October has just appeared out of nowhere, and promises to be a hectic month. I was away in Nova Scotia for five days the third week of September, and am really excited with the painting subjects I have collected from that trip, so now with the two Maritime trips , I have a lot of new work that will be coming.
October is McMichael month 🙂 Really happy that I was fortunate enough to be selected for this years special exhibit. It was the first year that I have tried it, but with different jurors each year, sometimes some really good artists do not get selected. There are only 50 spots to compete for, so for now I will enjoy that I am in this years group.
We were supposed to write a bit about ourselves and send it back to the organizers, but some artists sent it to everyone, guess so we would know all about them. Looking at the info, mine doesn’t really compare, because they are talking about how many years they studied art , what school award they received etc etc. I never got to go to art school where everyone learns to paint something the same way. I am self taught, so what I could add was that as a child, I would make my own colours using berries, dandelions and the like and my mother’s pots. There was no extra budget for art supplies. When I was ten, my teacher Don McLean and two other teachers showed up at the door with two hundred dollars worth of paints, brushes, canvases and the like, which was a considerable sum back then. My mom hemmed and hawed and didn’t wish to accept the generous gift because she “did nae wish to be beholden”, but finally gave in and then told me I could no longer use her pots. I think she really just wanted her pots back.
Growing up, the day after school let out, I was shipped by plane to my grandmother’s home in Nova Scotia to help her with her cottages in the morning. By 9:30 the chores would be done, and my cousin and I ran wild the rest of the day, playing hide and go seek in the fog in the sand dunes, digging up clams for breakfast when the tide was out, swimming at the bear hole and seeking adventures in the woods. This helped shape my love of painting wild scenery and water subjects.
I also added that when I was 14, I was exhibiting at a special outdoors art show and the guest was A.Y.Jackson . The organizers were taking him up and down the rows so he could view everyone’s artwork, but when he got to mine, he said he liked my work, then sat down to discuss art with me for close to an hour, while the organizers kept checking their watches with a worried look. Alex and I became friends after that, and corresponded, and I would go and visit him in Kleinberg. I still treasure the autographed book he gave me of his life, and photos of us together, as well as an old Toronto Star clipping. He passed away in 1974.
We were also instructed to add something most people do not know about our work, so I added that anyone who knows my work, is aware that I always have something “alive”, in the painting, whether it be a butterfly or lady bug, or larger like a bird, duck or fox.
So I hope that information is useful to them, because despite having been well represented by various galleries across the country over the years, I have now decided to enjoy my studio in Alton Mill, that I share with two other wonderful artists, and again… I am self taught. Not a fancy person with multiple art courses behind me, just a painter. The closest I came to art school, was when different people at OCAD and a couple of other Universities decided to “study” me and how I work.
October 23rd is the gala at the McMichael Gallery, and it is open to the public so maybe I will see you there. The show continues on the 24th and 25th.
In the studio, there have been lots of visitors recently, but I especially enjoy the children when they come through. They politely look at the artwork, with their accompanying adult behind them hovering to remind them “Don’t touch”, but their reaction is wonderful to see, when I invite them to sit down at the easel, and show them how to do a couple of strokes on an actual painting. Have some budding artists coming in the area. 🙂
I still have a bit to complete on this new painting, but it is nearing the end. The trickiest , tedious part was doing the branches, with layer upon layer of tiny stokes using a triple zero brush. The foreground trees, and shrubbery are done with a triple zero, or a two brush depending on which area has my attention. I have used sap green and cobalt turquoise to emphasize the detail , because the prussian colours would be too stark. All of the trees still have some work to be completed, and I hope people like the end result. The subject itself is found on the 15th sideroad, north of Palgrave, On.
Hope to see you in Alton Mill. 🙂