Brushing up on Quinte’s art scene (VIDEO)
BELLEVILLE – Taking an afternoon drive down to the County or exploring downtown Belleville just got a little more artsy.
Dotted alongside the wineries, craft breweries and cheese factories are art galleries and studios of all shapes and sizes. From a sculpture garden to a converted garage, there are lots of options to take a peek at.
Garden Gallery and Studio – Wellington, Ont.
Joanna McFarland opened her gallery in the spring of 2013 in her backyard shed. Since then, the self-taught artist has moved her paintings and her studio into her garage.
McFarland is a non-objective or abstract artist. She paints without creating an image of anything recognizable, allowing the view to interpret her work.
“I’ve grown a lot in my work,” she said. “It used to be very structured, with a lot of straight lines and trees.”
McFarland describes her work as emotional and vibrant, stating she wants the viewer to go on the journey she did while creating it.
“I’ve had so much fun doing it and that’s the important thing,” said McFarland. “Every artist loves an audience and I’ve gotten such great feedback about the pieces.”
When starting a new painting, the first thing McFarland does is listen to music, something she never did before. She said she responds best to certain sounds, such as guitars and trumpets.
“I start to hear colour,” McFarland said. “That’s what dictates the palette of whatever surface I’m working on at the time.”
McFarland works with her canvases lying flat, allowing her to manipulate what’s there. She said she’s uses everything but a paint brush.
“I use big trowels, the pointy end of the brushes,” she said. “I use my fingers a lot and I cut shapes out of cardboard and drag them across the canvas.”
McFarland’s studio is minutes away from downtown Wellington and boasts views of beautiful Lake Ontario. To learn more about McFarland and her art visit her website.
Oeno Gallery- Bloomfield, Ont.
Located beside the Huff Estates Winery, Oeno is a fine and contemporary art gallery.
Since 2004, Oeno has exhibited Canadian contemporary artists who have received international recognition for their work as well as local artists. The gallery also hosts artists and art historians throughout the year to speak with the public and art enthusiasts.
The gallery's owner and curator, Carlyn Moulton added that nearly 30,000 people a year come to visit Oeno.
The gallery is also active in secondary market sales, with pieces available for purchase by the Group of Seven and Lawren Harris.
“We serve a very broad market,” she said. “From seasoned collectors to people who are looking to start buying art, we want to be able to help people find the perfect piece.”
Behind the gallery, is a four-acre sculpture garden, with paths throughout extending to the edge of the vineyard. The garden is home to pieces by Canadian sculptors and it was designed as a place of contemplation and relaxation, said Moulton.
“The arts are important because it combines all aspects of our humanity,” she said. “It’s like asking ‘why is it important to have music.’ You can do things with music that you can’t do with words.”
After viewing the artwork at Oeno and taking a walk through the sculpture garden, people can treat themselves to a glass of locally made Ontario wine. To learn more about Oeno or Huff Estates Winery, visit the website.
John M. Parrott Art Gallery- Belleville, Ont.
The name may have changed, but the art is still the same. Located on the third floor, the gallery has been part of the library for 43 years and was renamed twelve years ago when the library moved into its current building on Pinnacle Street.
Many of the paintings featured in the three-room gallery were donated by the John and Bernice Parrott Foundation, said curator Susan Holland.
A prominent figure in the library’s permanent art collection is painter Manly MacDonald. Born in Point Anne, MacDonald was a well known figure across the Quinte region.
The Parrott Gallery is known as the collecting gallery for Manly MacDonald painting, added Holland.
“We have people come in and tell us that they remember him painting in their farm yards or by the Bay,” she said. “We’re always looking for ways to add to the collection.”
Every April, the library hosts art work by high school students. Now in its 29th year, the show displays work by all grades.
“We always look forward to the show, because it allows us to showcase the work by the youth in the community,” Holland said.
The gallery provides a relaxing setting to study different techniques or to find a unique gift in the gallery shop in the hallway.
“I think it’s personal what people come up here to experience,” she said. “I’m just glad we’re here for people to enjoy.”
Opportunities for new and emerging artists are available at the gallery from juried shows displaying different pieces to art classes. To learn more and to plan an afternoon, visit the library’s website.
Gallery 121- Belleville, Ont.
Down the street from the library in Belleville’s downtown is Gallery 121, a cooperative run gallery. Artists displayed in the space pay a fee every month and they get a chance to run the gallery for a certain number of days each month.
Terry Hart, a local artist and member of Gallery 121, is an encaustic painter and hangs her pieces in the cozy art gallery located in downtown Belleville. Encaustic painters use beeswax in place of paint and add colour pigments to the heated wax that is then applied to a canvas or other materials.
Having moved to the area only eight months ago, Hart said the gallery is a wonderful way for her to get to know other artists in the area.
“Art is very good for the soul,” said Hart. “For people to come and put their own interpretation into it, it helps to nurture our feelings.”
Gallery 121 features local artists and has everything from fabric art to sculptures in the space and it represents a variety of different techniques and styles.
“If you’re looking for something you like, you’ll probably find it here,” she said.
The gallery is open year-round, closed on Sundays and Mondays and is open to the public. To learn more about Gallery 121 and its featured artists, more information is at the website.
The Quinte region is home to numerous other galleries and studios, so be sure to check them all out this summer.
Virtual art tour of the Quinte region
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