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L’Entrepot 2901 – 2901 Boulevard Saint-Joseph, Lachine, QC
October until November 10th
Friday and show nights : 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday : 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
This month, my watercolor paintings will be exhibiting as part of an art exhibition looking at the development of the Lachine Canal. It is a group exhibition organized by USKMTL (Urban Sketchers Montreal) and Heritage Montreal, an organization which documents the history of Montreal. The art exhibition features buildings on the Lachine Canal waterfront, the surrounding neighbourhoods, and the Atwater Market and Charlevoix area which includes the malting factory and Farine Five Roses. The bike path along the Lachine Canal is one of my top recommendations for travellers to Montreal.
This may be the biggest exhibition I’ve been part of in a while! I have to say it’s pretty professional as well, with a full gallery space and clean presentation. Unfortunately, I missed the vernissage night but I heard from someone who attended that it was packed. I’m grateful to be part of such a community project.
Below I’ve included a few photos from the art exhibition. These are for people in far away places who can’t attend, however I’d like to take a moment to say it’s really worth taking any opportunity to see art in person. It is not the same experience at all to view it online. Everyone I’ve spoken to who sees an artwork in person after seeing it online tells me this, and this is my own experience as well.
What I learned from the art exhibition as an artist
As an artist, my take away from an art exhibition like this is being able to see my work in the context of a gallery space next to the work of similar artists, artists who do urban sketching as watercolor paintings. Quickly at a glance, it becomes very clear what my own strengths and weaknesses are and what I can learn from the different styles.
My greatest strength is how I use color; I can use a full color palette together, have it still work, and have the colors stay very vibrant. One artist thought I am using ink instead, which tends to be brighter and more vibrant than watercolor, but I am not. Another strength is lighting. It’s hard to focus on lighting when urban sketching, yet getting the lighting down is one of my first steps before I place any detail. As much as I try take away from the original impressionist painters, I think I am accomplishing creating atmosphere through light and color as intended.
My greatest weakness is probably overloading with detail and losing some “freshness” in the process. This is something I am working on. Looking at others work lead me to consider: Why do I include as much detail as I do? Surely, it’d be faster to include less. But the reason I include the detail you see in my paintings is because this detail is the character in the buildings, trees, and street.
When a painting is too simplified, it is too general.
What makes a bundle of trees different from the next? What is one townhouse, to another townhouse, to the next townhouse? What characterizes a suburban street in Montreal versus a street in Toronto or even somewhere else completely, like Seattle? I am looking for the balance of keeping the painting light and fresh, and not stripping the story from the scene because my artistic intent is the painting serving as a document of a moment in time and place. Even if I were to completely fabricate the scene, I’d include details in a way that would create a believable scene in Montreal rather than a general city street anywhere. This is just what I try do it with my art.
Some artists have really unique styles. I particularly enjoy Marc Lepine’s sketching style, which really feels like he’s jumping and dancing around the page as he draws while capturing a great amount of detail and movement. I’d like to share more artists but many only post in the Urban Sketchers Montreal Facebook group, so have a look there.