For 30 years, I’ve wanted an art studio. A quiet place to call my own. A space that fosters creativity, peacefulness and focus. Over the last couple of years, we’ve worked towards that end. My husband has spent most of his days off converting an old garage into my little dream space. He’s roofed, resided, installed windows, insulated, installed new light fixtures and fashioned pine walls. There’s still a floor to finish, a porch to build and facia to attach, then it’s my turn to garden and organize the interior. I estimate a finish date of July or August 2018. If all goes well I hope to be part of Muskoka’s well known fall art tour and in a perfect world, I’d like to see local artists come for open studio time where we set up a still life on a rainy day, make tea and paint the day away.
No more excuses to not get my work done! I’ll have no computer, no home phone and no family distractions. I will have, space, music, peace and time to focus on the project at hand.
Verse of the day
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my safe cover. My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. So, my heart is full of joy. I will thank Him with my song.
‘View Over Cache Lake’ ~ Oil ~ 36”x 48”
‘View over Cache Lake, Algonquin’ as seen from Track and Tower Trail is one of many exquisite vistas in Algonquin Park.
Living close to Algonquin Park, as an artist, is Godsent! Having access to 7653 square kilometre of rolling hills, covered by 34 species of trees and home to 53 species of mammals. The wildlife of Algonquin includes 2000 black bears (one for every 3-4 km), 35 wolf packs and 3500 moose. Within it’s boundaries are 1500 lakes and 1200 km of steams . And thankfully, all of this is accessible by 19 interruptive trails.
Algonquin is a landscape full of life that stretches as far as you can. What a privilege it is to enjoy it regularly!
Gensis 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good…
Summer 2013 ~ Visit to McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg 'Painting Canada' exhibition with Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven.
It was the most exciting exhibition I've ever seen.... Well, almost as exciting as Monet in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
There was lots of paint in directional strokes using bright, contrasting colours, and emphasizing light and shadow. They put in very little detail but suggest lots; the trees hardly have branches, just a smear of colour, yet detail appears like magic. The shading is intense- very vivid blue or purple and often with just a touch of turquoise.
Most of the paintings are small but a few were impressively large. I’m use to seeing them in much smaller scale, such as prints and/or calendars, so it’s surprising and impressive when they’re so much larger than expected, like Montreal River by J.E.H. McDonald. It's huge, has lots of directional strokes, and is very colourful. I wanted to 'ooh' and 'awe' when I saw it.
A few things I always notice about their work...
a) Vividness of colour.
Using as example ~ Tom Thomson's Larry Dickson’s Cabin, 1917. The water is very deep indigo blue yet the sky is light and soft.
b) Lack of detail
Using as example ~ 'The Fire Ranger' by Johnson. The clouds are simply shaped, are shaded with single directional strokes on the bottom and minimally worked ….
c) Directional brush work
Using as example ~ A.Y. Jackson 'Winter, Charlevoiz County', 1932. The foreground, mid sectional and distance hills are all very clearly worked with directional strokes…..
I always like to pick one favourite painting in an exhibition, which was almost impossible with this collection, but if I could take one home, it would be The Little Falls by McDonald. It was the first time I'd seen it anywhere and, although it was small in size, it was mighty with impact.
October gold by Carmichael
Path Behind Mowat Lodge by Tom Thomson (love the contrast!)
Sand Lake By Harris (good example of minimal detail)
Woodland Waterfall by Tom Thomson
When I started painting I became obsessed with ‘examining’ artwork. If you have a desire to paint, you should visit galleries and study the work of artists you admire. It's also important to simply observe; if you’re interested in landscape painting, study the landscape you want to paint. Pay attention to colour values and shapes. (Ex. How the tree tops appear in the distance or how the clouds recede, as they approach the horizon line). I found it helped develop my artistic skill to consciously observe the landscape and study experienced masters. By enjoying and examining the work of artists I admire I learn lessons from them, and what better teacher can there be then a revered artist?
I hope to returned to McMichael this fall to see what's new.
I also wanted to mention a gallery I discovered in Port Carling called 'Ryan Fine Art Gallery'. It was a great gallery and introduced me to my new favourite artist Christine Nadeau from Quebec. The staff was friendly and informative and made the visit even more enjoyable. It's a 'must see' gallery if you're ever out Port Carling way .
Two of my greatest passions include wildlife and art, and lucky for me, I have been able to combine these two passions by painting wildlife commonly seen in our area. Recently, I have discovered another means of combining these passions together by creating my ‘For the Love of Bears’ series. This is a series of bear paintings and greeting cards that was put together as a fundraising effort for Bear With Us, which is a sanctuary and rehabilitation center for bears. 100% of the proceeds from these original paintings and cards go to Bear With Us in an effort to support this remarkable organization. These paintings and cards can be seen and purchased at Kelly’s Home Furniture, Highway 60, Huntsville, Ontario. If you would like more information on the sanctuary, you can check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Understanding.Bears?fref=ts.
Thanks for reading :)
Roxanne Driedger (Strople)
Interview by WHOHUB
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I am a landscape artist working with acrylic on canvas. I feel passionate about the landscape that surrounds me so I try and express that passion and share the excitement.
What is your message?
Appreciate and be thankful to God for such an incredibly beautiful environment.
Your biography in four lines
I live and work in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada and am a self taught artist. I have always had a passion for art and a strong appreciation for the natural beauty of northern landscape. I seek out the beauty in all things; from a dew drop on a flower to the colourful, unique patterns etched into a rocky shoreline. Enjoying the outdoors, whether camping, sitting by a fire, hiking or canoeing with my family and friends is when I'm most happy.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where couldwe see it
My website: www.paintingsbyroxanne.com
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
I'm attracted to light and colour. When I see something that I just want to keep looking at, I photograph it and paint it. I love reflection in water, light and shadow and bright, clear colour.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
I store my photographs in Iphoto and use photoshop to crop and adjust the compositions.
What is art?
There's probably a million answers to this question..... We share it, we feel it, it's primal and we've risked our lives to save it (The Venus Fixers). It holds history, preserves our culture and best expresses our passions and our fears.
When do you get your best ideas?
No specific time. My ideas come randomly.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
Ideas are always good even if they show us what doesn't work. They give us something to build on.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
There's so many fantastic ideas out there! I'd like to have been part of the group responsible for the birth of Impressionism. Creator of the first public gallery and creator of the printing press.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
I've always been a bit uncomfortable with the term "artist" when relating to myself. I recently came to the realization that anyone who spends as much time as I do thinking about, looking at and "doing" art should celebrate the privilege and appreciate the gift of being an artist.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
I don't see that artists are particularly volatile. Maybe we just hear about the volatile artists and the calm "normal" artists don't make a very exciting story. Would you rather talk about Van Gogh cutting off his ear or Renoir who was fairly "normal".
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
I don't think so.
How should a work of art be evaluated?
Evaluation is personal depending on the affect it has on the viewer. I suppose a work that has an effect on a large majority of viewers would be recognized as having higher value.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
No. That would be exhausting and pointless if you are enjoying what you do.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
I admire William Brymner, Frederic Bazille, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Peel, Clarence Gagnon, Lawren Harris and Robert Bateman and many, many more.
I turn to these artist when I need to focus on a particular aspect of my painting. Depending on what I need I turn to different artists. Brushwork, I'd look at Gagnon and Brymner, composition, all of them. For colour inspiration I'd look at Van Gogh etc.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
YES! to public funding!
Is art necessary?
Yes, art comes from our core, so yes, it is necessary. It has always been distinctively in our nature.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
No. I want others to enjoy it. I'm thankful they want to possess it.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
Hmmmmm.... both. It's the creation of the artist, his style, his composition, idea and interpretation that is enjoyed thus giving the physical artwork value. The artist is left with his style, ideas and interpretations and only the painted canvas is purchased by the buyer.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
That's what makes an artist an artist I guess. The next step just happens.
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
I understand the art of someone deceased becomes a limited commodity, however, it is unfortunate great artist often don't enjoy the fame of their labour or have any idea of it's lasting affect.
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
At this point in my art "career" dealers, gallery owners and representatives don't play a part. Hopefully, one day soon, I'll get initiative in this area.
Do you personally collect any items?
As little as possible, unless you call photos "items".
Which websites do you frequently visit?
My own website, http://www.paintingsbyroxanne.com/, https://twitter.com ,http://www.davidjeremiah.org, http://www.wetcanvas.com,http://http://www.drawmixpaint.com/
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Be patient. Look at art in galleries and magazines as much as possible. If you're interested in landscape, go outside a lot.