Last week I had a great chat and little tour of my studio on Instagram with artist Theresa Eisenbarth. If you're interested in viewing it, the video is still accessible through her Instagram TV link at @artist_theresa_eisenbarth.
We will be starting a new group with LevellingUp on Thursday, November 18, 5-7pm (MST). These monthly meetings have been incredible...it's so good to see artists begin their careers, develop their style and start a creative life. I feel so fortunate to be able to share what I've learned in over 20 years as an exhibiting artist and, a huge bonus, it's wonderful to see the groups connect online and in-person outside of our monthly meetings. There are so many incredible opportunities linked to LevellingUp, like watching artists' demos, hearing them talk about the challenges of this creative life and how they have overcome them, and how they connect with galleries and others artists. If you are interested in learning more or registering, please visit here.
Anything to ease the collective angst of people, and to bring us together in a time when needed most.
Jenn Grant was born on Prince Edward Island, the smallest province of Canada's maritimes. She's an award winning songwriter and performer, a painter and a producer.
The 3 time Juno nominee's music has been described by Australia's 'The Age' as that of 'dreamy, harp-and woodwinds folk, and the work of a painter born in paradise'.
She resides in Nova Scotia, where she is raising her two young sons alongside award winning producer, husband and long time touring partner and collaborator, Daniel Ledwell. Beyond the borders of city life, art and music are being born everyday.
Jenn Grant has spent a decade plus releasing records and touring extensively across Canada, Europe, Australia and The United States.
During this historical global moment in time, Grant has been honing her skills as a producer and videographer while releasing a slew of 'Classic Canadian Covers', building a body of abstract paintings, and in the midst of releasing her own variety show 'Jenny Town' which is premiering now, most thursday nights, on YouTube. 'A pocket sized hit of joy' and 'retro fabulous fun' says Halifax's art and culture paper 'The Coast'- delivering comical segments of 'How to' (or 'how not to') bake, 'take a vacation', and other imaginative moments with her sometimes co - star 'bird'; an adorable mini labradoodle with a diva complex- the show features performances and cyber visits from a cross section of talented folks and celebrity guests from Jenn's long-standing touring career. Jenny Town promises to deliver a cast of diverse and talented artists and friends from across the globe.
Grant continues to deliver comic relief and joy through this new platform, while keeping her music fans in the palm of her hands with fresh and emotional sonic recordings delivered on the regular. Of this bouquet of offerings Grant says "Anything to ease the collective angst of people, and to bring us together in a time when needed most.'
It's been awhile and a lot of work but on the weekend we finally finished my new studio. I love the wall colour...it's a grey-green which was a mix of several leftover cans of paint colours through the years, and the waterproof composite flooring is amazing! My mantle, the green velvet chair and a third chipped paint vintage kitchen chair (not in photo) are pieces I have gathered through the years from neighbors and I feel so good about them as they are all so beautiful and I've kept them out of the landfill. The area rug was one that was used in our daughters' playroom once upon a time and then landed in our livingroom last year. It's interesting how things can be repurposed. My daughter also helped me decorate the 'fireplace' and I love it, too. Of course, the best thing about this space is being able to hang my 'Extraordinary Women' once again. At 2.30pm MST today I will be sharing a little studio tour on Theresa Eisenbarth's Instagram feed and soon I'll share another on youtube. I feel very lucky.
Throughout the pandemic I have spoken to several women & read much about job losses that have disproportianately affected women. Whether due to family obligations, company downsizing or other means, it has changed the course of life for so many women.
For me, I lost all of my in-person teaching and several exhibit opportunities. But, thankfully it also created time to focus on my painting & studies & to accept an invitation to mentor other artists through LevellingUp.
If you are one of those women in Canada who has lost employment, I would love to paint your portrait & share your story (all I need is a sentence or two). If you know someone, please share this with them as I believe these stories are important.
I think if you can find something that you love doing, which I have been very fortunate about, and if you work hard and give it all you have, you will have a happy life no matter what else happens in your life.
One of the world’s leading pianists, Angela Hewitt appears in recital and as soloist with major orchestras throughout Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia. Her interpretations of the music of J.S. Bach have established her as one of the composer’s foremost interpreters of our time.
Born in 1958 into a musical family (the daughter of the Cathedral organist and choirmaster in Ottawa, Canada), Angela began her piano studies age three, performed in public at four and a year later won her first scholarship. In her formative years, she also studied classical ballet, violin, and recorder. From 1963-73 she studied at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music with Earle Moss and Myrtle Guerrero, after which she completed her Bachelor of Music in Performance at the University of Ottawa in the class of French pianist Jean-Paul Sévilla, graduating at the age of 18. She was a prizewinner in numerous piano competitions in Europe, Canada, and the USA, but it was her triumph in the 1985 Toronto International Bach Piano Competition, held in memory of Glenn Gould, that truly launched her international career.
Angela’s award-winning cycle for Hyperion Records of all the major keyboard works of Bach has been described as “one of the record glories of our age” (The Sunday Times). Begun in 1994, it culminated with her much-awaited recording of Bach’s Art of Fugue in 2014 which immediately hit the charts in the UK and USA. Her extensive discography also includes solo recordings of Scarlatti, Handel, Couperin, Rameau, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Fauré, Debussy, Chabrier, Ravel, Granados and Messiaen. She has won four Juno Awards, including one for her album of Mozart Concertos with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. Other concerto recordings include the complete Bach Concertos with the Australian Chamber Orchestra; the works for piano and orchestra of Schumann with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; and Messiaen’s mammoth Turangalila Symphony with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, Angela was inducted into Gramophone Magazine’s “Hall of Fame”, reflecting her popularity with music lovers around the world. In 2020 she was awarded two prestigious prizes: the City of Leipzig Bach Medal (being the first woman in its 17-year history to receive the award), and the Wigmore Hall Gold Medal in recognition of some 80 performances over the past 35 years in London’s most prestigious chamber music venue.
During the 2007-2008 season, Angela embarked on her Bach World Tour, performing the Well-Tempered Clavier in 21 countries on six continents. At the same time, she released a DVD entitled Bach Performance on the Piano, sharing her experience of learning and performing Bach with amateurs and professionals alike. Over the past four years, beginning in September 2016, she presented in major cities of the world The Bach Odyssey—performing all the keyboard works of J.S. Bach in a series of twelve marathon recitals—a huge feat which has been undertaken by very few keyboard players. After her performances of the complete Well-Tempered Clavier at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival, the critic of the London Times wrote, “…the freshness of Hewitt’s playing made it sound as though no one had played this music before.”
Conducting concertos of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven from the piano, Angela has led the Toronto Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, the Lucerne Festival Strings, the Kammerorchester Basel, the Vancouver Symphony, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Britten Sinfonia, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Salzburg Camerata, the orchestra of RAI Torino, and in 2019 made her debut playing and conducting Bach with the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna’s Musikverein.
Along with performing a vast amount of the standard repertoire, Angela has also commissioned new works including two piano concertos: the Second Piano Concerto of Dominic Muldowney (premiered with the BBC Symphony in 2002); and in 2017 “Nameless Seas” by Canadian-Finnish composer Matthew Whittall (with the National Arts Centre Orchestra). Canadian composers such as Oskar Morawetz, Steven Gellman, Gary Kulesha, David McIntyre, and Patrick Cardy also wrote pieces dedicated to her. In 2010 she commissioned seven composers from around the world to write short pieces inspired by Bach which were published in a collection (along with several of her own Bach transcriptions) entitled “Angela Hewitt’s Bach Book”.
Described as “one of the busiest pianists on earth” by London’s Evening Standard (2005), Angela also devotes herself to nurturing new talent. Her masterclasses, both around the world and online, are hugely appreciated, and every few years she gives a week-long masterclass in Italy for gifted pianists. She was also part of Piano Six from 1994-2004: a project which took live music into the remote communities of Canada—giving concerts, masterclasses, and playing for school children across the country. Her writings on music include all the liner notes for her CD recordings as well as several book reviews for the Times Literary Supplement.
In 2005, Angela launched the Trasimeno Music Festival in the heart of Umbria, Italy of which she is Artistic Director. An annual event, it draws an international audience to stunning venues including the Castle of the Knights of Malta in Magione (near Perugia) on the shores of Lake Trasimeno. Seven concerts in seven days feature Hewitt as recitalist, chamber musician, song accompanist, and conductor, working with both established and young artists of her choosing. Involving writers and actors in the programming has been a particular pleasure for her, and she has gone on to perform with many of them elsewhere: with authors Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes in London, Vienna, and New York; and with actor Roger Allam in Venice and at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Her recordings and live performances have featured in such films as The Tree of Life (2011), The Life Aquatic (2004), The Impassioned Eye (2003)—a documentary on Henri Cartier-Bresson—and in 2018 The Children Act (based on the novel by Ian McEwan and starring Emma Thompson).
As an Ambassador for “Orkidstra”– a Sistema-inspired social development program in Ottawa’s inner city, she brings attention to how music can bring children and young adults together through the joy of making music and learning an instrument, as well as how it teaches valuable skills such as commitment, teamwork and tolerance.
In March of 2020, when all concert activity and travelling abruptly stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic, Angela went online to share daily offerings of short pieces—many of which form the basis of teaching material. Her fans were thrilled, and she was happy to inspire many people to go back to the piano. She participated in some of the first streamed concerts to be initiated online during the pandemic—including a Bach recital from Wigmore Hall in London, and a socially-distanced performance for the Edinburgh Festival of Beethoven’ First Piano Concerto in a version for string quintet and piano. The months at home gave her the opportunity to learn Beethoven’s mammoth “Hammerklavier” Sonata, Op. 106, thus completing her cycle of the 32 Sonatas. After two more recitals at Wigmore Hall in September 2020 (completing her Bach Odyssey there), she will return to Canada in October, performing the Art of Fugue in Toronto and Ottawa (despite having to go into quarantine for 14 days in order to do so).
In 2006 Angela was awarded an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2015 she was promoted to a Companion of the Order of Canada. She was “Artist of the Year” at the 2006 Gramophone Awards, “Instrumentalist of the Year” at the 2010 MIDEM Classical Awards at Cannes, and in 2018 received the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Ottawa. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, has seven honorary doctorates, and is a Visiting Fellow of Peterhouse College, Cambridge.
This painting was created as an award for a local workplace award recipient and I knew I wanted to create something using their colours and also to be a representation of our multi-cultural community. The base on this one was a bit challenging for me, which is odd as that is typically the easiest part of the process for me, but I persevered and I do think that the many layers of pattern and colour added to the finaly imagery. It really is fun to be given a few parameters and then running with it. The perfect collaboration.
By: Angelica Ng
Laughter caught between the lines,
of a gently unfolded love letter,
its elbow creases signed with lip prints,
its complexion a shade of soft blush.
With the moon as the only witness,
to steam rising off freshly brewed tea,
heat wraps a blanket around the breeze,
and warms our dancing fingertips.
Nestling in the sherpa folds of here and now,
sheltered in the nook of this moment,
we pray we won’t be forgotten,
in the fate that is dawn’s hour.
Like collectors of ephemera,
grasping on to the finest threads,
lines that tear the quickest,
when the chamomile grows cold.
A developing photograph,
film still wet under a cherry glow,
fuzzy as a peach around the edges,
begging the light of day to stay back.
The touch of this memory,
so gentle it isn’t real,
so genuine it isn’t imagined.
(People's Poetry Festival, LOFT 112)
I am so excited to be mentoring a new group of Emerging Artists through @levellingup beginning on October 21. We meet online monthly, there are also variety of separate workshops on improving skills, marketing and more, and each group meets mid-month together as well. This is something I really wish I had access to when I was starting out.
It has been an incredible opportunity to share the things I've learned throughout all my years as a practicing artist and so exciting for me to see artists' work progress, to begin exhibiting, to be featured in articles, and to celebrate every little step along the way.
Even greater than that, I think, are the bonds these groups make with one another. I love how they each encourage & support each other.
For more more information or to join a group, please visit levellingup.ca
A girl should command attention, not suffer it.
Ami McKay, novelist, journalist (born in Indiana, USA 1968). Born and raised in rural Indiana, Ami McKay began her career as a music teacher after earning an undergraduate degree in music education and a graduate degree in musicology at Indiana State University. Upon completing her degrees McKay moved to Chicago to teach music at an inner-city high school for the arts, while writing short stories in her spare time. She fully embraced the writing life upon moving to Scots Bay, Nova Scotia in 2000, and also began writing and producing documentaries for CBC Radio. Through both her documentary work and her historical fiction, McKay has established herself as a chronicler of Canadian history and a modern storyteller.
McKay is best known for her bestselling and acclaimed first novel The Birth House (2006), which was inspired by the stories of the midwife who had previously lived in McKay's Nova Scotian home. The book weaves together traditional narrative, journal entries, letters and old advertisements to tell the story of Dora Rare, a girl born to a large family in Scots Bay in the early 20th century. As a youth Dora is taken under the wing of Marie Babineau, the local midwife, from whom she learns how to heal the sick and "catch babies". Dora's coming-of-age and midwifery training coincide with several local and worldwide tragedies, including World War I, the Halifax Explosion, and the Spanish Influenza epidemic. The tradition of midwifery in rural Scots Bay is jeopardized when a young doctor arrives with new ideas focused on science rather than tradition, and threatens to displace Dora and the generations of knowledge she possesses. The ensuing struggle between Dora and the doctor illustrates tensions between new and old, masculine and feminine, traditional and modern.
The Birth House has become a favourite among women's book clubs, not only because of the story itself but also because of how it invites discussion on the status of women and the continuing struggle by contemporary women for the right to make choices involving their own bodies, from abortion, to birth control, to breastfeeding. The Birth House received several awards, including Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Awards for author of the year and fiction book of the year in 2007. It was on the longlist of the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and appeared on both Quill and Quire and the Toronto Star's best books of the year lists in 2007. The novel experienced a resurgence in popularity in 2011 when it was 1 of 5 finalists for the 10th anniversary of CBC's Canada Reads, the broadcaster's annual "battle of the books" competition.
In The Virgin Cure (2012), her second novel, McKay switches settings to that of Manhattan in the late 1800s. Inspired in part by McKay's research into her own great-great grandmother, a physician who was one of the first graduates of the Women's Medical College of the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, the narrative presents the lives of the diseased and impoverished of New York City and those who assist and exploit them. McKay focuses particularly on the young women sold into lives of prostitution; her protagonist, a young street girl named Moth, surveys the damage done to countless women in the quest for "the virgin cure" for venereal disease, and searches for an alternative to the life to which she was born.
McKay has also gained accolades for her work in journalism, receiving an Atlantic Journalism Award and a Gabriel Award nomination for her feature documentary Daughter of Family G in 2003. Her play Jerome: The Historical Spectacle (2008), the story of a legless man who was found washed ashore on the Nova Scotian coast and lived out his life as a circus freak-show act, was first staged by Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts in Nova Scotia in 2008.
~ Suzanne Gardner, The Canadian Encyclopedia