2nd Annual TWAC (Toronto West Artist Collective) Members Show
Please note: Extended until July 25th, 2017
345 Evans Ave., Toronto (Etobicoke), Ontario, Canada
Contact Artworld Fine Art Gallery for more information.
Please note: Extended until July 25th, 2017
345 Evans Ave., Toronto (Etobicoke), Ontario, Canada
Contact Artworld Fine Art Gallery for more information.
In Benediction, a 36" x 12" polar bear oil painting on canvas a polar bear, suspended upright under blue free water, seems to be giving a blessing. Who would be the recipient of such a gift, do you think?
As with other paintings in the polar bear Sink/Swim Series, we are at that tipping point of loosing much that is wonderful in this world. We need all the blessings we can get, and we should not only count them, but protect and nurture them, too.
I'm very blessed I can take the risk to follow my polar bear muse and look forward to where this polar bear art will take me. Are you enjoying these polar bear paintings? Let me know as I enjoy and appreciate your comments!
"Benediction" has a new home, but if you would like to have a polar bear in your home or office, or lucky you, polar bear lodge, please check out what's available at ChristineMontague.com
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.
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.
Mauja I sa 6" x 12" portrait of a polar bear taking it easy ion some soft snow. Mauja is Inuktitut for soft snow. Inuktitut is the language of the Inuit from Nunavut, an arctic territory in Canada.
The painting above is just one the polar bear oil paintings available in my series A Celebration of Polar Bears, my way of creatively celebrating a celebration of bears (what a group of bears is known as).
Inerkartok, is a 6" x 12" portrait oil painting on canvas of a polar bear sitting in the snow. "Inerkartok" means pretty in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit in Nunavut, an arctic territory in Canada. The polar bear in this oil painting is a pretty one, and I would like to believe she is sitting pretty, too. Sitting pretty is an old idiom that means in a good place or a in a good situation. However, this recent Polar Bears International video on the retreating sea ice and the 40% decline in the polar bear population is far from pretty.
Inerkartok is just one of the paintings in my series A Celebration of Polar Bears.
More more polar bear info -
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.
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.
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 is just one of the recently created paintings available in my new A Celebration of Polar Bears Series.
Drying on the easel is the 24" x 18" polar bear oil painting above. This painting is the direct result of the large painting I created before it that took a lot of time, focussed attention, and physical effort to create.
One of the joys of painting is that artist often goes into "the zone". You may have heard runners speak of this loss of time and in the moment experience, but did you know that painters experience this, too?
The day I finished the big painting, I still had the time and urge to paint. I spontaneously decided to work on a smaller canvas I had in the studio, and not begin the next large work I had planned.
Because this painting was unplanned, I had no clear vision of what it would be other than to keep to my Polar Bear Dreams Series theme of monochromatic blue polar bears. I was pretty relaxed as I blocked in the bear's portrait, as after all, I was basically playing at the end of the day. As I laid down the blue under painting, I got to thinking how much I enjoy showing movement in the fur, and that I love doing the brush stroke that emphasises this.
Next thing I knew I had a swirly sky with stylized northern lights and stars. And colour followed the day after. I think the fun and joy I felt while creating this polar bear tribute shines through in the work. And the portrait has that odd mix found in the polar bear - mighty, beautiful, intelligent, and somehow goofy at the same time. My good spirits played a part in conveying the spirit of the bear and sky above.
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
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 .
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.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to being a self representing fine artist. A definite perk is that I get to meet, at least online, the people who will own my work. Just as the client enjoys the story behind the painting, I like to learn why the painting touches the heart of the collector. Who's For Dinner?, a 48" x 48" black, white and silver oil stick and oil painting cat portrait of a silver Main Coon cat was purchased by a collector in Great Britain. The gracious owner sent me the photo above to show the painting in situ.
Some people buy their art totally from their heart and worry about where it will go later. The painting evokes a memory, or emotion or visceral reaction to the colour and/or texture. They will find a spot for it somehow. They will switch around the room or the art in their home to suit the art work. To them, that is part of the excitement and discovery of purchasing new art they are passionate about.
However, it is equally valid to buy art with the intention it blends in with a particular room's decor. The paintings size, colour and texture, will add to setting's ambience. The painting will complete the room, not competes with it.
On the other hand, one may purchase a painting to be the focal point of a room. The art work's size, subject (or lack of it), colour, and texture will dramatically call attention to it. The rest of the decor, like moons to a planet, will rotate around it. The decor will compliment it.
As I self representing artist I am fortunate in that I get to hear the positive reaction to my art in person. There are many advantages to having gallery representation, but as a gallery artist, one often never knows who has purchased the one's paintings, or where they go. But to be honest, although I get to meet the collector, and I always wish that the client has a lifetime of enjoyment from my art, in the past I never gave much thought where the client displays the art in their home.
Last year, I delivered a large Lake Dreams Series painting to a client's home where it got the approval of the decorator. The clients loved the painting's subject and mood, which they saw at the Arts on the Credit art fair, but they were specifically searching for an art work that would go with their newly decorated room. In particular, the painting needed to go with a pair of beautiful taupe chairs. Fortunately for me, the painting really did look spectacular in the room, which was a calm and freshly designed setting. And I was surprised how my painting of a dock and sky reflecting in the dark lake water, became a more formal art work in this environment. With hindsight, I realize I should have asked permission photograph the painting in place.
So imagine my delight, when recently, and unbidden, the lovely photo above arrived in my mailbox. In this case, I know the collector bought a painting he was passionate about. He discovered it online and loved the portrait and scale of the Main Coon cat painting. But doesn't this photo also show he created a dramatic, yet fun, focal point for the room, as well as an attractive decor choice? Don't you love the giant Main Coon cat sitting above those lovely gold chairs and black lamp? I am glad "Who's for Dinner?" made it safely from Toronto Area to Great Britain, and if "Who's for Tea?" is a preferred title, I wouldn't mind at all.
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!
Some Other Calls for Entries of Interest
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/
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
We've had such a great winter here in the Toronto area. The artists at the Williams Mill have been more than grateful not to face the ice and snow on the steep hills that lead into Glen Williams and the Mill studios.
But still, I felt a great sense of relief that spring officially arrived this past week. And this expressed itself in the painting seen centre of the photo above. Meant to be the finished painting "Dog in Fog" inspired by the study at the left (also done last week ), I 'm thinking it could easily represent the departure of the "dog days" of winter and that the title needs a rethink.
About the chair. My daughter adored this chair owned by Naomi Assenheim, (Opal Wing Creations) the talented young jeweller here at the Mill. Naomi was my studio mate in the Stone Building, until her move to a new studio in the Williams Mill Yellow Mill (The Mill has four buildings housing artist studios). So I purchased this magical chair as a surprise gift for my daughter, but somehow it's never made it out of my studio. Any visitors to my studio who are old enough to remember their parents having such a chair, or have owned one themselves, are not too impressed by this new edition. But for those into retro furniture from the sixties and seventies, it's a definite hit.
And for me, its soft green and gold material inspires thoughts of spring and magic in the air.
What do you think?
PS. Normally, I load my high walls with my paintings. I enjoy this airier look, although it won't last for long as new paintings come to life.
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.
Cold wax painting is the search word subject most used to bring visitors to my blog. It's been just over a year since I took my workshop with the creative Janice Mason Steeves and my curiosity about this interesting medium (along with yours) continues to grow.
I haven't experimented with cold wax as much as I 'd have liked, but I enjoy how my painting style changes when I do these little art works. I work fast and free with my Wilton pastry cutter and oil paint mix. I think some of these small works would translate well into large acrylic paintings on canvas, don't you?
So scroll down to see my most recent cold wax and oil paintings below. The Williams Mill Gallery has added them to the "Big Show, Small Works" one of a kind gift show on until Dec. 24th.
Once again, the historic 1850's yellow lumber mill outside my Williams Mill studio window are the inspiration for these cold wax panels. And when I do a painting involving koi, water-lily and ponds, the Chappell House Pond at Riverwood Park, Mississauga is my inspiration.
"Alert" is the fourth oil painting in a new series of miniature polar bear portraits. Meet Inukshuk, the big male bear in the Toronto Zoo. He's quite the character . I am familiarizing myself with these wonderful bears in preparation for working further on the fantasy series "Polar Bear Dreams". See the first painting of the series here.
Canada has put Polar Bears on a "Special Concern" list. Here is the Toronto Star article http://bit.ly/s9FZGu
In my new oil painting, Swimming in the Night, a polar bear swims among the stars. The aurora borealis (northern lights) glows in the sky beyond. The wistful feelings and the ambiguity of water and sky in my Lake Dreams Series inspired this painting's mood and story.
Recently, I made the journey to the Toronto Zoo for one last look at the elephants before they're sent away. (Read that story here). But what's a trip to the zoo without a visit to the polar bears? I love polar bears, an intelligent, beautiful, and mighty creature.
Only one bear was out that day. As she swam idly in the pool below me, she watched me out of the corner of her eye.
In Swimming in the Night, the water my Toronto Zoo polar bear swims in becomes the night sky. Reflected light and water ripples become the northern lights and stars. A portrait of a very real bear (Thank you, Toronto Zoo polar bear), this oil painting is also a sad testimony that this spirit in the sky may someday be all we have left of this endangered species.