The Artists of Muskoka
Muskoka Summer Sun
Krysia Bower is a multi-faceted artist who creates large woodblock prints and transforms antique Muskoka cottage windows into works of art. Her methods are unusual and the results are striking. She uses a router to carve out designs on large sheets of plywood, applies inks and acrylics to the surface and pulls off prints in brilliant colours. Her technique of applying all the colours at once, before printing , results in vibrant, one-of-a-kind works of art.
Beginning with windows and French doors salvaged from cottage renovation projects, Krysia applies cut mirrors and coloured glass beads to panes of glass to form stylized flowers that come alive with the interplay if reflected light. These confections, suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas, delight the eyes as you pass them by. As old, tradition cottages continue to be modernized or torn down, Krysia salvages the original windows and doors and gives them new life for people to enjoy for many years to come.
Past Second Bridge
11” x 14”, Oil
Born in North Bay, Matt Coles experienced the rugged landscape of the Canadian Shield at a young age. He and his father went on camping and fishing trips frequently, and through them, Matt developed a love for the outdoors that later would form the cornerstone of his artistic expression.
Matt is a plein air artist now residing in Huntsville. He paints the many beauties of the Canadian landscape with a signature style – contrasting colours with sharp, sometimes powerfully delineated outlines. In selecting a scene to paint, Matt looks for interesting lighting, shapes, and compositional appeal, but he admits there’s something more at work that draws him in.
As well as painting landscapes, Matt is the Art Director at the Algonquin Art Centre, a highly regarded and widely known gallery and art workshop centre located in Algonquin Provincial Park. This position allows Matt to be at the centre of a burgeoning school of young painters with strong ties both to Algonquin Park and to the Algonquin Art Centre.
Matt’s work breathes new life into a long and rich tradition of Canadian landscape painting, expressing the simple, compelling, and enduring passion of artists inspired by the Canadian wilderness.
Unique in Black
20” x 26”, Watercolour
A water colourist, Glenda Davies gains her vision and style from the varied shapes, colours, textures and patterns of nature's bounty found around her Muskoka home on the Moon River in Bala. Whether her subject is autumn tinged oak leaves, luscious blueberries, striking rudebeckias, Muskoka's finest cone flowers or the bold shape of Ontario Trilliums, the vibrant colours and unique patterning found in nature are subjects for Glenda's brush.
Close-up views, moments in time un-obscured by backgrounds, invite the viewer to pause and observe previously unnoticed treasures in nature's canvas. In painting, as in life, Glenda's eye is transfixed by the beauty she sees around her. Viewing Glenda's paintings one cannot help but slow down, appreciate and be inspired by nature's simple beauties.
A graduate of the Fine Art Studio, University of Toronto, a former student of Jack Reid, James Bessey and Doris McCarthy, her participation in many Canadian artist's workshops has aided her on her journey to discover her own vision. She has been an art instructor in Scarborough and is one of the originators of the Muskoka Lakes Spring Art Tour. Glenda's works can be seen at her studio on the Moon River in Bala.
Reflections of Autumn
David Dawson was born in Hamilton, Ontario and raised in Ancaster and Galt, where he began painting at the age of ten. As a graduate of the Ontario College of Art, he worked as a designer at Parkin Architects for five years and then for a number of years was a freelance architectural renderer working on numerous international projects. He now paints full time and has been inducted as a member to the Ontario Society of Artists.
David doesn’t view his paintings as portraits of a place; rather, he takes inspiration from a specific location and uses the environment as the subject matter for his works.
He begins the process with small colour studies on the trail. This allows him to capture the moment and the important things such as composition, colour and texture. Back at the studio, these trail sketches and in some cases, back up photos (for orientation), are the materials that inspire a larger painting. David paints in an expressionistic style and says some finished paintings inspire him to further explore the elements they contain. This leads him toward abstract expressionism which reflects the original inspiration but allows viewers to find their own meaning in the work.
Sunlit Shore, Killarney
24” x 18”, Acrylic
Roxanne lives and works in Muskoka and is a self-taught artist. Since childhood Roxanne has enjoyed pencil sketching along with various other creative endeavors; however, it was not until later in life that she became interested in painting with acrylic on canvas. Roxanne’s family spent a lot of time outdoors and she has always been encouraged to seek out the beauty in all things; from a dewdrop on a flower to the colourful, unique patterns etched into a rocky shoreline. Fortunately, painting has provided Roxanne with an incredible outlet to combine these passions for the arts and outdoors.
Roxanne has always had a strong appreciation for art and nature and now uses painting as a means of sharing the northern landscape’s exquisite beauty. She also takes advantage of and connects with her surroundings by painting plein air, adding a fresh quality to her work. Through her artwork Roxanne wishes to capture, extend, and share the pleasures of these extraordinary places.
Roxanne’s artwork has been displayed in various galleries around Ontario and can be seen in homes across Canada.
18”x 24”, Acrylic
Dale Durnan and her family live in Gravenhurst and have a strong connection to Muskoka, both through cottaging and family history. She has been painting and exhibiting in the area since moving there permanently in 1987.
Each of her folk-style paintings begins with an idea that sparks her imagination and leads to the creation of a scene that is vibrant with people, activity and colour. Sometimes just a small sketch done on a paper napkin in a restaurant can develop into a large scale work. Dale loves to travel, and visits to both the east and west coasts of Canada have provided subject matter for works in acrylic on canvas.
Dale is an award-winning member of Muskoka Arts and Crafts. Her paintings are in private and corporate collections in North America and abroad, including work for several national children’s charities and the historic Gravenhurst Opera House. One of her most recent works was selected to represent Habitat for Humanity in Muskoka with proceeds of limited edition print sales supporting Habitat builds in the Muskoka area. She continues to develop and refine her own whimsical style which lends itself to capturing the spirit of life and times both old and new.
Marc De Groote
13” x 18”, Graphite, Watercolour
A wildlife artist extraordinaire, Marc De Groote’s exceptional talent came to life in 2001 after his wife made the supportive suggestion that he needed a hobby. Now a self- taught realist artist, his works are extremely detailed creations in oils, acrylics, watercolour, graphite and mixed media. Seldom will you experience a closer connection with nature than when you view Marc’s fine art.
Marc has spent many years traveling, closely observing, enjoying and photographing the beauty of nature. The details he perceives in the natural world are boundless, and as an artist, his primary objective is to try to capture that detail in ways that provide a new vantage point to viewers. His subjects include wildlife, birds, landscapes, pets, as well as portraits and various other works.
Marc has been honored with repeated invitations to the Wildlife Habitat Canada Conservation Stamp Competition. Marc’s original art is enjoyed by fine art collectors in Europe, USA, Asia, and throughout Canada. He invites fine art and nature lovers to visit him at his studio/gallery on the shores of beautiful Georgian Bay, by appointment and/or on his website at www.marcdegroote.com, where you can also find a list of events and appearances.
16” x 18”, Pastel
One of the most exciting new artists in Ontario, Sue Evans burst onto the Muskoka arts scene in 2010 after a trip to South Africa inspired her with spectacular imagery that she yearned to reanimate and share.
She first expressed her artistic sensibility through photography, but subsequent collaboration with other local artists introduced her to drawing and painting and enabled her to express her artistic passion across various disciplines.
Two years after her artistic awakening, her award-winning work can be found in numerous preferred establishments in Central Ontario, and she also enjoys a strong commission demand.
Best defined as realism with an attention to detail, her pencil and pastel pieces are complemented by her latest works painted with acrylics and watercolours.
Sue’s commitment to continual learning and development is best expressed by her cherished mantra: “Art is not a thing, it is a way” – Elbert Hubbard
18” x 24”, Acrylic
Janet Stahle is a painter and printmaker. She completed her fine art studies at the University of Guelph and at several other Ontario colleges and universities. She also has a M.A. degree in philosophy.
Her love of exploring media is apparent in the diversity of her work that includes pastel and acrylic paintings, woodcuts, linocuts, etchings, monotypes and mixed media. The content of her work is inspired from what she refers to as “inner and outer journeys.”
Janet’s work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the McMichael Gallery and in numerous solo and group shows, both nationally and internationally. She is the recipient of many awards and has been a guest on CBC’s “Morningside” with Peter Gzowski. Her work has been featured in Canadian books, magazines and newspapers and is included in private and corporate collections.
She is a faculty member in fine art at Nipissing University.
18” x 24”, Acrylic
From exploring images in her immediate surroundings to allowing subconscious images to take shape, Judy Geller has always enjoyed transforming a blank piece of paper or canvas. Judy studied at the Ontario College of Art and continued to increase her creative vocabulary with various courses offered by the Watercolour Society, the Toronto School of Art and the Haliburton School of The Arts.
She works in watercolour, acrylics or pastels, moving easily among the mediums and between intuition and realism to create abstracts, portraits and landscape paintings.
You can see more of her work at her studio, The Cabin Gallery, located near Baysville, Ontario.
20” x 24”, Oil
Greatly influenced by her Muskoka surroundings and her love of nature, Margo Gracey’s award-winning watercolour paintings are serene yet radiate vitality in colour and movement. Her floral subject matter is inspired by her love of gardening.
Margo was born in England but she has lived and travelled throughout Europe, the Far East and Canada. Her lasting impressions of the sights and images of many cultures are reflected in her varied work. Margo’s fine art education includes: The University of Western Ontario, Georgian College and many workshops conducted by talented and well-known artists.
Bramblewood Studio, surrounded by English gardens in beautiful Muskoka, features watercolours and “Art for the Outdoors” by Margo Gracey.
30” x 24”, Oil
Erika Harris was born in picturesque Feldkirch, Austria. In 1955 her family immigrated to Toronto, where she obtained most of her education. Having studied commercial art in high school, artistic expression and creativity have played a major role in her life.
Mostly self-taught, her close study of instructional and impressionistic art books has influenced her art form. Her artistic imagination is enriched by the beauty of her Muskoka surroundings, as well as by her love of garden flowers and the outdoors. Erika’s art expresses her personal response to the abundant beauty she sees in nature’s broad sweep, as well as in its details. She captures this essence on canvas using oil and acrylic paints, both on outdoor excursions and at home studio.
Erika is a multi-medium artist who also creates “one-of-a-kind” artisan jewellery using semi-precious gemstones, crystals or glass. Using the same inspirations as for her paintings, she works with wool to create realistic needle felting and traditional rug hooking scenes. Her art work can be found in private homes across Canada, United States, Europe and Australia.
36” x 48”, Acrylic
R.W. Haviland studied at Ontario College of Art and Design and had a free-lance graphic design career in Toronto, Montreal and Muskoka. She has evolved this experience into an exploration of fine arts. Travels in Newfoundland, the Rockies, and Vancouver Island, and the surroundings of her own rural property, inspire pastel sketches that inform the large canvases she creates in her gallery. Experimental printmaking and photography also contribute to the momentum of her output.
R.W. Haviland’s solo exhibitions in Toronto, Muskoka and group shows in various Canadian galleries have placed her work in collections throughout Canada, USA and Europe. She has received Ontario Arts Council Grants and has three works in the Ontario Government Permanent Collection.
Drinkers of the Wind II Racing
Haysam (Sam) Haytaoglu earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Istanbul and has been producing commissioned works of art for more than 20 years. He has exhibited and sold his sculptures and paintings throughout the world.
As versatile as he is creative, Haysam enjoys working with a broad range of mediums including painted surfaces, clay, stone, wood, marble, bronze, reconstituted stone and acrylic. Over the years Haysam has also perfected a variety of faux finishing techniques which amaze and impress viewers, including the Royal Family of Dubai, which has commissioned a number of his works.
Always seeking to express a spiritual aspect or essence in his art, he possesses the ability to capture and create an atmosphere of serenity and aesthetic sophistication in simplified and sensual forms.
Haysam also is available for architectural and professional projects, including movie and theatrical sets, model design, commercial and institutional developments, as well as private custom painting/work. As well, he teaches both sculpture and decorative painting (faux finishing) classes for adults and children.
Docks At Dusk
20” x 16”, Acrylic
Growing up with artist parents, Jane was encouraged to draw and paint at an early age. Following in her parents’ footsteps, she pursued a career in graphics and worked in various advertising design studios in Toronto. While experiencing an interesting mix of corporate, retail package and industrial design, she preferred illustration. Courses at the Ontario College of Art enriched her illustration, life drawing and painting ability.
Marriage and three beautiful daughters changed her focus. She continued with illustration as opportunities arose. Jane became drawn more and more to fine arts. She worked with various instructors, which enhanced her skill and encouraged her to explore other forms of paint media. Opportunities to teach now allow Jane to share her experiences with others.
When her husband retired, they moved to Georgian Bay. The beauty of the Bay, and its many lakes, rivers and forests, are a constant inspiration. Jane’s desire is to simplify the subject at hand: its light, shadow, shape and texture. Getting to the very essence of what first inspired her, whether working with the human form or a landscape, is what brings life to her work.
Jenny Kirkpatrick is a professional photographer living in Huntsville. An ardent amateur for many years, she began her commercial, stock and fine art business in 1996, and started offering seminars and workshops about creative photography in 2000. Once she had a solid grasp of the photographic tools and rules, Jenny discovered the joy of breaking them, and has continued on this path ever since. Her work reflects that creative freedom, ranging from dramatic realism to total abstraction. Many of her images are the product of two or more photographs in combination to make strikingly textured and colour saturated montages. She has embraced the digital era, creating archival giclée prints of her images.
Jenny’s images have been showcased in numerous publications including PhotoLife and Canadian Geographic, and her images hang internationally.
She teaches as she photographs – with commitment and enthusiasm – encouraging others to broaden their artistic boundaries. Her love of, and concern for the environment, both globally and locally in the Muskoka/Algonquin/Georgian Bay region, is apparent in her work. Her images reflect time spent hiking and paddling in the area.
Jenny’s passion for photography has been integral to her success. Her work has been recognized with awards both provincially within the Professional Photographers of Ontario, and nationally by the Professional Photographers of Canada.
A Velvet Path
22” x 15”, Watercolour, Pastel
Variety is the spice of life, so it is said. Lynda loves the challenge of different types of subject matter while playing with a myriad of mediums and implements. She focuses on glowing, light filled, Abstracted Landscape and on Non Objective painting, where nebulous thought transcends reality. Lynda likes to engage the viewer by leaving something for their imagination to complete.
“The excitement of the creative process starts for me by trying to understand what I feel about a subject and why.”
This led to the challenge of collaborative painting with Pam Turner-Wong, both painting at the same time, over and around each other, creating a look and feel that belongs to another entity altogether. Sketching is Lynda’s greatest tool for understanding.
She sketches quickly, making notations, while observing and drawing away until understanding the essence of the subject. Swishing away with big brushes, rubbing with rags, scraping with knives; becoming a part of a totally new event, she refers less and less to the early sketches, needing to look at the work itself, to feel, evaluate, chase a line, silence an edge, drown a patch colour, thicken the textures, slow down, pull away. Exciting ideas for future exploration pop into her head.
“Often, I feel as if I am a spectator just watching what is going on.”
The final painting phase slows down. It is long and reflective, dangerously close to doubt. It’s time to put the brush down and think about getting started on the next painting.
24” x 24”, Acrylic
Janine Marson is home-grown talent. Her whole being is immersed in the sights, sounds, smells, taste and touch of Muskoka. Her parents moved to Huntsville in 1960 to buy a tourist resort and provide a better life. It affected her childhood years more than she could have imagined – catching frogs, climbing trees, swimming with her Labrador retriever and canoeing on the Oxtongue River. Now, through her art, Janine shares her experiences of the subtleties of light, colour and splendour of the seasons. The rush of mist on her face while sketching at her favourite spot, Ragged Falls, also has left an indelible mark on her.
Since the age of eight she has wanted to be an artist, and now she is living the dream. Janine’s productive career spans more than 30 years as a professional artist and instructor in Muskoka and Toronto. She is a graduate of Design Art at Georgian College and received her B.A. Fine Art from the University of Guelph. She was chosen to represent her beloved Muskoka at the One of a Kind Spring Show and Sale in 2011, and has painted murals for the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery in Huntsville.
Janine’s deep connection to the Muskoka region, coupled with her strong painting and colour skills, allows her to fully express her love of the land, and fuels her desire to preserve and protect it for future generations.
24” x 48”, Acrylic
Jeff Miller knows where of he paints. He has been there and he’s still there, in his canoe, along the ‘wet edge’, on the portage. He operates with brush and colours under the wide open limits of the word ‘connection.’
His deep love and understanding for winding waters and the white pine canopy of Algonquin Park, Georgian Bay, Temagami and Lake Superior’s north shoreline have brought his rugged touch of oils and acrylics on canvas and board to many Canadian and American art and nature lovers. He is known for his exciting boldness and the distinctive way he expresses his response to wind, storm, ice and heat.
His almost 70-year-long connection to wilderness has included more than a strong ethic for wild nature. As a founding director and president of the Algonquin Wildlands League, he spoke out for a strong protection for wild nature in the sixties, seventies, and eighties. Later, with two fellow Canadians, David Thomas and Ross Carlin, he developed an art/nature outdoor painting program designed to offer children a chance to bind with nature; to realize that they are nature and to develop a strong sensitivity and respect for it.
You can meet Jeff at his wilderness studio-gallery near Algonquin Park just off the Limberlost Road.
Enchanted Forest Daydreams
11” x 14”, Silk Paper, Acrylic, Ink
Col Mitchell is an award winning contemporary paper artist Col Mitchell works on a textural multi-layered fusion of sculpted papers on canvas or panel to make energized paintings of nature and wildlife. The technique, developed by and original to the artist, involves working with the characteristics, individuality, and performance of a variety of papers to achieve lines and texture appropriate for the subject matter.
Often a single sheet can comprise both foreground and background as shown in Sunset Becomes Her. Sky and tree are developed together from one unbroken sheet covering the entire canvas. Attention is paid to the lines and flow of the sky while the shape and texture of the tree and branches are formed. Layered semi-transparent acrylic washes preface a galaxy of multi-hued pen-nib applied ink lines to enhance the depth and movement of each unique surface.
Col was selected to exhibit and demonstrate her technique for the G20 Summit in Toronto (2010) as part of the Muskoka Corridor Experience, which garnered media attention for Muskoka artists worldwide. Her work has been featured in magazines, art publications, and juried exhibitions. Commissions include an installation celebration of Tom Thomson at Nuit Blanche North (2012) and the cover for Huntsville Festival of The Art’s yearly guide (2013). Col Mitchell is represented by Bluestone Fine Art Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A Splash of Colour
60” x 48”, Acrylic
Born and raised in Oshawa, Ontario, Wendy Moses spent her summers in Muskoka at Lake Rosseau. As a child, she could be found in the boathouse Saturday mornings, enjoying art classes with her grandmother, Alexandra Luke - a member of the Painters Eleven.
Wendy received her education at The New School of Art in Toronto, the University of Toronto (B.A.) and Nipissing University in North Bay (B.Ed.). Her love of art led her to picturesque Partridge Lane, located a few kilometers outside of Bracebridge, where, in 1998, she opened The Alexandra Luke Gallery, named in honour of her grandmother.
Wendy paints with watercolour, acrylic and oil. Her subjects are mostly flowers and scenes of nature that modulate from realism into abstraction. She is also a photographer with a keen eye and good sense of composition.
Wendy sees art as a total experience for the viewer and she welcomes you to The Alexandra Luke Gallery, where you will find bright, bold and beautiful expressionist paintings that will awaken and enhance your imagination.
36” x 48”, Oil
Ron Murdoch’s art is a reflection of his love of the outdoors – hiker, hunter, fisherman, and canoeist. He has seen nature’s hidden places, misty lakes, waterfalls, and wildlife up close where he notes the details and temperaments of the scene to capture it as a work of art. After almost four decades of painting Algonquin and Muskoka, Ron’s works portray wisdom from his observations, and his experience as an artist produces a tangible memory of these places. Ron paints in watercolour, acrylic and oil; these varied mediums give him a full control of the moods in nature to choose the right one for the work at hand.
Mostly self-taught, with some formal training in his youth at the Glasgow School of Art and classes at Haliburton School of The Arts, Ron has also painted with some talented fellow artists – all of which has molded his unique style. Over the years, Ron’s paintings have won awards in various Ontario art associations and many belong to collectors in Canada and abroad.
The practical side of Ron’s nature led him to be a Director and Chairperson of the Agnes Jamieson Gallery in Minden and in 1993 to open North Art Supplies, an art supply and framing store in Huntsville. Ron is also a proud member of five Ontario art clubs which have contributed greatly to his place in the art world.
Nancy Ogle Gray
18” x 24”, Acrylic
Nancy Ogle Gray has been described as an artist who “captures the innermost being in the eyes of her subjects”. With delicate realism, she creates beautifully detailed portraits of wild and domestic animals.
Nancy decided early in her career that pastels would be the medium best suited to the expressive realism of her animal subjects. Working with pastels allowed her to develop strong drawing skills while exploring the characteristics of the medium for which she is best known. Today, her acrylic paintings display softness and detail developed from years of painting with pastels.
Wildlife and scenery in Muskoka and Algonquin Park provide her inspiration to paint quiet images of nature. Her work shows a sensitivity to wildlife and their habitat.
“Sketching in my sketchbook is my favourite thing to do. Drawing quickly and accurately is the challenge I most enjoy” she says. Nancy shares her passion for drawing by teaching others. As an art instructor she is popular with students of all ages, creatively and skillfully helping to inspire their artistic growth.
Her ‘Dog Series’ is a sentimental return to when Nancy first started her career as an animal artist. These paintings embrace the connection we have with our pets, portraying subjects that appeal to us on an emotional level. She has illustrated eight wildlife books for children and created a series of illustrations for R.D. Lawrence’s The Natural History of Canada.
Day is Done
George Popadynec believes he is fortunate to be able to photograph the beauty of Muskoka, especially in the ever-changing light just before dawn and after sunset. On rare occasions he is rewarded with a display of dramatic clouds and colours reflecting on mirror-smooth lakes or rivers. Whenever mists form, they add a mystical quality to nature’s show. Capturing these fleeting moments is the joy of photography for George.
24” x 36”, Oil
Using both palette knife and brush technique, Richard Robinson creates vibrant oil paintings that capture the beauty and majesty of Muskoka on canvas. Although he also works with pastels and water colour, he prefers oils because of the richness and depth of colour the medium provides. With some artistic licence, Richard paints what he sees in nature. In his view, it is difficult to improve on Mother Nature’s creations.
Richard specializes in commissioned paintings of his clients’ homes, cottages and/or favourite scenes. He has more than 250 commissioned paintings to his credit and his work can be found in homes not only in Canada but also in the United States, Great Britain, Europe and South America.
By visiting the client’s property and using photos for reference, Richard captures the essence of what makes the home or cottage a special place for his clients. A commissioned painting makes a unique gift for a special occasion and allows clients to preserve their Muskoka memories.
In addition to the framed paintings that are exhibited in his own and other galleries, his work can be seen in print. He has created the cover paintings for Muskoka author Robert Rea’s novels A View to the North and Sundreams.
You are welcome to visit Richard at his lakeside gallery in Baysville, Ontario.
24” x 48”, Watercolour
Margot Snow is a watercolour artist with works exhibited in both private and corporate collections across North America, Europe, and Australia. A native of Montreal, Quebec, Margot lived in Guelph, Ontario for 25 years and since 2003 has resided in Muskoka with her husband, Wayne. Educated at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the University of Guelph in Fine Arts, Margot has concentrated on watercolour painting since 1979.
Margot is an avid gardener who’s love of life and nature is reflected in her paintings. Each work is “a celebration of the harmony and beauty of the natural world”. She brings life to common objects with her intense use of colour.
Margot’s art reflects images of her frequent trips to Tuscany, where her family owns a 200 year old farmhouse, and impressions of the Muskoka landscape.
“Colour is the essence of my work - it is uppermost in my mind when I choose a subject and is what challenges and interests me most. Colour can change a viewer’s mood, it can stimulate a feeling of peacefulness and well-being and it can awaken a soul.”
Shannon Stark was born in Huntsville, and although she lived in many other places in Ontario, her heart remained in Muskoka. Her interest and flair for arts in many forms was apparent at a young age and over the past few years she has channeled her energy into visionary photos of Muskoka’s nature and landscapes. Shannon lives in the village of Port Sydney and her unique creative eye has lent itself to captivating photos of her surroundings.
None of Shannon’s photographs is manipulated. She believes that anyone can take a picture and bring it into a photo programme to create a picture, but for her a true photographer is someone who captures the shot in camera. Shannon also expresses herself through pottery, stained glass and has published a photographic journal A Year in my Backyard.
Rob Stimpson is an internationally published, award-winning photographer best known for capturing the fury and tenderness of the Canadian outdoors. While Rob’s mainstream occupation is that of professional photographer, his education, creative talents and past experience suggest additional descriptions: teacher and wilderness guide.
His 20-year career has also taken him to the Arctic and Antarctic, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Central America, where he has focused on rare sights of the natural world and photo journalistic elements of indigenous people. Along the way, he has garnered numerous awards, including a Northern Lights Award from the Canadian Tourist Commission and Best Travel Photography Award from the Ontario Tourism Summit in 2007.
Rob is co-author (with Craig Thompson) of An Artist’s and Photographer’s Guide to Wild Ontario (Boston Mills Press.) His work has also appeared in Canadian Geographic, Explore, Chatelaine, Cathay Pacific and Japan Air in-flight magazines, the Globe & Mail and The Toronto Star. Corporate clients include Swift Canoe, Annenberg Foundation, Ontario Tourism and Ontario Parks. His work also can be seen in the Canadian Canoe Museum and the French River Visitor Centre.
When he is not taking photographs, he teaches travel and landscape photography at Fleming College in Haliburton, Ontario.
20” x 30”, Acrylic on Aluminum
Elisabeth Wallace attended Trent University, graduating in 2013 with an Honours BA, majoring in history and a minor in cultural studies. She is an avid volunteer and art instructor at the Peterborough Art Gallery, helping with student tours, camps and studio classes that run during the year.
Elisabeth has been making art since she was a little girl, following a long line of artists who have painted in Muskoka. She uses a variety of mediums, creating abstract works based on colour, lines and shapes in nature. Elisabeth’s art work continues to be inspired throughout the seasons by the surrounding landscape of her family’s property on the Muskoka River.
Mad Hatter Forest
74" x 43" Acrylic on Acrylic Sheeting in Polyresin and Wood
Wendy Wallace is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Sheridan College where she received a Bachelor of Arts with a Specialist in Visual Studies and Major in Art History. She received a scholarship from the Banff Centre’s School of Fine Arts where she completed an independent study session.
Wendy has been a part of the Muskoka area since childhood. She has been making and teaching art in this area since 1984. Wendy Wallace’s images centre on the impact of what she describes as “metaphorical and observational narrative.”
Her work explores the interrelationships among architecture, industry, people and nature and embodies a social consciousness. Wallace’s work connects with cultural narratives from the past and present in cities and towns. She draws upon similarities and differences that are relevant to society’s relationship with nature. Overall her work identifies the urban, rural and suburban landscape as cultural symbols.
Susan Irons Ware
Waterlilies - Lake Rosseau
15” x 22”, Watercolour
Susan’s paintings reflect her love of the natural environment and the importance of finding the stillness in life. The privilege of living in Muskoka allows Susan to connect with the patterns and cycles of the universe and provides a daily opportunity to observe and assess the natural world.
Much of her work focuses on a close-up view of live subjects in an attempt to draw the viewer’s attention to the beauty and intricacies of colour, shape and pattern in even the smallest of life. An insect, for example, can express all of those traits and also act in this way as a bridge to the understanding of abstraction. Susan also paints landscapes, still life, figures, and abstracts. Although she works primarily in watercolour she also enjoys working in acrylics, oils and mixed media.
Susan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University in Montreal and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Toronto where she also was certified as a Specialist in Visual Arts. She served for more than ten years as Department Head of Visual Arts at a Toronto high school. She is a member of the Toronto Watercolour Society, and the Arts and Letters Club.
Susan’s work is currently found in private collections in England, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and Canada. Visitors to her Damselfly Studio Gallery near Gravenhurst will be welcomed with a frequently changing exhibition of framed pieces as well as other artwork.
And Then the Uplifting
24”x 24”, Acrylic
Raised in Huntsville, Danielle West is an artist whose work primarily is paintings done on wood. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, she most often creates fanciful images that reflect her upbringing in Huntsville, with pieces that are a departure from other forms of Muskoka-inspired art.
At an early age, Danielle developed a love of narrative through reading, and eventually discovered a talent for creating her own tales through drawings. Born of the unconscious, her doodled characters – most often female – dictate their own strange stories as they wander through rocky landscapes, encountering the trees and wildlife that are so synonymous with Muskoka.
Danielle typically works with acrylic paint on wood, allowing the grain to show through and enhance the setting of each tale. Beginning with stream of conscious writing, evocative imagery from those words are captured in paint.
After the Storm
Pam Wong spends time throughout the year in Muskoka at the family cottage. Her love of painting was instilled by two generations of painters in her family.
“Some of my earliest memories are those of my father teaching me how to paint as I peeked over the dining room table.”
In 1989 she began her watercolour career following a course taught by noted Canadian painter Jack Reid. His influence remains an inspiration to Pam today.
Pam has enjoyed a successful career since 1992 and has remained active in the arts community in Sarnia and Muskoka. In Muskoka she was a founding member of “Cottage Country Artists” and past participant in the Muskoka Lakes Spring Art Tour.
In 1997 Pam and fellow Bracebridge artist Lynda Lynn began a venture in collaborative work, painting together on single works. Pam and Lynda still get together for “paint days” whenever they can to share their newest works and learn from each other.
These days Pam works in both watercolour and acrylics. The need remains the same, “As a lover of the earthly elements, the sense of solitude in the expanse of most landscapes is one of my favourite subjects for expression. Call it a moment for reflection, quiet thought or introspection. If these feelings are in some way experienced by the viewer, then I may consider my work successful.”
No Sailing Today
11” x 14”, Watercolour
Although born and raised in midtown Toronto, Michael has spent most of his summers in Muskoka since 1947, when he arrived at his summer destination on the steamship Iroquois. He painted his first oil painting of Lake of Bays ten years later at age twelve and has been doing much the same ever since, although watercolours and pen and ink techniques have added to his extensive knowledge of drawing and painting.
Michael has always been fascinated by the many moods of Muskoka and has constantly attempted to get below the surface of things in order to capture the real essence of Muskoka in all its variety. Michael is also extremely interested in the heritage buildings and old structures which abound in the area, especially dock (steamer) pavilions, old boathouses and historic churches. He also has been deeply involved in creating personal commissions of Muskoka homes and cottages in all media. His work can be found in homes and businesses in the USA, the UK, the Netherlands as well as across Canada.
Prior to 2000, Michael was a high school art teacher, and spent 18 years as Visual Arts Department Head at several secondary schools in the Durham region. He has studied at the Universities of Toronto, Western Ontario, Guelph, Ontario College of Art and Design, Centennial, George Brown and Durham Colleges as well as at UBC and Emily Carr College of Art and Design.
He has taught visual art courses all over Ontario and has offered several art courses in Muskoka.