This portrait oil painting of a loving, happy senior couple is a variation of the 6" x 6" portraits I paint. The two 6" size portraits are combined on a 6" high by 12" wide canvas. Don't they look like fun to be around? It is a bonus to the commission, how happy painting happy people can make me feel.
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.
- Deadline Feb. 22nd Ontario Society of Artists Open Juried Show “Echo” http://ontariosocietyofartists.org/files/1970/OSA-Call_for_Entry-_OJE_Echo-_2013_v4.pdf
- Early March. “Through the Eyes of the Artist” Lakeshore Arts Annual Juried Exhibition. http://www.lakeshorearts.ca/
- Deadline March 8th Artcetera 2013. Elora Centre for the Arts. http://www.eloracentreforthearts.ca/index.cfm?page=2013artceteraAPPLICA
- Deadline March 8th. 6th Beaux-Arts Brampton Annual Open Juried Show 2013 www.Beaux-ArtsBrampton.com
- Deadline April 5th 4th Annual Open Juried Photography Show 2013 Beaux Arts Brampton Gallery www.Beaux-ArtsBrampton.com
- Deadline April 26th The Kingston Prize. Nationwide Juried Portraiture painting show. http://www.kingstonprize.ca/rules
- Early May deadline. 17th Annual Juried HAFestival Art Show & Sale (Headwaters Arts Festival). Show is in September during Headwaters Arts Festival. http://headwatersartsfestival.com
- Early June. “Insights” Wellington County Museum and Archives. (between Elora & Fergus) www.artscouncil.elora.on.ca
- Deadline June 21. Painting on the Edge. Canadian Federation of Artists Open Juried Show. https://artists.ca/submissions/index
- Deadline Aug 2nd 5th Annual Open Juried Wildlife, Nature, & Native Juried Show 2013 Beaux Arts Brampton www.Beaux-ArtsBrampton.com
- Start checking in the summer for the October. Canadian Society of Painters In Watercolour www.cspwc.org
- Deadline end of September. Colour and Form Society Annual Open Juried Art Show. www.colourandformsociety.org
- Early December. The annual Visual Arts Mississauga (VAM) Juried Show at the AGM (Art Gallery of Mississauga. Entry is through VAM. https://www.visualartsmississauga.com
- December. Call for entry for Burlington Arts Centre Auction www.thebac.ca/
Some Other Calls for Entries of Interest
- Feb. 28th British International Photography Show http://www.discoverwildlife.com/wildlife-nature-photography/bbc-wildlife-artist-year-2013-rules-0
- March 8th Toronto Outdoor Art Show. Nathan Philips Square. Deadline www.Torontooutdoorart.org
- Sign up early October – November to receive sketchbook. Due early January 2014. The Sketchbook Project. www.sketchbookproject.org
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.
I hope you can attend Lake Dreams, my solo show of new oil paintings, at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre, in Glen Williams. December 1 - 24, 2011. Wednesday - Sunday 12 - 5 p.m. You can read about some of the Lake Dreams paintings here.
Williams Mill Gallery Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre, 515 Main Street, Glen Williams, (Georgetown), Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada L7G 3S9
The fact that magnolias in this area are always out and sometimes even finished by Mother's Day, inspired me to paint a magnolia portrait entitled, you guessed it, "Just in Time (for Mother's Day")" .
The weather today, Mother's Day 2011, is so glorious, the bloom is not off my day, by the lack of Magnolia blossoms. It simply means Mother's Day should be extended a few more days, don't you think?
Happy Mother's day!
Being a visual artist in Canada is a rough haul, but there are certain wonderful people one meets along the way that lighten the load, and encourage the journey. There are also certain art shows and venues that enlighten the path. Here's how an upcoming art show, A Lasting Gift: The John & Gisela Sommer Collection January 8th - Feb 6th (Opening Jan. 16th) carries the five fold whammy of John & Gisela Sommer, The Sommer Collection, Art Gallery of Peel, Sybil Rampen, and Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre. For many years, Georgetown's John and Gisela Sommer have been enthusiastic supporters of visual artists in the GTA*, particularly in the western region of Halton Hills and Peel. Many a visual artist has been the lucky recipient of their generous support either in word or deed. The Sommers not only collected art, they exhibited it at Gallery Sol, their home turned gallery, in Georgetown, Halton Hills, Ontario.
I first met John, when, as juror, he awarded my painting Top Award at a juried art show. A few months later, I discovered that this soft-spoken and lively gentleman, and his charming wife Gisela, were popular visitors at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre in Glen Williams, where I just opened a studio. John often made reference to the Gallery Sol, which was, at that point, after decades of being open, was winding down.
My mistake was in assuming it was a showcase for regional artists. What I didn't realize was that the Sommers had an incredible collection of contemporary printmaking, painting, sculpture and photography that included Andy Warhol, Jack Chambers, Leonard Hutchinson and David Hockney. Luckily, I will get a another chance to see this art, and so can you!
The Sommers have recently generously donated their art collection (ensuring their legacy as well as that of many regional artists) to The Art Gallery of Peel (Peel Heritage Complex, Brampton). This art gallery, in the midst of transformation into a remarkable new venue across from Brampton's Gage Park, is temporarily closed. Until then, 200 of these art works will be on exhibition at Joshua Creek Heritage Centre in Oakville, Ontario.
Oh, and as for Joshua Creek Heritage Centre, and artist & visionary Sybil Rampen, who created it, that my friends, is a whole other incredible story of inspiration, generosity, and legacy! Click here to read more.
*Greater Toronto Ontario
One of the joys of being an artist is the opportunity for life long learning, discovery and play (to misquote Hamlet "The play's the thing!"). Artists are probably one of the poorest (financially) of the professional demographics, but the reward of infinite growth is priceless.
For a while now, I have been curious about the encaustic (from the Greek word "to burn in") or hot wax painting process. I had a series in mind that I envisioned with the built up, molten, textured, luminous look that results from painting encaustically. However, upon research, I discovered that the traditional hot wax process, with its fumes (as well as potential toxicity) of melting bees-wax, carnauba wax, damar resin, and pigment, was out of the question in my poorly vented studio which shares air space with 6 other artists. So recently, when Canadian painter Janice Mason Steeves http://www.janicemasonsteeves.com/ promoted her workshop in the "Cold Wax Process" -no heating wax, no excessive fumes- I enrolled.
Things to find out. How would this process differ from hot wax? How could I apply it my portraiture painting? Would it have the luminous and texture potentials of hot wax? (FYI I have noticed in word searches that bring readers to this article that it is wondered if canvas can be used as a surface. No. You want the solid surface of a panel os some sort so the wax doesn't crack when the canvas bends.)
Jan has a beautiful studio in Rockwood, Ontario, that was large enough for 8 of us to each work at a table of our own. Our goals were to play, experiment with colour, texture, and application on our prepared panels. My biggest challenge was "to play" with the medium. I am goal and product oriented, and any attempts to "play" resulted in one question "what if I did...?" branching into multiple more. I knew I was hooked when 10 prepared panels just weren't going to be enough!
Dorland's generously supplied the cold wax medium needed. This is the most remarkable product with a multitude of uses. (Sham - Wax!! :D) Check it out here http://www.paintspot.ca/cgi-bin/advice.pl?s=98 For our purposes we mixed it 50:50 with our oil paint and then squeegeed the resulting colours on in layers. Then the creative exploring started - wiping away, scraping, scratching, writing into, lifting off, blending, brayering in textured pattern from material, lifting off with newspaper, stencilled into - whatever this creative bunch thought to do.
On the second day, Jan instructed us to make ugly work, i.e., no thinking about finished products. Explore, experiment and play were the order of the day. But at the end of the workshop, when we took a look at each other's work, it seemed, we all failed ! Every piece - and we were a productive group - had a fascinating element. Eight very tired (playing can be exhausting) but very happy cold wax converts drove off into the sunset.
Encaustic Painting with Hot wax: Artist Jessie Fritsch has a nice explanation here http://www.jessiefritsch.com/encausticinfo.html
Great explanation here about is cold wax "encaustic". AMIEN stands for Artist Materials Information and Education Network http://www.amien.org/forums/showthread.php?2054-encaustics-with-no-heat
Here's another example of my cold wax work.
Here is the latest large (60" x 30") oil painting. New looser, contemporary style, but it conveys everything I wanted it to. Can you feel the uplift? My son, crossing a tidal pool in the red sand shore of Prince Edward Island, is doing his best to walk on water and not step on the myriad of life found in its depth. Past this tidal pool, home and night awaits. The reflection symbolizes this beautifully.
These tentacles come from the bowels of the earth not the nearby ocean. World War II Air Force Pilots would wait here in the underground rooms the tunnels connect to. - ready to disembark at a moments notice. This building with its central body, and tunnel tentacles is known as "The Octopus" Limbo Series. World War II buildings in waiting. Stephenville, Newfoundland. Copy right Christine Montague.Read More
Above is the 18" x 24" oil painting I did for August's "Second Saturday Collectors" Special" at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre , a centre of over 30 working artist studios & their galleries, plus a main art gallery in Glen Williams (Georgetown) , Halton Hills, Ontario.
Artist Carmen Hickson and I (Christine Montague) started an exclusive art event at the Williams MIll recently entitled "Second Saturday Collectors' Special" . Wait, you say. I am not an art collector and so this event must not apply to me!
But if you think about it, the moment you take that first step, and buy an original work of art, you are a collector. That may not have been your intent, but by making that commitment, you have done more than passively purchase an item to hang in a room, you have done something even better. You have bought something that you respond to emotionally and that speaks to your heart. You have also done something more! You have just supported your local entrepreneur -which is what being a visual artist is (they suffer all the same risks) - and have contributed to your country's cultural economy.
The event has already created a buzz among the other artists at the Williams Mill where I have my studio and this past Saturday, 5 other artist also participated. Congratulations to Simon MacDonald who immediately sold his painting of a regional scene, with another couple standing by hoping to make it theirs! Wow!
So here's what the buzz about "Second Saturday Collectors' Special" is all about -
- Purchasing art is exciting and special. We want you to experience that special thrill. So on the second Saturday of each month, a brand new art work is unveiled at 12 noon in the studios of each of the participating artists. The unveiled art is a surprise to all. This is even great fun for the other artists at the mill.
- While owning original art is as important as the air to breathe for some, we understand that to many original art is regarded as a luxury item. You may love a work, but you are nervous about actually buying it. SO, for that day only, the art work unveiled, is offered at a very, very special price.
- Owning original carries bragging rights! The moment you buy a Second Saturday Collectors Special, you have purchased a real work of art, you beat out others to get it, and you have immediately made an profitable investment. How so? Because at 5 p.m. that Saturday if the painting hasn't sold? The "Second Saturday" price label comes down, and the true value label goes up.
- Original art is an instant heirloom. It has provenance. Who throws out original art? Who puts it in a landfill? It will live on for ever. Hundred years from now, someone will be admiring that work and talking about you - who owned it.
- And last, but not least, you will have purchased locally. To be an artist at the Williams Mill, one can not be a hobbyist. This is a highly disciplined, entrepreneurial profession with long hours . Like farmers, artists are passionate about what they do, but artists never get to take a day off and every cent counts. We appreciate your business.
Carmen and I each create a new painting that is not unveiled until the second Saturday of each month. For that day only, each of our new paintings are offered at only a fraction of their worth.
For example, this month's 18" x 24" oil painting one canvas " Study for Summer Fun" - completed just this morning - was only $100 plus HST. It's wholesale value is $300 plus tax.
Why was this work offered as a lost leader?
Visitors to our studio are always enthusiastic about our work, but through conversation, it would seem that many of these visitors have never bought original art.
So, we have set about to ease the struggle the potential collector may feel in taking that first step in buying original art. We sincerely want to help people experience the joy that comes from owning original art ...and it is a joy!
We also have the fun of challenging ourselves in what special work we will create for this special day.
And to add to the excitement - other Williams Mill artists have decided to take part in August's Second Saturday Collector's Special. Now we can hardly wait for August. What wonderful works and special deals will August bring?
In early June, an A.J. Casson landscape oil painting "A Street in Glen Williams" sold for the record-breaking price of $542, 800. To see this Group of Seven Canadian landscape painting click here Do you know that Glen Williams - probably considered Ontario cottage country when Casson painted what was a contemporary painting then - is a hamlet only 15 minutes north of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada? And for travelers from Toronto, this cultural destination is only a 40 minute trip away. (It is also accessible by Go train and bus) This painting is not particularly successful in its depiction of a "unique" place - these little houses and fall colors could be almost anywhere in Canada. But then that wasn't Casson's goal. What is remarkable that "Glen Williams" is still a beautifully preserved hamlet of 1850's homes in a true glen, and that it is home to many, many present day artist studios! Glen Williams is protected by the Sheridan Nurseries farmland and the limited growth in the green belt around Toronto. This fabulous place with the Credit River running through it is protected from urban sprawl. But even more importantly, at Glen Williams's heart is the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre - home to a huge centre of contemporary artists' studios and where I have the good fortune to have my artist studio. www.christinemontague.com
The Williams Mill moniker is deceptive. The mill is only one of FOUR buildings which house visual artists and crafts people.
- The 1850's lumber mill is home to graphic artist, painters, sculptors and potters.
- The 1850's stone power plant is home to jewellers, a quilter, framing service, painters (including www.christinemontague.com) , and my studio mate found art assemblage artist www.theredpigstudio.com
- The courtyard has painting, woodcarving, stone carving (4 sculptors) . The gallery connects from the courtyard & represents the mill artists, and has monthly shows of other artists too.
- The last building is home to Glen Williams Glass Blowers.
So for those of you in wonder of this lovely bit of Canadian art history, or in sheer amazement at the price paid for this Group of Seven, Casson painting , appreciate the place this painting depicts as well. It is well worth the trip to visit this historic town - alive and well with a diverse group of award-winning contemporary artists. And you won't have to pay half a mil to enjoy their work. www.williamsmill.com
[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.
American artist Andy Warhol sums it up exactly "I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anyone could ever want to own." Today I was reunited with a painting I feared had gone astray. On exhibit at an unknown location through an art rental service experiencing difficulty, I feared this was one painting I may never see again.Read More
I didn't want to leave the studio today until I finished this painting - I was so anxious to see it completed. Although I adore painting in oils, drawing was my first love, and so, it was exciting for me to both draw (oil sticks) & paint (oils) in this art work. This piece also combines my love of portraits, my love of animals and my love of black (I am only painting in black until they invent something darker). Equally as fulfilling was my use, for the first time, of silver oil paint as my "white" - although its reflective values proved a little trickier to photograph. My iphone camera, couldn't quite do the trick.
Do you know that many artists give a lot of thought to the placement & appearance of their signature on their paintings? Well, I am one of those artists. This new work called for a different look to my signature. Traditionally, on my carefully rendered, realistic paintings, I carefully print my full name in block lettering. I don't like my signature to distract from the work, and even will use more than one colour to print it so that the signature flows with the work. This painting called for something more expressive. Artist Carmen Hickson of www.theredpigstudio.com lent me a nifty colour pushing brush* ( a rubber chisel tip instead of bristles). It was perfect for carving out a cursive signature with values that suited the painting.
By the way, "Big Cat Painting" is not the official title of the painting...
* I don't know the official name of these rubber tipped brushes, and tried unsuccessfully to google them for this post. My son, who used to work at Curry's Art Supplies, informed me they weren't big sellers, but I sure found it terrific to use. Do you know what this type of brush is called? I did however find this new neat little cleaning gadget while trying to find the rubber brush name https://www.currys.com/catalogpc.htm?Category=A021B006823&Source=Search. I could have used this when washing piles of black oil paint out of about 8 brushes this evening :D
Yesterday I mentioned I used Tri-Art's sludge as the preliminary step (the canvas was already gessoed in white) to starting this 60" x 48" cat painting. I was quite enamoured of the taupe, neutral colour of the sludge, and began the day by ensuring areas had the sludge show through. This was not my original vision for the painting. Sometimes it pays to go with one's instincts, but in this case it was keeping me from connecting with the portrait. If I don't fall in love with the face, I know something is wrong.
So back to the plan - Black and silver oil paint for this silver tabby. What appears white in this painting, or light gray is actually silver. The painting is not done yet. But the concept that one side of the cat disappears into the darkness, and the other side is awash in silver light - is becoming clearer.
This oil painting incorporates the use of oil sticks as well as oil paints.
Here is #6 in my series of 8" x 8" oil paintings about the shadows, snow & structures at Scotsdale Farm, a heritage site on the Bruce Trail, in Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada. The iron effigy of the horse head, stands silently, in shadow, by the empty barn. In the sunny background, a car drives by. More symbolism for such a small regional landscape painting? The horse faces left - representing reflection & looking back. The car faces right symbolizing looking ahead. That it has moved out of the picture frame symbolizes movement forward and leaving the horse behind in its dust..err..exhaust.
Finished this 8" x 8" oil painting of Scotsdale Farm, on the Bruce Trail in Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada. two Muskoka Chairs wait for summer time. Another of the interesting little white buildings to be found on the farm. The white clap board contrasts wonderfully with the dark trees, cast shadows and smooth snow. I don't know the significance of the bell? Decorative? An old school bell? Used to call farmhands to dinner? Can you suggest a better title for this work?Read More