Thursday, December 31, 2009

Video of the New Pavilion of Canadian Art in Montreal

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts announces on its site the building of the New Pavilion of Canadian Art, which is expected to open in 2011. The Pavilion is funded by the combination of funds from the Federal and Provincial governements and the Bourgie family.

Please click here to see the video.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An Intriquing Story about the Manitoba Legislature's Bisons

On either side of the base of the steps are two life-size North American bison, symbolic of the herds that once roamed the prairies. They were modelled by Charles Gardet of Paris, creator of the Golden Boy. Cast at the Roman Bronze Works in New York City, each bison weighs 2,268 kilograms (2½ tons). An intriguing story surrounds the installation of these statues. It is said that in order to diminish the risk of scratching the building's exquisite marble floors with these massive sculptures, the entire main floor of the building was flooded with water, and then left to freeze solid. Both bison were then placed on enormous slabs of ice cut from the Assiniboine River, and safely slid into the building. Whether this tale is true may never be known. Such legends add to the storied nature of this historic building.

Please Click here for the Government of Manitoba source

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bill Reid, Reluctant Icon

CBC Archives

Click here to listen to Vicki Gaberau interview Haida Sculputer and CBC personality, Bill Reid.

At age 65, Reid confesses he's always felt like a "loser." His admission in this CBC Radio interview comes as a surprise given his celebrated career. Reid has largely been credited with inspiring a Haida art renaissance with his soaring totem poles and remarkably detailed sculptures. His career in the arts followed a successful stint in broadcasting where he was recognized as a honey-voiced news announcer for CBC Radio. Despite his successes, Reid says he is unimpressed by fame and is reluctant to embrace his icon status.

Bill Reid: reluctant icon
Medium: Radio
Program: Variety Tonight
Broadcast Date: Aug. 12, 1985
Guest(s): Bill Reid
Host: Vicki Gabereau
Duration: 9:40

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dr Freda Diesing, Haida Artist

Freda Diesing was a Haida artist from Prince Rupert, BC. She was given the Haida name Skil Kew Wat, ‘magical little woman’, a name that reflects the influence and power of her talent.

One of the first female carvers on the modern northwest coast, Freda began her carving career at the age of 42. She studied at the Vancouver School of Art and at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art at ‘Ksan Village.

In the 1960s, Diesing and a handful of other artists were responsible for the re-awakening of Northwest Coast art and culture. She worked with other master artists including Robert Davidson, Dempsey Bob, and Tony Hunt. In the 1980s, her work was included in the ground breaking exhibition “Legacy - Tradition and Innovation in Northwest Coast Indian Art”, assembled by the Royal British Columbia Museum, and exhibited internationally, bringing awareness and appreciation to her culture’s art and history to the world.

Diesing was an exceptional carver, teacher and mentor. Her students include many of the most acclaimed artists working in First Nations art today. She generously contributed many works of art to local communities.

In 2000, she was awarded an honorary diploma from Northwest Community College. In 2002, she received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award and an honorary doctorate from the University of Northern British Columbia.

Biography extracted from: The Freda Deising School of Northwest Coast Art, website. Please click here.

Dr. Diesing' picture was contributed for this blog by the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver, BC. This Gallery specializes in Pacific Native Art. Click here to see the gallery's website.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Barry Penton - Artist on the Move!

Part of the magic of art is that each viewer brings something of him/herself when they view a painting. I'm sure that Barry Penton's 'Evening in Fogo Harbour brings a catch to the throat of many Newfoundlanders. Speaking personally, however, it reminds me of an evening sky I saw when I came upon a windmill sillhoutted against the dying sunlight in a town in Holland.

Its fun to read about a young artist for whom exciting things are happening!

Barry was born and raised in the fishing village of Fogo, Fogo Island on Newfoundland’s Northeast Coast. At the age of 27, Barry is a newcomer to the growing world of Newfoundland art.

Prior to taking his artwork seriously, Barry just sketched and did some minor painting with craft acrylics. In December 2008 , Barry had attempted a painting of a winter-night scene of Outport Newfoundland. Barry had shown his work to internationally renown Newfoundland artist, Ed Roche.

With a few words of encouragment and a little guidance, Barry's art career was born in February of this year. His primary medium is Acrylic on Canvas, but he is looking planning to move towards watercolour in the future.

While painting with other students, Barry became known as the master or painting fishing and rowing boats. Several which are featured in paintings.

To date Barry has completed several paintings which primarily focus on his native home of Fogo. His work has been selling steadily across the province, and country and is available in several galleries in St. John’s.

In 2010, Barry along with over 30 artists will be working on a collection of paintings entitled: Newfoundland and Labrador- Through the Centuries.

To see more of Barry's work click here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Hockey Sweater - A Story from Quebec

viewers are reminded to turn off the playlist sound at the bottom of this page before listening to blog entries which have built in sound accompanyment.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas is a Time of Thanksgiving

Master Warrant Officer Charlotte Hawes serves Christmas dinner at the Canadian military-civilian outreach base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
2009 Christmas Dinner in Kandahar, Afghanistan

Thank you to all who serve us from abroad, and cannot be home for Christmas. Article from the Winnipeg Sun

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Outside the mess hall where Canadian troops were tucking in Tuesday to an early Christmas dinner, the only hint of seasonal snow came from the giant inflatable Frosty the Snowman doll standing sentry alongside Santa Claus.

The excitement in the air at Camp Nathan Smith, the Canadian military-civilian outreach base on the edge of Kandahar city, was evident as soldiers first lined up for a precious beer ration, followed by a plate of turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes.

“My Christmas is going to be great in Kandahar city,” said Master Warrant Officer Charlotte Hawes.

“I’m with my military family, who is as good as my family at home.”

Soldiers, many sporting Santa hats or reindeer horns, played with party favours while seasonal music blared from a boom box for a Christmas dinner that was, for logistical reasons, scheduled a few days ahead of the holiday.

Some of the soldiers snapped photographs of their comrades in arms and joked about. A bowl of candy canes and Christmas cards added to the festive atmosphere.

Other soldiers, normally assigned to other duties, worked the kitchen, while — in keeping with military tradition — officers served the rank and file.

The cooks sported red chef’s hats, emblazoned with “Christmas Cook.”

Each of the normally bare tables was neatly covered with a tablecloth, along with red placemats and Santa-adorned paper cups.

“Christmas dinner was great,” said Cpl. Joseph Henry as he prepared to head out into the field.

“It was probably the best dinner I’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard, the top Canadian commander in Kandahar province, stopped by the base to share in the festivities. He declared the meal “fantastic.”

Outside, a group of Afghan workers who would normally have been in the kitchen, lounged on chairs.

“Today is their Christmas day, so they’re very happy,” said one, who was clearly a little fuzzy about the concept of a holiday that’s a mystery to most Afghans.

“When it’s the new day of the year,” he said, “they say it’s Christmas.”

Despite the tug of family and relatives back home, several soldiers said they didn’t mind spending Christmas in Kandahar, where Tuesday’s daytime temperature reached into the low teens under sunny skies.

For others such as Henry, being away from home over the festive season doesn’t come easy.

“It’s rough — I’m newly wed . . . I’d like to be with her,” Henry said. “But I’m here for a good cause, so it’ll pass until next year.”

Later in the evening, the illuminated Frosty and Santa display, along with twinkling lights, created a festive atmosphere in the middle of the base.

The lighting almost didn’t survive concerns about “light discipline” — the practice of keeping bases dark at night to help prevent rocket attacks. The festive decorations were eventually deemed not to pose a risk, and the lights continued to twinkle.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to my Many Blog Readers

Posted by Picasa

To my many faithful readers, and to those who were so kind to comment, and to those who have so graciously consented to me presenting your work on the blog. May this Christmas season be inspirational and spiritually enriching.

Please click here to enjoy the National Film Board's 2009 Happy Holiday Card.


Battle of Lundy's Lane: Archives of Ontario

C. W. Jefferys (1869-1951)
Charles William Jefferys is perhaps best known for his historical illustrations in school textbooks, magazines and newspapers. However, he was also an accomplished landscape painter, achieving particular renown for his prairie canvases. Born in England in 1869, Jefferys’ family came to Canada via Philadelphia in 1881. While ill health prevented Jefferys from going overseas as an official war artist, both he and Dorothy Stevens received commissions to document war preparations on the home front. Jefferys’ work focused on training camp activities in Petawawa, Niagara and Toronto. Although the artist had shown little interest in printmaking, his early experience as an apprentice at the Toronto Lithographic Company would prove useful in the execution of the transfer lithographs he made for the Canadian War Memorials Fund in 1919. Today, the life and work of this prolific artist is commemorated by an historic plaque located on the site of Jefferys’ house and studio in North York, Ontario.

Text extracted from the Ontario Archives. Click here.

Portrait from the CW Jefferys website: Please click here

See, Wikipedia article. Click here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Henry Mitchell - Painter of Excellence

I've only seen a few of Henry's works, but have been impressed by his ability to paint minimalistically, realistic works. Henry cuts to the chase and presents intriquing paintings with figures that often seem distantly, unknowable like playing card figures. Not only that, but the works I have seen have created more questions then answers.

Henry painted from the age of 12 but really wanted to be a fighter pilot. (What boy wouldn't?) Unfortunately Henry found that one eye didn't cooperate with the other and his dream was erased.

Henry's life has been filled with such experiences as being a compositor, proofreader, supervisor, assembly artist, CSR salesman, art studio owner, studio manager, typographer, graphic designer and part time fraud detective.

Henry says: "Yet I could paint and now I do - all the time"
And surely this is a dream many of us wish we could share with him.

Henry can be reached at his studio art gallery on 13 McGill Street in Trenton, Ontario. 613-394-3485.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Murals of Canada: Chemainus BC

I included Chemainus on my art bucket list, on the right side of the blog. Chemainus has done something which I have never heard of any other mid sized town doing. They embarked on an ambitious project to cover their town with murals and in so doing they created one of Canada's most unique communities.

The murals were painted by accomplished artists, who came from other countries and from across Canada. Although, most brought with them mural making skills, a few were first time projects.

Chemainus boasts of an outstanding 40 murals. The mural featured above was painted by
Paul Ygartua and is my favourite. It honours Canadian native heritage. For that matter, all of the murals honour and pay tribute to some feature of Chemainus life, be it, the contribution of Japanese and Chinese citizens to their community, or to businesses, significant institutions, social organizations, or important historical occasions.

When you click on this link here, it will take you to the Chemianus website. Click on murals, and open the first one. It may take you ten minutes or so to wander through the murals, (click to go to the next one at the bottom of each page).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

National Art Gallery of Canada Partners with the Art Gallery of Alberta to House National Collection

The Art Gallery of Alberta snagged a 3 year deal with Canada'a National Portrait Gallery to show their national collection, beginning on January 31, 2010 at Sir Winston Churchill Square.

Please click here to read the news item in the Edmonton Journal online. Click here.

Eilean Tait and the Sentinel

Eilean Tait

The Sentinel

Eilean writes about The Sentinel:

"Feathers and birds have surrounded me all my life. As a very young child I was struck by the iridescent brilliance of the feathers covering the cool body of a Lapwing found nestled in the wild Scottish heather. In such awe, though I knew that time would take its eventual toll, I carefully buried the beautiful bird,
wrapped in clear plastic at the bottom of my garden, so the beauty would still show through!

The largest of all falcon species, the Gyrfalcon breeds on the Arctic coasts and islands of North America, Europe and Asia. In medieval times it was considered the king’s bird with no lesser than the highest aristocracy carrying this prized hunter on their forearm.

The Sentinel, struck as a stoic Gyrfalcon, was created in pastel during a challenging time of metamorphosis. This solitary, powerful bird assumed responsibility to stand guard, declaring safe passage, through the ominous and stormy weather that threatened.

As world ambassadors, birds remind us of our connections to the rest of the planet (Carl Jung’s theory of the “Collective Consciousness”) along with our responsibilities to it."

Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland and having spent twenty-nine years in Montreal, Eilean now makes her home in Marmora, Ontario. She has worked as a free-lance artist and illustrator since 1984.

Spending countless hours in the Scottish countryside as a child, Eilean was always keenly aware of her innate kinship with nature and encouraged by her architect father, began drawing at an early age. Her passions for Nature, Music, History and Literature are ongoing and in 1976 she won first prize for Biological Illustration at McGill University in Montreal. Her works have been displayed in various judged exhibitions and hang in private collections in Canada and the UK. Eilean has also designed logos for The Nichoir Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Hudson, Quebec and for a Canadian Pharmaceutical Research Company’s international marketing campaign in South Korea.

Drawing inspiration from the environment, works of literature and music along with those around her, Eilean’s main focus is on the amazing creatures with which we are privileged to share our world. Her preferred style is realistic with a leaning toward the fantastic and working mostly in pastel, pencil and pen & ink, Eilean’s aim is to heighten our appreciation and understanding of the importance and interconnection of all living things

Please click here to visit Eilean's website.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Hello, I'm Mac the Moose from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan."

Some countries build great cathedrals and temples. But, not to be outdone, Moose Jaw Saskatchewan erected its own iconic statue. Not quite an Enfant Pisse, or a Trevi Fountain, but somehow - very Canadian.

Mac is right up there on my list of national kisch art icons, (right column) alongside the biggest Viking Head and the biggest truck. What's next, the biggest pitch fork?

Toller Cranston painter

Toller's art - as did his skating, pushes the perimeters. Come with me to the Mexican home of sktaing artist and painter Toller Cranston, and walk through his creative painting process. You may wish to go to the bottom of the blog first to turn off the playlist music system which is already playing.

How do you define his work? Or do you even bother? Certainly its fanciful, imaginative and full of all the swirls and leaps of colour that charactertised his craft of skating.

I feel a sense of Norval Morriseau's presence when I look at Toller's work but yet there is so much more. The women in his paintings are expansive and imaginative and they suggest the presence of Russian babushka stacking dolls. And they fill the arena surface of his canvas while his colour charges our visual senses to their limits.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Through the eyes of John Parson

Go ahead. Have fun. Pick up your laptop computer and turn it around, or lean to one side...or look at it from upside down. but keep your eyes on this work, for turn it as you will, you will always find stairs that lead you upward.

The tree is an ancient symbol of life. Do we see a metaphor within this work?
Does life travel in a circle around a mystical inner paradise? Are we forever destined to climb or descend to find the answer.

Oh, the unending mystery of art!

You have to check John's website out. John has all the tools for success and he is working hard to re-establish himself back in Canada, after a lengthly hiatus in New Zealand and Australia.

Please click here to be taken to John's site.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Should Toller Cranston's Figure Skating be considered a visual art?

See the title embedded on this You Tube Video? It leaves no room that whomever posted this video considers Toller's skating to be an artform.

But where do the visual arts begin and end? I have taken a rather traditional view that art is what is produced by the hands of the artist. And, its tangible. It can be held and looked at and stepped back from. It can sit on display on a coffee table, or hang on a wall.

Then along comes someone like Toller Cranston who challenges my understanding of the visual arts, by moving his interpretation of life into athleticism and instead of hanging it on a wall, he puts it into the television screen in the corner of the room.

Toller Cranston, is arguably the best male figure skater that Canada has ever produced even though he never won an Olympic Gold. He came along when male skaters had arms that stuck out like airplane wings. Toller used his total body to express himself and he used the ice as his stage.

Toller Cranston turned figure skating for men into ballet on ice.

Later when his days of skating ended, he became known in the traditional sense an artist. But yet, I find it almost impossible to separate the two - for Toller challenges us by pushing our limits of understanding of what the visual arts really are.

Join me now, to watch this video of Toller at work on the ice. I will follow this in later weeks by presenting his paintings.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Anne Hudec's Pine Cones, mixed media one of Victoria Art Show's Fall Winners

Anne Hudec, who was profiled on the Fredericks-Artwork Blog, had her painting Pine Cones selected as one of the Victoria Art Society Winners in the Fall Art show.

Please click here to see the other award winning paintings.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Art as a Metaphor, with picture provided by Frank Haddock.

I see art as a metaphor for the human condition, and Frank Haddock illustrates this superbly with his above painting, "You're More Important Than Me."

We find in this work, love, patience and non conditional love. Qualities which make this guide dog for its visually impaired owner, so endearing. And these same attributes make for lasting and loving human relationships.

Frank, has that capacity as an artist, for closing his lens in on his subject and eliminating extraneous details. This picture is simple - a dog wearing a restraining collar, and a leach, and lying on a sidewalk.

This picture asks all the questions and lets your imagination fill in the answers.

A lovely work.

Please click here to go to Frank's Website.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chris Johnson, at Florence's International Art Show

Chris Johnson aka Ice Bear, of Vancouver Island is presently representing Canada in Florence, Italy at the Florence Biennale, International Art Exhibition.

Sites to check.
Florence Biennale, click here.

Cliff Johnson's website click here

Bill Lishman: Man of All Seasons

Artist, sculptor, filmmaker, author, art director, inventor, pilot, naturalist, entrepreneur.

William Lishman is a versatile artist of world renown. His works over the past Three decades include two award winning films and numerous works of public art, which include an 86-foot high central theme Sculpture for Expo ‘86 in Vancouver and a 2700 square foot 21st century earth integrated dome home. He and seven pieces of his sculpture star in the acclaimed 3D IMAX film the “Last Buffalo.”

Bill was one of the pioneers of ultralight flight in Canada and in 1988 became the first human to lead birds in formation. In 1993 he led the first experimental migration of geese from Ontario to Virginia, which was documented by ABC's 20/20.

Bill's autobiography was published and released by Crown Publishers and made number four on the bestseller list in Canada loosely based on Bills life Columbia Pictures produced the hit feature film Fly Away Home released in the fall of 1996

Bill has received numerous awards including the Odyssey of the Mind's prestigious Creativity Award, which he shares, with the likes of Walt Disney, Chuck Jones and NASA as well as Canadian Pilots and Owners Association’s highest award in general aviation. In September of 2000 Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson bestowed the Meritorious Service Medal on Bill for his work with birds and bringing Honour to Canada.

Over the past decade, while continuing his work as a Sculptor Bill has presided over Operation Migration the organization he co founded to carry out research in ultralight led bird Migration. The Operation Migration team is currently working with the US Fish And Wild Life Service and several other organizations to restore a flock of Migratory Whooping Cranes to eastern North America.

Please take your time and enjoy Bill's website. site. It touches briefly on many of his accomplishments. Click here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

If by Chance, by Alex Fong

Another delightfully whimsical watercolour by BC artist Alex Fong. Alex's use of mist, and subdued colours contrast vividly with his foreground assembly of stones and rocks. This is the world that matters. This is Alex's world - not the background. The background hangs like a curtain behind the stage. And, the horizontal assembly of rocks is a barrier which blocks the flow of vision into the work. And, its here that Alex plays with his craft.

This isn't the land of tradtional landscape painting. His colourful rocks contradict what we should find in nature. But who really cares, for this is Alex' world and he invites you to come within.

Go ahead, click on the picture and it will open and becomd larger for you to view. You will see the Fongian magic at work. His champagne glass bubbles of colours and the delightful magic circle or fairy ring which surrounds the rocks and you are left witha world of magic, gaiety, and joy.

Please see this work and others on Alex's site by clicking here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sir Frederick Banting - Scientist, artist and a scratch on a wall

Let me share this with you. I lived as a child in Alliston, Ontario.
There was a small wooden house near the footbridge that we used to pass over on our walk to school. This is said to have been the house that Frederick Banting, co-discover of Insulin, lived in as a boy.

I was a solitary kid, and I used to read the many names, which boys had scratched into the red bricks on the wall of the school. One brick had the small name, Fred Banting, scratched into it. I would imagine Banting as a boy, also being a little shy and quietly etching his name into the brick I looked at. I would take my finger and run my finger over his name, and wonder what mystical union brought us together at this place along the school wall.

I recently learned that I shared another magical wonder with this remarkable man.
He was also an artistic spirit. Was this our point of contact? Were we each observers of life. Did he too marvel at life's mysteries? Was he solitary and imaginative?

Fred Banting used his life gifts, along with Dr. Best, to create insulin which was a God send to diabetics. I used my life gifts to work with the poor and the insane and those who were incarcerated.

While these were interesting points of comparison...that's where it began and ended. I was a klutz in mathematics and have no scientific bent whatsoever.

So...whatever kinship I felt with the writer of the name Fred Banting on the brick on the wall, existed solely in the dreamy imagination of a child.

Please click here to read about Sir Frederick Banting, the artist.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wall Murals: Lloydminster Ab/Sk

The story of Louis Lavoie's wall mural earns a coveted entry into the Fredericks Bucket List on the right side of the blog.

The mural we see above was created by Saskatchewan artist, Louis Lavoies. Its called Buffalo Twins and it was painted on the theme of unity and diversity, as part of the cooperative centennial project celebrated by the twin provincial city of Lloydminster. The mural mosaaic is a composite of the works of over 300 contributing artists who contributed small equal sized prairie scenes, without knowing what the end result would be when they were all assembled.

Please click here to see Louis Lavoie's website and to view the CTV archival video about the creation of the mural.

Monday, December 7, 2009

As Quintessentially Canadian as Snow Shoes and Maple Syrup

When art and functionality meet. It doesn't get much more Canadian than this. This work is produced by Maxwell pottery in Northern Ontario. Click here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Robert Bateman on the Craft of Painting

Painting, for me, has never been a hobby. It is not relaxing - writers and athletes would say the same. Since I was twelve, I have always painted unless I am interrupted. It is a labour, but it is what I do . . . a labour of love let us say.

Countless times I have talked with young people and beginning artists who are less young. Questions of my techniques and procedures often come up, so I figure it is time to write a bit about the subject.

First and foremost is the idea or the thought behind the painting. Although it is a joy to create something just for the sake of creating, it is much more satisfying to create something special. It may not necessarily be brilliantly executed, but ‘special’ means it comes from the heart and experience unique to you.

One definition of a masterpiece I have heard . . . when you see it, you should feel you are seeing for the first time, and it should look as if it is done without effort. This is a very, very tough yardstick. I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever done a masterpiece, but when I am struggling with each painting - and they are all a struggle - I often feel that I am nowhere near those two goals.

Sadly, I feel much wildlife art is just the opposite. When you see it, you feel you have seen it a thousand times before – yet another wolf, or another loon, or some other overworked subject done in the same old way. And, it looks as if it is done with a great deal of effort – every feather or every hair painted in great detail, but no sense of form or air or space or time, and often flat as a pancake.

My own ideas come out of nowhere.
It may be from a film such as “Lawrence of Arabia” as it was for the composition of my lone newborn wildebeest.

Extracted from Robert Bateman's website. Please click here to see more of Bob's works and ideas on his craft.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Brian Lorimer: Art Makes A Difference

Brian is an artist who beleives that art can make a difference. And how? Well, he is partnering with an organization called City2Sunrise. Brian writes about this partnership of their plans: "Together we are planning on making a difference in the lives of children in the world and our first stop is Cambodia. In January, I will be joining my friends from Australia on an extraordinary journey through South East Asia. It promises to be a trip of a lifetime, that we hope will bring awareness to the plight of the children in the Sunrise Children’s Village Orphanage. They will be riding motocross bikes over 14,000 kms to raise funds for for the Orphanage. My contribution is going to be a show of my work that will be about the Trip and the Orphanage."

Brian was born in Belleville, and studied at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Ontario College of Art and Design. His custom murals can be seen in the Toronto Zoo, Hard Rock Cafe, O'Charley's Restaurants, and Labatt's Breweries. He now paints from his home on Missassagagon Lake.

Brian had a recent showing at Gallery Artplus in Belleville, On, and before that at Lorimer Studios in Toronto, and at Art Auction, in Barrie, Ontario.

Click here to visit Brian's website.


Friday, December 4, 2009

The late, Bill Mason: Visual Film Artist presents "Blake"

Bill Mason grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from the University of Manitoba School of Art in 1951 and went on to a creative career, as a commercial artist, animator, filmmaker, author and painter.

I'm not quite sure if this film, about film maker Bill James, doesn't give us insight into the mind of the late, film maker Bill Mason. Blake is a film for freedom loving, artistic free spirits who yearn for a life without material burdens and where their spirit can drift with the clouds.

Many years ago, a young Irishman told me that he emigrated to Canada because of National Film Board films of this type. They reached across the world and touched the hearts of people in darkened cinemas. They planted a mythos of Canada, which seems lacking today.

Anyway,click here, buckle up your seatbelts, sit back, and enjoy this 20 minute film.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

James Lumbers, Eclectic Artist.

The New Tenant, by James Lumbers

I could rewrite James Lumber's personal biography, but rather then do that I invite you to click here, to read it from his website.

Jim is a delightfully eclectic painter, who is unafraid to tackle subjects which are as diverse as portrait studies, landscapes, or works of natural realism. Speaking personally, I don't know how many times I have stopped and looked within Jim's works and seen the mystical presence of people who have lived before and whose intangible ghost like presences look out at his viewers.

Jim's skills are prodigious. He uses his artistic skills to search beyond and within his subjects.

His picture of the late, former Prime Minister of Canada, John Diefenbaker takes his viewers beyond the surface, into the very mind of the former lawyer who brought to public service years of legal study.

Lumbers also enjoys the great respect of envirionmentalists and naturalists who see his works advancing concern for the preservation and protection of our natural world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

NFB: The Automatistes - artists of Montreal.

Jean-Paul, Riopelle. Untitled, 1951.

This documentary National Film Board film, focuses on the Automatistes, the artist of Montreal. Director Jean Palardy, presents the artistic Montreal rennaisance in 1954. Its a black and white film, and it runs for almost a half hour.

Click on this line to open the NFB film.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Biography of Bill Reid, Haida Contemporary Artist

Bill Reid ranks among Canada's finest artists, past or present. His works - finely crafted gold, platinum, silver, argillite, bronze, cedar, or ink on paper - are results of a diverse and magnificent talent, treasured by devoted collectors world-wide.

Bill Reid was born in Victoria, the son of a German-Scots-American father and a Haida mother. For 16 years he worked in broadcast journalism, including 10 years with CBC radio.

But the call to create was too strong to ignore. In 1951 he returned to the West Coast from Toronto, embarking on a creative journey lined with stunning jewelry, silkscreen prints, imposing totem poles, and massive monumental sculptures like "Killerwhale", which greets Vancouver Aquarium visitors, "The Raven and the First Men", at the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the "Spirit of Haida Gwaii" gracing the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

Bill Reid is often compared to The Raven of Haida legend, a mythical creature whose actions brought about significant changes to the world around him.

Today his art is in public and private collections around the world. Five Canadian universities have conferred honorary doctoral degrees on him and in 1986 he received the Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Crafts, and became an Officer of the Order of Canada.

In literally re-creating the art of the past, Bill Reid has shared with us the complex forms of his ancestors in a style proven truly outstanding in the art world.

Please click here to see the source document from the protocol and events branch of the Government of British Columbia.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Robert Genn at Lake O'Hara

I got to the beautiful Lake O’Hara lying in a rainbow sleep, under the steeps of Mount Lefroy and the waterfalls of Oesa. And there I realized some of the blessedness of mortals… I looked at the emerald and violet of her colour. It is emerald and malachite, and jade, and rainbow green, and mermaid’s eyes… These are some of the people who stand about O’Hara: Lefroy, Victoria, Huber, Wiwaxy, Cathedral, Odaray. I have memories of the clearest crystal mountain days imaginable, when we fortunates in the heights seemed to be sky people living in light alone.”

J.E.H. MacDonald
Group of Seven

Sunday, November 29, 2009

1972 Art Theft from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Art heist at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Broadcast Date: Sept. 4, 1972

It's the largest theft in Canadian history. Around 2 a.m. on Sept. 4, 1972, armed thieves use the skylight to enter the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The three masked men bind and gag three museum guards and flee with jewellery, figurines and 18 paintings worth a total of $2 million. Among the stolen booty are paintings by Delacroix, Gainsborough and a rare Rembrandt landscape estimated at $1 million.

"They were discriminating thieves and had a fairly good idea of what they were looking for," says museum spokesman Bill Bantey.

• The three armed thieves used a ladder propped against a back wall of the museum to enter through the skylight which was only partially alarmed due to repairs.

• Some 20 more paintings were left behind after the thieves accidentally set off a door alarm while leaving the museum.

• Despite calling in the international police agency, Interpol, to help track down the thieves, the stolen art was never recovered. According to a 2003 Globe and Mail article, the Rembrandt alone, then estimated at $1 million, would be worth 20 times its original amount.

• According to Interpol, only drug and weapons trafficking surpasses art theft as a criminal enterprise. It is estimated that more than $8.5 billion worth of fine art is stolen every year.

• Currently (2005) on the international scene, some missing works include 250 works by Marc Chagall, 271 MirĂ³s and 355 Picassos. Interpol estimates that only one in five stolen artworks is ever recovered.

• Boston's Gardner Museum was the victim of the biggest art heist in history when thieves snatched 13 paintings from its galleries in 1991. Notably among the plunder were three Rembrandts, including the Dutch master's only seascape. The stolen artworks, collectively worth $300 million, have never been recovered.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Archives.

Please click here to access the CBC radio archive.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Number One Canadian Painting in Dollar Value. February 2002.

A rare Paul Kane portrait brought from England for Sotheby's Canadian art auction has sold for nearly $5.1 million- more than twice the previous record price for a Canadian painting.

As the gavel fell last night, the crowd of 500 in the sweltering room erupted in a round of applause.

Fierce bidding for Kane's Scene In The Northwest- Portrait, executed in the winter of 1845-46, reached $4.6 million in a three- way duel among two American buyers on the telephone and Winnipeg art dealer David Loch, who bid with a subtle nod of the head from the back of the room. A fourth buyer dropped out of the bidding at $900,000.

When the dust settled, Loch- who's known to represent media mogul Ken Thomson at art auctions- got the prize. Adding in the buyer's premium (15 per cent on the first $50,000 and 10 per cent on the remainder), Kane's portrait will actually cost $5,062,500- 10 times its pre-sale estimate.

The highest amount previously paid for a Canadian painting was $2.2 million for Lawren Harris' Baffin Island, purchased last year by Thomson. He exhibits his extensive collection at his gallery in The Bay's Queen St. store.

In the auction house tradition, the name of the buyer of the Kane was not revealed. But Thomson- a voracious collector- was seen at the auction preview on Friday and again in the room last night.

"I already have eight small sketches by Kane," he said at the preview.

Last night, he wouldn't confirm whether he was the buyer. "All I'll say is that I was at the auction and witnessed it," Thomson told The Star's Michael Traikos.

"I won't say whether or not I won it. I made up my mind that I wasn't going to comment."

The auction took place at Ritchie's auctioneers on King St. E. Ritchie's formed a partnership last year with Sotheby's to enable the liquidation of entire estates, not only fine art.

Thomson's deep pockets would keep the painting from leaving Canada, which would have been permissible in this case. Canadian laws prohibit the export of culturally significant works if they have been in the country for at least 35 years, until a Canadian buyer can be found. The Kane portrait arrived here only last year.

The highest amount ever paid for a Kane painting previously was $525,000, in 1999, for an oil portrait of an Indian titled Manngwudaus.

Kane was Canada's first well-known artist, the most celebrated 19th century artist/explorer, who painted Indians throughout the west before they began to lose their characteristic dress and customs through contact with Europeans. Most of his work is in public collections including the Royal Ontario Museum, the National Gallery in Ottawa and the Stark Museum in Texas.

The portrait sold last night was of Kane's friend Capt. John Henry Lefroy, who had recommended to Sir George Simpson- superintendent of the Hudson's Bay Co.- that Kane be allowed to travel with the company's fur traders on their canoe fleets to the west.

Lefroy was a scientist and a military man who came to Toronto in 1942 to study Earth's magnetism. His calculations established the site of the magnetic North Pole. His scientific equipment is placed on the sled in the painting, which was done in Kane's Wellesley St. studio, with the winter background painted in later. Lefroy's assistant, who was not in town at the time, is shown in the background with his back to the viewer.

"It's a great piece of Canadiana," Loch said after the sale.

A copy of this painting, likely by Kane's wife Harriet Clench, is in the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. Adding to the painting's value was its freshness on the market. It has been owned by Lefroy's British descendents for some 150 years, and has not come to auction before. Lefroy also has relatives in Canada who do not stand to benefit from the sale.

The evening realized a total of $6.8 million, or more than three times the total of Sotheby's sale in the spring of 2001. Only 10 per cent of pictures (by value) went unsold.

Judy Stoffman. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.: Feb 26, 2002. pg. A.03
Copyright 2002 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lawren Harris's Old Stump, Lake Superior sells for 3.5 Million

Winner of Canada's Second Most Costly Painting Award

Thursday's CBC news reported that Lawren Harris's, Old Stump of Lake Superior, sold for $3.5 million dollars, making it the second highest selling picture in Canadian history. Interestingly, the picture was a sketch for his painting 'North Shore of Lake Superior.'

Harris's painting St. Patrick's Street Toronto recently sold for $2.8 million, and his 'Winter in the Northern Woods' sold for $1.4 million, in 2004. Prior to that, his painting 'Baffin Island', sold for $2.5 million, in 2001 making it, at that time, the most costly of the Group of Seven paintings.

The big dollar total for Harris's works cashes in at $11.2 million dollars.

And, now for the million dollar question.

"Who painted Canada's most expensive painting and how much did it sell for?"

Well, you can check the answer to that question in the Yahoo article linked below.

Click here to see the CBC's story on the sale.

To read the article on the North Shore sale, in Yahoo click here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brian Seed, of the Ottawa Art Association

Brian Seed is a well respect watercolourist. He is a member of the Ottawa Art Association, and he enjoys participating in their annual art shows.

One look at the Association's list of standings for 2009 (click here and click events)reveals that Brian is not just well respected, but he's also very good at his craft. In the 2009 Spring contest, Brian snagged a 2nd place, and in the 2009 Fall contest, he took first place.

Brian is noted for his ability to simplify his subjects by eliminating superfluous details. In the above picture, he combines this with his restricted palette of earth hues, to create an effective early spring atmosphere. And, this presents a strong contrast to the colour of the home made quilt which blows on the clothesline behind the farmhouse

I like the way Brian leads the eye along the route of a white snowy swale in the field up to the house,the clothesline and the barn. Each of these become linked like a line drawn aross mid page. "That's it folks, don't go any further..this is where the picture begins and ends. This is what it all about - my rural lifeline."

Nice touch Brian!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ottawa Art Association 2009 Fall Awards: Watercolours

Fall Awards: Watercolour Competition
First Place: Brian Seed,'Obama Inspired'.
Second Place: Josephine Braden, 'The Beagle Channel'.
Third Place: Jane Findley,'Sunflower'.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Do Colours Stay at Home?

Emily Carr, Above the Gravel Pit.

Sometimes it leads me to wonder - do colours stay where they belong?

Scientifically speaking colours are nothing more then a spectrum of light waves - frequencies of vibration of electro magnetic waves which are given life by our atmosphere. So, when you look at yellow tulip petals, you see subtle shifts in frequencies of light vibrations. Such being the case....then the yellowness of tulip flowers are not properites of the flower - they are vibrations of light which reflect from the flower. Follow my drift?

Now, lets step out onto a limb. Have you ever looked at a coloured object and had the feeling that you were looking at the colours of that object, surrounding it?

When artists unify their picture by spreading distinct colours around, are they acknowledging that frequencies of light, deflect and bounce?

Do artists see this?

I spend a lot of time in the mountains, and when you become attuned to colour, it is easy to see the light blue of the sky, literally washing down from the sky into the valley below.

Recognition of this quality of light is built into the craft of many if not most, painters.

Do colours migrate? It would seem that most artists would think so.

reference: Wikipedia

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fredericks: Now Represented by the Stockdale Mill Gallery

Its the dream of every new painter to one day reach a level in their ability where a gallery accepts their works. Thanks to Bell Byrne, who introduced me to Janet Battaglio, owner of the Stockdale Mill Gallery - I gained an opportunity to present my portfolio for inspection. To my delight Janet selected some 20 paintings.

Stockdale Mill Gallery is located in one of two charming old mills which sit opposite each other,on Cold Creek. One was a sawmill and the other a grist mill. The gallery is in the refurbished grist mill and is located in the hamlet of Stockdale, a few kilometers west of Frankfort, in eastern Ontario. These communities are not too far north of Bellville and Trenton.

The mills are treasured local historical buildings and have been painted and repainted by many, including, as I was told, one of the noted Keirstead family painters.

Its with much appreciation that I take this opportunity to thank both Janet and Bell, Joan Riley (see the right side panel),Maggie Tainsh,Diana Britt, Stephen Snider, and the many others who saw potential in my fumbling fist.

Please click here to be taken to the Stockdale Mills Gallery.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

AC Leighton

Above the Treeline
Oil on Canvas
Glenbow Museum Collection, Calgary, Ab

Above the Treeline is a statement of the glory and majesty of the Rockies and its expressed in the artful language of worship. The peaks lift like hands in prayerful supplication. The scene is positioned so the water is near the observer's eye level, and it takes us along its path, into the snow lined valley and onward to the place where sky and land meet and where streams of white cloud descend from the heavens above.

click here to link to this site

Friday, November 20, 2009

Maud Lewis, Nova Scotia Folk Artist: 1903-1970

Extract from the Maud Lewis Website:

Maud Lewis was born in Yarmouth County, and endured many hardships in her early life. As a teenager, she started to experience deformities of her face and hands as a result of a childhood disease. Maud married Everett Lewis, and together they lived in a small one room house with sleeping loft, without benefit of electricity or plumbing. Although she suffered from physical handicaps, she made hand drawn Christmas cards and later, small brightly coloured paintings, which she sold to help overcome their poverty. She also painted birds, flowers and butterflies on various parts of the tiny house in which they lived, and many articles within the house. Examples of Maud's art can be found in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which has reconstructed her house and installed it in the gallery as part of a permanent Maud Lewis exhibit. Her work can also be found in the Canadian Museum of Civilization. She is the subject of a book, "The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis", and a stage play has been written about her life. She is also the subject of two National Film Board of Canada documentaries, "Maud Lewis - A World Without Shadows" (1997), and "The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis" (1998). In later years, her husband Everett also began to paint.

Please click this line to be taken to the Maud Lewis Website.

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.