Michelina Williamson

By | Artists

Michelina Williamson was born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. From a young age she developed a passion for art, but in her family, a career as an Artist was never viewed as a viable option. She instead moved to Toronto to pursue a career as a Pharmacy Assistant.
During her time in Toronto, Williamson became friends with some very creative thinking individuals. One of those friends was attending the prestigious Ontario College of Art. He offered to give Williamson a tour of the College.

“As soon as I stepped through the doors of OCA, I felt the creative energy and excitement of the place. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of it, to experience the freedom to explore and create all things Art.”

So began Williamson’s journey pursuing art as a career. She worked as a Pharmacy Assistant during the day and took art classes at night at OCA. Williamson’s years at OCA were ones of exploration, experimentation and growth. She expanded her knowledge of Art movements and Art Masters from the Renaissance through to the 20th Century. She also tried as many different mediums and techniques as she could in her studio classes. For example, she learned to weld and made a chair of steel and copper that she still has in her home today. She experimented with sound production and recorded an atmospheric sound track using found objects. She discovered the Film and Video department and fell in love. Literally. Her future husband, Paul Williamson, worked as a Re-recording sound engineer at a Post Production House in Toronto and performed the sound mix on her first experimental film.

“It was like a scene in a movie. I felt a chemistry between us, but I played it cool. After the mix Paul escorted me to the lobby. We lingered at the doors and then I left. I walked away into the sunshine thinking, oh well, I guess I was wrong about the chemistry. Suddenly I heard my name. I stopped, turned around and saw Paul running towards me. When he caught up to me, he asked if I’d like to get a coffee sometime. Smiling, I said yes.”

Williamson graduated from OCA’S New Media program in 1991. Soon after, she and Paul were married and started a family.
Through the growth of her family and the transition from stay at home Mom to part-time work, Williamson’s dream of becoming a full time Artist was ever present. When her children became more independent, she went back to her Alma Mater. In 2010 she graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.

Emotion is at the essence of my paintings. It is the foundation, the core from which my art emerges, develops and manifests into a physical form. I find inspiration in the power and beauty of nature and I strive to portray emotion through landscape. I’m fortunate enough to live in Ontario, Canada which has so many lakes and natural parks. I don’t have to go far to find a scene that emotionally touches me and inspires me to paint. I work from sketches, photographs and memory to convey the emotion I felt in the moment."

Renée Gagné

By | Artists

Renée Gagné was born and raised in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario. From a young age, her daily life was filled with art. Through her mother’s diverse ventures in painting, wood sculpting, macramé, ceramics and sewing, Gagné was instilled with an immense interest and appreciation of art.
After completing her degrees in nursing and psychology, Gagné returned to painting, taking workshops in oil, watercolor and acrylic. In addition to jewellery-making, her passion for painting offers an escape; through the precision and attention to detail required of her practice, the stresses of work and daily life fall away. Her artistic journey has been one of experimentation, but focused on realising her own unique charm.
In late 2019, Gagné’s first solo juried exhibition at Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans met with great success! Clearly discernable, Gagné’s style evokes an appreciation for beauty, vibrant colour, and whimsical composition. She looks forward to retirement, so she may devote more time to her art, and perfecting her style. Her goal, “is to evoke an emotion and a smile by the magical beauty of the bright colors in my paintings.”

Deborah Ann Kuffner

By | Artists

Deborah Ann Kuffner is a retired teacher and principal who lives in Ottawa, Ontario. She spends much of her time painting at her cottage on Long Lake in Mayo, Quebec, or in Akumal, Mexico.
From a young age, Kuffner has been fascinated by the work of Georgia O’Keefe. Her passion for painting florals began with a post-retirement trip to Los Angeles to do a workshop with Australian floral artist, Jacqueline Coates. It was a life-changing journey, which greatly influenced her style and subject matter. Kuffner is fascinated by the beauty, ephemeral nature, and fragility of flowers. She loves shining a light on the exquisite, delicate, and intricate details of flowers. She strives to capture their transitory beauty through the juxtaposition of lights and darks. She uses a dramatic palette often comprised of sultry greys, warm whites, vibrant alizarins and deep magentas.
Kuffner is a lifelong learner who has had the privilege of painting and studying with some of Canada’s most renowned artists, including Philip Craig and Gordon Harrison. Under this mentorship, Kuffner has developed a style, which uses layers upon layers of glazing to bring luminosity and depth to her work, communicate her vision and, most importantly, to fearlessly and courageously ‘colour the world’ with her art.
Kuffner’s artwork can be found in private collections in Canada, the US and in the Yucatan.

"I can’t remember a time when I didn’t paint or draw. As a young child I was fascinated by colour and remember filling jars with watercolours and placing them on my bedroom windowsill… I’d lie watching the light stream in, creating a rainbow kaleidoscope… and I felt transformed. To this day, I find joy, peace and healing in painting and I am so very grateful to have such a profound, consuming and gratifying passion.”

Edmond Léger

By | Artists

"Music has been an emotion that I have nurtured all my life. There has always been a duality in my music. First, there is the mathematical grammar that allows me to join notes together to achieve a logical sequence. Second, there is the unexplainable connection that comes when the grammar evolves into a discussion of thoughts, a sense of being.
Being mostly self-taught as far as my music and painting are concerned, I
continue to discuss these thoughts with my abstracts. There is always a rhythm that occurs while I paint. Musical notes appear as if I am writing a score, playing, painting the grammar on my canvas. Improvisation allows the logical to become liberated.
Music is a bridge that we have been exploring for thousands of years. This
bridge between knowing and understanding is what I try to achieve with color. It is
not the need to do that I wish to explore but more the need to feel this connection, share my music in a most intimate way. My paintings are a reflection of my improvisation, my connection with the unexplainable and the grammar. This place that I understand without being able to explain it but rather having no need to..."

Crombie McNeill

By | Artists

Crombie McNeill may tell you he has retired, but gifted with the soul of a true artist, he is continuously seeking the perfect image. His career has transcended the boundaries of conventional photography and now with Karsh and Stieglitz looking over his shoulder, he is embracing the photo imaging techniques of the future. Not one to leave behind the uniqueness of b&w film with the quiet nostalgia of his wet darkroom, he's discovered a special blending of traditional film with advanced digital techniques to produce truly unique images with a presentation biased to minimalism.
“The art photography for me,” says McNeill “is the blending of the 'critical moment' with the timeless essence of the painters canvas."
McNeill's career began in the mid '60s as a staff news photographer but he soon turned freelance and embarked on a 30-year journey living out of a suitcase. This Odyssey lead him from the North Pole to high fashion magazine shoots to Olympic Games; it lead from the depths of the Barrier Reefs to the heights with the Snowbirds, interwoven with civil war in Africa, Royalty, presidents and paupers world-wide, not to mention frozen toes at the North Pole.
Crombie was engaged as an instructor at Loyalist, Heritage, Algonquin, Mohawk, and Sheridan Colleges, as well as a stint with the Nikon School of Photography.
The National Archives anticipates that McNeill will be credited as one of Canada's most significant photographers in recognition of his longevity and the diversity of photographic assignments. His publication credits include National Geographic, Chatelaine, Maclean's, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, even Life Magazine and many others.
McNeill is now happily retired, in that he no longer accepts editorial assignments. He lives in Aylmer, with his wife Sue. “This retirement” he admits, “allows me to continue the search for the image, and to determine the ideal technique by which it is to be captured, presented and preserved for posterity,”
McNeill often returns to the peaceful amber glow of the wet darkroom as a respite from his extensive digital lab.

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Arlette Francière

By | Artists

"I have always been passionate about poetry and art. My career as a translator fulfills my literary interest. Art became even more central to my life when I studied Art History at Concordia University in Montreal. One course dealt with a variety of techniques, and students had to copy a work of art in each medium. That hands-on experience was a turning point, and I have been painting ever since. I have studied with Alfred Pinsky, Leonard Gerbrandt and Andrea Mossop, among others.
I am attracted to landscape painting, especially to the work of the Expressionists. Inspired by memories of dramatic landscapes, I let strong colours, bold shapes and intriguing rhythms guide me. In the process, my paintings become inner landscapes that express states of mind, or emotions, instead of reproducing an external landscape.
I enjoy working in oil, acrylic and charcoal, but I have a strong affinity for watercolour and the ‘wet in wet’ technique. It harks back to my fascination as a child creating soap bubbles between my fingers and marvelling at the patterns of swirling colours. That same wonder is there for me when I paint in watercolour.
My predominant and most characteristic theme is abstracted landscape, but my work also includes portraits, flowers and pure abstract art. I am a colourist who always tries to embody the mystery behind the façade.
I have had numerous solo and group shows and my work is in private collections in Canada and abroad. My paintings have been used on the cover of eighteen books, most of them collections of poetry."

Renée Butler

By | Artists

Renée Butler was born and raised in Trenton, Nova Scotia, and now reside between Québec and Newfoundland, moving seasonally. She is largely a self-taught artist, but has, over the years, studied with several other artists.
Butler's art resides in many private collections in Canada, including the NL Government’s private collection, as well as in Europe. Notably, her work was featured on CBC’s television program Land & Sea!

“I love light and the effects it has on the most mundane objects. You can take the most ordinary thing, and with the correct light you can make it mesmerizing. I try to absorb as much detail as possible when looking at everyday objects and I especially love painting still-life's. I enjoy bringing them to life on my canvas and hope to capture the beauty that I witness for everyone else to experience as well.”

Theresa Eisenbarth

By | Artists

Theresa Eisenbarth is a unique visual storyteller. She uses her unusual acrylic visual art to tell the elusive stories of Canadian neighbourhoods and old communities. These outdoor urbanscapes and prairie spaces have diverse histories and often go unnoticed. Her artwork incorporates the sights, sounds and aromas of today, mixed with a re-imaging of those impressions from the past. Her use of vibrant colours, and of non-traditional materials, brings an arresting quality to her paintings.
Theresa is a full time artist based in Medicine Hat, AB. She grew up in
the historic River Flats neighbourhood, and has spent her artistic career capturing the places she remembers as a child. Theresa studied visual arts at the Medicine Hat College and received a B.F.A. from the University of Calgary.
Her paintings are in many private and corporate collections across Alberta. They have been featured in the Federation of Canadian Artists Group Exhibits, are sold locally in Medicine Hat and now, Ottawa.

"Vivid, bold colours inspire me and allow me to re-imagine these spaces. I entice my viewers to take a second
look by embedding stories into stories, adding household objects like tinfoil, string, and door hardware to create substance and texture on the paint surface”

Karen Wynne Mackay

By | Artists

Karen Wynne Mackay’s abstract, whimsical, intuitive and nature inspired art has influences of poetry, songs, jazz/blues music, lines and mark making. This year her art has been focused on Abstract, Intuitive, Gestural painting in the acrylic medium as well as ink, charcoal, oil and wax. Mackay uses handmade tools, brushes, knives, mark making and calligraphic tools to create her abstract art.
Mackay has participated in many juried shows in Ontario. She lives and works in Ottawa, Canada.

"Making art is my passion.
One of my favourite quotes is:
“...and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?” - Vincent Willem van Gogh"

John Alexander Day

By | Artists

Plein air painting has been the main source of inspiration for all of John Alexander Day’s artwork. Whether a cityscape or the countryside, Day has always sought to capture the atmosphere of each location he paints. Whether he paints in North America, Europe, or closer to home, he always seeks to leave the viewer with a sense of being in the place. Witnessing nature first hand, and working right there, gives Day a certain freedom to paint without any preconceived notions. In this way, he is not bound by the formulas that can easily creep into one’s work. Day is especially drawn to the effects of light and atmosphere. An overcast or sunny day, the changing light, the sound of the ocean spray against rock, or the quiet waters of a lake keep him motivated and infuse his practice. In his own way, Day hopes to continue the tradition of making the viewer look again at what might be an ordinary scene, transformed through light and atmosphere.