Tag Archives: oil paintings

18278210_1483956524971805_1823221794676628801_o

NANCY BENNETT TELLS HOW SHE WALKED AWAY FROM THE 9 TO 5 LIFE TO EMBRACE HER INNER ARTIST

When I first came to Toronto in the late 70’s, I fulfilled my parents’ dream of a safe and secure life with an office job (dull…urgh!) which, thankfully, I walked away from in ’79 for a life in showbiz when I landed my first audition, the role of Magenta in the Toronto theatrical production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show! which obviously became my parents’ nightmare…LOL!  I had been doing my 9 to 5 work at a renowned investment house called Wood Gundy, where I first met Nancy Bennett who, unbeknownst to me at the time, was also struggling with her own office vs. arts dilemma.

Skip ahead a few decades and one day I encounter the same Nancy Bennett at an art show exhibiting her fabulous vibrant work – we’ve been playing catch up ever since.

Nancy in her booth @ Toronto's Riverdale Artwalk

Nancy in her booth @ Toronto’s Riverdale Artwalk

I was thrilled to hear of her journey since I last saw her when we used to share office gossip at our favourite after-work cocktail lounge; she has since left her busy career in the financial sector to devote her life to creating art full-time.  After securing her house, buying a dog and having a baby (whew, I’m exhausted even listing those), Nancy turned to her first love, painting, in 2008 when global finances took a very hard knock, impacting her career as well as most of those working on Bay Street.  As Nancy tells it….“I first started collecting works by local artists as an antidote to my work life which had become increasingly toxic…then I began painting again.”

After being laid-off from her day job in 2013, Nancy immediately began painting full-time; her first show “Kiss the Sky” at the Women’s Art Association of Canada, featured paintings of skyscapes using a knife, brush and rollers on canvas and wood, in both large and small formats. It took a couple of years and a deep “Group of Seven” phase for her to cultivate a style that feels natural – layered knife paintings on large wood panels. I recently visited Nancy’s studio and saw this new piece (below) that’s still in the early stages – she showed me how she layers her work… 20170721_105045

“My paintings combine skyscapes, which are universal, and landscapes, which are specific to each location. I’m passionate about sharing the appreciation for my urban home setting and emphasizing that we’re all under the same sky – a commonality that helps us talk and create art together. The sky is a constant in all our lives and is a source of unity, calm and wonder as well a source of endless variety. Through my work I encourage people to look up and know they are not alone.”

Nancy continues….”I paint with oil paints on wood. Through these materials, I feel a connection to the history of my craft. In the current world of social media, the relationships and communication are real but have a fairy-like quality, flitting around the edge of “real life” and fading away completely if not nurtured. All the new media art tools today have evolved through the work of artists over centuries. The textures of different paints are an inspiration for the hundreds of filters available on Instagram. My passion with oil painting is a homage to traditional creation and its interaction in the digital space is my acceptance to our technological evolution.”20170721_105005

In 2015, Nancy co-founded the Four Corners Studio Collective, a Toronto based group of four emerging artists working together, learning from each other’s skills and experiences and supporting growth in their respective careers.  That same year, she curated #TwitterFirstFriday, a monthly art show conducted on the social media platform.  The goals were to encourage networking between artists around the world and promote art through sharing across multiple networks. Throughout 2015, on the first Friday of each month Nancy gathered works posted by artists, evaluated them for suitability and adherence to the show’s rules and shared with an online community.

Nancy is a member of The Artists’ Network, CARFAC and the Akin Collective, and in 2017, she began volunteering at Art Heart, an arts program for vulnerable adults.

“I’m a social artist. I thrive in a community, share studio space and have an active online following on social media. Through my paintings, I bring the extended community into my world and transfer my physical space into their digital one. I share my views, interpretations and feelings as I work through a piece. I encourage my online community to observe their own surroundings with an artist’s eye and get involved in my work. I appreciate when they send me photos of scenes that inspire them or remind them of my work. Through this give-and-take, my audience is with me throughout as an active component of my process in addition to being a passive audience to the final piece.”17634397_1444251605608964_2311017889669336969_nUPCOMING SHOWS
August 2017 – Solo exhibit, Deer Park Library, 40 St. Clair Ave. East, Toronto
August 18- 20 2017 –  ArtWalk in the Square at Shops @ Don Mills, Booth #24.
February 2018 – The Artist Project, Exhibition Place, Toronto

You can follow Nancy on Facebook.com/NancyBennettArts or visit her website: www.nancybennett.ca14390924_1241314049236055_5450160895757346700_nAnd if you see Nancy at any of her upcoming shows, stop in to her booth, say hi and learn more about this multi-talented woman who (finally) got to follow her dreams….

20170408_134408

ARTIST COLIN NUN UNVEILS SOLO SHOW “PROTOTYPE” @ URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

Last year, artist COLIN NUN displayed his typographical painting “Union” during Urban Gallery‘s annual group show and it turned out to be the show-stopper of the exhibit (see below).20160804_191109This month, Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY proudly presents Colin’s solo show “Prototype” featuring his unique and intricate paintings including a smaller version of his popular painting from last year, this time titled “Union II” (below)20170408_134424As I wandered around the gallery, each painting threw down the challenge “read me” – so standing back and squinting a little, each painting became the word and the meaning. A recipient of an Ontario Arts Council grant, Colin’s work is fascinating and I was intrigued by a smaller piece, a 12″x 12″ gouache on paper titled “Coop” – the more I looked at it, the more I related to the meaning of the word. Hopefully I can afford to put a red dot alongside it within the next week or two. Sold!20170408_134842Colin has a number of big bold paintings such as “Crux”, “Cycle” and “Barber” (below)20170408_134626 20170408_134817 20170408_134807…and I especially liked his “Void” – can you see the word on the canvas below?20170408_134502Colin’s proud dad, Frank (below, right) brought along some family friends and they gravitated towards his large canvas titled “Deluxe”. 20170408_140418Colin’s twin sister Erin also dropped in to support her brother – here she is enjoying some refreshments along with the artwork (below).20170408_142512These super cool dudes, all friends of Colin’s, dropped in and added their thumbs-up to the show…20170408_14501920170408_140740…especially his buddy Frank who seems to have a personal connection to “Cream” (below).  In order to maintained his dignity and integrity, tho, I employed my “don’t ask, don’t tell” interview style with him…LOL!20170408_140806(0)Let’s watch now as Colin tells us all about his work….

Gallery curator, Allen Shugar (below L) enjoyed hanging this show and he spent some time chatting with Colin during the reception.20170408_144812Two of my fave pieces are “Joy” and “Silence” – each is subtle and the texture Colin achieved with the oil paint makes them both very tactile (but I restrained myself and kept my hands to myself!)20170408_134518 20170408_134522 20170408_135003 20170408_135006Colin shared his creative insights with gallery guests and he attracted attention from fellow artist Erik Chong (2nd pic below)…20170408_142428 20170408_142627 20170408_150106If you’re looking for an exciting gallery experience, definitely consider dropping into Urban Gallery while Colin’s work is on display. All paintings are very affordable for the budding art collector, and each is mind-expanding and visually challenging.  You can learn more about Colin at:  www.fineart.colinnun.com/20170408_134413 20170408_134443 20170408_134855Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen St East (just E of Parliament) Toronto. Hours and directions here: www.UrbanGallery.ca   And please do follow the gallery on Instagram and upload pics of your visit to Colin’s show (just like these two guests) @UrbanGalleryTO20170408_150416(0)

20160910_141623

GRACE DAM OPENS HER SOLO SHOW @ URBAN GALLERY IN TORONTO

Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY turned up the a/c for the launch of GRACE DAM‘s hot solo exhibition “The Artist Unmasked” which runs until October 1st.  Family and friends turned out on the sultry Saturday afternoon to celebrate her show and sale of paintings that reflects the complexity of life, the challenge of relationships –and the connections between earth and sky.20160910_144606“My approach combines figurative and abstract elements to explore the emotions and meaning inherent in my surroundings. My subject matter, sparked by the mood and politics of the day, is then researched and studied before I attempt to capture it on canvas. My message may appeal or it may provoke –my aim is to tempt the viewer to linger long enough to tease out the meaning.”    Grace Dam

20160910_14143620160910_14172620160910_141452Fellow artist Erik Chong and his wife Jeanette (below) arrived to show support…20160910_143352…as did good friend Linda Kaplan, shown below with Grace.20160910_143150Grace’s husband, Howie, admired her work…20160910_141635…as did her lovely daughter Hillary (below)20160910_141932Below, Wayne Abell of UrbanSource Catering and KJ Mullins, publisher of Newz4U.ca were happy to come out and celebrate Grace’s grand opening….20160910_142304

The Wait 48w x 36h Oil diptych Canadian Icons (Niagara Falls diptych) 48 x 60 oil on canvas Image THE MASK by Grace Dam -oil on canvasFor further information on Grace’s paintings and gallery hours, please visit: www.urbangallery.ca/20160910_144606

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

URBAN GALLERY LAUNCHES KHAT KARIM’S SHOW OF CONTEMPORARY ABSTRACT ART

Another fab soiree with the folks at Toronto’s Urban Gallery…last night they opened their month-long Under My Skin show for Canadian artist Khat Karim, featuring her wildly colourful and movement-filled abstract contemporary work.

20150604_181049Khat uses a variety of painting applications – hands, brushes and other unorthodox painting tools to drip, splash, pour, and layer paint to create her strikingly, raw, organic works of art. The intricate movements and swirls in her paintings capture the interplay of skill and unplanned occurrences that determines the final outcome. This process allows her to abandon self-control and surrender to her subconscious bringing forth an emotional release.

20150604_175707 20150604_180623Khat was surrounded by friends and members of her family (below) who came out to support and celebrate her show opening.

20150604_175927 20150604_184702 20150604_184914 20150604_184724(0)Fellow artists Angel Torres (below r) and Brenda Clews (centre) joined Snapd photographer Morgan (left) to admire Khat’s work.

Morgan, Brenda and AngelAnd I attempted somewhat unsuccessfully to snap a selfie or two (below) in front of my fave paintings….at least you can see Khat’s superb technique and colour palette in close-up.20150604_180141 20150604_180434…the crowds kept coming and soon the gallery was full of admiring art-lovers.

20150604_180101 20150604_181026 20150604_183740 20150604_183459Congrats to Khat…we hope to see lots of red dots over the coming weeks. Under My Skin runs until Saturday June 27th at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East. Check their website for hours: www.urbangallery.ca

20150604_181039 Seeing The Light Under My Skin IMG_0659