art gallery

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

Call for Visual Artists Juried Shows Dec. 2011, Jan. 2012

Here's the most recent "calls for entry" for visual arts juried art shows in the Greater Toronto Area. I'll gladly post any others you know about. Just leave me a note in comments. Good luck!

Deadline Dec. 1, 2011.  For OCAD University alumni "Where They Are Now!" http://www.ocad.ca/Assets/pdf_media/submission+form+2012.pdf   Note: 2 years at the college/university qualifies for alumnus status

Deadline Dec. 18, 2011. Artists Network  "MonArchy". As a playful acknowledgement of Queen Elizabeth II DIamond Jubilee in 2012, Artists Network are asking artists which side they align with. http://www.artistsnetwork.ca/node/330

Deadline Dec. 20, 2011.  Visual Arts Mississauga 34th Annual Juried Exhibition. Art Gallery of Mississauga. FYI : art work must be made in 2011 - 2012.  Application: http://www5.mississauga.ca/agm/agm_root/downloads/VAM34.pdf

Deadline January 24, 2012. Ontario Society of Artists (OSA)  139th Annual Open Juried Exhibition. John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto.  Theme: "Darkness and Light" http://ontariosocietyofartists.org/member_events_exhibitions/open_juried_exhibition

Deadline January 31, 2012 World of Threads Festival .Fibre Art.  http://www.worldofthreadsfestival.com/submissions.html At least seven venues in  Toronto and Oakville, including Abbozzo Gallery (Oakville), Joshua Creek Heritage Centre (Halton) and the Sculpture Society of Canada Gallery (Toronto).

Deadline Feb. 2012 Paint Ontario Art Competition, Sale & Show http://www.paintontario.com/form.htm Lambton Heritage Museum, Grand Bend, Ontario

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.

The Salmon Run Project, Sanded at Last.

Salmon Run Project
Salmon Run project. Shaping the fin.

I don't know what tools a taxidermist uses on fish casts such as this, but I found a drywall saw effective  for the edges of the fins and for cutting out the mouth. I also used a small hand saw, a metal file, a box cutter and sand paper. Below you can see the scooped out mouth and a sample of the cut out material. The whitish edge is plaster and fibreglass. The fish is not hollow, but filled with the yellowish substance that is some type of foam.

So finally, the fish is sanded. Next step?  To attach the fins, and drill the holes for the stand. Then hurrah, the project actually begins!

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!

"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.

The Artist Studio - Big Cats "Spring Into Art"

[slideshow] Above are a few photos of my studio - all cleaned up for this past weekend's  "Spring into Art" Open House - an annual event on the first weekend of May  at the Williams Mill Visual Artist Centre. Lots of black oil paint going on it those giant paintings of cats! I changed the "wet paint" sign to the more effective "Warning   - Big Wet Cat".

Artist Carmen Hickson supplied the tulips, and not seen,  I had lilacs and crabapple blossoms. As an aside, lilacs are out  in Mississauga, are simply buds in Halton Hills, and a visitor told me are not yet in bud in Ottawa. The coffee was ready to brew on the Keurig, and the chocolates were out. Thank you to everyone who took the time to stop by. I always appreciate your investing in my art.

Couldn't make it this time? My studio, as well as the over 30 others at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre are open Fridays and Saturday 12 - 5 pm. The Williams Mill Gallery is open Wednesday to Sundays 12 - 5 pm.

The Williams Mill is in the western GTA (Greater Toronto Area). It is only 5 minutes south of Terra Cotta, and  is 15 minutes north of Winston Churchill Blvd. and the 401 in Mississauga.

New Found Joy at the Terre Neuve (Newfoundland) Gallery

Artist Christine Montague with Aurora's Mayor Morris. Grand opening of the Terre Neuve Gallery.

The opening of an art show is always exciting and full of promise. Combine this with the opening of the gallery itself - especially one as well conceived as the new Terre Neuve Gallery in Aurora, Ontario - and I knew I was in for one special day.

Packed from the get-go the gallery stayed abuzz with positive energy all day long. I enjoyed chatting about my work with so many enthusiastic Aurora art lovers. In fact, the gallery was so busy,  I didn't even notice that the "Jewel" 88.5 radio team, who had been terrifically supportive and complimentary to the art, had packed up and gone. (Ahhh, the keen eye of the artist)

I 'm honored to have made the acquaintance of Aurora's gracious and fascinating Mayor Phyllis Morris. Although my portrait painting of the Lorne Scots reservist, "Private Romeo" often garners a lot of attention, it's always particularly poignant to me, when someone with military experience, is drawn to it.  Mayor Morris served in the military in the U.K.,  and was recently at the deployment ceremony  for Aurora's Queen's Own Rangers Reservists.

I enjoyed meeting other Terre Neuve Gallery artists - Rebecca Last, & Christina Kerr. Of course, I have known the wonderful sculptor Mary Ellen Farrow, a fellow Williams Mill artist, for a long time.

There wasn't much time left over to talk to those who created  this new gallery - Harold Hillier, Sarah Olson, Andrew Hillier, and consultant Karyn Lockhart.  Their vision, has given me a place to share my vision, and for that I am very grateful.

Gratitude, Hope, Great Art Neighbors & a Little Fun too, Make for a Happy New Year

For an eternity, it seems, my  painting career has been compromised by my grilled cheese membership in the sandwich generation.  Genuine teen angst faced by those of the younger generation in my household, and the  chronic health issues, and subsequent death of those in the older  one, gave me little time to pause for breath, nevertheless paint. However, , thanks to my commitment to be in the art fair, Art-09, in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in June, I did somehow pull through and manage to create new work. It is amazing how financial pressure & a deadline will inspire, isn't it?

And thanks to all the attention one of those paintings received (Stop and Go on the Credit), even though it did not sell at the time , in the fall I made the decision it was worthy of a quality frame. This meant, up to Four Sticks Framing - owned by the very accomplished painter Jim Reid (formally framed  for the AGO & McMichael) - at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre.

After choosing an exquisite little cherry veneer frame (Stop and Go immediately sold!) I popped down the little stairs by Jim's studio to the lower level of the big stone building to check out the The Red Pig Studio . I have enjoyed reading the blog of this studio's owner -  found object assemblage sculptor and painter, Carmen Hickson. I thought I might like to meet this unique artist and see her work in person.

To my surprise, the one very large studio was now two - Carmen's studio on one side and the other empty. Well, long story short - after a couple of hours of animated conversation with Carmen, and an email to the mill's owner, I was the proud occupant of that empty studio space beside The Red Pig Studio.

Just in time  - my art work was included  the Williams Mill Gallery "Big Art, Small Works" show (I think I have now sold four!), and my studio was included in the Christmas Open House  weekend, where the owners of  Georgetown's Main Street Inn toured my studio & invited me to include work in their Christmas Exhibit.

So after, what can only be described as a couple of years " Annus horribilis" I am suddenly...

...grateful to be back painting, grateful to have my studio in this unique artist centre, grateful for all the wonderful and inspiring artists I have as neighbors. Grateful, as well, to all my clients- you let me continue to make art. And, although it has taken hindsight to admit so, grateful that I had the strength, good health and fortitude, to have been there for those I love when they needed it most. My life of art wasn't sacrificed  as I feared, but simply waiting in the wings for my return.

Wishing you a New Year full of hope, happiness, and good health - i.e. a 2010 to be grateful for!

Fondly,

Christine