Ontario

From Polar Bear to Pet Portrait - It's All in the Eyes

Although I am an experienced portrait artist, over the past few years, my online presence has evolved to that of polar bear artist. Recent followers do not know about my portrait painting service. And so recently, when out of the blue, I was contacted to paint a portrait of a very lovely Labrador Retriever, it was interesting for me to learn that one of my polar bear paintings had inspired the commission!

Golden Lab Commission. 24” x 24” x 1.5” oil painting on canvas. ©Christine Montague Contact me  here , or visit  Commission a Portrait .

Golden Lab Commission. 24” x 24” x 1.5” oil painting on canvas. ©Christine Montague Contact me here, or visit Commission a Portrait.

How does a polar bear painting possibly relate to a portrait of a beloved pet?

It lies in that fact that I regard all my subject matter as portraiture, and my polar bear art is no different. I paint with the theory the eyes are the “mirror to the soul”. Until I get the eyes “right”, until they feel alive to me, I personally don’t connect to the painting. When that magical moment of connection happens, then the painting is on its way!

All artists have their own way of approaching a painting, especially when painting from photographic reference. Some artists apply the paint inch by inch, finishing each section completely before moving on to the next.

I use the more “whole painting” approach in my technique, but I start each session with the eyes and work out from there. As each new layer of paint is added, my focus remains on the eyes, until finally, the portrait comes to life in my imagination.

I have a biology degree, a fine art degree and most of an illustration degree. As a result, I like my portraits to be realistic and anatomically correct, yet emotional, too. But my ability to draw from my imagination, honed from my illustration studies, plays an important part in this process, too. One learns to be a bit of an actor - to feel that emotion and spirit of the subject and to try transfer it to the canvas.

For example, when I was commissioned to paint Dr. Oscar Peterson (Living Arts Centre, Mississauga, ON, Canada), I was honoured and thrilled to paint the jazz great’s portrait, but I had also never seen or met him in person. This was a larger than life portrait and I was working from someone else’s photographs. .

How was I to connect to the subject and make it more than a copy of a photograph?

First, I brought the whole painting to the edge of completion. It was a large painting (larger than life) and a complex one , as in fact it was multi-portraits.. Dr. Peterson’s piano was to be accurately represented. His hands were a portrait in themselves. And his face was clearly selected in the piano top!

So with the face roughed in, I began the final painting of it as I listened to the emotion- filled, heartfelt tribute of music and song that aired on CBC Radio that day. As his teenage daughter spoke lovingly about Oscar Peterson, the father, I did the final paint of his eyes and face.

So, when I began to paint polar bears, I wondered, how to bring the bears alive? How to make them more than a reproduction of a photo I took of a polar bear at the Toronto Zoo?

So for the painting below, Polar Bear Portrait Study 1 (Wistful Bear) ( and a couple of others in this earlier series) I placed my laptop on a stool in front me, as if a portrait model on a chair. One of my polar bear photos was up on the screen. I then created the polar bear portrait as if the bear was seated there in front of me. (wouldn’t that have been fun, although short lived.) Once again, the eyes say it all in this painting. (Read more about this painting here)

Wistful. Polar bear portrait. 12” x 12” x 1.5” oil painting on canvas. ©Christine Montague Contact me  here

Wistful. Polar bear portrait. 12” x 12” x 1.5” oil painting on canvas. ©Christine Montague Contact me here

So when Ottawa’s CTV news reporter and anchor, Christina Succi contacted me to paint a portrait of her beloved dog, I was flattered, but also surprised to learn that it was one of my polar bear paintings that inspired her request. But then I learned which painting and then saw a photo of her dear doggy,

Can you see the connection?

Wistful Bear      and the  dog portrait  it  inspired  side by side. ©Christine Montague

Wistful Bear and the dog portrait it inspired side by side. ©Christine Montague

If you would like to know more about my polar bear art , or info on how to commission a portrait, please feel free to contact me here.

The Fall

The Fall is a portrait of a polar bear on its solitary journey in the arctic night, unaware that a red maple leaf (Canada’s national symbol) falls before it from above. The fall colour of the maple tree isn’t part of this bear’s autumn landscape, but the frozen sea, so vital for its survival, is. Increased periods of open water from spring to fall, due to climate change, increases the polar bear’s vulnerability.

Painted in wonder and warning,The Fall pays tribute to an iconic Canadian animal, and connects Canadians in the responsibility to protect it, thereby protecting and saving ourselves.

The Fall. An original oil painting ©Christine Montague 2018

The Fall. An original oil painting ©Christine Montague 2018

Why the Canadian connection? Although one of the world’s most favourite animals, polar bears are only found in Canada, Alaska (USA), Russia and Norway. 60 - 80 % of the world’s population are found in Canada. The Fall has a “sister” painting, the award winning “The Canadian Flower Crown”. Read about it here

I am pleased to announce The Fall has been accepted into ARTWORKS 2018, the OCADU Alumni Show, December 2 -8, 2018. The Great Hall, OCADU. 100 McCaul St., Toronto. More Info and opening reception date & time here

Shipping Art Internationally

Recently, I sold a  large oil painting to a client in the United Kingdom.  Shipping a large art work from Canada overseas was a first for me, and I came across a variety of helpful information about packaging and how to ship art internationally in my research. The artwork I wanted to ship was a 48" x 48" X 1.5 " oil painting on canvas on wood stretchers. It weighed 11 lb (pre-packaging).  I wanted the artwork to travel quickly (air freight vs  6 - 8 week journey by boat),  tracked, and insured at full value ( i.e. repaired if damaged, or full compensation if  lost).

To find international art shipping companies in my area (not all freight forwarders will ship art), I searched online as well as contacted the good folk at my municipal art gallery, and CARFAC Ontario, for recommendations (they kindly obliged).  It never hurts to ask fellow artists about who they use, too!

Companies that Ship Art

Although I made my inquiries just before New Year's, all companies got back to me soon after the holiday. I made my inquiries via email. I have since learned that for some art shippers, if very busy,  it may take two weeks for an email reply.

Here are the shipping companies I contacted:

UPS  For Canada http://www.ups.com/canada/engindex.html or ups.com  Although very helpful, my local UPS store would not insure the artwork for more than $1000. and payout would only occur if the painting was lost completely. This knocked them out of the running for me.

Fedex. or www.fedex.ca  or www.fedex.com Fedex has a handy chart for estimating cost of shipment.

NavisPack and Ship  http://www.gonavis.com

Museumpros  museumpros.com

Armstrong Fine Arts www.shipfineart.com

Pacart    www.pacart.ca

Here is a company that insures art (and artists' studios, too), for when you need separate insurance www.assurart.com CARFAC artists are eligible for a discount

Note: When I have a smaller painting to mail in Canada or to the U.S.A.,  I  have always had a good experience with Canada Post Express post. Quick, tracked, insured.

Heads Up on Shipping Costs

The quotes I received for the  48" x 48" oil painting to be crated, insured and shipped to Britain, ranged from $1500 - $2000. One company quoted $3000 just to Heathrow Airport, London.  Before I did my research, I had the vague understanding that shipping art is a costly venture, but I confess, the aforementioned quotes took me by surprise! So beware, when selling overseas, be sure to get a quote on shipping before giving an estimate to your client. The size of my painting, not so much the weight, placed it in the "harder to package and ship" higher price bracket.

Luckily, I was able to remove the painting off the stretcher, dissassemble the stretcher, and package sonotube within sonotube, which reduced shipping price substantially. This, however, leaves the clients having to reassemble it at the other end. It is helpful if you can find as much info online to aide them in this task. Also photograph the work as you take it apart showing folds, and bar positions . Include hardware, wire and picture hooks - anything to help them at the other end!

Make Two Copies of Invoice

Your shipping company can help you, but remember you'll need two copies of a commercial invoice (keep another for your records). One for the outside and one in with the art. These invoices should have

  • Date
  • Commercial Invoice
  • your name, address, phone, fax numbers, email
  • your business number
  • the consignee's name, address (postal code!), phone, fax and email and all other pertinent contact info
  • a photo of the artwork
  • Detailed info of the artwork. Title, Size, medium, weight
  • Value  of painting(overseas - does not include tax or shipping cost)
  • Weight and size of package will have to be adjusted if they are doing the packaging for you
  • Its use
  •  Declaration it is an original  _______ by living Canadian artist __________

Videos on Shipping Art

Here are some very informative videos on how to package art yourself.

FedEx how to safely package and ship art http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8zNtyAx8c4

Xanadu Gallery owner, Jason Horejs -  webinar on shipping art  http://www.xanadugallery.com/webinar/shipping/index.asp

Please keep in mind, if you are making your own crate to ship overseas, most companies have very stringent rules about wood. Crates must be made accordingly.

Here is The Canadian Conservation Institution page on crates http://www.cci-icc.gc.ca/caringfor-prendresoindes/articles/sixsteps-sixetapes/step6-etape6-eng.aspx

Good luck!

List of Call to Artists: Art Show Submissions Western Greater Toronto Area 2014

Are you a visual artist in the Greater Toronto Area? Here are some 2014 western Greater Toronto Area juried art shows to keep an eye out for in the next few months. It's a little to early for some exact deadlines, but I hope the list below helps you plan for 2014.  Good luck, everyone!

  • Check starting early November  2013. Visual Arts Mississauga (VAM) 36th Annual Juried Show of Fine Art at the AGM (Art Gallery of Mississauga). Entry date & details through VAM is not posted yet. https://www.visualartsmississauga.com Note: Opening reception is listed on AGM site for Thursday, January 16, 2014, 6 pm
  • Check from December 2013 on until early 2014 for entry deadline. Ontario Society of Artists " 141st OSA - Annual Juried Exhibition"  http://ontariosocietyofartists.org The show dates are Tuesday, April 1  – Friday - April 25, 2014
  • Check by March 2014. “Through the Eyes of the Artist” Lakeshore Arts Annual Juried Exhibition. http://www.lakeshorearts.ca
  • Start checking in January 2014.  Artcetera 2014. Elora Centre for the Arts.http://www.eloracentreforthearts.ca
  • Deadline early March 2014.  7th Beaux-Arts Brampton Annual Open Juried Show 2013 www.Beaux-ArtsBrampton.com
  • Deadline end of March 2014  5th Annual Open Juried Photography Show 2013 Beaux Arts Brampton Gallery www.Beaux-ArtsBrampton.com
  • Deadline early 2015. The Kingston Prize occurs every  two years. The 2013 show is on now. Nationwide Juried Portraiture painting show.  http://www.kingstonprize.ca
  • Check by April 2014. 18th Annual Juried HAFestival Art Show & Sale (Headwaters Arts Festival). Show is in September during Headwaters Arts Festival. http://headwatersarts.com
  • Check by April 2014 . “Insights” Wellington County Museum and Archives. (between Elora & Fergus) www.artscouncil.elora.on.ca
  • Check by early summer 2014  6th Annual Open Juried Wildlife, Nature, & Native Juried Show 2013 Beaux Arts Brampton www.Beaux-ArtsBrampton.com
  • Start checking in the summer of 2014 for the October Canadian Society of Painters In Watercolour show. www.cspwc.com
  • Check by  September 2014. Colour and Form Society Annual Open Juried Art Show. www.colourandformsociety.org

Some Other Calls for Entries of Interest

  • entry starts in December 2013 until early March 2014. Toronto Outdoor Art Show. Nathan Philips Square. www.Torontooutdoorart.org
  • Sign up in October 2013 to receive sketchbook. Note: Be sure to include your sketchbook in the tour to your area. Finished sketchbook due early January 2014. The Sketchbook Project.www.sketchbookproject.com

 

Clouds Over Lake Huron

Clouds over Lake Huron. Photo copyright Christine Montague Have you been to Lake Huron?  A stunningly beautiful, dramatic, (and sometimes dangerous) body of water, where any hint of land on the horizon is a mirage.

It is the third largest fresh water lake on our planet and the second largest of the Great Lakes.  According to a The Beach DJ, empty Lake Huron and all of North America would be in 1.5 meters, or about 5 feet, of water.

One look at the expanse of Huron's turquoise waters, not to mention its white sandy beaches (the wilder ones) , transports me someplace otherworldy, and oceanside.

Lake Huron is a marvel.

This past February, water levels hit a record low, for a number of reasons. The natural cycle of the lake level is a cause, but so also is the dredging done to deepen the shipping channel in the St. Clair River. The dredging has caused the flow of water from Lake Huron and Lake Michigan to accelerate into Lake Erie and Ontario, and to the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

The impact? Very simplified: fish population dwindles affecting fish populations, wildlife food chain, sport fishing and fisheries. Water warms up, algae grows. Water lowers affecting water supply to residents, particularly of Georgian Bay.

Finally, in April, a long-awaited solution was announced. Like anything in life, we take a long time wrecking something, it will take a long time to fix. It is all better explained here. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/04/29/great_lakes_to_get_relief_from_low_water_levels_porter.html

Wishing us all, blue skies and more turquoise water ahead.

 

 

 

Happy Spring Tulips

Happy first day of spring, everyone. We may still have snow in the Toronto area, and it is cold, too, but I can feel hope in the air , can't you? Sending some tulips your way! Cheers! (or is that cheer up?) Tulips at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre. Copyright Christine Montague

Christine-Montague-tulips-Before-the-Light

Christine Montague Watering Can with Tulips

Christine-Montague-Tulips-Growing-out-of--her-head

 

Polar Bears in Orangeville

No danger though, the seven polar bears in question are the 8" x 8" polar bear portrait oil paintings I completed earlier this year. This is their first excursion out of my Williams Mill studio, and you can see them at the Dragonfly Arts on Broadway Gallery in Orangeville, Ontario. Joan Hope, the very personable gallery owner, and a great lover of original art, and supporter of Canadian art & Canadian artists, saw them online and asked that I bring them in. Done!

These Ursus maritimus portrait oil paintings, inspired by Inukshuk, the Toronto Zoo's male polar bear, are studies for future larger artworks. Thus I have priced them similarly to my little portrait painting series (here) . They are 8" x 8" gallery mount canvases,  framed in black floater frames, and are easily shipped.

If you would like to see these polar bear portraits in person or would like more information. Here is Dragonfly Arts contact information: 189 Broadway, Orangeville, ON L9W 1K2 (519) 941-5249 ‎ · dragonflyarts.ca

Here's the google map http://goo.gl/maps/fwP4

Well, I realize not quite like the remarkable story of the British Columbia man who can swim with the polar bears, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7rZTZBOrqQ&noredirect=1 but I hope you enjoy perusing these works online, or at Dragonfly Arts.

P.S. Orangeville has a delightful main street, Broadway, with Dragonfly Arts, home design shops, Orangeville Theatre, an art supply store and a myriad of restaurants for every taste.  Plenty of free parking, too. I can't tell you how great it is to find parking almost in front of the gallery so I can unload my work with ease!

Polar Bear Portrait 1. "Inukshuk" 8" x 8" oil painting copyright Christine Montague

Polar Bear 6 oil painting portrait. Copyright Christine Montague

Polar bear Portrait painting 7 copyright Christine Montague

And for a great story about encounters with a polar besr listen to cbc radios The Wild Side with Grant Lawrence. It's great. http://www.cbc.ca/thewildside/

For some great reading about polar bears in Canadian north, and the effect of changes in snow on reproduction, read this related article

Happy New Year and a January 1, 2012 Thumb Up from Norway!

I just wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year! Hot of the presses, I just received this Jan. 1st, 2012 photo of my url www.christinemontague.com from Matt Cook and Sorin Mihailovici, the "dart guys" from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Matt and Sorin, are presently in Svalbard, an archipelago in the arctic that makes up the northernmost part of Norway and where there are more polar bears than humans.  It has been 2012 there for a few hours!

So why are  these two adventurers (who I don't know) holding a poster with my web site markered on it up at Norway's North Pole?

Matt and Sorin are fundraising for the polar bear in a very unique, highly creative and fun way . Go to www.polarfaith.com to learn more and to follow their journey. You'll find out why they are called the "dart guys, too!

And, If you're like me, you'll envy them , ...um, offer a bit of financial support to their very worthy cause.

Wishing you all two thumbs up for 2012 from here in southern Ontario . Not quite as exciting as one thumb up from Norway, but the wish is sincere all the same.

Like Summer, Art is Just Around the Corner

Just when it seemed winter would never end, suddenly it's almost June! And June is a busy time at the Williams MIll Visual Arts Centre. This is the second year for Halton Hills Big Daddy Festival and once again the Williams Mill figures prominently in the festivities. The Mill will be open as usual Saturday, June 17, 12 - 5. But on Father's Day June 19, you won't want to miss all the special art related activities being offered to Dads and their families. http://www.bigdaddyfestival.ca  The Williams Mill schedule of events is not up yet but the day starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. See you there!

Following the Big Daddy Festival is the MAG (Mill Artists Group)  Exhibition in the Williams Mill Gallery. I will have new paintings in that show.

After the MAG Show is the 5th Annual Eye Full Salon!  I put forth this concept in 2006 before I left the Mill to work at home for almost three years. The Eyeful Salon will run all July. And I will have more art work in that! Think of me kindly, as I have helped hang this show 3 times now, at about 100 paintings each time, and will probably help again this year. Bonus? I always get an exclusive preview!  lol

As well, I am now offering selected work on Fine Art America & Xanadu Gallery Online. Or for more art, see column to the right "Where to buy my art".

Of course, you are always welcome to visit me in my studio most Fridays and Saturdays 12 - 5 p.m.

The 3 e's of Art Apply to The Salmon Run Project & Credit River

If you live in Mississauga you may have heard of the Salmon Run Project, a call to artists to decorate casts of the Coho salmon to be displayed in the Civic Centre Grand Hall early in May.  Mississauga is stepping up its support of the visual arts and this is the first project between the City's Cultural Office and the Art Gallery of Mississauga. But why salmon?

Three types of salmon inhabit the Credit River, the southern Ontario river that starts above the Niagara Escarpment and winds south  through multiple Mississauga communities before it empties into Lake Ontario at Port Credit.

The Port Credit Salmon and Trout Association volunteers recently put 5000 young Chinook into a holding pen to acclimatize them to Lake Ontario. These 6 month old baby salmon are part of an ongoing project to increase the salmon population. About 85,000 salmon will enter the Credit River each year. Meet Sally, the salmon that tried to get away from that process here.

The Credit River Anglers Association, another great volunteer organization, has done fabulous work in protecting both the salmon and the Credit. Every year they collect the migrating salmon at a point in the river that impedes their journey, and drive them safely up to Norval where they are returned to the water so continue on their way. How impressive is that?!

At one time the Credit River was so thick with salmon, it was said one could walk across the river on their backs. However, by the end of the 1800's, their numbers in Ontario rivers had been dramatically depleted.

Despite efforts to reintroduce the Atlantic salmon, they are still very rare. Reintroduction of the Pacific Salmon, such as the Chinook, has  met with much more success. The original call to artists stated we would be decorating casts of the Atlantic salmon, but what we all received was the Coho or Silver salmon.

Whatever "salmon" we work with, the lessons are the same, salmon are remarkable creatures, if we mess with nature it take a lot of time, effort, and good people to correct,  and art, like nature,  has the amazing ability to engage, educate and entertain.

Salmon Run Art Project Begins

Salmon Run Project Art Gallery of Mississauga. Salmon Run Project leaves city hall. Copyright Christine Montague

Today I went to the Art Gallery of Mississauga to pick up my salmon for the Salmon Run Project.

AGM's Jaclyn & Gail, behind the "fish counter", so-to-speak, handed over my wrapped salmon, while found object artist Carmen Hickson, another salmon recipient looked on.

For some added scale: here I am outside Mississauga's Civic Centre,  the home of the Art Gallery of Mississauga.

Stay tuna'd.

Call to Artists: New Mississauga, Halton Hills & Hills of Headwaters Art Shows

Suddenly, there are a lot of new visual art shows on the radar in the western Greater Toronto Area, specifically Mississauga, Burlington, Alton (Hills of Headwaters). Calling all visual artists - In Mississauga

  1. NEW DEADLINE! March 4, 2011. The Salmon Run Project. Proposal due tomorrow! You can do it, what's Red Bull for anyways?!..... Create a concept for a pre-made fibreglass salmon. Info due by 5 pm., Friday, Feb. 18th at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. See info  here. http://www5.mississauga.ca/agm/agm_root/upcomingex.html#salmon
  2. Hotbox Riverwood Mentorship Project. A professional development program to challenge artists to create temporary natural, site specific outdoor sculpture on the grounds of Riverwood Park, an amazing urban wilderness just 3 miles west of Square one on Burnamthorpe Rd.  4100 Riverwood Park Lane,  Mississauga, ON. International artist Reinhard Reitzenstein will mentor artists selected to take part in this exciting transformative learning experience. Monthly meetings begin March 2011. The project will conclude with an exhibition in the Fall of 2011.Application Deadline: February 28th  apply please send; 10 jpeg images of your work (size 72dpi) or website, a C.V. and a letter of interest to; HOTBOX24@LIVE.CA

Hills of Headwaters

  1. Time Frame. Heritage Caledon presents an open juried showat the Alton Mill Gallery. Celebrates Ontario's cultural and natural heritage through art. Open to all artists. 3 pieces may be submitted. April 1st deadline. Show May 28th - July 10th. Entry fee $25. All pieces must be available for sale. Entry forms downloaded  from www.caledon.ca

I have heard there is another theme related juried show out there having to do with the escarpment - will post more as soon as I find it.

Brampton: Beaux- Arts Brampton Annual  Open Juried Show. Entry Form and payment due Mar. 15, 2011. Delivery of works for jurying. Sunday, April 3rd. 8:30 - 10:30 am. Pick up of declined work Sun. April 3, 2011.  4 - 5 p.m. Show runs  April 5 - 30th. Download form here.

Williams Mill Gallery, Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre. The first ever theme based  juried art show is about to be announced! Stay tuned!

How Art Thou, Wiarton Willy? Happy Groundhog Day, Anyways!

Wiarton Willy and SeaGull Friend. Copyright Christine Montague Well, it's official. Punxsutawney  Phil was not able to see his shadow & the States will have an early spring. Hard to appreciate under piles of snow, but still, great news. Read about that here. Wiarton Willie, as seen to the left, in warmer weather,  is our furry version of a tradition that has German Roots. Did you know that Wiarton has a festival celebrating what our albino groundhog views? Read all about it here

The Wiarton Willie painting I did a while back was inspired by the crazy (wonderful!) statue of Wiarton Willie we saw while on vacation in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario. A giant white obelisk against the blue sky - lots of shadow here. This painting could just have well been called red, white, and blue.

As I sit by the radio, and listen to the never-ending school closings  and events cancellations list - I am quite content If Willie doesn't see his shadow today. G-o-o-o-o, Spring!

Happy Groundhog Day, Everyone!

P.S. Apparently looking at the color blue brings on feelings of relaxation and restfulness, as well as takes aways fear.  I believe it. When I paint big blue skies it always makes me feel good, as if I have been away somewhere.

Nifty Canadian Tire Taboret Christmas Present for this Artist

This may not  have been on most people's wish list but it certainly was on mine! After purchasing the large cabinet of the same series for my new studio in August, this rolling cabinet has been high on this artist's wish list. This is the taboret that will hold my palettes as I paint. I chase the light in my studio and so a table on wheels is a must. Also, as the Williams Mill, where my studio is located, is open to the public Fridays and Saturdays, I always have a quick bit of cleanup for safety purposes each week. Furniture on wheels is a must!

This item is the Mastercraft Base Metal Garage Cabinet Product #68-1224-2. It is pricey, but we , err, santa, was fortunate to get it on sale. It is built like a tank, and is a terrific height. One door locks. The drawers even come with a liner to keep items from moving.  Warning, though. It took my elf helper about 4 hours to assemble. It assembles beautifully, but you  need to set aside a lot of time, and clear a lot of space for its assembly. The wood table top is so nice (and shiny!) I am going to feel quite guilty getting that first bit of paint on it. I am considering having a piece of glass cut to fit the top and use the whole thing as a palette, Normally, I  use up to four disposable paper pallettes at a time spread across the kitchen cart I have used until now.

Note: The cabinet I first purchased which inspired this one is the Mastercraft Metal Garage Tall Cabinet Product #68-1221-8. It holds a huge amount of goods and the construction is impressive. The bottom shelf holds over 400 lb. if you have a particularly heavy piece of equipment. Both items are very heavy and we used a dolly to take them from the car to the studio.  The box this cabinet came in had a very small dent. We took the chance the contents were not damaged as it was the only one in stock. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The last piece in the box was slightly dented - something we decided we would live with as the box was so heavy, and we had already done so much work.  Lesson: always take the box with no dent!

Forgetting & Remembering: Remembrance Day Art

 

 

Somehow, I forgot I did this oil painting. A gift to my son on his 18th birthday, it hangs in our house in the dining room - a room we rarely use (isn't a dining room table for folding laundry?). It shows him climbing, carefree,  at about the age of four, on the War Memorial, located near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,  in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He is painted realistically, and static, while the figures on the statue are more "ghostly" and moving.

On the eve of Remembrance Day, I though I would share it with you. With all the gut wrenching news in the Toronto Star recently about Canadian War soldiers injured in Afghanistan, and some pretty heart-rending reporting on CBC radio as well, an image of youth,  hope and peace can never hurt.

 

Note: One day, when I was working in this oil painting, a visitor to my studio mentioned her (great?) uncle had been one of the models for one the figures in this monument to peace.

"Who's For Dinner" at the Dragonfly? It's Art.

 

 

If you are up in the Orangeville area - just north of Brampton and north-west of Toronto, be sure to drop into the lovely "Dragonfly Arts on Broadway". My larger than life oil and oil stick painting of a cat , seen from  the viewpoint of "something" much smaller, is featured in the window there until Halloween.  I have heard great things about the Dragonfly Gallery over the past couple of years, but had never been there myself until last week.

Broadway is the "main" street accessed directly off Hwy 10, so the gallery is easy to reach. This main street is attractively maintained, has a variety of shops and eating establishments and the parking is free!

"Who's for Dinner?"  - a huge attraction in my studio - is the latest in my big cat series. I don't paint with decorating in mind, but with its dramatic scale, use of black and silver, I have not been alone in  imagining it over a leather couch or over a server in a contemporary dining room. See it at the delightful Dragonfly Arts on Broadway Gallery http://www.dragonflyarts.ca/ until the end of October.

You're an Art Collector and You Don't know It.. Yet

Riverwood Park Koi Pond oil painting by Christine Montague Above is the 18" x 24" oil painting I did for August's "Second Saturday Collectors" Special" at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre , a centre of over 30 working artist studios & their galleries, plus a main art gallery in Glen Williams (Georgetown) , Halton Hills, Ontario.

Artist Carmen Hickson and I (Christine Montague)  started an exclusive art event at the Williams MIll recently entitled "Second Saturday Collectors' Special" . Wait, you say. I am not an art collector and so this event must not apply to me!

But if you think about it, the moment you take that first step, and buy an original work of art, you are a collector. That may not have been your intent, but by making that commitment, you have done more than passively purchase an item to hang in a room, you have done something even better. You have bought something that you respond to emotionally and that speaks to your heart. You have also done something more!  You have just supported your local entrepreneur  -which is what being a visual artist  is (they suffer all the same risks) -  and have contributed to your country's cultural economy.

The event has already created a buzz among the other artists at the Williams Mill where I have my studio and this past Saturday, 5 other artist also participated. Congratulations to Simon MacDonald who immediately sold his painting of a regional scene, with another couple standing by hoping to make it theirs! Wow!

So here's what the buzz about "Second Saturday Collectors' Special" is all about -

  • Purchasing art is exciting and special. We want you to experience that special thrill. So on the second Saturday of each month, a brand new art work is unveiled at 12 noon in the studios of each of the participating artists. The unveiled art is a surprise to all. This is even great fun for the other artists at the mill.
  • While owning original art is as important as the air to breathe for some, we understand that to many original art is regarded as a luxury item. You may love a work, but you are nervous about actually buying it. SO,  for that day only, the art work unveiled, is offered at a very, very special price.
  • Owning original carries bragging rights! The moment you buy a Second Saturday Collectors Special, you have purchased a real work of art, you beat out others to get it, and you have immediately made an profitable investment. How so? Because at 5 p.m. that Saturday if the painting hasn't sold? The "Second Saturday" price label comes down, and the true value label goes up.
  • Original art is an instant heirloom.  It has provenance. Who throws out original art? Who puts it in a landfill? It will live on for ever. Hundred years from now, someone will be admiring that work and talking about you - who owned it.
  • And last, but not least, you will have purchased locally. To be an artist at the Williams Mill, one can not be a  hobbyist. This is a highly disciplined, entrepreneurial profession with long hours . Like farmers, artists  are passionate about what they do, but artists never get to take a day off and every cent counts.  We appreciate your business.

Casson, Christine Montague, & the Contemporary Art Connection in Glen Williams

In early June, an A.J. Casson landscape oil painting "A Street in Glen Williams" sold for the record-breaking price of $542, 800. To see this Group of Seven Canadian landscape painting click here Do you know that Glen Williams - probably considered Ontario cottage country when Casson painted what was a contemporary painting then - is a hamlet only 15 minutes north of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada? And for travelers from Toronto, this cultural destination is only a 40 minute trip away. (It is also accessible by Go train and bus) This painting is not particularly successful in its depiction of a "unique" place - these little houses and fall colors could be almost anywhere in Canada. But then that wasn't Casson's goal. What is remarkable that "Glen Williams" is still a beautifully preserved hamlet of 1850's homes in a true glen, and that it is home to many, many present day artist studios! Glen Williams is protected by the Sheridan Nurseries farmland and the limited growth in the green belt around Toronto.  This fabulous place with the Credit River running through it is protected from urban sprawl. But even more importantly, at Glen Williams's heart is the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre - home to a huge centre of contemporary artists' studios and where I have the good fortune to have my artist studio. www.christinemontague.com

The Williams Mill moniker is deceptive. The mill is only one of FOUR buildings which house visual artists and crafts people.

  1. The 1850's lumber mill is home to graphic artist, painters, sculptors and potters.
  2. The 1850's stone power plant is home to jewellers, a quilter, framing service, painters (including www.christinemontague.com) , and my studio mate found art assemblage artist  www.theredpigstudio.com
  3. The courtyard has painting, woodcarving, stone carving (4 sculptors) . The gallery connects from the courtyard & represents the mill artists, and has monthly shows of other artists too.
  4. The last building is home to Glen Williams Glass Blowers.

So for those of you in wonder of this lovely bit of Canadian art history, or in sheer amazement at the price paid for this Group of Seven, Casson painting , appreciate  the place this painting depicts as well. It is well worth the trip to visit this historic  town - alive and well  with a diverse group of  award-winning  contemporary artists.  And you won't have to pay half a mil to enjoy their work. www.williamsmill.com

Cool Cat

Imagine this big Main Coon cat  greeting you in the hallway when you get home or on the big wall at the stair landing! Well loved by all that visit my studio - even by those who aren't cat fans  (as one woman stated "Imagine if it was a horse!") this cat would be a unique art work for the home.  Painting #2 in the Giant Cat Series. 60" high by 40" wide. Black and white oil painting with gold and silver oil paint and oil stick. Next up - "Who's for Dinner"  - the 3rd in the series is almost finished too.