"Mercury Rising," John Davidson. SUPPLIED

Pelham Art Festival runs May 1 – 15

Featuring nationally acclaimed Canadian artists, the Pelham Art Festival will run online from May 1 to May 15.

The 2020 festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but 60 artists are involved this year, and each will have their own interactive page on the revised website. Four participating artists are profiled below, with samples of their work.

Fine arts on visual display will include not just paintings, but ceramics, glassworks, jewelry, and sculpture.

Details are available by contacting festival chair Heidi TeBrake at 905-328-8177, or at the festival’s website, pelhamartfestival.com

Maria Iva

Maria is a nature lover and hiker, who finds her inspiration in exploring provincial parks and conservation areas of Southern Ontario. She often paints scenes on site with soft pastels on sanded paper, and later recreates them on canvas in her studio in oil with a palette knife, richly textured and colored.

“Haliburton Marsh,” Maria Iva. SUPPLIED

“Using wet-on-wet technique, I apply thick palette knife strokes that create depth and detail. I use clean, vibrant colors that allow me to demonstrate the effect of sunlight on the scene,” she said.

After having a career in education, Maria has achieved a professional level that allows her to exhibit and sell her work. She says her goal is to express her emotional reaction to natural scenes using loose strokes and strong colors. She is a member of the Society of Canadian Artists and a Master Signature Member of Pastel Artist Canada. She lives and works in Mississauga.

Angela Sirrs

Angela and her husband Fred are fused glass artists. Her work Sunset Birches is composed of multiple layers of transparent and opaque glass, arranged as a collage and fired in a kiln multiple times to create the scene. The birch trees and shrubs are made separately and kiln-fired on the completed background.

“Sunset Birches,” Angela Sirrs. SUPPLIED

“As a retired kindergarten teacher, I apply my love of play to create collages in glass—landscapes, home décor and wearable art,” she said. “Through art classes and studies in glass fusion and jewellery-making techniques, I have become versatile in the use of a variety of glass fusing techniques.”

John Davidson

After a successful career sharing his love of photography as a professor in the School of Media, Art and Design, at Durham College, John Davidson continues to offer tutoring for small groups and individuals in the Toronto area.

“Through my lens, I see things differently…and when you see things differently, that’s where the magic begins,” he said.

Although immersed for many years in the world of digital photography, Davidson says he revisits his roots on occasion, and dabbles in film and printing to augment his artistic work.

“My Fujifilm and Nikon cameras are constant companions, but I am still drawn to old friends, my medium format and 35mm film cameras. There is just something so tactile and visually pleasing about film,” he said.

“It’s the mysterious magic that is revealed once the negative is processed…the expressions of light and darkness, laughter and stillness, beauty and chaos. The stories they tell…moments before, during, or after the storm.

Rosemarie Armstrong

Atmosphere, earth, and water are the elements which inspire Armstrong’s artistic practice, as her oil paintings depict the constant transformation of the natural world. An artist for some four decades, her seascape and landscape paintings reflect her use of light, colour, and composition.

“Heatwave,” Rosemary Armstrong. SUPPLIED

“My paintings celebrate movement, textures, and images abundant in nature, but often unseen due to their fleeting nature,” said Armstrong. “Contrasting themes of turbulence, serenity, darkness, and illumination underscore the emotional connection to our environment.”

Armstrong believes that creativity, in all its forms, can draw attention to critical global issues such as climate change. “Artists can help the public to engage with issues of environmental destruction and degradation through their artistic images and conversation,” she said.

Her paintings are featured in numerous private collections and publications around the globe.



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