Monday, December 26, 2011

Jean Paul Lemieux, 'The Country Club'

Jean Paul Lemieux's works are attracting a lot of attention in Canada's foremost art circles.
His 1910 Revisited hammered home at $2 340 000.00 (premium included) at the most recent Heffel's Auction in Toronto.

This one, 'The Country Club' was brought home at $1 095 000 at Sotheby's most recent sale at Toronto's, Royal Ontario Museum art sale.

To read the article on the CBC's art news page, please click here.

And for the curious - 1910 Revisited, has moved into 8th place in overall value in Canadian art.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Brilliant Art Video by Bret Sheppard (Bshep47)

This a must see video, publicly posted on by You Tube by an art lover known by Bret Sheppard. (his name is given on the credit of another of his group of seven videos). I like its cinemagraphic effects, its music and for the selection of profiled artists. If you wish to visit Bret's  private You Tube channel, please click here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Tangled Garden by JEH MacDonald

You Tube video presented by ngc media

"The Tangled Garden was painted from sketches at MacDonald's place at Thornhill and is essentially a domestic picture as the building in the background which stretched almost the full width of the work, makes clear.  There are no figures but one feels that they are somehow implied.  The luxurious greenery
in the lower half of the painting, however pulls its spirit in the direction of an almost jungle-like wilderness.  The relative flatness of the pictorial space gives the picture a strong feeling of profuseness and rich colour, and a kind of sensual indulgence.

E.R Hunter, MacDonald's first biographer, called these paintings, (The Elements and The Tangled Garden), "The two masterpieces of (his) second period.:  Contradictorily enough, they elicited some of the harshest critisism to which he was ever subjected, including stentorian denunciations from the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Daily Star and Saturday Night.................neither the Tangled Garden nor The Elements sold during MacDonald's lifetime."

pg. 33  
JEH MacDonald; 'New Views of Canadian Artists',
Bruce Whiteman
Quarry Press, Kingston, On.
c 1952

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Search for Meaning in the Peterborough Petroglyphs

I know that Native Petroglyphs are perplexing to most non natives. Who knows, maybe they perplex many natives, too.

When I look at them, my euro-cultured, left hemisphere immediately kicks into gear by asking; "What's going on here?"  What's the artist saying?

Now, the truth is - I  take abstact art for what it is. I know that for most abstract artists, there are no hidden meanings -  you just have to take it as you see it.

Then along comes  the late Harvard professor, Dr. Berry Fells.   For the uninitiated, Fells was one of those unusual archaelogists who thought outside the box.  Some would say that he walked all over the box when he interpreted petrography.

If you follow the link below to The British Israelite's website, you will see an expanded version of the Dr. Fells interpretation of the Peterborough petroglyphs which show the unfolded map of the universe.     Or, if you click on the picture above, it will enlarge for you to get a closer look at.  You will find on the British Israelite site a column written about it in the Ottawa Citizen in 2000.

If you wish to see the map expanded, click here and it will take you to the megaliths website.
Click here to read the Ottawa Citizen article.

And just to throw some gunpowder in the fire, there are those who theorize that some pictoglyphs are representations of vision seen from within vision induced trances.

At the end of the day I am sure that many of our premier native artists are left bemused by our out-there theories.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Patricia Lawton:Working with light and magic

'I Will Follow You Forever' by Patricia Lawton, of Vernon, BC, is another of her signature works.
It has a rather existential quality about it. That could be because Patricia enjoys painting pictures which tell a story. But, the truth is - the viewer has to engage with her pictures and to contribute something of themselves to them. In this sense there is a dialogue between Patricia and the viewers of her work.

On the surface, we see a girl, and a dog, sitting in a garden. But when we look closely it looks like its frozen in time.  The dog sits immobile, looking at a girl whose hair is caught by a gust of wind. The girl's face is turned towards the dog and away from the viewer.

I like the way Patricia works with light. The dog is dark and the girl is light and this combined with her position in front of the dog, makes her the dominant centre of attention.

Patricia, paints the girl ever so gracefully, and ever so simply. There are no superfluous lines, save for those in her blowing hair. Look at the arm which she leans on.  There is an absence of muscle tension and shadowing. Look at the the economy of lines on her slacks. This creates a sense of grace. Notice too, how Patricia has outlined parts of the girl in an illuminating mauve line. Altogether, there is a sense of mystery about the girl. There is a sense that the scene is frozen in time and development. I find myself thinking that its all a dream and that she has emerged out of a place of memory and has returned to life.

Patricia is one of the best there is in her artful use of light. When I look at the girls slacks and sweater I see a certain luminescent quality. Notice how the writing on the girl's sweater has the same mauve has the same mauve hue that Patricia uses to outline the girl's white sweater. There's nothing like the blues to make your whites, whiter then white. And, if you want to see the power of lumiscence - look at the shaded area on the girls' hip.  Here you see the drama of orange-tan tones, white and a blue blend that absolutely radiates light even though its captured in shade.   You are seeing a brilliantly crafted work.

I am drawn too,to the dog's woolly coat with its soft texture carefully defining by its bunches of fur - even into the shadowed areas. And, finally, I like the way she captures highlights and tones of colour in the girls hair in the sunlight.

Although Patricia painted this in acrylic, it has the fluidity of watercolour style. This contributes to the subject's overall simplicity which in turn contributes to the dream like quality of the scene.

Its not hard to see why  Patricia Lawton is high on my personal list of favourite artists.

Artist's Comments

My feeling when I studied  Rachel and Bella (pooch) was how confident Rachel was around this big dog........  and how happy Bella was to be out in the wind and sunshine with a playmate.  After they’d had a good play and run-around,  they settled down to letting me take a lot of photos.  I happily snapped away and I could feel the ‘joy’ in Bella.........  the exuberance and a kind of ‘giddiness’ .........  a desire to break lose and frolic all around the garden again.  But she kept herself under ‘excited control’ because I asked her. 
These feelings came back to me........  and the feel of the sun on my head and face ........  the summery breeze;  all the sensations that I’d originally felt the day of Bella and Rachel posing;   12 years had passed from that day until the day I brought them back to life on my canvas.
Painting Standard Poodles is so very rewarding.  Their sleek bodies seem packed with electric energy and they just quiver with happiness.  Also their beautiful, sensitive faces project their thoughts and desires...........  Just look into their eyes........  If only they could speak....  The intelligence beams forth.
When I paint ‘sunny scenes’ I tend to feel those colours we see behind our closed eyelids on a bright sun-filled day.  The yellows, reds, blues and the mauves, oranges and greens that come with overlapping the transparent paints just lend themselves to the feeling of summer.  As I go along,  the painting dictates to me where it wants to go. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Patricia Lawton, Okanagan Artist.

Patricia was born and raised in Powell River B.C. She was an orphan from age 3 weeks and was raised by her paternal grandparents who had no interest or understanding of her desire to draw and paint through her growing years. Patricia was fascinated by people, boats, and the ocean, where she spent many hours playing alone and carving small boats from driftwood; and sketching shells and whatever else the sea washed up. She left Powell River at age 17 and married a commercial fisherman, who she accompanied on trips north along the B.C, coast and up to the Queen Charlotte Islands. This whetted her appetite to draw and paint the totems she found in the small fishing villages and also imbued her with a love for our beautiful coastline.
Patricia raised two children in the Vancouver area and married again, to Peter Lawton. She had a career in Commercial Art, having taught herself by studying the Fashion drawings in The New York Times and other large city publications. She was the first person to teach Fashion Illustration in Vancouver, teaching for The Vancouver School of Art..... (now Emily Carr). She also was the Advertising Manager for Saba's Women's Dept. Store in Vancouver, then Shaino's Leather Wear (38 stores across Canada and the USA) and Ford Fair, Guildford, doing all the artwork and copy for newspaper and magazine ads. Patricia worked in the Art Department of the Vancouver Sun for a short time before accepting a teaching position in Bella Bella as art teacher from grades six to twelve.
In 1970, she was accepted as an active member in the Federation of Canadian Artists.
Patricia and Peter moved to Vernon in 1984 where she volunteered at the Topham Brown Art Gallery and accepted (reluctantly) the position as manager of the small gallery for one year only. At this time she founded the Midsummer Eve of the Arts and each year she has gladly donated two original works.
She taught for OUC for twelve years.
From 1986 Patricia has traveled throughout the province's small towns; Bella Bella, Kitimat, Kemano, Prince Rupert, Powell River, MacKenzie, Prince George, Quesnel, Armstrong, Salmon Arm (Summer School of the Arts) and in May 1009 she will be in Revelstoke; giving workshops and having Art Shows in all of these locations.
She has had over 25 solo shows in Vernon alone....... Two for Winter Carnival. Patricia has participated in group shows in Seattle; Vancouver; Calgary; San Diego, Ajijic, Mexico, as well as Vernon, Armstrong and Salmon Arm. Her works have been accepted and published by the Prestigious "San Diego Watercolour Society" as well as the "US National Watercolor Society".
In 1997 Patricia moved temporarily to Ajijic, Mexico where she had one solo show and entered (upon request) a group show of artists from the area and California, etc. She took the top three awards.
She was invited to enter Foss Tugboat's (Seattle) Calendar Contest (entrants on invitation only) and took Honorable Mention the three years she entered. Her paintings were purchased by the company.
Patricia has had articles in Okanagan Life and she won Best Artist of the Okanagan award in 2000. She has been written up in B.C. Women and in The B.C Cattlemen's magazine and is published in the Okanagan's "Artist's in the Sun".
A number of years ago, Patricia knew the Vernon Jubilee Hospital was needing a CAT Scan and she promoted this and held an Art Auction....... Getting much needed publicity from CHBC and CBC radio as well as all the area's newspapers and radio stations........ A committee was formed and the needed one mil. was raised within the year. Patricia sat on the Board of the hospital's foundation for five years.
She became involved in the major fund-raising for Vernon's Transition House. Also is now fund-raising for Vernon's Hospice House and has been working 'non-stop' on paintings for the past two years towards an exhibition in November of 2009.
Patricia has done hundreds of family commissions including portraits of pets, cattle, horses, boats as well as people in the Okanagan, throughout B.C. and Alberta.
After having a solo show in Salmon Arm for the B.C. Cattlemen's Society, she received a commission from the World's Cattlemen Society to paint the five top Charolais cattle to be presented in 2007 to the World's Champion Charolais.
In 2008 Patricia received a request to purchase her Brahma Bull painting from Blackrock Investors in N.Y.C.
She has paintings hanging in Tachibana University in Kyoto, Japan, in corporations and private collections in Australia, the US, Ireland, England, Mexico, Argentina, Japan and Canada.
Patricia has been on the jury committee every May for the "Okanagan Region Secondary School Scholarship Awards" since the awards began.
Patricia belongs to no Art Societies and has never asked for an Art Grant. She is a very private person and hangs in no galleries at this time. She does not have a webpage. She continues to paint daily in her home studio.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Artist's Comments by Doug Mays

            Thank you for your insight. I’m always curious to know what others see in a painting – good, bad or indifferent. Do they see what I see? Do they feel what I feel? What attracts them to this painting over another?
In this particular ‘plein air’ painting, I had the good fortune to have nestled my easel on or near the very spot that J.E.H. MacDonald painted his famous Tangled Garden. I believe this fact alone brings this painting well beyond being a ‘simple’ landscape since I was seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and hearing the sounds of theTangled Garden the same as J.E.H. did almost a century ago.  
I’m pleased that you were attracted to and picked out the patch of violet flowers in the bottom left quadrant as your initial landing spot and then you moved on to the splash of sunlight in the background, the soft yellow compliment. Next, I’m sure I painted this more intuitively than consciously, but I completed the triangular pattern (shown above) by allowing the dominant vertical tree trunks to take the viewer back to the muted yellow/green foliage in the right foreground. The bold tree trunks also take on a secondary role by acting as ‘edge block’ or as I like to call them - ‘visual speed bumps’. This technique prevents the viewer’s eye from wandering from the ‘sweet spot’ of the painting.
You are accurate in observing a circular pattern, which was achieved with sufficient edge block and by implying muted, abstract shapes of various value and temperature in the less-important pieces outside the ‘Golden Mean’.
And finally, I would be the last one to suggest that my painting should be even mentioned in the same paragraph as that of JEH’s Tangled Garden. That notwithstanding, what a thrill it is to know that our boots shared the same soil from this Hallowed Ground

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Near the Tangled Garden - Hallowed Ground. By Doug Mays

The more I look at this work, the more intrigued I am by what happens within it.  I see a real sense of artistic liberation in this painting.

On the surface it looks like a pretty conventional work.  There is an area of trees, and a sunlit area and an area of violet flowers along the bottom left of the painting.  

If I asked you to point to its focal point, my guess is that your gaze would fix itself upon the area of violet flowers in the bottom left quadrant.  That was my immediate choice.  The violet luminescent hues set it apart from the rest of the work.

Fair enough

But, I want you now to take another look at the work.  Block out of your mind the area of violet hues in the bottom left, and let your eyes scan over the rest of the work. Squint your eyes. What do you see?  

When I gave this work a second look, the sun dappled centre of the painting leaped to my attention and when it did, a different vista of thought opened and I saw the painting from an entirely different perspective.

There is a garland of light, that loops down from the top left quadrant, and touches base with the centrally lit area and it wanders off towards the upper right corner (but not completely finishing its journey). And the centrally lit area, looks like a sunlit pathway through the woods. And, there is a  large loosely formed X pattern of light which criss crosses through the sunlit centre.

Convention has it that most artists, use light and lines to direct the eye towards the focal point of their work. But what's happening here?   Do you see how there is no relationship between the flowers at the bottom of the work and the rest of the painting. In fact, they even block the path of the eye into the work. Interesting.

If you are willing to discount our immediate choice for the centre of interest, then an entirely different dimension of thought opens and the painting takes new perspective,

All of this takes me to what I consider to be the real strength of this painting. I would suggest to you that everything revolves like a great circle around the centre and that our vision is telescopically pulled into the work.  At least that's how I see it.  

 If we are willing to see ourselves on a journey into this tangled garden where we can magically stroll along a sunlit path surrounded by vegetation -then I suggest to you that the painter has taken us on a journey within himself.

Now - take a look at the title at the top of this critique.  This one critique which really interests me to see what the artist has to say about his work.

Monday, December 5, 2011

How High are the Visual Arts in Government Priority?

The Ottawa Citizen recently ran an interesting article on the National Gallery's search for major corporate sponsor for our National Art Gallery.  Its not hard to imagine a national competition for a neat statue for the Gallery to commemorate the shift in direction.  A big soft drink can with a straw, which is lit up at night, and can be seen from the Parliament Buildings? Or maybe a nice glossy advertisement filled program?

Please click here to read the article about the National Art Gallery's dilemma.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How Times Have Changed - Mural Art in Montreal

How's this for a piece of art from Montreal?  Can you believe it, but the name of this work is Notre dame de Grace (Our Lady of Grace).  How times have changed. That aside, its a pretty remarkable work.

The group of five below are the artists who put it together.

Click here to see a set of pictures which show the evolution of this work.

Thanks to reader, Richard Campeau for putting 'The Portrait' onto this one.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where Love and Art Meet

This touching little statue can be found in Toronto's Mount Pleasant Cemetery. There are no details, not even the name of the sculptor.  All there is the the single name: Tory.

Tory, who were you?   Did you have sisters and brothers?  Did you have a special girl friend with whom you played and entrusted secrets?  Did  your mother or father tuck you into bed at night, and send you off to sleep with a "Now I lay me down to sleep" and a kiss?  Did your laughter bring smiles to your parent's hearts and did your carry your lunch pail off to school with their expectations and hopes for your future? Did you have a brother or a sister with whom you played?  Do the children on the stone tell us that you had a brother with whom you loved to share the magic of books?

I have so many questions, little Tory, but no answers.

I never knew you, but the love your parents have for you was so perfectly expressed.  It will survive the ages as a reminder of how love is so perfectly expressed through art.

This little statue and other works of art can be found by clicking here to be taken to the 'Outdoor Art in Toronto" website. Its a treasure trove.

Appreciation to Mo Bayliss for locating this website for 'The Portrait'.

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