Premonition: Ophelia and the Polar Bear

"Premonition: Ophelia and the Polar Bear", is a 36" x 48" oil painting on canvas, and another work in the Polar Bear Dreams Series.  Like the other polar bear paintings in this series, this art work is a blue, white and black dream-like tribute to the mighty bear.  This painting, however, has a mystery to it, a hint of tragedy, and possibly, foreboding.

The Premonition (Ophelia and the Polar Bear) ©Christine Montague

The Premonition (Ophelia and the Polar Bear) ©Christine Montague

The light of the aurora borealis (northern lights) reveals a young woman trapped in the ice to a passing polar bear. Who is she, and what is her connection to the polar bear and the north?

Artist Notes:

In 2011,  Canada’s Environment Minister declared the polar bear as a species of special concern under the Species at Risk Act.

The woman in this painting is after "Ophelia" by Sir Henry Millais (Tate Gallery, London, England). See the famous Pre-Raphaelite painting that depicts the death of Ophelia and innocence lost in Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet" here.

Flowers representing the Canadian provinces and territories replace those found in the garland in the Millais  painting.

Polar Bear Dreams

About Polar Bear Dreams

These polar bear oil paintings are part of the Polar Bear Dreams Series, a dreamlike, wistful, and spiritual tribute in oil to the mighty polar bear, whose threatened future always seems open to debate.

Polar Bear Dreams. On the Move. Oil Painting ©Christine Montague

Polar Bear Dreams. On the Move. Oil Painting ©Christine Montague

Symbols

In dream intrepretation, the symbolism held by a bear is independence, strength, death and renewal, and/or resurrection.

And, if that bear is a polar bear? Reawakening.  

I try to show the physical beauty and power of the bear in my paintings. The night sky, the aurora borealis (northern lights) , the use of color, and lack of detailed landscape show how this beautiful bear has a foot in our world, but may be edging closer to the spiritual one. Hopefully,  knowledge, awareness, and empathy, will ensure that the ursus maritimus remains firmly planted in this world.

The limited color pallette of Prussian (or Indigo) blue, white,  black, (and sometimes green ) creates the other-worldy mood, spirituality, and mystery.

Polar bears are actually not white, but we do see them that way. (Read the Polar Bears International article on their fur here).

The white in my polar bear paintings represents strength, intelligence, innocence, and hope.

Blue is the most popular colour. Looking at blue is proven to make one feel well, and is helpful to sufferers of SAD. The blue in these paintings is more than representation of the night sky. It symbolizes the earth, the spiritual, the unknown, and beauty, too.

When I paint the green of the northern lights, it is one of the colours of the aurora borealis, but also represents nature, fertility, life and balance. The colour reflects off the bear's fur, connecting it to all this colour represents.

And, as in many of my paintings, the concept of living life "in the moment" and of solitude that is not lonely is prevelent. But, longing lingers there, too.

In these paintings, the longing can be as simple as wanting these polar bears and their progeny to live a long. healthy life. 

I welcome your comments and inquiries. To see more polar bear art, or to make inquiries about my polar bear paintings (portraits, too), please feel free to comment below, or contact me  www.christinemontague.com

Looking to the Future

I hope, like this polar bear,  you can look ahead with hope, and that your year will be full of good health, caring, and whatever success you wish.  

Looking to the Future ©Christine Montague

Looking to the Future ©Christine Montague

Polar Bears in My Kitchen

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 .

Polar bear  drawing and  fox  drawing by Christine Montague

Polar bear drawing and fox drawing by Christine Montague

Christine Montague fantasy drawings
Christine Montague fantasy drawings

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

Who's For Dinner... or is That Tea?

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.

Who's for Dinner. Large scale Main Coon cat oil and oil stick painting by Christine Montague in situ at new home.
Who's for Dinner. Large scale Main Coon cat oil and oil stick painting by Christine Montague in situ at new home.

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.

Happy Prognosticating Rodent, er, Groundhog Day!

Wiaton Willie Statue, Waiton Ontario Happy Ground Hog Day! That is, if you consider 6 more weeks of winter happy.

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!

Read more about what Wiarton Willie saw  here . And, for Punxsutawney Phil here .

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!

 

Shipping Art Internationally

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.

Fedex. or www.fedex.ca  or www.fedex.com Fedex has a handy chart for estimating cost of shipment.

NavisPack and Ship  http://www.gonavis.com

Museumpros  museumpros.com

Armstrong Fine Arts www.shipfineart.com

Pacart    www.pacart.ca

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

  • Date
  • 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

Good luck!

Group of Seven Fan? This is for You

Group of Seven. The Narrows. Photograph by Christine Montague A few years ago, I participated in  "Following in the Footsteps of Carmichael", an en plein air painting excursion  organized by the Art Gallery of Sudbury for the  Group of Seven 85th anniversary. The photograph above is of the The Narrows, on the way to Grace Lake where Franklin Carmichael famously painted.  If I  remember correctly, Carmichael's cottage, which his family still owned at the time, was just to the left past this aptly named spot. And further on, to the right, is the shore where we would eventually disembark to hike up a canoe portage path (bear whistle on hand) to Grace Lake. Not seen in the photo, is the cold rain  that horizontally smacked at our faces, and never let up (way to south of us Toronto was flooding). Nor does it tell the story of how, once up the path,  the downpour made climbing  the rocky vantage point to where Carmichael painted out of the question.

Jim and Sue Waddington, however, were much more successful in their quest to follow in Carmichael's footsteps, and have the photographs to prove it. In fact, they followed all the Group Of Seven's footsteps (A.Y. JacksonFranklin CarmichaelArthur LismerLawren HarrisA.J. CassonJ.E.H. MacDonaldTom Thomson, and Frederick Varley). Their new book,  "Following in the Footsteps of the Group of Seven" (Gooselane Press), tells the story of their 36 year adventure in which they tracked down, documented and photographed the actual landscapes that inspired the GO7 paintings. The book also includes the reproductions of those paintings. Here's the lovely poster Poster Waddington Cover Gooselane

Our paths connect again. This Sunday, December 1, 2013, the creative couple are talking about their adventures at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre, Glen Williams, Halton Hills, Ontario.  For more information please visit www.williamsmill.com  A.J. Casson painted in the very picturesque Glen Williams where I once I had my artist studio, and the Learning Centre, where I know you will be inspired by  the Waddington's talk, was once my artist studio!

Note: Do you know you can follow "Tom Thompson" on twitter?@TTLastSpring  Follow his tweets exactly as they occurred 96 years ago - his paintings, and journal - and learn of the mystery of his death in Algonquin on July 8, 1917. Canoe Lake · TTLastSpring.com

List of Call to Artists: Art Show Submissions Western Greater Toronto Area 2014

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!

  • Check starting early November  2013. Visual Arts Mississauga (VAM) 36th Annual Juried Show of Fine Art at the AGM (Art Gallery of Mississauga). Entry date & details through VAM is not posted yet. https://www.visualartsmississauga.com Note: Opening reception is listed on AGM site for Thursday, January 16, 2014, 6 pm
  • Check from December 2013 on until early 2014 for entry deadline. Ontario Society of Artists " 141st OSA - Annual Juried Exhibition"  http://ontariosocietyofartists.org The show dates are Tuesday, April 1  – Friday - April 25, 2014
  • Check by March 2014. “Through the Eyes of the Artist” Lakeshore Arts Annual Juried Exhibition. http://www.lakeshorearts.ca
  • Start checking in January 2014.  Artcetera 2014. Elora Centre for the Arts.http://www.eloracentreforthearts.ca
  • Deadline early March 2014.  7th Beaux-Arts Brampton Annual Open Juried Show 2013 www.Beaux-ArtsBrampton.com
  • Deadline end of March 2014  5th Annual Open Juried Photography Show 2013 Beaux Arts Brampton Gallery www.Beaux-ArtsBrampton.com
  • Deadline early 2015. The Kingston Prize occurs every  two years. The 2013 show is on now. Nationwide Juried Portraiture painting show.  http://www.kingstonprize.ca
  • Check by April 2014. 18th Annual Juried HAFestival Art Show & Sale (Headwaters Arts Festival). Show is in September during Headwaters Arts Festival. http://headwatersarts.com
  • Check by April 2014 . “Insights” Wellington County Museum and Archives. (between Elora & Fergus) www.artscouncil.elora.on.ca
  • Check by early summer 2014  6th Annual Open Juried Wildlife, Nature, & Native Juried Show 2013 Beaux Arts Brampton www.Beaux-ArtsBrampton.com
  • Start checking in the summer of 2014 for the October Canadian Society of Painters In Watercolour show. www.cspwc.com
  • Check by  September 2014. Colour and Form Society Annual Open Juried Art Show. www.colourandformsociety.org

Some Other Calls for Entries of Interest

  • entry starts in December 2013 until early March 2014. Toronto Outdoor Art Show. Nathan Philips Square. www.Torontooutdoorart.org
  • Sign up in October 2013 to receive sketchbook. Note: Be sure to include your sketchbook in the tour to your area. Finished sketchbook due early January 2014. The Sketchbook Project.www.sketchbookproject.com

 

5 Helpful Art Business Books for Visual Artists

The Model Visits the Studio. Copyright Christine  Montague For the most part, I have been responsible for the promotion and sales of my portraiture and other oil paintings. But like many artists, I often felt uncomfortable talking about my art and closing the sale. I 'd like to share with you the art business books I have personally found helpful to navigate the art biz world. What books have helped you?

  1. Starving to Successful The Fine Artist's Guide to getting Into Galleries and Selling More Art  by J. Jason Horejs.  With a professional artist as a father, Jason Horejs grew up in the art world. He has owned the successful Xanadu Gallery, in Scottsdale, Arizona since 2001. Very respectful to artists, and passionate for art, he generously shares his insights into the art world in a sincere manner. If you have ever taken a workshop with, read his books, his blogs, or otherwise dealt with Mr. Horejs, you already know he is quickly becoming a respected artists' guru, if not one already.
  2. How to Sell Art A systematic Approach to Creating Relationships with Collectors and Closing the Sale by J. Jason Horejs More helpful how-to information,  perfect for the artist and the gallery owner who wish to build, and  improve relationships with the collector, and therefore do the same for sales.
  3. My Painting is Done, Now What Do I Do? Simple Business Solutions for Artists by Suzie Seery-Lester . Suzie Seery- Lester is an established wildlife artist from Florida, U.S.A. Along with her world-renowned wildlife artist partner John Seery-Lester , she has travelled the world, culminating years of experience in creating art, art marketing, and selling art in art fairs and exhibitions. She shares her knowledge of practical business applications in this terrific handbook on how to keep track of inventory, shipping, price setting, and preparing for the show.  I normally do not do the art fair thing, but when a family member for whom I cared, took seriously ill right before my first art fair, this book was a bible-of-a-check-list on how to prepare and what to bring. I did not forget one thing, and the trauma that was going on in my personal life was not evident in my professional one. Thank you, Suzie Seery- Lester! 
  4. Self Promotion for the Creative Person Get the word out about who you are and what you do by Lee Silber. The very first art business book I bought, it is now over 10 years old. But holy smokes, click the link above to Lee Silber. This man has been busy! I admit I haven't read it recently, but definitely was a help in how to market without money, a problem most artists face, and Mr. Silber definitely knows how to promote.
  5. Artist Survival Skills How to Make a Living as a Canadian Visual Artist by Chris Tyrell. Mr. Tyrell ran the Presentation House Gallery and worked for decades with visual artists. He is now an arts consultant and teaches the business of visual arts practice at Emily Carr University, British Columbia. I'm a Canadian artist so it was great to read a book that uses Canadian specific examples.  I see Mr. Tyrell has a 2011 book out Making It! on case studies of successful artists

Also: A helpful booklet.   Survival Skills A Visual Artist's Guide to Professional Practice.  Originally published by Visual Arts Ontario, it looks like it no longer is available. However, CARFAC ( (Canadian Artists' Representation/le Front des artistes Canadians) offers a good choice of artists help publications http://www.carfacontario.ca/page/cat/publications/

Doors Open to Amazing Art, Architecture, and Vision

Spoiler alert! Don't look at the interior photographs of the Small Arms Inspection Building below, if you want to be surprised completely at  2013 Doors Open Mississauga art show and WWII related demos Saturday, September 28, 10 am - 4 pm.  small-arms-turquoise-door-window-8433 small-arms-tree-broken-window8452 small-arms-wood-ceiling-8468 small-arms-skylight-IMG_8477 small-arms-garage-door8492 small-arms-cupboard8518 small-arms-man-at-door-8532 small-arms-windows-welding-IMG_8733 small-arms-water-tower-8594 save-as-small-arms--main-room-8651 small-arms-metalIMG_8667 small-arms-dance-studio8552This remarkable 144,000 sq. ft. architecture has a rich history involving the war effort (where the Lee-Enfield Rifle was manufactured) , women's independence, and the revitalization of Lakeview, Mississauga (then Longbranch). It sits empty now, but  is it any wonder that the space, high ceilings, huge windows and skylights,have inspired plans to renovate it as a world-class  arts centre of working artist studios, performance space, art galleries, a museum and coffee shop?

To give you a hint of just how dynamic this centre will be, 30 artists (including myself)  will show and sell their art. My portraits of people and polar bears will be at the end of the hall on the first floor.

Also in the works! Heather Brissenden will sing hits from the Blitz, the Lorne Scots (this was once their home, too) machine gun teams will compete, The Honorary Colonel Gerald Haddon will speak about J.A.D. McCurdy, the Canadian aviation pioneer  and much, much more (really!).

There is plenty of free parking. Just find your way to Lakeshore Rd., and Dixie Rd, Mississauga, ON.  For more info on what's on, how to get there, and about the Small Arms itself, please go to www.smallarms.ca

 

Polar Bears Found at Small Arms, Doors Open Mississauga

Polar bear digital art copyrigt Christine Montague. 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?

Floors of Small Arms. Copyright Christine Montague. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Polar bear hiding in the floors of small arms..

New Portraits: Twice as Nice

Portrait oil painting of baby twin brothers. 6" high by 12" wide. www.littleportraitpaintings.com Copyright Christine Montague 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/

e

weddin portrait oil painting copyright Christine Montague

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

 

 

New Face of Portraiture: Mostly Online Except for the Painting

Baby boy portrait oil painting by Christine Montague. 6" x 6" on canvas. Here is my latest little 6" x 6" portrait oil painting on canvas. Commissioned by this dear little guy's mom, it was a joy to paint this bright little baby boy face.

This is an example of one of the wonders the internet holds for the artist and for the art collector. I  have never met this mom or  baby. In fact, they live hundreds of miles away.

The mom stumbled upon my web site while surfing online late one night (all new moms can relate to this). She took a photo of her baby in his stroller with her cell phone and emailed it to me. We discussed the commission process by email, including that I leave out details of the stroller straps, etc.

I received payment for the commission via snail mail, but, there are many payment alternatives available to buying online.  I  used Canada Express Post to deliver the carefully packaged portrait. This insured service supplied a tracking number that I shared via email with the client.  By the time I got home from the post office , only a short distance away, the online tracking info informed me the parcel was in the system, about to be on its way, and posted the estimated date and time of arrival.

Pretty amazing, I think.

If you would enjoy seeing more of my little 6" x 6" portraits please visit www.littleportraitpaintings.com

For larger oil paintings, please visit www.christinemontague.com

Clouds Over Lake Huron

Clouds over Lake Huron. Photo copyright Christine Montague Have you been to Lake Huron?  A stunningly beautiful, dramatic, (and sometimes dangerous) body of water, where any hint of land on the horizon is a mirage.

It is the third largest fresh water lake on our planet and the second largest of the Great Lakes.  According to a The Beach DJ, empty Lake Huron and all of North America would be in 1.5 meters, or about 5 feet, of water.

One look at the expanse of Huron's turquoise waters, not to mention its white sandy beaches (the wilder ones) , transports me someplace otherworldy, and oceanside.

Lake Huron is a marvel.

This past February, water levels hit a record low, for a number of reasons. The natural cycle of the lake level is a cause, but so also is the dredging done to deepen the shipping channel in the St. Clair River. The dredging has caused the flow of water from Lake Huron and Lake Michigan to accelerate into Lake Erie and Ontario, and to the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

The impact? Very simplified: fish population dwindles affecting fish populations, wildlife food chain, sport fishing and fisheries. Water warms up, algae grows. Water lowers affecting water supply to residents, particularly of Georgian Bay.

Finally, in April, a long-awaited solution was announced. Like anything in life, we take a long time wrecking something, it will take a long time to fix. It is all better explained here. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/04/29/great_lakes_to_get_relief_from_low_water_levels_porter.html

Wishing us all, blue skies and more turquoise water ahead.

 

 

 

New Portrait: Baby Firsts

Christine Montague Portrait of a One Year Old Baby Girl This 6" x 6" portrait oil painting was commissioned to celebrate this pretty little baby girl's first birthday. I love creating these 6" x 6" portraits, more of which can be seen at my website www.littleportraitpaintings.com Every portrait teaches me something! A first for me? Why baby's first teeth!

 

Camera! (No) Action! Animals!

Recently, I have had access to a small private forest.  I set up a motion camera  to get a voyeuristic look at the creatures of the night. My real hope was to get images of a coyote in the brush before foliage appeared. I wanted to use this personally obtained reference for a  painting about solitude and alienation. For the first month the only evidence of any wildlife was the tiny silhouette of a bat far off in the darkness.  At least I knew the camera worked, but I had to reconsider its place. The results?  Something more suitable to a children's story. "Mr. Racoon, Mr. Possum and Ms. Cat live Alone in My Forest".  I have more animal action in my urban backyard.

Recently, when I was able to check out the camera, a new character arrived on the scene.  About 20 minutes after Ms. Cat prowled by, this fellow appears, and changes his course to follow what I believe are the cat's tracks. Hopefully, on my next check of the camera, I will see that this lovely fox was 20 minutes too late.

Fox checks out the tracks

 

Happy Spring Tulips

Happy first day of spring, everyone. We may still have snow in the Toronto area, and it is cold, too, but I can feel hope in the air , can't you? Sending some tulips your way! Cheers! (or is that cheer up?) Tulips at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre. Copyright Christine Montague

Christine-Montague-tulips-Before-the-Light

Christine Montague Watering Can with Tulips

Christine-Montague-Tulips-Growing-out-of--her-head