Thursday, March 31, 2011

Schooners in Harbour, Eastern Tickle, Newfoundland, by Barry Penton

Eastern Tickle was the largest of the four small communities which were established out side the Town of Fogo. It was established in the 1800's. One source places it's date of birth as 1857. In 1871 the population was totaled at 70, in 1889 it was 107, and the census of 1935 show a population of 60.
The people who settled here most likely came from the shores of surrounding Notre Dame Bay in search of better fishing grounds.
One of the more prominent features within Eastern Tickle was the Church of England school house. It had classes of grades one to six. The school was only open during the summer months. T At the time if a person had a grade eight education they were able to teach school. In 1911 the school had 17 students.
The community is said to have been the site of a cod liver oil factory owned by Stanley Layman.
The 1871 listings show a total of 15 families including 12 fishermen. Family names associated with this town in 1871 include: Barry, Elliott, Forsey, Hart, Leat (Leyte), Paine (Payne) and Pelley. By 1935 the Barry's, Elliott's, Pelley's and Hart's had left, however the Payne and Leyte families had grown substantially. Later, new families of Osmond, Wells and Burry were in residence.
This little community was finally resettled in the early 1950's. The last structure to be floated out of it's harbour, was the house of Hubert Forsey, which was 'shifted' to Joe Batt's Arm.
To day all that remains of this once thriving town, is the well-trodden hiking trail, and a cellar that stands proudly on the side of a hill.

The Eastern Tickle site is a popular place for people who like to stroll along the sea shore. In summer a meal of fresh mussels may be harvested and boiled on the beach. This location also has one of the only beaches along this shore where one can see thousands of capelin coming ashore to spawn.

Thanks to Barry for contributing this article about Eastern Tickle, and for submitting a copy of painting which features 'The Tickle.' A very precise and exacting work which would look good on a Newfoundland Travel poster. Well painted Barry!
To view more of Barry's works, please click here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Using Art to Deal with Mental Health Issues

BC Artist Niki Hylins at the Penticton Art Gallery where she and her students showcased a series of self-portraits this fall. (CNW Group/Mental Health Commission of Canada)

I found the story of Niki Hylins, and her relationship between art and mental illness interesting, for I have been walking down the long path of illness with cancer. While, it may seem like a bit of a stretch taking Niki's story and applying it to my situation, there are common elements which many artists can appreciate.

Although I didn't have any particular mental disorder, I did for a period, struggle with a serious loss of health. So serious for that matter that there were questions whether or not I would make it - which leads me to the point of this blog entry.

During my personal winter of darkness, my wife encouraged me to paint. The truth of the matter was, that I found it almost impossible to pick up a brush and when I did, my works were dark and gloomy.

At the risk of appearing maudlin, let me share another experience with you. I posed a question to a group of ten artists, "How many of you have suffered from depression." The answer stunned me. That small sample revealed that 90% had had one time or another wrestled with "the black dog", as Winston Churchill called it; and as most of you no doubt know - Churchill among many things was also an artist who suffered from depression.

To read Nicki Hylin's story and of her use of art to deal with mental health in BC, please click here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Eau Qui Dort by Danielle Richard

I love paintings that suggest hidden stories. This is one such work. It was painted by Poetic Realist artist Danielle Richard.

Stylistically, Danielle paints this work with long, flowing lines which flow across her canvas - and these create a mood of tranquility. Check it out sometime when you find yourself looking at a panoramic view of the countryside and you will see what I mean.
The water has gentle, languid waves which lull the senses. The boat with the young woman is positioned horizontally and there is geometric harmony between the two. Now, when you look above the subject, you will also note the long horizontal line of the shore to compliment the picture.
I like the way Danielle draws the viewer's eye into her work, beginning at the bottom left corner with the reflection. Our vision is directed upwards to up to where the woman's hand dips into the water.
Note how, water, reflection and hand, blend together. Taking it on another level, the emotional state of the woman, becomes an intricate part of the physical setting of this work.

The blurring of definition between the senses and the physical properties of the picture, is complimented by the blurring of the trees along the shoreline. Its all part of the same package. It follows, that this blurring of the division between the warmth of water, air and light, also applies to the woman - where the warm sun on her body, and the gentle drift of her hand through the water, result in a certain blurring of her inner state and that of her external world. It is easy to interpret the warm sun on the woman's skin, and her reclining posture, and her hand in the water in sensual terms. Does this make sense?

Following this up, the entire package is presented with a warm, rich, golden, palette. If we accept that there is a relationship between the techniques Danielle uses to present her subject and her environment, then it follows that the woman on the boat is embraced in warm, sensual, languid, emotions. But, we really don't know that do we?

While its up to the viewer to read whatever we wish into the woman on the boat, I am of the opinion that Danielle skillfully created the format which guides us along along certain paths of thought. Its all so skillfully woven together that it is nothing short of being a masterful painting. Beautiful work, Danielle

If you wish to see more of Danielle's work, then you are invited to please click here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Meet Danielle Richard - Quebec City Artist

Danielle Richard, is a Quebec City, artist who labels her work as Poetic Realism.

Very early in life, she was fascinated by the world of pictorial art. For as long as she can remember, she has always been surrounded by the tools “for making works of art”: gouache, distemper, pastels, etc. Upon reaching adolescence, she wasted no time deciding on her future... “I loved painting and it seemed only natural for me to become an artist!”

So she began her studies in art: a CEGEP degree in plastic arts, university studies in visual arts, semesters abroad, artist training trips… “I spent more and more time in the museums of Europe, which gave me the creative nourishment that both humbled me and inspired me on. Before a particularly striking work, it always seemed clear to me that I had to take up the quest for beauty and harmony that so many other artists had begun before me.” Her fascination with the singularity of light is something that has and will probably always inspire the works of Danielle Richard.

She received grants from the Quebec government and the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation on two occasions (Scholarships I and II). The first helped her to refine her knowledge of original lithography at the Dona Miro studio in Montreal, and the second made it possible to take a semester abroad on “Watercolor in English landscapes” at the University of Oxford in Great Britain. In 1994, she became the youngest artist to be featured in a retrospective at Villa Bagatelle in Quebec City.

Each of her exhibitions has met with a warm and enthusiastic response from the public. She never ceases to be moved when she realizes “that after so much time spent in solitude putting to canvas these faces, places, and emotions, someone somewhere is touched” by her art.

She says that she has enough projects and wonderful images stored in her mind to keep her busy for the rest of her days... “That tells me I chose the right path.”

extracted from 'The Group of Twelve', website. Please click here to visit the site.

To visit Danielle's website, please click here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mural: The Seven Lively Arts by York Wilson

From the York Wilson website. Please click here.

York Wilson was an artist of many talents, among which was mural painting. The mural which I selected above for the blog, can be found in Toronto's Hummingbird Centre. (formerly known as the O'Keefe Centre'). York named it 'The Seven Lively Arts' and I suppose this name is as appropriate as can be expected, for a commissioned work for one of Toronto's cultural art centres. I am the last person to critique an abstract mural, but I will say that the work is vibrant, active, and suggestive of the arts .

The creator of York's website writes of this work:

Wilson has brought together themes and styles from various periods in the history of Western Art. In the upper left corner he mimics the primitive style of the oldest known cave-paintings. Below this section is a sequence of Egyptian hieroglyphs. To the right, a depiction of one of the classic themes in Western religious art, Christ's Descent From the Cross.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pilgrimage, 1937.

This work by BC artist Jock MacDonald, in 1937 is solidly glued into the artistic mores of his time. Is it my imagination, that I see the handprints of Emily Carr, all over this work? As I stroll up the pathway in the centre of this work, I find myself thinking that I am walking along the fine edge that separates impressionism from abstraction, and that Emily is my tour guide.

Wikepedia reports that Jock was influenced by the Group of Seven (no surprise here), and that he was an abstractionist. The biography is both a brief and interesting read. Please click here.

You can find this and other works on Cybermuse (the site which presents the art of the National Gallery of Canada) by clicking here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Good Painting Resembles a Poem - the paintings of Adam Young

A good painting resembles a poem. It has depth, it offers insight to life, it is loaded with metaphors and topped off with a richness of elevated expression.

Adam touched a nerve with many readers, when I introduced him to 'The Portrait', through his You Tube Video. (see below), and this work is no different.

Adam has the knack, as an impressionist to zoom in on life's basic elements.
Take this work above. The wharves leading to the fishermen's storage sheds, take the form of a cross. And, the cross of course is a long established symbol in western culture. On a theological level, it is a statement of eternal joy gained through suffering, surrender, and faith. Does this sound to you like a parallel metaphor for the struggle of life for Fogo fishermen? But there is more then that. The wharves are also metaphors for life at a crossroad and this opens the can for all kinds of questions? Is the hardship of the fishing life, worth it? Are we seeing the passing of an old life and the realization of new things to come?

Like many of Adam's works that I have seen online, this is simple, boldly impressionistic and dramatic. This is a life where everything tilts. For that matter, there may be strength in tilting - in going with the flow.

Adam has even painted this work on wood, and the texture of the wood is an integral part of his painting. Good move Adam!

Please feel free to visit Adam at his website by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another Kelly Morehouse Winner!

24.5 x 36.5
Oil on Canvas

Natalie MacMaster is a wife, mother and virtuoso Cape Breton fiddler. You know her more as the latter than the former; an electrifying performer whose passionate proficiency on the beloved four-string amplifies the traditional East Coast sound for contemporary times.

Natalie has the respect and admiration of the crème de la crème of top-notch musicians: master violinist Mark O’Connor, whose camp MacMaster frequents as a guest instructor; legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma – who recently invited her to prominently participate as a guest performer on his 2008 holiday-themed album Songs Of Joy & Peace; banjo prodigy Béla Fleck; fellow fiddling marvel Alison Krauss; spiritually electrifying superstar guitarist Carlos Santana – the list goes on.

But to Natalie MacMaster, her beloved family now shapes and informs her musicianship as much as the jigs, reels, air, waltzes, strathspeys, marches and traditional folk that feed her spiritual soul.

‘I am a Mom now. I am a wife. Those things are my priorities in life, and I think people get a sense of that – of that part of who I am – through my show. But my music itself hasn’t changed.’

If anything, family has reinvigorated Natalie MacMaster’s commitment to the stage and her audience.

This is another of Kelly Morehouse's dynamic works. To see this and other works by Kelly, please click here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tom Thomson's Shack

Painted by AJ Casson. Group of Seven.

Sketched by AY Jackson. Group of Seven.

The shack, as it is seen today at the McMichael Gallery, Kleingburg, On.

As you walk between the parking lot and the McMichael art gallery, you’ll see it: a tall shack surrounded by trees. This is Tom Thomson’s studio, which started out life as a construction shack parked behind a famous studio in downtown Toronto. Thomson used the shack as an artists’ studio and home while he was living and painting in Toronto, in between trips to Algonquin Park. It’s kind of cool to have the shell—or womb—that housed Thomson while he created so many of the fine paintings that are displayed in the gallery next door.

The McMichaels bought the shack in 1962 and installed it on their land. It now serves as a studio for artists-in-residence at the McMichael art gallery – quite an honour! Does the spirit of Tom Thomson inspire them? If you’re fortunate to visit on a day when the current resident is at work there, you’ll have a chance to see inside and chat with them. Otherwise, you can at least peek through the window.

Pictures 1 and 2, submitted by Mo Bayliss.
Picture 3 and text, from the McMichael Gallery article in Travel Ontario. Please click here to view the article.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

York Wilson

York Wilson was born in Toronto on December 6, 1907. Following two years of formal education in art at Central Technical School in Toronto, Wilson began a successful career as a commercial artist at Brigden’s, later moving on to Sampson-Matthews, where he worked alongside Franklin Carmichael and A.J. Casson, members of the Group of Seven. This formative experience in the competitive field of illustration allowed Wilson to develop his skills in a variety of media, providing him with a solid technical foundation for his subsequent career as an independent artist.

Wilson’s decisive shift to the world of Fine Art took place in the 1930’s, during a close friendship with Ed Smith, an Upper Canada student. They went to Detroit together and found work with various art agencies. They visited art museums, read Fine-Art books and York was able to take advantage of Ed's more advanced knowledge of Fine Art.

York's first trip to Mexico in 1949 cemented his decision to leave commercial art behind. The distinctive quality of light and intense colour of Mexico soon became a powerful visual stimulant for Wilson, and even the most abstract of his canvasses from this period bear witness to his experience of the Mexican landscape. He spent several winters in Mexico with his wife and constant companion, Lela.

A nomadic way of life took over, with the couple living in Europe, the Middle and Far East. Wilson's fascination with Mexico finally led him to purchase a house in San Miguel de Allende in the early '70s. This did not stop the globe-trotting couple who eventually returned to their home in Toronto in 1982.

In spite of the fact that his work was almost entirely abstract for most of the 1950s and 1960s, Wilson never fully repudiated his figurative background, always drawing from a live model at least one afternoon a week.

York's relentless experiments with abstraction resulted in a highly eclectic body of work, including a precise geometric style of painting which had been suppressed in York's subconcious. He began showing evidence of more interest in slightly conformist work until his return to Paris.

During the first and second nights sleeping in Luc Peire's atelier,(which the couple were renting from their Belgian friend and painter,) York had two dreams of conformist/geometric painting like nothing he had ever seen before. The struggle to return to his own type of abstract painting continued for 3 months, but the geometrics won and York eventually returned to Canada with about 50 studies, 2 serigraphs, a tapestry and a vow not to exhibit anything for a year while he evaluated the experiment. The geometric period ended in 1971 as abruptly as it had started

York Wilson is well known to the Canadian public for his murals. His reputation as a muralist rests on a series of prominent public works dating from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s. This period saw the completion of murals for Imperial Oil, the O’Keefe Centre for the Performing Arts (now the Hummingbird Centre), Bell Canada, the Ontario government at Queen's Park and Carleton University, where his mural PEACE was unveiled by Buckminster Fuller. Despite the fame associated with the mural work, he met with considerable success as an easel painter, and was known to have described himself "first a painter, with a flair for murals."

In keeping with his penchant for constant travel and cultural exchange, Wilson's work was well received overseas, especially in France and Italy. In 1961 Wilson was invited by the French government to mount a one-man exhibition in the Paris gallery of his choosing, and in 1981 he was asked to paint a self-portrait for the permanent collection at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. He regarded the Uffizi commission as the highest honour he had received in his long career as a painter.

On his return he was discouraged when he discovered that, despite a lifetime of research and experimentation, his contributions to Canadian art (introduction of new media, advanced painting techniques and fresh outlooks and his earlier support of the Gallery), none of the 16 works that the A.G.O. possessed were hanging in the Gallery. The situation with the A.G.O. began while it was under the directorship of W. Withrow, and continued despite York being widely acclaimed internationally. He was further disappointed when, despite requests from members of the A.G.O. Canadian Buying Committee, (of which York had been a member), for his re-integration, he was not invited to rejoin the Committee after his absences abroad. York is only mentioned as a co-exhibitor with Jack Bush in a recent book on Canadian Art by the Chief Curator of the A.G.O.

York Wilson died in 1984 at the age of 76.

For more on York Wilson and his work, please visit the York Wilson webiste. You can access this biography by clicking here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

$78,000 Walter Phillips Watercolour Discovered in England

A British man who spent about $50 on a painting at a rummage sale because he liked the look of the frame struck it rich this week at a Toronto auction when the artwork itself — a vintage watercolour depiction of Pacific Coast totem poles by the well-known Canadian artist Walter Phillips — sold for nearly $80,000.

The 52-x41-centimetre painting was completed in the late 1920s during a tour of First Nations communities along the B.C. coast by Phillips, a British-born artist, teacher and critic who spent much of his career in Winnipeg and Calgary.

The painting, expected to sell for about $15,000, drew a top bid nearly five times greater and sold for $78,000, including auction fees.

A noted watercolourist who captured images of native culture and other iconic Canadian scenes, Phillips pioneered Japanese-style woodcut printing in Canada and became the country's leading printmaker in the first half of the 20th century.

The sale of the lost-and-found painting from Britain, titled The Hoh-Hok Houseposts at Karlukwees, was the highlight of Bonhams sale of Canadian art on Monday in Toronto.

"When we received the image from our colleagues in the U.K., we realized the importance of this painting — in terms of the image, date, condition and size of the work," Jack Kerr-Wilson, president of Bonhams Canada, told Postmedia News.

"We were cautious in our estimate, and are obviously delighted with the outcome."

Charles Lanning, a Bonhams official in the U.K., told British media an art lover from Devon was interested only in the artwork's oak frame when he recently made his lucky purchase.

"He didn't want the painting," Lanning told the Daily Mail. But he added that the man researched the artist's name on the Internet and soon realized the watercolour was probably worth much more than the frame.

"He was pleased with the estimated price, so you can imagine how he felt with the final sale price," Fanning told the newspaper.

In an unpublished manuscript about watercolour painting, Phillips wrote about his time in the B.C. coastal village of Karlukwees, noting "never have I seen a more delectable sketching ground. . . . I regretted leaving the coast, and I long to return."

The Hoh-Hok watercolour image was the basis for a wood engraving featured in Phillips' 1930 portfolio, published as An Essay in Woodcuts.

Phillips, born in Britain in 1884 and an immigrant to Canada in 1913, helped build the visual arts program at the Banff School of Fine Arts, where the Walter Phillips Gallery honours his contributions.

Phillips died in Victoria in 1963.

Extracted from the Montreal Gazette. Please click here to be taken to the source.
See Also: May 11, 2010 'Portrait of the Visual Arts'.
Picture from Wikipedia

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Le Retour, by Robert Katz

Robert Katz, is an artist who shows us that the age of French Impressionism is still very much alive and, he supports this belief with a formidable personal collection of galleries. Its no surprise that Robert should have studied art in Europe and brought his talents to Montreal.

Le Retour, was painted with oil and is 20"x 25" in size.

The work shows the imprint of his love of impressionism and I find myself thinking of the artists of Provence. His work is charged with light and heat.
He picks up the yellows of the earth in his clouds and this gives the viewer a feeling for the warmth and earthiness of summer. Notice how the buildings are all white and how he sprinkles his whites liberally into the trees and water and even into the people in the foreground.

I find myself thinking of how Van Gogh, enjoyed painting scenes of the daily lives of country villagers. Here we find a couple of men, tending to their boats. Note how most of Robert's boats are red - except for the dark foreground boat which anchors the tonal values of the scene between the light sky and its dominating dark tone. I am intrigued by how Robert arranges these boats, in a loose sort of circle around the river. This forces the eye to focus on the water. While you might say there is nothing there to see - that is exactly the point. There is nothing but his play of light colours. How many painters, ever think of painting a river with such light tones?

Now let's move into the second level.

The trees on the left, and the stream, block the eye, and we are left with a visual pathway over a bridge, into another great looping circle, and this area contains the suggestions of a village and human activity.

Many or even most artists, use a river as a visual pathway to lead towards his subject of interest. But, Robert's river crosses his canvas and his red boats on the opposite shore, seemingly block our visual journey.

What's this all about? Well, a quick visual trip into the heart of a painting where a subject sits awaiting our observation is the traditional fast route to paradise. There is no lazy way into this work. Lets follow the visual route he creates. There is the foreground with the men by their boats, then a little hop across the river takes us to the pathway of red boats along the shore, and there is the horizontal series of lines which take us to the horizon.
We effectively zigzag our way through the work.

What's this all about? I suggest to you that this effect enhances its pastoral quality. We weave our way through the scene and the time we take to see this work in detail - slows time down and gives it a sense of timelessness.

A fascinating work. No wonder Robert's impressionism is catching the attention of so many people.

To see more of Robert's works, please click here to be taken to his website.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Michael John Angel, Portrait Artist Renown, sets up his personal Academy

Michael John Angel has developed a remarkable resume of personal accomplishments in his lifetime. He was born in 1946 in England and he emigrated to Canada in 1961.
In the late 1960's he studied under Pietro Annigoni who introduced him to the techniques of the old masters. Angel is a master portrait painter, and his list of corporate subjects is said to read as 'Who's Who'. From 1982 through to 1988 he was the director of the National Portrait Academy in Toronto. It is likely that Michael Angel has realized his dreams with the establishment of his personal art school, The Angel Academy of Art, in Florence.

The content of this posting, has in part been extracted verbatim from his bio on the Angel Art Academy website. Please click here to visit the site.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Abstract art paintings by abstract artist Osnat Tzadok

Osnat Tzadok's story is the dream of many contemporary artists. Thanks to the CBC and You tube for releasing her 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.