Paint Ontario reveals natural beauty of province

Art Competition, Exhibition & Sale

The return of the tundra swans to the Grand Bend area heralds not only the beginnings of spring but the opening of the Paint Ontario art competition, exhibition and sale at the Lambton Heritage Museum. A show that focuses on images of the beauty of the province in land and waterscapes, architecture and wildlife, this exhibit marks its twentieth year. Founded by pastel artist Barry Richmond, it gives artists the opportunity to display works in a high profile venue. The compositions are juried by a panel of three judges awarding prizes of First Place, Second Place and two Honorable Mentions. Further awards are granted to works chosen by sponsors such as the Mayors Award and Founders Award. As a further incentive, compositions are chosen to appear in the calendar assembled and sold by the Paint Ontario.

This year’s show has gone through some changes. Mr Richmond has retired and the event has been taken over by the Grand bend Art Centre with curator Teresa Marie Philips. The impetus according to Phillips is to allow artist looking for clients and not having gallery representation to become better and show in a professional setting while artist represented by a gallery can keep up their profile, It is the top exhibit for artists prizes and hopes to pull in interesting ideas about Ontario evoking feelings, conversations and a doorway to discussions about art. As a not for profit venue, Paint Ontario uses proceeds to hold art workshops and creative projects in the community.

DSC_7686.jpg.emailThe exhibition itself is beautifully hung with more space between works than in the past. This allows the viewer to fully appreciate the compositions but limits the number. Three hundred and eighty- eight were submitted and only one hundred and eighty- five were chosen. The choices showcase a wide variety of subject matter and styles ranging from photorealism to abstraction. A wander through the room is a treat. No matter what your artistic preference…it is here.

In the wildlife category, Ken Jackson’s oil entitled, ‘Broken Silence’ which won Wildlife Choice, depicts the flight of Canada Geese in high realism. You can hear the sound of their honking as they fly through the woodland. The Grand Prize winner, a landscape embracing the effect of the light of the sun low in the sky, was won by Denise Antaya (Sutherland) for her oil “Orchard Beach’. For architectural theme,’ January Morning -24C,’ an oil by Michele Miller, captures the cold, monochromatic feel of a snowy morning streetscape.

The Japanese quality of design of the Watercolour Choice and 2nd Honourable Mention, showing red leaves through the slats of a fence, is achieved by Elizabeth Carr in ‘October’.

Verging on a portrait, ‘By the Light of the Dodge’ by Janice Innocente shows the blacksmith in a swirl of steam shoeing a horse as seen by looking through the animals legs. It won the Oil/Acrylic award.

There are so many works that could be discussed and fully deserve it but the best idea is to go and view the show and allow it, as Phillips suggests, to start your own discussion of art.

The Paint Ontario Show runs until April the 3rd at the Lambton Heritage Museum, Grand Bend- open 5 pm. Admission $5 adults, $4 for students and $3 for children.

Cheryl Jennings is a local artist, freelance writer and retired high school teacher.

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