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Creating art and community: Dundee Doodle Art Studio –



For Jill Bossence, it feels like art is part of her DNA. “I’ve always loved painting and drawing, even when I was really little,” she says. When it came time to make a career choice, Jill knew that art was the path she needed to follow. “I always liked working with kids, but I also had my passion for art,” she says. “The art was pulling me much more, so I just had to go with it.” While many of her friends were pursuing more traditional career paths, Jill was accepted into the Interpretive Illustration program at Sheridan College. While she was there, she began to be commissioned to create paintings. Eventually she entered one of her pieces into a juried art show in Brampton, and to her surprise she won. It was that win that made her feel validated as an artist.

After graduation Jill launched her first business called Scrambled Arts which she describes as a ‘little bit of everything’ – primarily commissioned water colour and acrylic paintings. However, the work wasn’t enough to pay the bills, so eventually she took on other jobs. She continued with her art on the side, doing commission pieces and leading art classes for kids and adults. Jill married, had a son, and eventually she and her family moved to New Dundee. It was during an evening walk through the town that the vision for a new artist dream seemed to appear in front of her.

“I saw this building that I’d never really noticed before,” she explains. “It was for rent, so I went back home and told my husband about it.”  Jill had family members who had been encouraging her to start her own art studio; and this building seemed to call to her. A few weeks later on another walk, Jill noticed the building was still for rent. This time, the lights were on and the owner was there. She knocked on the door and asked if she could see inside. “I took one look, and thought ‘Oh my gosh – this is perfect!’ 

Excited, she went back home to tell her husband about the space, and the rental cost. His response? “He said ‘Jill, this is a no-brainer. You’ve got to try it.’ ” And with that, Dundee Doodle Art Studio was born. 

Everything came together very quickly. Jill says she didn’t really have a plan, but things just seemed to fall into place. “I just kind of dove in, and it evolved.”

Dundee Doodle offers Morning Doodle and After School sessions for kids in grades 1 through 7. There are also full day camps available during PD days, March Break and during the summer. Jill (or Miss Jill as the kids call her) has also been able to provide day camps during the recent strike days, providing a place for the kids to work on their projects, play, and have fun. The day camps offered at Dundee Doodle provide a full day for the kids, where they’ll do four different art projects throughout the day – everything from painting and drawing, to creating objects with air-dry clay and even learning how to weave. In a day and age where technology encourages kids to multitask and do things quickly, Jill says art teaches them to slow down and focus. “Sometimes I have to remind them that art is not a ‘race’ – I tell them to slow down, and take their time. They learn to relax – and, they end up with a better end result when they take their time.” And for times during the day when the kids are full of energy, Jill takes them outdoors to a nearby park where they can burn off steam. 

Dundee Doodle also offers Social Paint Nights, where adults get a chance to let their inner artist out. Jill also offers corporate Team Building sessions, where participants are put into groups and need to work together to create a piece of art.  And twice a week, she leads art classes for dementia patients at Highview Residences in Kitchener – work that she says is very fulfilling. 

While she admits being in business for yourself can be hectic, Jill says she loves what she’s doing. “How many people can say they love their job? I get excited about the work I do here: when I first started the studio I wasn’t sleeping at night – not because I was stressed, but because I was so excited planning what I was going to be doing next!” She also realizes she’s a role model for the young, aspiring artists who come to Dundee Doodle. “I never thought I could do this – open a studio and have a business. I just thought I could be an artist,” she says. “I think it’s good for the kids to see a woman doing this – having her own business and enjoying it. They’ve actually asked me if I get paid to do this: I think because it’s so much fun here, they forget this is really a business!”

Spaces are still available for the studio’s upcoming March Break art camps. For more information, contact Dundee Doodle.

Dundee Doodle Art Studio
1454 Bridge Street, New Dundee

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Paintings turned trees into central characters in Canadian art: expert – OrilliaMatters



In her introduction to this year’s Carmichael Art History Lecture fundraiser, Executive Director of the Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH), Ninette Gyorody paid tribute to Qennefer Browne. It was a remembrance of gratitude.

Browne founded our annual Art History Lecture and named it in honour of Franklin Carmichael, a member of the Group of Seven, who was born in Orillia. Browne organized speakers for many years, until her death.

This year, we were incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Anna Hudson, who teaches Art History and Visual Culture in the Arts Music Performance Dance (AMPD) Department of York University, as our distinguished lecturer.

Her compelling presentation was a focus of her doctoral dissertation, “Art and Social Consciousness: The Toronto community of Painters, 1933-1950” was ‘What Came after the Group of Seven.’

From 1933 to 1950, a group of socially-conscious painters imagined a society transformed by art, and came together to develop a shared language of visual representation, building on the legacy of the Group of Seven.

Dr. Hudson spoke of the way artists play off each other’s work, investing form with meaning over time. Her talk was supported by images of Canadian paintings and photos of the period, which illustrated ideas within the lecture and enabled us to connect with the art.

Visual themes of the lecture were ‘TREE, BODY, INDUSTRY, LAND, HOME’.

First up for discussion were paintings by Franklin Carmichael: Autumn in Orillia (1924), Farm, Haliburton (1940) and Autumn Hillside (1920). In the 1940 painting, a tree is the dominant figure in the landscape. Dr. Hudson explored what this might mean, referencing the historical context of 1940.

Next, images of Jack Pine and West Wind, by Tom Thomson, were shared. These paintings lifted trees into the role of central characters in Canadian art, rather than being part of a pretty European style landscape painting.

Continuing her discussion of paintings, sculpture, photographs and commercial art by Canadian artists of the period 1933 to 1950, Dr. Hudson shared her interpretation of this phase of our national art.

One of the most fascinating paintings referenced was ‘Tree’, painted in 1944, by Isabel McLaughlin. This writer viewed this painting at The McMichael Gallery last month. Dr. Hudson’s assessment of ‘Tree’ as “disturbing, powerful, visceral, tactile” fits this painting.

We thank Dr. Hudson for sharing her vast knowledge and passion for this important time in Canadian art history. Her presentation was a great complement to the Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition: Tradition Transformed, now in its 20th year. Don’t miss this incredible juried show.

For 2022:

The History Speaker Series will be on hiatus for December and will resume on Jan. 19, 2022, via Zoom.

Popular Orillia historian, Dave Town, will be our guest speaker with his talk ‘Yellowhead’s Revolt’. Local Indigenous leader, Rama’s Chief Yellowhead, stood defiant against not just the white man, but his fellow Chiefs in 1846 at the Great Meeting held in Orillia.

At issue were life-changing policies, the most significant of which was the creation of the first residential schools in Canada. Chief Yellowhead stood up for what he felt was right for his people. Don’t miss Dave’s fascinating talk about this important event in our local history.

Click here to register for the talk or call Monica at 705-326-2159 or email

Admission to the History Speaker Series is free, but donations to OMAH are appreciated.

The OMAH History Committee thanks you for your loyal support in 2021. Stay tuned for a full list of dynamic speakers in 2022. Wishing you a safe and festive holiday season.


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Art Fx #44: "Around the Bend" by Pam MacKenzie – Huntsville Doppler – Huntsville Doppler



Art Fx is a year-long series on Huntsville Doppler featuring Huntsville-area visual artists.

“Around the Bend” by Pam MacKenzie is a 24” x 36″ acrylic on birch

“This painting depicts a canoe trip up a stream to explore what lies beyond,” says Pam. “My husband and I were avid canoeists and spent countless hours exploring small rivers and creeks. Travelling in these small bodies of winding waters always left you wondering what was around the corner. Did it continue on or was this bend going to end up in a bay or a larger body of water than we were comfortable travelling on in our canoe? Were we going to be able to continue in the canoe or going to have to portage over a rough spot, leaving the colour of our canoe on buried river rock? Or were we going to find a quiet spot to pull ashore on and explore the land along the banks?”

“Around the Bend” is available for $400.

“Around the Bend ” by Pam MacKenzie (supplied)

About the artist

Artistic endeavours have always been part of Pam’s life, from making her own school clothing to designing and creating wedding gowns and apparel to art quilts, weaving and stained glass.

Pam began exploring the drawing and painting art world in 2013 with Laura Landers, Iris Shields, and now Carol Rudderham.  

Pam has taken long workshops with a number of well-known Canadian artists and is currently working on an online course in bold-colour painting through the Bold School based in B.C.. While her first love is portraiture in black and white, she felt the need to colour her portraits first in pastels and now in acrylic and is taking this course to do just that.

Currently Pam is exploring the world of pouring art as she has splints on both arms following a tumble this fall. When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.

Pam is co-chair of the Huntsville Art Society and takesadvantage of the many opportunities through HAS to show her work. She also paints with a group at Carol Rudderham’s and shows her work bi-annually in the gallery at Partners Hall in the Algonquin Theatre.

Find Pam online at the HAS website or contact her at or 705-788-9875.

See more local art in Doppler’s Art Fx series here.

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Year end art exhibition features 40+ local art makers – North Bay News –



The Alex Dufresne Gallery is presenting its annual year-end show “Petit Noel: Exhibit & Sale.”

“This art exhibition has brought together over 40 different painters, photographers, potters, and artisans of all mediums, styles, and levels of experience to curate a show that reflects the passion of the northeastern Ontario art community.,” says Natasha Wiatr, Curator.

All pieces are no larger than 20” by 20” in size and almost all pieces are for sale.

The show is currently on display and will stay up until Saturday, December 30.

The gallery is open Wednesday – Saturday from 10 – 5 excluding Christmas Day and New Years Day.

“If you would prefer to book the gallery for a private viewing on a Tuesday, please contact us to arrange for a time,” adds Wiatr. “The gallery is free, with donations welcome. Due to Covid-19 guidelines, we ask that visitors wear masks and maintain six feet of social distancing, and we have hand sanitizer available on site. Please do not visit if you are not feeling well.”

Location: Alex Dufresne Gallery (107 Lansdowne St. E. in Callander, in the same building as the Callander Bay Heritage Museum)

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