I grew up in Sudbury, Ontario, infamous for its nickel mines, slag heaps, acid rain, and minus 40-degree weather. But I learned to recognize a completely different and surprising side to this northern city. Inside the city limits and in the midst of glacier-scarred rock outcroppings, you can find lakes, a beaver pond and marsh, flowered parks, wild irises and roses. In winter I skied on a small hill in the city and skated like the wind on Ramsey Lake. My parents had a “camp” (cottage) just outside Sudbury where I picked blueberries while keeping an eye out for bears and, in the evening, took a sauna punctuated with bracing dives off the dock. I am a Northern Girl, in love with the stark beauty of a snow-covered landscape as well as the gentle warmth of a summer sunset at camp.
After Sudbury, I lived in Montreal for 20 years. More snow…more freezing weather! But the view from Mount Royal in winter was enthralling, with the wide St. Lawrence flowing off to Quebec City and, in the distance, Mont St Hilaire and Mont St Bruno, dominating the surrounding flat landscape like sleeping giants. I skied the Laurentians in Quebec and the Green Mountains of Vermont. More winter landscapes! I also spent time with friends at a cottage on Lake Champlain. More summer sunsets at the cottage (camp)!
I have been painting for approximately 20 years now. I began by painting subjects related to the many trips to Europe that I took with my husband. Because I did not and still don’t have a large studio, I focussed mainly on watercolour painting, which I can do at my kitchen table. We own quite a few oil landscape paintings and I like their bright solid colours. To get a similar effect with watercolours I like to use less water than is generally used by other watercolour artists.
My two art teachers started me painting by working from images (paintings or photographs). I still paint this way, using other artists’ paintings as lessons and photographs of landscapes as inspiration for my own personal creations. With my Sudbury and Montreal-area background, I feel a strong ongoing urge to depict snowy winter landscapes or summer landscapes of forest and lakes.
I have had very successful art shows at cafes here in Toronto. For three years I also sold many paintings at curated shows put on by the Canadian Opera Company at the (then) Hummingbird Centre. Altogether I have sold about 100 paintings since I started.
I joined Women’s Art Association of Canada about four years ago and I enjoy the challenges and opportunities offered to me to paint for the various exhibitions that take place every year. I continue to work to improve my paintings and it gives me great pleasure to be able to exhibit them here at the Faculty Club of the University of Toronto. Even though I now live in Toronto and enjoy all that it has to offer, I am still that Northern Girl.