June 9, 2011

"Time Frame" at the Alton Mill Gallery May 28 - July10

"Time Frame" is an exhibition celebrating Ontario heritage, both natural and cultural in the historic and restored Alton Mill Gallery - a destination in itself. There are over 90 works of art by 50 artists. The Alton Mill Gallery itself is a wonderful example of heritage reuse and planning and makes the perfect venue for the celebration of art and heritage. While you are there enjoy the Caledon, ON area and make a day of it! There are some wonderful historic towns, trails and gorges.

My painting “Room with a View” is featured in the exhibition (it is on the official invitation card and on the Alton Mill website).

"Time Frame" runs from May 28 until July 10, 2011.

September 19, 2010

Upcoming Exhibition of Muskoka Heritage

"Everything But the Bathroom Sink", acrylic on canvas, 16x24, from a house before restoration in Gravenhurst 
Award of Excellence winner, Muskoka Arts and Crafts, 2010

Coming up on October 9th, 2010, the Auburn Gallery of Fine Art will be hosting a small exhibition of paintings, photographs and portraits by Helene Adamson, Michelle Basic Hendry and the late Henry Fry (via the Gravenhurst archives).

The exhibition called "Legacy" will feature the faces and places of historic Muskoka - from the homestead of the man to discover gold in Gravenhurst, to photos of the town mid 20th century and oil paintings of some of Gravenhurst's most well known industrialists from the 19th century.

If you find yourself in Muskoka for Thanksgiving weekend, please drop by for a little window into the history of Muskoka. The Auburn Gallery is at 190 Royal St. in Gravenhurst - the home of the late Henry Fry. See you there!

For more details and for Michelle's journey through Muskoka's history visit Michelle's website or the Artscapes Blog.

February 2, 2010

An Afternoon's Adventure

Deep in the Forest, 24x36, acrylic, © 2004 Michelle Basic Hendry

A few years ago, I was wandering down one of my favourite trails that is just down the street from my house here in Muskoka. It was one of those rare occasions when I left the camera at home and communed, uninterrupted, with Nature.

It proved to be an almost 'spiritual' experience. This was a few months before I started blogging and I e-mailed the story to a friend. A few days ago, I went looking for that story again and couldn't find it anywhere. I was lucky to discover that my friend had archived it and that I get to share it with you today:

I decided to go for a walk on one of my favourite trails, this afternoon. You know, the one they are going to pave over....  I normally don't see much more than a few birds or a distant deer along there lately - but today was extraordinary. 

Right off, my path seemed to be marked by crow feathers - tons of them. By the time I reached the hemlock grove, I could feel myself calming right down. An ATV had gone through very recently and mucked up the trail, but did leave some rather nice little 'ponds'. As a approached one - there was a series of splashes. I looked closer - FROGS! I hadn't seen any back there before! Gorgeous little dark green brown ones. 

Now I used to hunt and catch frogs as a child all the time - and I assure you, once they detect you, they go in the water and wait. I've sat for nearly an hour and gotten little more than motion. Today, this one little guy looked at me from the water. So, I looked quietly back at him. He jumped out right in front of me and sat there and stared at me until I got up to leave!

A few minutes later, I scared some deer and I watched their tails disappear into the bush. This was great because I can count on two hands the number of times I even see them here. But that wasn't going to be the last of it..... I sat under my favourite pine and got lost in thoughts - some about growth, some about spirituality and many more mundane. I must have sat for an hour based on the time when I got home.

On my way back, not two minutes from the pine, I thought about a detour. I was just making my way down the sand when - deer! The same ones, I think. Anyway, I froze, expecting them to scamper off. They froze instead. So I stood there and they watched me. A curious one in the front came up within 15 or 20 feet of where I was standing. Unfortunately, the wind was from behind me, so her nose was in there air and I am certain she would have come closer, otherwise. But she clearly saw me. I shifted, she cautiously watched - and then began munching away with her two friends, keeping an eye on me, but staying quite close!! Once they had wandered off a little and I could move without scaring them, I wandered away.

On the way back, I was passing through the exact same section of trail that I had passed the hour before. It was wide, with the trees quite far apart. I didn't have a chance to see it - much less was I expecting it - but I became entangled in a spider web - with no place to hold itself. Now where did this come from?? There were two spiders in it which became entangled with me. The first I found right away and gently swung it on its thread to a nearby branch. The other I found on my arm (I had raised my hands when my eye caught that I was about to walk into the web) and I brushed her off..... OK - I was a little freaked out - but they were small, so I coped! LOL!

As I was about to go along the last leg of the trail, a cacophony of crows burst from the forest floor just behind me and flew straight at me! Again, within 15 or 20 feet, they abruptly changed direction... I wonder if one was a raven? One voice was lower than the others. More crow feathers led me back home. At the edge of a trail, a small woodpecker landed just above my head on a tree and seemed totally oblivious of my presence. Half the time it was like I wasn't even there until the animals got very close. Closer than most experiences I have had, besides owls!

So there you have it....

January 25, 2010

Are we really that different?

A cheetah at the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Otjiwarongo, Namibia. By William J. Sullivan

I have been changing the way I look at art, mine in particular, and every so often I see something that influences my thoughts about panting, photography and our place in the world as artists and human beings.

I am largely a landscape painter and I aim for realism. But after watching some incredible photography in HD, I wonder if that 'painting what I see' kind of realism misses some mark when photography today can record the landscape. Should we as artist's in paint, be adding something to that - something that just by looking we don't always see? On Artscapes I have a recent post on the subject of visionary art.

Last night I was watching the Discovery Channel and they were airing the first part of the series in HD, "LIFE". The habits of some of the animals when it came to food gathering and hunting were startling. The feeling was not so much about how unique they are, but, rather, how similar. The dolphins created mud 'nets' and fished in cooperation; the use of tools by monkeys to open up the husks of oily seeds....

What was most amazing to me were the three male cheetahs hunting in tandem. (see video below) When I think of our ancestors and how they took down large animals, the need for cooperation in order to survive was paramount... and not what I expected to see in cheetahs. And what was more amazing to me was what I perceived as relief at the end.

After watching a harrowing chase and takedown of a female ostrich, requiring the weight and the energy of all three cats, the danger was still evident when the giant bird was on the ground. The cheetah holding the dying bird's neck lay quietly with his eyes closed to avoid the kicks until they began to subside. When it was clear the ostrich was finished, the cheetah was panting and he opened his eyes to be sure the battle was done and then slowly closed them again as if to express his relief and exhaustion. The look on the animals face that lasted not even seconds stayed with me for hours and burnt into my mind.

We have such a wrong view in our society that large predators are cold and mindless hunters. If even a trace of that view had remained in my subconscious, it was banished forever. The video attached is specifiaclly the cheetah chase. The link below is to the Discovery Channel. If you have the opportunity to watch "LIFE" on Discovery or the BBC, do so!

LIFE on the Discovery Channel

January 20, 2010

Changes Finally Coming

After quite a long time, I have finally put some attention to this blog. The small paintings will still appear, but, not in the fashion that this blog was originally designed for.

The art that appears here will be more in the style of 'journal entries'. There will be sketches, paintings, sculpture or any other creative outlet related to my explorations of both the world and my imagination. It is here that I will show the experiments and follow my creative muse beyond the scope of "Artscapes" which focuses on my professional gallery work and musings on the art world.

This is a new idea with lots of room to evolve...

August 7, 2009


It has been a busy few months and I have let the "Small Paintings" project lapse. I am currently working at getting paintings ready for the 19th Annual McMichael Autumn Art Sale in October 2009. There is more information on my website and it will be announced on the Artscapes Blog when it gets closer. It is a great honour for me to have been selected to participate in this show at such a significant public gallery. I am very excited.

I plan to come back to this blog later this year with an altered structure and plan. The paintings will still be small, but I plan to experiment a little!

Stay tuned...

April 25, 2009

Ice Goes Out

Ice Goes Out, 6x8 on canvas board (unframed)

My ambition seems to have outweighed my available time, and I have been too overwhelmed to post weekly, so the mandate of this site is going to get a little flexible! I will be posting every second week - still on Saturdays. The latest news and what's on the 'big easel' is still at the Artscapes Musings Blog!

Everything else will be the same! Thanks for following and supporting my little project.