Art of Glass and Stone with Peter Rice

July 27th, 2016

We’ve got a special event coming up this Friday! Peter Rice will be stopping in to do an artist demo… it’s Art of Glass and Stone!

Peter Rice is one of our long-standing artists at the Algonquin Art Centre. He was born in Toronto but spent most of his childhood in rural areas around the Canadian Shield. It was here, playing and exploring among that unique geology, that Peter became fascinated with rocks as an artistic medium. It wasn’t until his university years at Guelph that he discovered how to perfectly incorporate them into amazing sculptural tableaus. By combining minerals with the practice of setting stained glass, he developed his characteristic mode of depicting the landscape in sculpture.

As intriguing as these pieces are, watching them come together makes them even more fascinating.  Taking raw materials of wire and stone and twisting them into life as a unified sculpture takes patience, insight, and a strong vision of what you want to accomplish. And hearing Peter talk through his work is an extra privilege! He’s great to hang out with while he works his craft, and our visitors love speaking with him. That’s why, year after year, we’re delighted to have him back.

This special event will be taking place throughout the day this Friday, between 10 am and 4 pm. There’s no charge. We’d just love for you to stop in and engage with one of our artists! You can get all the details over on our site.
Join us and spend some time with a fantastic creator in his element!

David Grieve: Warm Shore

July 20th, 2016

As the summer progresses and this season’s theme of Metamorphosis continues, we’ve got a new solo show! We’re proud to welcome David Grieve’s Warm Shore, which showcases light and landscape in his signature impressionist style.

David Grieve has worked with oils most of his life. He started out very young, accompanying his mother to her studio, and later attended Guelph University for fine art. All throughout his long painting career, he’s been captivated by landscapes, most importantly the Southwestern Ontario fields he calls home and the rugged woodland of our wilderness.

“Resplendent 2″

David’s style is based on broad bands of colour aligned into impressionistic renderings of the landscape. His technique has some surprising results. It makes you move in, step back, engage with the image, and interrogate the way the trees and hills resolve out of his form. By revealing his brush strokes so dramatically, he adds an extra layer of interpretation onto the already beautiful landscape.

“Warm Shore”

David’s solo show, Warm Shore, specifically explores his use of light. Sunlight’s animating presence transforms a dormant landscape into a kind of radiant wonder-world, brimming with possibility. The daily change of light between sunrise and sunset is among the most fertile territories for an artist to explore. That change reveals new regions overlaid atop familiar geographies. We all know the feeling of revisiting a favourite location at an unfamiliar time of day or year. It’s almost an entirely new place. David’s use of light captures just that experience in his depictions of the familiar Algonquin landscape…

“Wagi, Jumping Rock”

You can experience Warm Shore July 21st to August 15th at the Algonquin Art Centre, located at km 20 in Algonquin Provincial Park. Get all of our details over on the website, Stop by, and let these beautiful interpretations of the landscape guide your experience of Algonquin!

Peter B. Mills’ Metamorphosis

July 10th, 2016
We love it when art and science intertwine! One of our artists, Peter B. Mills, is both a fantastic painter and an accomplished naturalist, and he’s just published a book called Metamorphosis. It traces the double life of amphibians, depicting the amazing natural changes that occur throughout their life-cycles.
With our theme of Metamorphosis this season, we’re excited to see one of our partners engaging with a natural process like this. Featuring writing and original illustrations from Peter, this book is a great resource for the citizen scientist who loves getting out and going deep on understanding their environment.
You can see that understanding in Peter’s artistic work as well. The life and habits of his subjects animate his paintings in unique ways. Here’s a look into his thinking about one piece on display at the Algonquin Art Centre…
“Lord of the River” is the phrase that came to mind as I watched this ancient male Wood Turtle plod across a shallow riffle and out into a small brook here in Algonquin Park.  Rather than enter the brook with the flow of the water, he cut a path at a slant to the water sliding over the stony bottom.  This seemed like an act of defiance against his surroundings.  This and the stern golden ring in his eye left me to interpret this animal as one who was a master of his domain.
Algonquin Park is one of the last places in Southern Ontario where Wood Turtles remain as lords of their riverine haunts.  These turtles are crushed by vehicles and agricultural equipment, displaced by development projects, and collected by uninformed people to be kept as pets, all of which lead to population crashes.
“Wood Turtle” is done with translucent paint on an aluminium surface.  As a result, a lively light gleams through the work under natural light.  This seemed like an appropriate way to render an animal that spends so much of its life in shallow, sun-sparkled brooks and rivers.
 “Wood Turtle”
You can get all the information on Peter’s book over on his website. You definitely don’t want to miss out on seeing his pieces in person, so be sure to drop in with us at the Art Centre. You can get a preview of his work right here.
Stop in with us and explore the concept of Metamorphosis through art, while surrounded by Algonquin park’s dynamic environment!
Peter and Joel in the gallery

School’s Out! Time for Art!

June 30th, 2016

We can’t wait to see everyone who comes up to Algonquin this summer, and we’re SO excited to announce this year’s classes! It’s a time-honoured tradition to stop by the Art Centre and hang out in the gazebo for some creativity. We’ve got some old favourites, and some really unique new classes we’re super-excited about!

First, there’s the old favourites.  Some of these are such a hit, we offer them multiple times throughout the summer just so everyone can get the chance to experience them.
Tom Thomson is one of the most iconic members of the Group of Seven, and a guy who was intimately connected with Algonquin. In keeping his tradition of painting alive, you can learn Landscape Painting: Tom Thomson Style! One of our instructor-artists will take you through his unique impressionist take on the landscape.
One of our all-time favourite classes is back this year: Paddle Painting! We supply a miniature paddle and acrylic paints, and then it’s up to the artist to go with their imagination, drawing inspiration from the gallery grounds and the beautiful surroundings of Algonquin. This class is so much fun, and people love it year after year.

There’s a bunch more classes to try out as well. Photo-Painting lets you paint directly onto an enlarged photograph of the Algonquin landscape so you can create a photo-realistic image or reinterpret it by overlaying wild colours. Then there are the multimedia classes. You can learn Relief Casting and create a plaster sculpture, or create Copper Tree Sculptures using wire, stone, and clay. There are DreamcatchersMixed Media Wall Art made with natural materials, and lots more great stuff! The classes aren’t just great for kids, but corporate groups—and people on dates!—love them too.

You can find all the information, including pricing, scheduling, and the particulars of each class over on our website. Our first class is this Saturday, so definitely take a look if you’re coming to Algonquin for Canada Day! Space is limited, and these classes are really popular, so while registration isn’t necessary, we highly recommend you call ahead to make sure you get a spot. You can book one by calling us at 705-633-5555.
We can’t wait to see you!

Artist in Residency Application

June 11th, 2016

News for out next Artist in Residence program will come out shortly. Please stay tuned!

 

David Lidbetter: The Colour of Winter

June 5th, 2016

“Late Lies the Wintry Sun”

Now that the gallery is up open and running, we’re excited to announce our first solo exhibition of the season. From now until July 20th, come experience David Lidbetter‘s The Colour of Winter. 

“Tea Lake”

David works from a simple premise. He heads into the wild to find his inspiration, but he doesn’t seek out the conventionally picturesque. He looks for scenes that evoke strong emotion, often feelings of isolation and solitude. You can sense his reflective attitude toward his work as he visually ponders distance, depth, and looks for colour in the muted landscapes of winter.

“New Year’s Day”

This winter saw David out in the bush, taking sketches and impressions of Algonquin in winter. “I love the surprising natural sense of balance and design found in landscape,” he says. “The line, the abstract space and fractured colour are what interest me most.” Anyone who’s examined the cracks in the exposed rocks along the trail or looked through the angles in bare tree branches knows what he means. There’s a disorganised symmetry to nature that David captures perfectly.

“Narrow Way”

 We can’t wait for you to experience this exhibit in person. Take in David’s work 10-5, seven days a week until July 20th!

“Northern Sky 2″

June 1st is Right Around the Corner!

May 25th, 2016

In just one week, we’ll be opening our doors for the brand new season, and 2016 is going to be a great year. We seriously can’t wait for our family of art fans and friends to spend some time with us in the awe-inspiring surroundings of Algonquin Provincial Park. And we have some very special announcements to get you excited for this year’s program…

Our 2016 exhibit, Metamorphosis, promises to be fertile ground for conversation and inspiration. This season we’re fascinated by the idea that stasis is a fiction and all life is change. Across biology, ecology, and practices of internal well-being, the art we’ve chosen reflects big ideas. If all life is change, what does our experience of stillness mean? What roles do science and art play in understanding change, and how can they work together? In what ways can we guide change to make things better in ourselves and the world?
Come experience our 2016 lineup of artists and ponder these questions with us!

David Lidbetter, “Morning, Brewer Lake”

We’re very excited to announce that our featured artist for the month of June is David Lidbetter. We’ll be profiling this painter who’s rapidly becoming one of the most potent forces in Canadian art. His muted tones, ingenious takes on perspective and proportion, and all-season passion for Algonquin Park make his work the perfect launch into Spring at the gallery.
We’re thrilled to have David with us, so stay posted as we highlight his work throughout the month of June!

As we hang the new pieces and put the finishing touches on the space, we’re also gearing up for all the things our friends have come to expect. Take in art classes in our gazebo, where you can paint birch bark canoes or learn landscape painting in the style of the Canadian masters. Shop for the perfect gift in our boutique, or stop in for an artist’s talk.
Follow us here on the blog or on our social media channels to stay updated on everything happening at the gallery. Our Twitter is @AlgonquinArt, and you can stay informed on our Facebook page as well! We’ll also be sharing moments on our Instagram, @AlgonquinArtCentre, and keeping abreast of art news, travel, and nature on our Tumblr. There’s a lot of ways to keep in touch and stay informed, so follow us across all of our channels!

All in all, we can’t wait for you to join us and make 2016 a summer to remember in Algonquin.
Experience art in the park!

Off-Season Artists: Andrea Ross

April 28th, 2016

With the off-season drawing to a close, we’re at the VERY LAST Off-Season Artists post! If you haven’t been reading along, that’s when Alex, the man who considers refreshing his web page as refreshing as the spring breeze after a long winter, interviews our artists and unpacks their process.
In this installment, we speak with impressionist landscape painter Andrea Ross!

Andrea Ross and her piece “Shake It Down to Earth

So first off, where are you from? What was your experience of the Canadian landscape growing up?
I was born in Oakville and growing up my family cottaged on Skeleton Lake. I did many canoe trips in the Georgian Bay, Port Severn, and Algonquin areas, so rocks, water, and trees are fully engrained in my enjoyment of the outdoors.

“Benjamin Shoreline”

I notice that in your work you tend toward auburn and muted pinks and golds, with a quality of light that seems a lot like the evening just a little before sunset. There’s a very peaceful quality to your paintings! What attracts you to that aesthetic?
I love the evening time just before the sun goes down when the air is still, the light’s low and at a right angle to the landscape, and the shadows are long. Colours become deeper and much less bleached out by the light. It’s a time when I like to venture out in my canoe or Kayak.

How about your influences? What artists would you say inspire you most?
I very much admire the work of Ottawa artist Philip Craig. Earlier I studied work by Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt as well as the Group of Seven—specifically MacDonald, Thompson, and Jackson).
My mentor, my aunt Eila Ross had a career as a medical artist and I completed a degree in Fine Art at the University of Guelph, concentrating on drawing with the thought that I would go into medical Art. After graduating Guelph, I decided that was enough school for me, so I took a different route and created art for pleasure.

“Hypnotic”

I understand that you’ve done a lot of work in pastels. That seems like a very different medium. How has that influenced the way you paint?
My first love was drawing and with the pastel medium—you can draw with pure colour. I have learned much about colour through my pastel paintings. My goal when switching to oils was to make them look like pastels yet do away with the framing that a pastel requires. I also wanted to work larger, and that’s difficult when you have to frame under glass.

“Sailor’s Rest”

There’s a really neat contrast between your land and trees and your water. There are these bold, broad strokes on the land and a real luminosity in the water. I’d love to hear about how you developed that style!
Generally, I work from drawing with paint to working up the shapes in the design, then creating the form in each major shape and finally working out the details in the focus area. Building the colour from dark to light and intensifying any areas I want the viewer to focus on. There is definitely a process with each painting which I try to follow. Sometimes this process is amazingly fast and in other paintings I slowly work through problem areas.
Sometimes to develop certain feelings I use a specific stroke and change the size and shape of brush.

“Good Footings”

In terms of your subjects, we see a lot of familiar views in your paintings from around Algonquin and the Muskokas. What would you say is your favourite spot in the outdoors?
Without a doubt, my favourite spot is right where I live on Skeleton Lake, but I do love Algonquin Park and am extremely happy to be able to get to the park within an hour and enjoy this fantastic, natural, unspoiled area.

And last but not least, what’s something we might not know about you?
I am a very keen 470 sailor and love to listen to classical music, especially when I paint.

“Hut Hike”

And that’s that for our Off-Season Artists series this year! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as we’ve enjoyed writing.
Now we’re hard at work getting everything ready for the new season, starting June 1st. Stay posted for updates and info about our artists and the activities we’ll be putting on this year. We can’t wait to see you!

Sarah Carlson: Perennial Threshold

April 11th, 2016

Over March Break, we and our partners at Algonquin Provincial Park were fortunate enough to host Sarah Carlson for the Perennial Threshold spring residency. She sent us her description of her time in the park, along with a few pictures of her experience.
Enjoy! 

The wilderness has always brought me great clarity and perspective. Along with a heightened awareness of my surroundings comes increased understanding both of myself as a maker and as a strand in the web of life. Hiking, paddling and climbing are frequent jumping-off points for the conceptual development of my work. Since the diversity of the landscape propels my investigation into human-environment exchanges, I immediately seized the opportunity of being the Perennial Threshold artist in residence at Algonquin Provincial Park.

Going into the Algonquin Art Centre residency, my plan was to cultivate a connection to place and to work on large-scale paintings in preparation for my April solo exhibition in Toronto entitled ReWILDING. This exhibition positions the Canadian Landscape as a site for questioning and (re)imagining relationships between humans and the natural world.

The beautiful yet unpredictable spring weather meant for multiple types of footwear, from snowshoes to traction aids to rain boots.  Hikes and plein air sketches were followed by hours in the studio/cabin translating my experiences onto canvas. I was listening and learning from the trickling creeks, rustling conifers and forest critters. It’s hard not to have multiple “Snow White” moments with birds landing on you and squirrels climbing on you while you’re taking a photograph or painting. I also had the privilege of learning from park naturalists and biologists. These conversations and experiences continue to resonate with me and I am excited for the new directions this residency has inspired!

It was amazing to watch Sarah at work. Her time was so productive she was able to finish some large-scale pieces, which are now on display as part of the ReWilding exhibit at Toronto’s Graven Feather gallery. For a special treat, we were fortunate enough to attend the opening last Friday!

If you’re in the Toronto area before May 1st and cruising around Queen West, we definitely recommend stopping in for the exhibit. These huge canvasses are striking in person, and you get pulled into her otherworldly colours the same way you’re coaxed into the landscape when you’re out in the wild.  Find all the information at Graven Feather’s website!
In the meantime, this was such a successful partnership between Algonquin, Sarah, and the Art Centre that we’re getting more and more excited for our next round of residencies. We can’t wait to get our next one under way, so stay posted!

Off-Season Artists: Jan Wheeler

March 30th, 2016

Just in time for the springy weather, we’ve got another Off-Season Artist! In this series Alex, who spends his time pacing the vaulted halls of the internet, head reverently bowed as his footsteps echo into digital eternity, interviews one of our artists to learn about their process and personality.
This week, it’s landscape painter Jan Wheeler! 

So let’s get right into it. Your style is very difficult to pin down. Your landscapes are both very naturalistic but also otherworldly. There’s a monumentally static quality to your rocks and hills, but they all flow together in swirls and motion. How do you reconcile these seemingly competing elements so effectively?
Each piece sets out to share the rhythms and forces I’ve observed. There’s always an underlying rhythm, perhaps the strong winds of a storm, or a gently rippling breeze.
It’s that underlying rhythm that shapes the piece. Whether sky, water, rocks or hills, the wind flows over and sculpts all. Light and shadows from the skies flow over rocks and hills with the same force and rhythm. I work with all the elements together to create the choreography of the composition. The fluid lines and curving form draw the viewer’s eye smoothly through the piece so they too can feel the wind at play.

“Montreal River Harbour”

Who would you say were your influences in developing this style? It’s quite unlike a lot of other landscape painting out there.
A major influence for me was a contrary one: Cezanne. By that, I mean that while he explored planes of light and form in a landscape, I was aware of a curving form. I knew I had to diverge from his work to find a way to interpret what I was “seeing”.  The artist I consider the key influence would be Henry Moore, whose tumbling, flowing forms enabled me to see how I could develop the flowing movement I was trying to capture.

Paul Cezanne, “La Mont Sainte-Victoire” and Henry Moore, “Reclining Figure”

Wow. Now that you mention it, I can really see that. I understand you also have a great deal of different regional influences. You’ve travelled quite a bit throughout the world—Japan, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Italy—and clearly you’ve used your diverse experiences to hone your style. What overseas experience would you say was the most valuable for making your art what it is today?
I would have to say that my time in London, UK was most valuable. I was able to study the works of many great artists and explore my own interpretation of landscape against that inspirational backdrop.
I played with the curving light and form of London’s plain trees and the rolling hills of the South Downs. During this time of development I worked in an office across from the Tate Gallery, with a Henry Moore sculpture in its front courtyard. His fluid, smooth forms draw the eye through and around the three-dimensional forms almost without awareness.  Seeing his work in situ sent my mind racing through the possibilities of my own developing style by further exploring the fluid movement and rhythms of a landscape.

“Wind Sculpted Skies”

In spite of all that travel, more than any other subject the interaction between big Canadian waters and their skies seems to captivate your attention. I’m thinking of “Wind Sculpted Skies” in particular, one of your most ominous paintings and one of my favourites. What draws you to those subjects?
I’m drawn to the movement in landscape and want to capture a scene, not in its stillness, but in its living. Water and skies are rich with rhythm and simply captivating when observing. They’re a challenge for me with complex dramatic shifts that require complex choreography within the composition.
“Wind Sculpted Skies” is a scene from the shores of Lake Superior. The painting describes a long, age-worn rocky peninsula weathering once again the force of an expansive storm front. Strong winds drive and sculpt the sky, providing a rich choreography for me to work with.

There’s no place quite like Lake Superior, is there? On that note, you’ve done quite a bit of backpacking and canoeing. What’s your favourite natural space to get into in Canada, and why?
The north shore of Lake Superior never fails to inspire and challenge me. I’m captivated by the geologic forces in constant battle there, and on a scale that can be very hard to bring down to even a large canvas. Its geologic age gives it an underlying weight that resonates in the rhythms I observe.
For an artist who loves to work with stormy skies and turbulent water, the great lake provides me with a rich range of awe-inspiring moments.

“Break in the Storm”

Speaking of getting out and working on pieces in the open air, one of the notable things about your paintings is their sheer size and ambition. When you’re in the presence of one, boy does it take over! What’s the process of going from mobile sketch to huge canvas like for you?
It’s great to hear that the paintings are connecting with you.
While on location I sketch, take photos and if I have colour with me, I’ll do a colour study for later reference. The scale and complexity of the scene usually dictates the scale of the final piece. The larger the scale of the scene and the more complex the underlying rhythms, the larger the final painting needs to be.
A final drawing precedes the painting, where I work out the rhythm in the landscape in a finished composition. This is important in order to have a consistent flow for the eye to follow; to draw the viewer into the underlying dance of the scene.
On canvas, I can develop the flowing scene more as the brush moves and blends the colour throughout the piece. The largest piece I’ve completed is a 48”x60”, which, if you know me, is as big as I am and that brings its own challenges.  The extra work is worth it though as a larger canvas lets me develop and express more dramatic and complex scenes.

And last but not least, just for fun: what’s something we might not know about you?
Well, over the years I’ve had encounters with a lot of wildlife: a bobcat, fisher, weasels, elk, bears and many more. But probably the most memorable was when I was kissed by a camel in the Saudi desert.
I was with my husband and a group of friends, heading across flat sands to the Red Sea for some snorkelling when we came across a female camel and her two youngsters.
We stopped some distance away and watched quietly, taking pictures. The curious young camels playfully approached, soon followed by the mother. Everyone in my group backed up out of range, worried about an attack by the mother.  I could see the mother wasn’t stressed and felt it best if I just stood quietly, making no moves.
The kids stopped before they reached me and looked on with curiosity but kept their distance. It was the mother who stepped up to me. She slowly, gently sniffed my face, my hair and then gently rubbed a cheek. She looked at me carefully one more time and then her incredibly long tongue washed my face in a big kiss. Astonished, yet careful not to move, I spoke to her quietly, thanking her, and watched as she and her kids went on their way.

“Shimmering Lumsden Lake”

That’s it for Jan Wheeler! She’s a delight and we can’t get enough of her art…
Check in soon for our next Off-Season Artists post!


Algonquin Art Centre - Gallery in the Heart of Algonquin Park

open June 1 - October 19

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located at km 20 on Hwy #60

in the Heart of Algonquin Park

 

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