Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Frank Black, 'The Angry Atlantic'.

Paul Dorsey, who is a huge fan of the late Frank Black's art, posted this work on his site, 'The Dali House'. (click here)

I find myself drawn to paintings about the sea. It could be a romantic thing. It could be The primal, relentless energy of the sea. It could be the the wonder of what is beyond the horizon, or it could be that it represents challenge for human conquest.

I don't know, but Frank Black so dramatically captures all of this and more in this work. There is a richness of colour and drama in this work and a path of foam that leads us from the bottom through a passage in the rocks out into the ocean. I like how Black evokes the powerful energy the waves as they crash against the rocks.

Sometimes too, the less shown the better. The sky is purposefully nonediscript. It doesn't draw the viewer's attention away from the ocean surface.

But look at the drama! Black's effective use of conrast between the large, dark rocks on the left and the whiteness of the foam gives this work its punch. What a painting!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fogo Island Art School Opening for Business

The Long Studio, Fogo Island, Newfoundland.

he Fogo Island Arts Corporation is a new contemporary art venue on the east coast of Canada.

The Arts Corporation runs two distinct yet complementary programs, the Residency program and the Production program. Both programs encourage dialogue between visiting artists and local people to share experiences and perceptions.

The Fogo Island Arts Corporation's mission to bring together local communities and the international art scene is reflected in the accommodations and work space provided to Residency Program participants. Striking new studios are being built at locations across the island. They are designed by acclaimed architect Todd Saunders. The first of these studios – the Long Studio – opened on June 2 2010.

Living spaces are provided in refurbished traditional homes located in nearby communities on the island.

More information is available at our website:

how to apply

Visual artists, curators and filmmakers can apply for residencies on Fogo Island in 2011. Residencies are 3 – 6 months. Visiting artists/curators/filmmakers are provided with a studio space and a house to live in.

Application deadline for residencies in 2011 is July 31 2010.

Applications are reviewed by an international Selection Committee.

For complete guidelines and applications forms please visit 'How to apply' on

Applications should be sent to:

Application Committee
Highway 334 – suite 100

Applications are accepted by regular mail only.

Contact information:

Elísabet Gunnarsdóttir
+1 709 270 0011

Sunday, June 27, 2010

St Martin's by Ken Tobias

This delightful landscape work by Ken Tobias, creates a sense of soltitude. The picture covers such a vast panorama of sea and distant land that I cannot help but feel a sense of diminution. The recognition of one's finiteness against the vastness of earth and sky creates for me a sense of awe at the beauty of the earth.

Ken choses his colours well. The blues and the whites of the sky ties into the reflection of the water below and the colour of the sea bottom and the illuminative warmth of the headland and the distant blue horizon take me back to the times when I have walked the shores of the Bay of Fundy, with my camera in hand.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Leonard Cohen, Painter

If there were no paintings in the world,
Mine would be very important.
Same with my songs.
Since this is not the case, let us make haste to get in line,
Well towards the back.
Sometimes I would see a woman in a magazine
Humiliated in the technicolour glare.
I would try to establish her
In happier circumstances.
Sometimes a man.
Sometimes living persons sat for me.
May I say to them again:
Thank you for coming to my room.
I also loved the objects on the table
Such as candlesticks and bowls.
From a mirror on my desk
In the very early morning
I copied down
Hundreds of self-portraits.
The Curator has called this exhibition
Leonard Cohen Artworks
I call my work
Acceptable Decorations.
- Leonard Cohen

Most people know Leonard Cohen as a singer and a poet, but few know of him as a painter. Robert Genn, the celebrated British Columbia artist, attends a Leonard Concert and explores Cohen's creative vision in his Painter' Keys.
. Click here.

To view a few of Cohen's pictures, please click here to be taken to The Gallery Lounge.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Barry Penton, 'Hanging Clothes'

You know what I like about this work? Its the contrast within the subject. The setting is a Newfoundland harbour. Barry gives us a sky and water and a distant shore, but all the action of this work takes place in the lower third from the red building down.

I find myself following the opposite shoreline from left to right, and my eye is drawn to the bright red shed, and along to the open door and the ramp, and there is a small visual leap to the dock where we find the lady hanging her laundry. Barry closes the visual pathway in with barrels and a wooden frame.

The contrast lies in the subject itself. Our eye is taken from the fisherman's shed - to his dock. And, our vision is arrested - not by a fisherman forking fish out of a boat, or by a pile of nets, but by a woman working with her laundry on a clothes line.

There is a dark cloud which suggests the potential or rain, and her laundry blows in the wind. Maybe the woman is hurrying to bring her laundry in...or, she may on the other hand be hanging her laundry out and taking her chances.

But the action unfolds on a dock, and not behind or beside a house. And, this intriques me and I find myself asking why. What is Barry telling us?
Is it a social statement? Is the struggle of outport life, blowing in the wind?

Only the artist knows for sure.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Alex Fong, 'Spring at Last'

This delightful work reveals Alex Fong's, playful sense of composition and his masterful feel for colour.

Its a partially abstract work, but yet its easy to see yourself looking into a garden pool and seeing goldfish or koy swimming. And its not hard to imagine that you are looking at a map of the universe, complete with galaxies, planets and stars.

Its one of those works which matter not, what you see. Nobody is going to walk away after seeing this, with a feeling that the artist has given us an insightful vision of life. There are no deep inner philosphies, no mystic truths, no weighty statements of life. What you see is what you get. And, what you get is very, very good.

Please click here to be taken to Alex's website where other treasures can be found.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ken Tobias, Songwriter, Singer and Artist.

Ken Tobias donates painting to 'Brush of Hope', in support of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. 2009.

Ken Tobias celebrates life as many artistic people do, with his hand in varied art forms. While Ken is known, mainly as an foremost Canadian songwriter, and singer
not so many people know that behind the scenes Ken expresses himself with a palette, brush and canvas.

Since the focus of this blog is on Canadian Visual Arts, I suggest that readers interested in Ken's musical career and background check the links at the bottom of this page. But, for the uninitiated Ken is known for writing the soft rock classic song by the Bells called Stay Awhile which sold over a million records and he is known for such Canadian hits like I just Want To Make Music , Every Bit Of Love, Give A Little Love, Fly Me High, Dream #2 and New York City

Ken was born in St. John, New Brunswick and he directed himself in life as a draftsman. Before long, he found himself on a journey which led him to the East Coast television music show, 'Singalong Jubilee' and springboarded from there into a formidable music career.

Ken lived for many years in Toronto through the 1990s before returning to his home town.

Ken was for a time represented by 'The Gallery Wall' in Toronto.

You can check out Ken's website by clicking here. Ken expects that his website will soon feature as many as 160 of his paintings.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Canadian Art Club Member: James Wilson Morrice.

Born in Montréal, Quebec in 1865. Died in Tunis, Tunisia in 1924. James Wilson Morrice RCA, who was born into an affluent Montréal family, studied law in Toronto from 1882 to 1886. After graduating and being admitted to the Bar, he devoted himself entirely to painting. In 1888, he exhibited his works for the first time. Towards 1890, he made a decisive trip to Europe, and only ever returned to Canada for short periods. In Paris, Morrice studied with Harpignies, who elicited his interest in landscape and encouraged him to paint from nature. He admired Whistler’s work, was a regular at literary circles and formed a friendship with Somerset Maughan. Between 1890 and 1924, Morrice travelled a great deal, first in Brittany and then Venice, North Africa—specifically Morocco, where he shared a studio with Matisse—and Tunisia. He also travelled to the West Indies and the Caribbean (Cuba, Trinidad and Jamaica).

'View towards Levi from Quebec City.'

Painting extracted from Cybermuse. Please click here.

Picture and biography extracted from virtual Please click here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Canadian Art Club

The Canadian Art Club, was founded 1907 in Toronto by Edmund M. Morris and Curtis Albert Williamson.

Joan Murray writes in, 'Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century':

"Most of the members of the group trained in France and several of the artists from Quebec had rarely shown their work in Canada. Of the group, James Wilson Morrice who studied in the Academie Julian and later and later under the French painter, Henri Harpigines, was best known internationally, largely through exhibitions in Paris like the annual Salon d'Automne. In 1909, Louis Vauxcelies, a leading French critic wrote that since Whistler's death in 1903, Morrice had become the North American Painter who achieved in France the most 'notable and well merited place in the world of art'.
The membership of the club included Franklin Brownell, an American with French training who taught art in Ottawa, Archibald Browne, New York based Horatio Walker the Millet -inspired painter of habitant subjects who achieved some success in the United States, and Homer Watson."

Joan also writes that the group went on to include, William Brynner, William H. Clapp, Ernest Lawson, Suzor Cote, and sculptor members Phimister Proctor.

"Later members of the group used a tonal, atmospheric style in their early work by the time they showed with the club they were impressionists with a virtuoso technique, aimed at representing the appearance of the world out-of-doors as it is affected by light, its reflection, and atmosphere."

Source: Joan Murray, pp 12-13, 'Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century'.
Dundern Press. Oxford. Toronto. 1999. ISBN 1-55002-332-2

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Today at 4pm Eastern on TVO

Woodland Spirits: The View From Here

Woodland Spirits highlights the mentoring connections linking three men, Gelineau Fisher, Moses Beaver and Andrew Machendagoos, representing three generations of Woodland artists living in northwestern Ontario. All three have been profoundly affected by the life and work of the late Roy Thomas, a close friend, artistic influence and father figure whose wisdom on the connections between art, people and the natural world is a key presence in the film.

And for our Nighthawk Artists
Time 0300
Sunday, June 21st.

Rembrandt: The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilus (1666)

Rembrandt van Rijn. By 1660 Rembrandt was a bankrupt widower whose work was out of fashion. Rather than conform to the tastes of the new generation of rich Amsterdamers, his painting went on in his own direction. Given a chance for a come back in the form of a commission for the new Town Hall in 1666, he painted "The Conspiracy of the Batavians Under Claudius Civilus", the "creation myth" of Holland, in a rough, tough way, the antithesis of the 17th C. New Manner. It was rejected and returned to the artist.

Please Click here.

Istvan Kantor: Doing His Own Thing

Visual Arts, writer Peter Goddard, writes this about this unusual artist,in the Toronto Star.
...gentrified Toronto will understand why, in his chosen role as arts performer-provocateur, he rails against authoritarian organizations, primarily art museums. Mostly, he does so by way of orchestrated performances where he smears or drips or spills his own blood perilously close to some of art’s greatest works.

In 1991, one of his “Blood Campaign” performances led to him being booted out of the National Gallery of Canada. Months of badgering by his lawyer — and the artist’s 2004 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts — earned him entry back into the Ottawa institution.

In 2006, the Art Gallery of Toronto gave him the heave-ho for performing in the nude (with computer parts clipped to his private parts) in front of a prize Andy Warhol work, even though the show carried the provocative title, “Supernova: Stars, Deaths and Disasters.” He’s still banned from the AGO.

Please click here to read Peter's article in the Toronto Star.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Johannus Boots: Guides and Guardians

As regular blog readers can tell, I have an affinity for our native peoples and their cultural expressions in art. This work by Johannus Boots seems to express so many things about our Native brothers and sisters in art.

Johannus writes:
A walk through the wonders of Niagara Glen Park is fraught with images cast in rock. Images that seem to encompass animal, man and spirit. They were created thousands of years ago and appear to stand fast to this day with a life of their own. In the opening of this pathway is a cat-like creature that seems to be guarding the beings that have gone before us, protecting the wisdom of the Native peoples and their unbreakable connection to this earth. The experiences of these souls were so powerful that they left a tangible impression. They are waiting to guide us back to the pathway of unity where respect and kindness override war, where honesty and integrity override deception and greed. A path that transcends into a stairway that bypasses the fear manufactured by a corrupt government. A stairway that ascends into a higher state of consciousness. It brings us to the place where we meet the figure in the light. She is there to welcome and remind us that we, in fact, are one and can live in celebration of that unity.
It is with honour and respect that I offer my visual impression of 'Guides and Guardians'.

This picture and more of Johannus's beautiful works can be found on his website. Please click here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Woodland Spirits on TV Ontario

Clarence Micon writes:

Woodland Spirits examines how generations of Ojibway artists have experienced a personal spiritual connection with their ancestors and to the Creator as expressed through their art.

Extract from Clarence Micon blog. Please click here.

View on TV Ontario, June 20th.
Click here to be taken to the TVO website.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kelly Morehouse

Kelly Morehouse at the Portrait Society of Canada's Olympic Series Showing in Toronto

About Kelly...

Kelly Morehouse is an artist with a feel for the peaceful, the calm, and the gentle. The art she creates reflects her attitude toward that which enriches our lives without the clutter of today’s hectic world. People, nature, contemplative abstracts and similar types of introspective subjects are her usual focus.

Born in Newfoundland, raised in Kansas, New Brunswick & Alberta, Kelly returned to the east coast that she loves. She now lives with her husband, daughter and many beloved critters on a hobby farm in the rolling hills of rural Nova Scotia.

Kelly studied art at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax. Her work, for which she has won several awards, has been added to a number of private collections. She is a member of the Portrait Society of Canada and Hants County Arts Council as well as the East Hants Fine Arts Association, and for the past few years has shown her work in their annual Spring Show.

When not at work in her garret or in the barn, Kelly might be found taking photographs or acting on one of the local stages or in a visiting film.

To learn more about Kelly and her art, please click here to be taken to her website

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

While on the topic of official portraits

The jury's out on this work. It sure stands out in the halls of our stately and austere parliament buildings in Ottawa. Why is it that when I look at it, it looks strangely like an election billboard or political lawn sign?

Is this meant to send shivers of anxiety up the backs of MP's who walk past it?
Do they look over their shoulders and wonder what's coming around the corner? Is this the ghost of elections past?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dief the Chief by James Lumbers

This work by James Lumbers caught my eye, particularly since Jean Chretien's portrait was recently hung in the Parliament Building in Ottawa.

As in many great paintings there is a point of tension. In this case it is the contrast expressed between colour and subject.

James used a lot of grey in this work. In our spoken language, the word grey, implies shades of meaning - nuances. It inhabits the region somewhere between the black and white of fact. But we're not talking about speech here. We're studying a painting.

But here's the rub. The greys do much more then waffle about in netherland, Their neutrality gives punch to the rest of the painting. While grey is neither here nor there - everything else in the picture is definitive and objective. And, herein lies the line of artistic tension within the work.

Diefenbaker sits on a hard, black leather seat, and he is surrounded by hard edged furniture. And he also fixes his formidable power of attention upon his paperwork.

Now when we look at the subject's face, the strength of this tension is maximized.
So we can see how Lumbers effectively uses grey as a counterpoint to give strength and power to his subject.

To view more of Jame's works, please click here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Emily Coonan Biography provides this biography on Emily Coonan.

An early exponent of Canadian modernism, Coonan was brought up in Point St. Charles, Montreal. She took art classes first at Conseil des arts et manufactures, and later at the School of the Art Association of Montreal, where William Brymner became her teacher and mentor. Another important influence was the work of James Wilson Morrice, whose work she admired. Coonan became a member of the Beaver Hall Group, an important assembly of artists in Montreal which came together in 1920, named after their studio location at 305 Beaver Hall Hill.
Figurative work was a primary focus for Coonan in the early part of her career. She took a modernist approach in which the emphasis was less that of a traditional portrait that seeks to express the personality of the model, but more on the aesthetic concerns of the painting as a whole - form rather than content. Importantly, the exhibition of this work in the 1910 Annual Spring Exhibition at the Art Association of Montreal was a significant landmark for Coonan. Antaki writes, "With the inclusion of Evelina, 1830, and three other works in this, the 26th Spring show, her 'professional' career was well underway. What is most striking in Evelina is its utterly unselfconscious demeanor and the confident, yet delicate manner in which it was executed." The Herald newspaper reviewed the show, proclaiming that, "the oil Evelina, 1830 an arrangement in lavender, violet and white indicates the work of a born colorist of more than average talent." There is speculation that the model could possibly be Coonan's sister Eva, as she had painted her before in period costume in the 1907 work Eva and Daisy. There is also the possibility that the image derives from Fanny Burney's novel Evelina (or a Young Lady's Entrance into the World), as Coonan was an avid reader and loved the classics. In any case, although Coonan uses a more historical form of dress, the work is distinctly modern in its treatment, with the sensitive modulated background stripped of all detail, and the very painterly, brushy approach to the details of the dress. The stance in profile makes the work less a portrait and more a classic universal study in feminine beauty and grace, with an evocative, lyrical mood. It also gives emphasis to the wall and floor, whose sensitive colour surfaces contribute to the atmosphere of the work. In this refined and beautiful painting, Coonan fully explores the formal aesthetic qualities of art through the figure. It is interesting to note that Evelina sold for $50 - quite a considerable price in 1910 and a reflection of her importance. In 1987, this magnificent painting was included in Concordia University's important one-woman exhibition of Coonan's work, and was illustrated in the catalogue for the show.
Coonan traveled to Europe in 1912 with Beaver Hall Group member Mabel May, visiting France, Belgium and Holland. She was awarded a National Gallery of Canada traveling scholarship in 1914, but because of the war had to wait until 1920 to 1921 to enjoy a full year painting in Europe. Most of her exhibiting history took place in the first part of her life; between 1908 and 1924 Coonan contributed to many of the annual exhibitions at the Art Association of Montreal and the Royal Canadian Academy. After 1925 she exhibited less frequently, with 1933 being her last show. Although other women from the Beaver Hall Group continued their ties throughout their lives, Coonan did not. However, she continued to paint until the end of her life, and for the next 30 years she chose to work on her own, sketching en plein air during regular excursions in the Quebec countryside with her family. Her landscapes derived in style from the continuing landscape tradition in Quebec. Although Coonan's paintings, due to her more private life after 1933, were not often seen for a time, the recent attention to the fine work of the Beaver Hall artists has brought the spotlight to her accomplished career again.

This noteworthy painting was purchased by some lucky patron of the arts for, $46,800.00 at Heffel's recent auction in Vancouver.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Emily Coonan, Girl in a Dotted Dress, 1923.

Emily Coonan: 'Girl in Dotted Dress', c1923

I couldn't help but think of this work by Emily Coonan, when I was writing my blog entry on The Two Sisters of Quebec.

Anne Newlands in her book, Canadian Paintings Prints and Drawings uses this painting on the cover, and she gives credit to the Art Gallery of Hamilton as its owner. She reports that it was given to the gallery by the Hamilton Spectator, newspaper.

Emily was a member of the Montreal Beaver Hall group. As was Prudence Heward, who painted the 'Two Sisters of Quebec' featured in an earlier blog entry.

..."in the treatment of women, these paintings are not ingratiating society portraits but specific descriptions of character and social circumstance. The subjects are often guarded, bored or defiant. They can be disconcertingly direct (Torrance Newton’s Martha) or so inward-looking they’re scarcely aware of the viewer (Emily Coonan’s Girl in Dotted Dress). Several of the Beaver Hall women also offered rigorously unsentimental paintings of children. The youngsters in Heward’s Sisters of Rural Quebec exhibit spooky, Dakota Fanning-like self-possession."

To see the full CBC article please click here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Retired Banker Goes on Spending Spree at ROM Sotheby Sale

James Adams
Globe and Mail Update
Published on Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010 12:25AM EDT
Last updated on Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010 12:52AM EDT

A retired investment banker from western Canada went on an unintended art buying spree in Toronto Wednesday evening, spending almost $1.6-million, excluding taxes, on just seven art works from among the 139 lots Sotheby’s Canada was auctioning at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Tom Budd, who splits his time between Calgary and Kelowna, came to Toronto initially with two bidding goals: first to buy a large oil on canvas by the Group of Seven’s Arthur Lismer called Bon Echo Rock, valued pre-sale at $250,000-$350,000, then snag an early Canadian red ensign dating to 1868, valued at $40,000-$60,000.

The 53-year-old financier succeeded in placing the winning bids on both of these lots. He got the Lismer for $778,750, including the buyer’s premium (20 per cent charged on the first $50,000 of the hammer price, 15 per cent on the balance), while the flag, which bears the coats of arms of Canada’s first four provinces, went down for $117,500. But then, “there was this other stuff going at what I thought was pretty reasonable value and, well, I just couldn’t help myself,” he said in a brief interview afterwards.

Sotheby’s was pleased by his lack of restraint. By dollar value, Mr. Budd’s purchases accounted for more than 20 per cent of the approximately $7.4-million the auctioneer earned in total from its live sale. Going into the auction, Sotheby’s estimated its consignments could fetch between $5.5-million and $8-million if they all sold. At evening’s end, about 22 per cent of the 139 lots were declared unsold.

Besides the Lismer and the flag, Mr. Budd purchased two landscapes by another Group of Seven alumnus J.E.H. MacDonald (for $36,000 and $94,500), a small Tom Thomson oil sketch (for $462,500), another Lismer (for $36,000), another Group of Seven oil, this one by A.Y. Jackson ($57,000).

Until this week, Mr. Budd had only one piece of fine Canadian art in his home, a Tom Thomson sketch called Dawn on Round Lake, purchased in April last year from a Calgary auction house. That buy made headlines across the country after the auctioneer initially refused to accept Mr. Budd’s bid of $350,000 as a sale. Apparently, the reserve for the painting – the secret price auctioneer and consignor agree beforehand will be the minimal acceptable sale value – was around $400,000. A shouting match ensued, with Mr. Budd storming out of the sale room. Eventually, a deal was reached after the auctioneer consulted with the elderly woman who’d consigned the piece.

Since then Mr. Budd has done “a little more research, a little more reading” on Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. Now he hopes “to build a small collection of their works” that his children can inherit one day or perhaps donate to a gallery or museum. Previously, Mr. Budd collected wine and cars. Indeed, he bought his first Thomson in Calgary mostly on a whim, after a rain storm shortened a car race in which he was involved. Otherwise, he would have missed the sale.

The same sort of whimsy also played into his purchase of the red ensign Wednesday. Last month he read a newspaper article describing the hand-made, 129 cm-by-214-cm flag as the first one made following the Confederation of Canada in 1867. “I thought it was just really neat that there was such a thing and I thought I’d like to own it and donate it to an institution.”

Other non-Budd works that performed well for Sotheby’s were an Emily Carr canvas from the 1930s, Sunlight in the Forest, that fetched $750,000 and an untitled 1960 abstract by Quebec master Marcelle Ferron, which sold for $485,000 – almost twice the high-end of its pre-sale estimate of $250,000 and more than double the previous auction record of $209,500. A small autumn sketch, Montreal River, Algoma, completed in 1918 by Group of Seven founder Lawren Harris sold to a telephone bidder for $301,500 – far above its $125,000-$175,000 estimate.

Extracted from the Globe and Mail. To see the article on the Globe's website please click here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

NFB Film, 'Carried Away', Explores the Artist's Creative Experience

This short animated film is an impressionistic reflection on the creative process. Using black and white photographs (representing reality), overlaid with animated colour drawings (representing fantasy), it illustrates the artist as he braves creative storms, indulges spontaneous bursts of inspiration and learns, by trial and error, to harness his creative powers.

Source: National Film Board of Canada
Creators: Alan Pakarnyk and Vonnie Von Helmott
Time: 6 minutes 11 seconds.

Please click here to be taken to the NFB page to view this film

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Commemorating our Native Veterans

This beautiful statue is located in Ottawa. The video is a little more then a minute long. Enjoy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fogo Island Arts Corporation: "A Newfoundland Outport Stage for the Arts."

Every once in a while, some distant corner of Canada, which seems so far from the beaten path, comes along and catches you by surprise. That's what happened when Newfoundland Artist Barry Penton, (please click here), sent me a link to the Fogo Island Arts Corporation.

Their website reveals the scope of their plans:

Fogo Island, NL, June 1, 2010 – On June 2, the Fogo Island Arts Corporation celebrates the opening of a stunning new studio, and officially launches an artist Residency Program designed to attract some of the world’s top contemporary artists to Fogo Island.
Located in Joe Batt’s Arm, the Long Studio – the first of a series of buildings being built for the program – offers an inspiring work space for creative thinkers and innovators from around the globe. The program’s first visiting artist, New Delhi-based designer and photographer Siddhartha Das, will be present at the grand opening of the studio on June 2.
Fogo Island Arts Corporation launches arts programswith opening of spectacular new studio Fogo Island, NL, June 1, 2010 – On June 2, the Fogo Island Arts Corporation celebrates the opening of a stunning new studio, and officially launches an artist Residency Program designed to attract some of the world’s top contemporary artists to Fogo Island. Located in Joe Batt’s Arm, the Long Studio – the first of a series of buildings being built for the program – offers an inspiring work space for creative thinkers and innovators from around the globe. The program’s first visiting artist, New Delhi-based designer and photographer Siddhartha Das, will be present at the grand opening of the studio on June 2nd.

The arts corporation has drawn from the support of the National Film Board of Canada as a partner, and The Shorefast Corporation.

The directorship of the Fogo group, while small, is loaded with experience - in the big art game.
Kitty Scott: Director of Visual Arts at the Banff School of Fine Arts.

Joseph Grima
: From 2007 to early 2010, he was director of the non‐profit Storefront for Art and Architecture, an internationally renowned gallery and events space in New York City
Nichols Shafhausen, is the director of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, a position he has held since 2006.

Please click here to be taken to the Fogo Arts Corporation website to read of their plans and see the rest of their story.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ken Danby, Photorealist artist.

Biography of Ken Danby

Born March 6th 1940 - Died September 23rd 2007.

Early Years

Canadian photorealist artist born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be an artist and was support in that dream by his parents, Gertrude and Edison Danby.

His brother, Marvin, four years his senior, displayed natural abilities and interest in creating art as a teenager, which he later set aside. Ken credits Marvin's early interest with inspiring his own. Their parents were very supportive when Ken's artistic skills expanded throughout his elementary years at Cody Public School, Ken Danbywhere he became known as "the school artist", and they soon became aware of the serious degree of his interest. When he was ten years old, in Grade Six, he informed them that he wanted to become an artist, and that a guidance teacher had advised him of a school called the Ontario College of Art, where he could study art. Eight years later, in 1958, he enrolled.

Despite certain anxieties for their son's future, Gertrude and Edison resolved to continue their support for Ken's ambitions as he was unwavering in his determination. Even when he quit the college two years later because of the college's emphasis on abstract art, he did so with a belief that it was the right decision for him. He spent the following three years experimenting with his art before settling on photorealism, inspired by the work of Andrew Wyeth, an American photorealist.

His first one man show in 1964 sold out, setting an example that was often repeated. Private, corporate and museum collectors responded enthusiastically to Danby's work and Danby was recognized as one of the world's foremost photorealist painters. Danby's work has been the subject of several books ranging from reference publications to biographies.

When asked to identify his favourite work, his answer was consistently "my next one."

Danby's photorealism drew the attention of collectors and sustained commercial success throughout his career. Living and working on a sprawling 20-hectare retreat just outside Guelph, a place he called his "sanctuary," Danby cared less about the sale of the work than the process of painting.

His rural property included a grand 1856 stone mill beside the river, overlooked by the original miller's stone house, a horse stable, and a renovated barn building, which served as an office for his publishing company. Together with his wife and favourite model, Gillian, he enjoyed the privacy of his scenic and historic surroundings which have often been reflected in his paintings.

"The fulfilment of that painting is in its completion, not about where it goes. I don't worry about them selling, I don't worry about them finding a home," Danby said.

Extract from: ArtHistory Archived site: Please Click here to see the article onsite.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

This Sounds like an Interesting Experience, For Those in the Toronto Area

Coach House Press co-founder and master printer Stan Bevington will begin an ongoing series of weekly conversations at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The press's co-founder will take up residence in the exhibit space every Wednesday night, between 7 and 8 p.m., and speak with a new guest each week -- artistic figures from the era and visiting artists. Seated at the Coach House coffee table, Bevington will talk to guests about the pioneering work Toronto artists and the press were doing in the 60s and 70s and how these these innovations in photography and reproduction methods affected and influenced the artistic work being produced.

This series of fascinating (and completely free!) conversations with artists, designers and photographers (David Hylnsky, Barbara Astman, Rick/Simon, Dennis Reid and many more) is perfect for anyone with an interest in the evolution of printmaking and photographic reproduction, and all those with an interest in the cultural and artistic history of Toronto. The weekly conversations (which continue through August) will be recorded and available online at a later date.

Source of Article: ROM website. Please click here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

ROM, Sotheby Sale Results

Top Selling Work.

Emily Carr: Sunlight in the Forest $750,000

Please click here to check the Sotheby sale results from last night, in Toronto.

Stefanie Clark: Three Animals

Stefanie presents three coloured pencil totem animals. Stefanie writes:
The idea behind totems for me is to capture the archetypal qualities of a certain animal and to bring them into our world in real time by connecting to the spirit and allowing it's traits to help strengthen our own.

The wolf is called 'Focus' and is the embodiment of patience, and the gentle perseverence of finding focus.

The lion is titled 'Grace of Power' and is an expression of the grace needed to hold power, with fierce pride and determination

The wolverine carries with it the passion for truth and learning, and for pursuing goals with fierce determination.

Please click here to visit Stefanie's website.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No Live Visual Streaming from the ROM

Unfortunately there is no live streaming of the auction which is in progress.
The aution ticker is a ticker tape banner which shows which item is being bid on, and what the sale price is. Viewers will have to check the Sotheby catalogue to match the catalogue number with the ticker display.

(click here) and click check live auction ticker, tonight at 7pm Eastern Time.

Al Weitzel, Scratchboard Artist: Painting a Cougar'

This dramatic you tube video shows Scratchboard artist Al Weitzel at work as he creates a young cougar. Although the site indicates that Al has only had 36 viewers check it out, it emphasizes the old maxim that quality comes in small packages.

Please click here to check out Al's studio website.

Sotheby Auction Tonight: 7PM at the ROM

Charles Comfort

This work and others by such renown artists as Norval Morriseau, Frederick Coburn, Albert Jacques Franck, Harold Town, AJ Casson, Emily Carr, go on the block at the Royal Ontario Museum tonight at 7pm.

Click here to put in a personal bid, or to examine the collection.

To view the CBC news article, please click here.

The Joy and the Struggle

Robert Bateman experiences artistic tension? The Vancouver Sun's article, 'Robert Bateman's Joy and Struggle', caught my interest.

The entire subject of the emotive, creative experience, is widely debated among artists. I have heard artists tell me point blank, "I paint for pleasure, and if its not a happy experience, its time to put my brushes away."

Most people who aren't into the artistic experience, hold fast to the mantra, that painting is a serene, joyful, beautiful experience.

Painters sometimes tell you that they paint best of all when they are 'in the zone'.

But from my experience, painting is a mixed bag. Sometimes when the muse is upon me, I paint in the zone. Other times its an anxiety charged, frustrating experience.

I once posed a question to about ten people in an artist's internet chatroom, "How many have suffered from depression." The response caught me by surprise. I know that artists are a sensitively tuned lot, but I didn't expect it when 80% admitted to struggling with depression.

Another artist friend of mine, produces a depression blog.

So, when Robert Bateman publicly admitted that the creative process can be a struggle, he swept away some of the myths that people have about the inspired artist who paints in a visionary state of profound insight.

Nonsense. Most people I know who paint, are continuously engaged in making critical decisions about colour, subject matter and design.

An artist from Edmonton told me that he has been known to take a knife to his works.
Better the canvas than his left ear.

Check out this story,'Robert Bateman's Joy and Struggle', in the Vancouver Sun by clicking here.

To visit Robert Bateman's site, please click here.

Do you suffer from depression? If so you may wish to check my friend Wendy's web site, Depressiongetaway. Please Click here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Robert Harris: A Meeting of the School Trustees

Robert Harris was a Prince Edward Islander. He lived from 1849-1919 and he painted this picture after his honeymoon in Europe with his wife Bessie.

It is painted in the style of the Dutch masters, with a restricted palette, and light from the upper left illuminating the men who sit around the table.

This is a painting of struggle. Here we see the solitary woman, (the young school teacher) standing. Her adversaries, her male trustees are all sitting. She is talking, and her body language and open hand suggests a degree of passion or commitment behind her words.

The men provide us with a pantomine theatre of reactions. The man to the left is leaned slightly towards the teacher, and appears to be listening intently. The man who leans against the wall, with his arms crossed, seems as if he is thinking, "Tell us another one." The man to the foreground right and with his back to us, is impassive. And, the man with his hand on the table, to whom the teacher speaks appears to be the alpha male. His hand is clenched and he has the slightest of cynical smiles, and you imagine him thinking "We've heard it all before, and we're not convinced".

Intriquingly, Roberr Harris appears to have taken a position in this painting, for his name is reportedly scratched into the desk by the teacher's hand.

Does this mean that the picture has some historical veracity?

Maureen Flynn-Burhoe's blog, presents an interesting theory behind the confrontation we see in this work. Click here.

Further reference. Anne Newlands; 'Canadian Paintings, Prints and Drawings', Firefly Books, Richmond Hill, Ontario. 2007,

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.