Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Creative Struggle of the Painter - the Charmed Life.

I painted this picture a few months after I began painting. I chose this because I remember all the positive encouragement I received at the time. It was a heady experience and I was overwhelmed by it all. But, I should add that it was painted before I had began to learn about the art of critiquing.

Because I lacked critiquing tools and because there were no personal guides surrounding me, who could offer me constructive suggestions about how to paint, I inhaled the words of praise and they went straight to my head. I lived a charmed life.

Looking back at it all, 5 years later, after reading today's Painter's Keys, by Robert Genn - I could see the process and what was happening with greater clarity.

There is also a past world, a present world, and a future world. A highly literate artist with glowing optimism for the future is dead in the water if she's not seeing her present world with clarity. She may have to buckle down and improve her work. She may have to make sacrifices. She may have to rethink her vision. She may have to reinvent her education. Her predicament may be further confused by the seemingly charmed life she likes to project. She may need to learn that the really charmed life is earned, and, according to Adoquei, it may not always be charming.

My development of critiquing skills changed all that. Some would say that my personal critiquing resulted in my raising the bar so high that I no longer felt good about what I did, because I could see my inadequacies.

So it was. I wandered from'la la' land into the land of reality. And, here's the rub. Now when I paint I rarely feel happy anymore with my works. When my signature is slashed across the bottom of the work, I sign it off. The slate is cleared and its removed from my mind. The ache in my belly and the pain of birth is done. Finis.

You can read this newsletter by Robert Genn by clicking here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

How is this for a Critique? Colin Bailey of the National Gallery of Canada on Tom Thompson's Jack Pine

This short critique, from the CBC archives takes us into a deeper level of art critiquing. Its not long, but what you get is rich with insight into Thomson's famous work.

I will add some comments later about. I don't want to distract from what you are about to hear and see.

Please click here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meet Natalie Logan - A Rising Star in the Visual Arts

picture by Dan Epstein

Natalie Logan, was born and raised in Toronto. She has almost finished her Honours BA at the University of Toronto where she has majored in Near and Middle Eastern Studies and Religion. She is currently working for the summer as a research assistant to professor Michael Page of OCAD University of the Photom League. The Photom League is a holography lab based out of 401 Richmond which produces both digital and real world holograms.

Natalie is a self taught artist, and in her spare time is an avid photographer and videographer. She shoots on a Canon D-SLR and Yashika film camera.

Natalie is also a drummer and vocalist for a music project called "Create vs Destroy".

This busy artist has in the past year has done 3 installation performance pieces, and shown five short films (three at the Heart House, U. of T.

Her most successful piece was the photo series, "Our Finest's Faces, Get Your Head Shot.", at Gallery 1313, which received a lot of media review due to its G20 content.
The exhibit and content was covered by The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The CBC, and the Parkdale Liberty Villager paper.

You can see more of Natatlie's pictures by clicking here to be taken to her blog.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Natalie Logan Eyes the Face of Authority

This picture by photographer Natalie Logan, appeared in a column in the Toronto Star, written by Murray Whyte. Natalie, went out into the din of the recent G20 riots in Toronto and captured the faces of authority.

Whyte wrote:
She found them in the faces of individual officers, shrouded but visible behind their riot masks. Some are resolute, some are angry, some just scared — an altogether humanizing portrait of the actual people forced to execute the orders of faceless authority

Natalie's pictures can be seen at Gallery 1313, at 1313 Queen St. West in Toronto, until August 1st.

If you wish to read the article, please click here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Frank Black, revisited

Frank Charles Black, was a British-born, Toronto-based artist who was an associate of some members of the Group of Seven and shared their initial profession — commercial art — and their disdain for it. He retired from the business as soon as he could and moved to Georgetown, Ontario, just west of Toronto, where he taught art basics to pay the bills but finally got down to painting what he wanted to paint. He died in 1988.

To view this article in context, please click here to visit Paul Dorsey's "Dali House."

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Fond Farewell to Stockdale Gallery

Everyone remembers their first gallery experience. I was introduced to Janet Battagglio at Stockdale Mills and Janet accepted my works into her gallery.
Regretably, it was a short and sweet love affair and Janet informed me that she was closing her gallery in August. Janet has provided me as a beginning painter with great teaching, advice and encouragement. She has been everything a beginning painter could ask for.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Oh My - What Can A Body Think Nowadays?

“It is not so much controversial as it goes against all principles public organizations are fighting for in the everlasting battle of equality between men and women.” Josee Rochefort: 'Montreal Film and TV Commission.'

Please click here to read Graeme Hamilton's article in The National Post.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Toronto Artist Luis Jacob Prepares for an Unusual Painting Assignment

Toronto artist Luis Jacob has had his work shown in the Guggenhiem Gallery in New York City but feels that he hasn't acheived the kind of recognition he deserves. So, with that in mind Jacobs is preparing to paint on an unusual canvas in an unusual location: the interior underpass of Dufferin and Queen Streets.

To learn more, please click here to read Katie Hewett's article in the Globe and Mail.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Leah Murray: Aggregate Security

This delightful country scene is one which evokes a warm inner response for those with a love of the country roads of rural Canada. I like it because Leah takes a dog and a road one step further. The Stop sign makes this picture work. Will the dog rise from its resting place on the warm gravel road and run to its owner? Will it stop, or go?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Leah Murray - A Photographer with Inner Vision

Leah Murray is a photographer with a well defined inner vision and the rare skill of finding a story within her pictures.

Leah has her home and studio near Trenton, Ontario in Hastings County and she also has a Zazzle online shop.

Although she has seen a lot of Canada over the years she still harbours an inner desire to one day travel to Yellowknife to photograph in the Arctic. In the meantime, her works can be found presented on many walls throughout the area where she lives.

I am attracted to Leah's well defined sense of artistic vision and will present many of her ideas in a future blog.

Leah says:
"inspiration for me comes from the world I live on -- earth is not only the home I love but an entity and a spiritual support for me. I am strongly influenced by such notable photographers as Frans Lanting, Jerry Uelsmann, Ansel Adams, Courtenay Milne and Galen Rowell."

You can check out Leah's work on her website by clicking here. And, you can link to her personal calendar by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lee Atkinson Turns Doodles into Magic

During the last five years I have watched my granddaughter, 'Little Miss Moops', not only discover the joy of art and life through animation, but learn valuable life concepts through educationally animated television shows. And, this has opened my eyes to the value animated art has in our society.

Lee Atkinson, our currently featured animated artist (one of the renown Atkinson family of artists), tells of how it occurred to him that he could well turn his idle doodling into meaningful artworks. These two paintings show how far, doodles can travel when given a chance.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Meet Lee Atkinson

How is this for a career in the visual arts? Lee Atkinson's journey over the last 30 years has included animation, interactive and online productions. During this time he has been involved as a producer, writer, Director, creative director, and project manager on hundreds of projects ranging from feature films, television series, broadcast specials, CD-ROM, interactive games, web sites and applications, interactive video, exhibition kiosks, and DVD.

Or....for the layman, Lee is primarily a Director/producer/writer of interactive animation for kids games and web sites these days.

""In the past I worked with my dad (Vic Atkinson), my wife(Kathi Atkinson), and my brother (Barry Atkinson), on TV series such as The Evergreen raccoons, Curious George, Care Bears, and on the feature film "Heavy Metal".

Lee got his start in animation from doodling in production meetings.

"One day it occured to me that my doodles which were always centered around a similar theme of suns, lizards, snakes and fish, might translate into a fun series of paintings. With that in mind I began to carry a doodle book around with me and collected my favourites for eventual transformation from the book to the canvas. I have well over 200 doodles and to date have painted around 30 paintings".

Reader's are invited to view Lee's website by clicking here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Arthur Lismer - Group of Seven Artist

This NFB film is about 20 minutes long. It presents the art and life of Group of Seven painter Arthur Lismer. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Prudence Heward's Art appears on Canada Post Stamp

News Release from Canada Post

July 2, 2010
Canada Post issued two stamps today in honour of renowned Canadian painter Prudence Heward. The two paintings, Rollande and At the Theatre, are examples of Heward’s most recognized genre – portraits of women and children. Rollande (1929) depicts an assertive rural woman while At the Theatre (1928) showcases two women wearing bare-backed gowns in a theatre.
“Canada Post is privileged to bring further recognition to talented Canadians such as Prudence Heward,” said Jim Phillips, Canada Post’s Director of Stamp Services. “The Art Canada series is a long-standing tradition at Canada Post paying tribute to Canadian artists in various mediums.” Starting today more than 1.5 million of the Heward stamps are in circulation.
“It’s an incredible honour for the Heward family, and we’re absolutely pleased with the choice of paintings that are being featured in the issue,” said Heward’s nephew Chilion Heward, who spent his summers caddying his aunt and her artist friends, whom he remembers as a group of “wonderful women, wonderful characters – all very eccentric and all great friends.”
Heward lived (1896-1947) when women were not readily accepted or recognized in the male-dominated artistic fraternity. She studied art in France and in Montréal where she was a member of the Beaver Hall Group, a Quebec group of artists that recognized female artists and permitted their membership.
About the Stamps
The stamps measures 35 mm x 40 mm (vertical) and has 13+ perforations. Printed by Lowe-Martin on Tullis Russell paper using lithography in seven colours, the stamp is gummed and general tagged on four sides. The official first day cover will be cancelled in Montréal, Quebec. The stamps are available in panes of 16.
Additional information about Canadian stamps and photos of these new stamps can be found in the news section of Canada Post's website. Stamps and other products are available at participating post offices, or can be ordered online by following the links at, or by mail order from the National Philatelic Centre. From Canada and the USA, call toll-free: 1-800 565-4362, and from other countries, call: 902-863-6550

Extracted from: Canada Post News Relase. Click here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Yorker Magazine Questions the Leonardo Discovery Story

This article about the discovery of a long lost Leonardo da Vince drawing, appeared in a recent issue of the Vancouver Sun.

Its a story about a story which was published in The New Yorker magazine and which raises eyebrows surrounding the alleged discovery of an original Leonardo sketch, which purportedly has his fingerprint on it.

For an interesting read of art intrique, please click here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chris Malmkvist

If art is hyper reality, as some say it is, then Chris's work must surely fall into this category. When I first looked at his work, I stopped in my tracks with a gasp, "Is this photography?" But, one look at the exquisite play of light on the decanter and you know that Chris controls and manages light in such a masterful way that he gives vibrancy to this painting that far surpasses photography.

The dark background works its way forward through the glass, and the bottles and inches out onto the rich tones of the table, forward to the light dish and grapes in the bottom right corner.

Chris fine tunes his paintings with sculpted precision. Therefore, it should come to no surprise that Chris also sculpts and he does so with the same deft touch.

All that being said. How does Chris manage to create such perfect lettering on his wine bottles?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Meet Chris Malmkvist

Chris Malmkvist is one of those artists whose work stops you in your tracks.
Chris paints in a realist style, and his works are done with a sense of precision that leaves you to wonder how anyone could possibly paint with such exactitute.
But, make no mistake, Chris is a master at what he does.

Born in Helsingborg, Sweden and immigrated to Canada with his parents in 1957, Chris has lived in the Carr’s Landing, Lake Country area of the Okanagan since 1974.
Pulling inspiration from every day subjects, local wildlife, orchards, vineyards, and our beautiful lakes to the motorcycles that suddenly appear with the sunshine, Malmkvist creates individual works of art that are bursting with detail and the strength of his facination with the subject matter.

You are invited to check out Chris's blog by clicking here, where you can see his artistic process evolving. And, you can also see his works on his website by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Robert Markle - Moving Outward

Robert Markle was known for his ability to express his individuality in art. He was one of the Group of Eleven, painters.

Markle was born in 1936 in Hamilton, On, and died in Hostein On, in 1990.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alas...its true. Bruno is no longer with us.

Baie-Saint-Paul) The Canadian arts community mourns the death of one of its most inspired contemporary painters. Bruno Cote died Wednesday at age 69 following a long illness.

Article written by Sylvain Desmeules.
Article published in

Renowned landscape has revealed in his career a Canada full of riches. "The wild beauty of the Pacific Rim in British Columbia, the heat of the icebergs of Labrador, the vastness of the prairie skies, the savage force of the North and the magnificent forests of Quebec are all loves that are now rooted in the work of the painter, "wrote Martin Fournier in a biography published on the website of the artist.

Born in Quebec in August 1940, he joined 17 years in the advertising business family. From lettering to artistic director, he served all the functions until the mid-60s when his initiation into the paint allows it to feed a fascination for natural scenes. In 1978, Baie-Saint-Paul, already rich in artists, became his place of residence. He then traveled to Canada to form exhibition monumental acclaim across the country.

Mayor Jean Fortin spoke obviously a sad loss. "I dare say, without comparison, that is the greatest ambassador of Baie-Saint-Paul, Canada, with his talent of course, his work and his commitment to the community. Someone who has an important place in the artistic history of Charlevoix, "he said.

A man of large stature, entitled, quite frankly, but affordable, sensitive to beauty and generous, Bruno Côté had won the admiration of his peers and citizens. "This great artist has become known from coast to coast. It ranks among the greatest creators in Canada who paints our landscape and reflected both pride and beauty of our land, "says the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacques Tremblay.

The collections are common side abroad: Korea, Germany, China, Lebanon, Peru, United States, France, Japan and across Canada.

His death comes less than a week after it was confirmed in 2011 the erection of a statue in his image in Baie-Saint-Paul. The artist has also lent his name to several charities, including that of the Hospital Foundation of Baie-Saint-Paul. He supported the arts in Charlevoix, including partnering Dreams Fall Festival. It was part of the first international symposium of contemporary art in 1982.

Please note: This article was extracted from with Microsoft Windows translation. To read the original article, please click here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Say it isn't so - Bruno Cote, dead?

I was talking to an artist friend this evening on the phone. He told me that he had recently learned of the passing of Bruno Cote. Say it isn't so? Bruno Cote dead?

Bruno is one of Canada's foremost oil painters. He established himself as a foremost landscape artist, noted for painting his beloved Charlevoix region in Quebec.

Cote has been called a latter day Group of Seven artist, because of his style of landscape impressionism.

During our conversation, Don told me that Bruno's art was in such demand in Calgary that his paintings "flew off the shelf".

Bruno Cote at work.

Regretably, I haven't had any luck in substantiating this in my internet searches.
Readers interested in a good article on Cote, might wish to click here.

Check here to be taken to Bruno's website and his rich collection of paintings.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Art in the Park - A Celebration of Summer

I keyed in 'Art in the Park - summer Canada' in Google and was intriqued by the number of communities that are advertising summer art shows. Having participated in a couple of these events, I can say that for this artist its one of those for "Queen and Country" events. Its more an act of community good will than anything else.

First off, in the two shows that I participated in during the last year - I didn't sell anything. And, to make matters more frustrating, attendance was small.

Fair enough, but that's only part of the story. There's the packing up, and unpacking and price of fuel, and time - all of that. To make matters even more challenging, a mighty gust of wind came along, and blew over my easel and sent an expensively framed picture crashing to oblivion. The rain was another matter.

But, look at it this way - its like volunteering for my community. The world is a better place because people care for their communities and care for one another.

And if I look at it from the viewpoint of giving to my community - I gain in return. It is fun to profile my paintings, and talk to interested viewers, and to meet and chat with other artistic kindred spirits.

So, taking all in all, Art in the Park, is a nice summertime event.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Vic Atkinson: Mona Loa Lily

Vic Atkinson, a friend and work associate of the late Bill Mason, presents for the blog a kind of painting that is the antithesis of painting in the previous blog entry. This work by Vic demonstrates his mastery of colour.

The work is a striking for its simplicity, and power of colour. The lack of leaves and extraneous foliage around the flower, pushes its prominence forward. Not just that but the foremost lily announces its presence with its glorious presentation of colours - in the middle of the canvas.

The delightful play of light, with the soft edgings around the work, frame the deep orange reds. Not just that, but the contrast with the dark backgound with its complimentary greens make the lily all the more dramatic. There's the word I'm searching for.....dramatic. There is synergy in this work. The background has short quick brushstrokes which give the suggestion that it was painted with a sense of passion.

I am also drawn to the wispy pale blue that drifts around the work and surrounds it like an aura.

An excellent painting which dramatically captures the vivid power of the subject.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Brian Lorimer Exhibit in Bellville, Ontario

City2Sunrise - Brian Lorimer Exhibits after his return from Sunrise Children's Village in Cambodia.

Location: Gallery Artplus, 54 Front Street, Bellville, Ontario. Showing begins July 8th.

Clive Powsey's Work on Exhibit in West Qualicum, Vancouver Island

Rock Lake Cliffs by Bill Mason

The late Bill Mason was best known as a cinematographer. But those who knew Bill personally also knew of his love of painting. Bill preferred to paint small pictures because it best suited his loose style.

The above painting captures a sense of the rugged, uncontrollable side of nature. Bill liked this scene for it the rock cliff had native pictoglyphs painted on it.

These words can be found on the Bill Mason commemorative website: "Rock Lake Cliffs - Algonquin Park:
"We are not sure when Bill visited Rock Lake. It may have been on one of his canoe trips through Algonquin Park or perhaps just a day trip as he drove through the area. But it's clear that what attracted him to this spot was not only the beautiful cliffs that he painted but also quite likely the native pictographs on the west side of the lake. This is one of very few pictograph sites in Algonquin Park and I'm sure that Bill would have felt it worthy of at least one visit."

The site also reports that a rare sale of Bill's paintings, in Almonte, Ontario, sold out in 45 minutes.

To read more please check out the red canoe webiste by clicking here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shortage of Soapstone

One thing I rarely have to worry about is lack of art supplies. They abound in all the art shops around me. If anything, my biggest problem can be in the number of choices I experience.

The same cannot be said four our Inuit soapstone carvers. A 2006 CBC report tells of the exploding popularity of Inuit art, an increased demand for soapstone, and a dwindling supply source.

Supplies in Iqaluit are brought in by ship from a quarry on Cape Dorset. Interesting. And, here I thought that Inuit artists just walked along a beach and picked up stone and carried it home. See here.

An Eastern Township, Quebec, newspaper reports that 35 tons of soapstone - also known as steatite, was shipped north from the Baker Talc Mine to the arctic. Soapstone is soft because of its high content of talc. Please click here.

Soapstone has also been sought after for such things as kitchen counters, and garden slabs.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ed Bartram, Canadian Shield Landscape Artist

Created by George Socka

Here we find landscape artist, Ed Bartram telling about his exhibition 'The Eye Within', which was at McMichael Gallery, in Kleinburg, Ontario.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jann Arden - singer and painter

The You Tube blurb beneath this video accredits Jann with painting the above picture in the Winnipeg Centennial Concert Hall Nov 30th 2009. The painting was auctioned off with proceeds going to World Vision.

Jann is better known as a popular singer, and more lately as a CBC personality where she has a forthcoming summer show on CBC radio. Jan's best known song, may be 'Insenstive'.

Click here to be taken to Jann's webpage, where you will see a single picture of Jan engaging in what appears to be the above painting - only this time she is identified as painting it in Vancouver.

Nonetheless, its certainly appreciated when artists put themselves in the foreground in helping those in need.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Doris McCarthy, 100 years and painting!

Be careful, never be misled by the smile on a sweet, faced, old lady. Who would have ever thought that behind this gentle smile there lay an artistic tiger. How many artists can boast of painting plein aire in the arctic?

Doris McCarthy has a list of accomplishments as long as your arm, foremost among which is an Order of Canada and the first woman to become President of the Ontario Society of Artists, and she studied under Arthur Lismer and other members of the Group of Seven. She's well worth a read in this article.

And..what is more. This national treasure is still alive and with us and her art is showing a the University of Toronto Gallery now. (details in article)

For an interesting article about Dorothy, 'Doris McCarthy: A Century of Roughing It in the Bush', please check out this one in Canadian Art, by clicking here.

See also the McClaren Art Centre webpage.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

War Artist Miller Brittain, 'Night Target, Germany'

This example of war art by artist Miller Brittain takes what may well have been a terrifying scene to have experienced, and he turns it into an intriquing work of art. Its colour and design may initially deceive the senses into thinking that it's an abstract painting.

Abstract, no way. Its a work of grim, frightning reality for those who flew on such a sortee.

Source: Canadian War Museum, art collection. Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, Gallery
Please click here

Friday, July 2, 2010

Al Weitzel, Scratchboard Artist: Painting a Cougar

When I first checked out Al Weitzel's You Tube video of him doing a scratchboard painting of a young cougar, I was surprised to see that it only had 36 viewers.
It is a good example of the old saying, that good things come in small packages.
In this case - very good things!

Please click here to visit Al's website.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sculpting a piano legend Artist Ruth Abernethy worked for two years to create a life-size bronze statue of jazz great Oscar Peterson

Sculptor Ruth Abernethy with her partially finished statue of late piano legend Oscar Peterson is shown in a handout photo. (J.R. Ribbee / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Montreal Gazette wrote a good article in this Tuesday's edition featuring the sculptor, Ruth Abernethy, who created the statue of Oscar Peterson which was unveiled in Ottawa before Queen Elizabeth.

Please click here to read the news story.

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.