Sunday, May 31, 2015

Greek Village +

Greek Village, 11" x 8.5"

Another challenge from our international blogging group of textile artists. Every three months, one of us proposes a colour to be the subject of a small art quilt and this time, Jinnie chose "Lily White".

I find it difficult to work with white. Perhaps if I used more texture in my work I could make white more interesting. In nature, white often seems to reflect the colours around it, and then when white is shaded it becomes another colour entirely, like blue or violet or grey.

photo found on-line, unattributed

I've always loved the jumble of squares, rectangles and triangles presented by densely-packed villages, and when I found this image on the internet, I knew I had my subject.

Santa Cruz-de-Tenerife, 11 x 8.5

My first attempt at meeting the Lily White challenge, shown at left, was completed several weeks ago. Something of a departure from my usual Cityscape, it too was based on a "found" photo.  Which do you prefer?

The Big Reveal is scheduled for today, May 31. To see how the other group members have handled the challenge, please visit the 12 by the Dozen blog or website.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WASM show, June 6 - 12

So pleased to be showing two of my cityscapes at the annual exhibition of the Women's Art Society of Montreal. The show opens Saturday, June 6 and runs until Friday, June 12.

The vernissage is on Saturday, June 6, from 2 - 5 pm.

Sixty-nine works in a variety of media have been selected.

This year, the show will be held at the Galérie E.K. Voland, 4710 St.-Ambroise in Montreal, not far from the Atwater Market.

Now known as the Complexe du Canal Lachine, this building was formerly the Simmons Mattress Factory. Built in 1919, it has been converted into 200 commercial lofts, many of which serve as artist studios.

Camden Town
If you have a chance to visit, do consider taking time to explore the labyrinth of corridors. Often, the curious visitor will be rewarded with an open studio and an exciting discovery.

Water Tower #7

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hudson Artists Spring Show & Arts Alive!

Much excitement here in our little hamlet of Hudson, as we celebrate the Town's 150th birthday.

First, the annual spring show of the Hudson Artists will open on Friday evening, June 5 at 7:30 pm.

Thirty-three artists. Two hundred and sixty works in various media.

The show will be held at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre, 394 Main Road in Hudson, and will continue from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7.

I am pleased to have at least 6 new works in cloth on display, plus greeting cards and unframed paintings.

On the same weekend, a provincial group to which I belong, the English Language Arts Network (ELAN), is staging the first of a series of six Arts Alive! events. Hudson was chosen as a town having a strong English-language community. Later this summer, similar events will be held in Quebec City, the West Island, Knowlton, Huntingdon and Wakefield.

The ELAN mini-festival will include music, theatre, guest authors and artisans. Booths will be set up along Cameron and Main Road, where visitors may browse through the wares presented by craftspeople and small enterprises. The centre of all the action will be a one-minute walk from the Hudson Artists show. Click here for more information about the Hudson schedule of events.

All the local shops will put out their welcome mats to entice newcomers and satisfy their local clientele. Finnegan's Flea Market, a ten-minute drive west of the town centre, will also be abuzz on Saturday, June 6, with fifty or so vendors.

A dozen eateries are within walking distance of this event, so come and plan to spend the day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SéminArts at the MAC

This spring I participated in SéminArts, a five-evening program organized by the Musée d'Art Contemporain here in Montreal, designed to introduce the public to contemporary art, as well as to the idea of collecting contemporary art.

Our group of twenty was the twentieth group to have "graduated" from the program, available in both English and French. The topics for the five evenings were
  • the Museum of Contemporary Art (We met with director / head curator John Zeppetelli.)
  • the artist in her studio (We visited painter and Concordia professor Janet Werner in her private studio.)
  • the artist's gallery (We visited Parisian Laundry in St.-Henri.)
  • a corporate collection (We toured several floors of Fasken Martineau, a law firm located in the Tour de la Bourse, led by curator Marcel Forget.)
  • a private collection (We were guided through the home of Paul Desmarais III and his wife Mary Dailey Pattee by the curator of Power Corp's corporate collection, Paul Maréchal.)
Véronique Lefebvre, coordinator of SéminArts, did a fine job of herding us through these various locales. Several sites are available in each category, so no session is quite the same as another. We were given a useful little handbook listing galleries, museums and artist-run centres, and including a bibliography. Wine and cheese were served at each venue.

7 Jours dans la Ville, Thomas Corriveau
Fasken Martineau collection
Many, many questions were posed to our hosts, and there were a number of lively discussions. How is a corporate collection different from a private collection? Why do corporations invest in art? How does a private collector build his collection? How do galleries choose artists to represent? What can an artist expect from a gallery?

Here's the thing about contemporary art.

First, it's not the same as modern art. Modern art (think Matisse, Picasso, Nevelson) I can access on a visual level, but that's sometimes not true of contemporary art, which includes conceptual, installation, video and multi-media. I want to make the effort to connect with what's going on now in the art world. Even if I don't like it. Even if I often suspect the emperor has no clothes. I don't want to be like those contemporaries who dismissed the Impressionists and the Fauves out of hand, saying "That's not art". Often, with contemporary art, you need to know the back story to understand what the artist is trying to do. And SéminArts reminded me of that.

SéminArts also gave me access to a studio, a home, and a corporate office that are not normally open to the public. Another group will be organized this fall. For more information, please go to

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"In the Gallery" film series

Every year, the Cineplex chain of movie theatres offers a series of films about art. Each film is screened twice only, and tickets are available on-line. This fall, I booked tickets to four of these documentaries, and have thoroughly enjoyed them all.

The first was a profile of the Hermitage Gallery in St. Petersburg, the second a documentary about the staging of the Matisse cutouts exhibition at Tate Modern, the third was a biographical piece on Van Gogh, and the fourth, titled "The Impressionists," will be shown on May 28 and May 31, 2015.
"They are the world’s most popular artists. The works of Cezanne, Monet, Degas and their compatriots fetch tens of millions of dollars. But just who were they really? Why and how did they paint? What lies behind their enduring appeal? 

"To help answer these questions, the film has secured unique access to a major new exhibition focussing on the 19th century Parisian art collector Paul Durand-Ruel, the outspoken champion of Impressionism. This eagerly anticipated exhibition is perhaps the most comprehensive ever held about the Impressionists. Durand-Ruel’s brave decision to exhibit the Impressionists in New York in 1886 introduced enlightened, wealthy Americans to modern French painting. In doing so, he not only filled great American galleries with Impressionist masterworks but also kept impressionism alive at a time when it faced complete failure. This energetic and revealing film will tell his remarkable story along with that of the Impressionists themselves."
To discover more about this great resource of top-quality films, and to buy tickets for the final event of the season, go to

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SAQA's Virtual Gallery and SAQA Spotlight Auction

Camden Town
For the fourth time, my work has been chosen to be part of SAQA's monthly Virtual Gallery. This month, guest curator Terry Waldron decided on the theme "Summer in the City". Writes Terry,

"When I was in high school, we lived in Stamford, Connecticut so my father could commute to NYC for his job. Sometimes, especially in the summer, I would go with him so I could visit all the art museums I could fit in that day before I'd go meet Dad to ride the train back home. I just loved wandering through 'The City That Never Sleeps.' These wonderful pieces of work remind me of that time and that place."

The nineteen art quilts that form the on-line exhibit were chosen from work by Juried Artist Members of Studio Art Quilt Associates. To see the exciting variety of abstract and representational work in "Summer in the City", please check out the slide show on the SAQA website.

Connectivity: Port Clyde

Earlier this spring I donated a small art quilt to the Spotlight Auction, held as part of the SAQA conference in early May in Portland, Oregon. More than 100 postcard-sized pieces were submitted, and the auction raised more than $14,000 for SAQA.

I'm delighted to learn that Connectivity: Port Clyde sold for $525 US to Del Thomas. Del bought a dozen of these little gems, and writes an account of her conference experience on her blog. (See her May 4 post.) Thanks, Del, for your support of SAQA!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Jennifer Hornyak @ Galérie McClure

Stargazing, Jennifer Hornyak
British-born Montrealer Jennifer Hornyak shows her recent oil paintings at the Galérie McClure until May 23, 2015. The gallery is part of the Visual Arts Centre, a 65-year-old Montreal institution, and Canada's largest bilingual independent art school.
Girl with Flowered Frock, Jennifer Hornyak
The large paintings depict the human form alone or in groups, and they are complemented by a series of smaller portraits. I have always been impressed by Hornyak's inventive and subtle use of colour.

To quote from the press release,
"Over the last two decades, Jennifer Hornyak's focus has been, almost exclusively, an expressive exploration of the still life genre. We immediately recognize the signature mark making, rich colour harmonies, a raw and passionate painterliness that distills, in ever-recombinant forms, the lyrical and fleeting quality of her subject. 
Woman Walking, Jennifer Hornyak
"The figurative works in this exhibition represent not so much a new foray as a circling back, a retrieval of a theme she explored earlier, throughout the 80s. The recent paintings reveal the artist in her prime, wielding paint and vision towards unsettling truths about the human condition but, more precisely and more personally, towards the definition of a self -- realized through the act of painting and the material of paint itself. 
Girl with Black Cat and Silver Moon, Jennifer Hornyak
 "...The artist successfully creates a liminal space between figuration and abstraction where poetic meaning and optic pleasure resonate." 
Jennifer Hornyak: The Figure Revisited may be seen Tuesday to Friday noon - 6 pm; Saturday noon - 5 pm

at Galérie McClure, 350 Victoria Avenue, Westmount until May 23, 2015.

Hornyak is represented in Montreal by Galerie de Bellefeuille.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

On-line class with Jane Davies, Part 3

For our sixth and final week in Keys to Dynamic Composition, Jane Davies had us experiment with different ways to create transparency, and encouraged us to contrast it with opacity, to create depth. Because I don't usually work with paint, this was all new to me. Our assignment was to choose a format from an earlier lesson (grid, landscape, cruciform, floating grid) and bring together all that we had learned, including the use of texture, pattern, line and depth. All the pieces shown here are about 9" x 11".

My new favourite is the cruciform shape. Each quadrant is supposed to have a different shape and colour / value.  It's not supposed to look like a "cross on a background": there should be ambiguity where positive space meets negative space. I hope to work with this format again, perhaps in cloth.

In the piece at left, I chose to work in a landscape format, adding texture and line to a collage. To create transparency, I blotted off paint with copy paper, dry-brushed, and used glazing medium mixed with paint. Most of the opacity comes from the collage elements.

Here's another landscape format. In the upper left corner, you may be able to see the scribble I scratched into gel medium, and then overlaid with paint. This piece was "worked" again and again. (Jane says we shouldn't use the term "re-worked", because it suggests correction. Layering, obliterating, layering again: all part of the process.)

Veiling with transparent white was also suggested by Jane as a way to create depth.

This one on the left, with the "floating grid" format, felt a bit scattered to me, but it was Jane's favourite.  She liked the depth created in the central area and the strong focal point provided by the red and dark blue on the right. Not as "safe" or "balanced" as the others, she said.

This last one didn't use collage, only paint. I've always wanted to master an "illegible script" and this was my chance to invent one. It served as a good finishing touch.

All the paint colours in these four pieces were made from white, Phthalo Blue and Yellow Ochre.

How to create transparency/depth when working with cloth? Organza and tulle overlays? Painting onto cloth?

The class was a challenging but valuable introduction to a new medium. I'm enjoying this flirtation with abstraction, and I have enrolled in another Jane Davies course later in July, on the topic of colour.

Meanwhile, I plan to matte some of these up and offer them in the unframed bin at the upcoming Hudson Artists show, June 5 - 7.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Solo show at the Hudson Community Centre

Delighted to have a chance to show my Cityscapes at the local community centre. I have 21 works in fibre on display, including these eight smaller pieces, mounted on 10 x 12 gallery canvas.

This solo show will continue until the end of May. The Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre is located at 394 Main Road, in Hudson, Quebec.