"We shape our buildings: thereafter they shape us."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Good painting.... and Happy Summertime Dreamin' to ALL!