Walk of Teachings
In September Vic and I traveled to the north shore of Lake Superior or known in Ojibwe as Chigaam (Gitche Gumee) meaning 'big lake'
While camping in Pukaskwa National Park we hiked the Bimose Kinoomagewnan trail around Half Way Lake. Along the trail there are sign posts sharing the Seven Grandfathers Teachings which are Humility, Bravery, Honesty, Wisdom, Truth, Respect and Love. The teachings added a whole new wonderful dimension to the hike.
I'd like to share them with you, here's #1 ~ Humility
Humility is represented by the wolf. For the wolf, life is lived for his pack and the ultimate shame is to be outcast. Humility is to know that you are a sacred part of creation. Live life selflessly and not selfishly. Respect your place and carry your pride with your people and praise the accomplishments of all. Do not become arrogant and self-important. Find balance in within yourself and all living things.
The painting is from the highest point on the Bimose Trail.
Titled ~ Walk of Teachings
Size ~ 30" x 30"
Medium ~ Oil on gallery wrapped canvas
In 13 years of painting, this is the only scene I’ve painted multiple times. The first painting was a 16 x 20, the 2nd 30 x 40, and this one a 40 x 60. Somehow, this scene keeps calling for a larger space! It’s a setting that I love; it has great features…. rock, water, trees, accentuated by beautiful light and located in a wild, semi secluded place. I my view, those elements together equal perfection.
If you’ve had the opportunity to paddle, camp or hike you likely have a particular spot, or spots, that you consider your favourite place. A spot you return to whenever possible because it brings instant peace, wakes up your senses, and makes you feel alive and thankful.
Where is it? Near or far?
This painting 'True Splendor’ is one of my spots in Killarney, a mere 3 hours away. Other favourites, the north shore of Lake Superior and Bona Vista, Trinity, Tilting, and Bottle Cove in Newfoundland.
A long time ago I went to an auction. The first auction I had ever been to. I was an estate sale so had a wide variety of items. The one item I bid on, and won, was an old wood box. I did realize until I picked it up that it had something in it. To my surprise, it was full of oil paint, linseed oil, brushes, etc.
I feel certain that God was giving me direction that day.
I brought it home and left it for a while, then one day, when the time was right I got it out. I found a piece of wall panelling in the workshop and used it as my canvas.
I found a photo of my son napping in a sunspot on the sofa. I loved the shadows, the subject and the feeling of contentment that photo gave me, so it became my subject.
To this day it's my favourite painting. I still love the shadows, the subject and the contentment I get from it.
Turtle Island, Killarney
I have recently realized that a fair bit of my artwork is inspired from Ontario’s provincial and national parks. Much of my work has been inspired by Algonquin, Killarney, Pukaskwa and the north shore of Lake Superior.
Nature is always inspirational. I’m inspired by light, colour and mood of landscape, especially northern landscape. My preference is to paint somewhat dreary days or cloudy days when the sun burst’s through the clouds and you have bright light against dark skies. Water is often in my paintings as I love the movement and sparkle of it.
This painting Turtle Island Killarney captures the moment right after a heavy down pour. The air is still heavy with moisture and the colours are vibrant against the dark sky. There’s a tiny gap in the clouds letting the sun barely touch the treetops. The water is smooth as silk and the air has that distinctive after the rain smell. It’s a perfect moment filled with calm, peace, quiet and freshness.
I was interested to learn that Killarney Provincial Park was largely created due to the effort of artists, particularly A.Y. Jackson. He learned that the land around OSA Lake was to be logged so he successfully petitioned the government to have it preserved. The land around the lake was put in trust to the Ontario Society of Artists, and it eventually became a provincial park.
It doesn’t happen every day so when it does, it’s exciting!
This year, at the Muskoka Arts and Crafts Annual Spring Show, (2019) I was honoured with an Award of Excellence for Oil Paint, for Killarney, George Lake.
New's Update: April 09th, 2019
I’m very excited to be involved in the ‘Artrail Muskoka’ Purple Banner, Studio and Gallery Guide. The way it works, as stated in the pamphlet which contains a map of the Muskoka region,
“Plan, with this map, a self-guided, year-round art experience of participating Muskoka studios and galleries displaying the Purple Banner.”
“Look for the flying PURPLE BANNER throughout Muskoka. Whenever you see a PURPLE BANNER, our artist’s studio/gallery is open.”
If you’re interested in receiving a guide please contact me and make sure you find one or I’ll mail one to you.
I’m not only excited because I’m am a participating artist but also, I’m looking forward to using the guide myself. It will be conveniently tucked in my glove box for easy access when I’m out and about touring Muskoka.
I hope to see you at the studio!
My little studio space
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.
A Northern Paradise
‘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 .
"For the Love of Bears"
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 :)