Artist of the Month

by Sandra Marshall

Studio shot2Laughter is Sheree Bradford-Lea’s antidote for what ails us as she tries to engage us through her humorous cartoons, sculptures, mixed media/fibre art and puppetry. Her background in behavioural psychology, theatre and family travel set the scene for her explorations of these media.

A creator from a young age, she drew, wrote, and sang everything that struck her fancy. During high school she was attracted to theatre for a lifelong passion. Sheree continued her theatre interests, as she began a psychology degree in visual perception at Guelph University and later continued her graduate studies at Laurier and Queen’s Universities. Her experimental psychology studies in gender, empathy and moral reasoning later served as more fodder for her love of the absurd.

artbreadssmallIt was in Kingston that Sheree married and the couple decamped to Berkeley California, a career opportunity for her husband.  Sheree continued to create—writing plays and short stories, having some produced and published. The couple returned to Canada with a one year old in tow, and made Ottawa their home, in time for the arrival of their second baby. Sheree began cartooning when the children were toddlers as she couldn’t devote full-time to writing, but she found that creating single and multi-panel cartoon strips fit her needs. At the suggestion of a teacher Sheree sent her artworks to a publisher, where they were well received. That encouraged her to keep her creative juice flowing, and she Keep an eye on your mother, from tabletfound ways to improve at her art form.  She also began teaching cartooning and other art, when not creating and selling her own work to publications.

To expand from creating cartoons for publications of various types, Sheree applied her artworks to solid objects and sold them at craft shows. But she yearned for more artful ways to use her humorous ideas and embraced 3D mixed media. She expanded her boundaries to incorporate ideas that didn’t suit cartooning, but which tickled her fancy.

Cartoon humour influences everything Sheree makes. It embodies message, visual perception and personal connection with the viewer. She challenges the observer to stand back and be amused, while pondering the issue raised. Effective cartoons and humorous art attract people, who feel that they have a soul-mate. We are not alone in our opinions when we share a moment of laughter.

Sheree carving in yard pic 1The National Capital Network of Sculptors was a natural fit for Sheree. Her passion for the curiosities of human and animal behaviour and visual perception was applied to her three dimensional art. In 2010, at the behest of stone carvers Danny Barber and Phil Smith, and to benefit a charitable cause, Sheree joined in the first annual Canadian Stone Carving Festival. For the first time, she sculpted a limestone block using only Super Steampunk Sheep, 2019, in sunhand tools. Although she had only carved wood and clay before, she bravely attacked the stone over the festival weekend. She has been carving stone since then – mainly animals with added mixed media elements.  Sheree is particularly fond of creating stone sheep with wooden legs, each one a unique personality. Carving stone sheep started at the Stone Carving Festival too!

First DateSheree once attended a puppet workshop with one of her daughters and became hooked on puppetry. As a result, she received a grant to build large scale puppets and perform at The Happening in Ottawa. Fabricating and performing with these ‘characters’ brings her special delight. Sheree is considering stop motion film for her puppetry as another way to tell engaging stories. But she promises that she will never give up cartooning and mixed media art. She always weaves in new ideas and themes to keep her work fresh.

Travel has shown the artist-psychologist that people’s perspectives are influenced by their locale. What flies in a city might be scorned by a small town crowd. Even her country upbringing and later moves made Sheree keenly aware of these contrasting sensory feelings. Being with theatre people and artists, academics and feminist at-home moms has been a form of travel too and given her a unique perspective.

Sometimes people do not like her perception. But a humourist is by definition someone with a clear, strong vision, who observes behaviour, sometimes predicting societal trends too—looking to the future. Her creative process can be ignited by something odd or interesting, ridiculous or annoying.  Her mind noodles with the idea to find a way to turn it on its ear and point out the issue with humour. The fun continues in the building, carving, drawing, painting, sewing, or whatever she needs to spark the idea to life. It comes together as she works, without elaborate plans. Sheree says that her favourite time in the creation is at the inception of an idea, and she inevitably gets a good chortle out of it. Her least favourite part is having to slow down before she can continue—like allowing paint to dry. ‘’I’m not great at that kind of patience.’’

She sees good natured humour having enormous power to relieve our worries for a while. “That’s one reason good cartoon and visual humour lights up so many areas of the brain.  When a person ‘gets it’, the gentle problem-solving exercise pays off with fireworks!” Sheree’s art twists our minds a little out of focus, giving us time to relax, think, smile. We leave a little lighter than when we came by.

WhoWasYourMotherInstallation pic11The interactive artwork ‘Keep an Eye on Your Mother’ asked people to recall the maiden names of their great-grandmothers. The question puzzled many and they were determined to find out the answer, even to call distant relatives. Like herself, they didn’t realize that they didn’t know their own history. This cartoon-enlivened work sported a felted bird in a playing card bird house and is stillbird one of her favourites.

Sheree has advice for others who may wish to take up her sculptural direction. “Stay true to your unique roots and passions.” As a youngster she spent time observing animals, especially her house cats and nearby farm animals. The colours and shapes of childhood return in her work repeatedly. “Observation is good, but don’t forget to experience life too, and laugh along the way.” Sheree sees herself as lucky to have her husband and children as inspiration.”Humour doesn’t laugh at other people, it laughs at human nature in general, and we are always part of that.” When we laugh at her cartoon animals we are laughing at our own human frailties.

“At the end of the day, make sure your pieces say something with humour, something that allows the observer to think and to feel.”

More of Sheree’s delightful work can be found at http://shereebradfordlea.com/

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Artists Speak – Dealing with Isolation

Eiko Emori – Glass sculptor

My pâte de verre technique results in a translucency that shows how colours change with light. The shifting light and unique colours bring movement to otherwise static objects. The vibrancy of “Fall Colours” reflects the beauty and energy of fall leaves and bonfires.

I feel lucky that our work as sculptors is largely solitary. I have been working on trying to present my work with the video method. I hope you can see what I mean.

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Artists Speak – Dealing with Isolation

Joie--Janet K. MacKay – Sculptor/Painter

“In some ways, I feel very fortunate to be an artist during this time of isolation. My art gives purpose and structure to my day. I love the hours of solitude as I work in the studio and now there is a further sense of calmness as deadlines disappear. The downside, is not being able to show my work to clients and customers face to face – nothing is more satisfying than experiencing that moment with another when your art makes a connection – it feels like a connection at the Faith 2soul level.  This time of isolation has thrown artists into the digital era – the internet is now our primary platform for connecting our art with others. Although grateful for the internet, this time of isolation instills in me how much I treasure the human connection my art provides.”

To see more of Janet’s work: http://www.worldviewstudio.ca

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Artists Speak – Dealing with Isolation

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 2.27.01 PMTerry Schaub – Stone Carver

” I’ve been working for 3M Canada for over 26 years now and this pandemic has certainly put them in the spotlight recently.  My passion, however is sculpture. During my down time and weekends you’ll find me in my studio working on some new projects. I enjoy people but I’m a rather quiet person and I get my creative energy in solitude. Other than a few personal distractions, my work hasn’t been affected too much by this pandemic. I work with stone and these are a few photos of a current project I’m working on. Hopefully this Covid-19 crisis will be over soon and we can all get back to our normal routines. In the meantime stay home and stay safe.”

You can see more of Terry’s work at http://www.twschaub.com

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 2.27.21 PM

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Artists Speak – Dealing with Isolation

How do you continue to appreciate art and support artists during this pandemic? Our Online Gallery gives you a visual on over 40 sculptures available by our artists in every price range. You deal directly with the artist which means there are no commissions, but most importantly you are Screen Shot 2020-04-26 at 11.00.45 AMhelping to support local artists through this very difficult time. Even if you are not buying, we would love to hear from you – it can be the motivation to continue creating.

Sometimes it takes a while for a sale to come through for our artists. Mary S. saw the Sesquicentennial Forest by glass artist, France Grice back in 2017. Recently she contacted her to purchase one of the trees and France was happy to deliver it. The client warned her that she was celebrating adding this to her art collection and she went all out to accept her tree, as you can see from the photo.  Delightful!

Visit our Online Gallery today at  https://sculptureottawa.ca/online-gallery-2

 

 

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Artists Speak – Dealing with Isolation

BÉLA SIMO – Metal Sculptor

 
image1“Work in a sculpture studio is often solitary. For my part, I practically live in my studio, so the confinement caused by the covid-19 pandemic has not changed much for me. However, I must admit that uncertainty and anxiety have slowed down my creative impulse a little. Economic uncertainty is also weighing a lot, when contracts are absent and symposiums and exhibitions are canceled or postponed. I do not know what tomorrow will look like, or whether there will be bread on the table. So, for days, I was unable to focus on my work. But I cut down watching the news and I am back to what matters to me: creating pieces that reflects myself, my passion, my beliefs, my struggles… I am happy to share with you my latest pieces because, especially in stressful times such as these, we need art in our daily lives. I began these aluminum pieces before the start of the pandemic. Some people asked me if I was a diviner. It is up to you to decide!”
You can see more of my work on my Facebook page at: facebook.com/artBelaSimo
image0“Le travail en studio de sculpture est souvent solitaire. Pour ma part, je vis pratiquement dans mon studio, donc le confinement entraîné par la pandémie de covid-19 n’a pas changé grand chose pour moi en ce sens. Néanmoins, je dois admettre que l’angoisse et l’anxiété ont freiné un peu mon élan créatif. L’incertitude économique est aussi très grande, alors que les contrats sont absents et que symposiums et expositions sont annulés ou reportés. Je ne sais pas de quoi demain sera fait, ni s’il y aura du pain sur la table. Donc, pendant des jours, j’ai été incapable de me concentrer sur mon travail. J’ai alors décidé de passer moins de temps à suivre l’actualité et je suis revenu à ce qui m’importe: créer des pièces qui me reflètent moi, ma passion, mes convictions, mes luttes… 
Je suis heureux de partager avec vous mes dernières sculptures, car, surtout en des périodes difficiles comme celles que nous vivons, nous avons besoin de l’art dans notre vie quotidienne. J’ai commencé ces pièces en aluminium avant le début de la pandémie. Certains m’ont demandé si je n’étais pas un peu devin. À vous de juger!”
Vous pouvez également voir mon travail sur ma page facebook: facebook.com/artBelaSimo 
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Artists Speak – Dealing with Isolation

Danny Barber – Stone Carver

“I am very fortunate to have had commissions to carry me through the winter. These are jobs that could only be delivered once the Spring weather arrives. Hand tooled pier caps, house names, dedications and a cemetery memorial in Carrara Marble which is next on my bench. There has been great variety which I enjoy a lot. Following the BC2C0E79-7B5F-42F6-937F-A7A1CB12F145memorial I have a very large carving project to do for the Halifax Armouries. I will be replacing the bottom half of the Coat of Arms for Canada circa 1895. This will require clay modelling, plaster casts and many carved elements. The project is moving quite slowly though and I’m not sure that the timing will be in my favour. Fingers crossed.
Working in isolation hasn’t been an issue for me. I always work alone and I do prefer it, although I usually teach one night a week and run an open studio for other carvers. This I miss greatly. I really enjoy the social time, the community and sharing my knowledge and space. Working during this pandemic has been a bit like everything is in slow motion. Like working on a snow day. The projects still have to get done, but the urgency doesn’t seem to be there. Neither is the anxiety and pressure. I’ve been taking the time to do online drawing lessons every morning before starting work which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I hope to take away from this experience a more relaxed working pace and to continue to put my creativity first.”
You can see more of Danny’s work at http://www.barberstonecarving.com or at our Online Gallery at https://sculptureottawa.ca/online-gallery-2/
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Artists Speak – Dealing with Isolation

Bill Lockyer – Stone Sculptor

20190913_115516“My name is Bill, I am born and raised in Ottawa.  I am still working at CHEO on the cancer ward.  I have been working in lots of venues such as painting and wood sculpture, I have built a wooden rocking horse but my main interest is soap stone, which I have been doing for several years.  
I have followed Patrick Imai for several years and I like his style.  I was looking forward to attending the National Capital Network of Sculptors meetings and will attend once they resume.  I don’t have a website yet, but here are some examples of my work.  I did a 20190908_164834show at the Gem and Stone in the fall at the Nepean Sportsplex.  I always question what prices to put on pieces and by attending the NCNS meetings I hope to get some feed back regarding this.  Looking forward to meeting all of you in the future.”
Are you a sculptor? Are you interested in becoming a member of the National Capital Network of Sculptors? 

As a member of the NCNS you become an active participant within the sculpting community of Eastern Ontario. Whether you are full-time or part-time professional sculptor, an aspiring amateur, student or simply an interested patron of the sculptural arts, you are very welcome. To learn more about becoming a member visit us at https://sculptureottawa.ca/about/become-a-member/

Posted in art classes, Art Shows, Art Workshops, Artist of the Month, Canadian Stone Carving Festival, Ceramic Sculpture, clay artists, clay sculpture, Exhibition Opportunities, learn how to sculpt, Member Event, Member Profiles, Miscellaneous, Network Show, sculpting workshops, Sculpture Atelier, Sculpture events, sculpture show, stone carving, stone sculpture, The Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, The national capital network of sculptors, wood sculpture, workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Artists Speak – Dealing with Isolation

Alexandra Tytarenko – Figurative Sculptor

“Over the past several weeks, I have been taking more time on working with sculpture from home. I also found myself also spending more time reading, observing and learning about other artists and their creative processes – which has been a source of inspiration during an otherwise isolating period. This has definitely helped me stay busy and optimistic.

My husband and I live in Ottawa, close to our daughter and two young grandchildren. I started sculpting when I lived in Winnipeg and continued after our family moved to Ontario and lived in Toronto for a period of time. In general, I find myself being inspired by nature, as well as by the expression of human emotion – which have a certain beauty and honesty 73AEB860-60FF-40C2-BC8E-99FFE79658E5to them. A large focus of my works are portraits or figures, sometimes themselves being engaged in art, such as music or dance.  I have frequently worked with stone or winterstone (a concrete-based substance), but have recently been also using resin more often, which I find can create interesting effects. Attached is a picture of a piece I am currently working on – a portrait of a close friend and sculptor, Leo Mol, who I had the pleasure of knowing dating back to my time in Winnipeg (attachment #1).

 While the world around us seems to be filled with uncertainty and change every day, I try to stay optimistic and am glad to be part of the Ottawa community. And Skype definitely helps during this time! Wishing you all to stay safe and healthy – take care of yourselves.”

To see more work by Alexandra Tytarenko, please visit our Online Gallery at https://sculptureottawa.ca/online-gallery-2/ 

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Artists Speak – Dealing with Isolation

Colette Beardall – Clay Sculptor

BAF62F6D-4AEC-4110-A4E6-5B43399E843C“As a clay artist it is my habit to spend many hours alone in my studio but always with my 5 various animal companions to keep me company.  Often in the warmer months I bring my wheel up to the back deck to engage my senses with the natural surroundings I am lucky to live in.  I have a small property in Metcalfe which is full of flora and fauna and home to my two horses, two cats and Russian rescue dog.   Animals are the primary subject of my sculpture work and through sales of my pieces I am able to send a portion to an animal rescue which is represented in the piece I’ve made.  It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to use my meager ability in this manner.

A few months ago, my emotions were totally engaged with the devastation of the wildfires in Australia and the mass of destruction of habitat and the death of so many animals.  I had to find a way to keep myself busy and stop my anxiety from getting the best of me.  Planning and executing a fundraiser that would provide relief for both WIRES an animal relief organization and the St. Vincent de Paul Society of NSW was the tonic I needed.  Being a potter as well, I made and sold one hundred wheel thrown bowls for a minimum donation of $25 but so many dug deep and sent more. I was so happy to raise a total of $4500 for the charities.  

Of course, now we find ourselves here.  A global pandemic.  I am to have a solo exhibition in 2021 at the Shenkman Arts Centre.  My main subject before this pandemic struck was to highlight animal abuses and trafficking in places around the world.  A highlight would be the pangolin who has been implicated in being a source for the virus.  Am I clairvoyant?  No.  Just a concerned and devasted global citizen that watched as shipment after shipment of this animal’s body parts brought it from a healthy population to endangered status within a couple of years.  Part of our jobs as artists is to engage with people but also to inform.  I hope I can continue doing that in the depths of my basement with a sense of hope for a better world in the future.  And leave the depths of despair behind us.”

You can find Colette’s work on her website at http://www.colettebeardall.com or in our ONLINE Gallery at https://sculptureottawa.ca/online-gallery-2/ 

 

 

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