Archive for the ‘Framing Place News’ Category

“The Rugged Wild” Art Show – Paintings by Matt Coles

Friday, December 2nd, 2011


December 3, 2011 to February 2, 2012 at The Framing Place & Gallery – Huntsville, ON

Born in North Bay, Ontario, Matt Coles experienced the rugged landscape of the Canadian Shield at a young age. He and his father would go on frequent fishing and camping trips, and Matt developed a love for the outdoors that would later form the cornerstone of his artistic expression.

Matt is a plein air artist now residing in Huntsville, Ontario. He paints the many beauties of the Canadian landscape with a signature style – contrastive colours with sharp, sometimes wild outlines. In selecting a scene to paint, Matt looks for interesting lighting, shapes, and compositional appeal, but he admits there’s something more at work that draws him in.

In addition to painting landscapes, Matt is the Art Director at the Algonquin Art Centre, a world-class gallery and art workshop centre in the middle of Algonquin Provincial Park. This position allows Matt to be at the centre of a burgeoning school of young painters with strong ties both to Algonquin Park and to the Algonquin Art Centre.

Matt’s work breathes new life into a long and rich tradition of Canadian landscape painting, as they express the simple, compelling, and perennial passion of artists in the Canadian wilderness.

Portrait of an Artist – Interview with Matt Coles

by Joel Irwin


What inspired you to start painting?

"Past Second Bridge", 11" x 14" oil on panel

I’ve always enjoyed art. In my youth I recall working late into the evening on drawings with my parents in the next room thinking I was asleep. It was a way for me to find tranquility. It wasn’t until my employment at The Framing Place & Gallery in 2003 that I took a serious interest in art, specifically paintings. The Framing Place & Gallery became inspirational and monumental. As a professional custom picture framer, I was exposed to a massive array of styles, techniques, and media that in a way drove me to create. Like many Canadian painters, my first real connection with landscape paintings derived from the famous Group of Seven. I spent much of my early career studying the works of these great Canadian masters who journeyed into the wild and conquered the elements in the name of art.  Mysteriously I have always felt that the experience and the emotion of the artist translated through each piece.

Who have been the principal influences over your style?

I have a great appreciation for all art but specifically work en plein air. There are a number of artists that inspire me but it’s the artists that I have worked with personally that truly inspire me. I owe a great deal to my friend and mentor Peter Schulz who since day one has believed in my abilities as a painter.  As the Art Director for the Algonquin Art Centre, I found influence not only in the stellar skills that surrounded me, but in the natural environment and the historical influence the park has had on artists.

"Freeland" 8" x 10" oil on panel

What do you look for in selecting a scene?

There are a few technical components that I abide to such as lighting, overall shape and composition…but what I truly look for is not technical at all, but an emotion that the scene projects.

How would you describe your palette?

Colours are one of the staples of my work.  I typically manipulate six colours which I feel comfortable and confident utilizing.  My palette is significant as it allows me to be expressive and capture a mood.

What are the benefits in painting en plein aire?

There is a depth to plein air work that differs from that which is produced in studio.  An artist out in the elements with the warmth of the sun, the breeze touching their brush, black flies in their paint somehow captures that moment which is translated through what is produced.  A plein air artist has to learn to be swift and accurate with each stroke. As the day moves forward, so do the shadows and the light.  Thus a plein air artist is consistently challenged by nature and the nature of themselves.  This brings a certain energy to the process.

"Across the Site", 6" x 8" oil on panel.

You outline a number of objects with the end of your brush in some paintings. Is this meant to convey the natural patterns that exist in the landscapes themselves? If so, what do you think are the relations between art and nature?

This is a sgraffito technique I experiment with in order to capture movement and add another element to the work. It is meant to capture the pattern of movement in nature.  Art in nature are one in the same, almost like math in nature are one in the same in the sense that you can always find patterns and shapes within the landscape or an individual element such as a leaf.

How in your opinion has landscape paintings changed since Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven?

The technologies, tools and accessibility to nature have in some respects changed landscape paintings.  Artists have more choices in terms of location, colour.   But I have to admit there is a rawness to having limits and the ability and talent it takes to do what you can do with what you got.

Is it true that you’re resurrecting the Algonquin School of Painters?

I do have every intention of resurrecting a modern day version of the Algonquin School of Painters. This already began with my frequent day trips with with Peter Schulz and Mark Reeder. I find complete satisfaction in exploring and painting Algonquin, a world, that in a way can be perceived as “untouched by machine”. When you share this relationship with a fellow painter, you begin to understand the complex relation of art and nature from different perspectives. This can have an incredible impact on how you see nature and in turn how you paint nature.

Why paint?

Paint why.


Click the following link for a recent interview with Hunters Bay Radio


Interview with Hunters Bay Online Radio



Happy Holidays: Art Centre Offers 10% Off Discount on Group of Seven Reproductions

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

The Group of Seven established the Canadian wilderness as a place of inspiration and beauty. Their paintings continue to be cherished not only for their importance to Canadian art history, but for their aesthetic achievements.

To celebrate the Holidays, the Algonquin Art Centre is offering a 10% off discount on all reproductions of the Group of Seven works. You can view the selection of images under the Reproductions below. To purchase, call 1-800-863-0066


The Cameo©Framed Collector Editions 

Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven plus other Canadian Masters

Framed: Matted & Glass NOW ONLY $89.10 plus tax

Image Size 6.5" x 8" Frame Size 21.5" x 22"

Click HERE for available images

Regal Canvas©Giclée Collection 

Timeless images from Canada’s most important historical artists, including Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

Beautifully Re-Created Directly on Canvas

Giclée Printed Coloured Band Around Image

Now enhanced with our exclusive B&N Finish™

Ready to Hang • Ready to Cherish


The Red Maple by A.Y. Jackson

Size Designation     Dimensions      SALE PRICE

Studio Size           20″ x 24″       $153

Designer Size        29″ x 36″       $270

Full Size                 38″ x 47″      $427.50

Grand Size             48″ x 60″       $855








Woodland Waterfall by Tom Thomson


Size Designation     Dimensions      SALE PRICE

Studio Size            20″ x 24″            $153

Designer Size        29″ x 36″            $270

Full Size                 38″ x 47″             $427.50

Grand Size              not available







The Jack Pine by Tom Thomson

Size Designation     Dimensions      SALE PRICE

Studio Size                not available

Designer Size         33″ x 36″            $270

Full Size                  39″ x 42″            $427.50

Grand Size              56″ x 60″             $855










The Pool by Tom Thomson

Size Designation     Dimensions      SALE PRICE

Studio Size            20″ x 24″            $153

Designer Size         29″ x 36″           $270

Full Size                  39″ x 48″          $427.50

Grand Size              49″ x 60″          $855









The Canoe, 1912 by Tom Thomson


Size Designation     Dimensions      SALE PRICE

Studio Size            not available

Designer Size         24.5″ x 36″        $270

Full Size                  34″ x 50″          $427.50

Grand Size              41″ x 60″            $855





Northern River by Tom Thomson


Size Designation     Dimensions      SALE PRICE

Studio Size            20″ x 24″            $153

Designer Size         32″ x 36″           $270

Full Size                  40″ x 45″           $427.50

Grand Size             53.5″ x 60″           $855











In the Northland by Tom Thomson

Size Designation     Dimensions      SALE PRICE

Studio Size            20″ x 24″             $153

Designer Size         29″ x 36″           $270

Full Size                  38″ x 47″           $427.50

Grand Size              48″ x 60″           $855








The West Wind by Tom Thomson


Size Designation     Dimensions      SALE PRICE

Studio Size            20″ x 24″             $153

Designer Size         29″ x 36″           $270

Full Size                  38″ x 47″            $427.50

Grand Size              not available



“Out of Trees” – Contemporary Paper Art by Col Mitchell

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Paper is usually thought of as a flat surface upon which one can create different designs, but in the art of Col Mitchell, the opposite is true, as paper is used to alter flat surfaces to create added texture and form. Thus paper, which usually serves as backdrops for artists, becomes for Mitchell the central medium with which she achieves something remarkably new — an art form that explores the depth, colour, and essence of its subject matter.

"The Lodger" by Col Mitchell

“Paper is outrageously versatile,” says Mitchell; “it brings to the process history, character, personality, individuality, and a remarkably wide range of performance levels.” The paper allows Col to explore what she calls the synergy between the paper’s versatile shapes and the subject at hand, as her work reveals the intrinsic relations between technique and content in the artistic process. 

“I strive for each piece to project the internal energy inherent in all matter,” she says, “ to establish rapport, to grasp that most basic language at work; a beautiful alignment of atoms where a natural magnetism or recognition occurs; a ‘visual pheromone’ if you will.”

There is certainly something pheromonal about Mitchell’s work, as one is drawn into its colours and textures and depths like a moth is drawn to light. Whatever the source of this magnetism, whether it is the colour, the design, the subject, one experiences something fundamental to the artistic process in her work. 

"Lady of the Forest" by Col Mitchell

The newest works of Col Mitchell will be featured in an exclusive show entitled “Out of Trees” at the Framing Place and Gallery from October 1st to December 1st. Opening reception takes place on Saturday, October 1st, 11am to 4pm with light refreshments served. Come and discover for yourself the visual achievement that is Col Mitchell’s art.


Shadow Boxes: Reframing the Past

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Over the years, framer Orla Irwin, co-owner of The Framing Place and Gallery in Huntsville, has become an artist in her own right, as she’s developed a unique way of framing and displaying memorabilia which requires adept skill and creativity; it’s called Shadow Boxes– a three dimensional display case in which articles of the past, whether it be pictures, flags, old letters, medals etc. can be displayed together in a decorous design. Her Shadow Boxes can be seen all over Ontario, from the halls of Deerhurst resort to the living rooms of Toronto houses.  But what really interests Orla is the sentimental value attached to some of her designs.
“I’ve framed a number of interesting things over the years; letters from President Harry Truman, the spoons of the Dionne quintuplets, war medals for a soldier who died on the Bismarck, the brushes of famous artists like Robert Bateman, but what I like most about Shadow Boxes is the challenge of displaying someone’s life in a way which emotionally affects the viewer; sometimes, it’s like a eulogy in shadow box form.” After sharing a number of stories in which people have wept when seeing their finished Shadow Box, Orla described one project that was of particular importance to her; it was a Shadow Box which traced the life of Robert Everett, an artist for whom Orla felt great admiration. His wife, Nora Everett, brought in a number of objects from Robert’s past, and she and Orla sorted through them, choosing ones of particular aesthetic and emotional appeal. “There were so many interesting thing to include: we had his child drawings on ripped window blinds and cigar boxes; we had his license for the “caterpillar club”, which was a club for WWII soldiers who parachuted from damaged planes and survived; Nora told me that Robert still had a limp from landing too forcefully on the ground; we included sketches from his university days, and his palette and brushes when he was painting his masterpieces.” Robert was still alive when the Shadow Box was completed, and Orla described his reaction to the piece as humble and emotional. “He had tears in his eyes when he saw it, and he loved it so much, that he gave me a painting that I still have over my fireplace.” Orla then talked about the piece being displayed at Robert’s funeral, and how honoured she was to capture Robert’s life in a shadow box. “It was truly an honour, an experience I’ll never forget.”
Designing shadow boxes brings one face to face with the stuff of someone’s life, objects which evoke strong memories and emotions, and when they are arranged within a beautiful design, the tales of people’s lives can become themselves works of art. Orla smiled when asked about the importance of some of her Shadow Boxes: “Everyone’s story is unique,” she says,  “and I feel privileged to be part of sharing those stories.”

Framing Brenders

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

The Framing Place and Gallery, the parent company of the Algonquin Art Centre, was asked by world-renowned artist Carl Brenders to frame his new original for the 2010 show, “Change: an Artist’s Perspective”. Matt Coles, Art Director of the Algonquin Art Centre as well as an experienced framer, was assigned the difficult and rewarding task of framing this masterpiece, valued at $56, 000.00 US. “It was truly an honour to take on this project” says Matt, “since Brenders’s wildlife paintings are among the very best in the world, and to participate in enhancing the beauty of his 2010 piece was an unforgettable experience.”

Unframed WorkFramed Work The quality of Brender’s piece, which depicts two Bengal tiger cubs and is called “India was their Empire,” demanded a frame of particular design to complement the precision and detail of the original: “It was clear upon first glance that a standard frame would not suffice, “ explains Matt, “and after much brainstorming and telephone conversations with Carl, who was in Belgium at the time, we decided to use a frame which reflected the patterning of the tigers.” Such a frame was no ordinary one: with double layers of water-gilded 12k white gold, and with a distressed onyx panel, the rich tones of the tigers and their surroundings were accentuated. “We used a Concerto frame, which is one of the finest custom made frames available. Its gold finish, gilded corners, and overall design sustains the balance of Brenders’ composition, while complementing its pattern—a beautiful frame for a beautiful piece, and the end result is breathtaking.”

FrameFraming is certainly one of the more unsung elements in the art world, but occasionally, extra-ordinary pieces demand much creativity and vision from the framer. “It’s really an art form” explains Matt; “I”ve been an aspiring painter for sometime now, and I can tell you that the same sense of composition and design which goes into painting applies to framing as well.” The framed “India was their Empire” will be on display at the Algonquin Art Centre from July 1st to August 1st.

Matt with Framed Brenders

Algonquin Art Centre - Gallery in the Heart of Algonquin Park

open June 1 - October 19

10 am to 5:30 pm daily


located at km 20 on Hwy #60

in the Heart of Algonquin Park


(705) 633-5555 / 1-800-863-0066

Algonquin Art Gallery
by donation - thank you for your support
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