programs for film, video and photography, which until then had been obliged to compete with the more established disciplines. This was to nourish flourishing, internationally-acclaimed activity in these media. Having come through the system as a young artist, she also knew that there were few venues for younger artists to exhibit work, especially for the rapidly growing areas of installation and performance art. Her ingenious solution was the establishment of a system of artist-run centres, the parallel galleries so familiar to us now. Her own experiences as an artist in France led her to seek recognition abroad for Canadian artists: she conceived and organized Canada Trajectories 73, a major exhibition of Canadian artists in Paris.

“But the best was yet to come,” according to Tibor Egervari, current Chair of the Visual Arts Department at the University of Ottawa.5 And that was the Canada Council Art Bank, which celebrated its 30th anniversary on February 5, 2002. This extraordinary institution was the invention of Rivard Le Moyne. Timothy Porteous, Associate Director of the Council at the time, says it was “first of all, a feat of imagination, since no model for it existed. It was a test of ingenuity, since it required the approval of the Treasury Board, not usually known as patrons of the arts. It also called on Rivard Le Moyne's determination in overcoming an array of skeptics, diplomacy in finding allies in the public service, and sound judgment in resolving sensitive policy issues.”6 Quite a feat for an ‘apprentice administrator.'

Rivard Le Moyne called her idea “un reservoir” for art. She had been intrigued by the enthusiasm among Council staff for its own collection (put together by her predecessor, David Silcox), and saw the possibility of expanding this experience throughout the government, as well as other public places. She conceived a system built on purchases from Canadian artists and financed from rentals to government offices across the country. With her characteristic directness and enthusiasm, she “quickly learned that you had to take bureaucrats by surprise.” She asked for a few hundred thousand dollars. Al Johnson, then Secretary of the Treasury Board and a long-time collector of Canadian art, was convinced. The money was granted – an astonishing $5 million over five years – and the Art Bank was born.

The Art Bank would become the country's largest collection of contemporary Canadian art – some 18,000 works in various disciplines by almost 3,000 artists, with over a third currently on loan. The Art Bank would change the relationship of art and artist to the public and to government. It has sparked much interest. Rivard Le Moyne was invited to address a U.S. Senate Committee on the idea, and today various versions exist in countries as far-flung as Australia, Norway, Singapore and Japan. And despite attempts to close it in a period of government cutbacks, the Art Bank has refused to die. The attempt raised such opposition that the Art Bank was reinstated – testimony to its enduring importance and to the vision of its inventor.

Rivard Le Moyne had always shied away from “the distortion that comes with the power thing. I wasn't interested in having such a high profile.” She was concerned also about the effect of her frequent travel on the uneven health of her husband. Together, these factors were enough to make her accept another challenge: the chairmanship of the emerging art department at the University of Ottawa.

The Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa was evolving from a mix of music, theatre and visual arts when Rivard Le Moyne took over in 1974. Soon she would head a single visual arts department, her ingenuity put to work creating a new model for arts education. She would attract the same high caliber of people as at Council, including such fine artists and art historians as Charles Gagnon, Kenneth Lochhead and Philip Fry, among many others, as well as a stellar array of visitors. With them she developed an innovative, interdisciplinary program, creating “an environment where we can foster searching, creative, questioning minds.” It became one of the most highly regarded programs in the country.

Throughout her entire career, Rivard Le Moyne served with great effectiveness on numerous boards, committees and juries, and was invited to speak at many cultural conferences. As an artist, she received many honours and awards. As a teacher, she gained the life-long respect and affection of a generation of artists. As an administrator, she brought the same passion and talent to the creation of new institutions. In all of her successes, notes Tibor Egervari, we see “her boundless love of the discipline, and a rare intelligence in action.”7

Rivard Le Moyne retired from teaching in 1986 to return to her origins, the studio. She approached this return, after a long absence, with the same creative spirit that marked all her endeavours. It is a remarkable circle. The artist was never far away, a guiding presence in all she would undertake. “My experience at the Canada Council and the University of Ottawa was fantastic, at times difficult, often at the cost of my own work as a painter, but always very enriching. Teamwork with wonderful people: artists, students, colleagues and staff, people from every part of our country. I owe them a lot.”8

Characteristically modest, and revealing words from the visionary who so influenced how we live with the arts today: “The artists came first.”

Leslie Reid is an artist and Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa, where she has also served as Chair.

Text from: Canada Council for the Arts
Please click here to view at source.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lady with Dog

National Gallery of Canada
Lady with Dog
17th c. Quebec

Sorry for not providing the artist's name with this one. I would have done so, had I known it.
But that's another story.

The woman portrayed in this work, has rather ordinary or common features.  But even this statement groans under the weight of culture. Artists have painted so many women for their beauty that its easy to fall into the 'beauty trap'.  Let's face it. If an artist painted a man with features like William Cromwell, who purportedly told his portrait painter, "Paint me......warts and all," surely there is room to accommodate 'everyday folk'. In many respects it takes a person with a depth of understanding of life to go beyond the surface and to search for the inner being. Isn't that what it should be all about?

The lady has a Mona Lisa presence. She has a hint of a smile on her face but if my vision isn't  deceiving me, I would think that one of her eyes stray. Even her dog is a rather ordinary little animal. I found myself focusing on the spot on its head and playfully wondered if one of its eyes had wandered. Now that's silly. Maybe even not suitable for 'The Portrait'.

Besides all that our woman is a lady of financial means and status.  Her clothing is rich and ornate. She wears a little pinky finger, which suggests that she is a woman of wealth .and this finger separates itself and goes it own way  If it were a painting of a man, it wouldn't be difficult to imagine that with a slight modification of wardrobe it could have been a bishop.

Two readers of 'The Portrait' suggested that the dog might be a King Charles Spaniel, which was a dog noted to be a favourite among genteel ladies. It was said to have been a much favoured lap dog.
Which is another indication, that our subject was a lady of status.

This and every posting appears on 'The Portrait's' Facebook page. If you wish to follow A Portrait of the Visual Arts in Canada, on Facebook, key that  name in and after the page opens, you can chose to follow as a member. You are welcome to make postings and post pictures of your choice and make comments.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Margit Sampogna's Search for Reality

Margit Sampogna's classical still life rendering of urn with fruit, nuts and garlic is a striking painting done in the classical style.

The work is carefully composed with a variety of interesting geometric patterns playing off one another to emphasize and draw attention to specific elements. I like the way the fruit, nuts and garlic flow from a broad base upwards upward to a trumpet-flute opening and from there through the upper urn.

The velvet background cloth drape has a loose triangular design and I like the way it bunches along the back of the beam to emphasize the items gathered around the urn's base. It also creates dramatic tension and emphasis which heightens the focus on the urn and the articles around it.

Purple has been known through the ages as an expensive, carefully kept secret. The purple cloth rests on a roughly hewn, earth hued beam. The urn which is the largest single object in the painting is strikingly ordinary. the base of the pedestal bowl is irregular, and its not hard to imagine that the surface of the urn has a patina of fine dust  on it. Notice, the rust stain which runs from the right handle, down along its side. Margit skillfully arranges the urn so the burnt sienna stain is in the direct light and this makes it all the more noticeable.

The contrast extends downward to the clove of garlic. The garlic skin is dry are flaky and there is a trade-off with the urn since they both have the same approximate hue and value.

I am intrigued too by the trade off in implications.  We cannot see the sense of taste but green grapes are not usually as sweet as rich red grapes and garlic has its own strong personality. So there is no built in "sweetness factor" in these two items.

There is also a ricocheting  tension between value and baseness. The rather ordinary urn is gussied up with a crest.  The common elements of wear and tear, and unpolished roughness is found in  dried garlic skin and broken lines along  the base pedestal. This doesn't just happen by accident. Its part of Margit's overall design to heighten realism.

Just when we think that ordinary and common elements  wins out over elegance, style and class we discover that the urn's crest sits in the critical focal centre of the painting. See how the grapevine points like a bony finger towards the crest.

The painting is done in oils and its 12"x14" in size - a close approximation of the actual sizes of the featured objects. So the painting itself is a pretty close actualization of what Margit sees.

In end realism trumps banal prettiness. Her still life has all the contradictions and contrasts that we find in everyday life. But,in this painting, Margrit gathers it together with a pre- arranged design with appropriate lighting. The result being,that its more than just a painting. Its a metaphorical statement of life itself.

Margrit invites you to click here to visit her website to see more of your works.

Artist's Response
You have such a wonderful writing style and you certainly "see".

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Margit Sampogna Shares her Gifts

Born in Denmark, Margit (nee Andersen) Sampogna emigrated to Canada with her family. They made their new home in the west end of Toronto.

Margit, like most artists was born with 'the gift', and she says that for as long as she remembered, she "made pictures".

Life takes us on its own path with its own unique crossroads.  Margit would have liked to have pursued the arts and in particular she would have loved to have worked for Disney Studios, but that wasn't to be. So, she made an important decision to take a route which took her into rehab medicine.  Margit became a working mom and her professional career was a necessary part of her family life.  That's a reality of life that we can likely all identify with. Margit today is married and the mother of adult children.

As time passed Margit never surrendered her interest in art. She engaged in all modalities;  fabric, needlepoint, quilting and decorating. Margit admits to having a lifelong love of nature and she has always been one of those people who finds herself attracted to the architectural design of buildings.

Margit's life took a signficant change in 2004 when she discovered botanical art and it became natural extension for her to explore nature with acrylics, oil and graphite. Those who have followed Margit's development have seen her express her love of nature, plants, still life and buildings within her works. She particularly enjoys atelier, classical style painting.

Margit's passion and commitment to art was expressed with her becoming a founding and continuing member of Kaleidoscope; East Humber River Artists in Toronto and she is a signature member of the Artists for Conservation organization f the groups which she has memberships with.  Her c.v is a journey in itself and is posted on her website.

Margit has grown in many ways in the last few years, and in particular she recognizes that its been an important social process as well.  She generously acknowledges the critical role of others in her development. "I have met wonderful interesting people who have inspired and mentored me"  and she values the many strong friendships that she has made along the way.

Margit sparkles with enthusiasm with art. She is a solid artist with excellent skills and she loves nothing better then to reach out into the community. The visual arts has been well served by her outreach.

To see more of Margit's works please click here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Novembers' Name the Artwork Contest

Alas, 'The Portrait' had no responses to November's Name the Artwork Contest.

No Winners means, that we get to keep what we didn't give away.  But since the prize was nothing more then "bragging rights and pride" I expect that I will be able to deal with my personal ego expansion problems.

Comox airport uses art to shape tourists' first impressions of Vancouver Island

By: The Canadian Press
10/24/2012 6:26 PM

A three-metre-wide carved wooden eagle by artist Wes Seeley hangs from the ceiling of the Comox Valley Airport terminal building in this undated handout photo. Part of a new display of artworks intended to create a positive first impression for visitors arriving on Vancouver Island, the works by 10 artists represent ???the unique people, places and environment??? of central and northern Vancouver Island, say organizers of the exhibition which will run until July 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
COMOX, B.C. - A three-metre-wide carved wooden eagle hangs from the ceiling of Comox Valley Airport's terminal building, part of a new display of artworks intended to create a positive first impression for visitors arriving on Vancouver Island.

The works by 10 artists represent "the unique people, places and environment" of central and northern Vancouver Island, say organizers of the exhibition which will run until July 2013.

Artist Wes Seeley, originally from Quadra Island, spent more than 2,000 hours carving the eagle, including its 1,000 feathers, out of fir as well as red, yellow and aromatic cedar.

"YQQ values its unique perspective as the first point of entry for many Vancouver Island tourists and we believe it is our responsibility to help positively shape the first perceptions of those guests," said airport CEO Fred Bigelow.

More than 300,000 passengers pass through the airport each year.

The airport's annual art and culture program is a partnership between the Comox Valley Airport Commission and the Comox Valley Community Arts Council.

link to source

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ron Simpkins interviewed by daughter Cristina

Ron provides some interesting viewpoints about his landscape painting. He touches on such concepts as painting with light and painting water, and aspects of the life as an artist.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December, 'Name the Artwork' Contest

Ok dear readers
Name this artwork, its creator, where it is located - any or all of these questions, and you could be the winner of this month's, contest.

Winners will be entitled to carry permanent bragging rights and having their name posted on the Name the Artwork page - throughout the life of 'The Portrait'.  Other then that, you win absolutely nothing.
No ribbons, no money, no trophy.  That's the hard reality of life on a non sponsored blog.

The contest ends at the end of the month.

The Art of Glen Loates

Monday, December 3, 2012

Maria (Morris) Miller Early Nova Scotia Floral Artist

                                                          Maria (Morris) Miller. 1810-1875.

 It should be no surprise that floral artist, Maria Morris, was one of Canada's earliest recognized artists. Especially since, floral painting is likely the preferred style of the majority of Canada's female watercolourists.

Maria was a Nova Scotian and she lived during the 19th century. She studied and excelled under the teaching of the visiting English artist, L'Estrange who was noted for his unique style.

Maria headed the Halifax School of Drawing and Painting and this may have been Canada's first art school. She was recognized in 1836 as the "Painter of the Year." Marie Elwood in the Canadian Encyclopedia writes that her school's purpose was  "to instruct young ladies in the polite and elegant accomplishment of drawing."

The presentation of her paintings at the Paris Exposition of 1867 attests to the kind of recognition she received during her lifetime.

Source: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mandy Budan Landscape Study 10

There are so many things about Landscape Study 10, that I find appealing. To begin, its an archetypal Canadian scene.  Its the kind of subject that the Group of Seven painted that led Canada to a level of artistic maturity.

Mandy writes her own painter's license.  She gains a delightful sense of freedom by incorporating her abstract style into a landscape painting in a northern setting.. But the freedom isn't in her license alone, its in the core of the subject. When I study this work, I find it easy to imagine her isolating a single frame in a long, looping roll of film.  Her clouds, roll across the upper quadrant of the canvas like waves on an endless sea.

 Landscape Study 10, is the kind of painting where I find myself searching for definitions. It hangs somewhere between abstraction and impressionism. Notice the carefully patterned application of paint. Her brush strokes either stop or flow and in the end there's not a hint of small brush quest for perfection.

Its an intentionally minimalistic work with less being more. Mandy's palette is simplified and its no surprise that its a small 5"x 7" painting. Simplicity and lack of detail compliment each other to create a sense of psychological  liberation.  And, there are components of spiritual liberation found in its timelessness and the sense of it presenting a snapshot from an unending universe..

The search for definitions leads to inevitable comparisons.  Its easy to see echoes of Emily Carr, Tom Thomson, and even Barker Fairley at work.Taking it further, it also seems to parallel Haida block style art.

In the end, there are so many little things which work together to make this a beautiful painting.

Artist's Comments

It's a beautiful critique. I try to distill the essence of a scene into as little as possible, and I love your reference to Haida work. That is the epitome of an abstract motif of the landscape which is something I definitely strive for.

Please click here to visit Mandy's website.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mandy Budan, Realizes her Dreams

Mandy Budan, of Pickering On., was born in Toronto in 1964. She was born with a paint brush in her hand and she admits that she has always been an artist who has enjoyed the process of "creating". Interestingly,  when Mandy reflects back to her youth - she was unable to point to anyone along the way who encouraged her and pointed her towards the visual arts.  Mandy was attracted instead to playing the piano, and there was a time when she harboured a desire become a pianist when she grew up.

Mandy was drawn into the fine arts in high school and these included "painting, life drawing and photography" and the particularly funny memory of drawing in her school's  life drawing classes with windows papered over so as not to "accidentally expose any math and science students to the nude models."

Fortunately for us, the visual arts won out, and Mandy entered the commercial arts. When she reflects upon it, she confesses to being a little uncertain of her own abilities and she never felt herself to be particularly "gifted".  Her professional career included wax paste ups, typesetting, stat cameras, and working with photo shop on her computer.

Mandy has been married now for 26 years and she had two children. About a dozen years ago, she heard the call of a new song.  She felt that there was something missing in her life.  "I realized that that (her professional career) was only giving me half of what I need." She recognized that she needed "to create from my own visions and not someone else's.

It seems hard to imagine that it was only 12 years ago when she  picked up her brushes and ventured into creative arts. All the while, she  maintained  a graphic design business. But there comes a point where its hard to march to the beat of two drummers. In 2011 she took the plunge and became a full time creative artist and this has made all the difference in her life.

Since taking the plunge,  she has become a member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters, and she became a member of the local Pine Ridge Arts Council. Mostt importantly, however, her painting career is blossoming in new and exciting ways with gallery shows, and awards coming her way. Not just that, but her paintings have taken on their own life and have joined collections around the world.

What is there about Mandy's work that has attracted the attention of so many people?  Well, for one thing she loves painting with "thick paint, rich colour, and with strong rhythmns and patterns.  Mandy's heart is drawn to the beautiful Canadian landscape.  She considers herself very fortunate to have unlimited access to incredible green spaces, walking trails, waterfront, and forests and feels the opportunities for inspiration are endless. And, like many Canadian landscape artists she admits to being strongly influenced by the Group of Seven, van Gogh and Chuck Close.

What is exciting is that Mandy has an open door to her future. She's making waves and having fun. Watch her grow.

Mandy welcomes you to visit her website by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Traditional Eastern Canadian Native Needlework

Decorated Mi'kmaq coat

Most anthropologists would agree that the development of art and culture is not just a barometer of the social development of a people but its also the product of people who live with an abundance of food and free time.

West Coast Salish and Haida natives, developed elaborate ceremonial totems and wooden long houses and their facility with carving is respected.  Regretably the natives of eastern Canada, seem to have slid under the radar.  While not being noted as ceremonial carvers, the skill of the Naskapi, Montagnais, and Micmac women at needlework captures the imagination.

Nasapi caribou robe

Montgnais mittens

To view these and other beautiful examples of native needlework, please click here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November Name the Artwork Contest.

Time is running out on November's 'Name the Artwork Contest'.
Name the work, artist and where it is located - or at least one of the three and you may be the winner of this month's contest.

Are you ready?

Winners will receive unconditional, unfettered, and total bragging rights. That's about it fans.
Last month's winner was Richard Campeau, of Golden, British Columbia. See the page tab beneath the header picture.

Grey Cup Fever - Governor General, Earl Grey

portrait by Irma Councill, Stratford, On.

Sir Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey, a veteran of the British House of Commons, was sworn in as the ninth Governor General of Canada in Halifax in 1904. During his tenure, Alberta and Saskatchewan were welcomed into Confederation.

Lord Grey was the first Governor General to visit the then Crown Colony of Newfoundland and invited its people to join Confederation (which they eventually did in 1949). A dedicated promoter of the arts, he established the Grey Competition for Music and Drama, first held in 1907. Two years later, he donated the Grey Cup to the Canadian Football League, a trophy that became a symbol of excellence on the playing field.
After returning to England, Lord Grey died in 1917. (The popular Earl Grey tea was named after the 2nd Earl Grey, not the Governor General.) Lady Grey died in 1911.

Contributor: Maureen Bayliss, editor.
source: Please click here

Fredericks-Artworks Blog, copying policy

The Canadian Copyright act, section 29 reports on fairdealing, that it is not an infringement to reproduce someone else's work for research, study, criticism, review or to report. Which pretty much sums up what this site is about. All content sources, be they artists, printed references, and website url's are respectfully identified on this site. http://http//

Mission Statement
A Portrait of the Visual Arts in Canada, is intended to celebrate the richness of Canada's visual arts, and to promote the arts in Canada.

Statement of Intent
I make every effort to credit the sources of information used in this blog and to obtain the permission and cooperation of all the works presented by living artists. I try, as much as possible to use works from public sources eg. national and provincial collections, of deceased artists. If for any reason, any artist disapproves of anything written about them or their work the artist is encouraged to request withdrawal of the content.