Official public opening reception July 16th in Partners Hall at the Algonquin Theatre

Friday, June 10, 2011


I absolutely love Spring. It is so fresh with new growth and bursting out all over. My most favourite part of Spring is hearing spring peepers in the marshes. I have fond memories of growing up on the doorstep of Algonquin Park at my parents resort on the Oxtongue River. Every Spring the Oxtongue River would rise and spill over into the marsh at the bottom of the hill. I would go down with a jar and catch bugs,water spiders and pollywogs for closer inspection. Of course my little boots weren't high enough but I didn't care as I plodded through up to my waist looking for signs of life. The smell of wet marshland, the mist rolling in off the river and hovering over the marsh in a blue hazy cloud, together with the constant chorus created by the spring peepers was sheer heaven to me. At night I would hear the roar of Ragged Falls in the distance lulling me off to sleep.

It is with this backdrop of firsthand knowledge and experience that I created Spring Peeper Heaven from memory. I had no idea what the criteria was for the annual Muskoka Arts and Crafts Spring Members Show in 2009, I simply just wanted to paint what made me think of Spring. I barely left myself time to paint it before the show but I squeezed in some time late at night after my day job. I took it down to the show not really thinking anything more about it, and went on with my volunteer duties to help with food and serving during opening night.

Much to my surprise I was called out of the kitchen to stay handy during awards presentations. I was standing there totally enjoying the people and watching the projection screen when all of a sudden up pops my image of Spring Peeper Heaven. I gasped in shock and was lost for words. What was my image doing up there?? Then my name was mentioned and I found myself up at the podium receiving my award for the Muskoka Heritage Foundation award. How cool was that!!

I still remember my son Jon looking at me completely puzzled when I started the painting. He walked by me in the hallway, stopped and said.."uh Mum..what on earth are you doing"? You see I was searching out the canvas with white paint on my brush, feeling out the lay of the land, the curve in the river, and the meandering flow of water through the marsh all from my memory. I said, just a second. I turned off the lights, and all of a sudden he could see what I was talking about. The brush strokes carved the texture of the canvas into divisions of space, leaving behind a raised surface that created the contrast of light and shadow that was visible even in low light. He was amazed. I responded that NOW I'm ready for colour. I went on to finish the painting, enjoying the memories and flood of emotions.

REAL painting really begins when it has absolutely nothing to do with technique or tricks, but everything to do with heart and soul. I've learned through my life so far to just let it out and be free to respond with the gift I have been given, and to be a conduit for all that I am thankful for, and eflecting back the joy I have inside and the light that will never go out.


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