The Inside Story ~ Lorraine McGrath

Growing up, music was the art form in our house. My Dad had a musical background and a wide ranging taste in music. The only art was a book on Van Gogh that I remember on the shelves. For myself, I learned piano, drew and coloured like most kids, and read endlessly.

The first inkling I had about ‘art’ was when I was in my early teens and my aunt married a man who was an artist. I was fascinated by his little studio whenever we visited. My uncle would talk about his work, about colour and light and other artists. This was a totally different world to what I’d ever encountered. In Junior High School we had our first real art class and teacher, so I began tentatively to learn then. At university, the sciences drew me to study. I took art appreciation as an elective and being in a big city, I began to visit galleries.

It wasn’t until many years later that I finally decided to take some art classes. My visits and talks with my uncle continued all that time and he encouraged me, telling me that doing it for the pure enjoyment it gave me was all I needed to do. So I continued, learned, explored, found wonderful teachers, and then was invited to join art groups, which expanded my knowledge and experience to a new level through the learning and sharing we do.

A very meandering stream brought me to where I now paint for the love of it and for what it brings into my life. So I encourage you to dip your toe into that stream too. You never know where it will take you.

‘Celebration’, Oil on canvas
‘Segments’, Oil on linen panel

The Inside Story ~ Molly Clark

“How long does it take you to do one like this?” The technical answer varies. Some works flow and others challenge you to spend more time. People are genuinely curious, and their inquiry sincere, so I hesitate to answer “all my life for fear of it sounding like a canned, flippant answer. But there is authenticity in the “all my life” response. Making art, trying various media and methods, has always been in my life. 

After years of painting with colour I’ve started to make art with graphite. On a cradled panel, the drawings have a rustic modern feel, my favourite style of decor. I’m visually drawn to contrasty black and white images. And inside all of that, I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m intrigued by the concepts of paradox and conundrum, polarity and choice. Is it possible that these contrasty thoughts running in the background influence what goes onto the panels?

Artists’ Workshop News

Opening today at the QEII Art Gallery at Government House, Regina is the show ‘Bridging’, featuring many of the members of Artists’ Workshop. We envisioned this theme as follows:

Bridging is a way to diminish our differences and maximize our connections. Sharing art from the heart helps span life’s gaps – in time, space and understanding. As we build bridges, we shift perspectives, strengthen relationships, and shape community.

In this collection of paintings created by members of Saskatoon’s Artists’ Workshop, the bridging theme is interpreted in a myriad of ways. Each piece is accompanied by a description sharing how the artists connect the works to the concept of bridging.

The show is inspired by a wide range of subjects: from streetscapes to natural landscapes, city and country life, flora and fauna, the change of seasons, the passage of time, and of course bridges in their many forms and settings.

You’ll find works created in a wide range of media including: oils, acrylics, watercolours, pastels, graphite, ink, collage, and fibre. This diversity in form of expression is one of the hallmarks of the Artists’ Workshop which is celebrating its 30th anniversary year in 2019-20.

Members of the group are selected through a juried process that requires a high level of skill, a track record of success, and a strong commitment to collegiality in the practice of art.

The gallery, at 4607 Dewdney Ave, Regina, is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday, 9 AM to 4 PM.

If you are in the Regina area, please come and meet the artists at the reception, Saturday Oct. 26th, from 1:30 to 3:30. The show runs until January 12, 2020.

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In addition, we wish to inform you that Artists’ Workshop Saskatoon will not be having a November show and sale this year. Instead we will be focussing our creative growth and development over the winter months. We look forward to bringing you our best at the Annual Spring Show and Sale. Mark your calendars now for May 1, 2 and 3, 2020!

Bridging ~ Lorraine McGrath

It took me a while to see where the idea of bridging fit with my art. And then it came to me as I was working on a new painting, of a subject completely new to me. This subject presented itself to me because of new directions my life has been taking over the past year. A major life change presented an opportunity to realize something I’d often thought of, the chance to live back on the west coast. So I rented an apartment for a year to start with and have been going back and forth over the winter.

I grew up out there but have been away almost 50 years, so it has been a rediscovery of the old and the new. Seeing it from the viewpoint of art making is also new, and I have been inspired by the new/old landscape of the coast. Exploring new subjects which have caught my attention has renewed my imagination and exploration.

As part of these new changes, you will notice that I have also gone back to my original name of McGrath. So my way of seeing as a painter, a moving those visions to painting has been the bridge between my past life and the life I am now making for myself. The amazing support and love of my dear friends and family has made this transition possible and I am so grateful for them. So onward!

As a post script, the new subject I was working on is the painting here of the heron. I’ve not done any kind of animal or bird before, particularly in a landscape, and I have been quite pleased with my first attempt.

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Lorraine ig2-1.jpg

 

Art Toolkit Favourite ~ Molly Clark

What I listen to while I work is as important as any of my painting tools; it sets the tone for the work at hand. I remember how easily a set of landscape paintings came together while listening to Ian Tyson songs about the northern plains. Hearing author Stephen Jenkinson’s musings on heritage makes me think about a scene I’m painting and what it might have looked like generations ago. Creating art alongside an audiobook or podcast, learning while painting, killing two birds with one stone as they say, makes for productive days.

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Molly landscape.jpg

Molly rose.jpg

Spotlight On ~ Paige Mortensen

It is all about the texture. It is the texture in an object or scene that entices me. Creating a piece of art gives me the opportunity to spend more time with it, really getting to know the details.
 
One beautiful afternoon in the fall, after a day of painting with our Artists Workshop group I walked downtown and the light shining under the Broadway bridge was one of those moments to be thankful for.
 
My watercolour batik process is ideal for creating the illusion of texture and I am always excited to find new ways of expressing what I see. I work with wax and watercolour on paper building up layers as I go. I can only work from light to dark so the wax is used to preserve the colour that currently exists and more paint is applied to make it darker.  This layering process culminates in the darkest colours being added. At that point I use layers of newspaper to iron the wax off the piece and I can finally see the finished piece.
 Paige Mortensen - Light Under Broadway
Light Under Broadway 20 x 10” Watercolour Batik ©Paige Mortensen
 Paige Mortensen - Changing
Changing 18 x 24” Watercolour Batik  ©Paige Mortensen
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Seasons change and so do we…..

We have gathered back together at Grace Westminster Auditorium to begin our 26th year. Last April, we celebrated our 25th anniversary at our annual show. Here are a couple of photos of the group taken then.

April 2015

This was taken with all of us, except Eva, who wasn’t able to be there, a few days before our show.

dress up for show 2015

Just before our show opening, all dressed up. After the show, we all headed off to our summer break.

On May 30, our dear Lou passed away. One of Saskatoon’s best known artists, Lou was one of the original group members and was happily part of our anniversary show. Even though over the years she had faced a number of health challenges, she faced them with her usual grace, gentleness and humour.

Lou in garden 2013

Lou sketching in the garden

Then, unexpectedly on August 27, our dear Valerie Borycki passed away after a very brief illness. We are still finding it hard that she won’t come bursting through the door, with stories to endlessly entertain us. Eleanore Romanow wrote a limerick that was read at Val’s memorial:

A Limerick for Val Borycki

There once was a lady named Val,
She was an extraordinary gal,
With dazzling red hair
And a wardrobe with flair,
She was a loving and generous pal.

Now our Val had an interesting life,
Not free from the occasional strife,
Believing ‘Come what may’
She enjoyed every day,
Colours bursting, from both brush and knife.

Some people just light up a room,
And wash away otherwise gloom,
We could count on our girl
With a swish and a swirl
To deliver her own va-va-voom.

Our beautiful spirit has fled,
And all cares of the world are shed.
She just slipped away,
On a late August day,
Not a good-bye word to be said.

We are here to honour our friend,
Who sparkled right to the end!
Although we have wept,
Your memory we’ve kept
With all of the love that we send.

So farewell dear Valerie – we will all miss you very much.
Your gal pals at Artists’ Workshop.

valborycki2015

We will miss both of these talented, generous bright spirits so much.

And we have had one more of our group decide to move to new ventures, after 25 years with the group. Karen Maguire is joining the Studio on 20th. We will miss Karen’s great style, humour and enthusiasm and wish her the best in her new studio.

We reflect back on our lovely friends, and now look forward to the year of art to come.

We welcome two new members at this time, Bobbi Clackson-Walker and Paige Mortensen. Bobbi is an exciting mixed media artist, and Paige is expanding our horizons with her unique watercolour batik work.

We have some new plans for the fall, and we will keep you posted with some news very shortly. This includes a new Facebook page, and a special November pre-Christmas sale at a gallery location in Saskatoon. Check back soon for details.

See you soon!