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Art for Art’s Sake – Wanda Ellerbeck, Abstract Artist – Regina Leader-Post



Wanda Ellerbeck sees more than meets the eye in abstract art.

She has been an artist all of her life.

“I don’t think I decided to be an artist,” Ellerbeck said. “I think art found me, at an early age.”

Holding a Masters of Fine Art and years of experience teaching art, Ellerbeck is now focusing on painting abstract art.

“It’s more like an archeological dig where through the process of painting I’m uncovering a lot of emotional spaces inside myself but also letting the influence of the environment that I live in come through,” Ellerbeck said. “So for me it’s more about the sense and concern of the place. And I find it easier to express that through abstraction. And besides, it’s great fun.”

Ellerbeck and fellow Canmore artist Chrissy Nickerson held an art show in June at Elevation Gallery in Canmore and then at Mortar and Brick gallery in Lethbridge.

“After that I started to sell abstract paintings. So I think the market and the sense of art and what art can be has very much changed in Canmore,” she said. “And that is a result of influence from people moving in who have lived other places and people who are exposed to different kinds of art forms. And we have contemporary art right next door, at the Banff Centre. So I think all of those things have created a kind of new or different sense of what art can be here. And that for me is uplifting. It’s like, ‘yes’, that’s really good.”

Her focus has never been just to sell the art, she said.

“I would keep painting even if I didn’t sell the art here, and find a place where I could, because of course you have to make some money in order to keep going,” Ellerbeck said. “You have to buy paint and brushes, pay your rent and all of that. Selling art is important. But I can’t start a painting with the idea that it’s going to be for sale, or else I’m sunk. It has to come from my process, my own self, and what I’m dealing with inside myself.”

The rest of it is just the struggle and finding a place where people can see it, she said.

“The viewer is very important to my process,” Ellerbeck said. “And I think about the viewer when I’m painting. With abstraction the viewer will bring their own interpretations and it will remind people of different things and that is the beauty of it. It’s not telling people how to view and how to think and this is art. This is the work I’m doing now. What inside yourself as a viewer will you find? And I find that interaction really interesting.”

She is working on an abstract piece that she says has gone through many permutations

“But basically it was an attempt,” Ellerbeck said. “Right now I’m struggling with the formal aspects of it how these colours work together and balance so it doesn’t look like a mess. I get really excited when colours start to bounce around each other. So some, like green, are in the background and the white comes forward. There’s a reference to ice and snow and the Earth. You see colours like this in the river. I don’t go into this piece and say this is about the river. I go into it solving the problem that’s in front of me. So every brush stroke you put on asks a question, should it be on there or shouldn’t it be. And is it the right colour?”

There are no rules, she said.

“Everything here has to come from inside myself,” Ellerbeck said. “It’s a different way of painting than looking at a still life or a figure and painting that. Those kinds of artists also deal with the same formal questions. It’s just the expression is different. And I find this more engaging and stimulating than regular landscape painting, for me.”

But she said she loves regular landscape paintings.

“There are some great landscape painters in this valley. Just for me, this is what’s working,” Ellerbeck said. “Your painting has to talk back to you. You’re in a conversation with your painting. But that’s the challenge of abstraction, to let it speak to you as opposed to force yourself in what your busy monkey brain says on top of it. So it’s not an intellectual, rational process at all. It’s intuitive and quite irrational.”

Check out her Facebook page to find out more.

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Dan Fumano: Questions, shock as art studio's death blamed on COVID-19 – Vancouver Sun



Article content continued

The landlords had offered to waive some of the rent to support William Clark Studios’ application for federal assistance, Chiang said, although it seems the studio may not qualify for that program. The landlord also offered to defer half the rent until “an undetermined time,” Chiang said, but did not get a response from William Clark.

“We understand small businesses are having a tough time during the pandemic and we are trying to help out as much as we can,” Chiang said. “Now I’m finding out they’ve told their tenants over the weekend that they’re getting kicked out. It’s weird, I don’t know.”

The city is also stepping in to see if there’s anything they can do to help save William Clark.

Alix Sales, Vancouver’s head of cultural spaces and infrastructure, said Wednesday her team has been working to track down both the landlords and William Clark management since learning Monday about the “brutal” closure.

“It’s such a big blow, it’s such a critical space,” Sales said.

Sales and her colleague, cultural planner Kristen Lambertson, agreed some of the details and questions surrounding the William Clark closure make it an unusual one.

But, Lambertson pointed out: “We’re also in a very unusual time.”

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Smithers Art Gallery and Bulkley Valley Museum now open to the public – My Bulkley Lakes Now



The Smithers Art Gallery and The Bulkley Valley Museum have reopened to the public.

As of Monday(June 1), the gallery and the museum have opened and will be operating Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m.

According to Smithers Art Gallery Manager Nicole Chernish, the planned exhibitions have been postponed until 2021 but artists who were invited to have exhibitions this year to provide work in a pop-up gallery.

Artists that will be featured in the gallery are Sarah Zimmerman, Mark Tworow, and Emily Klassen.

Chernish said getting the gallery ready for reopening was nerve-racking but now that they are open it feels amazing.

“It feels absolutely fantastic. We’ve got all this fantastic art on the walls and it just feels really refreshing and satisfying to have that visual art surrounding me so I can’t wait until we have more people come in and experience that for themselves,” she said.

Chernish added on the first day of the reopening the gallery had six people walkthrough.

She called it fantastic due to having a max capacity of five people for the building.

According to Chernish, during the gallery’s closure, they moved a lot of their content online, so they could still interact with the community.

Chernish said having the virtual exhibitions was difficult because they haven’t done a lot of them on their own.

“I think people are able to access it but it doesn’t feel quite the same as coming into a gallery and seeing a piece of art right in front of you so, I think it’s been an adjustment not only for the gallery but for visitors as well,” she said.

The Lakes District Museum is also open and the Witset Museum is set to open on Friday (June 5).

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Local artists participating in upcoming national arts drive – OrilliaMatters



On June 20, many creatives in our area are participating in a country-wide National Arts Drive, organized by RAW Artists and Orillia native Michelle Bylow. This event was originally scheduled for June 5, but has been moved to later in the month.

Creatives in all areas —art, music, performing arts, film, fashion, photography, craft, beauty — as well as cultural institutions and local restaurants nation-wide are invited to showcase their work to a driving, socially distanced audience for attention, tips, and hopefully sales.

Local musician Olivia Duck will be participating, along with various other drop-in members of the band, Hobo Jam.

“We will be located at 77 Lewis Drive in Orillia. It will be a Hobo Jam collective performance featuring myself, Jakob Pierce, Jamie Drake, and Dennis Rizzo. Perhaps other drop-in musicians as well. We will do a variety of music which will be jammed out as we aren’t officially rehearsing at this time for obvious reasons,” said Duck.

Several artists and galleries along Peter Street between Mississaga and Colborne streets will be out, including Patti Agapi, MJ Pollak and Molly Farquharson from Hibernation Arts.

“We will have tables out showcasing our art, and of course participants are welcome to stop, park, and safely come into the gallery to view and purchase,” Farquharson said.

RAW artists executive director Bylow is excited about this first-time event.

“We have expanded the event to include local eateries and food trucks,” Bylow said. “We have partnered with the Orillia District Arts Council to spread the word to local artists.”

Anitta Hamming’s Creative Nomad Studios will also be participating, through the gallery’s 2020 Unlimited show, on display now in the windows of the gallery.

She said “2020 Unlimited is all set up for an event like this. We have over 30 works of art in the windows of the gallery and drivers can safely purchase through our website. We hope to see lots of drivers out and are excited to be part of this event,” said Hamming.

The event will be live in our area on June 20 from 4 to 7 p.m., and the map will go live the night before. There is also an app you can download. For this and other information about the National Arts Drive, go to their website.

Would you like to support art and an important cultural institution in our town? Orillia Museum of Arts and History’s (OMAH) online art auction, QuarARTine is now live!

This auction will run from now until the end of September. Twenty new pieces of 6-inch by 6-inch art will be posted every 20 days. You can purchase art outright for $30 or bid on it and see how high it goes!

All proceeds will go towards OMAH which of course is suffering in these pandemic times. Many items of the first 20 are already sold, only three days in, so check in often to get your first choice. For more information and to bid, go here.

This week’s Essential Concert series will feature Sean and Bayze Murray, of the local band, Reay. Reay’s debut single, Lemondrop Girl, is available for download and you can purchase the band’s debut album, Butterfly Tongue Revisited, here

Tune in to listen to Sean and Bayze live on the Essential Concert series this Thursday at 8 p.m. here.

Local dance therapist Miriam Goldberger is involved in an amazing event this week to celebrate Seniors’ Month. Young at Art presents Golden Hour this Thursday June 4 from 2 to 3 p.m. This is a virtual interactive event for older adults, presented through Zoom.

There will be an interactive sing-a-long with music therapist Thyra Andrews, an improv dance with Miriam, and a co-created art experience with Tonya Hart. You can get your Zoom invite by emailing Enjoy!

Have a sunny first weekend in June and send me your arts news by Tuesday at noon, to

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