polar bear art
In this new series of polar bear portrait oil paintings on canvas, a beautiful polar bear is portrayed against the setting sun, and the arctic sea.
It is spring. The polar bear’s solitary journey in search of seals, a mate, and shelter on the sea ice is coming to an end for another year.
The darkness of the arctic winter day vanishes along with the sea ice. Sunshine returns and so do the glorious big sky sunsets.
As the day draws to an end, the sun’s glory is reflected off the open water, the remaining ice, and the polar bear's translucent fur - sea, ice and polar bear connected by its light, colour and warmth.
We can reflect, too. What will we lose under the threat of climate change? A setting sun offers hope with a new day ahead, but "into the sunset" can also signify the end.
This is the first polar bear painting in the new series . Let me know what you think.
A flash of northern lights reveals a beautiful polar bear suspended beneath the surface of the sea. A buoyant animal, and a strong swimmer, it is comfortable in this underwater space.
But the frozen sea is its true place, vital to travel, hunting, mating, denning.
Due to climate change, sea ice forms later in the fall, and melts too soon in the spring, leaving the fate of the polar bear species, in suspense.
But for the time, in this painting, we can admire the beauty, and power of the bear, envy its solitude, see the intelligence in its bright eyes. Beautiful deep blues, green, and unlike the situation, black and white.
Contact me here more more info about Polar Bear Beauty in Suspense.
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.
Months ago, when the Artworld Fine Art Gallery and I planned the opening date of my "Dark Water" solo art exhibit (March 24, 2018, on until April 3rd) we had no idea it was the same date as the 2018 Earth Hour. the world's largest grass roots movement for the environment, co-ordinated in part by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).
Dark Water is an show about the wonder of polar bears, and the threat posed to them through climate change. Polar bears are the world's largest land predators, the only bear that are a marine mammal, are highly intelligent, playful, strong swimmers, devoted mothers, and are beautiful, too....Read More
You are invited! Below is the invitation to my solo show of new paintings about polar bears and climate change. Special Guest: James Kushny, a University of Toronto researcher, and Board Director for the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, the remarkable, Leed certified centre in Churchill, Manitoba, where scientists from around the world, study northern sustainability . A portion of sales will be donated to this independent, not for profit, Canadian research centre.
An RSVP for the opening night would be appreciated. For more info, directions or to RSVP please click here.
Halton Hills Bears
The weather has been great here in the Greater Toronto Area, and for that I am grateful.
It meant that I could journey to the Williams Mill Gallery in Halton Hills, for the opening night of The Joy of Art, snow, and anxiety, free. Opening nights are always anxiety filled for us introverted artists, even if a happy event in which I have 6 large paintings and a selection of little polar bears on panel on show.
The Joy of Art exhibit continues until Christmas. And not only would I love if you could see my polar bear paintings in person (and perhaps make one your own), but I'd also love you to experience the beautiful venue in which I once had my studio, and resided on the Board. The historic Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre, that houses the gallery and a multiple of working artist studios, is centre to the unique picturesque hamlet of Glen Williams.
Williams Mill is located at 515 Main St., Glen Williams. Only 20 minutes north of Mississauga. 40 minutes north of Toronto. The gallery is open Wed. - Sun., 12 - 5 pm. The 25 + artists studios are open Fridays to Sunday 12 - 5 pm.
As well as myself, other guest artists include Tina Newlove (painting), Naomi Assenheim (jewelry), Bonnie Glass (couturier), are a few of the names that come to mind.
Upcoming: Polar Bears to Artworld Fine Art Gallery
On Saturday, December 9th , 1 pm - 4 pm - I will have sneak preview of two of my new polar bear paintings for my upcoming solo show of polar bear art (March 2018) at the TWAC exhibit and meet the artists, which is just part of the creative holiday fun at the Artworld Fine Art Gallery Holiday Open House. If you would like to participate in the "Paint with Briar Edmond" event please be sure to RSVP with the gallery. NHL legend Red Kelly will be signing his book "The Red Kelly Story". A portion of proceeds will go towards St. Joseph's Health centre in Toronto.
I hope to see you there!
Artworld Fine Art Gallery is located at 365 Evans Ave. Toronto, ON M8Z 1K2
Dark Water 1 is an oil painting portrait of a beautiful polar bear swimming. The water is dark, as daylight is diminished in the arctic fall.
But dark water has another implication. The earth’s bright white polar ice cap, which serves as a giant reflector for the sun’s heat, is being diminished by climate change from carbon emissions. The melting polar ice increases the darkness of the planet’s surface (hence “dark water”), decreases the sun reflected back into space, and increases the heat absorbed by the earth. More ice melts, which creates more dark water, and so the loop continues.
This loop of sea ice loss and increased dark water endangers the polar bear. Although this magnificent bear is a highly intelligent (think great ape), top-of-the-arctic-food-chain marine mammal (the only bear that is such), and is a powerful swimmer (slightly webbed front paws, highly insulated and buoyant body), it is dependant on the frozen sea for hunting (only seal fat sustains them, not berries or birds’ eggs), resting, feeding (can’t nurse in water) and denning (necessary for mother bears with cubs, semi-hibernation, and to ride out storms). The increase of the period of open water from spring to fall, and the distance between ice tops in winter, leaves the polar bear and its cubs vulnerable to starvation, attack, and drowning.
The polar bear in Dark Water 1 gazes back upon her path, her body twisted as if in question.
It is up to the viewer to imagine how far outside the picture frame the next ice floe waits, and whether or not, until this moment, her journey was a solitary one.
Meet The Blue Prince, a 30" x 40" polar bear oil painting. Why have I titled this painting, The Blue Prince? ...this mighty polar bear painting is created in dramatic shades of blue,.. is a portrait of arctic royalty, and polar bears, highly intelligent, and the largest and mightiest arctic predator, are often referred to as the Lords of the North.Read More
A Polar Bear Cub Painting
The polar bear cub painting below, is the second in my Sink/Swim series of polar bear oil paintings. This painting comments on sea ice loss and its negative effect on the polar bear habitat.
Sinking or Swimming?
Climate change has decreased the amount of sea ice necessary for the mother bears to hunt seals, feed their young, and sometimes den. The season of open water from spring to fall has increased, delaying the opportunity to hunt. Cubs do not yet have that great insulating layer of fat and so the mother bear must carry the baby bears on her back as she swims to the next ice top. These trips are not always successful. Polar bear cubs just simply vanish along the route, and sometimes the mothers do, too.
The bear cub above, does not seem distressed. Like with the experiment Schrodinger's Cat, it is up to the viewer's thoughts about what this bear's state of being is.
For my online gallery of polar bear art – paintings and portraits, please visit ChristineMontague.com
Polar Bear Blessings
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
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.
New Polar Bear Cub Painting Series
The polar bear cub painting below comments on sea ice loss and its effect on polar bears.
You may know that, thanks to climate change (global warming) mother polar bears, polar bear cub(s) atop their back, must swim greater distances in search of ice tops on which to hunt, rest, feed and occasionally den. The greater distances, and greater sea ice loss, means these trips, are not always successful. Polar bear cubs just simply vanish along the route, and sometimes the mothers do, too.
I've heard some human babies continue to play as they sink to the bottom of the swimming pool, unaware they are in danger of drowning. I don't know if this is actually true, but, with this concept in mind, I've painted this little bear. This polar bear cub is under water, and not in distress. It's looking right at us though, leaving us to decide the innocence or tragedy of the scene. What do you think happens next?
For my online gallery of polar bear art - paintings and portraits, please visit ChristineMontague.com
For everything polar bear, please visit Polar Bears International, the not for profit organization noted for their research and advocacy roles re: sea ice loss and effect on polar bear life.
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.
A Celebration of Polar Bears Painting
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 -
Interpreting positive and negative space is one of the compositional skills practised by visual artists when they draw and paint. It is also a handy method to trigger one's imagination either as a drawing exercise, or when illustrating.
What is positive and negative space?
Positive space is the space occupied by the subject. Negative space is the space on the page around it. A classic example of this is the image below, the Rubin Vase -
The positive space is the yellow vase. The negative space is the inverse of this space, i.e. everything outside the vase. In this picture, can you see the two profiled faces in the negative space? This is a well-known example of illusion, thanks to its use of positive and negative space. However, negative space usually does not have another recognizable image.
Using a printout of an image of one of my stone kitchen tiles, I drew a scene on that printout inspired by the shapes and tones I saw there. The Angry Polar Bear (above) is one such illustration. The Infamous Heart-Nosed Hedgehog below, is another of these The Sketchbook Project drawings.
What is the positive space in the drawing below? What is the negative?
The Positives (and negatives) of the Polar Bear & The Hedgehog
Surprise! Although you probably guessed it, the same tile image inspired the polar bear and hedgehog drawings. Here they are, together.
The Infamous Heart-nosed Hedgehog . The positive space is the hedgehog. The negative space, is all the other space. In this case, that space is filled in with clouds.
The Angry Polar Bear. Using another printout of the same tile, I placed my subject, the polar bear, in what was the negative space of the hedgehog illustration. You can see the shape of the hedgehog in the space to the left of the polar bear. So, in this drawing,the positive space is the polar bear.
But wait! There are actually two subjects in this drawing! There is a little figure in a fur-trimmed hooded parka in the bottom left corner. His head is where the hedgehog's eye is in the hedgehog drawing. This little figure is also a positive space (although his actions may be negative. I will leave that up to your imagination!). So the negative space of this image is all the space around them, including the top right corner of the image.
Does this help you to understand positive and negative space?
To see my 2013 The Sketchbook Project (Brooklyn Art Library, Brooklyn, New York) about a polar bear world "CRAM" click here
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?