Posts Tagged ‘landscape’

Daniel St-Amant: Convergence

Monday, August 15th, 2016

We’re very excited to be hosting our artist, former residency-holder, and good friend Daniel St-Amant for his solo-show, Convergence!

You might remember that last October, Daniel spent a week at Algonquin Provincial Park’s Clarke Lake Cabin. He used that time to gather specimen and natural materials like mud and leaf-litter, to take in the inspiration of the park, and to plan large-scale artworks. His days were spent working on his craft, and at night he got to hear the howling Algonquin wolves.

In the past, Daniel used his signature technique—laying canvasses on the road to pick up the impression of passing cars’ tire-tread, the painting wildlife—to signify the way nature is often closed in and crowded out by human intervention. He would place animals within the confines of human encroachment. But since his time in the wild, his style has moved in a different direction…

Works in progress for the show!

Lately, rather than using human elements as structures of confinement, Daniel allows his wildlife to grow out of the mixed environment of urban and natural materials. It’s a hopeful message about the convergence between the human and animal worlds, and the ways that their interaction can be healthy. It’s an evolution and a progression, conjured up from the melding of very tangible materials from the real world, incorporated into artistic creativity. Daniel has perfectly expressed the spirit of this season’s overarching theme, Metamorphosis.

Join us from now untilSeptember 15th to see these completed pieces and reflect on Convergence in person!

David Lidbetter: The Colour of Winter

Sunday, 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″

Off-Season Artists: Andrea Ross

Thursday, 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.


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

Monday, 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.

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

Wednesday, 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!

Off-Season Artists: Joseph Koensgen

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

It’s that time again! Here’s our next edition of Off-Season Artists! That’s where Alex, who takes flight on majestic wings of Wifi, spends a little time talking to our favourite creators.
In this instalment,  he interviews painter, photographer, hiker, and conservationist, Joseph Koensgen.

So Joseph, I’d love to hear a little bit about what life was like growing up. Did you live in the Winnipeg area all your life? When did your fascination with the outdoors begin?
Yes, I have lived in the Winnipeg area my whole life. I grew up just outside of Winnipeg where there were many forests and fields close by. I was always an outdoors kid, wanting to explore, and I was just generally interested in being in nature. I always had a love of animals and any chance I could get to try and see some I would, with most of my observations coming from backyard birds at the birdfeeder. I also had the great fortune of many family trips to Riding Mountain National Park, a place I still frequent. This gem in Manitoba played a huge part in my love of nature as its untouched landscape inspired me then, and still does today.

I believe it! Part of that affinity for the outdoors seem to stem from a tremendous love for hiking. I’m guessing that came about when you were younger as well. Your Instagram is full of images of big-sky Manitoba from a natural, isolated vantage point. Where are your favourite places to hike? And aside from providing visual subjects for your painting, how does being out in nature contribute to your art?
I absolutely love to hike. Getting out into nature with a good trail and a camera is one of my favourite things to do, and my Instagram feed would give a pretty good glimpse of what I like to do and where I like to go. My favourite places to hike in Manitoba are Riding Mountain National Park and Whiteshell Provincial Park. A little closer to home would be Bird’s Hill Provincial Park, a smaller but equally enjoyable place to hike. Each season in these places offers something different with the pinnacle of colour and inspiration being the fall. Being in these places and getting inspired by a scene is what goes into my art. Seeing it and feeling it means I am able to put those things, as best I can, into my art. I’ve noticed that my best work comes from something directly inspired by an experience rather than something I’ve pieced together from multiple locations. Not to say that I can’t be inspired by many things, but a rewarding feeling is being patient enough to capture a scene as it happens, and translate that into a piece of art. There is always a range of emotions I experience when this happens and it’s a delight to see it come out in my art.

This set of passions also must tie into your work as a naturalist and conservationist. Can you tell me a bit about your background there? What led you down that path? What kind of work do you do in those fields?
It was a fairly recent addition to my passion as a nature artist. As I had grown in my interest and skill as a nature artist, I began to read and learn more about the concerns and conservation issues all around me. I then joined an organization called Artists for Conservation in 2013, which was doing something that I wanted to do myselfuse art as an avenue to raise awareness and money for the conservation of the natural world. And since then I have been involved in their annual shows and have used my art and sales for just that. I have also submitted art for the Ducks Unlimited Canada National Art Portfolio, which sells prints to raise money for wetland conservation. I have had the honour of being selected in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. This has been a wonderful experience, and I will continue to submit work, as well as work with other conservation organizations.


Moving on to your art, I notice a real visual unity in each painting. It’s something about the way you bring together your tones and compositions to make the wildlife one with their surrounding landscape. It really does remind me of encountering wildlife on a hike. It’s always an amazing moment, but without the accentuation or fanfare that some painters might add to their wildlife subjects. How did you arrive at that style?
When I was young, I wasand still amvery inspired by one of the great wildlife painters, Robert Bateman. I studied his work when I was young and well into high school. After taking a long break, I found myself wanting to do art again. I bought a camera and started up again, working from my pictures. I usually try and depict the animal the way I’ve seen it, in its natural setting without getting too lost into how I think it would act or behave. And the experience of seeing these animals is something I’m striving to recreate at the easel. Of course, I’m also interested in a pleasing composition, but I’ve hopefully steered clear of anthropomorphizing my subject too much. But there is a certain look to my art that I am going for. I like colour harmony and pleasing shapes and motions in my paintings. I like to keep the realism to a point to where you could say, “I’ve seen something like that!” I love hearing that, because if my art brings someone back to somewhere or something they’ve experienced, then I know I’ve captured it well.


In terms of wildlife, birds seem to be your most enduring subject. What makes them such a favourite of yours?
It started from a young age. I had always been interested in animals, and birds were very accessible because I could sit at the window and watch them come to the backyard bird feeder. It was a fantastic venture for a kid interested in nature. I would love to see what types of birds would show up and at what time of year. As well as researching what types of things would get uncommon species out in front of my camera. As I got older my affinity for birds remained, and I have been able to see more and more types of birds as my travels have expanded and the digital age of cameras has made it easy to capture. 

I notice that in your paintings—even when they’re a sweeping mountain image like “Across the Valley,” which I love!—you often seem to be working from a high angle or zoomed in close. It’s often a creature framed by the ground or foliage around them, without extending the composition upwards into the sky. Is that the focused photographer in you? The naturalist’s scrutiny?

“Across the Valley”

By the way, while we’re speaking of “Across the Valley,” where did that painting originate? It looks like parts of the Yukon to me.
I would say that is more the focused photographer in me. I do want to accurately portray the settings I choose, so the naturalist in me pays attention to that, but my art is heavily influenced by my eye as a photographer. Although, recently I have been inspired to expand my paintings into some more large and sweeping compositions that include skies and mountains. Mostly because of a recent trip to the Yukon, as you accurately noticed about one of the first paintings I did from that trip, “Across the Valley”. The Yukon was one of the most amazing natural wilderness areas I’ve been to. Huge mountains, large sweeping valleys, and thousands of kilometers of untouched forest. Truly the nature lover’s playground. Even though I have yet to really get many pieces out from that trip thus far, I’ve got a great number of ideas that include these huge skies. I hope to expand my work in that way for a few pieces as I think it’s good to continually change things up and be inspired by different landscapes. It’s also a good thing to keep oneself challenged by new and engaging ideas that at first glance, seem tough to recreate with paint, but would be very rewarding as a finished painting. 

I couldn’t agree more about the Yukon. If the word “epic” were a location, that’d be it! But just to finish up: just for fun, what’s something we might not know about you?
I have been playing the guitar for about 15 years. I started when I was a teenager and just kept it going from there. What I like to play is blues guitar. I’ve always enjoyed blues music and the great expression that can be done when playing a blues guitar solo. I don’t play as often as I used to, but I still enjoy it just as much.


 So that’s Joseph Koensgen! It was a pleasure to get to know him…
We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with another interview, so stay posted, art lovers!

Off-Season Artists: Joseph Pearce

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Here’s the next instalment in our Off-Season Artists series, in which Alex, our go-to guy for all things internet, has chats with some of the Algonquin Art Centre’s creators. In this edition, we speak with Joseph Pearce, painter, paddler, and all-round lovely guy. So pour a cup of tea, pretend the steam is the mist rising off a lake as you sit in your canoe at sunrise, and enjoy!

Like a lot of the artists in the Canadian tradition of wilderness painters, canoeing seems to be a huge part on your life, and a key point of perspective in your art. Tell me about your background in canoeing. When did you get your start on the water? What was your favourite trip?
Besides my love of family, my love of canoeing is the biggest part of my life. Everything else (including my career) has followed from that.  I got hooked on camping as a kid, but I didn’t really get into a canoe until my late twenties.  Then in October of 1984 (a year before starting my art career), I rented a canoe on Lake Opeongo and did a five-day solo trip to the famous Hailstorm Creek Bog and back.  That was interior trip #1.  It proved to be a challenging, rain-soaked experience, but it still managed to cement my passion for the Algonquin interior.  Thirty-one years and 103 interior canoe trips later, the millions of memories that I have generated have come to define my life from a personal perspective.  Of course, the fact that I have been able to parlay all of those trips into an integral part of a full-time art career is incredibly rewarding—not to mention being very convenient.  I can’t possibly point to any one trip as my favourite.  But I have definitely benefited most from the many important people with whom I have shared my canoe over the years (my wife Helen, my brother John, and a great group of dear friends).
I feelvery fortunate to have been given the opportunity to do what I do… paddle, portage and camp throughout such a magical and mythical piece of Canadian wilderness, and then interpret it, in so many ways, onto canvas in my studio.  I am certainly not the first Canadian to be artistically inspired by Algonquin Park, and I certainly won’t be the last.  I’m just glad to be one of them.

That’s a real-life shot of Joseph’s bow on Lake Traverse at sunrise…
because Algonquin is basically heaven.

In addition to canoeing, I see that you have an educational background in both zoology and fine arts. That’s a real mix! Was one of those your first love and then the other complemented it? Or did you always know you wanted to be an artist-naturalist? I’d love to hear about that progression.
I acquired a passion for (and appreciation of) nature and wildlife at a very young age—passed on from my father.  When I was 14, I bought my first 35mm camera with the express intent of becoming a wildlife photographer, which I later did for a while.  But the study of wildlife remained my first passion, so I first obtained my Bachelor of Science in Zoology (Wildlife Science) from the University of Toronto and then decided to follow through with a Diploma in Photography at Humber College.  Both fields would eventually be critical to the kind of art that I would do, but the art career only started years later.  As for the painting part, I pretty well taught myself… first in watercolours and then in acrylics, and always by striving to improve my technique and to expand my creative vision.  After a couple of years of painting wildlife (based on years of wildlife photos), I decided to focus on Algonquin Park landscapes… and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Ode to a Bog”

I notice a favourite subject of yours is luminescence as it interacts with calm water. What speaks to you about this kind of scene?
‘Luminescence’ is pretty much the constant theme in my landscapes.  Even in the first years of my career, I recognized that my misty sunrise themes yielded the most inspirational compositions, and the most dramatic responses from the public.  Typically, pointing my camera towards the sunrise or sunset results in a dramatic image from which to paint.  It’s also pretty obvious that most Canadians are attracted to water—even those few who don’t get to spend much time on a lake or a river.  Personally, most of my best wilderness experiences have happened in a canoe at sunrise, and usually included the call of a loon or a wood thrush or an olive-sided flycatcher, or the distinctive sounds of a moose feeding at the water’s edge… or sometimes all of the above.  So it stands to reason that I have always endeavoured to be “on the lake” at sunrise—not always an easy thing to do.  And I consequently get to see (and photograph) a lot of scenes with dramatic lighting.  My constant challenge then, in the studio, is to come out with an equally dramatic painting… a challenge that inspires me.

“Young Bull on the Move”

When I look at your use of light, I’m sometimes reminded of the photorealist community, but there’s an otherworldly quality to your work. Who would you say are your major artistic influences? How would You describe your work?
You know, because I came to my art career very gradually (very organically) and because I did not study art in school, I really didn’t have any major artistic influences.  My years of serious photography, before starting to paint from my own photos, really formed the basis of my artistic vision—how I see landscapes.  But I can say (again because of my father’s influence) that I grew up with an appreciation for most of the great Canadian wildlife artists—Robert Bateman, Glenn Loates, Michael Dumas, Fenwick Lansdowne.  And I have always admired the work of two landscape artists from the past: Clarence Gagnon (Canadian) and Maxfield Parrish (American), who both featured light and colour in their art, although in very different ways.  Over the years, some of my own collectors have pointed out that there is a strong similarity between my art and the “Luminism” movement of some American artists of the late 1800’s.  That similarity is entirely accidental, although it’s one that I appreciate.  Consequently, I sometimes refer to my own style as “Neo-Luminism”… focusing on light, depth and atmosphere.  Maybe most importantly, I do paintings that take me back to that original moment on the lake… my own moment.

What are your upcoming plans? Any new themes or images you want to explore? How about new adventures on the water?
At this stage of my career (or of my life), I keep returning to the park to search for that next important composition that might help to eventually define my “oeuvre,” my body of work.  In other words, I want to continue to challenge myself and to continue my paddling and camping in the hope of being on the lake for that next inspirational shot, the next engaging composition from which to work.  And just like so many thousands of other backcountry paddlers, I am in no way tired of getting to Algonquin Park. “The more you go, the more you want to go back.”

“Silver Maple-Golden Study,” a small study on its way to becoming a full-size canvas painting 

And last but not least… just for fun, what’s something we might not know about you?
Well, I find this to be more strange than funny.  As if I haven’t already dropped enough artists’ names, Vincent van Gogh has been a magical thread running through my life, since my teens… long before I ever picked up a brush.  Don McLean’s “Vincent” has always been my favourite song… it still chokes me up!  My 1970’s university dorm room was plastered with Van Gogh posters, to the wonderment of some of my pals.  When I first told a friend about starting to paint in 1985, he spontaneously went out and bought Lust For Life by Irving Stone for me to read… which I did twice.  It’s a biography of van Gogh written in the style of a novel.  Years later, during a challenging encounter with an art agent in Edmonton, a huge sculpture of van Gogh’s portrait by Joe Fafard magically appeared on a Jasper Avenue sidewalk.

It seemed to be looking right at me, helping to bring a smile to my face and calm my mood.  And several other events have maintained that thread in recent years. Too funny… too strange… but true.

That’s it for now! I hope you liked getting to know Joseph a little bit, and stay posted for our next Off-Season Artists!

Manon Labrosse: Gathering Inspiration

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Here’s the next update from our Summer 2015 Creative Residency! This one’s from our visual artist, Manon Labrosse. If you take a look at Manon’s previous work,  you’ll be able to see a current running through her painting that seems to manifest in fascinations with objects within–but set against–the wooded environment.
Read what Manon has to say about her experience and the exciting project she’ll be working on! 

From September 2 to 6, Rhiannon and I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Algonquin Wildlife Research station. Organized through the Algonquin Art Centre, this residency allowed us to experience the park like no one else! Because the station is not open to just anyone in the park, it makes it a unique location for an artist and writer to get inspired by the landscape.

The classic Algonquin lake-view

For four days, we were able to get to know the station, the park and the wonderful staff at the research station. We went on guided canoe trips on the surrounding lakes and got a glimpse at the local wildlife. We were also able to enjoy some of the trails around the station, as well as some of the interpretive trails in the park, such as the Big Pine trail and the Centennial Ridges trail.

The view from the Centennial Ridges Trail

And this is how our project will come together. The purpose of this residency was to accumulate experiences in nature. Our job now will be to interpret those experiences through our respective practices. For my part, I was able to make some journal entries and some quick sketches, along with about 280 photos, which will all be used towards the composition of a large format landscape painting of 7 feet by 11 feet.

In the meantime there will also be a series of small studies of all the various colours, textures and shapes, both natural and man-made, that we found in the park’s landscape. If you look at the pictures, you notice neon colours within the green natural landscape, and these come from ribbons and rope, but also from fungus and moss.

It was important for us to take our time and notice the small details in the landscape, to start a dialogue, take notes and a lot of pictures, since the project will come together post residency. We are very excited about the project and will follow up with the Algonquin Art Centre and the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station as it progresses, so stay tuned!

Algonquin Photo Show and Sale

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

We’re excited to be hosting our friends from the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station for the Algonquin Photo Show and Sale!

The AWRS isn’t just a hub for important research. It also provides photographers the chance to engage with Algonquin’s landscape and wildlife. For our part, we love when people express a scientific understanding of the park’s ecosystems through images of natural beauty. The researchers and photographers at the AWRS bring just this combination of knowledge and artistry to the table.

We hope you’ll join us from September 1st to 14th at the Algonquin Art Centre! Images will be available for purchase, and all proceeds go towards the operation of the AWRS.

Update: The dates for the show have been revised. Instead of closing on the 15th, as originally stated, the show closes on the 14th. Our apologies for the error!

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
Ontario ParksThe Friends of Algonquin ParkWildlife Habitat Canada