Spring is in the air as geese land on the lake behind my studio in Stratford. I moved to Stratford a little over a year ago and absolutely love it. It has that small town feel, everyone is so friendly and it boasts a lively artistic community. There are also many parks, trails and gardens here and I often get out for long walks along the river and have also started cycling. In May I'll venture up to the Bruce Peninsula again to do some hiking and sketching, seeking out new inspiration for my work. In June I looking forward to putting my kayak back in the Bay to do some exploring.
I've been busy in the studio this winter preparing for the upcoming exhibition at Westland and completing a number of commissioned paintings. The new pieces include landscapes inspired by trips to Killarney, the Bruce Peninsula and a trip to Muskoka last September where I visited with friends on an island. It was fantastic. We boated out to visit the Canadian Artist Ed Bartram on his island where he summers and has a studio. I've long admired his work and really enjoyed the experience of seeing his island studio and the landscape that inspired his work. I'm now planning my kayaking trips for this year and Lake Superior is at the top of my list.
Angela Lorenzen made the jump from scientist to pursing painting full time in 2009, and has found success through her self-taught methods. Her distinctive painting style comes from a combination of the hyper-realism and spirit that she appreciated and studied in the works of Canadian artists. Her show with Margarethe Vanderpas will open at Westland Gallery on March 29th and run until April 17th, with the opening reception on Friday April 1st at 7:30 PM.
Lorenzen has shared her creative process with us, revealing that travel and photography are the essential first steps. The travel allows her to experience moments which she can use as subject matter in her paintings, and gain a emotional connection that she can express through the subject matter. The photography is a way for her to record these moments to reference during the hyper-realistic painting process, which requires a high level of detail retention. To capture the depth, luminosity and sharp focus in her paintings she slowly builds up thin semi-transparent layers of paint until a hyper-realistic effect is achieved. Angela develops her dynamic composition to emphasize movement across the canvas and between the different focal points.
For this show she has selected works which show her consistent use of these techniques to covey these spiritual moments, with her newest works being based on a recent trip taken to the north shore of Lake Superior and Thunder Bay.
Matthew Trueman grew up in the suburbs of London's Masonville District. He went back and fourth between his love of making art and his family legacy in engineering through university until recently taking the plunge to jump the engineering ship and give being a full time artist a shot. His upcoming exhibition at Westland Gallery entitled "Dirt" will be up March 8th until the 26th, with a reception at 7:30 PM on the 11th and his artist talk will be at 1:00 PM on the 20th.
Trueman has let us take a peek behind the curtain and see how his creates his dynamic works. Trueman studied to become a painter so he never received any formal training in printmaking. This fact underwrites the constant adaptation and flux that is the hallmark of his practice. Trueman blends drawing and photography, architecture and landscape, invention, appropriation, realism and eastern and western approaches without hierarchy. The images originate from sketches and photographs, both his own and appropriated, which are then manipulated with a computer to suit the works needs. Paradoxically he could hit print on the computer and have an image in seconds that will take weeks to carve by hand. However, the carving and printing process establish an organic, handmade aesthetic and crisp resolution that a computer could never approach. Carving the wooden printing plates draws from an ancient Japanese tradition. Trueman use an assortment of gouges called Komasuki that function like spoons for wood.
Image 1 and Image 2 show two different sizes of gouges in use. There is no quick way or shortcut to carve –rather hundreds of hours of practice germinates a speed and technique that boarders on auto-pilot. Carving takes on a meditative process where the focus of your world is fixated for hours in an area the size of your palm. See Image 3 for a finished carving (the plate in the rest of the images is still in the carving process). The paper Trueman uses is handmade in Japan however the ink and printing technique take their cues from the west where oil based inks are rolled on the surface, see Image 4. This method yields more consistent results for large prints. For the actual transfer he bounces back to Japan and uses a traditional (albeit synthetic) baren in lieu of a printing press, see Image 5. Using a baren requires more physical work to print the image but has the advantage of having no size restrictions. See Image 6 for pulling the first test print of a new design. Once the image is printed its installation depends on the effects Trueman want to achieve. He can use an archival mount by securing it onto board using rice starch paste,while some other woodcuts are allowed to hang on their own to accentuate their raw paper qualities.