Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Doug Mays, Watercolourist

Born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1947 Doug remembers being told early-on that “being left-handed meant he would likely be creative”. Imagine that, your destiny being determined by which hand you pick up a fork, a pencil or a brush. Really, could one’s lot in life be decided in such
a simple way?

Doug came to realize his love of art in the mid 1950’s, a time when psychology hadn’t quite articulated all of the left brain/right brain theories as we know them today. The supposed left brain & creativity link didn’t matter to Doug; all he knew was that he loved to draw. Looking back, he can’t remember a time that he wasn’t holding a pencil, pen, brush or stick of charcoal in his ‘left’ hand to
create something on paper or canvas.

The youngest of six children (four sisters and one brother) Doug grew up in Stoney Creek on the eastern boundary of Hamilton. It was there in Grade 5 where his passion for art crystallized when he won his first art award, a watercolour that he remembers as if it were yesterday. His interest in art carried on through high school and then on to college where he studied Architectural Technology graduating in 1971. A career, crossroad decision in his late teens led him to decide on a business career rather than one as a commercial artist. It was a decision he would never regret because he was able to return to his art to hone his skill and increase his knowledge throughout the next 30 year business career by enrolling in several life drawing and watercolour workshops in Canada and the U.S.A.

For Doug his art was like an old, loyal, distant friend - always there, awaiting his return. With each successive workshop his focus to develop a uniquely, loose and impressionististic painting style was aided by the encouragement of his instructors and his peers. He later developed a desire to share his talents and the virtues of the watercolour medium with others. Now in his second decade of watercolour instruction Doug has garnered a reputation for being a personable and effective instructor, whose pragmatism and light-hearted approach make all of his workshops fun, enjoyable and entertaining. He feels that his painting style maximizes watercolour's spontaneity and 'expressive freedom' and that his use of bold, vibrant colours is purposely applied to stimulate emotion & pique imagination.

He gets his greatest inspiration from the watercolours of John Singer Sargent, whose colour and compositions epitomize the painting style he wishes to emulate and from the teachings of legendary - Edgar Whitney, whose ability to articulate the importance of the Design Elements and the Principles of Design is a pleasure to follow. Doug feels his success in watercolour can be attributed to 3 aspects – Tools, Process and Attitude. With Tools – “paint with a big brush”; Process – “paint light to dark” and Attitude – “it’s only paper”. He adds the only magic bullet to watercolour proficiency is – practice.

Doug is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC), a past President of the Central Ontario Art Association and a member of the Ontario Plein Air Society. Today Doug continues to live in Stoney Creek with his wife Angela. He has two married daughters and 4 grandchildren all living within 30 minutes of his home.

His active schedule finds him travelling throughout Canada and Europe to mentor watercolour students intent on pursuing a looser painting style. When he’s not instructing you find him in his home studio painting a watercolour or an acrylic.

To contact Doug and to see more of his work go to his website please click here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Toronto's Art Collection

The Endless Bench
Sculptor: Lea Vivot. A memorial to her son Morris
Sick Children's Hospital

I recently read Jenny Yuen's article, in the Toronto Sun, on Toronto's Art Collection. Jenny raised the question - should public money be spent on the city's art collection?

I won't paraphrase the article because that would deny you the pleasure of reading her article and seeing her video.  But, I will add that according to her article, the City of Toronto, owns over 200 pieces of art.

Toronto is presently undergoing some pretty tough budget cuts, as they try to clean up the city's debt problems. It goes almost without saying that such things as libraries and art would fall under the public microscope.

While it may make sense to see Toronto run an economically mean machine it seems to me that there is much more then dollars and cents involved.  Art is a mirror of a city's cultural civility. It reflects how a people see themselves. An abundance of good public art and memorial statues tells of a people who value the visual arts and its interpretive role.

Please click here to see Jenny's online video report.
Click here to read Jenny's article

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Canadian Press on Today's Heffel Sale

Via: The Globe and Mail
A Jean Paul Lemieux classic has sold for a record-breaking price at the Heffel Fine Auction House's fall sale.
Bidding for “Nineteen Ten Remembered” reached $2-million, with the purchaser paying $2.34-million in total after adding a buyer's premium.
A Jean Paul Lemieux classic has sold for a record-breaking price at the Heffel Fine Auction House's fall sale.  Bidding for “Nineteen Ten Remembered” reached $2-million, with the purchaser paying $2.34-million in total after adding a buyer's premium.  The auction house says the painting becomes the most expensive post-war Canadian work, surpassing an untitled Jean-Paul Riopelle that sold for $1,889,000 in 2008. The auction house says the painting becomes the most expensive post-war Canadian work, surpassing an untitled Jean-Paul Riopelle that sold for $1,889,000 in 2008.

To read the complete article, please click here.

Jean Paul Lemieux's Nineteen Ten Remembered Moves into Tenth Place

Jean Paul Lemieux's, Nineteen Ten Remembered has moved into tenth place in the top Canadian valued 
paintings, replacing Tom Thomson's, At Sunset.

Top Sales in Today's Heffel Auction

Top Sales

Jean Paul Lemieux              1910 |Remembered                             2 000 000.00
Jean Paul Lemieux              Les  Voyageurs                                      600 000.00
Jean Paul Lemieux              Homage a la Toscane                             325 000.00
Emily Carr                            War Canoe Alert Bay                           1 500 000.00
James Morrice                     Regates a St. Malo                                 450 000.00
Lawren Harris                     Rocky Mt. Sketch Mt Robson             1 550 000.00
Mark Aurel  Fortin              Vue de i'ile Ste. Helene                          400 000.00

Coming Saturday: Lots of Art Drama on Hefel's "Online Art Auction" from Vancouver


'Jasper, Alberta', oil on canvas, was painted by John William Beatty.  This one and many others go up for auction on Friday, Nov.25th - tomorrow! in an online internet auction.

The auction features 52 Canadian paintings by such well known artists as, John William Beatty, Maurice Cullen, Nicholas Grandmaison, |Sorel Etrog, Barker Fairley, Henriette Fauxteux-Masse, Marc  Aurelle Fortin, Lawren Harris, Ted Harrison, Edwin Holgate, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, John Johstone,  John Little, William McElcheran, David |Milne, Daphne Odjig, Robert Pilot, Jean-Paul Riopelle, William Roberts,Tony Scherman, Jack Shadbolt, Frederick Varley, William Weston, David Bierk, Emily Carr, Yehouda Chaki, Frederick Coburn, Stanley Cosgrove, and Chris Cran.

The above painting and the description of the online auction and how it works has been extracted from the Heffel Online website.

November 2011 - 3rd SessionOnline Auction closes in:
ds. hr. min. sec.
anticipated closing time:Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 10:00:00 AM Pacific TimeThere is an automatic 3 minute bidding extension, for the entire auction session, if a bid is submitted on any lot within the last 3 minutes on the bidding clock. These auction session time extensions will continue to occur until there is a 3 minute period during which no bidding takes place on any lot in the current session. Our online auction experience now fully emulates our live ballroom auction excitement.
To see the above picture and information, please click here.

Live Streaming of Hefel's Auction - Today!

This is your opportunity to enjoy watching some dynamic paintings going under the gavel. You have to have the latest Windows Media Player,there is a link here for you to download the most recent player.  Please click here for instructions on how to see the auction.

The Canadian Wire Services reports:
  • Jean Paul Lemieux's Nineteen Ten Remembered, considered the artist's most influential piece and among the most recognizable Canadian works of all times.
  • Seven works by Jean-Paul Riopelle including the stunning Grande fête (Great Feast) that is estimated to fetch between $900,000 and $1.2 million.
  • Works by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, Tom Thomson and Emily Carr.
  • Two works by artist Albert Henry Robinson which were recently discovered in a barn by curious owners who 'Googled' the artist's name.
  • The François Dupré Collection, which once hung proudly at Montreal's Ritz-Carlton Hotel, has been released after being hidden in storage in an Old Montreal bank vault for 24 years.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Here's the Big One At Heffel's Auction Tomorrow

                                 Jean Paul Lemieux's , 'Nineteen Ten Remembered'
                                                Sold For $2 Million 
as art historian François-Marc Gagnon pointed out in an interview and in a short essay he wrote for the Heffel catalogue. Lemieux wanted to be known as a painter of the “north,” not as a painter of a certain locale, and was exhilarated by the recognition he won in Moscow and Prague when his paintings were exhibited there in 1974. It proved to Lemieux that his art was universal, Gagnon said.
To read the complete article, from the Montreal Gazette, please click here.

Top Ten Canadian Paintings in Financial Value

1. Paul Kane                                   Scene in the Northwest                            $5,062,500
2. Lawren Harris                             The Old Stump                                        $3,510,000                  
3. Lawren Harris                             Pine Tree and Red House, Winter            $2,875,000
4. Lawren Harris                             Houses, St. Patrick St.                                $2,808,000
5. Lawren Harris                             Bylot Island                                              $2,808,000
6. Tom Thomson                            Early Spring, Canoe Lake                         $2,749,000
7. Lawren Harris                             Baffin Island                                             $2,427,500
8. Emily Carr                                  Wind in the Tree Tops                              $2,164,500
9. Lawren Harris                              Nerke, Greenland                                     $2,072,500
10. Tom Thomson                          Trees at Sunset                                          $1,957,500
Source: Heffel
Please Click here

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Heffel's Art Auction Week

Thursday, Nov. 24th
Heffel Canadian Auction House
Canadian Post War and Contemporary Art
7pm Eastern Time
Park Hyatt Hotel, Queen's Park Ballroom

Got your Christmas Wish List ready. This sale is loaded with treats for every serious art lover.
To see the collection, please click here.

Top Ten Canadian Artists Based on Sales

  1.  Lawren  Harris                                                                                      $85,208,576
  2.  Jean-Paul Riopelle                                                                                 $76,651,109
  3.  AY Jackson                                                                                           $38,424,789
  4. Emily Carr                                                                                              $37.234,789
  5. Tom Thomson                                                                                        $35,742,045
  6. Cornellus Kreighoff                                                                                $26.212,395
  7. David Milne                                                                                            $20,323,592
  8. AJ Casson                                                                                               $18,824,512
  9. JEH  MacDonald                                                                                     $14,992,484
  10. EJ Hugh                                                                                                  $13,863,398

Source: Heffel Art Auction House.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rob Sacchetto - an Artist who Has Found his Place in the World of Zombies

I've heard of portrait artists, landscape artists, still life artists, floral artists, nature artists.......but Zombie Artists? If this is a new one for you, then its time for you to meet Rob Sacchetto.

Rob was born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario and is a lifelong artist and is for the most part, self taught. When it comes down to it, I cannot really imagine Rob graduating from an art college with a specialist degree in drawing and painting Zombies.

Rob says that he came to Zombieism, through the regular art route; production work, portraiture, commissioned work and eventually - he found himself working on several versions of his own comic book. (which is going into production next year).  Rob is single and he laughingly says that his default setting for life is to draw, draw, draw - and while doing so, figure out other ways to make a living with pencils.

Rob writes that he started an  online service in 2006,in which he handed paint people as the living dead, called Zombie Portraits. People would send him a J-peg of themselves or a loved one and he would illustrate them as zombies using traditional means with no computer photo-shopping involved.

The customer  then received a high res J-peg and has the original mailed to them.

Get this - he has so far, zombified over 2000 people all over the world!

As if that wasn't enough, it led to him  starting the  Zombie Daily, a blog where he posts a new original zombie drawing or painting every day! This site was started in 2008 and so far there are over 900 posts and counting. Not just that, Rob updates it with new content on a daily basis.

The formation of Zombie Daily led the publishing company Ulysses press to offer Rob two book deals, one for, "The Zombie Handbook:How to Identify the Living Dead and Survive the Coming Zombie Apocalypse", and for his next book, "Zombiewood:The Celebrity Dead Exposed".

Not only that, but his  Zombie Portrait service also caught the attention of noted zombie author Jonathan Maberry, which led him to include me as a named character in his book "Rot and Ruin".

Rob also created the chase card illustrations for that book and his follow-up "Dust and Decay",and he is featured in the documentary "Zombiemania" and provided the morphing zombie portrait drawings for himself and the other noted zombie experts who were interviewed, including George Romero, Tom Savini, Max Brooks and Greg Nicotero.

And talk about an expanding business. Get this.  His zombie art has been licensed for use on everything from puzzles to skateboard decks and many other products.

Rob invites readers to peruse his zombiedaily.com and zombiepotraits.com websites and be prepared to face your fears!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Alfred Hitchock by Robert Sacchetto

When Oliver Cromwell's portrait was painted he made his famous quote; " Paint me warts and all".
I can't help but wonder, if Alfred Hitchcock made the same comment.

But, all that aside this picture has an intriguing story to tell.  Artist Robert Sacchetto sent this picture to 'The Portrait' a few hours after being interviewed by CBC's Rita Celli.  Robert revealled that he painted it for Rue Morgue's tribute to Alfred Hitchcock issue.

Please click here to visit the Rue Morgue magazine's website.
And for good measure, click here to visit Robert Sacchetto's website.
To hear Rob's interview, please click here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bill Tomlinson on Figurative Drawing

This picture seems to me to point the way to where I would like to take my work generally, whether in charcoal, pastel, or paint. 

I’m interested in the tension between the medium on the one hand -- in this case charcoal and pastel on paper --  and the representational image on the other; so here the fading of the image into mere paper on the right side, or the seemingly capricious patch of red at the bottom, or the minimal treatment of the feet in contrast with the more developed arm and slip; all emphasize the tension between the kneeling figure and the colours, textures and lines that give her form. It’s as if this figure might dissolve at any moment into its constituent elements, and that, to me, is a fascinating and effective metaphor for a corresponding tension between being and non-being, our central spiritual issue as mature human beings.

Having said all that, I have to add simply that I love arrangements of lines, colours, textures and so on for their own expressive sake, and would spend time looking at them and making them even if they didn’t (as they often don’t in wonderful pieces by other artists) add up to a recognizable representation of something.

To view Bill's website, please click here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

May We Never Forget the Price that Was Paid

Vimy Ridge,  painted by Stephen Snider.
The Canadian Legion magazine

Dear old Governor,This is Good Friday, and I am spending the day girding myself for action. For our Easter Sunday, with peace on earth and good will towards men, I take part in the greatest battle in Canada’s history and perhaps in the history of the world. So this is to say farewell in case I go down. 

This letter was written by Lieutenant Gregory Clark to his father, before going into battle at Vimy Ridge.    
At three minutes past zero hour, Clark rose from the trench, shouting, “Come on, boys,” even though most of his words were lost in the cacophony of explosions. His platoon followed his lead, along with dozens of others within sight, and hundreds of others along the ridge. 
To see this article by Tim Cook, and Stephen's painting. Please click here to be taken to March 1st, 2007 issue of the Legion Magazine.

To view more of Stephen's works please click here to be taken to his website.

Lest We Forget

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ottawa's War Memorial - and All in the Family Sculptors

Vernon March of Farnborough, Kent, in England, was selected for his concept of "the Great Response of Canada" represented by twenty-two members of the main forces in uniform passing through a granite arch under the guidance of allegorical figures of Peace and Freedom. Delayed for many years by problems of site selection and preparation, as well as by the death of the sculptor (his six brothers and one sister completed the work), the memorial was not officially dedicated until 1939, less than four months before the start of World War II.

from: We Will Remember, War Memorials in Canada. World Wide Web Site.

To read the complete text and to see other pictures of Canada's War Memorial, please click here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Artist Shirley Bear Recipient of The Order of Canada

Announced today, Shirley Bear is one of 50 new recipients of the Order of Canada. Her educational, artistic, and activist work has been instrumental in progressive arts circles in the country, so this is well-deserved and a long time coming. 

Shirley Bear is an artist, writer and First Nation elder. Born on the Tobique First Nation, she has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada, the United States and in Europe.

She has curated numerous exhibitions related to First Nations issues and was the recipient of the Excellence in the Arts Award from the New Brunswick Arts Board in 2002.

While living in British Columbia for 10 years, she served as cultural advisor to the British Columbia Institute of Technology, First Nations education advisor at Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design and resident elder for First Nations House of Learning at the University of British Columbia.

The picture and above text was extracted from the Centre for Innovation and Culture in the Arts in Canada. To read the above on their website and to see Shirley's bio,  at Thomson Rivers University, please click here

Photo by Chris Wattie/Reuters News, extracted from ca.news/yahoo.com. Please click here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another turn in the Boys of Malvern Memorial Statue Story.

Emmanuel Hahn would likely turn over in his grave if possible. The recent news of his Boys of Malvern memorial statue, took a new twist today when a former student, named Jim McKnight  stepped forward and confessed to having vandalized the statue, over 40 years ago.

McKnight was a 17 year old youth at the time.  He is a United Church Minister now.  When McKnight heard the recent stories of the desecration of the memorial he decided to go public with the hope that his story would provide an important lesson for the most recent youths who trivialized the statue with tape.

McKnight told of a Malvern teacher meeting with him after he committed the act,  and explaining its importance. The teacher's brothers name was on the statue - for he had given his life as one of the Boys of Malvern.

Picture: Emmanuel Otto Hahn
Article News Source: CBC, 'The National'. November 10.2011

Emmanuel Hahn's Malvern Statue is Vandalized - Another Episode in the Boys of Malvern Story

Emmanuel Hahn would likely turn over in his grave if possible. The recent news of his Boys of Malvern memorial statue, took a new twist today when a former student, named Jim McKnight  stepped forward and confessed to having vandalized the statue, over 40 years ago.

McKnight was a 17 year old youth at the time.  He is a United Church Minister now.  When McKnight heard the recent stories of the desecration of the memorial he decided to go public with the hope that his story would provide an important lesson for the most recent youths who trivialized the statue with tape.

McKnight told of a Malvern teacher meeting with him after he committed the act,  and explaining its importance. The teacher's brothers name was on the statue - for he had given his life as one of the Boys of Malvern.

Picture: Emmanuel Otto Hahn
Article News Source: CBC, 'The National'. November 10.2011

Hardly a day passed before Malvern Collegiate's statue has been vandalized - again. For what its worth, the event was captured on a CTV surveillance video.

I am unable to separate the event from the feelings of love and respect which surrounded its creation, to immortalize the Boys of Malvern who gave their lives in WW1.

The desecration of memorials, be they created by formidable artists, or not - is at best, a profoundly anti social action.

To see the CTV news article, please click here.  

CTV Toronto - Surveillance video captures Toronto war memorial vandals - CTV News

Edited photo taken by the Toronto School Board

Emmanuel Hahn's statue at Malvern Collegiate, Repaired.

Strange how it goes.  I was watching the news on television the other night, and the commentator focused on the unveiling of the  Malvern Collegiate Cenotaph in Toronto.  The cenotaph has a long history in Malvern Collegiate, and it was regretable but many years ago vandals ruined its raised arm.  As the camera panned over the people who attended the unveiling, I was stunned by the serious gaffe.  At no time, did the item give credit to the sculptor whose work was featured.

I sighed with disapointment.  It seems to me that sculptors get the short end of the art stick.  People take their works for granted and more often then not the creator's name is metaphorically buried in anonymity beneath the work.

I felt a sense of relief when I found the CBC's article on this event on their website, for the creator Emmanuel Hahn was acknowledged.

The cenotaph lists the names of the boys of Malvern who fought and died in The Great War.

They were very young
They laughed and they cried
They fought and they died
Not for king, queen, or flag
But for each other
They were the Boys of Malvern.

The CBC article is a good one, for it tells of the love of a community for the statue. Malvern area families have lived through the generations in the Beaches community in Toronto and the story tells of Arnie Williamson, rallying the community to have the statue repaired.

Please click here to be taken to the CBC article, and to see how Emmanuel Hahn's artwork has impacted your lifestyle - check your pocket change. Hahn designed the Caribou on our quarters and the Bluenose schooner on our dimes.

1922 Unveiling of the Statue

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Michael Audaine Collection in the Vancouver Art Gallery

Emily Carr
War Canoes, Alert Bay, 1912.
oil on canvas

I was listening to The Current, on CBC Radio this morning and heard a delightful interview between Michael Audaine.  It was a spellbinding interview.  Michael Audaine has spent his adult l and Jim Browne. Audfeime, as a private art collector and his interview told the story of a man who has lived a life of commitment to collecting West Coast art.  Audaine said that he  is really excited about West Coast Art and he cannot say enough about Emily Carr. He says that her star is still rising and that if she  had painted in Paris with Gaugin she would enjoy the same kind of international recognition. He also went on to say that he talks to his Native Masks, many of which were worn by native shaman.  He tells them such things as,"You are almost home now and have returned tot he West Coast, where you belong." 

The role of private collectors in the art world has always been essential to both artists and museums. Private collections are formed in a variety of ways, yet some achieve particular distinction for their depth, breadth and quality. The works assembled by Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa over the last two decades form one of the most important private holdings of work by First Nations and non-First Nations British Columbia artists. The Audains have created a collection that allows a particularly rich history of the art of British Columbia to be told.

Beginning with the powerful ceremonial objects of the First Nations peoples, Shore, Forest and Beyond: Art from the Audain Collection traces the important strands of artistic production in the province right up to the present day. The co-curators have selected some 170 works from the Audain’s personal collection, as well as past works they have donated for the Gallery’s permanent collection. It features their particularly strong collection of the work of British Columbia’s most distinguished painter, Emily Carr, while presenting work by other prominent Canadian Modernists, including Lawren Harris, Frederick Horsman Varley and B.C. Binning. Their holdings of historical west coast indigenous art are complemented by a significant group of contemporary First Nations works, a number of which have been newly commissioned by the Audains. The photo-based art of the region has also received their careful attention, and they have been generous donors of works by Jeff Wall and Scott McFarland to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Finally, the exhibition includes another major area of focus—Mexican Modernism—representing the most significant collection of this art in Canada, with works by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siquieros and Rufino Tamayo. The works presented—the first extensive survey of the collection—provide an overview of its richness and strengths. 

Michael Audain has said that “living with art has been one of the great joys of my life.” These works attest to the wide range of his interests and deep commitment to the province and its history. Although was not formed with the intent of showing it to others, the strengths of their collection make it one of the most distinctive in the country.

To visit the Vancouver Art Gallery and read this article about the Audaine Exhibition, please click here. 
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Ian Thom, senior curator-historical, and Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Arthur Lismer Captures the Drama of War at Sea

Minesweepers, Halifax
Arthur Lismer

From: War Art, Arthur Lismer
Written by: Jennifer Morse
The Legion Magazine.
July 1, 2004.
Source: Click here
Prior to becoming famous as a founding member of the Group of Seven, Arthur Lismer sharpened his painting skills in Halifax during the last years of World War I. He had a brilliant summer palette, and produced oil paintings that perfectly captured sunny days on the Atlantic coast. Sparkling blues complement the zigzagging camouflage on troop carriers, while lemon and Naples yellow coat the sky. His lively paintings celebrate the ships—also known as “dazzle” ships—as they carry troops to and from the busy port.

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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.