Our choice of theme for this inaugural show reflects our enthusiasm in painting the natural world. To enjoy plein-air painting is to arrest the moment, "stop the car, this is where we should paint!". To convey the energy and excitement or the quiet and calm of these settings, is our challenge.
We give truth to the existence of the waterways of the Canadian landscape. We are surrounded on three sides by oceans and we all live close to a lake or river. The abundance of this natural resource defines our Canadian history and the present. Still or wild, water is foundational to the experience of being Canadian.
The four painters in this show comprise the PORDS: Kim Atkins, Heidi Burkhardt, Kat Palmer and Maurice Snelgrove. We are a group of painters who have enjoyed working and showing together for a number of years. Each one of us works independently and maintains our own art practice. We so enjoy the synergy that happens when we have the opportunity to contemplate a subject together and each arrive at our own unique take on a beautiful setting.
PORDS Painting in Nova Scotia
PORDS Painting in Newfoundland
The PORDs are delighted and honoured to be part of the first official show for Gallery X. Scarborough needs a new gallery space. Collectively the PORDs have deep roots in Scarborough having worked, lived and shown work in Scarborough. We support Gallery X's energy and the drive toward this goal.
Kim Atkins is a native of Boston Massachusetts. She earned a Fine Arts degree in the USA and then moved to England. She worked in residential child care and refugee resettlement for a private British charity.
After completing a Youth Worker Diploma at Leicester University, Kim emigrated to Canada and taught visual art and photography in a number of high schools in Toronto. During this time she took four leaves from teaching to travel and study in Europe and Central America.
Kim became involved in local arts development and has served on the Board of the Artists Network of Riverdale and of Gallery 44- The Centre for Contemporary Photography. She is currently a member of the executive of the Ontario Society of Artists.
The PORDS - our painting group grew out of a shared love of painting and travel. We have taught, studied, travelled and exhibited together. The painting trips have taken us to Europe, Mexico, the USA and almost every province in Canada.
Kim’s work is in collections in England, France, Italy, the USA, Cuba, and in Canada.
"I am a landscape painter and I like to work directly from the subject.
Plein-air painting gives me a chance to sit and look at a subject over a period of time. I work in oils, often starting with a drawing or a small watercolour. Oil painting is a deliberate and thoughtful medium. You can change your mind. The oils permit you to work over a period of time. Or to combine the media with other materials.
I am happy to be outside and have worked directly in every month of the year.
This period of lockdown meant that there has been time to work - maybe a different kind of time - but for me time to try different subjects and new combinations of media too. To experiment more."
Katherine is a Toronto based painter. She trained as a sculptor and came to painting later in her career. She exhibits in Toronto galleries including the Leslie Grove, Latitude 44, the Carrier and Westmount galleries. She has participated in numerous online and outdoor shows including Art Walk in the Square, Riverdale Art Walk and the Queen West Art Crawl.
She is also active in the Toronto arts community and is currently on the Board of the Artists’ Network, Toronto .
Her paintings and sculpture have been featured online and in print media, including the National Post.
"Landscape painting is about all the senses for me. How does a natural setting makes one feel? It can take me a while to decide on a focus for a painting as I take in the colour and mood of the place. I’m drawn to the amazing colour found in the natural world – strong and vibrant through to subtle and muted.
For the last few years I’ve been particularly taken by the marsh. The saltwater marsh is ‘the in-between place’ where transformation happens. Marshes of all types are vital for the health of the environment. They filter the water, nurture wildlife and protect shorelines. Marshes also help to mitigate the effects of the wildness of oceans and lakes. While teeming with wildlife, they are also calm and quiet places.
I treasure my travels with a group of like-minded artists, the PORDS, who enjoy working en plein-air. Recent trips included a sojourn in Cape Cod and experiencing the awe and majesty of the Gaspé."
Heidi Burkhardt was indoctrinated with plein air painting in the summers of her youth at the Doon School of Art. Her teachers there were the generation after the Group of 7. There she inherited the passion for landscape painting that is the legacy of those Canadian Nationalists.
She studied the Fine Arts Program at the University of Toronto (Victoria College) for 4 years. Extra-curricular activities in stage and props and graphic design added as much education as the official art history and studio courses.
After a few years work in commercial art, Heidi signed up for a year at the Faculty of Education (FEUT) and became a teacher. During that year she discovered clay, which led to another thread of her varied interests. It was helpful as a high school teacher to be versed in many media. Heidi has been a Potter/Painter/Printmaker throughout her adult life.
During her 35 teaching years in Scarborough High schools, and since retirement Heidi Burkhardt has been painting in Plein Air on Road Trips around our glorious country’s wilderness. The best aspect of an art teacher in Scarborough before amalgamation was the opportunity offered by teaching at the annual Scarborough Art Camp. At Camp Walden, fortunately, there were like-minded colleagues who became her painting, and travelling companions. These friends became bonded for life and eventually became the group called “ THE PORDS”. Communal exhibitions and lots of painting outings provide mutual motivation and encouragement.
In recent years, Heidi has spent winters in her house in Florida. Tropical vegetation has now been added to her repertoire of favourite subject matter. The amazing things that grow in the Tropical Botanical Gardens have become her obsession. Learning the names of trees and flowers of Florida and painting them has become a substitute for painting snow landscape.
She has established her own style of working using oil sticks on location to get a spontaneous response to the never-ending variety of exciting landforms. Inspired by the drama of textures that meet the roving eye, this linear medium has kinship with the lino- and woodcuts she also feels compelled to make.
Heidi’s grand landscapes hang in the Legislative Buildings of the Government of Ontario, and in many corporate and private collections, both locally and internationally.
She is a reputable member of the Canadian Society of Water Colour Painters, (CSPWC), the Ontario Society of Artists,(OSA) and the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto.
"The source of inspiration can come from my surroundings. Driving to me is like watching good cinematography. There is an ever-changing delight for the eye in Nature. My favourite road trip is on Hwy 17, from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay. By contrast, I hate driving through Industrial wastelands or another monotonous housing development paving over our good farmland on the outskirts of Toronto. There I wish they would bring back the trees and rolling hills.
Inspiration can come from material. A foggy morning in Newfoundland calls for watercolours and wet paper. A tangle of roots and branches are better interpreted with a linear medium like a linocut.
Working in a variety of media like I do, is useful. I find the characteristics of one medium influences the way of working in other media. The images that appeal to me offer lines, shapes, colour and textures that will be organized according to the principles of design.
So, although I’m in front of a specific site, the making of a picture is a formal abstract process. If it’s done with integrity, the feeling of a place will hopefully be conveyed to the viewer.
Oil sticks, my preferred medium en plein air, allows for a vigorous rendering of a composition of a chosen location. This medium encourages a spontaneous response to the view before you. It blocks any tendency for fussy details. It allows broad stroke laying of colour and because of its characteristic it promotes line and texture. Those are features I particularly favour."
Before starting to teach in 1970, Maurice worked for 15 years as an Artist/Designer/Art Director. He has now retired after teaching for 30 years: 20 years as Head of Visual Arts at Lester B. Pearson Collegiate in Scarborough, ON. He is an elected member and served on the board of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC) and the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA).
Maurice’s love of the outdoors and his concerns for the environment are manifested in his watercolour landscapes. He has traveled extensively and painted coast to coast to coast across Canada, including the Yukon and the Nunavut Arctic, the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland Greenland, Alaska, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Italy, Belgium, France, Greece, Scotland, Mexico, New England and New Mexico in the USA.
He has juried, demonstrated and taught for many groups including the Scarborough Art Guild, the Toronto Watercolour Society, The Pineridge Arts Council, Banbury Watercolour Workshops, the Markham Group of Artists, the Willowdale Group of Artists, the Humber Valley Art Club, the Celebration of the Arts, Uxbridge, the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, the Arts and Letters Club and the Haliburton School of the Arts. Maurice designed sets for the North Toronto Players, Gilbert & Sullivan opera for 15 seasons.
Maurice’s commissioned portraits and watercolours hang in public and private collections in Canada, France, Scotland, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands and the United States.
Maurice Snelgrove’s solo exhibitions include: Toronto - the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, Glendon College, Victoria University at the University of Toronto, Scarborough Civic Centre, the Gallery Wall Scarborough, St. James’s Cathedral Event Centre, Yorkminster Park Gallery.
Maurice also has also exhibited in numerous group shows: International Fabriano Acquarello (Italy), Roberts Gallery (Toronto), John B. Aird Gallery (Toronto), the Joseph D. Carrier Gallery (Toronto), Fisher’s Loft Gallery (Newfoundland), RAW Riverdale Art Walk (Toronto), Win Henstock Gallery (Oakville), The Linkway Gallery in the TD Centre (Toronto), Gallery on the Grand (Kitchener/Waterloo), Vancouver Maritime Museum (Vancouver), Legislative Assembly Iqaluit (Nunavut), Arts & Letters Club (Toronto), Northern Heritage Centre (Yellowknife), Rails End Gallery (Haliburton), Marianne van Silfhout Gallery (Brockville), Art Gallery of Northumberland (Coburg), Penn State Abington College Gallery (PA, USA), University of Alaska (Fairbanks, USA), Westmount Gallery (Toronto), IX Bienal Internacional de Acuarela (Mexico), Art Square Gallery (Toronto), Kingsway Lambton Virtual Art Exhibition (Toronto).
"I have been painting watercolours on paper and canvas for more than 50 years, both in my studio and plein-air on location during my extensive travels from coast to coast to coast in Canada, including the Yukon, the Nunavut Arctic, the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Greenland, Europe, the USA and Mexico.
I continue to share this love of watercolour painting, especially ‘plein-air’ with my PORD colleagues and painting friends.
Canada’s ocean coastlines and inland waterways are, by any measure, a global treasure. These watery vistas supply an endless source of inspiration and interpretation for the visual artist. I hope you will share my love of the outdoors and continuing concern for our environment as you view these paintings.
While the COVID pandemic has severely restricted any recent plein-air travels and painting destinations, we can all resurrect and relive some of the very special places and experiences through these painted images.
I stay attached (although sometimes precariously) to the painters’ world, through fellow artists, regional art group demonstrations and enthusiastic adult ‘students’ who have continued to meet throughout the pandemic on weekly ZOOM meetings.
With gratitude and pleasure, I was elected to membership in the CSPWC (Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour), served on their Board of Directors and also enjoy membership in the OSA (Ontario Society of Artists).
I am honoured to be part of this official inaugural opening of Gallery X and share some of my watercolours with you."