Vibrant Glebe art scene

February may be the coldest month, but duck into Roast’n Brew to warm up and take a look at Bhat Boy’s new series Nuns Having Fun and Sylvia Williams’ first solo show North of 49 with Antlers. The Glebe Community Centre is also showing “Four Legs Good … II,” an exhibit of paintings by Gwendolyn Best and Ellen Schowalter. Be sure to check out this awesome timelapse of Glebe painter MaryAnn Camps producing her work large-scale triptych “Saturday Night” (the video is in the article), and don’t miss out on the 10th annual Great Bowls of Fire, a fundraising event for the Ottawa Food Bank, organized by the Ottawa Guild of Potters.

Glebe artist paints Elgin Street for Glebe patrons

Great Bowls of Fire raises funds for the Food Bank

What’s on the wall at Roast ’n Brew?

Glebe Community Centre Gallery


Glebe artist paints Elgin Street for Glebe patrons

By MaryAnn Camps

Anatomy of a Commission

“Saturday Night” original acrylic painting by MaryAnn Camps. PHOTO: ALAN DEAN

“Saturday Night” original acrylic painting by MaryAnn Camps. PHOTO: ALAN DEAN

The painting “Saturday Night” was commissioned by an Ottawa couple for a large, prominent wall in their newly built home in the Glebe. They liked my Street Light series but needed a much larger piece.
With Don Monet, Cube Gallery owner/curator, we worked out the best size and configuration for the piece: a triptych 60 x 120 inches. We discussed which Street Light pieces, and which aspects of those pieces they liked best and why, and generally homed in on what they were looking for in the commission.

I chose to paint Elgin Street, with its lively, colourful streetscape and street life, and shot photographs to use as reference. I then worked out the composition, taking some artistic license with some storefronts to make it work with the triptych format.

The next step was to paint a small-scale version of the piece, 8 x 24 inches, which allowed me to finalize the composition and work out the colour scheme. It also gave the patrons a clear sense of what the full-scale piece would look like.

After some modifications to my space and easels to accommodate the three large pieces, it was finally time to paint the full-scale painting. A few solid weeks of focused and thoroughly engrossing painting and the work was complete.

After a challenging hang led by Don, the piece looks fabulous in its permanent home. The patrons, a delight to work with, were very happy with the work.

Here is a short time lapse video of me painting “Saturday Night”

A little about my work

After working for more than 20 years as a graphic designer in Toronto, Kingston and Ottawa, I returned to painting full time in 2005. I work with a palette knife to build up multiple layers of acrylic, emphasizing the energy and vibrancy of human activity. My influences include Edward Burtynsky, Gerhard Richter, Pierre Soulages, Tom Climent, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul Emile Borduas, Otto Donald Rogers and Janet Cardiff. My work is held in private collections in Canada, U.S., Europe and South America. I am represented by Cube Gallery in Ottawa.

I am interested in urbanism: how cities work and how they feel. I am currently immersed in Cities, a new series that explores our sense of space as defined by structures in urban environments.

In my Cities at Night series, my focus is aerial views of the dazzling forms of cities at night. I explore the beautiful, varied organic structure of the world’s biggest cities and, by extension, how we organize ourselves as urban beings. At the same time, I invite the viewer to consider the tremendous amount of light cities emit and the implications of light pollution.

My Street Light series continues my exploration of the city at night, now zooming in from outer space to street level. The city is a complex organism, with the streets its veins and arteries. Street level is where we interact with the city, how we move through it, where we take its pulse. At night, street level is defined by artificial light: warm and inviting, or harsh, glaring, too bright. How should we light our cities so that it feels good to be there?

MaryAnn Camps is a visual artist who lives and works in the Glebe (maryanncamps.com)

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Great Bowls of Fire raises funds for the Food Bank

By Ada Brzeski and Jocelyn Jenkins

A bowl by Ada Brzeski will be filled with delicious soup and can then be brought home. PHOTO: ADA BRZESKI

A bowl by Ada Brzeski will be filled with delicious soup and can then be brought home. PHOTO: ADA BRZESKI

Great Bowls of Fire is a fundraising event for the Ottawa Food Bank. This local event will take place on Saturday, March 14 at the Glebe Community Centre from 5 to 8 p.m. Organized by the Ottawa Guild of Potters, it has raised over $120,000 for the food bank over the years. This year we are celebrating our 10th year.

Guild members donate handmade bowls, which guests choose and take home at the end of the evening. The bowls are filled with delicious soups from some of the best restaurants in town. This year’s restaurants will include faithful supporters that have been with us from the beginning, such as Absinthe, Thyme and Again, and the Wellington Gastropub, as well as Il Primo Ristorante, Lazy Pickle, Joy of Gluten Free, StoneFace Dolly’s, Side Door Kitchen and Canvas. This 10th edition of Great Bowls will introduce Chez Edgar and Le Café @ the NAC and new bread purveyor: My Gluten Free Bakery.

While guests socialize with friends they will be entertained by the music of Cossette and Company led by Max Cossette. Your host for the evening, Derick Fage, will present an auction of special ceramic pieces. There will also be a silent auction.

Tickets are $45 and will be available at Il Primo Ristorante (371 Preston) and at the Life of Pie (1095 Bank) starting February 12. Many local businesses and people are involved in organizing this event. Glebe potters donating bowls are Debra Ducharme, Carolynne Pynn-Trudeau and Steve Sanger. Others donating bowls are Carol Badenoch, Carol Holmes, Sarah Hand, Sue-ann Blakely, Jane Snyder, Kim Lulashnyk, Debbie McLeod, Mahnaz Hazeghi and Marie Hennessey. For more information check out the Guild’s web site at www.ottawaguildofpotters.ca We hope you will join us and support the Ottawa Food Bank.

Ada Brzeski and Jocelyn Jenkins are event coordinators for Great Bowls of Fire.

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What’s on the wall at Roast ’n Brew?

By Bhat Boy

Nuns Having Fun: paintings by Bhat Boy

“Once Upon a Wintertime,” acrylic on canvas, 2013, by Bhat Boy. “This painting of a nun and a Mountie is representative of the marriage of Canadian values rather than a romantic assignation.”

“Once Upon a Wintertime,” acrylic on canvas, 2013, by Bhat Boy. “This painting of a nun and a Mountie is representative of the marriage of Canadian values rather than a romantic assignation.”

My passion for nuns is drawn from their iconic habits and the preconceptions that people carry with them about what nuns should and should not be doing. This makes them ideal for contrasting in scenes and scenarios that challenge viewers’ ideas about religion and goodness.

The modern conception of the nun is a cloistered and dogmatic creature. The nuns I paint are from the past, the wild women that chose education and career over marriage, women who boarded ships to go to a savage new world to open schools, orphanages and hospitals at a time when no government was providing these services.

My nuns skate, smile, laugh and sometimes look like they might have had too much to drink.

Nuns Having Fun by Bhat Boy at Roast ’n Brew until February 26.


North of 49 with Antlers: paintings by Sylvia Williams

“Canol Road,” acrylic on canvas (16 x 20), 2014, by Sylvia Williams.

“Canol Road,” acrylic on canvas (16 x 20), 2014, by Sylvia Williams.

Sylvia Williams exudes a lackadaisical confidence. Career woman, mother and artist, her work flows from her paintbrush in an unending stream from her creative interior. Imagination is never a limitation for Williams. Her first solo show, North of 49 with Antlers, is based on memories of colour-saturated summers in northern Canada, and the joy of finding the unexpected in the wild. “Moose and the caribou have always been the animals I crave seeing on canoeing and hiking trips. Well … really anything with antlers will make a trip exceptional. The biggest traffic jams in Algonquin Park happen when there is a moose spotting,” says artist Williams.

Many of the paintings feature overgrown trucks and cars contrasting with the antlers of the North. Fields with abandoned cars crawling with red ants were a feature of my own childhood in the ’70s. “The trucks, they are really out there and have been since the end of World War II. In the North, and most particularly along the hastily build Canol Road, the U.S. Army left many behind where they got stuck, near or in lakes and bogs … It is now impassable by car, and considered one of the most difficult hikes in Canada. A moose or a caribou lazily grazes by one of them … at least in the summer months. For them, these old trucks are part of their landscape, their north. I really hope that my paintings will warm up people in the cold winter months while they sip at their coffees,” says Williams.

North of 49 with Antlers by Sylvia Williams, February 26 to March 26, Roast ’n Brew

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Glebe Community Centre Gallery

“Four Legs Good … II,”  on view in the Glebe Community Centre Gallery from February 9 to March 1, 2015.

“Four Legs Good … II,” on view in the Glebe Community Centre Gallery from February 9 to March 1, 2015.

“Four Legs Good … II,” an exhibit of paintings by Gwendolyn Best and Ellen Schowalter, will be on view in the Glebe Community Centre Gallery from February 9 to March 1, 2015. The title comes from George Orwell’s influential novel, Animal Farm.

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