Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Joyce Burkholder “There’s art in them there hills”

The hamlet of Wilno is nestled in the beautiful, rocky hills of the Madawaska valley and is home to Canadian Wilderness Artist Joyce Burkholder. Many refer to this area as God’s Country, and for good reason- the hills afford breathtaking views of the surrounding forests and lakes, and serve as a natural backdrop for the work of an outdoor artist. Joyce has dedicated the better part of her life to her work, “it has been, and still is hugely fulfilling to be a full-time professional painter of the stunningly beautiful landscape of wilderness Ontario.”

Born and raised in Toronto, Joyce attended the Ontario College of Art and Design (formerly known as OCA), an education that was to be just the beginning of a lifetime of learning. In her early 20’s, she made the decision to “get back to the land”, so she headed north, originally settling west of Wilno in the country near Maynooth where she lived for the next 25 years. It was about this time that Joyce found a cottage style building in Wilno surrounded by perennial gardens that would make a perfect studio and gallery. She says that this inspiration came from a visit to Sante Fe some thirty years prior where she came across Canyon Road, a stretch of “artist-owned galleries in funky little houses.”

Joyce is an award winning painter known for her outstanding and passionate landscapes of the Canadian backcountry, notably many from Algonquin Provincial Park. No fair-weather artist, Joyce goes out to paint on location in every season with all of the challenges this has to offer, be it hot days, rain, the bugs and the cold. Whether on foot, canoe or snowshoe, she heads out into the wild to paint. She has painted on beautiful winter days at temperatures of -30 - she recalls “the beauty and clarity of light is astonishing” yet, it gets uncomfortably cold and this can make the paint very thick and hard to work with. She says that she “loves the rush of arriving at an inspiring location especially if there is dramatic lighting.” Then the mystical work begins, as Joyce transforms her vision and tells the exciting story through the paint; her painting being an emotional reaction to her environment.

This emotion, her passion and her primal connection to nature certainly come through in her art. Painting on location gives her a fresh and spontaneous edge and allows her to convey that feeling of really being there. She works with oils, acrylics and watercolours, using many layers of this glaze giving her images depth.

Adding another layer to her work, Joyce shares her passion, “it is exciting, dynamic and inspiring, especially being part of an identified female trio of painters we branded as “Wild Women” who have all made a similar commitment to portraying and preserving our natural environment.” She says of the group, “joining together with Kathy Haycock and Linda Sorensen continues to enrich and expand my career in ways I never imagined...it is like everything gets multiplied by three.” The Wild Women co-authored a book, ‘Wild Women: Painters of the Wilderness’, which Joyce admits stands out as a great life achievement.
If you would like to see first-hand these award winning works of art, check out the Madawaska Valley Studio Tour this Summer (July 22-23) and Fall (Sept 30-Oct1), or for a more hands on experience, Joyce offers workshops from May to September. You too can get back to the land and paint on location in our beautiful Ontario wilderness.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

San Murata and the The Truth about Art

photo san-murata.com
Anyone who meets San Murata knows that he is someone whom you won’t soon forget. Lively, charismatic and honest; he is certainly a true reflection of his art. He currently lives in the small historic town of Grafton where he loves to paint the beautiful Northumberland countryside. He also enjoys spending time in Quebec during the colder months to paint. The painting on the front cover is a scene from winter, one of the things San says he likes most about Canada, particularly in Quebec.

San grew up in Japan, with admittedly a stricter social system, which encourages all children to work hard in school and go to university. San’s father was a banker and wanted his children to be professionals, so San studied at the University of Musashi in Tokyo, and although he says he wasn’t the best student, he graduated with a degree in Economics. He, too, worked at a banking job but it was always his dream to one day be an artist.

In the late 60’s, San travelled to Canada to “have a look around”, and he liked what he saw. He liked Canadian people and their free style, and decided to stay. He made Toronto his new home and further, made the transition from banking into the art world. He entered many art competitions and was soon recognized for his graphic design skills. This eventually lead to a career in graphic design for network television, a career that San admits was less about the actual art and more about the design and details that go into making a show.
photo san-murata.com
After many years working for CityTV, GlobalTV and the CTV National News, San was ready to realize his dream of becoming an artist. For the past twenty years he has been painting landscapes with a self-described ‘na├»ve style.’ His main medium is gouache – opaque pigments ground in water and then thickened with a glue-like substance. This medium is used to shape the relationship between the subjects on the canvas. The result somehow gives the viewer a felling about the painting – a feeling of joy.

Today, at 76, he still enjoys painting and says he is improving every day. He says “with age comes experience and with experience comes the truth.” He goes on to say that everything is finally beautiful, the truth opens up everything. Further, imaginations adds another dimension to it all. Painting for San is telling the truth; the truth that is in his heart. The love and passion he has for painting, such things are important and they come out onto the canvas. This is the truth in his art.

Although we have focused on his painting here, San is also an accomplished jazz violinist. Of his talents he says “whether on canvas or in a jazz club, I want to provide an opportunity to experience joy.” Indeed, he has succeeded.

San Murata is currently featured on the cover of The Link magazine. For more information about this artist please go to san-murata.com  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Leanne Baird

Leanne Baird is a visual artist residing in the Peterborough area. Her background involves a variety of experiences that, all combined, informs her particular style of painting. These experiences range from a Fine Arts degree from the University of Toronto to landscape design; from studies in process art making and mandala art, to teaching the craft itself to adults and children. Developing her intuition for her surroundings, she has immersed herself in the study of yoga and of ancient Indian scriptures.

Baird’s main painting focus is on landscapes which she considers to be both ‘a study of the physical and the metaphysical.’ Inspired by the natural world, she perceives the consciousness in all things and is particularly attracted to the consciousness in trees. Remarking on the cover art, she says, “To me it expresses the illumination of consciousness…the trees seem to be lit up from within.”

Her influences include such artists as Lawren Harris, Emily Carr and Norval Morrisseau, all of whom, Baird notes, ‘blend their artistic world with their spiritual world.’ In her artist statement, she continues that with ‘expanded awareness, a powerful silence is perceived underlying the creative energy of nature, and within the silence, an intrinsic vibration of light.’ We can all relate to times when we have seen nature so raw and beautiful that it takes our breath away. One can see why artists like Baird spend so much time in the great outdoors – it is awe inspiring. Painting is a way for her to share her spiritual perceptions with the world.

She says, “When the nice weather comes, it is hard for me to stay in the studio! I am out looking for new subject matter and immersing myself in the calming and healthy energy of nature.” Baird works with acrylic paint and attributes the evolution of her style to this medium. “It is said that the great thing about acrylic paint is that it dries fast. The bad thing about acrylic paint is that it dries fast… the essential quality of this paint opens up the artist to other means of expression.”

In her studies, Baird has explored the sacred art and geometry of mandalas, and, as teacher, has shared this experience through workshops with others, encouraging them to awaken to their own creative powers. Mandala painting ‘can be a meditative process as well as a skill building process.’ She adds that teaching allows the artist to focus on the basics again, and to grow in their own creative process.

Baird’s paintings have been part of many exhibitions in the Kawartha’s, she has been represented at the Buckhorn Fine art Gallery and she has been featured on HGTV. Although teaching has been a large part of this artist’s experience, she is currently focusing on her paintings where she can share her love of the natural world on canvas.

If you would like to see more of Leanne Baird’s work, please visit www.leannebaird.com. She will be participating in the 32nd annual Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour running from September 24-25. www.agp.on.ca/studiotour

Monday, June 20, 2016

Kathy Haycock

Artist Kathy Haycock has spent her life dedicated to her passions; nature and art. She comes by these passions quite honestly through the noble influence of her father, well known Canadian Arctic painter Maurice Haycock. She was also greatly exposed to the work of her fathers close painting partner A.Y. Jackson of Canada’s Group of Seven. She lives near Lake Clear in the Eganville area of Ontario.

Her influences introduced her to the bounty of Algonquin Park, to the vast Canadian Arctic and even further on to Greenland. Kathy continues to travel to these beautiful and extraordinary places to carry on the work of capturing nature at its best. Her dedication to on-site painting all-year-round in these remote locations can only be considered uncompromising.

Kathy is truly inspired by nature itself as she continues to immerse herself in the outdoors. Her passion has her sitting out in the wilderness, quietly becoming part of it, as she paints her experience of being there.  The appeal, she says, “is the sense of respect and belonging one gets from being immersed in the wilderness landscape. This message of caring for the natural world and the enrichment it offers is what I interpret in my paintings.” Of Algonquin Park she says “there is such a wonderful variety of accessible lakes and back country painting places.” She often paints alone, or with fellow artists Linda Sorensen and Joyce Burkholder; a trio known as the Wild Women, Painters of the Wilderness. They go on sketching trips to Algonquin a few times a year and have co-authored a book together. Their work will be on display for the month of August at the Visitor Centre in the Park.

Kathy first travelled to the Canadian Arctic in 1976 with her father to camp on the historic Beechey Island. This is the location where the ‘ill-fated Franklin Expedition overwintered in 1845-1846.’ She was “hooked by the sweeping, vast, powerful landscapes.” She has authored a book about her father and his work titled On Site with Maurice Haycock,Artist of the Arctic, Paintings and Drawings of Historical Sites in the Canadian Arctic. Kathy now travels every couple of years to either the Eastern Arctic or Greenland for 2 or 3 weeks. She also travels to the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska for extended stays by camper trailer. “It is beautiful country with rugged coastlines and colourful, picturesque Inuit communities.”

On one such adventure to the Arctic in 2002, Kathy, who was travelling with her sister Karole, met Canadian artist Doris McCarthy. Kathy notes in her biography that the acclaimed artist became an important mentor, inspiration and warm friend. McCarthy emphasized to Kathy that every painting should tell a story.

So, what is the story for the cover art of this issue of The Link? “These are rental canoes. They could be on any lake at any park. They're resting in the early morning waiting to be chosen. Each is "dressed up" in bright colours perhaps competing for the attention of the canoeists who will take them out on new adventures.”

Mainly self-taught, Kathy’s work has been described as lively, with fluid woven images and a graceful sweeping rhythm. Along with the art show in Bancroft, Kathy had a solo show in May in Ottawa with another upcoming in September At the Art Gallery of Bancroft. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The spiritual practice of yoga is one of the oldest disciplines in the world, and from that discipline stems the sacred practice of Thai yoga massage. We all know the health benefits of doing yoga; this massage, in essence, is the equivalent of having yoga done to you.
Shelagh Binks of Yoga with Shelagh, describes it as a truly unique and beautiful experience, one that is unlike any massage treatment out there.  Thai yoga massage is a ‘partner practice’,  performed on large, comfortable mats on the floor, wearing loose and comfortable clothing. The practitioner uses their hands, feet, arms and legs to gently guide the recipient through a series of yoga postures, while palming and thumbing along the body’s energy lines and pressure points.
Shelagh defines the palming and thumbing as a way to open the energy lines (also known as sen) that run throughout the body, move the energy through these lines and then close the lines by palming again. Together, the postures and the movement of the energy makes for a comprehensive full body treatment.
The origins of traditional Thai massage date back 2500 years ago with roots in India and in Thailand. It is well known in the Eastern world as a sacred healing practice, essential for overall well being. This dynamic bodywork therapy manipulates the sen lines, which follow the muscular contours providing stability and structure to the whole body.
Eastern practices are performed on the basis that the whole body and mind are connected. Releasing tension in one area of the body can correct postural imbalances and relieve pain symptoms elsewhere in the body. Thai yoga massage also

·         Improves movement
·         Stretches and tones your muscles
·         Improves circulation
·         Boosts your immune system
·         Balances your body’s energy

The Western world is used to working on the physical, it is used to working on one area where the injury is and the symptoms are, and it is used to working on sound evidence. The concepts of Thai massage focus on the body as a whole. When one part is injured, others areas of the body are working to compensate for the injury, and areas are working to heal the injury. That is why the body must be treated from head to toe, as a whole.
This practice involves intuition and it is a deep feeling art. Shelagh adds that it is important for the recipient to relax and have trust in the practitioner. This will help the movements become smooth and harmonious, allowing the recipient to get the most healing out of the session.The practitioner remains focused and centred throughout the massage, really listening to and connecting with the needs of the recipient. There is great emphasis on giving Metta (Indian sanskrit for loving kindness) during Thai massage. When there is mindfulness in massage, and spiritual awareness, real healing can take place. Therefore, this entire connection can at times feel quite emotional as you realize you are really being cared for.
There are times in our lives when we must care for others, and we know that we must also make time to care for ourselves; Thai yoga massage is allowing someone to take care of you. For some, this may sound selfish, but others know it is a transformative experience. Allowing someone to take care of you has profound affects on your overall health. It makes you want to tae better care of yourself. That, in turn, helps you take care of everything and everyone in your life better! And that will indeed give you long term health benefits. 

As they say in the yogi world, Namaste.

Photo credits Phil Binks

Margaret McFetridge - The Bloomin' Barn

Joyous, cheerful, exuberant - these words are regularly used to describe the artwork of Margaret McFetridge from Wellington, in Prince Edward County. Margaret was born and raised in Toronto, and has had the good fortune of living in many different places in Ontario as well as spending a decade in Quebec. As a young child, her parents encouraged her art through classes at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and that passion never left her.

Her early career saw her working with watercolours, silk and porcelain paintings. By the 1990’s she was experimenting with oils and that was when she discovered her true medium! That was when she went big – big canvases, big brushes and big, confident strokes. She says that the work just poured out of her and you can feel her energy through these large, vibrant and colourful floral works of art.
In 1999, Margaret discovered Wellington. She says “I came to the County with some friends. I could feel the creative energy here, and that was in November! I hadn’t even seen it in the summer!” Margaret bought her old Victorian home and took it back to its original form. There she lives with her feisty tortoise shell cat named Baitley. “I feel like I am charmed.”

Margaret begins each day in the early first light of the day painting in her bright and spacious home studio. She calls this her “creative solitude time.” An addition she envisioned for her century home in the County, this studio is an exquisite architectural design which appears to double as a conservatory of sorts as the perimeter is full of plants. When you enter, your eye draws up to see several curved beams in the vaulted ceilings, giving the space a strong and feminine feel. The rounded top arches on the oversized windows continue this theme while providing plenty of natural light for her work and the many plants that surround her art studio.

These plants are also her models. “I grow pretty well every flower that I paint.” In the middle of it all are the working canvases. Margaret usually starts three paintings at the same time, all depicting the same subject in different sizes. It is quite a practical approach as the colour palette is out anyway, but also serves to keep things fresh as she moves from one canvas to the other.
It all starts with applying an undercoat, always in pale pink or mauve. She explains this provides a soft beginning for the painting and she always lets this background come through in her work, giving them an ethereal feel.

From May to October, Margaret welcomes you to view these paintings just steps from the studio in her circa 1880’s carriage house converted into a wonderful art gallery. Year round, you may visit her studio by appointment, and visit her website at www.margaretmcfetridge.com
Joyous, cheerful, exuberant - if you know, or come to know, this artist, you will certainly agree that they are words that could also be used to personally describe her.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Peter Rotter

Peter Rotter is a well known landscape artist from Lakefield, Ontario. He grew up in Toronto, spending his summers and many weekends at the family cottage on Stoney Lake just a short twenty five minutes north of Lakefield. It is here that Rotter finds true inspiration for painting. “The Kawartha and surrounding areas are my muse”

Rotter says he began painting landscapes at a very young age. As a child he was “obsessed with a book on landscape painters”, and in particular, books about The Group of Seven were of interest to him. “Drawing and painting the north was just something I did growing up.”

His parents were always very supportive of his art, encouraging him with art classes on the weekends and art camps during the summer. “It seemed growing up, I was always the youngest kid with landscape paintings at shows in the Toronto area.”

Rotter studied design at the Ontario College of Art and Design and computer animation at Sheridan College. He went on to work in animation for a few years, and during this time he continued painting landscapes in the evenings and on weekends getting ready for upcoming art shows. “Eventually the painting took over. With my my work becoming popular, I couldn't keep up with demand with a full time Job.  So I had to make a choice.  It was an easy one.  Painting all the way.”

A few years ago, Rotter made the decision to move his family from Toronto to Lakefield. Although he sometimes misses the energy of the big city, Lakefield has always been a source of inspiration for this artist and he has always wanted a studio here - “it just seemed like a natural homecoming.”

As for the paintings, well it all starts with a hike.

Rotter writes, “I am drawn to a particular place by a luminous colour, a certain slant of light, an interesting shape, or shadow, movement of sky, a memory of sound, smell and sense of ease.”  He takes many photos on these hikes which he references for his paintings. He may use images from many photos and incorporate them into one painting. It all begins with a bend and a fold, manipulating the photos to isolate the point of interest. From there, a small sketch is started “looking for good colour and composition”, and if he likes what is developing, it is painted on a larger canvas.

 “I have been known to plein air sketch on occasion, and find I do it more since I moved to Lakefield.” Capturing the landscape while being immersed in it makes the painting real to those that admire the work. These places are familiar, they hold a place in history for them, they capture that moment.

The cover art, Winter Warmth, is a place only a few minutes walking distance from the cottage on Stoney Lake. “It's always been a place in my heart growing up, as that was where I spent countless hours playing and discovering the forest. Close enough my parents wouldn’t worry.  Perhaps it's no accident the sun hits that spot perfectly during that 10 minutes at sunset.”

Peter Rotter’s artwork can be found in collections all over the world; to see more of this artists work go to www.Rotterrotter.com

Friday, August 28, 2015

Linda Sorensen - One Wild Woman

The Wilno Hills, an hour north of Bancroft in the Madawaska Valley, is known by some to be God’s country. It is here that you will find the artist Linda Sorensen.

Linda was born in London, England. She moved to Canada with her mother and settled in Burlington, Ontario where, as she says, she had the good fortune of Robert Bateman as her high school art teacher. It was the early 70`s and the school was the newly built Lord Elgin High - since renamed after this world renowned Canadian wildlife artist. Under Bateman she studied Pottery and Sculpture, Drawing and Painting and Art History. She also took a course in Textile and Printmaking with Birgit Freybe, now Robert`s wife. She was truly inspired!

Linda moved to the Madawaska Valley and recalls heading out “with a pack on my back and not two pennies in my pocket.” She became part of a back-to-the-land movement and lived off the grid, ``without telephone, running water, hydro and neighbours!” For the next 25 years, she devoted herself to this challenging career as mother, raising a family living a life closer to nature. This lifestyle was not without its demands, and it ignited in her a stubborn strength and proved to be a creative force. And the artist in her waited.

In time, this artist emerged and Linda began painting a body of work she calls Algonquin Wilderness, a series of images devoted to her many camping and canoe trips through the vast  of this beautiful park. In 2006, Linda teamed up with Kathy Haycock and Joyce Burkholder and the three began immersing themselves in the backcountry of Algonquin, sharing their connection and love for this area by painting it en plein air (French for ‘in the open air’). Being in nature while painting allows the artist to observe colours, explore light, textures and forms. “
These paintings have a more in the moment spontaneous feel to them” says Linda.

The profound connection felt by Linda to Algonquin is certainly reflected in her work. She travels to remote wilderness locations in the park in every season capturing the beauty of the landscape that many people just do not get out to see. Linda takes her sketches and photos home with her and works in studio with water mixable oils transferring her images into large acrylic studio paintings.
Being immersed in nature is a gift and healing on a very basic visceral level. Linda, Kathy and Joyce have compiled a series of paintings, and recently published a book, Wild Women, Painters of the Wilderness. This book celebrates the Canadian wilderness landscape and the hope is “that it will persuade Canadians to spend time in the wild and to place a greater value on nature…” For Linda, this book is about her respect for nature, her devotion to conservation and preservation of our wild places.
Robert Bateman has remarked that Linda’s paintings are “strong and bold.” He continues; “The clear stamp of original character is always a sign of a true artist and Linda Sorensen has it.”

 To see more of Linda’s work, you can visit her website at www.lindasorensen.com and explore more about this book at www.wilwomenartists.ca .

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Brenda Stonehouse

In the Pink
The work of artist Brenda Stonehouse of Lindsay Ontario will stop you in your tracks; yes, those vivid colours, strong lines and the striking use of light will catch your eye, but you may also find yourself caught in a bit of serendipity. You may find your mind drifting back to simpler times; it may even bring you back to a moment in your past, a good memory.

With the fast paced, ever-changing life whirling by, it is wonderfully refreshing to take these moments in seriously.

As a child, Brenda’s family moved around Ontario, so she had the privilege of living in a
variety of different cities. From the cottage country of Huntsville and Muskoka, to the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield in North Bay and Thunder Bay, and to the busy city life with Lake Ontario in the background in Kingston and Toronto. With this came Brenda’s appreciation of the diversity in the landscape this province has to offer and that is reflected in her paintings. You will see the rocks, trees and water that are reminiscent of this vast landscape.

Growing up, Brenda enjoyed music, playing the piano and the French horn; she even considered pursuing this passion as a career. She has always been creative and her post-secondary studies led her to study graphic design, which she loved. Interestingly, it wasn’t until 2002 that she took up the art of painting. Influenced by her father, Bruce, who is also an artist, Brenda began working with oils. She took some classes and put in a lot of hard
Always Room for Friends
work, and her dedication to this passion of painting has paid off. After a few joint
exhibitions with her father, she has gone on to solo successes in local art shows, and it is no
small feat to be sharing her works of art at the prestigious annual Buckhorn Fine Art

Of her paintings, Brenda says that most will see the bright rich oil paintings with vivid colours, whereas she sees the “shadows and the difference in light.” She adds, ‘It’s in that light that I find my inspiration.” This deep contrast using dark spaces and bright light areas adds many dimensions to her work. Her subjects are found in everyday life, with a touch of nostalgia. The Kawartha Lakes area is home to a large agricultural area, but, like many, it is seeing the city limits expanding, and the old way of life making way for the new. Brenda is working to preserve some of those times gone by on canvas. “I like to preserve memories - to me, that is important.”

Brenda finds that her real inspiration comes from her own definition of beauty. She has been sharing her journey about her progress with painting in a blog, and it is there that you see yet another work in progress - her garden.  So, now with summertime here, she says she will be splitting her time between two passions. You will find her either working in the garden, or painting it!

Visit her webpage at Brenda Stonehouse where you will also find her blog.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Barbara Whelan

"Subtleties of Spring" 24x18" oil - <a href="mailto:curator@quinnsoftweed.ca?subject=    Subtleties of Spring    24x18    oil">Inquire</a>
Subtleties of Spring
Barbara recalls early affirmations of her paintings, in particular, her first award. She was in grade four and studying the Norseman. During art class at school, Barbara painted a depiction of the Norseman people, a woman and man she remembers it plain as day. The judges were quick to conclude that the painting was too good for the age group, but her teacher stepped in offering an award to Barbara - a quarter. While attending BCIVS, she continued to take art classes. She recalls Miss Pallette, an excellent art teacher who would often take the class outside to paint. Barbara remembers the back entrance of the old Corby building catching her eye. She painted this historic building and the flowers that naturally sprawled across the long stone wall. This may be one of the earliest pieces in her collection where the subject matter is historic.In fact, when listening to Barbara describe her paintings, it is clear they are all historic in nature. Whether it be historic buildings, historic locations, or the models used - all of whom are family and close friends- these paintings capture a moment in history. They are simply beautiful, hold memories that are priceless and quite characteristically Canadian.

Barbara Whelan "Huts On The Ice" 12" x 36" Oil on Canvas - <a href="mailto:curator@quinnsoftweed.ca?subject= Barbara Whelan    Huts On The Ice    12    x 36    Oil on Canvas">Inquire</a>
Huts on the Ice
Mainly working with oil and pastels, Barbara's paintings are easily recognizable, and her particular style lends itself nicely to the familiar scenes of Ontario. She is well known for her many winter scenes of children tobogganing, ice fishing huts scattered on the bay creating little temporary villages, skating on the harbour in Belleville, as well as the cannel in Ottawa. Her summer landscapes too capture those hot days enjoying the sun and the long beach at the Sandbanks Provincial Park.

Barbara Whelan is truly and deeply connected to her community. She is a founding member of the Belleville Art Association, the Burlington Fine Arts Association and Gallery One Twenty One. She also founded "Art on the Fence" in Ameliasburg.

Of her experience with her work, Barbara most enjoyed meeting other artists. She recalls with great admiration the time she spent with Bea Williamson, an artist and a true friend to Barbara. She studied with Paavo Ariola and credits some of her techniques to his teachings. She spent time with Don Fraser while critiquing his work, those very strong paintings. "I have never wanted to steal anything in my life - that is until I saw Don Fraser's sketch book." She cherishes these relationships and has dedicated a wall in her home to the many artists that have touched her life. This great wall includes the works of Lucy Manly, Robert Huffman, Anne Fales, Linda Barber, Peter Bates and so many more. Barbara is also grateful to the many long time and amazing relationships she has with people that have bought her paintings over the years.

Barbara has been living with the effects of Parkinson's for the past seven years, and although this has changed her daily life, she continues to paint. Reflecting on more than eight decades of work, with pieces in collections all over the world, Barbara Whelan is certainly an artist of distinction.

"Sliding" - <a href="mailto:curator@quinnsoftweed.ca?subject=    Sliding   ">Inquire</a>
Barbara Whelan was the feature artist on the Spring 2015 issue of The Link magazine. To see more of Barbara's paintings, you can visit Quinn's of Tweed Fine Art Gallery.

Nan Sidler - Art Filled with Awe

Cold Milk
Cold Milk
Nan Sidler remembers a ‘charmed childhood‘, as she calls it. A simpler time when she could play outside all day, “exploring local woodlands for snakes or chipmunk holes, or wading wetlands looking for frogs.“ These were the days when you were free to explore all day, as long as you were home for supper. Growing up, she has an appreciation for her time living near the beautiful water and wild spaces of Ontario, reflecting fondly on Picton and the white sandy beach at the Sandbanks and living near the Ottawa River in Pembroke. She has always used her gift in drawing and painting as a way to engage with the world around her, a gift she says she shared with her grandfather, who worked beautifully in pen and ink.

Her post secondary education took her to Peterborough where she met her husband at Trent University. They shared a love for the area with its rocks, trees and shining waters and decided to stay there to raise their two sons. The family became avid campers, hikers and canoeists, scenes that are captured in many of her paintings and sketches over the years. Her love and respect for nature is an integral part of who she is and how she approaches her art.

Over the years, she has worked with many different mediums including the heavy materials like pastels and oils, but prefers the lighter graphite and watercolour paint. She describes the versatility and portability, ideal for slipping into a backpack and heading out to work plein air. Her carefree days in childhood serve her well as an artist who enjoys working on location in some of the 'world’s most exquisite natural spaces.'

Working out of a wonderful art studio in the attic of their century home, Nan has devoted this space to her art. She describes the natural light of the three north facing windows where she sets up to paint on sunny days, and west and south facing skylights where you will find her working on those overcast ones. She has developed her skills over the years studying under local and international artists and is involved with the Kawartha Artists Gallery and Studio,' a cooperative group which gives tremendous support and resource material to Peterborough artists.

Icy Creek, Jackson Park
Icy Creek, Jackson Park
There are moments in our lives when we are truly present and experience the awe of our world. These moments come and go quickly, but the peace they bring can stay with us for a lifetime. The true beauty and gift of Nan is her ability to capture  these moments and share the emotion in that splendour with the viewer. Her dedication to her art has its rewards, the work of Nan is much celebrated, and although she describes the privilege she experiences working in this beautiful province we call home, we, too are privileged to experience the awe in her artwork.

Please visit the webpage to view more of the works by Nan Sidler. This artist was featured on the cover of The Link magazine Winter Issue 2014.

Farley Mowat Tribute

Nothing brings this country to a momentary stand still like the death of one of our very own beloved authors. In early May this year, we came to a sudden halt. The nation responded immediately – it was announced on every radio station from coast to coast, on local and national news and in every newspaper, informing us of the loss of a most impassioned writer, ardent environmentalist and a true Canadian icon for sure.
Farley Mowat dead at 92. The end of an era; a century really. And the nation mourns.
One of Canada’s best known and best loved authors; Farley Mowat is recognized as a nature lover, world traveller and champion for those without a voice. The latter includes wildlife, the First Nation peoples of the north, and of course the land. As CBC reports, the author spoke out on the radio show The Current less than a week before his death against a proposed plan to equip Canada’s National Parks with wifi, which he called “a disastrous, quite stupid, idiotic concept, and should be eliminated immediately.” There is no doubt he was passionate, outspoken and controversial.
He has been called feisty, fiery and a ferocious imp! Those who were close to him describe him as low key, approachable, and even shy. He had one persona for the media and one for home. He was known to his family and friends as good-natured, down-to-earth and just a pleasure to be around.
Mary Talbot (artist featured on the cover of The Link Spring Issue 2013) worked as Farley’s assistant for over thirty years. In a tribute to the famous author, she says “Yes, he could certainly be outrageous and contemptuous of authority, but the real man was endlessly caring, quietly generous, a compassionate friend and mentor.” She continues; A man of passion with the humour of a rascal. A man a little short of height but of enormous stature. A literary giant who lived an unpretentious life. A seeker of the truth. A man who expressed his innate creativity in an exceptional manner.
Farley’s mail brought letters from around the world telling him how his writing had changed their lives for the better. Many thousands of children wrote to him about Owls in the Family. And Farley replied, encouraging them in their reading. In earlier years, he sometimes read from his books to children of various ages at libraries and schools, and he encouraged them to read a great deal, to read widely and then to write, write, write.
Farley often said Writing was his function. He simply had to write. He was self-disciplined and organized. Writing requires this. How else could he have published 42 books, with about 550 editions and translated into 26 languages? He was completing his 43rd, his mind sharp to the end.” Of Farley’s wife, an author in her own right, Mary says, It can’t be easy for Claire to find time to complete her own books, though, as she is Farley’s biggest, most important support system.
So, this brings an era to a close. A long life, well lived by the combination of two passions: writing and nature. He leaves a legacy. He is survived by his wife Claire, sister Rosemary, brother John, sons Sandy and David, as well as three grandchildren. 
To his many dedicated fans from Canada and beyond, we are comforted by this life work as he bids us farewell – Farley was fond of saying “God bless you in your good works.”

Photos courtesy of Mary Talbot.