I’m pleased to be quoted and to see a photo of my work included in a review in the Hamilton Spectator by Regina Haggo. Down to earth artists explore ecology theme focuses on the exhibition at the Carnegie Gallery in Dundas Ontario. It continues until March 30, 2014.
On the Rock: Merging Art and Ecology opens Friday March 7:00 pm. at the Carnegie Gallery 10 King Street West, Dundas Ontario. It runs until March 30.
Each artist’s contribution was inspired by the landscape at Cedar Haven Farm, north of Hamilton. The exhibition is a project of the Hamilton Chapter of A Rocha, an international organization dedicated to environmental stewardship. Across Canada its volunteers act locally to carry out community based conservation work.
Three of my paintings in Oil Pastel are included in the show On The Rock – Merging Art and Ecology, at the Carnegie Gallery, in Dundas, from March 7 to 30 2014.
The gallery is located at 10 King Street West, Dundas, Ontario. The opening is Friday March 7, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
This exhibition is a project sponsored by the local chapter of A Rocha an international organization dedicated to environmental stewardship. Ten artists were invited to respond to the landscape at Cedar Haven Farm near Freelton Ontario, where A Rocha volunteers have been very active. These images are based on the landscape at that farm.
Thanks very much to Maureen Thompson of the Markham Group of Artists who invited me to lead a full-day beginner workshop on how to use oil pastels.
It can be challenging to work in a new medium, but as one participant observed it is also liberating because it is easier and more fun to take risks when you’re a learner. We began by preparing masonite panels with Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastels. While they were drying, everyone practiced applying and blending colour as well as mark-making on test sheets of tinted paper coated with pastel ground, before turning their attention to their chosen landscape images for the rest of the day.
Most of us recall working with crayons or coloured pencils as children, an experience that gives artists their starting point. Colours can be stroked gently into the surface and feathered together to create new transparent blends, almost like tweed, or they can be scrubbed firmly into the surface to create dense opaque shapes – and everything in between. Everyone finds their own unique way to apply colour.
As part of today’s process we also looked at the work of two very different artists: Canada’s A.J Casson whose paintings are notable for a strong sense of design that he used to tame complex landscapes. Later, we looked at a number of exquisite works by the American artist Wolf Kahn, whose brilliant colour and calligraphic approach to landscape suggest a completely different way to tackle the challenge.
And here are the results of today’s labour:
I recently visited the Markham Group of Artists (MGA) to talk about the joy of working in oil pastel. Many people tell me that they have oil pastels in their kit but never use them because they’re not quite sure what support to use or how to preserve them. I’m always happy to talk about my process. Oil pastels are a very simple medium to use, require no special techniques, yet can be manipulated in many ways, have no smell, create no dust, are portable and can be applied to any surface. I concluded the morning by showing them the first steps I take to start a painting in oil pastel. Many thanks to Maureen Thompson for the invitation.
We travelled a lot this spring and summer, in North America and later in Britain. Here are some of the highlights of our trip as recorded in my sketchbooks. In June, I visited Gould Farm, in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts where my friend Rose is a volunteer. She wrote and edited a wonderful cookbook to celebrate the farm’s 100th anniversary as a healing and rehabilitation centre – and to raise money for this marvelous organization.
Barry planned three workshops for the summer: Toronto was first, in July.
Next, we travelled to Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, in the Bay of Fundy.
Early in August, we moved on to the Cotswold District in England.
When the workshops were over, we visited Cornwall for 10 days.
I was included in a profile of two University of Guelph graduates in the May 2013 issue of the University Alumni magazine, Portico. Author Andrew Vowles connected us after meeting each of us in open life drawing sessions here in Hamilton. Ward Shipman, the photographer for the Portico piece, is another regular in the same life drawing circles. I really look forward to any opportunity to spend time drawing from life. The experience keeps my hand and eyes tuned, but I love the state of mind that can be achieved by focusing entirely on the process of observing something carefully through drawing: a meditation when it’s going well.
I’ve been participating in two life drawing circles in Hamilton since we arrived in 2012. On Sundays you can draw from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the top floor of the Vasco Da Gama building on Hamilton’s James Street North, between Cannon and Mulberry streets. Look for the sandwich board on the street outside. It costs $10 and is run by artist John Martin. Anne Becker, the owner of 337 Sketch Gallery (located at 337 Ottawa Street near Barton Street in Hamilton,) opens up her own studio above the gallery for life drawing from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Mondays. The fee is $12.50. Make sure to be a little early. The street door gets locked promptly.
I’m still under the spell of the January light and landscape in Ireland’s Cork and Waterford Counties. Here are a few more of my drawings, some in pen and ink, and several in pen, ink and white charcoal on toned paper.
It would be hard not to be inspired by the light and landscape in the south of Ireland at any time of the year.
My Irish friends and family thought I was a bit odd choosing to visit in January and urged me to come when the weather was “better,” but I haven’t regretted my timing for a moment.
While I was admiring the palm trees, primroses, daffodils and gorse in bloom, my family was confronting blizzards at home in Ontario.
This trip was a bit of a sentimental journey to say hello to family, friends and visit a landscape I hadn’t seen for a while, so I especially appreciated finding some of my old haunts in Waterford and Cork Counties empty of tourists.
Without leaves on the trees and hedges, it was much easier to see the landscape.
My sketchbook was a great companion, especially for someone travelling alone.