Saturday, September 3, 2011

Featured Artist Show: Sacred Places, ArtScene at Spencerville, On

At ArtScene, in Spencerville Arlene Hare and I showed our most recent works called Sacred Places.  Here a a few sneak previews that I hope you'll enjoy. The show will be offered for you throughout all of September. Come see the 'Barnes Creek', part of the South Branch River Series that won Honourable Mention from the Marianne Silfhout Gallery.  Below is my artist's statement for the show.

The act of creating a permanent interpretation of a place that speaks profoundly to my soul is what you see before you today. many artists before me have grown to know that the communion with nature and the experience of the creative act is a holy one. When I reflect on a place, I meditate, and in so doing, the act of creation of a place is sacred. many artists see the creative act as prayer.
I begin the process with recording the place using watercolour and photography. This offers a quick accurate recording of the topography of the land. its reflects the tradition of early military officers and topographers who carefully recorded our land as they travelled from the east coast to the interior of canada. throughout my life, watercolour has been as common as holding a camera and provides a quick meaningful record for later.
once taken into the studio, the ‘place’ begins its slow and careful interpretation using encaustic painting. I only use clean unbleached beeswax from a local farm in prince edward county. all the works in this exhibition have been selected from the gatineau, eastern ontario, and the bay of quinte penninsula. these are the places i have come to know and have grown to profoundly appreciate and I share them with you today.
The word ENCAUSTIC comes from the greek, ‘enkaustikos’ meaning to literally burn in, as in the process of burning wax into a surface for a permanent stable image. the painting requires applying of layers of successive strokes of beeswax blended with oil paint. each layer is burned into the body of wax using a heat gun. There are ancient Greek art works in this medium that still have a rich vibrant array of colours, so the encaustic landscape will always maintain its colour and beauty.
take a walk through these sacred places and enjoy them with me. i hope these places speak to you as they have to me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spirit of the Land Awards Poster


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Marianne Silfhout Gallery Youtube Video

Enjoy this link to view the Vernissage evening of Spirit of the Land.

Spirit of the Land

This summer I entered a juried show at Marianne van Silfhout Gallery at St. Lawrence College, Brockville. This gallery is a state-of-the-art gallery with exquisitely designed moveable gallery panels and even clear lighting. The exhibition's Vernissage showed 42 artists on Friday, August 5 and there was a great buzz in the room. The exhibition takes place until Sept. 8 so drop by if you're in Brockville.

The artists' theme was centred around a chosen quote from one of my mentors, Emily Carr. She said "If spirit does not breathe through - it is lifeless, dead, voiceless - the Spirit must be felt so intensely that it has power to call others in passing..."

I selected Barnes Creek, South Branch River for my submission. That evening I received an Honourable Mention for the work from three possible accolades that the committee had chosen.

You'll also see it in a shared exhibition at ArtScene on Sunday, Sept 4. from 1:00-3:30 p.m. where Arlene Hare and I will have a Vernissage.  ArtScene is a great art collective at 11 Spencer Street in Spencerville, On. Hope you can make it if you live around North Grenville.
Here is a sneak preview. . The name of the show is called Sacred Places.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

South Branch River Series

A Series of Encaustic Paintings of the South Branch River in Eastern Ontario from source to the mouth at the Rideau River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Our communities historically have gathered around rivers and lakes for commercial travel, industrial traffic as well as recreation.  Today, in this series of encaustic paintings  called ‘South Branch River Series’, I turn my concerns to the small waterway that is in the centre of our small town, a small delicate tributary of the Rideau River called the South Branch River or Kemptville Creek as it is affectionately known to the people of Kemptville. 

South Branch Series 1: Long Shadows on Snowy Covered River; 

12” x 18”; encaustic on cradle wood; March 2011; $200. unframed or $300. framed to artist's specifications

As I step outside my home on Bridge Street I can view in the silence of early spring our lifeblood, the South Branch River. Just outside my home looking toward the north as the South Branch meanders under a thin layer of ice, I study in the crisp clarity of a cold spring morning, the long finger like reflections of trees from the east bank. The work is layered with rose and gray opaque layers of wax, covered again with white. The underlying textures and colours reach up from this snowy layer. I was seeking to create long restful and translucent waxy layers in this very picturesque segment of our river. It is quiet now as the risk of breaking through the ice is well known but soon it will be a playground where fishing, canoeing and camping abound. 

South Branch Series 3: Barnes Creek, South Branch at Jack Street, Kemptville; 
12” x 18”; encaustic on cradle wood; June 2011; $200. unframed or $300. framed to artist's specifications

At this early spring as I lean down and look toward the west in the early afternoon to watch the deep blue black of the water gracefully flow in its newly found freedom from the thin sheets of ice and snow, I muse as to where she has begun. She is a woman of bounty offering her lifeblood, water, for the benefit of small animals wild and domesticated as well as local fisherman, canoeists and pedestrians. Now the overgrowth of the gnarly and abundant manitoba maples overhang and engulf the efforts of this small tributary to make its insistent and irregular way through backyards of the village.

 South Branch Series 4: Spring Breakup at Oxford Mills; 
12” x 18”; encaustic on cradle wood; June 2011; $200. unframed or $300. framed to artist's specifications

As I gaze over the Oxford Mills bridge, the small splendour of this lifeblood of our community is flowing and active as it bubbles downriver to the Rideau River. At this point in the year, much of the ice flow has broken and melted to swell its banks. Its cool keep blue is expectant with new life.

South Branch Series 5: South Branch Empties into Rideau River; 
12” x 18”; encaustic on cradle wood; June 2011; $200. unframed or $300. framed to artist's specifications

This is the site of Beckett’s Landing downstream on the Rideau only miles from the mouth of the South Branch River. By canoe its shores are spotted with tiny cottages and thick with bullrushes, beaver, muscrat, herons and red-winged blackbirds. The air is very cool and fresh, the water cold and deep.
You will note that the titles emphasize its meandering geography as the South Branch River cuts through villages, countrysides downriver to its final journey in the Rideau River. As I located myself at each site in the series I was intrigued by its ever changing ‘faces’. So it is respecting these faces or locations that made me root the images in their respective locations. 
This series is completed in the medium of encaustic, an ancient medium from the Greek work ’encaustikos’ meaning to literally burn in, as in the process of burning wax into a surface for a permanent stable image. I chose this medium in its easy liquid flow as it symbolizes a fitting response to this ‘South Branch River Series’ a medium also ebbs and flows across the cradled wood. I am grateful the for richness that the South Branch offers at every season and I stand as a witness to its awakening in the early spring and gaze in wonder as I hope you do as well.
The life of this river comes early in the spring from its frozen rest and I am witness to its coming to life. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Celebration of Spring

In early May 2011, my attraction to early spring growth in the garden and my newly found medium of encaustic (from the Greek word, enkostikos literally burning into using a hot wax process) led me to investigate and research early spring garden flowers in my garden. 
I also grew concerned about structuring smaller co-ordinated images to support a somewhat larger panel 12” x 18”. I wanted to create delicate small visual stories that would support the focal central panel.
 Of course, as the series of images of cultivated bulb growing flowering plants progressed, I looked to the edifying documentation on Canadian wild flowering plants that Catherine Parr Traill wrote and illustrated in 1848: Wildflowers of Canada (lithographed by Agnes Fitzgibbon). So I carefully noted correct structure, line and form as I paid due respect to early botanical illustrations that had gone before me. Here is where the attentiveness to realism so ended.
My colour scheme you will note is analogous, that is colours selected side by sde on the colour wheel, always hovering to the central flower as a starting point to local colour. Following that colour selection all the components of the encaustic painting needed to play a secondary role to the flower while the selection of colour needed to reflect the value of its original local partner. The analogous colour scheme literally radiates, i.e. comes from the central floral colour to achieve the effect of ‘celebration’ to the edge of the image.
In many respects I come from a tradition of working in fibre arts from very skilled women artisans, skilled in the handling of embroidery, crewel work, crochet, applique and quilting. Floral subject matter was always a dominant theme in their work and it is to my maternal grandmother, Lily Cote that I dedicate this series as I so often felt her watchful hand as I formed petals and leaves to her gentle approval. 

I also offer these images to the many visitors of the Dandelion Festival 2011 who will visit North Grenville and celebrate the advent of spring on the weekend of May 27-29. These works and others will be viewed in the Old Fire Hall on Rueben Street, Old Town Kemptville with fellow artists from ArtScene, Spencerville. Come celebrate with us and enjoy and edify the lowly Dandelion!

Tulips Series 1: Central Panel; 12"x 18"; $177. plus HST; 3 6" x 6" panels $26.54 each plus HST
Periwinkle 1: Central Panel; 12" x 18"; $177. plus HST;  3 6" x 6" panels $26.54 each plus HST
Tulip 2: Central Panel; 12" x 18"; $177. plus HST; 2 8" x 10" panels $35.39 each plus HST
Daffodils 2: Central Panel; 12" x 18"; $177. plus HST; 2 8" x 10" panels $35.39 each plus HST
Daffodils 1: Central Panel;  12" x 18"; $177. plus HST; 2 10 x 12 panels $88.49 each plus HST
Edifying the Lowly: 3 12" x 18"; $177. each plus HST

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cygne Anatomy Series March 2011

The long supple and graceful neck of the swan is the first inspiration for this series that evolved first from a sighting of two swans at Adolphuston, Ontario as they swam off the shore at the ferry traversing Lake Ontario to Prince Edward County.
Months later was I able to develop the concept in human anatomy with photographs of necks of my daughters in their positioned elegance, moving in one direction then another. Three drawings came from that series of photographs. The drawings were created as a tonal study in preparation for an encaustic series delving newly into this medium of hot wax application.
The next challenge as it evolved was to create small 10" x 10" panels in encaustic, each reflecting a colour scheme that was emotional in approach. I wanted to react to the personality of my three daughters each in their own right. It was primary for me to use colour and texture of the medium as expressive tools in the works.
These expressive self-portraits tell much to the viewer about who you are even though very few features are present in the works. They also speak to our connection with the beauty of nature as the elegant swan glides gracefully along icy open water, and so my daughters slide along icy waters in their graceful journeys through life.

Isabella Student Art Tote Bag

Recently I designed a practical and attractive tote bag for one of my nieces, Isabella who is a talented art student. She probably has a very busy life and when carrying her art supplies, she wants to know that her tote bag is rugged, durable, made of recycled materials, and attractive too. She loves to take lots of self-portraits that are very expressive.

The tote bag is designed to open flat and carry a standard set of pencils and markers. The entire purse is made of used drapery material and bound with simple black binding ribbon. It has an over the shoulder sash that is edged with lilac leather bought at a local leather workshop in the Kemptville area. The tote bag closes over with strong separable zippers on either side of the closed bag. It finally closes up with a large recycled button in the centre.

This young artist for which the bag is named has also designed an album cover and is leaning toward a career in illustration. I am looking forward to her comments and criticisms regarding the tote bag as it is the first prototype and needs to be adjusted and re-designed to make it that much better. I hope you enjoy the tote bag, Isabella, and keep creating!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Drawing is the most immediate connection to our creative impulses. The hand is forever reacting to our eyes, our emotions and our imagination. These sample drawings from a thirty year period offer a representation of many drawing impulses and media.

1. Monstrosities #4 Conte on newsprint 04/77
2. Still Life Conte on Sugar Paper 08/02
3. Chinese Ink Study India Ink on rice paper 03/03
4. Sea Collection India ink on rice paper 09/02
5. Atmospheric View pencil on buff paper 02/11

Monday, February 7, 2011


Watercolour as a medium has always been part of my creative process. Its fluid grace and portability has offered great creative ease throughout this fifteen year period that I document here. Each watercolour represents a series that enlarges my physical portfolio I just recently archived.
1. My new home in Prince Edward County offers rolling hills, rich farmland and of course numerous wineries to beckon me to record and recreate. Waupoos Estate Winery, Waupoos 12" x 18" 08/10
2. In the same series in August I travelled southwest in Prince Edward County to discover a lookout at Prinyer's Cove, Picton 14" x 18 08/10 where the clear day offered sailing opportunities as well as painterly ones.
3,4 Kemptville, my present home has a charming 'old town' today but in its recent history, many buildings have undergone periods of emptiness and neglect. I was interested in this time of decadence and temporary decay and documented in a drawing one such building, 103 Clothier Street East, before a recent owner made it an attractive leather factory and boutique. 103 Clothier Street East, Kemptville 12" x 18" 03/05; 103 Clothier Street East, Kemptville 2 12" x 18" 03/05
Here is a sampling of earlier series sharing with you glimpses of spring thaws, gardens and architectural surfaces that fascinate me in Ontario and in my travels to France.

5. Garden 9.5" x 12" 07/00
6. Chantegeasse Square, France 5" x 7" 07/97
7. Mansion on Oxford, Kemptville 5" x 7"10/96
8. Irises 14.5" x 19 05/95
9. Shells: an Abstraction 23" x 30" 05/94
10. Breakup in the Spring 5" x 7" 02/94