Orangeville

In Honour and Celebration

Polar Bear Painting About Tribute Wins an Award of Its Own

My polar bear oil painting Canadian Flower Crown was accepted in, and was awarded 1st prize, The Jurors’ Award, the respected Headwaters Arts Annual Juried Art Show, (on until October 8, 2018) Headwaters Arts Gallery, Alton Mill, Caledon. It was an honour for me, that my polar bear painting about tribute and celebration of this magnificent animal, received a tribute of its own!

Jurors  Sue Powell ,  Regan Hayward , artist  Christine Montague,  and juror  Jill Price  with   Canadian Flower Crown     at the  Jurors walk,   Headwaters Arts Gallery , Alton Mill, Ontario, Canada.

Jurors Sue Powell, Regan Hayward, artist Christine Montague, and juror Jill Price with Canadian Flower Crown at the Jurors walk, Headwaters Arts Gallery, Alton Mill, Ontario, Canada.

It was especially gratifying and encouraging that not only did the accomplished jurors, Sue Powell, Regan Hayward and Jill Price, accept my polar bear painting into the show, but that they so clearly understood its message.

The effect of climate change, particularly vanishing sea ice is central to all my art work. In this polar bear portrait, a solitary bear is adorned in honour and celebration with a flower crown composed of the flowers of the Canadian provinces and territories, as well the nation’s symbol, the maple leaf. The polar bear is one of the world’s most loved animals, but it is Canada, that is home to 60 - 80% of the polar bear population. This magnificent, highly intelligent bear is significantly intertwined with the Canadian identity, and yet, its status in Canada, is vulnerable. 

Canadian Flower Crown, although a recent creation, was one I had in the works in my head for a few years.

(See more polar bear art here)

I was often surrounded by beautiful flowers, especially magnificent flower crowns, as my daughter was a floral designer. Keeping her company I would doodle, and flower-crowned polar bears made their way on the page.

But it wasn’t until I started to create my work for my 2018 Dark Water solo exhibit, that a flower crown polar bear insisted it appear on canvas. It became a mental block to my creating new paintings that were to be of polar bears in dark water. The only way to solve this, was to paint it, so I could get on with the show!

Canadian Flower Crown took more research and planning than most of my paintings. I had learn what the flowers of each province and territory are, their size, and their proportion in relation to a polar bear’s head. It would be so easy for this bear to be “cute” or “pretty” in a flower crown.

By showing its very large teeth, this polar bear remains the powerful animal it is.

Polar Bear Dreams

About Polar Bear Dreams

These polar bear oil paintings are part of the Polar Bear Dreams Series, a dreamlike, wistful, and spiritual tribute in oil to the mighty polar bear, whose threatened future always seems open to debate.

Polar Bear Dreams. On the Move. Oil Painting ©Christine Montague

Polar Bear Dreams. On the Move. Oil Painting ©Christine Montague

Symbols

In dream intrepretation, the symbolism held by a bear is independence, strength, death and renewal, and/or resurrection.

And, if that bear is a polar bear? Reawakening.  

I try to show the physical beauty and power of the bear in my paintings. The night sky, the aurora borealis (northern lights) , the use of color, and lack of detailed landscape show how this beautiful bear has a foot in our world, but may be edging closer to the spiritual one. Hopefully,  knowledge, awareness, and empathy, will ensure that the ursus maritimus remains firmly planted in this world.

The limited color pallette of Prussian (or Indigo) blue, white,  black, (and sometimes green ) creates the other-worldy mood, spirituality, and mystery.

Polar bears are actually not white, but we do see them that way. (Read the Polar Bears International article on their fur here).

The white in my polar bear paintings represents strength, intelligence, innocence, and hope.

Blue is the most popular colour. Looking at blue is proven to make one feel well, and is helpful to sufferers of SAD. The blue in these paintings is more than representation of the night sky. It symbolizes the earth, the spiritual, the unknown, and beauty, too.

When I paint the green of the northern lights, it is one of the colours of the aurora borealis, but also represents nature, fertility, life and balance. The colour reflects off the bear's fur, connecting it to all this colour represents.

And, as in many of my paintings, the concept of living life "in the moment" and of solitude that is not lonely is prevelent. But, longing lingers there, too.

In these paintings, the longing can be as simple as wanting these polar bears and their progeny to live a long. healthy life. 

I welcome your comments and inquiries. To see more polar bear art, or to make inquiries about my polar bear paintings (portraits, too), please feel free to comment below, or contact me  www.christinemontague.com

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

What the Cat Saw

"What the Cat Saw",  an exhibition of 13 cat art works, is on display at the Dragon Fly Arts on Broadway Gallery in Orangeville, Ontario, until the morning of May 24th, 2011. The majority of the art work are oil paintings but there is  also an original lithograph.  You can see part of the black and white original litho "yes?!"  in the bottom right of the photo  above.

What's a lithograph you ask? Although the term lithography is often used in reference to posters or other fine art reproductions, that is NOT what this is. This type of lithography refers to an original work of art, the way an original etching or serigraph is. I drew this cat in reverse on a big piece of limestone that had to be sanded perfectly flat.  The drawing was then etched on the stone, and special lithography black ink was rolled over it. Arches paper I had torn to size was placed on top of the inked image, a cover felt on top of that and then the whole thing was run through a press, ONCE.  Details, texture and values are achieved through the accurate etching, the quality of the drawing on the stone, and the careful inking. I did this 13 times to achieve an edition of 13. The drawing on the stone was then ground off. The resulting 13 prints are the art.

It was great fun to set up in the window of the Dragonfly Gallery, a first for me. Why the Dragonfly Gallery? Quite a few reasons actually. I don't mind selling amongst potters and jewellers at all. At the Williams Mill, I am quite accustomed to working alongside professionals who work in all media. The Dragonfly is a mini Mill type gallery with studios at the back.  A bigger reason through is Joan Hope, the owner of Dragonfly. She LOVES her artists. She is proud of them,  can talk knowledgeably about what they do and she looks out for them.  As well, she values her customers and works hard at knowing what they want!  In fact, she  won the the 2010 Hills of Headwaters "Best Customer Service Experience ". Plus, many local hardworking, creative artists I know and admire  sell out of the Dragonfly. So, count me in!

As the work went up in the window, many a passerby would stop, watch, and comment, too. A young man enquired about the 5 foot high "Silver Light" painting, and the slightly smaller "Blue Eyes Inside". After a pleasant conversion about my art, we discovered, he was the great nephew of the iconic Joyce Wieland, often regarded as Canada's foremost female artist and the late wife of  the equally important artist Michael Snow. It was a long time ago, but when I did lithography (the lithograph Yes?! is an earlier art work), I did a residency at St Michael's Workshop in Newfoundland. At that time it was located in a small village about 30 minutes outside of St. John's. The previous tenant who I had just missed?  Joyce Wieland.  When I left, if I could have stayed just a few hours more I would have had the privilege of meeting Christopher Pratt and his then Wife Mary Pratt. How great would that have been!

Oh, life and its mysteries! lol

And speaking of mysteries.. if you would like to solve the mystery of  "What the Cat Saw" visit Dragonfly Arts on Broadway until the morning of May 24th.

"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.