art

A Canadian Feast For the Soul - An Arctic Visit to Iqaluit & Cape Dorset

I had the sudden good fortune to travel to Canada's arctic in 2014.  From the Greater Toronto Area (GTA),  I flew first to Iqaluit, Nunavut's capital city on Baffin Island, and after a day's visit, was off to Cape Dorset, a hamlet just over an hour's flight away on Dorset Island. My learning curve about Inuit art and culture, the arctic landscape and environment, and how to travel in the north was steep (as was food and travel expenses), but oh, what a wonderful, worthwhile feast for the eyes and mind.

©Christine-Montague-Iqaluit-panorama

©Christine-Montague-Iqaluit-panorama

Iqaluit

One of the many art showcases in Iqaluit airport.
One of the many art showcases in Iqaluit airport.

With about 7,000 people, Iqaluit is Canada's least populated capital city. It is the only Canadian capital not connected to any other settlement by road.  Travel to Iqaluit is only possible by plane, or if ice conditions permit, by boat.

It is a new city, declared such in 2001 after quickly rising from its status as a settlement (1970),  village (1974), and town (1980).

Iqaluit serves as the gateway to all the Baffin region communities (such as Cape Dorset), as well as to Greenland, Yellowknife,  Northern Quebec, Montreal and Ottawa. So it is only natural, that art about the Inuit culture, history and Nunavut's wildlife is evident the moment one steps off the plane.  

And, yes, like any place that is building a tourism industry,  much of this panders to what tourists want, and expect to see - polar bears, inukshuks, and romanticized Inuit life. But, that doesn't mean it isn't a joy to see, which it was, it's just that I expected to find art representing modern-day life in the north as well (note: this may have changed in the past 3 years).  

Below, is just a sample of what I saw - all in my first hour of strolling through Iqaluit!

Polar on the exterior wall of new office building in Iqaluit, Nuanvut, Canada. ©Christine Montague 

Polar on the exterior wall of new office building in Iqaluit, Nuanvut, Canada. ©Christine Montague 

Iqaluit. Stone Park. Photo ©Christine Montague

Iqaluit. Stone Park. Photo ©Christine Montague

©Christine-Montague-Stone-park-iqaluit-caribou

©Christine-Montague-Stone-park-iqaluit-caribou

©Christine-Montague-Stone-Park-Iqaluit-pipes

©Christine-Montague-Stone-Park-Iqaluit-pipes

©Christine-Montague-Stone-Park-iqaluit-raven_edited-1

©Christine-Montague-Stone-Park-iqaluit-raven_edited-1

©Christine-Montague-Stone-Park-iqaluit-

©Christine-Montague-Stone-Park-iqaluit-

Me, looking self conscious, but spiffy in my newly gifted hat  (made by a textile artist  from Pangnirtung). In front of public sculpture. Created co-operatively by multiple carvers.
Me, looking self conscious, but spiffy in my newly gifted hat (made by a textile artist from Pangnirtung). In front of public sculpture. Created co-operatively by multiple carvers.
Polar bear cubs. Public sculpture. Iqaluit, Nunavut. Photo: ©Christine Montague

Polar bear cubs. Public sculpture. Iqaluit, Nunavut. Photo: ©Christine Montague

Public sculpture. Iqaluit, Nunavut. Photo: ©Christine Montague

Public sculpture. Iqaluit, Nunavut. Photo: ©Christine Montague

Bear and Chairs ourside Igluvut Building. Four corners of Iqaluit. Photo: ©Christine Montague

Bear and Chairs ourside Igluvut Building. Four corners of Iqaluit. Photo: ©Christine Montague

Vertical wood trim like runners of a komatik, the Inuit sled. © Christine Montague

Vertical wood trim like runners of a komatik, the Inuit sled. © Christine Montague

Sign outside the Nunavut government building ©Christine Montague

Sign outside the Nunavut government building ©Christine Montague

The People. The other side of the Nunavut Government sign. Photo: ©Christine Montague

The People. The other side of the Nunavut Government sign. Photo: ©Christine Montague

Nunavet Government Building. Stair railings shaped like kayaks. Perdago over entrance like komatik (sled) runners. Photo: ©Christine Montague

Nunavet Government Building. Stair railings shaped like kayaks. Perdago over entrance like komatik (sled) runners. Photo: ©Christine Montague

"No parking" sign in shape of polar bear. Photo: ©Christine Montague

"No parking" sign in shape of polar bear. Photo: ©Christine Montague

Here There Be Polar Bears

Polar Bear Goodness: a New Polar Bear Art Website & Art Blog at ChristineMontague.com

In case you are new to this art blog Camera & Canvas, I  am a visual artist who, until recently, created representational art i.e. realism oil paintings of figurative landscapescommissioned portraituregiant cat paintingscanoes, lakes& more.  After the polar bears were put on the animals "of concern" list, I painted the polar bear painting  With the Northern Lights in tribute.  I continued to have polar bears on the brain when shortly after that I created CRAM, a Polar Bear World for The Sketchbook Project. Increasingly, I found myself thinking about polar bear art, polar bear graphic novels,polar bear vacations...,you get the picture, all the while continuing with my portraiture practice & creating other representational art.

Fantasy sketch by Christine Monatgue www.ChristineMontague.com
Fantasy sketch by Christine Monatgue www.ChristineMontague.com

One Big, Giant, Scary, Polar Bear Step Forward

Onward into a polar bear world of my own!  Polar bear art, polar bear blog, and yes, and trips to Cape Dorset, Nunavut, the Canadian arctic,  to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, polar bear capital of the world, followed (but not at the same time!).

If you love art, polar bears, or think about climate change, I hope you will enjoy (or find some solace in) 

My website ChristineMontague.com is all about my  POLAR BEAR ART.

Myart blog? I hope you will visit www.christinemontague.com/blog

I have a new newsletter for the freshest painting off my easel, why I have painted it, art & polar bear news, art tips, Subscribe

One  thing is certain, in my part of the realm...Here there be polar bears. I hope that here there be you, too. 

A Beautiful Bear...

...But Aren't They All?

Anana isa 6" x 12" portrait oil painting on canvas of a beautiful polar bear.  And that is what "Anana" means, beautiful in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit in Nunavut, Canada's arctic. This painting is another of the polar bear oil paintings available in my series A Celebration of Polar Bears.  This painting is not framed, but the painting carries around the edges and is ready for hanging.

Christine Montague polar bear oil paintings, Ontario, Canada. Contact me at   Christine Montague

Christine Montague polar bear oil paintings, Ontario, Canada. Contact me at Christine Montague

Meet Polar Bear Painting Silatuyok

Meet a Polar Bear Named Silatuyok

Silatuyok is the Inuit word for cute and intelligent,  and so the perfect name for the lovely polar bear in the oil painting below. But as adorable as the big guy in this polar bear painting may seem, I have given a nod to his real nature -  an intelligent, playful, but deadly predator -  by making sure his giant nonretractable claws are clear. I actually love painting those big paws with the claws almost as much as those thickly insulated ears, and coal-black nose. 

Silatuyok.  (6" x 12" oil painting) Polar bear oil painting ©Christine Montague. Canada.

Silatuyok. (6" x 12" oil painting) Polar bear oil painting ©Christine Montague. Canada.

Silatuyok is just one of the recently created paintings available in my new A Celebration of Polar Bears Series

A Celebration of Polar Bears

Although polar bears are solitary animals, when there is a group of them, it is known as a celebration of polar bears. Can you think of a better word to describe a gathering of these magnificent arctic animals?!

Polar bear oil paintings by Christine Montague, Ontario, Canada
Polar bear oil paintings by Christine Montague, Ontario, Canada

Each painting is a tribute to these intelligent, mighty arctic mammals. These portraits give a nod to their beauty, fuzziness, playfulness (goofy even?), but one should never forget their awesome teeth and powerful claws are ever present. Can you see their distinct personalities, too? 

Please feel free to contact me through Guestbook atwww.christinemontague.com or visit there for more polar bear art.

To learn more about polar bears, please visit Polar Bears International

 

Looking to the Future

I hope, like this polar bear,  you can look ahead with hope, and that your year will be full of good health, caring, and whatever success you wish.  

Looking to the Future ©Christine Montague

Looking to the Future ©Christine Montague

Polar Bears in My Kitchen

It wasn't long after the stone tile backsplash was installed in my kitchen, that I started seeing things. Movement, right there in the 2" x 4" tiles.  As I stared, the tan, grey and white striations in the stone shapeshifted into landscapes. Snowy ones. Cloud-filled and foggy ones.  Dark ones.

As if portals to other worlds like in old school Star Trek .

Polar bear  drawing and  fox  drawing by Christine Montague

Polar bear drawing and fox drawing by Christine Montague

Christine Montague fantasy drawings
Christine Montague fantasy drawings

And these worlds, they seemed to be..gulp..inhabited! Polar bears and other bear-like animals, fox, and fish, and others, that I couldn't begin to classify.

I sketch portraits of these creatures when I can.   For the most part, they seem unaware I am there, as they fly, swim, and run past my window to their world. But when some stop  and gaze my way, I confess I sketch faster.

When Strange Neighbors appeared as a category in The Sketchbook Project, I sent my sketchbook their way. I had to let you know what lives with me in my kitchen. Even if you only believe it's all in my imagination.

The Sketchbook Project (www.sketchbookproject.com), is a global, crowd-sourced art project  and interactive traveling exhibition, of handmade books. It  is the flagship endevour  of Art House, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.. It consists of three libraries: Brooklyn Art Library, Mobile Library, and The Digital Library

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

 

5 Helpful Art Business Books for Visual Artists

The Model Visits the Studio. Copyright Christine  Montague For the most part, I have been responsible for the promotion and sales of my portraiture and other oil paintings. But like many artists, I often felt uncomfortable talking about my art and closing the sale. I 'd like to share with you the art business books I have personally found helpful to navigate the art biz world. What books have helped you?

  1. Starving to Successful The Fine Artist's Guide to getting Into Galleries and Selling More Art  by J. Jason Horejs.  With a professional artist as a father, Jason Horejs grew up in the art world. He has owned the successful Xanadu Gallery, in Scottsdale, Arizona since 2001. Very respectful to artists, and passionate for art, he generously shares his insights into the art world in a sincere manner. If you have ever taken a workshop with, read his books, his blogs, or otherwise dealt with Mr. Horejs, you already know he is quickly becoming a respected artists' guru, if not one already.
  2. How to Sell Art A systematic Approach to Creating Relationships with Collectors and Closing the Sale by J. Jason Horejs More helpful how-to information,  perfect for the artist and the gallery owner who wish to build, and  improve relationships with the collector, and therefore do the same for sales.
  3. My Painting is Done, Now What Do I Do? Simple Business Solutions for Artists by Suzie Seery-Lester . Suzie Seery- Lester is an established wildlife artist from Florida, U.S.A. Along with her world-renowned wildlife artist partner John Seery-Lester , she has travelled the world, culminating years of experience in creating art, art marketing, and selling art in art fairs and exhibitions. She shares her knowledge of practical business applications in this terrific handbook on how to keep track of inventory, shipping, price setting, and preparing for the show.  I normally do not do the art fair thing, but when a family member for whom I cared, took seriously ill right before my first art fair, this book was a bible-of-a-check-list on how to prepare and what to bring. I did not forget one thing, and the trauma that was going on in my personal life was not evident in my professional one. Thank you, Suzie Seery- Lester! 
  4. Self Promotion for the Creative Person Get the word out about who you are and what you do by Lee Silber. The very first art business book I bought, it is now over 10 years old. But holy smokes, click the link above to Lee Silber. This man has been busy! I admit I haven't read it recently, but definitely was a help in how to market without money, a problem most artists face, and Mr. Silber definitely knows how to promote.
  5. Artist Survival Skills How to Make a Living as a Canadian Visual Artist by Chris Tyrell. Mr. Tyrell ran the Presentation House Gallery and worked for decades with visual artists. He is now an arts consultant and teaches the business of visual arts practice at Emily Carr University, British Columbia. I'm a Canadian artist so it was great to read a book that uses Canadian specific examples.  I see Mr. Tyrell has a 2011 book out Making It! on case studies of successful artists

Also: A helpful booklet.   Survival Skills A Visual Artist's Guide to Professional Practice.  Originally published by Visual Arts Ontario, it looks like it no longer is available. However, CARFAC ( (Canadian Artists' Representation/le Front des artistes Canadians) offers a good choice of artists help publications http://www.carfacontario.ca/page/cat/publications/

New Portraits: Twice as Nice

Portrait oil painting of baby twin brothers. 6" high by 12" wide. www.littleportraitpaintings.com Copyright Christine Montague As you may know, LittlePortraitPaintings.com is my portrait business where I offer 6" x 6" portrait oil paintings (from a photograph) for a set price. It is a way for clients to buy original art, a one of a kind oil painting created personally  for them, at a good value.

I paint these smaller portraits with the same care and attention to spirit and detail I give to the larger , more traditional portraits I paint.

Interestingly, almost all these portraits are ordered as a surprise gift. When the client wants two portraits done on the same canvas, the solution is simple -  I paint on a 6" x 12" canvas.

Above is a 6" high by 12" wide portrait oil painting of  baby twin brothers, commissioned by a proud great grandparent. A loving first birthday present that these handsome little boys can treasure forever.

Below, is a 12" high by 6" wide portrait of a newly married couple, the happy young bride looking with adoration at her equally happy groom. This portrait was commissioned by the husband as a surprise (and romantic, don't you think?) 25th anniversary present for his wife.  Read more about this portrait  http://littleportraitpaintings.com/2013/09/06/painting-with-love/

e

weddin portrait oil painting copyright Christine Montague

Wedding portrait oil painting of newly married couple. Commissioned to mark the 25th wedding anniversary of the bride and groom. 12" high x 6" wide.  Copyright Christine Montague

 

 

New Face of Portraiture: Mostly Online Except for the Painting

Baby boy portrait oil painting by Christine Montague. 6" x 6" on canvas. Here is my latest little 6" x 6" portrait oil painting on canvas. Commissioned by this dear little guy's mom, it was a joy to paint this bright little baby boy face.

This is an example of one of the wonders the internet holds for the artist and for the art collector. I  have never met this mom or  baby. In fact, they live hundreds of miles away.

The mom stumbled upon my web site while surfing online late one night (all new moms can relate to this). She took a photo of her baby in his stroller with her cell phone and emailed it to me. We discussed the commission process by email, including that I leave out details of the stroller straps, etc.

I received payment for the commission via snail mail, but, there are many payment alternatives available to buying online.  I  used Canada Express Post to deliver the carefully packaged portrait. This insured service supplied a tracking number that I shared via email with the client.  By the time I got home from the post office , only a short distance away, the online tracking info informed me the parcel was in the system, about to be on its way, and posted the estimated date and time of arrival.

Pretty amazing, I think.

If you would enjoy seeing more of my little 6" x 6" portraits please visit www.littleportraitpaintings.com

For larger oil paintings, please visit www.christinemontague.com

New Portrait: Baby Firsts

Christine Montague Portrait of a One Year Old Baby Girl This 6" x 6" portrait oil painting was commissioned to celebrate this pretty little baby girl's first birthday. I love creating these 6" x 6" portraits, more of which can be seen at my website www.littleportraitpaintings.com Every portrait teaches me something! A first for me? Why baby's first teeth!

 

Seth, Icarus and Travel by Dart

Polar Bear Sketch copyright Christine Montague 2013 In his latest book, The Icarus Deception, marketing guru Seth Godin shares his ideas on how art has evolved, who is an artist, and the importance of the “connection economy” to both.

Seth writes “Art isn’t a result; it’s a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul…there’s an abundance of things to buy and people to hire…What’s scarce is trust, connection, and surprise. These are three elements in the work of the work of a successful artist…”

He goes on to say “The internet network connects people to one another, people to organizations and best of all, people to ideas... Welcome to the connection economy…anyone with a laptop is now connected to just about everyone else. ..it’s the bridges between people that generate value”

Here’s how two good friends, Matt Cook and Sorin Mihailovici, decided to have an adventure, but created much more. Their vision of travel became a story that surprised and connected us to their ideas. It fanned our trust so that we shared the story and supported its occurrence.  Matt and Sorin did the dreaming, the planning and the travelling, but the connection economy was key to their success.

Matt and Sorin are the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada guys who, in 2011, threw caution to the wind and a dart at the map to choose a destination for an adventure of a lifetime.  Dart thrown, they only had a month to sort out logistics and raise a heck of a lot of money for their trip to… (wait for it)…Svalbard, Norway.

Svalbard. Closest town to the North Pole. 24 hours of darkness. 2000 people.  3000 polar bears.

Now most of us, if we dared to throw the dart, would celebrate that it landed on Svalbard oops, slipsies count, Hawaii, and head straight on down to the closest convenience store to buy us a lottery ticket.

But Sorin and Matt? Not these guys. They got their “grit”, as Seth calls it, going. They made the decision to fundraise for the polar bear, as well as themselves.  Polar Faith.com was on its way.  Through their website, social and traditional media they shared the Polar Faith story.

And the story delighted us. We trusted, and connected to them because their story was fun, and they sounded like fun, too.  They could be the guys next door. The story was new, told with passion, humour and some urgency. They didn’t have a lot of time, these guys, to make it on their way. Let's help.

We helped by further growing the connections. The story spread across Canada in the media and online.

I think we wanted Polar Faith  to work, and so I hope backing was as successful as it seems. It was certainly convenient and trustworthy (paypal).  As well, Matt and Sorin, returned the favor.  From hand warmers to personalized videos, thank-you items scaled to financial contribution.

Matt and Sorin personally answered their emails. There was value in this. Everyone was giving and getting something for their part in the project. Connections and trust? Established.

By the way, this is where my personal involvement came in. I had just competed my large oil painting “Polar Bear Swimming in the Northern Lights” here and I planned for more paintings in the series. So why not give to a project that both captured my imagination and  helped polar bears?

In return for my modest financial contribution to their trip, I received back more than my money’s worth. Shortly before New Years Eve 2011, a photo arrived in my email. Taken  New Year’s Eve, Norway time, the bundled up duo stand in the dark under a North Pole sign. Thumbs up, they are holding a home-made sign with my url www.christinemontague.com My family roars with laughter (the wonder of the internet), I share it online in a blog click here and in Happy New Year Greetings emails to family, friends and clients. An 8 x 10 printout hung in my open artist studio at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre until I left the end of 2012,  and another one hung for months in the only public washroom there (whatever works). (Note: This photo, along with a nice shout out - is on the front page of their new website. Scroll down once you click www.travelbydart.com Thanks Guys!)

Matt and Sorin documented  their very excellent adventure. The short  film "Polar Faith"  premiered March 3rd, 2013 at the Global Visions Films Festival, Edmonton, Alberta.

They have created a pilot for a television series “Travel by Dart”.

By Seth Godin’s definition of art, Matt and Sorin seized new ground and made connections between people and ideas.  They may have started with a map, but continued without one. According to Seth ”these are works of art, and if you do them, you are an artist, regardless of whether you wear a smock..”

The journey’s the art, along with entrepreneurship, customer service, invention, connection, technology, leadership, and all those other thing Seth talks about in the evolution of fine art. The internet and “connection economy” allowed Matt and Sorin to share their invention “Polar Faith”, and fund their project.  Previously, the final product, the film, was the “art”, and the journey, the prep work. In this new model,  the journey, and the connections made are the art, and the movie and the TV show, the very fine byproduct.

Happy International Polar Bear Day!

"In the Presence of Royalty" Illustration for CRAM, Sketchbook Project 2013 copyright Christine Montague 2013 Today is International Polar Bear Day. Here's an interesting FAQ page from Polar Bears International. http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/about-polar-bears/faqs

And although most of us have learned by now, that penguins and polar bears do not co-exist, I did not know "arctic comes from the Greek word for bear, and Antarctic comes from the Greek meaning the opposite, without bear" (Polar bears International). 

How sad would it be, if re: the polar bear,  "Antarctic " applied to the world?

Perhaps , all the snow we have received today in the Toronto Area, will not seem as miserable, if regarded as a tribute to the mighty ursus maritimus.

Polar bear Spirit in the Sky. Illustration from CRAM, The Sketchbook Project 2013 Copyright Christine Montague

New 905 Museums and Galleries

In an earlier post (here), I talked about the three E's of art: engage, entertain and educate. Below are some 905 ( Toronto Area) municipal art venues - museums and galleries - that do just that. In case you are unfamiliar with Toronto, (province of Ontario) it is Canada's  largest city. Head your car west along the edge of Lake Ontario and seamlessly you pass into 905 country (the area code), and Canada's 6th largest city, Mississauga. Continue on your trek  west, and you pass with little notice of division into Oakville, and then Burlington. North of Mississauga is Brampton, Canada 9th largest city, and west of it, is Georgetown (Halton Hills). Milton is sandwiched between Oakville and Halton Hills.

Two of the country's major cultural venues , the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) are in the Toronto downtown core. One would think this would be an advantage to all these cities joined at the hip to TO. In fact, many of us face the dilemma that these venues  are actually "near and yet so far". Yes, Toronto, on the google map is "near".  However,  inadequate intercity public transportation, traffic gridlock,  the high costs of  TO parking, venue admission, and time traveled, make these venues "so far".  And, lets face it, if you live in a city as large as Mississauga or Brampton, wouldn’t you expect to have exciting & educational cultural venues right in your own hometowns? Places where you could drop by for an impromptu visit with the family without saving for a month, and clearing the calendar?

Well, guess what! 2012 brought forth a whole slew of  art venues that are renew in energy or size, or just... new! And, there is much more to just looking at paintings on a wall to these places, not that I don't love doing just that. These are family friendly, inspirational,  educational, entertaining, engaging, thought-provoking places with a diverse choice of exhibitions, programming, events, and community collaboration. .

Now remember, in the big scheme of things, all these cities are very, very young, and so grand institutions as one might find in New York, have not had time to evolve. However, there is the new understanding that a cultural city is a healthy city, and that citizens, even if they don't attend cultural venues, like to know they are there, and miss them if they are gone. And, more importantly, each of these cities has their own cultural identities, and affordable accessible art venues are a great place to express, learn,  and celebrate this.

Ta da! Here they are -

Mississauga

The Art Gallery of Mississauga (The AGM). www.artgalleryofmississauga.com/

Outgoing AGM Curator Stuart Keeler and his accomplished AGM team have definitely upped the ante of this relatively small (by city size) municipal gallery. They are energetically committed to connect, engage and inspire the region’s citizens, as well as its’ visual artists.  Here's why it's well worth your while to check out the AGM -

  • Twitter chats. One is coming up Feb. 7th on juried art shows
  • The recent Lord Report recommends the gallery be a building of its own. (Was there a doubt?) Volunteer, be a docent, etc. Be at the grass-roots of exciting things to come!
  • Fee to enter – by donation. But join the gallery to receive a bundle of perks
  • Other notes? Just a door away from Celebration Square. Bring your skates.
  • Parking: Mississauga, all grown up, charges for parking everywhere (at last check $1/hour). However, there is underground parking at city hall, and metered parking on the street. Note: Unfortunately, you are taking your chances to get a ticket if you park in the neighboring Square One Mall.

Brampton

PAMA (Peel Heritage Art Gallery, Museum and Archives) www.pama.peelregion.ca

The former Peel Heritage Museum has always been an attractive, inviting venue.  My whole family has enjoyed visits to what was formerly Brampton’s city jail.  Recently, it reopened after two years of extensive (and stunning!) renovation and expansion. The photos in the link below will give a better idea of this remarkable new arts venue dedicated to art, history and education   http://www.pama.peelregion.ca/en/aboutpama/PhotoGallery_BuildingsAndGrounds.asp

Admission: Free for preschoolers, $1 for students. $1.50 for seniors and $2.50 for the rest

PAMA is located on the east side of Main St., ie. Highway 10 (Hurontario in Mississauga) and overlooks beautiful historic Gage Park with its unique skating paths (bring your skates here, too!). Metered street parking or in the Brampton Civic Centre, kitty corner to PAMA. A short walk north of PAMA brings you to the lovely Rose Theatre and Beaux-Arts Brampton Artist Co-operative and Gallery.

Kitchener

“M” TheMuseum www.themuseum.ca

TheMuseum opened to much fanfare in the fall.  AVATAR: The Exhibition  marked its Canadian première at M and it was the first stop on its North American tour. I haven’t been there yet, but since so many of the western GTA (Greater Toronto Area or 905) students go away universities and colleges in that area, I hope they are checking it out.

Oakville

Queen Elizabeth Community Centre and Cultural Centre Click Here

Oakville has reinvented this former high school as a community centre as well as a venue for many of  Oakville’s not-for-profit arts and culture groups. There are studios, and a gallery and corridor exhibition space. Bring your swim suit as it seems there's a pool, too. The Oakville Arts Council office is also located here. If you are a Halton artist ,you may want to join this supportive group.

Burlington

The Burlington Arts Centre www.thebac.ca

This dynamic arts centre is home to galleries, an impressive fine arts shop and art rental program, area guilds, mentorship programmes, and studios for working and learning. On Sunday afternoons there are often excellent free workshops and discussions for visual artists. This is a great place to visit, be engaged with, and shop for art.

Georgetown (Halton Hills) Here

Newly reopened after two years of expansion is the Halton Hills Cultural Centre, a theatre, gallery and library rolled into one. The gallery was once a church and the beautiful stained glass windows are still there. Formally, the gallery dedicated itself to supporting shows  by local artists, but a large art donation to the centre may have changed its mandate. See here http://www.theifp.ca/news/art-collection-worth-800k-donated-to-town/

Milton http://www.miltoncentreforthearts.ca/en/AboutYourCentre.asp

Opened in 2011, this state of the art facility is home to gallery and performance space and more. Here is the FAQ sheet for this centre of creativity. http://www.miltoncentreforthearts.ca/en/aboutyourcentre/resources/centre_for_the_arts_faqs_aug-10.pdf

List of Call to Artists: Art Show Submissions Western Greater Toronto Area 2013

In the last two years, the western Greater Toronto Area (GTA) artist community has lost two annual juried art shows to show their paintings, photography & sculpture. No longer are the Peel Heritage Centre's prestigious annual show (Brampton) and Halton Hills Cultural Centre’s community “The John Sommer Annual Juried Art Show” (Georgetown).  Both venues have undergone remarkable renovations in the past two years. The Peel Heritage Centre is now reborn as PAMA. An unexpected donation of an art collection altered the Halton Hills Cultural Centre's gallery’s focus from community-centric exhibition to a more staid model. But take heed; there are still  juried art shows to enter in 2013.  For some of the shows,  it is too early in the season for the posting of exact deadline dates. Thus I have included a "heads up" date based on when the show deadline was the previous year.

By the way, there is a lot of discussion out there that juried shows are a "money grab" and other negative thoughts.

But juried shows are a very useful tool in your art career strategy. They are one way to build your c.v. when starting out, get a new work or style out before the public, get your work before juror you admire, support your local art community, (club, gallery, or council) and do that all important networking at that opening party, that is, oh, so important (as well as so painful to many of us).

And sure, the judging has a subjective element; after all, it’s art! Judges react, just as you would, with their hearts and personal preference, but they also judge with the years of ability for which they have been hired. Most shows hire more than one adjudicator, and I have witnessed first hand, the very careful thought behind the choices.

Happy planning & best of luck, everyone!

2013 CALLS TO ENTRY Please remember to check requirements & eligibility.

Some Other Calls for Entries of Interest

Cram the Polar Bear World: The Sketchbook Project 2013

Copyright Christine Montague. "In the Presence of Royalty". The Sketchbook Project 2013". Grpahite. The little envelope containing my sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project, somehow was mislaid during my studio move, and completely out of mind with the excitement of family home for Christmas. My memory was suddenly jogged when The Sketchbook Project people wisely sent out a "deadline tomorrow" email yesterday.

There was no way I was going to miss out on this  terrific drawing project where artists from around the world have their sketchbooks (provided by the project) on display in the Brooklyn Art Library (U.S.A.), as well as online, and in a travelling art show.

So, what to do?! With less than 24 hours to fill a sketchbook, I would do the student "thing" and CRAM which, by the way,  became the sketchbook title, and maybe more than that , too.

And what did I draw? Why I followed The Sketchbook Project recommendations:

" The Sketchbook project is a space for new work and experiment - it's not intended to be a portfolio" and  " ...follow your book wherever it takes you and change your mind along the way".

And that's exactly what I did, I veered off the course of the few sketches I had done before Christmas and my move out of my Williams Mill studio, and spent well into the night immersed into my polar bear fantasy world.  You know how it is when you have a good book you can't put down? That's how I felt last night as I worked deep into the night with ease.

To read more about The Sketchbook Project 2013, and to mark it on your calendar to take part in,  visit www.thesketchbookproject.com

Also I'd love to know what you think of my foray into fantasy illustration, and if you'd enjoy more posts on this.