"Before the Summer 2023"

By: Martha Stroud

Volume 18, Issue 4, April 2023

[Editor's note: For several seasons, Martha Stroud has shared the news about the Before the Summer Fine Art Show and Sale that takes place in Gananoque. Once again, we are pleased to introduce these artists.]

Before the Summer Fine Art Show and Sale will be back May 19, 20, and 21 at the Firehall Theatre, 185 South Street, in Gananoque. Come and party on Friday evening from 6 to 9 pm, with Evening Edition providing the music and a cash bar, visit Saturday from 10 to 5, or Sunday from 10 to 4. We have both exciting new artists and returning favourite artists. Some of the new artists are profiled below, but to see everyone who will be there and their work, visit www.beforethesummer.com. We are hoping for lovely spring weather – a perfect chance to visit Gananoque and see some great art! Here are some of the artists who are new to the show . . .

Alyn Stirk

Artist Alyn Stirk

Alyn Stirk has enjoyed a lifelong interest in art. He is a graduate of the original Limestone District School Board Creative Arts Focus Program, founded by Karen Peperkorn. Alyn has been a practicing artist for over 25 years. His work is often surreal, abstract, and exploratory, combining watercolours, acrylics, and acrylic inks. In more recent years, Alyn has begun to incorporate digital works into his repertoire, manipulating his own original acrylic images to create new digital images. (One door closes – another door opens.) Nothing is ever finished until it has become its own entity, a philosophy Alyn often applies to his works and in life. When he is not creating art, Alyn lives in Kingston, ON, with his longtime partner Andrea and their two cats/art critics Gizmo & HairE.

Carolyn Laidley Arn

Artist Carolyn Laidley

Carolyn Laidley Arn says, "I work on multiple pieces at the same time, in short bursts, whimsical, fun, uninhibited sessions without a plan or timeline, and endeavour to make fresh, fun, meaningful work that is authentically “ME.” Many pieces begin by collaging mono prints created using my own hand carved lino prints or stencils. Initially, I lay the foundation, making bold marks and adding shapes, and removing others, with each action requiring a reaction on the next mark. Through many play sessions using acrylic, spray paint, stencils, linocuts, markers, and crayons the work starts to develop. This multi-layer fun and free process creates richness, depth, and ever important history and gradually the composition gradually emerges. At that point, I slow down to work on value, composition, depth, and saturation until I feel it is ‘just right.’ My goal is to make art that makes people smile – unexpected, unique, bold, and daring but at the same time soft and sensitive, with a depth that will intrigue and keep the viewers eyes dancing around the artwork."

Linda Coulter

Linda Coulter's artwork

According to Linda Coulter, "It often starts with an old white sheet. Then a surface treatment is used. Techniques include dyeing, painting, stamping, rusting, screen printing, thermofax, or leaves and natural dyes are applied. Colour is added and the appearance of texture evolves. My drop cloths and cleaning rags are saved. Next, I wash and iron each new piece of fabric lovingly and add them to my ever growing stash of hand treated and commercial fabrics. Now I am ready to begin. Mostly working in a collage fashion, I try to develop my pieces with a hint of abstraction and a whole lot of colour. Providing the viewer with the emotion of the moment is my goal. Despite recent darker times, my colour palette has remained joyful. This reflects my natural optimistic nature that all will work out in the end. It is hard to stand out in today’s art landscape. For me, my subjects are personal, and my exclusive use of hand stitch adds personality. My art is a calming factor in my life. I hope that my viewers can sense the joy in my work."

Nancy Paul

Artist Nancy Paul with one of her paintings

Nancy Paul says that "My work represents my search for understanding and hope in these times of accelerating degradation of the earth and extinction of species. The female figure is my subject but also my surrogate in this quest; she symbolizes both self and other, embodying compassion and connection. My method is to employ juxtaposition, repetition, and sequencing to explore differences and suggest relationships. I paint with acrylics but like to introduce other media in the mix (graphite, pastel, ink, water soluble crayon, Japanese paper)."

Rosalyn Insley

Roslyn Insley's painting 

Rosalyn Insley - "Since moving to Eastern Ontario in 2018, I have rediscovered my love of painting. I'm fascinated by the strong horizontals and verticals of nature and the effect light has on these elements. If I'm not in the studio, I'm out with my camera in my kayak, or hiking, or driving around searching out new subjects. I paint with acrylics on stretched canvas. I love (and hate!) how quickly acrylics dry, the intensity of the colours, the ease of cleanup (that lets me spend my time painting). I love the feel of canvas – the texture, the way the fabric moves under the brush, and also the way it resists the pressure – the feeling that the canvas itself is part of the process, and not just a static entity. I want my paintings to be more than pretty pictures – I want to capture a moment in time, have it evoke a feeling or a memory – of a favourite spot, a perfect moment in time, a childhood spent free in the outdoors. I want to capture the aching beauty of a sunset, the gentle embrace of a sunrise, the excitement of an approaching storm. I want the viewer to smell the pine needles, hear the water crashing over the rocks, feel the breeze whispering through tall grasses. It's a tall order, and I enjoy working every day, trying to achieve this."

Valerie Spence Hounsell

Valerie Spence Hounsell's painting 

Valerie Spence Hounsell has always had a love of the outdoors, but it was during young adulthood, while living in rural Ontario, that she began to understand the role that the environment would play in her art. "It was then that the Canadian landscape became my passion and the driving force behind my work. As a kayak enthusiast, my view from the water as I paddle through the wetlands, has been the primary source of inspiration. Granite shores, quiet inlets, and the rushing waters of the glacial melt are my signature subject matter. I imagine the divine aroma of the pine needles on the forest floor, the warmth of the sun on my face, or the soothing sounds of water lapping up onto the shore as I paint. My fascination with water as an agent of geological change is represented in many of my pieces. I use interpretive realism to convey my vision, and with each brushstroke of acrylic paint on the canvas, I create the suggestion of shapes, light, and shadow.

Wayne Smith

Wayne Smith with a piece of his artwork

Wayne Smithhas had a keen interest in fine art most of his life. He is completely self-taught and his medium of choice is acrylic. His passion is to paint landscapes. He has developed into a realist painter and enjoys re-creating the beauty of many local scenes, most of which we perhaps take for granted. He is always striving to improve his artistic and technical skills, striving to create an image that becomes personal and meaningful to the viewer.

Other participating artists include Sian Tucker, Martha Stroud, Barb Carr, Anne Warburton, Belia Brandow, Helma Gansen, Pam McKinnon, Rachel Legault, Solange Leman, Ellen Fraser, and Barbara Patrick.

Check them out at www.beforethesummer.com, come and join us on May 19, 20, or 21 at the Firehall Theatre, 185 South Street, Gananoque, Ontario. Fill out a raffle ticket for a chance to win a gift certificate to the famous 1000 Islands Playhouse.

By Martha Stroud, www.beforetherushshow.com

Martha Stroud's family emigrated from Ireland around 1908, to live first in Gananoque, then Kingston, and finally Toronto, where she was born. She has lived and worked on three continents but is very happy to have retired back to Kingston and the Thousand Islands area, where she tries to capture nature ever-changing on canvas. See Martha's past articles and the work of her many artist friends here and here!

Posted in: Volume 18, Issue 4, April 2023, Artists

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