Saturday, December 15, 2018

To be Joyful

Well suddenly we're halfway through December, and I think it's safe to say that Christmas is really soon! Whatever way you choose to celebrate the season, (or not), it's hard to deny that it's a busy time of year for most people. The hustle-bustle of the city is even more pronounced by festive music, lights, and decorations. Messages seem to abound to "be merry", and to "be jolly"! But amidst all the busyness, are you taking the time to slow down enough to actually enjoy yourself?

Catherine Bagnell-Styles, Spring Poppies (framed), 10" x 13", Acrylic on Board


We recently recently received a new body of work by artist Catherine Bagnell-Styles , and her use of color and expressive brushwork seem to almost radiate joyfulness. Last Saturday, she was at the gallery with us for the afternoon to chat about her work and process. The pleasure Catherine takes in her painting practice is immediately obvious from the moment she begins to speak about her work, and it definitely translates through her paintings as well.



Catherine Bagnell-Styles, Juicy, Too, 10" x 10", Acrylic on Board


Catherine Bagnell Styles, "Profusion" 10" x 10" Acrylic on Paper, Mounted


The bright color palette used in Catherine's work gives them a playful and magnetic energy. From her plein-air paintings done in France, to familiar Halifax neighborhoods, floral still lives, and vibrant dancers, Catherine's work has a distinct style that she has made her own.


Catherine Bagnell-Styles, Blue and Green Dancers, 12" x 12", Acrylic and Mixed Media on Board

Catherine Bagnell-Styles, Field of Dreams, 12" x 16" , Acrylic on Board

Catherine Bagnell Styles, Farm Summer, 11" x 14", Acrylic on Canvas Board

Another one of our gallery artists who takes great pride and pleasure in sharing her creative practice is Kim Danio. Kim is known for her whimsical works made of re-purposed shoes, purses, and boots. It's really amazing to see how Kim is able to envision the potential of discarded items to take on a second life as charming works of art. With the addition of paint and a myriad of odds and ends, Kim transforms the mundane into creatures, little houses, fishing shacks, cars, and more!

Kim Danio, Barn, Reclaimed Purse and Mixed Media



Kim Danio, Light Up Turquoise Camper, Reclaimed Purse and Mixed Media


Kim Danio, Reindeer, Reclaimed Shoe and Mixed Media


It's so inspiring to see how artists who are really passionate about their work are able to share their joy through the inherently joyful quality of their work. At this time of year, it's worth reflecting on how what we do with a good heart and good intentions always comes through clearly to those around us. Throughout this season, consider whether you are giving from a true place of joy,  rather than for the sake of giving into the pressures of Christmas "merriment". As these two artist demonstrate, what is done with good spirit, spreads good spirit! Stop by the gallery to see the many wonderful new works that have recently arrived. You can also view a good selection of new work online here and smaller works from our Postcards from Home show here.

Kim Danio, White Ice Fishing Shack, Reclaimed Purse and Mixed Media

Kim Danio, VW Bug with Christmas Tree, Reclaimed Shoe and Mixed Media




Friday, December 7, 2018

Thank YOU for Supporting Local Businesses!

Wow...sorry we've been meaning to write a blog entry all this week, but honestly we've been so busy at the gallery, that the time really hasn't allowed it which is great news. That means that people are buying local items for the holidays, and we are especially grateful that many of you have added original art to the season.

So this is a "HI and THANK YOU"  and we'll do a better job tomorrow afternoon here with some of the latest works arriving at the gallery, but we wanted to share a picture that was shared with us today of an original work of art that found it's perfect home. Just look at this! Proof that art can transform any space large or small.

 

Hope to see you all at the gallery- each week new works are arriving at the gallery with special artist events happening on Wednesday, December 19th and each Saturday leading up to Christmas! Check out the EVENTS page on this blog for the latest. Have a great weekend!


Thursday, November 29, 2018

TONIGHT TONIGHT! We have POWER! 6pm-8pm

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE! We're bustling around getting ready for our Holiday Party tonight! Please drop by from 6pm-8pm for TAX FREE shopping on purchases $50 and over. WAHOOOO!


We have a new show launching tonight called "Postcards From Home" which you can now see HERE at this LINK. 



 PLEASE DONATE!
Attending our events and visiting the gallery is always FREE but tonight we are raising funds for the Christmas Daddies Telethon so please leave a  monetary  donation behind for them tonight or tomorrow afternoon if you visit as well! We will be presenting the donations collected on CTV Saturday afternoon between 2pm-2:30pm. 

 Don't forget each Saturday in December between 1-3pm we'll be hosting special events at the gallery. This Saturday meet artists Kim Eddy, Lil Crump and Kris Webster. CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE DETAILS

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Giving Back this Holiday Season

If you're on the hunt for some Black Friday deals, you won't find any here at the gallery. This year in lieu of celebrating Black Friday we are collecting donations for the Christmas Daddies, a not-for-profit organization that helps provide a better Christmas to children in need within the Maritime provinces.



The Christmas Daddies has been around since 1964 (you can read more about the organization's history here), and their annual telethon has become a well-known tradition around the Maritimes. We will be collecting donations from today until next Thursday (November 29th), and all donations will be delivered directly to the telethon site, and will be broadcast LIVE on CTV on Saturday, December 1st between 2pm-2:30pm.


Collaged bird cards by Angela Doak

Supporting local charities is a really great alternative to accumulating more unnecessary "stuff", and makes a positive impact on our community. Every little bit helps, and together we can make a big difference.

Holiday card by Miyoshi Kondo

On Tuesday, November 27th, we are facilitating another opportunity to connect with a local charity: the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Zeus the Red-tailed hawk will be present at the gallery along with his handler John and a couple of volunteers from the centre. This is a great opportunity to learn about some of Nova Scotia's wildlife, and the ways in which how you can offer support to local wildlife requiring rehabilitation assistance. A great learning opportunity for all ages!




Hand-carved and painted hawk by Basil Doucette


It's easy to get swept up in the busyness of the holidays, so remember to take some time to slow down and maybe even re-think the ways in which you choose to shop and "gift-give" this year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

TONIGHT! ARGYLE ART NIGHT OUT! Open until 9pm

Tonight we're trying something NEW!  We've heard from many people visiting  earlier this year that they wish we'd be open later hours! Well, beginning tonight, Wednesday, November 21st and continuing into the new year, we are planning on THIRD WEDNESDAYS where we will be open until 9pm, with special events, artists, food tastings and more for FREE!


This evening you'll meet Angela Doak and will have the chance to pick up your brand new book published by Nova Scotia publisher, Nimbus Publishing. Get it signed by her for that special someone on your gift list-great for all ages. We also have a great selection of prints and cards by Angela. Come see how she creates these works using simple candy wrappers, magazines and lots of patience!



We'll also have a POP CULTURE colouring wall, courtesy of artist Jodie Hansen, so colour your stresses away and add your mark to our walls while nibbling on treats.  Pick up some cards, stickers, wrapping paper and more from her! Lots of holiday inspired ones available.


And tonight will be our first LIFE DRAWING session with model Carol Dill in our lower gallery, beginning at 6:30pm until 8:30pm. The first part of the evening will include clothed modeling, the later half will include longer nude poses.  Serious artists only for this latter part of the evening. A suggested donation of $10 is requested to pay the model. We hope to continue this each 3rd Wednesday of each month as well. Bring your own supplies, but some seating will be provided.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Add ART to your Holiday Wish List

We're starting to gear up for a busy holiday season here at the gallery with a number of exciting events happening in November and December. We encourage you to simply CLICK the UPCOMING/EVENTS tab to get all the latest details (such as our first ARGYLE ART NIGHT OUT next Wednesday, November 21st , a HAWK visiting the gallery on November 27th or our Artist Saturdays in the month of December), but we wanted to alert you to a few other special things here as well:


WEEKLY SPECIALS ON SELECTED WORKS: Each week we'll offer selected works by our gallery artists at special prices! In fact, today we're starting with the painting shown below by Gordon MacDonald.  This painting is an older painting by Gordon, painted in 2007. It's called "Woody Point", of Newfoundland- you can see the Tablelands off in the distance. It measures 48" x 24", oil on canvas.

This size of work these days would sell for $3400 but we are offering it for the price it was in 2007: $2400 -25%  which makes it $1800. A STEAL! And Breathtaking! 

* However this painting is a nightmare to photograph and is so so much more amazing in person. We can provide additional images of the work if you  live at a distance; in different lighting conditions and close-ups.


GREETING CARD SALE- From NOW until  November 21st, we have ALL of our cards at 15% off! Time to pick up the perfect card by a number of local artists! Holiday and Non-Holiday cards are included.



GIFT CERTIFICATE SALE- Until they are gone! We have 20 gift certificates set aside for special pricing at 20% off. In other words, a gift certificate valued at $100 will only cost you $80!  Gift certificates make great gifts for everyone on the list, never expire and can be used for all sorts of purchases and workshops at the gallery.



Saturday, November 10, 2018

Exploring the Ocean by Night

Have you ever been to the ocean at night? If the moon is out, you may be able to see tiny slivers of it's light reflecting off the oceans surface. On a dark, moonless night, it may be nearly impossible to see much at all. The sound of crashing waves and scent of the salty air seem amplified, when they become your only way of taking in what you struggle to see in the darkness.

Katharine Burns, Constancy, 30" x 30", oil on panel

 Katharine Burns' latest body of work, "Eventide" offers us a glimpse into the magical world of the ocean at night. Through each piece, we are transported to the ocean's edge, standing before the great untameable force of the water. In her paintings Katharine captures the nuance of each wave as if it were a living, breathing creature.

Katharine Burns, Flux, 30" x 30", oil on panel

 Katharine often begins with a photograph as inspiration for her works. However, capturing night scenes with a camera can be very challenging, so she had to improvise, creating areas of light and shadow from memory and imagination.

Katharine Burns, Moon's Pull, 30" x 30", oil on panel

The realist qualities Katharine achieves in her work are effortlessly convincing, even in works where the source of light feels mysterious. In her closer up depictions of waves, the foreground is illuminated in stark contrast to a completely darkened background, creating a sort of intimate viewpoint that almost feels as if we as viewers are shining a light out into the dark water.

Katharine Burns, Reverie, 30" x30", oil on panel

In her painting "Reverie", Katharine draws an interesting parallel to photography in the way she creates a "sharpened" focal point that draws the eye to a particular area of the composition, while the foreground fades into a soft blur that appears "out of focus". It's really interesting to see this effect in a painting!

It's evident that the works in this show were created by someone with a deep connection to the water. From the vast array of blues and greens in the chosen color palette to the incredible movement present in the works, Katharine is able to convey every aspect of the ocean like it is a dear friend. Seeing the works in person, it's not hard to conjure up the sounds and smell of the ocean, as if you were truly there.

Katharine's work is on view at the gallery now, so hurry by to see it all for yourself!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Moments in the Landscape

We've been working with artist Gordon MacDonald since the beginning of Argyle Fine Art! We've been representing Gordon for 18 years, and it's been so fascinating to see the evolution of his work over time.

If you've set foot in the gallery at any point, it's very likely you'll have seen one of Gordon's paintings -they are hard to miss! He has become known for his vibrant oil paintings that capture landscapes that feel both familiar and special. Setting eyes on one of his paintings feels like having the impossible luxury to linger in one of those fleeting moments of beauty where the colors splay across the sky just perfectly, or the clouds are illuminated in the most intriguing way. Gordon is able to capture the Maritime landscape in ways that remind us what a beautiful corner of the world we live in!

Gordon MacDonald, The Choice to See, 36" x 48", Oil on canvas, mounted on panel

Over the past few years, Gordon has become known to paint directly on copper sheet as an alternate painting surface. The effect is quite unique, and creates a luminosity that seems to enhance the vibrancy of his works. Gordon's paintings on copper are smaller is size, offering a bit of a more intimate glimpse of the landscape, with a refined copper edge subtly framing each scene.



Gordon MacDonald, Outer Harbour, 6"x8", Oil on Copper

Recently, however, Gordon has taken a leap in the scale of his works, and has completed a number of larger scale paintings on canvas that we are really excited about. We haven't had any works available in this size in quite some time! The expansiveness of each scene seems to transport the viewer directly on set, as if it were possible to take a step forward right into the painting.

Gorodon MacDonald, New Brunswick in the Distance, 36" x 48" Oil on canvas, mounted on panel


Gordon MacDonald, Glacial Erratic -Peggy's Cove, 36" x 48", Oil on Canvas Mounted on Panel

    

Gordon MacDonald, From a Bridge Near Windsor, 30" x 40", Oil on Canvas Mounted on Panel


 If you've ever had the chance to chat with Gordon in person, you'll know that he is very knowledgeable about painting materials and techniques. He's also very generous in sharing what he knows, which often helps us to understand and appreciate his work even more.


Gordon MacDonald, Gaspereau River, NS, 36" x 48", Oil on canvas mounted on panel.

 For Gordon, a painting never comes to fruition without many preparatory sketches to explore different compositions, and color palettes. Sometimes many smaller works or "studies" are created before Gordon will undertake a full-sized painting. As a way to offer us a glimpse behind the scenes into his creative process, Gordon is currently offering a quarterly "sketchbook subscription". Each subscriber will receive  four original small works on heavy-weight archival art paper, with a variety of mediums. No work will be the same, and each will be an active study for a future painting . ONLY 20 subscriptions will be made available.


If you've been following Gordon's career over time like we have, this subscription would be an amazing addition to your collection. It's also a really unique opportunity to gain insight into the process of a renowned local artist. You can read more about the subscription .HERE

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Broken / Beautiful -New Works by Michelle SaintOnge

In her latest body of work, "Broken / Beautiful" artist Michelle SaintOnge celebrates breast cancer survivors using a powerful and visually beautiful metaphor: seashells. At a quick glance, the works appear to be just that- a stunning collection of seashell paintings. Beyond the surface, however, they are much, much more than that.

Michelle SaintOnge, "Mothers and Sisters", 9" x 12",  Watercolor on Paper




Upon close inspection, the shells Michelle depicts are not perfect; some are cracked, some are broken or perforated. Nonetheless, each shell is profoundly and uniquely beautiful, and tells a story. Through these works, Michelle hopes to "highlight the beauty of change that comes from a long hard journey." She draws inspiration from the strength of survivors of breast cancer whose bodies bear traces of a battle fought, and are forever changed by treatment. 

Michelle SaintOnge , "Thirteen Rounds of Radiation", 24" x 36", Watercolor on Paper, Mounted



With titles like "Thirteen Rounds of Radiation", "Early Diagnosis", and "Tough and Ambitious", the shells are instantly laden with new meaning. One of the larger pieces, "Lost the Battle, Won the War" features a single shell, instead of a pair. The shell is covered in tiny holes all over, each crevice so vivid it feel as if you could reach your hand out to touch a perforated surface. In addition to the strikingly realistic quality of the painting, this piece is both painful and triumphant, and one that is cause for much reflection.




Michelle SaintOnge, "Lost the Battle, Won the War", 22" x  28" Watercolor on Paper, Mounted


Michelle's work is certainly not meant to be sad, but rather a celebration of the strength and beauty of those affected by breast cancer, and changes that occur to the body as a long term effect. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer, and most people would probably agree it's no battle to fight alone. We need to cheer each other on -before, during, and after. We need to talk more about the importance of regular examinations, and we need to practice more empathy in helping those dealing with long term effects. Each one of Michelle's paintings is a reminder of this.



Michelle SaintOnge , "May, June and July", 15" x 30", Watercolor and Gouache on Paper, Mounted
Michelle SaintOnge, "It Takes a Village", 9" x 12", Watercolor on Paper, Mounted.


Broken / Beautiful will be on display until November 10th. Swing by the gallery to see the pieces in person, as there are some subtle details like the sparkly sheen of iridescent paint that Michelle has used on some pieces that cannot be properly captured with a camera! A portion of sales from the pieces in this show will be donated to the Look Good Feel Better Foundation. 

You can view the entire show online HERE.




Michelle SaintOnge , "Ladies Take a Stand", 16" x 20", Watercolor on Paper, Mounted








Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Finding Light in the Dark

 As we move deeper into autumn, we lose a couple minutes of daylight each day. There seems, often, to be feelings of dread associated with "shorter days" and the impending daylight savings which will soon see us heading home from work in the dark. But what if instead of seeing Autumn as a season marked by a loss of daylight, we changed our perspective to see it as a time of gaining darkness? What if instead of turning all the lights on, we turned them all off, and lit a tiny candle, or made a fire in the fireplace, and actually tried to embrace the darkness instead of fighting it?

Isobel Hamilton, "Light in the Dark", 11" x 14", Acrylic on Panel
 
 In an old newspaper article titled "Why I adore the Night" from back in 2009, Jeanette Winterson writes,  
"We now live in a fast-moving, fully lit world where night still happens, but is optional to experience. Our 24/7 culture has phased out the night. In fact we treat the night like failed daylight. Yet slowness and silence – the different rhythm of the night – are a necessary correction to the day."

Isobel Hamilton, "Autumn Glow", 12" x 9", Acrylic on Panel

Immersing ourselves in darker spaces shifts the way we think and feel. The intimacy allowed through darkness can make it easier to slip into a a place of introspection, of dreaming, or slowing down to reconnect with our loves ones.


Isobel Hamilton, "Night Light" , 11" x 14", Acrylic on Panel

We currently have a new body of work at the gallery by artist Isobel Hamilton that truly seems to glow from within. Isobel is a self-taught contemporary realist painter, originally from Scotland. She emigrated to Nova Scotia in 2013, and currently lives and works in Centreville, NS. Her current body of work is inspired by inspired by 'chiaroscuro' - the contrast between light and dark.

Isobel's exploration of chiaroscuro is captivating, and almost warming to look at. Her work reminds us of the beauty that can be found in darkness, and that intimacy can be created by illuminating tiny corners of dark spaces.


Isobel Hamilton, "Chinese Lanterns", 12" x 9" Acrylic on Panel
 

Heading into a darker, colder season can be really difficult for some people. Instead of resisting it and bracing ourselves against it,  let's move more slowly, and look for the little moments that are special and unique to this season. Notice the changes in light, and the thin streams of golden sunbeams that mark the nearing of night.

Winterson suggests in her article,
"Prepare dinner ahead, and plan a walk so that you will be heading for home in that lovely liminal time where light and dark are hinged against each other. City or country, that sundown hour is strange and exhilarating, as ordinary spatial relations are altered: trees rear up in their own shadows, buildings bulk out, pavements stretch forward, the red wrapper of brake lights turns a road into a lava flow. 
Inside, the lights are going on. Outside, it's getting dark. You, as a dark shape in a darkening world, want to hold that intimacy, just for one night. Go home. Leave the lights off."

Isobel Hamilton, Oil Lamp, 8"x8", Acrylic on Board


Leave the lights off, but maybe light a single candle so you won't lose your way ;)

Stop by to see these beautiful works in person; they will surely add a bit of light to your day.

*You can read Jeanette Winterson's full article, "Why I Adore the Night" here

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Magical Night of Art!

Well, another Nocturne is in the books, and what a success it was! This past Saturday we kept our doors open until midnight while people of all ages passed through the gallery in a constant stream. Although by the end we were tired, we couldn't have asked for a better night, and this definitely couldn't have been possible by ourselves. Adriana and I were so fortunate to have had the help of a number or kind hearted and enthusiastic individuals who volunteered their time to help ensure everything went smoothly. Their tireless efforts are so appreciated and mean a lot to us!

Isobel Hamilton, Autumn Glow, 12" x 9"
Acrylic on Panel

Nocturne is such a great opportunity to get out to explore the city, connect with other people, and be exposed to many different forms of art. For us here at the gallery, it was a rewarding experience to see such a vast range of people pass through and actually engage with the art. At one point, a young girl, likely no older than thirteen came up to me at the desk and being so genuinely taken with the work she saw in the gallery, she said, "Wow! Do you know the artist who made these paintings? They're so awesome! Can you tell her how much I love them? They're just so good!". I also witnessed similarly enthusiastic reactions from individuals who were decades older than that little girl; the excitement throughout the night was fairly universal.

Works by Mary Garoutte and Isobel Hamilton
Works by Katharine Burns

It was great to see people take a break from their routine Saturday night activities to take in and appreciate art. There was also a fantastic response to the live model shadow drawing activity we had set up outside of the gallery. For three hours there was a constant gathering of people young and old who took the time to try their hand at sketching the various shadow scenes posed by model Carol Dill with assistance from her friend and her young son. It was a great collaborative effort that turned out to be a huge hit.



People gathered to do some sketching during Nocturne
Shadow poses for sketching during Nocturne

More people doing some sketches!

Playing with shadows!


It seemed as if inhibitions were left at home as many people stepped outside of their comfort zone to try something new. By the end of the night, there were stacks of paper filled with doodles!

Some of the many sketches made during Nocturne

We were so excited to feature the work of three incredibly talented women artists during Nocturne: Mary Garoutte, Isobel Hamilton, and Katharine Burns. Each artist creates work from a place of ambition, curiosity, and fearlessness to push beyond their own limits. The result is three impressive bodies of work that offer so much light and inspiration.


Isobel Hamilton, Light in the Dark, 11" x 14", Acrylic on Panel

Katharine Burns, Reverie, 30" x 30", Oil on Panel.
Mary Garoutte, Glass House, 22" x 36" , Oil on Birch Panel


Throughout the evening we also had a special video projection by Chris Devanney presented in conjunction with Katharine Burn's wave paintings. The video was only up for Nocturne, but you can view it online here.

Video Projection by Chris Devanney. The video can be viewed here.


If you weren't able to stop by during Nocturne, the show will be up for a few more weeks! Thanks again to everyone who came out to enjoy all the Nocturne festivities, and to all those who worked hard to make it a successful event.

We invite you to offer your feedback on this year's Nocturne by filling out the  2018 Nocturne Audience Survey