Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mandy Budan, Realizes her Dreams

Mandy Budan, of Pickering On., was born in Toronto in 1964. She was born with a paint brush in her hand and she admits that she has always been an artist who has enjoyed the process of "creating". Interestingly,  when Mandy reflects back to her youth - she was unable to point to anyone along the way who encouraged her and pointed her towards the visual arts.  Mandy was attracted instead to playing the piano, and there was a time when she harboured a desire become a pianist when she grew up.

Mandy was drawn into the fine arts in high school and these included "painting, life drawing and photography" and the particularly funny memory of drawing in her school's  life drawing classes with windows papered over so as not to "accidentally expose any math and science students to the nude models."

Fortunately for us, the visual arts won out, and Mandy entered the commercial arts. When she reflects upon it, she confesses to being a little uncertain of her own abilities and she never felt herself to be particularly "gifted".  Her professional career included wax paste ups, typesetting, stat cameras, and working with photo shop on her computer.

Mandy has been married now for 26 years and she had two children. About a dozen years ago, she heard the call of a new song.  She felt that there was something missing in her life.  "I realized that that (her professional career) was only giving me half of what I need." She recognized that she needed "to create from my own visions and not someone else's.

It seems hard to imagine that it was only 12 years ago when she  picked up her brushes and ventured into creative arts. All the while, she  maintained  a graphic design business. But there comes a point where its hard to march to the beat of two drummers. In 2011 she took the plunge and became a full time creative artist and this has made all the difference in her life.

Since taking the plunge,  she has become a member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters, and she became a member of the local Pine Ridge Arts Council. Mostt importantly, however, her painting career is blossoming in new and exciting ways with gallery shows, and awards coming her way. Not just that, but her paintings have taken on their own life and have joined collections around the world.

What is there about Mandy's work that has attracted the attention of so many people?  Well, for one thing she loves painting with "thick paint, rich colour, and with strong rhythmns and patterns.  Mandy's heart is drawn to the beautiful Canadian landscape.  She considers herself very fortunate to have unlimited access to incredible green spaces, walking trails, waterfront, and forests and feels the opportunities for inspiration are endless. And, like many Canadian landscape artists she admits to being strongly influenced by the Group of Seven, van Gogh and Chuck Close.

What is exciting is that Mandy has an open door to her future. She's making waves and having fun. Watch her grow.

Mandy welcomes you to visit her website by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Traditional Eastern Canadian Native Needlework

Decorated Mi'kmaq coat

Most anthropologists would agree that the development of art and culture is not just a barometer of the social development of a people but its also the product of people who live with an abundance of food and free time.

West Coast Salish and Haida natives, developed elaborate ceremonial totems and wooden long houses and their facility with carving is respected.  Regretably the natives of eastern Canada, seem to have slid under the radar.  While not being noted as ceremonial carvers, the skill of the Naskapi, Montagnais, and Micmac women at needlework captures the imagination.

Nasapi caribou robe

Montgnais mittens

To view these and other beautiful examples of native needlework, please click here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November Name the Artwork Contest.

Time is running out on November's 'Name the Artwork Contest'.
Name the work, artist and where it is located - or at least one of the three and you may be the winner of this month's contest.

Are you ready?

Winners will receive unconditional, unfettered, and total bragging rights. That's about it fans.
Last month's winner was Richard Campeau, of Golden, British Columbia. See the page tab beneath the header picture.

Grey Cup Fever - Governor General, Earl Grey

portrait by Irma Councill, Stratford, On.

Sir Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey, a veteran of the British House of Commons, was sworn in as the ninth Governor General of Canada in Halifax in 1904. During his tenure, Alberta and Saskatchewan were welcomed into Confederation.

Lord Grey was the first Governor General to visit the then Crown Colony of Newfoundland and invited its people to join Confederation (which they eventually did in 1949). A dedicated promoter of the arts, he established the Grey Competition for Music and Drama, first held in 1907. Two years later, he donated the Grey Cup to the Canadian Football League, a trophy that became a symbol of excellence on the playing field.
After returning to England, Lord Grey died in 1917. (The popular Earl Grey tea was named after the 2nd Earl Grey, not the Governor General.) Lady Grey died in 1911.

Contributor: Maureen Bayliss, editor.
source: Please click here

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dr. Norman Bethune, artist

Self Portrait

Source: National Archives of Canada

Quote from the writings of Dr. Norman Bethune:
A great artist lets himself go. He is natural. He swims easily in the stream of his own temperment. He listens to himself, he respects himself. He has a deeper fund of strength to draw from than that arising from rational and logical knowledge. 
The function of the artist is to disturb. His duty is to arouse the sleeper to shake the complacent killers of the world. He reminds the world of its dark ancestry, shows the world its present and points the way to its new birth.  He is at once the product and the preceptor of his time....In a world terrified of change, he preaches revolution - the principle of life.  He is an agitator, a disturber of the peace, quick, impatient, positive, restless and disquieting.  He is the creative spirit of life working in the soul of men.

Some other notes on Dr. Bethune.

Bethune took lessons from Edwin Holgate and frequently associated with artists, John Lyman, Parskeva Clark, Frederick Taylor and Anne Savage. He was also the creator of the of the Montreal Children's Art Centre, in 1936. (in his own apartment in Beaver Hall Square).


quote from pp 82-83
Norman Bethune by
Adrienne Clarkson
Penquin Canada, Toronto. 2009.
ISBN  978-0-670-006731-2

Monday, November 19, 2012

Blaine Rancourt's 'Overcome'.

Blaine Rancourt's 'Overcome' cuts to the chase.  We see a long haired musician, looking upwards as he plays his guitar. A musical score weaves over his head, and under his arm and guitar.  The musician's head tilts in an upward attitude that suggests that he is connected to a source of  higher illumination. We can only imagine what the illumination may be: knowledge, information, spiritual power - whatever.  But there is more.  The singer who draws from this power sings a song of unshakeable idealism.  His face is bathed in light. He's a messenger of important news.

But here's the irony.  The splashes of black across the work gives the painting an interesting twist.  The black splotches look like paint dripping down a wall.  The faded image may have been there for years. There is a sense that the singer and his message have been relegated to a time long passed.

Melanie Ferguson, an educator, and formerly of the Robert McLaughlin Gallery of Oshawa,  has another perspective of 'Overcome'':
My first thought is that the guitar player is emerging from his music, as if the music is setting him free, or making him come to life (which is indeed what music does).  The notes on the staff are obscured, and along with their "drippy" lines, suggest a sad piece of music.  The sombre colours add to this effect.
Melanie's perspective is interesting for it suggests that while the message may have been rejected, the music continues. Notice how the musical score is uninterrupted and it flows across the painting. It could be that the song itself sets us free. And taking it one step further it is easy to wonder if Blaine isn't telling us that real freedom exists on a spiritual plain  and the song of life transcends human struggle..

'Overcome' is reminiscent of the 1960's civil right anthem,"We Shall Overcome". It leaves us to wonder what  has replaced the message of the '60's.  Blaine leaves that for us to speculate and this is part of the mystery and the work.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blaine Rancourt's Journey Through Life and Art

             I was born July 15th 1960 in North Bay Ontario Canada, only to move to the small town of Powassan just south of North Bay. We were a poor family first living in a one bedroom tar paper shack on my uncle's property. I can remember my bed being in the hallway near the front door. We moved from here to my mothers family farm when I was five, it wasn't a working farm anymore all of the family had moved away and Grandmother let my parents live there in lieu of taking care of the property. It was the greatest place in the world to me two hundred acres of fields and bush an apple orchard and a gravel pit not to mention the streams and multitudes of beaver ponds.

        My father worked in the lumber camps most of his early years, he was a real outdoorsman he taught me to hunt and fish and help tend his trap line in the winter months. My mother was a homemaker and a referee between me and my two sisters (later to add two brothers).

       I remember my 8th birthday like it was yesterday, all I ever wanted was a BB gun. All the boys on the nearby farms had one and I was the only one who didn't ( we were poor).

        I waited all day for my father to get home I was sure he would have  my long awaited gift. When he got home he sat me down and told me he couldn't afford the gun, he pulled a piece of wood from behind his back and pulled out his old jacknife from his pocket and said  '' It can be anything you want it to be'' .....I cried.

         I attended South Himsworth Public School it was here that I had my first glimpse at art, but it wasn't till grade 5 we had a new principal who happened to be our teacher as well, he was young and cool he even drove a Mustang fastback, he taught us all our subjects but the newest one was art. Up till now all you ever had to do was colour inside the lines, he had taped a large piece of paper to the chalkboard and started to draw a tree. As he was drawing a few simple lines he kept repeating out loud "Draw what you see,not what you think you see" and in a few well placed lines emerged a tree, I was hooked. I started drawing everything I saw. Mr. Millard helped me along the way teaching me proportions, and perspectives along with some shading techniques.

       In a few short years we had moved off the farm to North Bay. I was devastated with the move and left my art until I entered high school. Here I discovered paint and freedom, but not in the classroom I was ostracized  in class for not conforming with class projects and for skipping art history courses, I could think of no reason why I had to learn about Micheal Angelo,Van Gogh or Gauguin they were the past.(not so smart back then) And just because people had asked me for my work and I gave it to them instead of handing it in to be marked, I was failed.

      I had a whole other world outside of school, I was now painting concepts for album covers and painting landscapes for family and friends. I still had no money to buy canvas or paint so I would go out night and cut canvas tarps from transport trucks(sorry guys) and stretch them on frames that I had made myself, paint was supplied by the school for the most part. Ok so I could draw I could paint I could mix colour my only draw back was that if I couldn't see it. I couldn't paint it. I mean I had to visually see what I was drawing or painting,  I longed to paint abstract or impressionism to look at they seemed so simple yet I could not accomplish this.

At this point I was sixteen and decided to quit school, when I told my father he told me that I had better go get a real job that I wasn't going to make a living painting.

It would be twenty seven years and a whole world of hurt and disappointment before I picked up a brush again.

      I did manage to curb my attention to music. I played and wrote music for the next twenty some years until I lost my hearing in my left ear, not only did I lose my hearing but I  lost everything. Years of hard living and addictions had taken their toll. Through the last few years of my music endeavors I found myself crossing paths with a minister who had recently moved to North Bay. I did a couple of sound productions for them for conferences they would host. Each time he would see me he would say ''How many times does God have to tap you on the shoulder?"  I would smile and turn away. Eventually, I ended up living in their church, I had no place to go. One day, sitting,talking to his wife (she is a pastor also) about my hearing loss and inability to play music any longer she out and said ''maybe it's time you started painting again''. How could she know?

    They gave me the use of a utility room in the church.  It wasn't much,  in fact,  we laugh about it now (because I had paint everywhere) how the water heater was twenty different colours.

     I was painting again.  It was like I had never stopped except that now I didn't have to see it to paint it.
Since then I have moved just north of Toronto to the small town of Mount Albert,I live here with my fiance Darlene (Dar was in my art classes in highschool) and our blended family of seven children.

       For me the love of painting is in the process not the outcome, after a painting is finished I have little use for it.  Most end up being painted over when I am out of fresh canvas and I get that need to paint. I have had no formal training in art through the years and consider myself blessed to be where I am today.

 I have had the joy of exploring  many new techniques and formulas some are successful some are not, but all begin with faith.

     I normally have no preconception of what I paint, I tend to spend more emphasis and detail on the backgrounds and less effort on focal points.

    My father passed away just over a year ago and even though we were never close after we moved from the farm I would love to let him know, that  that piece of wood is now my canvas and his knife is now my brush.

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Suzanne Gardner - World Diabetes Day Profile

Suzanne Gardner's story inspires me for its the story of an artist overcoming seemingly impossible odds.

Suzanne was born in Montreal. Her mother loved art, and Suzanne has warm memories of her mother taking her to galleries and shows. Suzanne says; " I have always gravitated to anything artistic or creative.  As a child I took every opportunity to take an art or crafts class." Suzanne's mother must have recognized this in her daughter, for she gave her opportunities to take arts and crafts classes, as well as taking her to galleries to look at beautiful paintings.

Suzanne knew that her love of art was something special within her, and that she felt the always felt the need to "create something beautiful." And, her life was a natural journey through such media as  pottery, ceramics, mosaics,and charcoal to acrylics - the media which "felt right".

It would would have been such a natural unfolding of events for Suzanne to have been able to have slid comfortably into an art school, and then to have caught the attention of gallery owners who escalated her into the public eye.  But life doesn't always work out like dreams - and Suzanne's life took its own hard route which led her to become the person she is today.

Suzanne was diagnosed with childhood diabetes at the age of seven and it became a malevolent presence that walked beside her from that day on. Although, there were many years when Suzanne outmaneuvered her illness and led a successful life.  In 1983 she moved to Toronto where she entered the U of T. Suzanne went from there to Ryerson where she studied gerontology and this took her into working as a nursing director in a senior's facility and from there to office management.

But, alas, diabetes had other plans for Suzanne and her life began to collapse like a house of cards.

While Suzanne dabbled with painting, she began to visual problems with details and colours became blurred.  She was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy and within 2 years, Suzanne was declared legally blind.

While most artists would have been shattered by such news - Suzanne had other plans. “When I started to lose my vision I was a little scared about what I would do with my life but I also saw it as an opportunity to re-invent myself, to try something new,"

The crisp, clean lines and the fast drying qualities of acrylics led it to become her media of choice.

She also learned how to rely on her memory and she began using strong magnifying glasses to complete her paintings. And in the end, Suzanne harnessed her handicapped and turned it into an advantage.

She exploited the power of contrast and colour to its fullest and she used her paint to evoke emotion and movement.  She says that she relies a lot on her memory and strong magnifying glasses to complete her paintings.   She also adds that her loss of vision has contributed to her use of bright contrasting colours.  "When the colours are vibrant I have an easier time distinguishing between them.".  She says that she no longer bothers to create a duplicate of the flower but uses the paint to evoke emotion and movement.  "I want the viewers to feel as though the bouquet is dancing".

"It’s important to me to make a statement and that the statement is a positive one. I consider my art to be happy art. What I want to do is create an explosion of amazing colour to overwhelm the viewer. I want people to look at my art and feel happiness and energy.”

A visit to Suzanne's website and blog is sure to impress any follower of the visual arts. Her personal cv records her many gallery showings and public presentations.  And not just that, but she has made some pretty formidable sales with her paintings making their way into private collections in several countries. Her most notable sale was to 3 times world cup cycling winner Greg LaMonde who has one of her largest works hanging in his home.

While many artists have a debilitating health issue that would take them out of art, Suzanne has exploited her weakness to become a stronger person.  Its appropriate that she should be our profiled artist, on this, World Diabetes Day 'Portrait' entry.

Please click here to visit Suzanne's website

Special thanks to the University Health Network, Community News, writer Kim Garwood here
and to Ellen Lechter Green, of the Canadian Jewish News, and to Suzanne for background information for this article.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ruth Draper - Art a Life Long Passion

Not many people can say they were born in a farmhouse on the kitchen table. Ruth Draper can. She came into this world from just outside the hamlet of Bond Head in the 1930's. "My mother lived to the age of 95," she says with a laugh.

Ruth started painting 55 years ago when she got married. During her childhood she was too busy with Junior Farmers and 4H (showing cattle and vegetables) to get involved with art. Her mother, however, was an artist, and one day Ruth joined her for some classes. Jessie Monkman of Cookstown was her teacher.

Ruth's first love was with oils until their use was banned at the university she attended (to prevent use of turpentine in public places). Ruth found the switch to acrylics difficult. "They are much too harsh' she says. She thins the acrylics with water, otherwise she finds them unworkable. When she first started painting at the age of 21 she was taught to use a paint brush for roughing in her drawings rather than
a pencil. She says it is rare to use black paint, and that any shade of blue can be used in a shadow. Payne's gray is her favourite colour.

Ruth uses photographs as a reference while painting. To start a painting she decides on the main colour of the photo and washes this colour over the canvas. The Nova Scotia landscape she is working on has a soft yellow base which reflects the geographical tones of the area.Then she blocks in the placement of the buildings, rocks, and water. Despite the fact that the photos form her composition and vision,
Ruth redesigns while painting and sometimes incorporates features from other photos. In the Nova Scotia painting, she chose to use the sky from a second photo.

"That is what you do when you are an artist. You take a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and you put it together in a pleasing way" Ruth says. "I don't paint perfect" I tell my other artists, "your buildings are too straight". My husband agrees. "If you want perfect you can take a photograph".

Ruth is a retired school teacher. Over her long career she worked at a secondary school in Barrie for 23 years, and several other schools closer to home. She still sees former students in the neighbourhood. "Some aren't much younger than me and they still call me Mrs. Draper", she says with a laugh.
She and her husband - who jokes has put up with her for 55 years - like to travel and took an Alaskan Cruise for their 45th wedding anniversary. They have two children Sandra and Wayne, adopted when they were just seven and nine days old.

Ruth's gallery, Art Unique, is in her home just north of Cookstown. It is open seven days a week, with the occassional closure for holidays. Hand made jewellery with glass beads, crystal quartz and fresh water pearls are available for sale, as well as china painting and the works of 21 consignment artists. Framing, including customs mats, is available. Ruth teaches pottery, painting and jewellery making. Proof this it is never too late to learn something new, Ruth has started working on the potter's wheel at the age of 77.
In addition to art, Ruth enjoys her flower garden. She is a member of the South Simcoe Palette Club, the Bradford Arts Guild, and many community organizations and events. She also participates in the "Around the Corners Studio Tour', which takes place in the fall.

It is my whole life really, Ruth says of her art.

You can see more of Ruth's work featured at Art Unique by clicking here.

For more information about "Around the Corner's Studio Tour, click here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Portrait of The Visual Arts in Canada on Facebook

'The Portrait' has had a Facebook presence for the last 6 months. Members of 'The Portrait' are welcome to become Facebook friends.

The Facebook portal contains links to ongoing items and more. Artists are invited to interact and make comments - and even more. You are welcome to post your paintings here, and any other item relevant to the Canadian visual art scene.

Drop by sometime and say hello. The welcome mat is at the door.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Canadian Art Icon: Takao Tanabe

At 85, artist Takao Tanabe still paints every day in the light-filled studio he built on his remote property on the B.C. coast.

He’ll rise and head to his studio, work a few hours before heading outdoors to do chores or walk, then head back inside to face the canvas again.

In the evening, Tanabe steps into the studio again, just to look and revise in his head what must be done.

This year he’s produced a series of three-metre sunsets, another series of small 15 by 30 cm images and then moved on to some mid-sized acrylics. All of them were landscapes, the subject of most of Tanabe’s work.

A retrospective now on display at the Burnaby Art Gallery, organized by curator Darrin Martens, shows how his approach to the land has changed in a 60-year career that has earned him the Governor General’s Award and the Order of Canada.

What fascinates Tanabe now are the seascapes and landscapes of the West Coast. Tanabe works from photographs, some of hundreds he has shot over the years as he travels by boat, plane or car up and down Vancouver Island.

He says he loves the dark, brooding B.C. days and “can’t get enough” of the colours and contours of the coast.“It’s the mist that obscures the landscape and that makes it all the more mysterious. It’s a tiny little island with a big peninsula — that is the landscape, but covered with a bit of mist or cloud, it becomes a little bit more mysterious,” he told CBC News.

“I like it when it’s cloudy and things are hidden and with no people in it, no boats, no cows.”

Tanabe works on several paintings at once in his studio, which he designed himself when he bought a 25-acre piece of land near Parksville, B.C.

“I paint in my studio on a flat table. I have two tables going at the same time. Then I’m plotting a third one or a fourth one. It’s simpler for my brain to think in a series – they’re dark and moody and then brighter and sunnier,Tanabe was born in Seal Cove, B.C. and interned with his family during the Second World War. After graduating from Winnipeg School of Art in 1949, he furthered his studies in New York and travelled in Europe on an Emily Carr scholarship. He also studied in Japan with a sumi painter, learning ink wash techniques.

Tanabe hasn’t always been a landscape painter – his earliest work, created after his graduation in Winnipeg, was abstract.

For more than 20 years he remained immersed in the world of abstract painting, interested in geometric shapes, flat spatial planes, perspective and bold colours in a range of mediums.

Then an offer in the early 1970s to teach for a summer at the Banff Art Centre coincided with his own decision to move in a different direction.

“After 22 years of painting abstract painting, I decided it was time to try something else and I thought I would try painting landscape for a few years then move on again, because it seemed like the right thing to do to keep moving forward,” he said.

He was living in New York at the time, and as he made his way to Banff he decided to take a closer look at the Prairies.

“It took a week to cross from Winnipeg to Banff and up and down and around and look at the Prairies carefully and I said ‘OK that’s my subject matter,’” Tanabe recalled.

He was drawn by the flat horizon and the gradations of colour and spent more than eight years painting and drawing Prairie landscapes.

“It’s so simple, but it’s very complicated. It’s not putting in mountains here and little bumps here – it’s absolutely flat with a little bit of plough lines, especially in the summer, the different colours of the field…and then there’s a big empty sky. It’s a challenge.”

In 1980, Tanabe moved to Vancouver Island, but his years as resident artist and head of the art department at Banff left an impression. Among the landscapes he painted is a series of 20 of the mountains in winter – precise and as close to realism as he has ever been.

“I could never bring myself to paint mountain peaks in the summer when they’re nice and brown and black and there’s so much detail, but in the winter when they’re mostly covered with snow they’re much more paintable,” he said.

The Burnaby Art Gallery has paintings from each stage of Tanabe’s career. It specializes in works on paper, so the exhibit concentrates heavily on watercolours, pencil drawings and other paper-based works.

The exhibit there will travel to the McMaster University Art Gallery in Hamilton, Ont., the Nanaimo Art Gallery in Nanaimo, B.C. and The Reach in Abbotsford, B.C. in the coming year.

Tanabe’s work has been collected by the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and other public and private galleries.

He will also have 2012 shows at two commercial galleries that represent him, the Mira Godard gallery in Toronto beginning Jan. 28 and another at the Equinox Gallery in Vancouver in February.

Source: CBC online
Please click here

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Takao Tenabe, Explores his Life Journey Through Varied Styles of Painting

Takao Tenabe reflects on his life journey through the various styles he has embraced over the last 50 years.
Its a reflective, thoughtful interview, made at his showing in the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, On. I wish he had of shared how or if, one style has impacted the other and if he feels that he has become a better painter for having engaged in these varied styles.

Made in Haliburton

Don and Marie Gage is a unique, regional Canadian online art gallery utilized for promoting the work of artists who live and or cottage in the Haliburton Highlands, Ontario, Canada.

The Haliburton Highlands is the home of over 300 artists who live and work in their remote studios speckled across the region. Art is a major industry in this region of lakes, rocks and hills and as such the community promotes itself as “A Natural Work of Art”. Over 40 years ago a group of creative citizens of the region envisioned the development of a community of the arts and this group has inspired the creation of a number of artistic enterprises such as the Haliburton School of the Arts, which is a program of Fleming College. The school became so large that it outgrew its accommodation and a brand new building, and regional campus of Fleming College, came to fruition.

The Haliburton Studio Tour just celebrated its 25th year and has become a very successful vehicle for promoting the work of full-time artists living In the region.  There is also a one-of-a-kind (at least in Canada) Sculpture Forest where you can commune with nature and encounter a variety of sculptures around each turn in the trail.

The Haliburton Highlands is also a recreational community that attracts vacationers from the Greater Toronto Region. While there are many activities that attract people year round the predominant season for visits is the summer. This results in the economy fluctuating significantly throughout the year, with most sales happening in the summer and at the time of the fall studio tour.

Don & Marie Gage, art appreciators living in the community, recognized that the next natural step in development of resources for the artistic community was the creation of a website to take the artistic creations to an international market on a 365 day a year basis.

The Arts Council~Haliburton Highlands was able to secure a grant from the Cultural Strategic Initiative Fund (CSIF) of the Ontario Government to offset the capital cost of creating the website and some initial marketing costs. A partnership was formed between The Arts Council~Haliburton Highlands and the Gages.

This partnership spawned the juried website  in the spring of 2012. At the time of launch of the website there were 30 artists who had signed on to sell their creative products. This number has grown to 52 at the time of writing of this document and numbers continue to expand.

Made In supports artists working in three categories: visual arts, performing arts, and literary arts. Hence, there is a broad selection of 100% Canadian Art available through this online art gallery.

Anyone looking for a unique, Canadian-made gift or personal artistic acquisition can browse the website by the categories of Art for the Wall, Art for the Table, Art for the Floor, Art for the Body and Art for the Senses or simply utilize the search function on any page to help them locate an item of interest.

Article by Marie Gage

To visit the Made in Haliburton website, please click here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Name the Art Contest

This magnificent bird hangs on view in a Canadian City for everyone to see.

Name the artist and the location and you will be the winner of the next 'Portrait' Name the Art contest.
There is no prize, save for your name being recorded in posterity

Contest ends November 30th

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ron Morrison - Going With The Flow

It gives me pleasure to present another painting by Ron Morrison of Courteny BC. Ron is not only a master watercolourist, but its pretty safe to say that without Ron - there would be no "Portrait of the Visual Arts in Canada.' Ron planted the seed and after that my personal art blog took on a life of its own.

Those who know watercolours, acknowledge that Ron has the all the tools that make him one of the best in our country. And, like all artists who make the steep climb to success, his journey has been made on steps of self understanding.

I couldn't imagine Ron painting in acrylics or oils. They would be much too restrictive for his temperament. Ron paints with panache. He lets it all hang out and he is at his best when he goes with the capricious flow of water and manipulates it and guides it to tell his story.

Take a look at this painting.

I love its overall architecture. We see a barn. a house, a truck, a car and a small gazebo in the background. The gazebo sits in the centre of a large loosely constructed X. Whoever said that the focus has to be in the quarter quadrant? Ron's gazebo sits "smack dab" on centre stage.

If Ron's work has a trademark, it's in his unending quest for
the story beyond the story. He embraces aging vehicles with open doors and broken windows and missing headlights. He loves rust and has mastered skills in making rust so real that you can almost touch and taste it. Ron loves drawing a cloak of mystery over his works, and he pulls it down with low lying clouds that magically blur with
his background hills.

Its important to note that in this painting - optimism  trumps negativity.  The sky is at its bluest over the gazebo. Ron shakes off the mantra that background hills have to be hazy blue/grey with a small golden arch over the background trees behind the gazebo.

I have long marvelled at Ron's liberated palette. Most painters can only dream of what he does with colour.

Whatever you may say about Ron's work - his fierce sense of independence, and the determination with which he develops his craft around what some consider a restrictive subject theme, and his playful manipulation and exploration of his media make him one of the best.

Artist's Comments

I thought this might be a fun painting to use...its a sketch of an imaginary scene using photos as references for shapes and then combining them and adding imaginary elements or something like that. In other words its from the back of my eyelid but the shapes are accurate because I used photos for the truck and car and the house on the right (I really don't need much in the way of references and sometimes draw elaborate houses from the ol imaginato). Its a fairly workman like painting.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bill Tomlinson - "So Why Nudes?"

So, Why Nudes?

To me, the subject matter that is at once the most beautiful, the most expressive and the most compelling is ourselves -- people – and although I have occasionally ventured into other areas, my primary interest for as long as I have been drawing has been the human figure, whether clothed or nude.
I have been asked more than once, “Why nudes?”. It's a legitimate question. After all, why not draw people the way we see them every day as they go about their business all around us – clothed?
To begin with, like most artists, I am interested in getting beyond the superficial to the essential reality of things. Clothing is an expression of who we are in our various roles in life, whether we're a lawyer, a cook or a hobo, but there is a more essential humanity common to us all, and artists for the past two and a half millennia have attempted to portray and express this humanity with the nude.
For me, no matter whether a nude is expressing sexuality, mortality, suffering or joy, there is an essential beauty that is – or should be -- common to all of them, and my hope is to give a sense of that beauty in my drawings and paintings.

Contributed by Bill Tomlinson
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Bill's works can be seen in the Side Street Gallery in Wellington, On.  Please click here.

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