Tag Archives: art

Stittsville Public students create massive art display with Artist Kate

Since September, Stittsville Public School has had a special treat. Artist Kate Ryckman (aka Artist Kate) has been teaching art for kindergarten classes all the way up to grade six.

Each grade had a different theme. All classes had a different project. When I did my project, there was one rule: no erasing! Continue reading


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ALIAS GREG: Stittsville artist featured in CBC/Netflix miniseries

(PHOTO: Greg Banning with some of his sketches, in the dining room at his home in Stittsville. Photo by G. Gower.)

You can see Stittsville artist Greg Banning‘s courtroom sketches in the first few seconds of this trailer for Alias Grace, the tv adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel on CBC and Netflix.

Besides his artwork, Banning will also appear on screen in the series as a courtroom sketch artist. As he explains below, the television gig came as a result of his work as a courtroom artist for the Mike Duffy trial.

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On how his work came to featured in the miniseries…
The book is about Grace Marks. She’s convicted of murder with an accomplice, and what the book and movie is trying to do is decide whether she did it or not.  I did the court sketches that were involved in the trial itself.  Because of my background with the Duffy trial, they heard of me… I got a call out of the blue one day and they asked if I’d like to do some court sketches for the film.

They said they just wanted a copy of the sketches that were originally done for the trial.  But I thought, “that’s probably a very different style than the way I draw”.  They sent me a copy, and I took a look and thought, “I can’t emulate this…”  They said, “just give it a try, see if you can match it, and the director will have a look to see if he can use it”.

So I did the best I could with charcoal and did a copy of it, scanned it into the computer and did a couple of changes in Photoshop and I sent it in. They were really happy with it, and then it evolved to, “can you try to put the actor’s faces in that style in that clothing, so we can use it as a prop?”

Some of Greg Banning's courtroom sketches for the Alias Grace miniseries.
Some of Greg Banning’s courtroom sketches for the Alias Grace miniseries.

 

So I did that, and I thought that was going to be it. But they really wanted me to come in and film me doing the drawing.  Up to the point that I actually left to go to the shoot, I didn’t know how they were going to do this.  I’ve got these finished drawings – but how am I going to make it look like I’m doing the finished drawing?

The day of getting to the set, I went to a window with the original drawing I made and traced onto a piece of paper. So then when they filmed me I could make it look like I was sketching it out. They brought the camera right in on me, and another camera in the back of me. I’m looking at nothing — the actress was long gone, and everybody in the courtroom.  I was literally the last shot of that day in the courthouse.

It was a fantastic experience – right around my birthday – and they paid for most of my trip to glamorous Brampton. That was a year ago.

I haven’t seen my part yet. I’m kind of nervous.  I need glasses to draw and to see — I have progressive lenses.  I mentioned that I needed glasses, and they ended up giving me these little Benjamin Franklin glasses, and David Cronenberg supposedly used them in one of the scenes too. So the set director said, “be very careful, David Cronenberg used these glasses”.  I felt kind of awkward, looking up and looking down as if I was drawing…

I don’t know if I’m going to make the movie or not, but they’ve used my sketches in the opening scenes. It was a fun thing to do, I never thought I would be in a production — I’m usually on the other side, working with directors. Normally I do storyboards, mostly commercial work — car commercials and things like that.

 

Greg Banning's sketch of actress Sarah Gordon created for the Alias Grace miniseries.
Greg Banning’s sketch of actress Sarah Gordon created for the Alias Grace miniseries.

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On how he became a courtroom sketch artist…
It was not my ambition to set out to be a court artist, and I don’t think you can make a living being a court artist. It was just really lucky. One thing can lead to something else. The Duffy thing led to this, and I’m really grateful.

I lived in Toronto for 20 years, and then I moved here… a local illustrator recommended me to the Citizen, and they called up and asked if I would want to do sketch art at the court. I’d never thought of doing it, but I figured I’d get paid to work on my drawing and it was fascinating. That’s how it started, doing work for the Citizen.

Patrick Brazeau’s trial was happening, and CTV called and asked if I would want to do that for them.  I did a job for CTV, and they were really happy. The Duffy trail was on the heels of Brazeau, and CTV called, and the Citizen called, then Global called and asked if I could do this… I had no idea how big this was going to be, or how long it was going to be, but it almost became a full time job for me. I was there every day for the trial except to see my son’s Christmas pageant show… I find it very interesting to be in the court and having the opportunity to witness all this stuff.

The first job I ever did, I brought in my laptop and Wacom tablet and sat down on the back bench in the gallery and drew the guy on the computer. The judge didn’t even bat an eyelash.  My first one was completely digital.

I thought, if I get into another trial where there’s a lot more people I won’t be able to do this.  I thought I’d bring my sketchbook, and scan it, and colour it in the computer. That’s how the process is now. I’ll do a quick little sketch, make remarks about what they’re wearing, the colour of their shirt, their jacket. I’m in and out pretty quick. I get the idea down, and I do the majority of the drawing in the media room at the courthouse, which is like a closet. I scan the sketch into the computer, and then I colourize it in Corel Painter – an Ottawa-based company – and then all I have to do is email a high-res jpeg to the Citizen or whatever other media outlet I might be doing it for.

On why he became an artist…
I’ve always liked drawing, since I was my son’s age, and I just got better and better, and nothing else was panning out for me. I wasn’t going to be the baseball player I always wanted to be – so I ended up sticking with art…. I wasn’t sure if I could make a living out of it. When I was 19 I went to the High School of Commerce just to see if I liked it, and fell in love with it. I found different avenues of art you can make a living in. I went to Sheridan College, did the illustration program there, and found that I was more suited for advertising.  So I got my start, unfortunately during the recession in the 90s. All the agencies at that time were downsizing and getting rid of their art departments.  I stuck to it, and started getting a job with one agency, next thing you know I got another job. I worked at the last art house in Toronto, TDF, as a junior artist, and when that closed up I went out on my own and I’ve done everything. I’ve worked in advertising, illustrated children’s books, covers, magazines. I did a Maclean’s cover, I’ve worked in video games, I’ve designed coins for the Mint.

It’s wide-ranging. This fits in with my background. I go from the Duffy trail to drawing in a televised movie! I’ve been lucky enough to experience a lot of different facets of the art world and things like this — working on Alias Grace — was exciting. No regrets!


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Show us your holiday art!

Show us your artwork!  Show us some awesome presents with colourful gift wrap ! Show us a picture of one of your winter traditions!  Show us some snowflakes! Show us some reindeer!

Send in a scan or photo of any type of art (painting, drawing, pottery, crafts etc.) before December 31.  You can send us a picture of your awesome artwork to feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca, or post it to our Facebook page.

We’ll share our favourites here and on Facebook.

Let It Snow artwork by Maddie G
Inspiration artwork by Maddie G.

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Creative hub set to take over Bell House on Stittsville Main

(PHOTO: Story Art owner Mel Richer stands in the front from of the old Bell House at the corner of Stittsville Main Street and Elm Crescent. The main floor will be a boutique and showcase for local art. Photo by Barry Gray.)

Stittsville residents can look forward to having a new spot to be inspired and creative. Set to open on December 6, the owner of Story Art Creative Centre & Boutique wants it to be a gathering place for the local arts community.

“Why not a hub to spark creativity and have a place for arts in the community?” says owner Mel Richer. “We are excited, hopeful and hope the community will rally around us.”

Located in the old Bell House on Stittsville Main Street (most recently home to the Brown Bear Daycare), the beautiful house has found new life.

On the main floor, there is the crystal nook, filled with gorgeous rocks and crystals as well as jewelry. Rocks have a personal meaning for Richer.

“They help inspire my art work – the texture, the colour – they are beautiful,” she says.

Opposite the crystal nook, the room will be filled with curated art as well as vintage and retro antiques. Richer is looking for artists to display their art – and the definition of art is broad.

“Anything in the creative world,” said Richer. “I have a voice and something to share. I really want to help others share their stories.”

The boutique part of Story Art will open before Christmas. In the New Year, classes in the Creative Centre will begin. The second floor of the house will be dedicated to creative classes and will also have a space for children’s birthday parties.

The basement, which will be finished over the next few months, will be a space that available for rentals.

Paintings ready to be hung in the main room at Story Art. Photo by Barry Gray.
Paintings ready to be hung in the main room. Photo by Barry Gray.
The Crystal Nook at Story Art. Photo by Barry Gray.
The crystal nook inside the boutique. Photo by Barry Gray.

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All of this is the brainchild of Richer. Born and raised in Kanata, Richer said she always knew that she wanted to be both a writer and an artist.

As a teenager, she studied art at De La Salle Secondary School and then photography at another school. After high school she headed to Algonquin College and that lead to a career working in marketing and communications.

So Richer’s dream to work as a writer had come true. The artist part of the dream was still a work in progress.

As life goes, art was on the back burner for Richer. Then, one day, she saw a call for applications for artists at the Ottawa Airport Community Art Program.

Much to her surprise, her application was successful.

“Oh my gosh. What have I done,” Richer says of her reaction. “But let’s go!”

And go she did. After the exhibition she had 25 pieces of work sitting around and Richer was wondering what to do with them.

Her son Oliver had the answer and suggested she hang them in the wall of her office. And she did. Having the art around sparked her creativity.

From there, she had an opportunity to submit some of her work for a fundraiser, so she decided to look at creating some work that was more accessible.

“What could I do that would be smaller or easier?” she says.

Looking into her yard, she took inspiration from the larch cones scattered across the lawn. She cleaned them and incased them in resin to create jewelry. After this successful jewelry creation, she started creating other resin jewelry using materials like dried flowers, mica and buttons.

As Richer’s art grew, so did her passion for sharing it. Soon she was looking for a retail outlet.

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“This feels like a good space for me” she said. “We are thrilled to be a part of Stittsville Main Street,” she says.

Now, Richer’s dream of being both a writer and artist have come full circle. A good friend and business advisor, Irene Jaroszuk of Savvy Sage Consulting, says “she’s had this vision forever.”


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NOTEBOOK: Thanks to firefighters, art at Gaia Java, wild turkeys, more

A THANK YOU TO STATION 81 FIREFIGHTERS
Stephanie Poff
sent us a letter thanking volunteer firefighters for their activities here in Stittsville on Halloween: “I just wanted to share my support for the volunteer station in Stittsville, they were out last night with music playing handing out candy.”

Firefighters from Station 81 cruised the streets blasting the Ghostbusters theme song on October 31. Photo by Erika Adams Mozota.
Firefighters from Station 81 cruised the streets blasting the Ghostbusters theme song on October 31. Photo by Erika Adams Mozota.

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WENDY RUSSELL’S ART AT GAIA JAVA
A couple of weekends ago I ran into Kanata artist Wendy Russell hanging some of her new paintings at Gaia Java. Her work will be on display until the end of this week and it’s definitely worth checking out. You can also see her work at The Gift of Art in the Mlacak Centre on November 19 & 20 in Kanata.
You can also see some of her work soon at Värdera Café.
(Photos via Wendy Russell)

Wendy Russell's art at Gaia Java Wendy Russell's art at Gaia Java Wendy Russell's art at Gaia Java

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NEW IMAGING CLINIC
Stittsville Medical Imaging Centre, a new x-ray and radiology clinic, is open in the medical building at 1601 Stittsville Main. It’s a nice complement to the DynaCare laboratory in the same complex that opened earlier this year. Services include ultrasound, obstetric and vascular ultrasound and x-ray diagnostics, with walk-in appointments available. They’re online at www.stittsvilleimaging.ca

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TWEET TWEET


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Student combines a passion for animals and art

“If I’m going to draw, it has to be something I’m passionate about.”

Lions and tigers and bears.  Stittsville artist Rebecca Woodrow loves them all. Drawing is her passion and, about a year ago, a friend suggested she try and sell her art.

Using the name “The Creative Tiger,” Woodward started her own Etsy shop.

Rebecca Woodrow with one of her drawings. Photo by Barry Gray.
Rebecca Woodrow with one of her drawings. Photo by Barry Gray.

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WINNER: Young Artist of the Month is Brianna Richard

A great big CONGRATULATIONS to 9-year-old Brianna Richard, the winner of our very first Young Artist of the Month contest on StittsvilleCentral.ca.

Brianna lives in Stittsville and attends Grade 4 at École élémentaire catholique Saint-Rémi in Kanata. Her artwork (above) is titled “Summer Rays”, and is an abstract using markers.

The judging was tough! Our panel included a pair of elementary school students who chose Brianna’s art because of her creative use of contrasting colours, and her abstract approach. “Not all art is looking outside and drawing the exact picture,” said one of our judges.

As a prize, Brianna will have her artwork professionally framed by  Walkerworks Picture Framing at the corner of Stittsville Main & Beverly.

Thanks to all of the talented Stittsville artists who entered the contest.  Our judges had a really hard time deciding on a winner! All of the entries are included below.

Abi Cantusci, Grade 3
Abi Cantusci, Grade 3
Adam Staniforth, Age 7
Adam Staniforth, Age 7
Nia Hawrysh, Grade 5
Nia Hawrysh, Grade 5
Edzea Froehler, Age 7
Edzea Froehler, Age 7
Madyson Mariscak, age 5
Madyson Mariscak, age 5
Tristan Chiswell, Grade 3
Tristan Chiswell, Grade 3
Brody Chiswell, Senior Kindergarten
Brody Chiswell, Senior Kindergarten
Ella Sultan, Grade 3
Ella Sultan, Grade 3
Katie Wallace, Grade 5
Katie Wallace, Grade 5
Laura Wallace, Grade 3
Laura Wallace, Grade 3

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Deadline is Monday for the Young Artist of the Month Contest

(Above: Drawing by Abi C., a Grade 3 student at St.Stephen in Stittsville.)

CALLING ALL STITTSVILLE ARTISTS!  If you’re 14 years of age or younger, we want to invite you to enter our Young Artist of the Month contest.  This month’s theme is “SUMMER”, and the winner will get their creation professionally framed by Walkerworks Picture Framing at the corner of Stittsville Main & Beverly.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Have your parents scan or take a photo of a piece of art that you’ve recently created.  It should be a drawing or a painting.  (Minimum size 1200 pixels wide, and maximum file size 5MB please!)
  2. Email it to us at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca before Monday, June 22, 2015.  Be sure to include the name of the artist (first and last name), the medium (drawing, painting, pastel, etc.), what school you go to and what grade you’re in.
  3. The art will be judged by StittsvilleCentral.ca staff based on creativity, use of colour, technique and a link to the theme.
  4. One entry per artist please!
  5. We’ll showcase some of the artwork leading up to the deadline, and then announce the winner by June 29.  The winner will have their artwork professionally framed. Frame selection and design will be at the discretion of Walkerworks Picture Framing.

GOOD LUCK! If you have any questions please email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


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NEW: Young Artist of the Month Contest

CALLING ALL STITTSVILLE ARTISTS!  If you’re 14 years of age or younger, we want to invite you to enter our Young Artist of the Month contest.  This month’s theme is “SUMMER”, and the winner will get their creation professionally framed by Walkerworks Picture Framing at the corner of Stittsville Main & Beverly.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Have your parents scan or take a photo of a piece of art that you’ve recently created.  It should be a drawing or a painting.  (Minimum size 1200 pixels wide, and maximum file size 5MB please!)
  2. Email it to us at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca before June 22, 2015.  Be sure to include the name of the artist (first and last name), the medium (drawing, painting, pastel, etc.), what school you go to and what grade you’re in.
  3. The art will be judged by StittsvilleCentral.ca staff based on creativity, use of colour, technique and a link to the theme.
  4. One entry per artist please!
  5. We’ll showcase some of the artwork leading up to the deadline, and then announce the winner by June 29.  The winner will have their artwork professionally framed. Frame selection and design will be at the discretion of Walkerworks Picture Framing.

GOOD LUCK! If you have any questions please email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca

Summer, by Maddie & Brie. Pencil crayons on paper.   Grade 2, Stittsville Public School.
Summer, by Maddie & Brie. Pencil crayon on paper. Grade 2, Stittsville Public School.

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Westwind students paint the town red, blue, yellow, green, pink and more

Pablo Picasso is famous for saying that it took him a lifetime to learn to paint like a four year old.  If only he could have seen the works of art from students in junior kindergarten through to grade six at the fourth annual ART IS EVERYWHERE student art show at Westwind Public School on April 30. Continue reading


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George Escher donates famous father’s art to National Gallery

(Above: George Escher, son of artist M.C. Escher, holding a print of one of his father’s drawings, Hand with Reflecting Sphere, from January 1935.  The drawing shows the room that George grew up in in Rome.  Photo by Barry Gray for StittsvilleCentral.ca.)

 

We’re willing to bet you didn’t know the son of a world-famous artist lives in Stittsville.

His name is George Escher and he is kin of iconic Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. George’s father is the man behind the geometric lithograph called Relativity in which human figures are pictured walking up walls and sitting on ceilings. This perspective-based masterpiece only begins to make sense when you consider the individual and their particular motion.

His father and his work brought George through many places before the eldest of three sons landed in Stittsville 12 years ago.

George was born in Rome, Italy on July 23, 1926. At this time, his father’s art was in its infancy. It wasn’t enough to support the Escher clan which would eventually expand to five members. His father was born into a wealthy family, and they supported him financially until the 1940s.

George, now 89, says his relationship with his dad was an ordinary one.

“He was a very pleasant father to have. He was very self-regulating. He checked the hours, so to speak. He would walk in the woods when he could. He wanted us to be reasonably regulated, too,” he says.

George was about ten years old when Benito Mussolini, Italy’s dictator leading up to World War II, began to spread his fascist ideals in the country. When George’s friends began to wear ballila uniforms associated with Mussolini’s regime, he felt he needed one to fit in.

“We were turned into little fascists in school,” he says. “My parents didn’t like us to participate in that.”

According to his son, M.C. Escher wasn’t a political man, let alone a fanatical fascist. So, to escape Mussolini, the Eschers moved to Switzerland in 1935.

The Italian landscapes around Rome had left an impression on M.C. Escher. In comparison, George says his father was “bored stiff” with the mountainous Swiss landscape. In 1937, the family moved to Belgium but the onset of the war then forced them to quickly relocate. In 1941, they settled into Baarn in the Netherlands because George’s extended family lived there. This region had been occupied by the Nazis since May of 1940.

George says, despite authoritarian occupation of the country, that there was very little German influence around Baarn. It was his life in the Netherlands that formed his identity.

“I must say those four or five years are what made me Dutch,” he says of feeling united by wartime.

By 1958, George had married his wife Corrie. It was this year when they decided to move to Montreal where he worked as a mechanical engineer. When the company employing him went bankrupt, they moved to Mahone Bay, N.S. They remained there for three and a half decades. Fourteen years after his arrival in Canada, his father passed away in his Dutch home at the age of 73.

Roughly 18 years after George’s retirement, he and Corrie moved to Stittsville more out of necessity than choice. His wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 72 and they were convinced by their daughter Juliet to move to Ottawa for better treatment options. Corrie lived in Stittsville for roughly a year and a half before being transferred to a specialized facility. She passed away in 2005 at the age of 80.

George now lives by himself in a bungalow overlooking the Amberwood golf course. He says that’s the only thing he would change about Stittsville.

“At the moment my house is too big,” he says with a chuckle. “I have to get out of it.”

George appreciates the “quiet, rural environment” of the town, but that his father wouldn’t.

“Well, he lived in Italy in and other countries, and then he settled in Baarn where he was in the middle of the woods,” he says.

Though he would probably turn his nose up at the city, a piece of M.C. Escher has been on display at the National Gallery of Canada in downtown Ottawa since December 20, 2014. The art exhibit, titled M.C. Escher: The Mathemagician, is being shown until Sunday, May 3.

George donated his inherited portion of his father’s collection to the gallery. He says he doesn’t have a favourite.

“They all have their own twist that I enjoy.”

M.C. Escher Hand with Reflecting Sphere, January 1935 lithograph on silver coated wove paper. Photographed by Barry Gray.
M.C. Escher
Hand with Reflecting Sphere, January 1935
lithograph on silver coated wove paper. Photographed by Barry Gray.

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Frame store owners right at home in Stittsville

Jim and Amy Walker own Walkerworks Framing on Beverly Street at Stittsville Main.  Walkerworks started as a home-based business on Fernbank Road, then a retail shop in Perth, before winding up in Stittsville. 

Their current spot is actually their second location since moving to Stittsville. They used to be next to the Legion across the street.  Not only do the Walkers own the shop, they also live right next door with their young family.

Walkerworks is one of the local businesses taking part in Support Local Stittsville on December 6, a day to encourage residents to discover our local shops and restaurants. You can see the full list of participating businesses here.

I visited their shop recently to ask them about their business and why they’ve chosen to live and work in Stittsville.

Continue reading


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New work from Katherine Jeans on display at NeXT

Work from Ottawa painter Katherine Jeans is up on the walls at NeXT restaurant.

Jeans says: “I am pleased to present my new collection of art Road Trip – BIG SKIES as part of the new menu launch at NEXT. There are 5 pieces, each are 36″x36″ and are inspired by various road trips. Thank you Michael and Jillian Blackie for showing my work at your restaurant.”

Katherine Jeans art at NeXT


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