Sunday, August 8, 2010

Back... From a Breath of Fresh Ayr


"We shape our buildings: thereafter they shape us."
-Winston Churchill


Early on Friday morning, I journeyed over to Ayr, Ontario... some two and a half hours distant from Hillsdale to take part in a plein air outing and the evening opening of a group show entitled "Summertime and the Living is Easy" at the newly emerging art@ayrspace gallery. Jill Yuzwa... a personable and energetic woman has created this new gallery space as a local initiatives project to encourage and develop a venue on behalf of local artists and patrons who have a passion for making and buying art.

It is a bright... airy space, once the site of Jill's now deceased parents' Home Hardware business on the typically central "Main Street" of this quaint rural village. Ayr is steeped... along with many other surrounding villages in the traditions of the Scottish settlers who remained in the area to settle on farms granted to them for their service to Britain and Canada during the War of 1812.

Complete with its original elaborate and beautiful tinned ceilings, well worn... but restored hardwood floors and grand open space, it is a perfect place to elegantly exhibit and sell art. Jill's honesty and friendly nature will be assets that help establish this new gallery as a "destintion" for art lovers and collectors from the numerous larger cities around Ayr. It will require only time.... loyalty... commitment... productive and imaginative forward thinking by Jill and her stable of talented artists... to bring this initiative to its successful zenith .

I personally am proud and honoured to contribute in whatever way I can as one of her "ponies" to make the gallery successful!

It was wonderful to set up directly outside the gallery and to paint the heritage of this special place... and to meet the local citizens... young and old to answer their interesting and genuine questions. "I" consider helping to educate others about making art to be my responsibility as an artist. It tells people that art is indeed a part of their daily existence... that heritage is worth remembering and preserving... and more importantly that painting is not just a hobby... or simply "play", but rather a passionate, lifetime pursuit that can justifiable be considered legitimate work.

I arrived in Ayr around 12:30 pm and was set up and painting by 1:00.... I had scouted earlier and had decided upon the streetscape posted in this post so that no time was wasted... and that what I was painting would strike a chord with local viewers. I worked quickly as is usual... but still had time to converse with passersby and answer their questions. Some went immediately into the gallery to see more of our works... others, I noticed appeared at the opening later in the evening.

I finished the 12x16 inch sketch on panel at 3:00 pm sharp... took it inside ... changed clothes and had a REALLY refreshing "cool one" (.05 non-alcoholic lager)... while I waited for the other artists to appear and gather for the light but sumptuous and delicious summertime meal Jill had prepared for us.
During this informal meal atmosphere, I got to finally meet talented fellow artist and blogger friend Kim http://www.eatdrinkpaint.blogspot.com/ and her congenial and witty husband Harry from nearby Grimsby. Along with another talented artist and retired school teacher Hank Bos http://www.hankbos.com/ from Wallaceburg, Ontario... we three spent much time sharing ideas and experiences that will help us all along on our individual artistic journeys.... a very uplifting and rewarding bonus opportunity!
My painting...."Still A Breath of Fresh Ayr... After all the Years"... oil on panel 12x16 inches is my typical expressive and gestural response to a "found" subject that "I" find interesting and worthy of recording. Ontario "Main Street" architectural and heritage significant landmarks are currently disappearing as fast as they can be painted and recorded... succumbing to the "box store" convenience mentality of too many urban bedroom community consumers.
This painting will be made exclusively available... framed by mid week at art@ayrspace.ca
Good painting.... and Happy Summertime Dreamin' to ALL!

21 comments:

  1. Breath of Fresh Ayr is beautiful, Bruce. I love the old time look of this gorgeous and quaint little town. Hope you have much success at the gallery too.

    I noted your painting to the right in your importance of sketching blurb. The colors are just beyond the pale exquisite!

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  2. It sounds like a nice gallery, Bruce, and you certainly have helped to get it off to a good start (and you've shown us all what it looks like in the process).

    I hope you have a happy association with the new venture.

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  3. Thank "You" Autumn"!... Ayr... despite its tiny size... packs quite a wallop visually with lots of subjects to get the digestive juices flowing! I will certainly do a lot more work there in the future.

    Thanks for noticing the "First Crack in Winter" sketch. It remains a favourite of mine as well. Despite it being an indoor "winter" sketch done from a summer outdoor pencil sketch... many years apart... it is convincing enough to the eye to be mistaken as a totally plein air piece.

    Hence the true reason to paint outdoors continually. One learns to really "see"... with one's own visual memory... to truly create!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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  4. Hi Keith!...Good to hear from "You" again!. AyrSpace is indeed a nice and unique gallery... with a lot of nice... and unique individuals associated with the gallery!

    The gallery was well underway with a number of successful and creative community-centered events before I was invited by Jill to "come aboard". I certainly am honoured to be included... and will try my best to help grow and cultivate further success alongside the other fine contributing artists. Exciting new direction for "Me".... and I heartily anticipate and embrace a highly positive association is in store for all of us!

    The community seems lively... picturesque for sure and with a plethora of possibilities for new subjects and themes! My mind is fairly racing and eager to get at some new ideas!

    Good Painting... and Happy Summer to "You" and "Yours' Keith! Any travel plans or treks on the horizon? I'll be tuned in to see!

    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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  5. Amazing ... you did all of that in such a short time?? WOW... and I love that title too!

    Glad you had a great time at the opening... Have a GREAT show!

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  6. Hi Marian!... Thank "You" for your enthusiastic visit... and kind words of encouragement!

    I always try to confine the time spent on most pieces completed in the outdoors to a period between two to three hours... no matter the size of canvas... or detail in front of me.

    I find that using that personal
    marker"... that a work/sketch has the better chance of remaining loose and impressionistic... ie painterly!

    As well, the lighting changes quickly... so rather than fight that reality, I establish that interval of time as an optimal "target" for ending an outdoor session... to illeviate or at least minimize the level of frustration n'fussiness in a session.

    If I decide it needs to be tweaked a bit with a few additional strokes to liven... correct... or add an important detail missed on location... that can be accomplished in the studio later.

    When "I' choose a subject... I most often do so... not because it is a "pretty picture"... but more in response to an inner "stirring". I'm sure that "You" can identify with that Marian!

    I edited the post this morning because "I" came across a quote that "speaks to" that very point. Check out the post again!

    Good Painting!... Happy Summer!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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  7. Beautiful painting Bruce. I love old buildings as well, they have so much character and charm. The designs of the buildings today are uninteresting to me. I love the palette, gives the old time feeling. I would like to stroll down this street. Best to you Bruce.

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  8. Bruce I thank you for making Friday a special day in Ayr. We missed Deb.

    Once again thanks for seeing our village through your unique lens.

    Jill

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  9. Hi Sue!... Thanks for dropping by and for leaving encouraging comments!

    Too bad that artists don't become involved or sit more actively on urban planning boards and committees... just to create a presence or "Voice in support of heritage and green space initiatives and their inclusion in the creation of new local planning strategies.

    Hey Sue! What's to stop "You" from making a trip to Ayr and Hillsdale? I'd be ever so happy to tour you about. We could plein... Ayr together. We have woodlands... even local bears,wild turkeys,white tail deer, cougars... even a disoriented and directionally-challenged moose that I share trails with! HAHA!! Right up your alley for sure!

    An open invitation... or just a summertime "chuckle" shared between Friends... if nothing more!

    Good Pencilling... and Happy Summertime Dreamin' !

    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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  10. Good Morning Jill!... The blog post was just a small token/gesture of thanks for your effort and to indicate to "You" the high level of esteem that I hold for "You"!

    Your Vision, combined with your courage to reach out to create a viable and vibrant local centre in Ayr is so admirable and worthwhile.

    "You" are singlehandedly offering a beautiful refuge from the din of the multiple surrounding cities... a place where the Arts and Artists in your area can congregate... "play"... share ideas and find suitable space to display their talents.

    "I" am most honoured to be a part of that Vision Jill... and rest assured that "You" can count upon my resources and my "Voice" to celebrate... and build an enriched and lively new ... fresh "Breath".. in beautiful... still proudly rural Ayr!!

    Warmest regards and Good Luck on your doctoral exams!
    Bruce and Deb

    PS I will indeed send/bring a copy of my book to "You....SOON!

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  11. Bruce, I love this painting. I felt as though reading your post was from a happening a long time ago. With famous artist getting together after a productive morning painting."The Impressionist".
    There was a plein air painting event here on Long Island, that had to be missed. Maybe next year.

    All the best to you.

    Joan

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  12. Hi Joan!.... Glad that "You" enjoyed the painting in this post!

    Being able to work... play and paint with other artists who share your passion and desire to paint Joan... and especially in the outdoors is such an asset for any artist...at any level... and at any time in his or her career. The experience fires the soul!

    The Impressionists were but one example of a group of like-minded artists... emerging at the time they were together... and each with distinctly different styles and motivations. Their unusual willingness to share ideas and processes contributed LARGELY to their individual and their group successes.

    Here in Canada,during the twenties and thirties... our own Group of Seven led the charge away from dark European/Dutch tonalism that had pervaded the art scene in Canada... until Le Groupe challenged the status quo with their own take on impressionism.

    Other contemporary Canadian artists like my Self are the next generation of artists who embrace the outdoor painting tradition... and who fully commit to painting the Canadian heritage and landscape as it still exists.

    "I" have learned so much and have developed to the stage I am at... wholly shaped by the many fine artists and mentors that I have painted with over my thirty year professional career.

    Do your Self one HUGE favour Joan. DO get together with others willing to "get out there".
    Watch your Garden grow... by leaps and bounds!

    Good Painting!... Happy Summer!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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  13. Hi Bruce, at first I thought your painting looked quite a detailed artwork from the small image posted on your blog page, yet when I clicked on it and the image enlarged the painting suddenly took on a new life and energy of colour and exciting brush work in an impressionist style of painting. It is so interesting to read your blog and to read about the Scottish settlers and their connection to the town. I bet they are having better weather than us folks here in the highlands, the rain here today is incredibly.

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  14. Hi Bruce!
    Great post - your piece looks as delicious on screen as it did in life : ) Jill did put on a lovely evening. I look forward to more! And sometime we'll have to make a painting session happen. Maybe the next time we gather at Ayrspace, we can meet earlier and go out and paint! Take care and have a good day,
    Kim

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  15. love that little street scen bruce
    so charming
    and i can agree wholeheartetly with churchild saying,it is very important hoe your surroundings influence you

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  16. Hi Caroline!... Thanks for your comments and for your enthusiam about the site and work!

    When one reduces the paintings in size the strokes that make up the overall image are compressed... hence the incorrect "tight" detailed appearance. But when one views the painting in a larger format... and particularly when seen "as is"... it always takes on the more "painterly" and impressionistic properties that are intentionally created having been painted from twelve feet back... throughout the entire painting process.

    The historic content and "connection" felt to what I paint is essential in my process. If "I" don't feel something from viewing the subject... especially where commission work is concerned... then it's a "no go" for "Me".

    I look forward very much to viewing your work and site... and will do so today.

    Good Painting!... and Happy Summer (less rain)
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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  17. Hi Kim!... Good to hear from "You"! It was an absolutely delightful evening that Kim put together for us all at AyrSpace. The high point for "Me" personally was meeting "You". Harry and sharing time ... all three of us with Gus while we dined and chatted.

    I delivered this painting back to Kim framed and a copy of my book that she wished to purchase. Strangely... we discussed the possibility you've suggested that we might entertain a plein Ayr day.... SOON... where being together... painting together outdoors and getting to share more time and ideas would be the goal. What do you say Kiddo?

    Hope that you will buy into this kind of an event! No stress invoved... just a bunch of new artist friends sharing time!

    Good painting!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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  18. Hi Rob!.... Missed "You" lately on line! Glad that you are back!

    Every once in a while I love to do some building things ... just to shift gears from the landscape focus I enjoy. The area around Ayr has given "Me" a new bounty of sketches to be harvested!

    Church said and did wonderful things for the freedom "You" and "I" now enjoy. This quote in particular "speaks" to his respect for tradition and history. We owe "Him" a lot for helping to form and direct the history as we have made it and now enjoy it.

    Good Painting and Happy Summer Rob!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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  19. The painting is fabulous. Kind of 'Old Master-y"
    I had to look at the signature to make sure I didn't look silly by commenting and then realizing that it was a famous painting that I should recognize!!! :D

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  20. Hi again Mary!.... Thank "You" ever so much for the accolades on this one!

    Such praise and encouragement means so very much... more especially when it is sent by peers... whose work and professionalism "You" admire so deeply yourself!

    Thank "You" Mary... ever so much!"Old Master-y"...I'll accept that one ....graciously and with deep gratitude!

    Good painting...and Happy Summertime Dreamin" Mary!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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