Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympic Gold Match Today - Canada vs USA.

Canadian hockey fans prepare for the olympics, by Bob Kreiger

Well today's the big game, and this work was too good to resist. Thanks to Bob Krieger who posted it on

There is something so archetypally Canadian about this. We Canadians love turning our sacred national symbols into objects of humour. One of the most popular Canadian television shows, makes weekly sport of cutting our politicians off at the knees.

Today, its the big hockey game of the Winter significant event that it is staged as the finale on the last day. This time its a broadcaster's dream, Canada vs the USA.

Then, along comes Bob Krieger and delightfully presents this work of satirical comic art to celebrate the occasion. Bob has been drawing satirical cartoons for the Vancouver Province since 1981.

Please click here to find his work on the Canadian Cartoonists website.

Please click here to be taken to Bob's work on

Olympic Badminton Competitor: Helen Nicholl by artist Deborah Pearce

2004 Olympic competitor Helen Nicholl
Artist: Deborah Pearce
Acrylics: 28"x28"

About the Artist
"Deborah Pearce earned her BFA from Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB. She studied art under Robert Bateman at Nelson HS, and received a Canada Council Grant to paint the people of Africa. She studied portraiture at the American Portrait Institute in New York under John Howard Sanden and is an award winning member of the Portrait Society of Canada. Deborah has spent her life painting commissioned portraits, across Canada. She has also painted large scale commercial murals in Ontario and the US. Deborah has taught art from Cape Breton to Vancouver. Presently, she teaches painting and portraiture at the Burlington Art Centre.

With appreciation to the Portrait Society of Canada. Please click here to visit their website.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stephen Weir presents: Group of Seven Drawings at the McMichael

The McMichael Gallery is located in Kleinburg, Ontario along the Oak Ridge and is one of Canada's foremost art galleries. The Gallery is richly endowed with the works of many of Canada's most respected artists - included in which is Emily Carr, The Group of Seven and many foremost native artists. The gallery is over 85,000 sq, feet in size.

Please click here to visit Stephen Weir's website.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Jolifou Inn, a film about the art of Cornelius Kreighoff

This short film depicts Canada as it was a hundred years ago, as seen through the paintings of artist and adventurer Cornelius Krieghoff. The changing seasons, the Quebec countryside, village life — all were an unending inspiration to Kreighoff.

Viewing time: 10 minutes
Please click here to view this National Film Board film.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is Alex Colville's Horse and Train Growing Dark and Cracking with Time???

Oh a Canadian iconic work of art deteriorating before our eyes and cracking?

The following excerpt has been extracted from 'The Canadian Heritage', a newsletter from the Canadian Conservation Institute.

"Horse and Train, by Alex Colville, is an icon in Canadian art. The unsettling image of a horse running towards an oncoming train, combined with the precision of the artist’s technique, is captured in the memory of all who have seen the painting or one of the many reproductions of the image. Upon viewing the painting, art gallery visitors often comment that it is darker than they recall, questioning whether it is changing in tone over time. It had also been noticed that there is a cracquelure over the painting’s surface, a condition rarely seen in Colville’s work..........
A technical examination was done to determine the nature and cause of the craquelure and to determine if the painting’s appearance had changed significantly due to darkening. Such an assessment requires familiarity with the artist’s materials and techniques. Colleagues in several institutions — the Art Gallery of Ontario, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the New Brunswick Museum, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) — allowed the author to examine other works by Colville, and to study associated documentation in the gallery files. They also provided insightful comments on the condition and treatment of various Colville works. This investigation culminated in discussions with the artist himself."

Upon seeing the painting, Mr. Colville was relieved to observe its condition and felt its appearance had not changed in a major way. There was nothing in the technical examination to suggest the painting had become darker. It is dark because it was painted that way. The tone was created by a deliberate choice of colour and pigmented glazes. The artist completed his vision by designing and constructing a frame that accentuates the somber, dark impact of the work. Mr. Colville noted: “Right from the beginning, I thought of this painting as dark; dark in the visual sense and in the metaphysical sense.”1

Colville’s technical process is thorough, meticulous and deliberate. He makes every effort to impart a high degree of permanence to his works. “I really want the paintings to last. Right from the beginning, I’ve always felt this way. The idea that some painters have, that they actually like the paintings to age and transform ... there’s nothing I’d like more to avoid.” Since the late 1950s, he has often written detailed notes on the reverse of his paintings, describing the materials used: “I thought the more information I give for possible use by conservators and so on, the better.”

Horse and Train is in good condition; however, there is a fine cracquelure over the surface. This type of cracking, often referred to as drying cracquelure, could have been caused by the materials he used. It is also likely that an ill-advised cleaning attempt, early in the life of the painting, could have contributed to the problem. A light surface cleaning has recently been completed. Inpainting of minor abrasions to the painting and the original frame will be done soon."

To read the unedited copy, please click here:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Canada's Most Diverse Fashion Show

Several years ago my daughter Kristi went to a party wearing a dress she made.
"No big deal you would say," for lots of women make dresses and clothing. But, Kristi doesn't sew or know how to use a sewing machine. She made her dress from duct tape and for years she walked around with a duct tape wallet. No wonder Port Moody's Annual Wearable Art Award caught my attention.

Click here to discover Canada's most diverse annual fashion event.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Documentary Looks Beyond The Tragic Tom Thompson

Tom Thompson - second from left. Picture from family collection.

Its interesting, that for most Canadians the most significant thing we know about him was that he was found dead on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. Little is known about how he lived, and the story of his life. Peter Goddard devotes a column in the Arts section of the Star on Thompson. A film about the life of Tom Thompson is about to go into production. Its a good read.

Source of blog article and picture:
The Toronto Star.
Sat Feb 20 2010
Click here to be taken to the Toronto Star article.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Any Road North, by Johannus Boots

"Any Road North" was commissioned by Cheryl Casselman for her debut Country Music CD release by the same name. There were many synchronicities surrounding this painting from my own move back to the country at the time, as well as seeing my first wild wolf days after Cheryl informed me that it was her husband's totem animal. It is my belief that synchronicities are there to guide us on our path."

Do you want to have some fun? Take a few minutes to look carefully through Johannus's 'Any Road North', to see how many animals you can find.

From Johannus's Website:
Please click here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gary Kennedy - Painting from the Rock

Light and shadow are very important elements of my paintings. I love the unique challenge that light and shadow offers me as a painter. I like to paint different sizes of paintings but my favorite are large ones. I like to paint large paintings so I can give the viewer appreciation of depth and composition. When I complete a large painting I feel it is a great achievement when I exhibit. I love how people are literally drawn to the canvas.

Gary Kennedy: A Cod is a Cod is a Cod

Gary Kennedy has a good story to tell. He entered art as a child, under the infuence of a George Noseworthy, a visiting artist from New York. Gary was born and raised in Port de Grave, Newfoundland. George moved to Port Au Graves and during his life there, influenced and encouraged many local youth in their development of art. Gary was his most promising student protege.

I have extracted this information from Gary's website. Rather then repeat it for you, I encourage you to check it out and to read his story.

Gary's art career has been illuminated by his first formal art exhibition being held along with a group of fellow Newfoundland artists in the Parliament Buildings.

I picked this work by Gary to present him to the F-A, blog readers for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is an archetypal Newfoundland scene. Not just that but the title Gary chose is a definite winner. "A Cod is a Cod is a Cod," suggests that if you see one codfish you see them all.......and for a fisherman, it means that there is a lifetime of cod to be seen.

Although Gary is a Newfoundlander, his repertoire isn't restricted to boats, icebergs, fishermen and fish. Far from it. When you check out his site you will find a richly, diverse portfolio.

Look for more of his works in the future.

Please check his personal bio over by clicking here.. and his works on his website by clicking here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dr John Kennedy of the University of Toronto Studies Esref Armagan - A Blind Man Who Paints!

This has to be seen to be believed. A blind man who can paint? And..paint better then many people with sight.

Esref lives in Turkey...but this Discovery Channel video brings us his story through professor John Kennedy of the University of Toronto. The video allows you to see the stunning results of an MRI on Esref's brain- and a test given to him, drawing the artistically significant Baptistry, of Florence, Italy.

All of which leads me to speculate. If a blind artist can see - then what about a sighted artist? Does a sighted artist sees more then people who are not artists?

The video prompts so many questions and gives so few answers.

But one thing for certain - this video is stunning.

A special thanks to the anonymous artist and reader who sent this video my way.

Please click here to view this amazing video.

Friday, February 19, 2010

William Notman Biography and Story on

from the McCord Museum, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Extracted from photography ca. Link here.

"William Notman, b. 1826; d. 1891 Born in Scotland, William Notman immigrated to Canada in 1856 and soon after his arrival established himself as a photographer in Montréal. Notman's business thrived and he became the most important photographer in Canada. His fame as a portrait photographer drew the Montréal elite, prominent visitors to the city, and ordinary citizens to his studio. Although the major portion of his work was devoted to portraits, he also did landscapes, street scenes, and city views across Canada. Over the years the business expanded to include two studios in both Montréal and Boston with one studio in Toronto, Ottawa, St. John and Halifax as well as several in New England. After William Notman's death in 1891 the family business was passed on to two of his sons, William McFarlane Notman and Charles F. Notman. The Montréal business was sold by Charles F. Notman in 1935 to Associated Screen News. (from: McGill University Archives, Montreal)"

I recently came upon the website,, where I found the above picture and biography of William Notman.

Before I go any further I was impressed by the site, and will most certainly make a practice of returning to it to check its contents. The article on Notman provides an excellent insight into his life.

Please click here to be taken to

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Susan Makin Donates Picture Procedes to Haitian Relief

Canadian Olympic Swimmer, Alex Bauman on Podium by Susan R. Makin.

Susan Makin, whose picture of Olympic Skater, Nathalie Lambert (right side of blog), and her painting of former Olympic swimmer, Alex Bauman, announces that she is planning on donating the procedes of these work to the Haitian Earthquake Relief Fund.

Makin's view of Bauman, effectively captures the spirit of the situation when Bauman wins his Gold metal and enters that glorious 'other worldly' state and drifts away into a state of euphoria.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Exploring the Myths of Winnipeg

'"Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg. Photograph by Jody Shapiro. © Everyday Pictures Inc. A Maximum Films release, photo courtesy of Maximum Film Distribution."

How Winnipeg and Its Art Became Such a Big Deal

Art is the means by which artists present visual representations of the myths they chose to believe or, perhaps more simply said, the stories they use to tell themselves who they are.

This article from 'Canadian Dimension', written by Ed Jensen, explores the idea of the myths of Winnipeg in art.

His article 'The Power of Myth', will take you a few minutes to read. I found it thought provoking.

Please click here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Special Invitation from the Portrait Society of Canada

All athletes fans, supporters, and friends are invited to the Portrait Society of Canada's Exhibition of Olympic Stars. See right side panel to link to the Portrait Society's website and for details about the showing.

Opening Reception: Thursday March 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Kristi Hasson, New Brunswick Floral Artist

AnnaEileen, by Krista Hasson

Krista at work

I was born and raised in Saint John New Brunswick and currently reside in Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada. I am a realist painter who loves using strong rich color to portray the things I am passionate about.

I find nature as a whole to be an endless supply of inspiration, but with flowers in particular, I am moved by their delicate beauty and mesmerized by their form and vibrant colors. I am inspired to capture their essence in my art.

My interest and talent for art was evident early on. As a child I loved to draw and paint, spending hours creating. I enjoy working with various mediums but work primarily with watercolors and soft pastels. It is my hope that when viewing my work you will find as much joy as I did while creating it.

Krista will appear in the April/May edition of the 'International Artist' magazine. She welcomes you to visit her website by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Harold Town

Remembering illustrious artist Harold Town
Broadcast Date: Oct. 24, 1986

He was an abstract painter, illustrator, printmaker, sculptor and writer. He rose to fame as a founding member of Painters Eleven, a group of avant-garde artists. And on December 27, 1990, the man who defined art with a rich and varied palette, Harold Town, died at the age of 66. In this clip, four years before his death, Town speaks about his rise to fame and his life as a Canadian icon.

Town enjoyed a meteoric life. He rode the fame train and his name was on everyone's lips in the Toronto art scene 40 years ago. It appears, in retrospect that Town's reputation was more likely a product of his flamboyant personality, then on the back of talent and skill.

I may be unduly hard on Town, but in some ways, he seemed to personify the weakness of the abstract age of art - where avante guarde characters spun bicycle wheels on canvases or painted soup cans and demanded enormous sums for their works.

Please click here for CBC interiew

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Art Gallery of Alberta Opens to Public Acclaim

Los Angeles Designer, Randal Stoute is delighted with the opening of the new Art Gallery of Alberta. The Gallery is the result of 3 years of work and $88 million dollars of public and private donations.

Please click here to read the article from the National Post.

Monday, February 8, 2010

More on Totems

Cinda Chavich
Published on Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 5:11PM EST

Last updated on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 3:46AM EST
"It's dark and drizzling when I finally reach the village of Gitanyow, but the dull weather can't blunt the striking scene before me. Here, alongside the muddy main road, stand more than 20 weathered totem poles, the carved crests and lineage of families who have lived here for centuries. While it's impressive to see these stark sentinels in any setting – whether in a museum, art gallery or urban park – the chance to view the poles in situ, in the First Nations community where they belong, is both wonderful and humbling.

And in this isolated Gitksan village, in northern British Columbia, I'm among some of the oldest standing poles in the world.

“This one is from 1760, this 1880, and 1910,” says hereditary chief and local museum curator Deborah Good, as we walk among the remains of the weathered wooden figures, many which had been left to rot on the ground before this small museum was opened in 2008."

Please click here to read the complete article from the Globe and Mail.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Story Time: Stephen Snider, Fredericks, and the Warkworth Co-op

Stephen Snider was one of my art teachers, along life's way. He was good, and he did all the things that art teachers should do to students: he motivated, inspired, taught, and challenged.

Let me tell you what I mean by challenged.

I was struggling to figure out which end of my paint brush to stick in water, when Stephen tossed this scene out as a challenge. Its a picture of the old mill and coop in Warkworth Ontario, across the street from the seniors centre where Stephen led his art classes.

I painted and repainted this scene, and never got it right. It was more an exercise in frustration then anything else. And, what frustrated me most of all was that Stephen who rarely painted in waters, picked up a brush and tossed this picture off, without seeming to break into a sweat.

And here's where this blog entry is going.

It was not just a challenge for me, but it exceeded my level of ability. It was beyond the grasp of my level of skill and confidence.

The moral of the story - I guess as artists we have to be realistic and know our limitations. Its ok to reach for the moon - but what happens if we can't grasp it? Are we prepared for the consequences?

As painters, we need to be challenged, but we also need to be able to accept our limitations and not be overly discouraged by failure.

It was only when I reached the point as a watercolourist, when I could paint without worrying about the consequences of failure, that I had a signficant breakthrough in my development.

I have known many beginning watercolour painters, gasp with horror at their first paintings in waters - then toss their brushes down and walk away from the media.

I have painted in waters now for about 5 years. The Warkworth mill is now within my reach - I think. Its time for a repaint.

Please check the list of featured artists on the right side of the page for a link to Stephen's site.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Secrets of the Muskeg by Angela Fehr

The northern Canadian swamp is absolutely one of my favourite places to be in fall. The moss is eighteen inches thick, dripping with low hanging cranberries and ablaze with color and the fascinating shapes formed by lichens and bleached weathered deadfalls.

This painting is one of a series of three entitled "Secrets of the Muskeg". I've seen many artists who paint broad, wide-angle landscapes but these small, cross-section landscape "macros" - I don't know anyone else who does it.

Great work Angela. Click on Angela's name on right side panel of artists to be taken to her site.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tough Words

Harold Town Mummers 1954 / photo Ingram Gallery
to view source, please click here:

“There is something rotten in the state of Toronto art, and it is of the dead rot kind,” where according to artist Graham Coughtry, “every damn tree in the country has been painted.”

1950 article from Canadian Art
Source: Oscar Cahen site. Click here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eric Keast's Work on Display in the Fort Frances Museum

Curator Pam Cain straightened a very large painting by local artist Eric Keast at the Fort Frances Museum on Friday afternoon. The painting is but one of the works by area artists being exhibited in the main gallery through February to promote the local Community Arts & Heritage Education Project (CAHEP). Area artists are welcome to bring in some of their own works to be included in the exhibit. Extracted from the Fort Francis Times, Online.
Please click here to visit the site.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Brush with War: The Canadian War Museum - from Korea to Afghanistan

Laura Brandon, curator of the Canadian Military Museum presents 'A Brush with War', a visual profile of Canadian war paintings.

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.