Category Archives: Canvas (Paintings)

New oil paintings, mini lessons, my studio, art news, life as a Canadian visual artist

Alert! Mini Portrait of a Big Bear


Polar Bear Profile Portrait "Alert" . 8" x 8" oil painting on canvas. © Christine Montague

“Alert”  is the fourth oil painting in a new series of miniature polar bear portraits.  Meet Inukshuk, the big male bear in the Toronto Zoo.  He’s quite the character . I am familiarizing myself with these wonderful bears in preparation for working further on the fantasy  series “Polar Bear Dreams”. See the first painting of the series here.     

 Canada has put Polar Bears on  a “Special Concern” list. Here is the Toronto Star article http://bit.ly/s9FZGu 

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Remembrance Day: It’s Not Black & White. Red Poppies, Art & Stories


"It's Not Black & White" Canadian Remembrance Day photo & poppy Copyright Christine Montague

          The 24th Ottawa War Memorial 
 
On November 11, 2010, shortly before 11 a.m., I stood alone at the cenotaph near my countryside artist studio. Thousands of miles away, my first-born son  was stationed  in a FOB, i.e. a forward operating base in Afghanistan. He had been gone for months, and still had a couple of months yet to serve in his extended tour.

I have always observed Remembrance Day,  but never gave it deep thought. In school, I liked to draw poppies and was often the one chosen to recite “In Flanders Field” at assembly. I appreciated that my children’s elementary schools put great effort into their Remembrance Day ceremonies, and sometimes I helped. But other than that?

Well, my age is showing. When I was born, in the dawn before internet and satellite tv, heck, colour tv would have been good, anecdotes about any war were ancient history to me.  You might as well have been talking about ancient Egyptians (except they were cooler).

When I was an older teenager, my mom  revealed to me, like a guilty secret, instead of the sad story it was, that she had been married before. Her husband, who she had adored, had been killed in WW2 and was buried somewhere in France.  Even though this was obviously a pivotal event in my mother’s life, my teenage brain saw this as a tragic, romantic tale of love, not a story about war.  Still, my mom was old , and  this was all before my time, so even that  story got filed right along those of my WW1 & WW2 veteran family members.

But oh, what a difference  30 years and a truckload of hindsight makes.

My children are now at the age that my grandparents, parents, and their siblings were when they had their wartime experiences.   I can better imagine my predecessors as young people, now that I have a houseful of them myself. Much easier now to imagine them enlisting for idealistic adventure.  Much sadder to imagine the danger,  loneliness, sorrow, exhaustion, terror, and trauma they faced thousands of miles from home.

Now the stories make more sense. Stories of  obedience, endurance and perseverance, and of camaraderie, compassion, and bravery. And if they were lucky to come home, and not all my family members were, they brought secrets, war wounds and, sometimes, a war bride.

Oh, WW1, WW2, Afghanistan.

That is what I thought of as I stood, now joined by a few others, at that cenotaph that day. I snapped a photo of the cenotaph with my phone,  e-mailed the pic to my son telling him I loved him with all my heart, and that the good folk at the cenotaph wished him well.

To my amazement, he answered me right back.

War is the blackest foolishness, but iPhones, black or white, are mighty handy in wartime.

If you would like to send a Christmas wish to those military still serving overseas, click http://www.sears.ca/custom-content/operation-wish?extid=050211_ca_Vanity_EN_Unknown_Operationwish

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Blue Sky in Cold Wax Art


3 x 4" cold wax & oil paint on wood panel. Williams Mill yellow mill copyright Christine Montague

Every once in a while I  experiment with cold wax and oil paint.  So when I had some spare time a couple of Saturdays ago,  I created these little “Yellow Mill” blocks.  I painted (squigeed, is more like it)  them en plein air, except I was working from the comfort of my Williams Mill Stone Building studio. This is the view from my studio window. The Yellow Mill (an 1850’s lumber mill by the Credit River) was freshly painted this summer  (an enormous task as this is one big building) and its yellow clapboard now glows against the bright blue sky. The sky really is more blue here at the Williams Mill. It ‘s gotta be all that “blue sky” thinking we do. lol

I made four of these cold wax panels. One sold before I had even signed it, and I received commissions to do two more.  All this before they have even appeared in public  in  the “Big Show, Small Works” art exhibition & sale  at the Williams Mill Gallery, (along with my chipmunk panels & Scotsdale Farm paintings) opening Nov. 9th, 2011. They are happy little paintings, aren’t they?

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Big Show, Small Works & Chipmunks


Chipmunk painting on wood panel series copyright Christine Montague 2011

As one of the professional visual artists at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre, I take part in the annual Christmas Big Show, Small Works show & sale, Nov. 9 – Dec. 24., in the Williams Mill Gallery.

Every year I create a themed small painting series specifically for this show. The first year, the koi paintings on 3″x5″ wood blocks were popular. Last Christmas, I sold abstract landscapes in cold wax and oil paint on wood panels. This year, my muses are the chipmunks of the Williams Mill gardens. An aspect of this series that remains consistent with my usual work? Even though the wood panels are small (8″ x 10″) the chipmunks painted on them are larger than life!

Please scroll down for the invitation below. I hope you can attend this holiday art show, perfect for shopping for unique one-of-a-kind fine art gifts & collectibles.  As well as my paintings, there will be other watercolour, acrylic & oil paintings, jewelry, blown glass, ceramics, fibre art & more in the Williams Mill Gallery. Be sure to drop by my studio in the Stone Building behind the gallery. Gallery hours: Wed. – Sun. 12 – 5 p.m. My studio hours: Fridays, Saturdays 12-5 p.m. Saturday Nov. 19th 1-4 p.m.  Opening Celebration with light refreshments

Invitation to new exhibition. Big Show, Small Art. Williams Mill Gallery Art Show. 2011

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New Art: Polar Bear Dreams Swimming in the Night


Swimming in the Night. Polar bear Dreams Series. Copyright Christine Montague 2011

In my new oil painting, Swimming in the Night, a polar bear swims among the stars. The aurora borealis (northern lights) glows in the sky beyond. The wistful feelings and the ambiguity of water and sky in my  Lake Dreams Series inspired this painting’s mood and story.

Recently, I made the journey to the  Toronto Zoo for one last look at the elephants before they’re sent away. (Read that story here). But what’s a trip to the zoo without a visit to the polar bears?  I love polar bears, an intelligent, beautiful, and mighty creature.

Only one bear was out that day. As she swam idly in the pool below me,  she watched me out of  the corner of her eye.

In Swimming in the Night, the water my Toronto Zoo polar bear swims in becomes the night sky. Reflected light and water ripples become the northern lights and stars. A portrait of a very real bear (Thank you, Toronto Zoo polar bear), this oil painting is also a sad testimony that this spirit in the sky may someday be all we have left of this endangered species.

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Canoes in Fog & Other Lake Dreams


Canoes in Fog. Oil painting by Christine Montague http://www.christinemontague.com

“Canoes in Fog’ a 24′ x 48″ oil painting, is the latest  in the Lake Dreams Series, my series of paintings of canoes &  water at the dock’s edge.

Torn between labeling the series Dreaming of Summer and Cottage Dreams I did some  “dream”  research online. A dream about a lake that has still water represents a reserve of inner peace and spiritual energy. Such a dream provides solace and  security, as well.

My longing for an end to the gloomy spring and for escape to a lake (any lake!) inspired these paintings.  It wasn’t the hot, noisy, splashy days by the water I craved. I dreamed of  those still and solitary moments at the water’s edge. Those moments alone on the dock, reflections of clouds and blue sky leaving me wondering which world is real. Or the quiet of early morning, before the others are awake. The mist or fog not yet cleared, and the world  dreamy and undemanding. Time to contentedly reflect and contemplate, the spirit replenished.  Yes, these are definitely Lake Dreams paintings.

But what about canoes and dreams? A canoe in a dream represents serenity, simplicity, and independence. I don’t know what six canoes overturned represents though. Normally in art, odd numbers of items, make for more interesting composition. Artistically this still applies to my work, as the overlapping canoes read as one shape. Squint and you’ll see what I mean. (See some other canoe paintings here here)

However, there are six of them. In dreams, “six” stands for co-operation, balance, tranquility, perfection, warmth, union, marriage, family and love. Mental, emotional and spiritual states are in harmony.

And the fog? Positive changes are afoot if the fog clears in the dream. In this painting, Canoes in Fog, the fog is lifting. The promise of clear day, with time spent on the water, lies ahead.

Fall is now officially here. I never did get away this summer, or was anywhere near a lake. These paintings, and  the paintings of “dreams” to come, will have to give the solace I need until next summer.

This winter, if you need solace, or a reminder that summer will return,  you are welcome to see what “Lake Dreams” are in my Williams Mill studio most Friday and Saturdays 12 – 5 p.m..

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Portrait 10 of a Ten Year Old. One Tenth of the Way There.


Portrait 10 of a Ten Year Old. One Tenth of the Way There..

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Now what? No. 9 of 100 Little Portraits Project


Just finished this new 6″ x 6″ portrait oil painting on canvas of a teen, “What Now.” (said as a statement not a question) just long ago today for me to snap an iPhone photo of it and post it!

Here it is http://wp.me/s1rNWY-68

Just a friendly note, the  link above simply takes you to my other WordPress art blog 100 Little Portraits Project http://100littleportraits.wordpress.com

 

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Cat Not Out of the Bag…Yet


New! The Hideaway. Big Cat Series. Original 20" x 20" oil painting copyright Christine Montague

Any one who has owned a cat, or even been around one for a while, knows that cats have a thing about bags. If a bag is open, the cat will do its best to make its home. Well, this seal point Rag doll cat, has set up house in a paper bag, his “cat cave”, if you will. He figures that if  he can’t see you, you can’t see him, and all is well with the world. From the safety of his trusty paper bag he will watch the world go by until he succumbs to a nap.

I finished this larger than life cat painting of a Seal Point Rag Doll cat in a bag, today. It is the latest in my series of big cat paintings. As you may have surmised, by “big cat”, I don’t mean tigers and lions (and bears, oh my). The reference is literal in meaning. Domestic cats painted big. Very big.

These oil paintings pay homage to the character (talk about character) of our feline friends, by the fact that we look up at the subject portrayed. But  the cat, himself?  He probably thinks that these paintings show us in our true light as something much, much smaller (see Who’s For Dinner?).

Whatever the case, this cat,  drying on the easel in my studio in the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre, is not yet ready to be out of the bag and on the wall.

 

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Night Canoes


Night Canoes. 24" x 48" oil painting copyright Christine Montague 2011

Night Canoes. Latest work drying in the studio! 24 inch tall by 48 inch wide oil painting on gallery canvas. Glowing in the moonlight these vessels are in limbo between yesterdays adventures and tomorrow’s excitement. I wonder what their masters are dreaming of? Where they were, what lies ahead or a jumbled story of both.

Please note: The colour isn’t quite correct in  this iphone shot.

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The 24th: Art & Legacy.


Oil painting. Youth climbs carefree on Ottawa War Memorial. The legacy of those who served. Copyright Christine Montague

In a short while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will pay a visit to The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial “The Response” in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Great War is a part of our shared history and with many of us still connected to a family history of relatives who fought, this striking memorial is a testament to all we have here in Canada now. When I painted this work of my son climbing on this striking memorial as a surprise gift for  his 18th birthday, little did I realize at the same time he had enlisted as a reservist. There are 23 larger than life figures on this dramatic statue and he is the 24th. His freedom symbolizes what these young soldiers fought and sacrificed for. The grandfather of a visitor to my Williams mill studio had been one of the models for this work. I wish I  had thought to ask her more questions, like his name, so it too, could live on.

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New Painting “To Valinor”


To Valinor. Summer Dreaming Series. 36" x 48" Oil painting copyright Christine Montague

Through the looking-glass of the lake, there is another world. Like  passage into Valinor, this indigo world patiently awaits your visit. Can you feel the stillness? The relief and solace from the difficult world beckons. It is time to go.

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Still Dreaming of Summer: Ghost Canoes


Dreaming of Summer some more. Ghost Canoes. 24" x 48" oil painting. Copyright Christine Montague. 2011

New painting drying in my studio at the Williams Mill in Halton Hills. It is the second oil painting in the Dreaming of Summer Series.  Night brings a surreal look to the canoes tucked away for the evening. There are 9 paintings planned for this series, but who know how many more will be dreamed of along the way.

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Dreaming of Summer (or a cottage would be nice)


Dreaming of Summer. 48" x 36" oil painting. Copyright Christine Montague

Like many places across Canada, the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) hasn’t been having the greatest weather. A lot of dull skies and rain. My secret (well, not so secret)  longing to own a cottage with which to enjoy nice weather inspired this 48″ high by 36″ wide oil painting – still wet on the easel.

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One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other


"Who's For Dinner" Original cat portrait oil painting copyright Christine Montague 2011

The large 48″ x 48″ cat painting seen at the top of the photograph is an original oil & oil stick painting entitled “Who’s For Dinner?!

This graphic painting with a bit of dark humour to it,  has received so much  positive attention from visitors to my Williams Mill studio in Halton Hills that I am now offering a giclee reproduction on canvas print of it.

The original painting “Who’s For Dinner” is 48″ x 48″ . It is a black, silver & white oil stick and oil painting on gallery mount canvas. The edges are painted black. Please feel free to contact me about the original painting’s price.

There are two sizes of giclee.

36″ x 36″ giclee on canvas is at the introductory price of $300 Cdn + HST.  The  slightly metallic silver oil paint looses this metallic sheen in the reproduction, but as you can see above, the two are remarkably similar. The print is also on gallery mount canvas and the edges are black. Only for the original will be 48″ x 48″.

12″ x 12″ giclee on canvas is at the introductory price of $79 +HST. It is also on a gallery mount canvas.

Perhaps, the poor Golden Lab “Guilty”,  should be “Concerned”.

What do you think?

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What the Cat Saw


Cat paintings Copyright Christine Montague 2011. Dragonfly Arts on Broadway, Orangeville, Ontario

“What the Cat Saw”,  an exhibition of 13 cat art works, is on display at the Dragon Fly Arts on Broadway Gallery in Orangeville, Ontario, until the morning of May 24th, 2011. The majority of the art work are oil paintings but there is  also an original lithograph.  You can see part of the black and white original litho “yes?!”  in the bottom right of the photo  above.

What’s a lithograph you ask? Although the term lithography is often used in reference to posters or other fine art reproductions, that is NOT what this is. This type of lithography refers to an original work of art, the way an original etching or serigraph is. I drew this cat in reverse on a big piece of limestone that had to be sanded perfectly flat.  The drawing was then etched on the stone, and special lithography black ink was rolled over it. Arches paper I had torn to size was placed on top of the inked image, a cover felt on top of that and then the whole thing was run through a press, ONCE.  Details, texture and values are achieved through the accurate etching, the quality of the drawing on the stone, and the careful inking. I did this 13 times to achieve an edition of 13. The drawing on the stone was then ground off. The resulting 13 prints are the art.

It was great fun to set up in the window of the Dragonfly Gallery, a first for me. Why the Dragonfly Gallery? Quite a few reasons actually. I don’t mind selling amongst potters and jewellers at all. At the Williams Mill, I am quite accustomed to working alongside professionals who work in all media. The Dragonfly is a mini Mill type gallery with studios at the back.  A bigger reason through is Joan Hope, the owner of Dragonfly. She LOVES her artists. She is proud of them,  can talk knowledgeably about what they do and she looks out for them.  As well, she values her customers and works hard at knowing what they want!  In fact, she  won the the 2010 Hills of Headwaters “Best Customer Service Experience “. Plus, many local hardworking, creative artists I know and admire  sell out of the Dragonfly. So, count me in!

As the work went up in the window, many a passerby would stop, watch, and comment, too. A young man enquired about the 5 foot high “Silver Light” painting, and the slightly smaller “Blue Eyes Inside”. After a pleasant conversion about my art, we discovered, he was the great nephew of the iconic Joyce Wieland, often regarded as Canada’s foremost female artist and the late wife of  the equally important artist Michael Snow. It was a long time ago, but when I did lithography (the lithograph Yes?! is an earlier art work), I did a residency at St Michael’s Workshop in Newfoundland. At that time it was located in a small village about 30 minutes outside of St. John’s. The previous tenant who I had just missed?  Joyce Wieland.  When I left, if I could have stayed just a few hours more I would have had the privilege of meeting Christopher Pratt and his then Wife Mary Pratt. How great would that have been!

Oh, life and its mysteries! lol

And speaking of mysteries.. if you would like to solve the mystery of  “What the Cat Saw” visit Dragonfly Arts on Broadway until the morning of May 24th.

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Little portrait painting #6


6" x 6" profile oil painting copyright Christine Montague 2011

Sold.  Above is portrait #6 completed March 18th, 2011.  Started number #7 today. Only ninety-three and a half 6″ x 6″ portraits to go for my “100 Little Portraits” project.

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100 Little Portrait Paintings Begins


Baby Portrait Painting Copyright Christine Montague 2011

6" x 6" baby portrait oil painting copyright Christine Montague 2011

Last fall, I created a 6″ x 6″ cold wax portrait oil painting in an inspiring cold wax workshop with Janice Mason Steeves. The little monochromatic portrait received a lot of attention in class, on my blog and in the studio. At Christmas I was commissioned to paint a 6″ x 6″  Siamese cat portrait oil painting. Not only did I enjoy creating this little portrait, it was surprising what a little treasure a portrait this size is. So for the sheer joy of it I decided I will paint 100 6″ x 6″ portraits over the next few months. I have other painting commitments so I won’t be following the theme other artists have followed, for e.g. 100 portraits in 100 days, but I hope you’ll keep checking back to see what’s new. Better yet, subscribe to my blog and those portraits will arrive in your mailbox!

Meanwhile, I have other exciting news. My concept for the Salmon Run Project was accepted. This show opens June 9th, Art Gallery of Mississauga.  As soon as I pick up my “salmon” I’ll start posting on that art project, too. Stay tuna! lol

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Art & Healthy Eating – Recipe for a Good Life


Recipe For a Good Life. Cook book by Paulette Murphy & Dawn Friesen

I have the good fortune to have the friendship of talented artist & art leader, Paulette Murphy.  Because of  her, I had the unique & rewarding experience to help create Beaux-Arts Brampton Artists Co-operative  – a both feet plunge, steep learning curve dive into the world of fine art. Below is a repeat of what I wrote for the Williams Mill Artist Blog http://www.williamsmill.blogspot.com

Recipe for a Good Life” is a beautiful looking cook book as well a source of delicious, nutritious recipes prepared using the key ingredients thought to combat cancer. Paulette Murphy, an award-winning visual artist, and recipient of Brampton’s “Artist of the Year Award” is the founder and visionary behind the successful Beaux – Arts Brampton Artists Co-operative Dawn Friesen is her friend, a fellow artist, and graphic artist working in Brampton.

Passionate about good health, proper eating, and art, as well as having a personal connection to cancer, the two artists conceived of a book combining this insight. They put a call out to their large network of artist friends for  art work and favourite recipes using the anti-carcinogen ingredients  .
The art work of three Williams Mill artists – Christine Montague (me!) , Sheri Tenaglia & Eileen Millen –  are included in this book. My mom’s fish bake recipe is also in the book. This attractive book is ideal for art lovers, foodies, and those in search of a yummy and nutritious recipe.
All recipes have been tested by a nutritionist.
Only $25 – a portion of which goes to charity.
You can see and buy this terrific cooking & art book in Sheri Tenaglia‘s studio in the Yellow Mill, Williams Mill.
OR scroll down for some other locations.
Pastel drawing Soy Beans by
Christine Montague, Williams Mill artist
Directly through Potluck Projects c/o Paulette Murphy
Downtown Brampton area, call for address and an appointment 905-457-0058
The book is available from any bookstore. If you can’t find it on the shelf, ask the sales person to order by the ISBN # 978-1-77067-262-8
Chinguacousy Wellspring Centre
5 Inspiration Way, Brampton, ON
905-792-6480
Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday; 9 am – 12 noon on Saturday
Prefer to purchase online? Go to –
www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/ Located in both the art and the cooking sections. FYI  There is no personal connection between  Dawn Friesen, the author, and Friesen Press.

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heARTs & Cold Wax Oil Painting


Heart Rising. Cold wax on wood copyright Christine Montague

Heart Rising. Cold wax on wood copyright Christine Montague

It has been a while since my last adventure with cold wax and oil painting (Read more about it here).

Experiments that I had begun since that time didn’t seem to set.  I wondered if I had received the wrong Dorland’s wax product, or if I used too much oil paint in my ratio of wax to pigment. But as it turned out,  I had my work too textured, and the under layers could not dry. When I shaved off the thicker parts the drying process began.

So, the other day,  I decided I  would put some left over paint to good use and mix in some wax. There was enough for one little small panel. But, like trying to eat one just one peanut , next thing I  knew – I had pretty well used up my little stockpile of prepared wood panels (i.e.panels were gessoed, sanded, & their sides masked).  A whole series of pink, white & silver of heart & Valentine’s Day inspired works lay drying in the studio – hearts emerging from the clouds, floating over the falls (“falling in love” get it?), hearts rising. A couple of bouquets too.

As the cold wax process uses a lot of oil paint – the cost of  artist quality Winsor & Newton oil paints does limit how much I can afford to experiment. With Valentine’s Day in mind,  I added Permanent Rose (what better colour for true love), and Silver to the Dorland’s cold wax.

First I dolloped the oil and wax mixture on the panels with a palette knife, then used the Wilton Dough Scraper spread and smoothed it over the surface. I also used the scraper to remove and push the wax mixture to create my texture, and values. The light pink is the stain from removed wax. The darker pink is where the wax is thicker and smooth.

A week later, some of the areas still weren’t setting fast enough for my liking. Out came the palette knife to remove areas too thick. I accidentally scratched a piece with the  sanding paper I was using to clean up the back of the work. Hmmm. I liked the way that looked, and next thing I knew, I was dramatically changing some of the 3″ x 4″ blocks by  incorporating sanded away texture. Isn’t that what experimenting is all about?

Just some of Cold wax "Heart" Collection Copyright Christine Montague

Cold wax painting. Permanent Rose Bouquet

Below you see the Wilton Dough Scraper I bought at the Janice Mason Steeves cold wax workshop.

Winton Dough scraper. Tool for Cold wax. Christine Montague

Wilton Dough scraper. Tool for Cold wax. Christine Montague

Dough scraper wipes off wax to give clean edge & smooth surface. C. Montague

Emerging Heart. Cold wax. Copyright Christine Montague

Emerging Heart. Cold wax. Copyright Christine Montague

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