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.
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
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!
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.
Follow the Yellow (make that ochre) Dirt Roads
I visited the Canadian Arctic for the first time in May, 2014. After a day in Iqaluit (Nunavut's capital) I flew to Cape Dorset (pop. approx 1300) at the southern tip of Baffin Island.
Although the landscape surrounding Cape Dorset is stunning, it was the ochre ribbon-like roads looping through the hamlet, and the constant activity on them, that intrigued me most. Most people walk or drive ATVs (skidoos in winter) to socialize, shop and work. There are few larger vehicles, but the school bus seems always on the go, as are the trucks that deliver fresh water and empty the septic tanks. Thus my first steps out on the town (well, hamlet) were a delightful contrast to my city experience, where the roads are hectic and the sidewalks empty.
Next to my hotel (Dorset Suites), and across from Tellik Inlet, is the world-renowned Kinngait Arts Studio, the oldest printing studio in Canada. The distinctive red-roofed, green and yellow buildings (seen below), have been around since 1957. This summer (2017) work has begun on the new cultural centre and studios. To see larger images please click on the photos below.
Below:Tellik Inlet by Kinngait Arts. Turn right to go to the two grocery and supply stores, and the RCMP station. Turn left to find the Wildlife Office, the municipal pier, and the gazebo on the hill.
The gazebo, seen from most vantage points of the hamlet, is an unusual landmark for such a northern community, but, hey, I loved it. A sheltered bit of architecture, where I could start each day and take in the glorious landscape. In the picture below, you can spot the gazebo above the Wildlife Office (the building on the left ). Click on the picture below to see a larger image
The polar bear hide seen above was huge. I mean hair-raising, goose bump inspiring big. I wish I had thought to put my hand or iPhone by a paw for reference.
Meanwhile, on the same day I happily arrived in Cape Dorset, a polar bear attacked two Arctic Bay hunters as they slept in their tent. They survived, but only after a fight for their lives. For a dramatic account of the attack, and some equally dramatic polar bear facts, read http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674nunavut_polar_bear_attack_survivors_thankful_to_be_alive/
I love polar bears, and my polar bear paintings are portraiture tributes to these great mammals whose future is of concern. But up north? One can never forget these beautiful, intelligent, powerful kings of the arctic are dangerous.
Big Bear Passing (48" by 36" polar bear oil painting by Christine Montague )
So, up the hill to the gazebo.
Below. Snowmobilers travel on frozen Tellik Inlet to get to open water beyond.
I was forewarned to expect roads thick with mud, but they were dry and solid. Later in summer, when the roads become too dry, passing ATVs and the odd car send up clouds of pervasive dust. But for now, as it was the first week of sunny, cheery weather, children, especially boys, were out on their bikes, pedalling uphill with admirable ease.
To be continued...
Note: I use a Sony A7r with 35mm Zeiss lens. iPhone 5s was my back up.
Inspired by family members who loved working in the Canadian Arctic, I jumped at the chance to visit the tiny hamlet of Cape Dorset, Nunavut when the opportunity arrived in late spring (May 2014). My trip wouldn't allow time for me to paint, but there was endless opportunity for me to use my camera (new at the time) the very small, very light, but full frame Sony A7r with a 35mm Zeiss lens. This was also my first camera to have a panoramic feature. It was tempting to make every photo a panoramic one, such was the breadth of the landscape before me.
Sink/ Swim 3, A Polar Bear Cub Painting
Polar Bear Cub 3, a 6" x 12" oil painting study on canvas, depicts a polar bear cub mid-swim, beneath the water's surface.
The Sink/Swim Series
My polar bear Sink/Swim series of oil paintings offers commentry on the effect vanishing polar ice has on the survival of the polar bears. The delay in the formation of the sea ice, leaves the baby polar bear more vulnerable to attack by hungry male polar bears. The increased open water means the distance a mother polar bear must travel, polar bear cub(s) on back, before ice is found to rest on or hunt seal from, increases the odds the polar bear bear cub(s), and even the mother, will make it safely ice top.
The sink or swim aspect can apply to the bigger picture of our planet as well. The decrease in the polar bear population is but one of the many consequences of increased global warming, and the resulting polar and glacial ice loss. Less ice means more dark water.
When polar caps melt, sea water rises. As a good part of the earth's population lives near the water's edge, well, we could all be swimming for it, couldn't we.
Anecdotal stories state that human babies will sometimes play as they drown, not realizing they are in danger. With this chilling fact in mind, I wondered if polar bear cubs are aware they are in danger as they drown. I hope not.
Some may think of these polar bear cub paintings as "cute", not exactly a word a fine artist loves to hear. But, the fact is, it is difficult to paint escape the cute factor of a polar bear cub. I hope that the affection, admiration and concern I feel for these wonderful bears is evident, and that they evoke similar emotions in you, too. The thought that in the next 50 years then number of these magnificent polar bears may decline dramatically, is the furthest from polar bear cute I can imagine.
To sign up for my blog & newsletter, or for more info on my polar bear paintings or to buy a painting, please visit Christine Montague Polar Bear Art.
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 landscapes, commissioned portraiture, giant cat paintings, canoes, 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.
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)
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.
(From Christine Montague Canvas and Camera Blog, November 2014 )
In October 2014, the sudden, violent, and unprovoked attack on two young army reservist soldiers standing ceremonial guard by The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of The National War Memorial in Ottawa shocked Canadians. That one of these soldiers, Corporal Nathan Cirillo of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's), was mortally wounded at the foot of this monument, was heartbreakingly poignant.
The National War Memorial orThe Response was commissioned in response to Canadians' demand for a national monument that would pay tribute to the tens of thousands killed in World War I.It was to honour the spirit of heroism, self-sacrifice, and all that was noble and great exemplified by the Canadians who served overseas.
In 1926, Vernon March (United Kingdom) won the competition to create this memorial with his vision of a granite and bronze cenotaph The Response. The Response commemorates the enormous response of the citizens of the young and struggling Canada to the call of a war in which sacrifice was on a scale previously unknown.
Armed conflict is deliberately not glorified inThe Response. Instead, the monument's twenty-two bronze figures, clad in historically accurate uniforms representative of all the services involved, push forth unto duty. They pass under a giant granite Arch with allegories of peace and freedom atop it.
Ironically, The Response was not unveiled until May 1939, less than 4 months before the start of World War 2. It has since been rededicated to include those killed in World War 2 and the Korean War. The dates of Canada's participation in the War in Afghanistan (2003 - 2013) will also be added.
The Response is now the nation's preeminent war memorial. The attack on the soldiers that stood respectfully and unarmed before it on that recent October day, has tragically strengthened this symbolism. A Canadian soldier went forth and died in his call to duty as an army reservist. The response of Canadians to the events at our nation's heart included examples of bravery, honour, and duty. But compassion was there, too.
The Remembrance Day ceremony at The National War Memorial is broadcast nationally. Like the granite and bronze the monument is made of, memories of the events that unfolded are hard, heavy and long-lasting.
At the November 11, 2014 Remembrance Day Ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa , the National War Memorial was rededicated to all those who died and who will die in service to Canada. A constant reminder that peace and freedom come with great sacrifice. The very least those of us who don't serve can do is to remeber those who fought for us in the past, support our present day veterans and pray for those of the future.
As fascinating as it would be to actually have a polar bear in my artist studio to paint "live" from, I realize the "live" part probably wouldn't apply to one of us for long.
So to simulate this experience I brought up one of my photos of the wonderful Inukshuk (the adult male bear at the Toronto Zoo) on my laptop. I positioned my laptop at a distance and height a human model would sit in front of the easel. Imagining the model before me was 3D, I blocked in the shapes, values and colours I observed on the blank canvas. There was nothing drawn up before hand.
In this style of painting, the background is more than a backdrop of colour to hide the white canvas. The paint helps carve out and define the outer edge of the head, helping it to stand out from the canvas. Only at the end of the portrait painting are the fine details, and pure blacks and whites added.
Of course, for me, whether the portrait subject is human or otherwise, the big reward is always when I get to finish the eyes. Thanks to the magic of oils, the polar bear eyes in these portrait paintings, as well as in my imagination, are very much alive.
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.
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
Earlier this morning, Wiarton Willie, the prognosticating (my new word for the day) groundhog, immortalized in the statue above, saw his shadow. So did Punxsutawney Phil. So, 6 more weeks of winter ahead for us!
The verb prognosticate, as you, unlike me, probably know, means to foretell or prophesy. Prognosticating seems to be the word of the day in this year's articles about Wiarton Willie and Punxsutawney Phil. One source even makes reference to the prognosticating "rodent". "Happy Rodent Day" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Whatever the greeting, it's not hard to believe the prognostications made by our groundhog friends. Last night, the Greater Toronto Area received another huge snow fall - beautiful to behold, but meant about an hour and a half of shovelling for us at our place.
I much prefer the warm breeze, blue sky, and summer sunshine I experienced the day I took the photograph above. "Wiarton Willie", a 4.5 tonnes limestone sculpture by Canadian sculptor, Dave Robinson, stands in a lovely Wiarton park ( www.visitwiarton.ca) at the base of the Bruce Penninsula. The water seen behind the sculpture is Georgian Bay. The real Wiarton Willie lives nearby, in the library.
But, I prognosticate all this snow has an advantage, too. It offers me a great excuse to stay inside, blog, and paint. No procrastination allowed!
Happy, Creative, Ground Hog Day!
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.
NavisPack and Ship http://www.gonavis.com
Armstrong Fine Arts www.shipfineart.com
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
- 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
This Saturday, September 28, from 10 am - 4 pm, my portraits and polar bear oil paintings will be for show and sale at the Small Arms Inspection Building, as part of Doors Open Mississauga 2013. The Small Arms Building is near and dear to my heart. Why?
The Small Arms Building is a 144,000 sq.ft example of WWII industrial architecture. During the war, over 40,000 women, "Rosie the Riveters", came from all over Canada to work at this site, where they manufactured about 1 million Lee-Enfield rifles.
The Lakeview Legacy Foundation, of which I was proudly a founding member, has set out to repurpose this impressive, but empty building into a desperately needed arts centre of working artists studios, performance space, art galleries, and museum. In other words, arms to arts. (Read more about it here)
And, to help you envision just how dynamic this centre will be when it houses studios for working visual artists, (and musicians, actors, dancers, filmmakers, creative scientists, etc.) over 20 artists (including me) will each set up shop in an office. We'll show our craft as if a working day in our studios, and offer work for sale.
But that's not all.
The Honorary Colonel Gerald Haddon will speak about J.A.D. McCurdy, the Canadian aviation pioneer.
Heather Brissenden will sing Hits of the Blitz from 10:00 to 14:00.
The Lorne Scots machine gun teams will compete through out the day.
The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion will also be there.
You can see a Sherman tank.
And best of all, you will have the rare opportunity to meet some of the wonderful Rosie the Riveters who actually worked at Small Arms.
http://www.smallarms.ca/SmallArms.html for contact info, schedule, & parking (it's free!). P.S. a very short walk west from Longbranch Go Station, Toronto.
Now, can you find the polar bear in the photos below?
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 -
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 -
- Inspiring shows from a diverse choice of artists.
- Show enhancing (dare I say fun?) use of space and wall colour, each new show is room gallery changing.
- A whole new roster of in-house and community outreach programming through exhibition, collaboration and installation. There are too many to list, so click here
- Are you a visual artist?
- Lots of calls for artists. I recommend the Artist Professional Practices workshop in the spring
- New resource room for visual artists to meet and browse resource material
- Curator chats for visual artists
- Connect personally to the gallery through social networking. Facebook, twitter, pinterest, blog. You can have your say, and ask questions, too.
- 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.
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.
“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.
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.
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/
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
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!
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
- Changing climate threatens to disrupt the denning habits of polar bears (vancouversun.com)
About four years ago, as I turned onto Mayfield Road in Halton Hills, the rumps of two large dogs, trotting amicably along, appeared immediately before me in the thick fog. Luckily, for the dogs and me, I was driving slowly having just stopped at a light, and that my car's fog lights were doing their job.
Upon hearing the car, the dogs, both German Shepard, one black, and the other brown and black, traversed to the opposite shoulder. They never changed pace, or even looked back. It was only as I snapped a photo, that the brown and black German Shepard, in the lead, gave me a glance.
Have you seen the movie Collateral ? There is a scene where coyotes cross in front of the taxi that holds Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. It was my favorite scene in that film, and that is how I felt when these two dogs crossed my path in the thick of the fog.
Fast forward to a couple of days ago. It was overcast and had recently rained. Driving along 22nd side road, on my way out of the glen, I glimpsed two dark shapes emerge from the trees on the hillside to the marshy field below. My first hope, however unlikely, was that these were wolves. I excitedly turned the car around, and over to the side of the road.
Lo and behold, there they were, the same two dogs I had enjoyed photographing in the fog years before. I fumbled to get my camera out of its bag, and still keep both eyes on the dogs. They were on the go, when suddenly, these two "littlest hobos" plunked themselves down in a large, dark, mucky puddle. These two must have need a cooling off, further proof, of just how eerily warm March is here in Southern Ontario.
Before I could snap a shot, up and away they went, into the woods, and out of sight.
Back in the studio, I took another look at the old photo of them. I knew the brown and black German Shepard had a collar, but that pixellated item around the black dog is a broken rope? Could they be feral? Lots of good rabbit eatin' here in the glen.
No matter, whether farm dog or feral, they seemed healthy, happy, and a team.
Dogs are usually not my thing, but I love the image of the black dog, his pale breath clear in the fog, and the contented freedom the pair represent.
I immediately started the drawing of the black Shepard in fog on a large canvas. But the Mill "open studio" days, Friday and Saturday afternoons, are in reality "clean hands days". So contentedly I painted the tidy 18" x 24" oil painting study above.
And the dogs? If they do have a home, and I hope they do, I am uncertain how content the owner will be with their muddy exploits.
The seventh in the series of little polar bear portrait oil paintings joins the fifth and sixth portraits of polar bears in the moonlight. The Toronto Zoo's male polar bear “Inukshuk” is the model.
By painting these little portraits I am familiarizing myself with the shape of the polar bear's head and the structure of his eyes, snout and ears.
The eyes , although intelligent, are so small, I have to ignore my natural inclination is to paint them larger. I love painting his thick, rounded fuzzy ears - the only thing "teddy bear" about him. But I'm not fooled. In Portrait 8, which I also finished this week, I painted Inukshuk's very large teeth.
Happy Groundhog Day! Good luck, Wiarton Willie & Punxsutawney Phil! We all have those paintings where we wonder what was I thinking? However, this groundhog has supplied me with a lot of fun in blogs and in the studio. And when it was in the studio, there were visitors who adored it, especially if they were from the Wiarton, Ontario area. A bit of home.