The West Carleton Art Society is a very active group. One of their major efforts is the popular long -running juried show, Expressions of Art, held at the Carp fairgrounds each fall. I enjoyed having a booth there last year and hope to be accepted for this fall.
Another of their programs is called Fireside Chats or Articulate. Once a month a visual artist is invited to give an audio-visual presentation on their work to WCAS members and guests in an informal setting in Carp. I have been to a number of these popular events and I was very pleased to be invited to be the guest artist for this May past.
In a nut shell here is what I presented:
My story begins back in 1978 when purely by chance, I met Grant Tigner, a long - time professional artist and past president and instructor at the Ottawa School of Art. Grant invited me to go painting and he could see that, although I was a complete novice, I showed artistic talent. The timing was pure serendipity. Over time Grant showed me how to paint the landscape and taught me how to see the effects of light. I learned from him about the value of cataloguing my work – something I do to this day – and what a professional working studio with stacks of canvases in various stages, a studio easel and drawers full of painting supplies felt like. Together, we painted in Algonquin Park, Gloucester Mass. and the Ottawa Valley. During that time, I met and befriended the well-known Arctic traveler, geologist and painter, Dr. Morris Haycock who had been a great friend and painting companion to A.Y.Jackson.
Some ten years later, when an allergy forced me to abandon oils, I chose watercolours and joined the Ottawa Watercolour Society. Under the influence of Morton Baslaw and many other very fine painters, and with the experience of OWS juried exhibition competitions, l attained fellowship in the Ottawa Watercolour Society and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour (CSPWC). I began to teach other artists too - first locally and then for Ontario College summer schools in Ottawa, Brockville and Haliburton.
After 15 years of painting with watercolours, I began painting with acrylic and remain using them exclusively today. My work has evolved to an interpretation I call Contemporary Impressionistic. I consider myself very fortunate to have met so many wonderful artists who have helped me along the way. Some of those contacts and far-flung places where I gave workshops, led to gallery representation in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa - and Charlevoix where Baie-Saint-Paul painter, Bruno Cote’s guidance immediately comes to mind. But that’s another story for another time.
My hour-long Fireside Chat was over before I knew it. Afterward, there were a lot of smiling faces and artists coming forward to thank me. I hope that they understand what a pleasure it was for me to have the opportunity to tell my story. Thank you!
Many thanks to the WCAS organizers who ran the overhead projector system, served coffee and made everyone feel welcome.
Charles Spratt, May 2018