Algonquin Paintings Arts Book Cover

When Ellen and I first moved to the Kawarthas we noticed many things that we have come to think of as characteristic of the area. Some features are quite locally distinct, like the cedar split-rail fences and the different designs used in their construction. The barns too, seemed to have their very own character. But there was something else, something about the combinations of things that are usually distant and separated but were found here side by side. We didn’t know it at the time but we had made  our new home in The Land Between.
The Land Between is a transition zone where the volcanic rock of the Canadian Shield to the north meets and merges with the sedimentary bedrock of the St. Lawrence Lowlands to the south. This 250 km long and 35 km wide corridor extends roughly from Georgian Bay in the west to Kingston in the east and is made up of a richly varied mosaic of habitats, some with features entirely their own. Typically northern species such as moose and Canada jay are at their southern limits here, and southerners such as green herons and cottontail rabbits are at their northernmost. Some birds, such as the golden-winged warbler are almost wholly dependent on this environment.    
Diversity in the natural world is an indication of a healthy ecosystem, and there is an argument to be made that it is just as true when it comes to human endeavours. Creative thought does not take place in a vacuum, but rather as a result of inspiration found in experiencing the world around us through direct observation and interaction. All artists bring to this their own distinctive personalities, complete with biases, preferences, skills and perspectives.
In The Artists of Kawartha this sense of diverse personal expression is abundantly evident. There are works clearly inspired by the Kawartha natural environment, interpreted in a variety of ways and a host of mediums. There are also works by artists who have chosen to live here and have brought with them new additions to an area already rich with a wide array of artistic expression.
In these pages you will likely find artists you know through their work as well as some that are not so familiar. You may discover new works by favourite artists in their signature approaches, but perhaps to your surprise they also have been exploring different subject matters or a change of style. Then too there are bound to be artists whose work you will discover for the first time in these pages. This too is a dynamic aspect of diversity, and is rather fitting coming from an area that is identified by that very quality. The Land Between seems very much like the best of two worlds, or perhaps ‘of many worlds’ for diversity encourages not only new things, but new things that both adapt and thrive.


Michael Dumas

cover Image

Forgotten Chores.

5.25”x 7.25", Oil.

By Michael Dumas

"Concepts for my art generally come from direct life experiences. ‘Forgotten Chores’ began as a discovery one spring while I was cleaning up under the trees along our shoreline. The paint brush and containers must have sat there undiscovered for several years, harkening back to when my wife’s parents used to stay with us for the summer. Ellen’s father liked to keep busy and so I gained a handy man for a couple of months each year. His habit of leaving a paint brush soaking in a container of water until he was ready to clean it was something I had observed many times.
I was struck by how so simple a thing could represent and bring back such strong memories of a specific person, so I left things undisturbed and later did a study of them in my sketchbook. For the final painting I brought all of the objects into the studio and set them up according to the arrangement in my sketch. A light positioned to recreate the highlight and shadow patterns completed the scene. A sparrow, seen nearby when I was sketching, was a natural addition to the composition, and to me it represented the sense of life that is so often present in vivid memories."

Sparrow’s Rest. 10.25” x 23”, Oil. By Michael Dumas

"Every painting inevitably has something to do with the individual. It’s not simply about what is being depicted in and of itself. There are innumerable things one can choose to paint, that is, the objects themselves; but the underlying purpose of creating has to do with conveying something about why those objects inspire attention in the first place.

I am very much attracted to things that express the simple harmony found in the everyday living of life. In a shed behind Bellamy’s Mill, two common house sparrows perch on a pile of flour sacks, their lives unnoticed by people passing by. Some areas of the cloth are ablaze in full sunlight, while others are only softly illuminated. The rest drop back into deep darkness. Oh, beautiful!" - Michael Dumas


“I will be certain to share these volumes with Laureen,
as I know she will appreciate the artworks
that you have chosen to include.”

Stephen Harper - Former prime minister of canada

“I'm very proud of you for this accomplishment.

It is a handsome, professional publication that fills a need -- and even fills spaces where many readers may not have

known they had a need.”

The Artists of Kawartha Buchette joy.jpg
Art books, Artists, Artwork and Bouchettes in Fenelon Falls!
Andrea Hillo, Len Pizzey and Michael Dumas.jpgs
Art exhibit, crowd

The official book launch for The Artists of Kawartha on October 13 at Colborne Street Gallery in Fenelon Falls was a resounding success.

Visitors to the lively event were able to purchase a book and have it autographed by most of the 32 artists whose work is featured in the coffee-table-style book. While enjoying delicious refreshments, guests mingled with artists and dignitaries, while viewing paintings by 30 of the book artists.

About 200 people came out to celebrate The Artists of Kawartha book!
Leonard Pizzey, Andrea Hillo and artist Michael Dumas

This book is the fourth in a series that celebrates the extraordinary creativity of artists who choose to live amidst natural beauty that all of them find inspiring. Whether it is the famous landscape of the Alqonquin region, the quiet ambience and diverse topography of the Haliburton Highlands, the  shimmering greens and blues of Muskoka's lake country, or the richly varied landscapes of the Kawartha region, painters, sculptors, print makers and other practitioners of visual arts, strive to create unique expressions of beauty out of the materials, both physical and intellectual, that surround them.
Like the three books that have preceded it, The Artists of Kawartha was conceived from a desire to honour artists and bring their work to the attention of a wider audience. Its pages are a testament to their creator, Andrea Hillo, whose passion for art and empathy with artists has led her to follow a daunting path as an independent publisher.
Although perhaps not as striking as a painting or as breathtaking as other forms of visual art, this book has a worthy place in the long lineage of the published word. In its form and presentation, it expresses the power of graphic art to delight the eye and stimulate the mind.
Art and books have been inextricably linked throughout much of the history of the written word. Books, now so common and numerous, were once precious possessions that only the richest and most powerful people could afford. They were created entirely by hand, and replicated at huge cost by scribes using quill pens cut from feathers. Medieval monks spent years hunched over desks, meticulously copying precious writings in beautiful calligraphy, illustrating texts with artistic flourishes that have made ancient books so valuable, not only for their content but for their beauty.
The invention of moveable type in China in the 11th century was a major advance in book publishing, but the cost of casting letter symbols in porcelain, and the sheer number of characters in their written language, limited use of the system. Three hundred years later, in 1450, German Johannes Gutenberg took book publishing a huge step forward by casting type in metal and arranging it in galleys that could be used on a printing press.
It was not until 1884 that a machine, the Linotype, made it possible to create lead type from letters chosen on a mechanical keyboard. And then, almost a century later, computer technology profoundly changed the publishing industry, making it possible to design books entirely on computer screens and send them to press as electronic files.
In the distant past, as now, the creation of a book such as this is a solitary pursuit. The choice of type, the allocation of white space, the arrangement of the artwork, the design of the cover, are manifestations of an artistic sensibility that finds expression through creating something beautiful. Like all art, this book finds its purpose when you spend time with it. The artists it showcases fully express their talents only when their works affect you, when their vision and talents are shared.
This book provides only a hint of the variety of artistic expression and exceptional talents of Kawartha's artists. It will fulfill its purpose if it prompts you to explore their art further by visiting their studios, browsing in local galleries, or attending art shows in the region.

​© 2018 by Andrea Hillo. Proudly created with

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The Artists of Kawartha Book Launch

Outside of Colborne Street Gallery with friends