MEET Xavier Fernandes! Xavier is a talented multidisciplinary artist and long time Orillia Arts community member. I have known Xavier for several years and worked with him on various projects involving Zephyr Art Gallery, the Starry Night Studio & Gallery Tour and the Orillia Arts District. His dedication, professionalism and knowledge have always inspired me. When he commits to a project, he gives it his all. Xavier's continuing artistic evolution is amazing to follow and his recent work with metal and wood - SO beautiful!
Read on to discover more about Xavier, his work and current projects!
(photo credit: Deb Halbot Photography)
What is your art background and how has your artistic practice grown?
I went to Sheridan College for the three-year Illustration program. While there, I took life drawing, figure drawing, printmaking, graphic design, photography, painting, computer graphics, technical illustration … it was a comprehensive course. Since then, I have expanded from mainly painting and printmaking to learning how to weld and making things out of metal, and now metal and wood, and learning how to turn wood. I have also done body painting for the last two Somniatis wearable art shows and printed the fabric for the Clocktower dress in Somniatis I. I have also been involved in Call to Action 83, a collaborative art exhibit around Truth and Reconciliation, with indigenous and non-indigenous artists. The first show, with 16 pieces by 16 artists, travelled all over Ontario. The second show has just opened at Quest Gallery in Midland and we will be doing a public sharing and talk about it on December 1 at 1 pm, free to the public.
(photo credit: Ron Hill)
You have been involved in the Orillia Arts Scene for many years – how have you experienced its evolution?
When I got into the arts scene in Orillia it was at the end of high school, over 25 years ago. It was a smaller group of artists in the community who kind of did their own thing but many of them came together for meetings of the Orillia Fine Arts Association and for the community. I was one of the founding members of Zephyr Gallery which started in 2000 and that was a big catalyst for many artists for many years. It was the first gallery where any artist could show work on a regular basis here in town. Eventually Zephyr moved on to Peter Street to join with other arts businesses and organizations, including the Orillia Museum of Art & History, Tiffin’s Creative Centre, the Shadowbox … there were only a few at that time but it was a change. That was the early beginning of artists joining together to create the Orillia Arts District. Brian Tosh and Liz Schamehorn opened a gallery together, Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery & Studio, while I had my own studio upstairs at 5 Peter Street, where there is quite a group of artists now. Eventually I moved to Peter Street Fine Arts as well as several other artists. Peter Street has evolved into a hub of artists and galleries that work together and create places and happenings for people to come and enjoy great art.
You are involved in the Underground Orillia project – can you tell me about the project and describe its development?
I was approached by some friends from high school who asked if I wanted to do a documentary on the tunnels that are under Orillia, if there are any …. Having knowledge of some of the underground spaces, they felt I could be helpful to get them into some of the places. This was a two-year journey of research and exploring these spaces, seeing all kinds of amazing things…some of them no longer exist but we were able to document them before they were destroyed. Our goal is to make this documentary accessible to as many Orillians as possible, so we are doing two free shows at the Orillia Opera House on November 28, at 7 and 9 pm. We hope to get the show into Hot Docs as well. We have had a lot of positive feedback about the show and it has generated a lot of interest and questions from people here in town. It has been really fun to be part of it, and to explore filmmaking, which is a new medium for me.
What are you working on now and where may people discover your work?
When I got into metal, and wood and metal work, I needed a new space to do it in. I am sharing a workshop at 64 Western Avenue, beside Charles Pachter’s place. I am making black walnut side tables with metal legs, and black walnut platters with metal stands. I recently acquired a lathe and a garage full of black walnut and butternut and am now busy learning woodturning, making bowls, and other hollow vessels. I am also making wooden tea light holders. I show my work at Peter Street Fine Arts, at 23 Peter Street South, and at my home in Orillia. I share my work on my personal Facebook page, Xavier Fernandes.
I would like to do more body painting as well, just for fun. It’s a very interesting medium. It’s a challenge to make body painting look realistic and like it’s not painted, and I enjoy a challenge!
(photo credit: Peter Stranks)
MEET Greg James Thomson! Greg has evolved from landscape photography to capturing stories though portraits, live concert performances and events. He is an active member and supporter in the Orillia Arts Community, always with camera ready to document and promote local exhibitions and artists that he highlights on his facebook page Orillia Arts Scene.
Currently, his selected photography work is available at Art & Home Studio and he has a piece available in the Orillia Museum of Art & History's upcoming Sir Sam's Club Membership fundraiser.
READ ON to discover Greg's story and learn more about his work and photography services!
Describe your journey into photography and how has your practice evolved over the past few years?
In hindsight I've always enjoyed and been fascinated by photography. But my journey into photography began in 2013 when I bought my first DSLR for my Muskoka based property maintenance/inspection business. I needed to get detailed pictures to send to clients. Soon after I bought the camera I bought a wide-angle lens and found myself pulling off to the side of the roads in Muskoka because a landscape caught my eye. In September of 2014 I was working near Killbear Provincial Park and decided to head there with my camera after work and take some landscape shots. It had been raining all day but when I got to Killbear the sun broke through. I was running around the park, clicking on the "landscape" preset and one image caught my eye when editing. I found an online printing company with a 50% off sale and decided to order some large prints to use as Christmas gifts. I gave one to my niece and her husband for their home in Nunavut, and I gave one to my brother and his wife. My sister-in-law Lori posted a picture of it on Facebook and the response was quite positive. I soon found myself thinking about photography 24/7 and took pictures constantly.
In November of 2015 my father passed away and with the small inheritance I received I decided to upgrade to a professional grade camera and lenses. I also decided that, after 18 years in Muskoka, it was time to move back to my hometown of Orillia and pursue a career as a photographer. Since then I have evolved from a landscape photographer to a portrait photographer.
What plans do you have for your artistic practice in the future?
My future plans involve having a studio, again. I would love a place where I could have my gear, and design backdrops for concept photo shoots. I'm not a "PhotoShop" guy so I like to create the magic in-camera. I'd also like my own wall space to display my work. I love all aspects of photography but portrait work is quite fun. I'll see about weddings. From a gear standpoint, I need more....always.
What is/are your favourite subject(s) to photograph?
That's a really tough question! It's like picking a favourite child. My favourite images immerse the viewer. In landscape shots I try to incorporate the "golden ratio" and leave enough negative space to leave the viewer wanting more. With surf photos I include the wave because it's part of the story. In portraits I look for a 'look' that tells the story. With concert photos I want the viewer to feel like they're there. It's all about story, and letting the viewer feel it.
Any upcoming projects or events? How do people connect with you?
I recently wrapped up a project for Couchiching Jubilee House volunteering my photography services for their "Fearless Females" calendar. Currently I'm working on my own annual calendar of 2018 images. I did 30 days of long exposures in September, so I'm thinking of using some of those shots. I also recently got a paid job with Car Media 2.0 to photograph automobiles for marketing purposes.
My website is www.gjthomson.com, contact me via email, phone 705-645-8984, or connect with me through my Facebook Page gjthomsonphotography or on Instagram.
Bio: Greg James Thomson moved with his family just north of Orillia in 1970. His father Hugh sold a patent to Otaco and started working there. He graduated from Park Street Collegiate and Georgian College with a major in Business Marketing. In the early 1990’s Greg worked in the radio industry and eventually moved to the Muskoka area to help start-up the MooseFM chain of stations. Over the years, he has operated several successful businesses and continues to pursue the entrepreneurial spirit. Greg moved back to Orillia in 2016 to pursue photography work.
MEET Peter Fyfe! Peter's strong, energetic paintings are eye candy. They draw you in with a beautiful balance of colour, form and lines while his assemblages (pictured in above photo) reflect his literal view of the world.
READ ON to learn about Peter's process and discover his work!
Your paintings depict strong lines, vibrant colour and form – what are you trying to convey with your work – themes, emotions, statements?
I have two approaches, as I tend to produce either abstract paintings, or my more conceptual “constructions”. As a person who has coped with episodes of mental anguish most of my life, when I’m actually in a productive mindset I try to dwell in that happy place – the bright colours, and curving lines. For many years I drew everyday, sketching out my interest in chairs at first, before gravitating to simple, decorative drawings, with simple, repeating forms and shapes. In the same way, in painting I explored straight-lined chairs and partial views of chairs before canoes became my obsession. So with those, I’m in an abstract frame of mind, taking something familiar or ordinary and pushing it to the limit of what can be recognized. It’s almost musical, though I would never pretend to be a musician but as musician Laurie Anderson says, ‘the purpose of art is to provide what life does not”. So, many of my works have musical titles. A great deal of my inspiration comes from years listening to the Beatles and such over and over, but also art history and my fellow artists in general.
Love your piece in the 2018 OMAH Carmichael Exhibition, can you describe your thought process behind its creation? Is this the beginning of a new series?
Thank you for that. It’s called “AVP, An Apparatus for Viewing Landscapes”, and its about exploring ideas and getting away from just flat painting. I’ve always done dimensional work, but it has always been less productive for me; each piece actually takes a lot of time considering different ways to approach an idea, and then finding materials and objects through which I can convey that idea. For a long time I’ve explored ideas of sentimentalism, privilege and power imbalances. For instance, who gets to do what in our society. This work tackles materiality, environmentalism and the art world through those lenses. In that vein, my big question would be, “Who gets to shape art the way it needs to be seen, the artist or the art market?” That probably sounds very heady, but I actually want people to see the humour in the piece.
As for a series, yes I have already sketched out 15-20 smaller pieces I would love to get to. They’ll challenge my carpentry skills for sure. To get to those, I first have a painting commission to complete, and then continuing to be productive will be the greater challenge. However, I must say, as an artist being involved in the OMAH’s Carmichael Show has been a great boost, and I look forward to seeing how my art unfolds over the next year or so.
As an ‘Orillia’ based Artist, what are your thoughts on the art community and where do you see it/hope to see it 5-10 years from now?
I’m a reluctant person socially, but I try to find ways of getting out there and being involved. Participating in group shows at OMAH is one way, but I also use social media quite a bit – I admin a few groups on facebook, “Orillia Artists”, “Canadian Artists for Truth and Reconciliation”, and a group for my own followers. I also have tried to blog, but I find it very distracting and too time intensive – if you read one of my long posts, you’d see why [laughs]. But then there is Streets Alive projects, which I’ve done four plus a few banners. Streets Alive, organized by Leslie Fournier is very energizing, very public.
The Arts District seems very alive with studios, retail spaces and galleries, and especially new, younger faces, which is nice to see. That’s fantastic. With support from the city and a continued influx of what looks like that youth movement taking hold, Orillia will grow as a very vibrant place in many ways – the music, theatre, and the visual arts scene. I encourage others to visit downtown and encourage that growth.
Where may people connect with you and your work, online and in-person. Any upcoming events or exhibitions?
I sell some works online at Saatchi Art which is a good place to look at my last five years or so. I have my website, Fyfe Art which is like this whole survey of everything I’ve ever made! And the blog is there as well as my e-mail. I’ve got a book of drawings available at the OMAH gift store – I tell people it’s the world’s only hardback colouring book! I haven’t participated in an exhibition in a very long time, outside of the Orillia Museum of Art & History, and the Zephyr Gallery back in 2015-16. My favorite way to communicate is on facebook, but I’m in the phone book, for those who still use one of those! And of course, I’m always available just to meet for coffee and talk about commissioned works.
Peter Fyfe is originally from Kingston (Ontario), where he grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. His formal arts education began atYork University Ontario (1982-1986) where he earned hisFine Arts degree studying painting and sculpture. After that there was a stint at the Banff School of Fine Arts, 1986-1987, and then things got wrapped up with a Bachelor of Education (Artist in The Community Program) from Queen's University 1993-94.
For fifteen years, Fyfe taught mostly at Gravenhurst High School, 1999 – 2015, and mostly in Social Sciences, as well as Visual Arts, but also significant course work in Communications Technology, Media, and Business Studies.
Today, Fyfe feels like a re-emerging artist, working from home in Orillia, no studio, but where he also happens to live with his wife Jennifer, two lovely children and two cats.
MEET Sylvia Tesori! I first met Sylvia a few years ago when she came to Peter Street Fine Arts Gallery & Studio asking about being a Guest Artist - ever since she has been a part of the downtown Orillia Arts District community and a great friend. The past year we shared gallery/shop space together and it was a fun, creative adventure. I spent a great deal of time surrounded by her work and was continuously awed by the vibrant energy, colours and unique story of each piece!
Read ON to learn more about Sylvia and her work!
Your work has a very spiritual quality, where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from the natural world. I spent years working outside and refused all jobs that had me “caged”. I love Ontario’s forests and waters. My favorite inhabitants are the birds! Inspiration also comes from my dreams; birds soar, crows speak, deers listen and bears lead.
You make soap! As an artist, how does your creativity transfer into the making of your soap and body products?
I am always making something, and love to try new mediums. The soap and other body items are a great blend of my creativity and science skills. I was trained as a scientist, and though I no longer work in that field, I continue to teach sciences at the high school and college levels. It’s really satisfying to be able to offer a great, healthy product that everyone needs anyway!
You have a street level business in the Orillia Arts District - What is your favourite part about operating a gallery/shop?
My favorite part of being in a street level gallery in the Orillia Arts District is the people. I really enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. It is also a lot of fun to have a visitor and see their reaction to my art; it’s so cool when someone connects and sees what you see.
Where may people find your work, in person and online?
Three Crows Speak Studio is located at 9 Peter St. S, in downtown Orillia's Arts District. My website is Three Crows Speak Studio or find me on Facebook: Three Crows Speak Studio.
Upcoming: Find Sylvia at First Light at Sainte Marie Among the Hurons, November 22 to 24, November 29 to December 1, and December 6-9, 5:30 to 9:00pm.
Meet Christina Hartwick, multimedia artist who specializes in amazing and beautiful wire sculptures! I am always enthralled at the detail and unique character of each of her creations! Visit Christina this weekend during for her first Art Studio Open House, October 6 to 8 (co-hosted with artist Cheryl Sartor).
Read ON to discover Christina's inspirations and more about her work!
What path led you to working with wire? What other mediums do you work with when creating?
I first started out doing portrait drawings of people and animals. Wire became a new form of drawing for me which brought my drawings off the paper and into a 3D form. I enjoy working with many different mediums. Some of my favourites are wire, wood, rock, paints, fabric, pen & ink, pencil & coloured pencils. I most enjoy sculpting and working with hand tools and electric tools.
Your work feels whimsical yet very strong and grounded, what is your inspiration?
At the family cottage was where I found a lot of my inspiration. I would sketch just about anything at anytime. I would take extensive time shading with pencils, coloured pencils or pastels. I would always travel with my pencils and sketch book. One time I had forgotten my supplies back home and felt lost. So I began a search for other textiles. I came across some rusty old wire in the garage and that’s where it all began. I brought the drawings in my mind to life into a 3D form. It was very satisfying to see those images come off the page. I believe art heals the artist and the ones who appreciate it and want to know more of its story.
What are your favourite subjects to create? Do you accept commissions?
Outdoor and large sculptures are my most favourite to create. Being able to create large pieces without welding is a complex process and the outcome is always engaging.
I have and do accept commissions.
Where may people find your work, in person and online?
My art can be found at Art & Home Studio, Orillia Opera House and the Orillia Museum of Art & History. On facebook, find my work on my All Wired Up - Wire Sculptures and Mixed Media Art page.
Contact me through e-mail or at my studio 705-326-6713.
Website up soon! www.allwiredupartist.com
Artist Bio: Originally from Newmarket, Christina has always had a passion and a appreciation for all forms of art and music. She took art through high school and continued her love of Fine Arts throughout the years as a self taught artist. Christina has called Orillia home for many years and would visit the parks camping as a child. She has participated in local art events such as, Art Meets History, Maple Masterpieces/Streets Alive, Women’s Art Show Exhibit, Woods End Studio Tour, Art Studio Open Tour and Somniatis The Wearable Art Show. Christina has her art displayed for sale at the Orillia Museum of Art History, The Orillia Opera House and Art & Home Studio. She is also a member of The Orillia Fine Arts Association. Christina is hugely inspired by her two children, exploring the outdoors, wildlife and music. She works with wire as her prominent form which requires a level of manual dexterity and her sculptures are of life like proportion as well as abstract.
Meet Kathryn Kaiser. Kathryn creates beautiful, thought-provoking images, scenes and stories through her art. Her work's intense yet subtle energy is mesmerizing. Find her studio at STOP F of the Images Studio Tour THIS weekend, October 5 to 8, 10am to 5pm daily!
READ ON to discover more about Kathryn and her work ....
Your work emanates with emotion - What are the core themes and what do you hope people absorb from viewing your work?
I paint what moves me. If an image, an event or a vision leaves an impression, I will often find a way to attempt to capture it in my work. It is not that I have a strong desire to educate viewers, but I am always pleased when a piece inspires someone to stop and consider the story behind it. Occasionally my work may push people outside their comfort zones. Although this is often a frightening place to be, it is also where I tend to learn the most about myself and the world. I consider a piece successful if it provokes an emotional response in the viewer.
Your depiction of light is amazing. What medium do you paint in and what inspires your colour palette?
I have always been in awe of the way light affects what we see: shape, colour, depth and mood. Light defines everything in our physical and visual world.
Oils are my medium of choice, and I also work in acrylic, charcoal, and chalk pastel. I am looking to experiment with other media. I have done a bit of water colour, clay sculpture, and would very much like to learn more about printing and working in metal.
I am not overly conscientious about the colour palette I use, and tend to let the colour mixing become intuitive. I begin with a fairly limited selection of colours and mix what is needed from these. I can see that I am drawn to warm, rich colours and love to play with the contrast of warm and cool, and how that defines space (depth) in a piece. Understanding colour is certainly an ongoing process. Not being very scientific or technical about colour mixing, I have the messiest palette board ever. More than a few of my teachers would cringe at these words.
You recently opened your own Artist Studio – any future plans for workshops, events?
Oh yes, I have a studio! It is wonderful to finally have a dedicated space to work, and I am so excited (as is my family) to finally be out of the living and dining room. I would very much like to run workshops, and have other creatives use it as well. Our plan is to make the costs accessible to instructors to facilitate workshops both in the studio and outside. I would enjoy having a drop in studio for parents with kids one day a month, for example. We also have a 48 acre property with bush and trails that we would love to use. I would love to have a drop in studio for parents with kids one day a month.
You are participating in the upcoming Images Studio Tour, but where else may people find your work, in person and online?
Currently my work is only available to see in person in my studio, which is open by chance or by appointment. I have many of my pieces on my website, which will also show links to upcoming shows and exhibits. Plans are to exhibit at a couple of different galleries in Orillia in the near future. Stay in touch for updates on upcoming events.
Find Kathryn's work online on her website Verity Blue Studio, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Behance.
Artist Bio: Kathryn Kaiser is an artist & designer living outside of Coldwater, Ontario. Largely self-taught, she has been painting just over six years now. Her main focus is portraiture and landscapes, which are emotionally charged and often reflect an aspect of the human condition. She approaches each piece with a unique perspective... allowing her work to stay fresh, which keeps the whole process ever changing and evolving.
Kathryn is a board member of ODAC (Orillia & District Arts Council). She is an active member of OMAH in Orillia and Quest Art in Midland ON. She is involved in various projects in the Orillia and Coldwater communities and internationally, as well as humanitarian work with new Canadians and refugees.
“The human condition holds the most inspiration for me, and this is where I find myself returning again and again. I am relentless in my search for truth and understanding. It is critical for me to interpret each subject individually. How are we affected by our environment and experiences? Where do we hold our scars, what are our stories?"
Meet Paul Court, visual artist and musician! Paul is very active in the Orillia art and music scene, and is SO supportive of other artists.
Read ON to discover Paul's art and his thoughts on creating art & music ....
You are a visual artist and a musician – do these two forms of expression ever overlap/inspire the other in your creative journey? If so, how?
The most surprising thing to me since I began working “seriously” on visual art is that I have lost my need to express myself in words and music. I can’t seem to do both at once. I tend to be rather obsessive, diving in deeply. but I recently gave up my studio space, and immediately started writing songs again. There is definitely an overlap in subject matter - I make art with musical references, and I write songs about making art.
As a visual artist, you primarily create collage-based works – describe your process and what draws you to working with paper?
Ha! What “draws” me is the fact that I can’t “draw” to save my life, so I mostly work with existing images. I also paint with acrylics - colour field abstracts and geometric designs.
I spend much of my time collecting material from books and magazines. My first passion is colour, so I’m looking for complementary combinations. shape comes next, ie. how to mix the images to suggest some form of movement. The result I’m looking for is to challenge the viewer to provide her own context for that which I have removed or obscured.
It’s somewhat the same with songs - I tend to eschew details in favour of a more universal “story” which the listener can interpret as his own.
What creative projects are you currently working on?
As I said, I am presently working on music and writing songs, while I slowly carve out a studio space in my tiny home. I’ve made a few collaged cards at my dining table. You’ve heard me say it: “I like to work small”.
Where may people find your work, in person and online?
Our pal Molly Farquharson opened Hibernation Arts at exactly the right moment, as I vacated my space in the Orillia Arts District. she was good enough to hang several of my larger pieces, including some black-and-white collages. She also sells my art cards.
visual art: pcourtart
songwriting: Facebook: thesongwritersshadow
Next live gig: opening for the entirely wonderful Tragedy Ann at The Brownstone Cafe, October 18.
Some of Paul's collage work available at Hibernation Arts, 7 Peter St. S. in downtown Orillia
Meet Tanya Cunnington, a contemporary painter who balances life as a full-time artist, gallery owner and mother. Her vibrant landscape paintings radiate with gorgeous colour and strong lines!
Read ON to discover more about Tanya and her work ...
You are a gallery owner, working artist and a mother, how do you balance those dynamics?
Red wine. Lots of it. But in all seriousness, it is hard to shut things off in your mind when you are passionate about them, so I had to create a balance. I genuinely love being a mom and owning my own business and of course being an artist. I’ve designed my life so that our son can be a part of all of it. Because I own my own business, he can join me at the gallery anytime he wants to, and he has his own studio so he can create when we do. It also really helps that I have a supportive partner who is also an artist and understands how important studio time is. When I get really overwhelmed, I do yoga.
Tell me about your gallery, Lee Contemporary Art?
Lee Contemporary Art is a curated rental gallery that exhibits emerging and mid-career artists. I opened it three years ago with the help of the Business Enterprise Research Network Program when I realized that I wanted to work in a creative industry, side by side with artists. I had done some curatorial work in the past and loved it. I get really excited when I see a great submissions from a new artist, so a gallery just seemed like a natural fit. I tend to exhibit work that is more abstracted and less traditional because that is what I am drawn to as an artist. I’ve exhibited artists of different disciplines from all across Canada and recently from the U.S. as well.
How has your art practice evolved over the years? What is your main creative focus now?
My art making practice just underwent a huge shift. After working in abstracted grid-like collage for almost 20 years, I recently moved into landscape. I didn’t realize how much I was being influenced by my surroundings in Toronto until I moved back to Orillia 6 years ago. Being a really nostalgic person, my work has always been about the passage of time and memory, so I am enjoying finding new ways to express that. Most recently, I began work on a series of “rocks and trees” based on my childhood in Northern Ontario. I don’t think that I have exhausted this subject yet, so I plan to continue with it until I do. I will also continue my explorations with colour.
You currently have a new exhibition showing at Loop Gallery in Toronto, what are the details and what is up next?
Dream, comfort, memory opened at Loop Gallery on September 15 and runs until October 7. It is an exhibition of ten new paintings all based on Northern Ontario. The title is borrowed from Neil Young’s Helpless. Loop Gallery is located at 1273 Dundas Street West (at Dovercourt) in Toronto, open Wed-Sun.
Upcoming is a two person show of works on paper with Jill Price at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie, Ontario. It opens December 6 and runs until March of 2019.
Dream, comfort, memory runs until October 7 at Loop Gallery, Toronto
Tanya's gallery Lee Contemporary Art is located at 5 Peter St. S. in downtown Orillia's Arts District. Currently on exhibition is Sean Rees: Imperfect Precision and up next is Annie Kymta Cunnington: Plan B, October 4 to 27, 2018. Interested in showing at the gallery, contact Tanya!
AND, discover even MORE about Tanya' work here!
Nancy Jones with her ART. (image source: Lee Contemporary Art FB)
MEET Nancy Jones, a contemporary painter who creates luminous and vibrant paintings that hover between abstract and landscape. I am always drawn by the subtle layers that Nancy creates, her paintings sing - SO beautiful and oozing with atmosphere.
READ on to discover Nancy's creative process and more!
Your works have an ethereal quality, yet are strong and energetic - could you describe a bit about your creative process and what inspires you?
I create contemporary landscapes. My paintings are about colour. There are endless combinations. I have worked with the same palette of primary colours for many years mixing yellow, red and blue in varying proportions to create colour harmony. I achieve luminous colour by glazing thin layers of colour over top of one another on the canvas.
My paintings are also about the contrast of dark and light. They have strong value contrasts. They are moody and this evokes emotion in the viewer.
Describe your artistic journey? How did you arrive to painting?
I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by art as my parents were both artists. From day one I was painting and drawing in sketchbooks rather than colouring books. Drawing outside the line was encouraged. As my children grew older I took up painting again and have never looked back. I now work in my home studio and offer workshops on colour mixing and value compositions.
You are a participant in the upcoming Images Studio Tour, Thanksgiving weekend, do you have any other upcoming exhibitions or workshops?
I do not have any upcoming exhibits at this time. People are welcome to contact me through my website to visit my studio at Art by Nancy Jones.
I will be offering Studio Classes every Tuesday beginning October 16 and finishing on November 6, 2018. The first Tuesday of the two day workshops will focus on composition using “NOTAN”: the Japanese term for light/dark. During the second Tuesday participants will transition from value studies to full colour paintings. Max. participants is five.
Where may people find your work, online and in-person? Do you take commissions?
Currently I post images of my new paintings on Facebook and Linked-In. I usually have a few paintings at the Shadowbox in Orillia. I am not an artist who takes commissions. That process just doesn’t work for me!
Meg Leslie is a multidisciplinary artist working in several mediums, her main mantra - 'creativity'. Meg and I grew up together on the same street in Orillia, we played 'Kick the Can', fed feral stray cats and I was inspired by Meg's creative spirit even back then (she gifted me a handmade stuffed animal for a Birthday!).
Whatever creative endeavour she embraces, from offering Workshops (in mosaics and ceramics), creating daily drawings, to working on community projects like the Awesome Wall in Kitchener, Ontario where she currently lives, Meg brings immense talent, determination and creative magic!
Read on to discover more:
You have worked in several different art forms, how has that journey evolved and what creative medium are you currently focusing on?
I am currently focused on creativity in general. Yeah, whatever moves me creatively, that’s what I do.
I have this daily practice of sketching with my left hand. It’s just practice and for fun, but I’m starting to think that Leftie needs a show sometime soon in a gallery. I’m also preparing ceramics for an art walk on November 10th in a sweet old neighbourhood in downtown Kitchener. I’m taking over the living room and there are 2 other incredible creatives with me, and the tour itself is one of the best....you can really walk it - the Frederick Art Walk!
You have an on-going ‘leftie selfie’ series, describe the process and the ‘why’ …
Leftie ... well, it started from a tweet that I read in 2014 that just said, “Try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. That’s all I’m saying, just try it” ... so I did. Then I started washing my hair in the morning with my left hand, then I started drawing with my left hand. It was such fun that I committed to doing it every day. I have fallen off the wagon a few times in the last 4 years, but every time I come back Leftie evolves. She has a body and often words now. I love her! : )
As a community minded artist, are you currently involved in any projects? What have you worked on in the past?
Ah Patti, there’s a lot of large scale mosaics that I have done in the past like that huge letter C for Streets Alive in Orillia, the aWEsoME wall (71’ mosaic wall with the help of 300+ people at the men’s shelter downtown Kitchener) and one of my favourites was the Homewood Green Art Wall for the City of Kitchener.
Lately ... nothing like that on the go, but I’m busy with my personal practice and I’m teaching ceramics regularly at Homer Watson House and Gallery, and then there’s my day job.
Oh something I’m excited about is a presentation I’m doing about community art as part of an event in Waterloo called Amplify Culture Summit on October 24th.
For fun, I've been taking weekly pottery lessons from an incredible potter in Waterloo.
I love that/always learning and growing.
Where may people find your work or connect with you about workshops and commissions?
Well, feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. My Facebook page for creative ideas and inspiration is called Earth Sky Sandwich. My website meglesliecreative.ca has lots of lovely photos of my work, or follow Leftie’s journey on instagram as meglesliecreative #leftieselfie
Also, find Meg's work (porcelain jewelry) at the Orillia Museum of Art & History in downtown Orillia's Arts District!
Bio: Meg Leslie is a multidisciplinary artist originally from Orillia, currently living in downtown Kitchener. She has been nominated Waterloo Regional Artist of the year in 2013 and 2014 for her community art projects, and nominated Oktoberfest Woman of the year for Arts and Culture in 2017. She won 2nd prize in 2013 for her mosaic letter C in Orillia’s Streets Alive.
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