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MY PAINTING PROCESS AND OTHER THINGS:
As is always the case, January's weather this year alternates between cold bright sunny days when the snow squeaks underfoot and miserably grey days of freezing rain, snow fog, whiteouts and storms.
The first sort are energizing, invigorating and full of hope.These are the kind of days I love and they are what makes winter my second favourite season. I clean and organize my studio, take inventory, make lists, make plans, make drawings and paintings.
The second sort lend themselves to sitting by the fire, perusing old sketchbooks and journals, dreaming and recalling fond memories and, alas, worrying and despairing over THE FERN. Many of you who have visited our home have seen the "Monkey Tail Fern" as it was known in our childhood home. More commonly called "Rabbit's Foot Fern", this particular specimen is about 50 years old. I inherited it from my mother and every January since it came to live with us, it begins a frenzy of fern shedding and causes me to worry that I have, at last, killed it. Then I try to remind myself that it does this every year and that some botanists believe this type of fern ( Davillia fejeensis ) predates the dinosaur! Surely if the species has survived this long it can survive life in the Garrington household. Each year when the early spring days lengthen it shoots out lots of lovely new fronds and I breathe a sigh of relief.
In a similar way each time I paint sooner or later I arrive at a place of despair where everything seems wrong and ugly. I need to remind myself just to keep going, to reject the impulse to rip it up and toss it in the garbage, to listen more attentively to what it is trying to tell me. The conversation requires time, patience and above all hope. Like many other endeavours painting needs faith that a good outcome is within reach.
In case you are filling in your calendars for 2018, here are a few of the places I will be showing my paintings this year. As the dates get closer, I will provide you with more detailed information in my newsletters.
UPCOMING EVENTS 2018
Brush and Palette Show: April 5, 6, 7
London Artists" Studio Tour: April 20, 21, 22
Stratford Studio Tour (Spring) May 19, 20 21
Stratford Studio Tour ( Fall ) Sept. 22, 23
Gallery Painting Group Show: Oct. 18, 19 20
Wishing you the very best of the season and happiness in 2018.
Merry Christmas from the orange cat, Merlin, my husband, Brian and me.
Our first snowfall, cold weather, death of my trusty old car, impatiently waiting for its replacement, Remembrance Day, returning to Eastern Standard time, Christmas Bazaars and Open Houses and Art Shows abounding; November is an exciting and busy month , if occasionally bittersweet. I love the cold weather and its accompanying change of wardrobe and menus, the increased activity at our bird feeders, the building excitement of Christmas preparations, but I dread the impending scary driving, scraping windshields, and freezing rain that winter brings.
Here in my studio I have been getting work ready for Christmas shows at Westland Gallery (London) and Illumine Gallery ( St. Thomas). Both galleries will have my "tablescapes" available but in different formats and sizes. Westland's work is watercolour mounted on cradled board while Illumine will feature smaller paintings framed shadow box style. Any of these would make a wonderful gift for someone special on your list or a lovely indulgence for yourself, should you so desire. For more information about the shows go to Upcoming Events on my website, www.susangarrington.com .
I have been continuing to explore the world of linocut prints and am enjoying the technique very much. I am also planning and painting watercolours in preparation for the 2018 Spring Shows. I am trying out a few new ( to me ) colour palettes and subject matter as well as continuing with those I have been exploring over the past three years.
As always, my studio is open by appointment. Thank you for your continuing support. I hope that the remainder of your November is more sweet than bitter.
Belated Happy Thanksgiving to you!
There are so many things I have to be thankful about including those of you who have sent emails or approached me in person to let me know that you enjoy receiving this newsletter. I am grateful too, for the positive remarks you have made about my work and for those who have paid me the ultimate compliment of taking one of my paintings home. I am thankful as well for the opportunities I have been given to exhibit my work this year. These opportunities have allowed me to make new friends and clients.
The chance, once again, to experience my favourite season in Canada’s first and oldest Provincial Park, Algonquin, is high on my list of things for which to be grateful! My husband, Brian, and I spent several days in the park and met people from all over the world who had travelled here to enjoy Fall in Algonquin. We stayed at a lodge, a relaxing place in a great location. Our days were spent sauntering down trails ( and up, let’s not forget up, where sauntered was sometimes replaced with struggled!) It was so much fun to follow the trail markers, take photos, and while Brian occasionally fished, I sketched.
I suspect that there will be some landscapes developing in my studio in the not too distant future.
Just before we left home for Algonquin I received an email informing me that my painting, Windflowers, was juried into the Colour and Form Society’s Open Juried Exhibition. It takes place at The Etobicoke Civic Centre Art Gallery from November 1st to 29th, with the Reception taking place on November 5th from 2 to 4 pm. I am both happy and honoured to have had my work selected.
I am exhibiting three paintings at the Byron Memorial Library with the Gallery Painting Group from October 19th to 21st. Check the Upcoming Events page on my website for times and details.
I hope that you have had a chance to savour this wonderful season, to gaze at colourful trees, to saunter along a leaf covered path, to breathe in the intoxicating scents of Autumn and perhaps to bid farewell to flocks of geese overhead.
As always, thank you for your interest in my work and for your support. They are both appreciated more than I can express.
You may wish to save reading this until you can pour yourself a cup of coffee or a nice cup of tea or beverage of your choice and put your feet up. I apologize for such a long newsletter this month but it seems I have a lot to say.
We spent the last week of the summer at a cottage in Kincardine with our grandson. (Now I know summer isn't yet officially over quite yet, but for me, as soon as school starts summer ends.) While the weather wasn't exactly what you would call beach weather, with the exception of a day or two, it was perfect for walking along the beach gathering rocks and fossils, fishing, playing UNO, reading and sketching. Evenings were spent laughing and enjoying each other's company and so summer came to an end in a delightful way and we could look forward to Fall with lots of good summer memories to savour.
I wonder if any of you think of summer as the beginning of a new year as I do? I have spent the majority of my life in schools either as a student or a teacher and so September always seems like a new beginning. Maybe that's one of the reasons I love Fall so much. It is a chance to begin again, to be better this time around. It is filled with limitless possibilities and chances to make new friends and to reconnect with old ones, to learn new skills and to practise and hone those previously learned, to visit with former teachers and to adjust to new ones. It is an intoxicating and exciting time and just a little scary.
This September I am taking a print making class, something both new and a little scary.
I went to an Opening ar Shane Norrie"s Contemporary Gallery in Stratford ( www.sncgallery.com ). A delightful show and an opportunity to chat with Shane and with Mary Philpott. Shane's paintings are magical and Mary's sculptures captivated me once again. This time one followed me home!
I was excited to learn that one of my watercolours was juried into the Annual Exhibition at St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre. (www.stepac.ca ) The exhibition takes place from September 2 to October 21 with an Artists Reception on Saturday September 30th from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. I hope you get a chance to see the exhibition or to attend the reception.
I delivered new work to Art And Soul in Port Stanley last week. Stop in for some delicious food and great art the next time you visit Port Stanley.
I am continuing to enjoy working on the little square watercolours I mentioned in my last newsletter. I have been so encouraged by the response to them that I am considering doing some larger pieces in a similar style and format.
Breakfast In The Garden
I am looking forward to the rest of Fall and to a trip to Algonquin Park with Brian in October.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your ongoing support and encouragement. It is appreciated so much. I hope you have a wonderful Fall filled with excitement, things to look forward to, limitless possibility and that you try something new that's just a little scary.
Up until very recently my husband, Brian has been sidelined from the golf course because of an injury sustained in a fall this past winter. My mom used to say, " it's an ill wind that blows no good", and this unfortunate state of affairs has allowed us to spend time together exploring the southwestern Ontario countryside, sometimes going in new directions on previously unknown backroads and sometimes revisiting favourite places and occasionally getting temporarily lost. We've become the Gallivanting Garringtons! It's been great fun for us both and inspirational for me.
When not gallivanting with Brian I've been in my studio and it has been a productive time. I've completed a few large floral paintings and have headed off in a new direction, painting small 20 x 20 cm still life tablescapes.
As I have worked and played the studio has become progressively less and less organized, less and less tidy. Even the resident art critic and studio assistant, Merlin, is reluctant to join me there. When I look around I remember a quote I read somewhere, " One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries". So far all I have discovered is that I apparently thrive in chaos, at least for a while.
One of the nicest surprising discoveries to happen this summer was a message I received from a purchaser of one of the paintings at Art and Soul in Port Stanley who was thrilled with her purchase and wrote to tell me that it was her first piece of original art and that she would be hanging it in her new apartment soon. Delightful!
I am looking forward to taking a print making course this fall, and am excited by the prospect of experimenting with both a new direction and a new medium.
I hope that you are enjoying these last days of summer and have had the opportunity to explore some new directions yourself or to make some surprising discoveries.
Like many of you I imagine, I like to begin my day drinking coffee in our garden when the weather allows. A few days ago I was joined by monarch butterflies who had been attracted by the scent of our milkweed flowers. We have been growing milkweed in our garden for many years now, beginning as a way to have materials close at hand for my grade seven and eight students to sketch. Fall is a busy time for teachers and so it was very convenient for me to harvest milkweed pods in our backyard rather than scouring the countryside looking for them. (The next time we meet, ask me to tell you the story of milkweed pods in my car and the ensuing "snowstorm"). Before growing these plants, I had no idea how pretty and wonderfully fragrant their flowers were.
Their fragrance fills the garden and that started me thinking about other plants that do the same and how I measure the garden's seasons by scent. Narcissus, Lily of the Valley, Lilac, Rugosa Roses, Milkweed ... each fill our garden with their perfume while reminding me that the seasons are passing. While my sketches, paintings and photos can bring back spring and summer visions during our long winters, nothing but imagination can bring back the garden's scents.
I am busy painting like a mad thing in preparation for some upcoming opportunities which I will share in a later newsletter.
In the meantime have a wonderful summer and store up memories, visions and scents for the long winter months, and if you happen to be in Port Stanley, don't forget to stop into Art and Soul for a treat, a coffee and to view artwork by several artists, including me.
It was such a fabulous Spring with the cool wet weather allowing the Spring gardens and woodlands to last long enough to inspire my work! As well, the Spring Studio Tours in both London and Stratford were well attended and very successful. Thank you to all who visited, purchased work, commissioned paintings and gave me such heartfelt and positive feedback. I appreciate it all very much.
My painting, Afternnoon In Killbear, was accepted into the Central Ontario Art Association's juried show and won the Bea Hogan Best Watercolour Award! I am thrilled. The show continues until July 15th at The Art Gallery of Hamilton.
If you are in Port Stanley over the summer you should stop by Art and Soul on Bridge Street. They have wonderful food and fabulous exhibit of paintings including some of mine. There is a free municipal parking lot behind the shop.
The Gallery Painting Group is celebrating Canada's 150th Anniversary with a show at The Arts Project. My painting, As Close To Always, will be there. If you are wondering about the title you will need to visit the show and read the accompanying story that goes with it! Hope to see you at the opening reception.
I have recently updated my website so be sure to visit and have a look.
I am sending you this coupon to express my gratitude both for signing up to receive this newsletter and for reading it each month. I enjoy your responses and look forward to hearing from you.
When I began this newsletter, on Feb. 22, it was 17 degrees outside and I was working outside on my patio. Today winter has returned and so I am here warm and cozy in my studio.
If you are attending the play, Colony of Unrequited Dreams, at the Grand Theatre in London ( March 21 to April 8 ) be sure to go to the fourth floor to see London Studio Tour's display of art by Kevin Bice, Annemarie Plint and me. The paintings are all Newfoundland themed as is the play. All three of us will be at the Opening, so if you are there, stop by for a visit. Studio Tour Booklets will be available.
I hope you stop by my studio, number 3 on the map, during this year's tour! Maps and information are available in the booklet which you can find at Museum London, Library Branches, local galleries and shops and from participating artists. The information is included on our website at www.londonstudiotour.ca . We are on Facebook and Instagram too.
Next month I will provide details about the Stratford Studio Tour, where I have been invited to show my work as a guest artist.