Monday, July 24, 2017

The Pontiac Artists' Association 2017 Artist Residency (Part I)

From July 17-21, 2017 I attended the 2017 Artist Residency a Project of the Pontiac Artists Association.

The following three group photographs are shared here with permission from the photographer. They were taken on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening by artist and professional photographer Cheryl Dolan. Visit her website at

Photograph by Cheryl Dolan, (artist, photographer, and member of the Pontiac Artist' Association)

Photograph by Cheryl Dolan, (artist, photographer, and member of the Pontiac Artist' Association)

Photograph by Cheryl Dolan, (artist, photographer, and member of the Pontiac Artist' Association)

Artists + Community

It's hard to know where to start when you are trying to recount a week of art making with a group as gifted, organized and generous as the Pontiac Artists' Association and I think the best place to start is where we finished on Friday morning.

We finished on Friday morning with an artist talk by Geraldine Taylor on the importance of "community" for artists.

Artist, art collector, curator, gallery owner Geraldine Taylor holding an Evergon photograph
This unique and vibrant artists' community in Pontiac that goes by the name of the Pontiac Artists' Association (PAA) undertakes the following activities:
 These great folks have built a BIG tent and are always looking for new ways to invite more people in - other artists, art lovers, art patrons - all are welcomed because, as Valerie Bridgeman says, " We do it to increase our network of artists, to share and encourage, and to foster artistic growth in the Pontiac. And of course, to make new friends!"

Feedback at the end of the day (with Rob Hinchley)

And it takes a village to build an organization such as this. There are countless volunteer hours required to undertake each activity listed above and PAA members all pitch in. During the residency, PAA members prepared and provided all of the accommodations and meals and much, much more.

What I witnessed is a thriving, dynamic, multi-disciplinary artist community that welcomes all newcomers to sit at their table and feast on the buffet of creativity that flows throughout this region.

The annual membership fee is only $20. The benefits are priceless. Consider joining them by clicking this link here:
My Home Sweet Home

The log cabin that would be my home away from home for the week.

The Pontiac Artist Residency hosts the visiting artists in the homes of PAA members. How lucky I was to find myself staying at the beautiful home of Wayne and Elaine!

They had a log cabin (reconstructed from historic logs of the original Macrae farm) located at the back of their property and it was incredible!

Interior of the log cabin

The pond and sand beach in front of the cabin

The Week Long Exchange of Art and Ideas

This is what the week looked like. Over the next few days, I want to share some details on some of these workshops (listed below) that I participated in, the artists that I met and some great lessons learned

Monday, July 17 
  • Book making with Valerie Bridgeman
  • Demonstration of chain saw sculpture techniques by Peter Van Adrichem
  • My workshop "Sketching and Paying Attention" by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Tuesday, July 18
  • Artist’s talk: Catherine Timm, Fiber Artist 
  • Pocket Assemblages with Kate Strickland
Wednesday, July 19 
  • Mark Making Workshop with Karen Mackay  
  • Dinner at Cafe 349 
Thursday, July 20 
  • Printmaking and nature-based plein air workshop “River Works” with Rob Hinchley.
  • Dinner at Dale’s, Calumet Island. 
Friday, July 21
  • Artist’s Talk with Geraldine Taylor about her work on the 1983 "Company of Artists and Patrons" Portfolio and her belief that art is not necessarily created by an individual, but by a whole community. 
  • Demonstration of chain saw sculpture techniques by Peter Van Adrichem
  • Vernissage: The Nature of the River: an exhibition of works created during the Residency week at Art BrĂ»lant and Impressions in Shawville, Quebec
Our vernissage

Our vernissage

My workshop documents

Dale’s studio on Calumet Island.

A Beautiful Day at Beechwood Cemetery

On Sunday July 23, 2017, the Ottawa Urban Sketchers spent the day sketching at the historic Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa.

Here are some photos that I managed to take of our group. Visit the Ottawa Urban Sketchers blog for more photos:

We just love these smiles! Part of the group at the end of the day.

What a great group of sketchers!

Great to see familiar faces, new faces and so happy to have a sketcher from Saskatchewan join us!

We even had a visiting sketcher from Spain!!

Some of the sketches at the end of the day

Thursday, July 13, 2017

2017 Artists’ Residency Project

(Screen capture from 2014 Artists' Residency Project)
The Pontiac Artists Association (Quebec) (PAA) has invited me to join their 8th annual 2017 Artists' Residency Project and I am leaving in just a few days!

This will be my very first artist-in-residence experience and I am both nervous and excited.

As I look over the great pictures of the past Residencies (found on the website), I just know that I am going to love the area and meeting the Pontiac artists.

(Screen capture of 2016 Artists' Residency Project)
I have been busy putting my workshop "Sketching and Paying Attention" together as well as getting my workshop art supplies in order. It is a jam-packed week of creating that looks something like this:
Screen capture of 2013 Artists' Residency Project
As part of my application for the 2017 Artists’ Residency Project in March 2017, I was obliged to submit my CV. This caused a great deal of anxiety because it has only been in the past two to three years that I have been able to devote all of my time to creating art.

Residency registrar and artist Valerie Bridgeman sent me a great PAA article "Writing About Your Art- the CV" with information from various sources and ‘The Business of Art for Canadian Visual Artists’ by Sandra M. Hawkins, artist and teacher of art and arts administration programs at University of Ottawa.

This was a very helpful learning exercise and I surprised myself with how much I could list on my CV!

Screen capture of 2012 Artists' Residency Project
It is a lot of work for the Pontiac Artists' Association to organize a residency of this magnitude and Valerie Bridgeman says they do it to "increase our network of artists, to share and encourage, and to foster artistic growth in the Pontiac. And of course, to make new friends!" 

I have always been curious and wanting to attend an artist residency like this even though I knew very little about them and what to expect

Going for what?

What was my motivation? Why did I want to stay and work creatively somewhere else?

Well there are many reasons that artists seek out an artist residency. From the Dutch Source Transartist website, I learned that some artists are:

Going for production:
  • realizing a fixed, individual project you have in mind already
  • using specific technical tools, facilities and resources for your own purpose
  • making art works for exhibiting
  • orientation for future production in the region
Going for isolation:
  • being away from daily worries
  • being away from demanding pressures of the artist's profession
  • taking in a different environment and culture
  • anticipating new insights and inspiration
  • concentrating on work you have in mind already
Going for working together:
  • meeting local artists
  • meeting other residency artists
  • working together with other artists for realizing a project
  • giving lectures, workshops
Going for your professional career:
  • exploring the arts in another province, country and culture
  • contacting artists' initiatives, galleries, museums, music distributors, publishing houses
I think that my motivations fall into more than one of the categories above.

Screen capture of 2011 Artists' Residency Project
Searching for a residency right for me:

I became aware of the PAA Artists' Residency Project because my friend and fellow Ottawa artist Lauren Foster-McLeod attended last summer (2016). When I heard some of the details of her experience last year, I just knew it would be a good fit for me for the following reasons:

Discipline and Location:
  • The PAA Artists' Residency Project is a multidisciplinary residency program.
  • The Pontiac region in Quebec is located relatively close to where I live in Ottawa and it is located close to the Ottawa river. This beautiful region hs always been on my list of areas that I wanted to paint and explore more.
Artist-in Residence Model
  • The PAA Artists' Residency Project residency model suited me in that my accommodations and meals were included. We are home-hosted by the generous members of the Pontiac Artists' Association.
  • I like that this model has daily hands-on workshops with instructors and includes lots of opportunities to meet with members of the Pontiac Artists Association. I don't think that I would be well suited to residency models where artists are left alone.
  • I really like that the residency culminates in a vernissage in a local gallery and coffee roastery called The Art Brulant and Impressions
Facilities and materials
  • The Stone School in Portage-du-Fort will be our home for a few of the workshops
  • Our plein air painting and printmaking will take place on the nearby Ottawa river!
  • All of the materials needed for the workshops are ones I have on hand so there was no additional  expense for me.
All things considered, the PAA Artists' Residency Project seems like it will be a perfect for me. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you later in July.
    The Stone School: Portage-du-Fort, Quebec
Source: MRC Pontiac
If you have attended an artist-in-residence program and you would like to share your experiences, I would love to hear from you!

If you know of any other Canadian, American or international artist-in-residence programs that are great, please share!

If you have any questions about this artist-in-residence program or any others, please send them to me in the space provided below.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July Plans: Plein Air Painting, Urban Sketching and Quebec Artist Residency

I expect that my July posting will be spotty but for all the right reasons. I will be too busy painting and sketching outdoors!

I have plans to plein air paint (July 10 - 14) and I have also planned two more urban sketching events: one at Beechwood Cemetery (July 23) and the other in the Byward Market (July 29) as part of the 56th World Wide Sketchcrawl. Please come out and join us if you can. Its free and open to sketchers of all ages and levels.

I will be attending my very first artist residency in Pontiac, Quebec (July 17 - 21 ) and I plan to blog about it briefly before I leave and then in detail when I return.

So for now, I leave you with these photos taken in past years at some of my favourite locations.

My plein air painting of the Lavender farm, Quebec

My plein air painting in Kilbear Provincial Park, Ontario

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Anniversaries

In June 2015 I met an incredible group of Ottawa artists with whom I sketched the alleyways of Ottawa. It was a wonderful summer that culminated in an Alley Art Show during Chinatown Remixed.

In June 2016, I collborated with Jason Cobill and Maxime Gautheire-Kwan and many other artists to create the "Ottawa In Colour" colouring book. We had a book launch at the Chapter store located on Rideau St. in Ottawa. A definite highlight last summer!

Here are my tweets celebrating the anniversaries this week and I am reposting the video "Forgotten Spaces" about our Alley Project 2015.

Ottawa Urban Sketchers - Alley Project 2015 - My tweet

Our "Ottawa In Colour" book launch at Rideau Chapters 2016 - My tweet

And it was awesome to meet up again on June 30, 2017 with Ottawa In Colour creators Jason Cobill and Maxime Gautheire-Kwan in front of Prospero Books on Bank Street in Ottawa and sign a few books for some colouring book fans.

Jason Cobill and Maxime Gautheire-Kwan in front of Prospero Books on Bank Street in Ottawa (Link to my tweet)

Curious about our 2015 Alley Project? 

Enjoy this video made by Ottawa's Justin Nalepa

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 2017 Report

Finally! The perfect weather for urban sketching and plein air painting has arrived!
In June, there were SO MANY more opportunities for more life drawing (The Atomic Rooster, Art House Cafe and Atelier Denu ) and I managed to organize another sketch event for the Ottawa Urban Sketchers (at Doors Open Ottawa in conjunction with Synapcity's "100 in 1 Day" event).

I am incredibly excited to report that all of the Ottawa Plein Air painting groups have now started up in June as well (David Jones group and an Ottawa East art group)

I personally ventured out to do a lot more urban sketching on my own (Fletcher Wildlife Garden, the Abiwin garden, the Whalesbone on Elgin etc). The month of June being the most inspiring for sketching with new blooms every day it seems!

And i experimented with some sample Holbein acrylic paints (three colours plus white)and have to say I like them a LOT!

As in the previous month, I am posting a small sample of some of  my work here.

Life Drawing

University of Ottawa - Atelier Denu space - every Thursday
Atomic Rooster - Life Drawing space - Eastern theme for June 2017
Some quick sketches
This sketch included some of the props - yellow rice paper book and teapot.

Urban Sketching

My urban sketch of the Whalesbone restaurant on Elgin St.

Open Doors Ottawa - Urban sketches - My tweet
Fellow Urban Sketcher Suvitha at Doors Open Ottawa
Fellow Urban Sketcher Laura at Doors Open

Fletcher Wildlife Garden quick sketch
Watercolour study - Fletcher Wildlife Garden

Abiwin Garden quick sketch
Plein Air Painting Group - Notre Dame Cemetery - My tweet
Two small 6x6 acrylic paints using Holbein samples (three colours plus white)
Below is the 2017 Art Calendar that I created for 2017. My June painting was of the Boushey's Market on Elgin St. in Ottawa that closed this time last year.

My 2017 Art Calendar June page - Boushey's Fruit Market

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May 2017 Report

May was an incredibly busy month and I am only just now realizing that I have not blogged. I have been doing a LOT of life drawing and I organized two urban sketching events (see my tweets below).

I also finished another sketch for The Wrench (Ottawas only street newspaper for the homeless) and continued with my sketchbook experiments.

June, July and August are all busy too but I will put more effort into regular blog post updates.

Below, I have added some of my tweets and sketches from the month of May 2017.
My watercolour sketch for The Wrench

Life Drawing

I have been absolutely loving the multiple opportunities for life drawing in Ottawa this spring: The Atomic Rooster , Atelier Denu (Thursday evenings) and the Art House Cafe (Tuesday Evenings)

Atomic Rooster - May 2, 2017 - My tweet

Atelier Denu - First Session - May 12, 2017 - My tweet of one of my sketches
Atelier Denu - May 19, 2017 - My tweet

Urban Sketching

I organized two more urban sketching events in May. The Experimental Farm (May 13) and the Great Glebe Garage Sale (May 27)

Experimental Farm - May 13, 2017 - My tweet
I did this sketch outside in the rain. Worth it though because the silos have changed.

Experimental Farm - May 13, 2017 - My tweet
Great Glebe Garage Sale - Urban Sketching - May 27, 2017 - My tweet
My Ottawa Urban Sketchers Bike mobile - Great Glebe Garage Sale

Urban Sketch - Great Glebe Garage Sale

Outline - Great Glebe Garage Sale sketch

Finished urban sketch - Great Glebe Garage Sale

And, as usual, there has been plenty of practice work and studies in my various sketchbooks. I do hope to complete some final pieces this summer for my new website launch. Stay tuned!

Colour Studies - gouache

Facebook Group - Different Strokes Art Challenge