New faces, new art a part of the 10th Art in Action studio tour November 3rd and 4th.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 29, 2012  They are doing this for the 10th time – the Art in Action, an artist’s collective that  organizes studio tours in the city with up to ten homes opened to the public where the work of various artists is on display.

Along with showing the work of the artists in the city, Art in Action sponsors scholarships and are generally promoting the health of artists.

Each year new artists are added to the list of about 35 people who show their work.  Among those being added to the list this year are Kyle Brook, Donna Grandin and Monica Bell.

For Donna Grandin “making art brings beauty and pleasure into our everyday lives”.

The richness, almost exotic colour we see in the Caribbean is reflected in Grandin’s  art.

Her artistic inspiration comes from living plants interacting with their environment, sun shining through the leaves, wind blowing the petals, other plants in the background adding variety and contrast. “I try to express the atmosphere, the memory of a specific moment in time, and my feelings about the place. In my current series of acrylic paintings, I focus on tropical flowers, foliage and fruit, drawing on my experience growing up on a lush Caribbean island”.

While her art is “representational” Grandin sets out to “communicate the abstract rhythms of nature,”.   “I play with the organic shapes and vibrant colours to create uplifting and engaging images” and that she does.

Donna Grandin is a Caribbean artist, born Donna Gomez in St. Lucia in 1974. At the age of 17, Donna went to school in Canada, and in 1997 she graduated with an Honours B.A. in Art from McMaster University.  She has been represented by galleries in St. Lucia for a number of years, while living and travelling in Europe with her husband before returning to live and paint in Burlington, Ontario.

Red seldom gets as luscious as this.

Donna’s paintings have been in both solo and group exhibitions in Ontario and St. Lucia, and are in private collections in Canada, the U.S., and the Caribbean. Honours include the gold award in visual arts in the M&C Fine Arts Awards competition in St. Lucia in 2001, and a mural commission by the City of Toronto in 2009. Donna exhibited at Toronto Art Expo in 2011.  This is her first participation in the Art in Action Studio Tour.  She is exhibiting at Sparling Cr., in the east end of the city.

The Art in Action Studio tour takes place on Saturday November 3rd and on Sunday the 4th.  The location of the ten studios is shown on the map below.  Hours are:  10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  You can do the full tour in a day and have time for a leisurely lunch as well.

Monica Bell working on a piece of fabric.  One of 36 artists on the Art in Action Studio Tour.

New this year to the Art in Action Studio Tour is fabric artist Monica Bell who took her first quilting class when  working as a recreation therapist for a retirement and long term care facility.  The first quilt she  made was an Irish Chain which was raffled off during a fund raiser for the recreation department.  The second quilt didn’t come for some time and that was followed by an invitation to a quilting retreat by a cousin. “ I have never laughed and learned so much as I did that first retreat,” said Monica – she was hooked and since 2008 quilting has become an obsession for her.  “I easily lose track of time and become engrossed in my project as it relaxes me and energizes me at the same time. My work started with traditional patchwork techniques and through the years I have started leaning toward the more contemporary designs.”

This quilt is quite a bit jazzier than the traditional Mennonite quilt – but then this quilter isn’t a Mennonite.

“Daring to be Bold is my first original design. I love to work with printed cottons and Batiks but have started to experiment with the use of other textiles.  I use many techniques including hand embroidery, hand and machine appliqué, beading, use of wool fibers, and machine quilting using both my domestic sewing machine and a long arm quilting machine.”  Clearly a growing fabric artist – you will enjoy her work.

The Studio Tour is new for Kyle Brooke who grew up in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado at the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Raised by a family of fine artists, craftspeople and musicians, Kyle’s childhood was filled with gallery visits, art fairs and a deep appreciation and passion for the arts. As a result, Kyle has always striven to learn new techniques and has developed an exceptionally broad background in the arts and crafts.

The translucence of these two pieces almost lifts them off the table.

Kyle spent two years studying graphic design and then began experimenting with various art forms, from water-color paintings and photography to ceramics and jewellery making. From an early age, Kyle has been intrigued by the medium and art form of glass and made the decision to travel to Canada to focus her undergraduate college education on glass art.

When Kyle arrived at Sheridan College, she began her education in the Art Fundamentals program to develop a solid skill base. After successfully completing the course, she entered into the Sheridan College Crafts and Design Glass Studio.

Almost as if the earth has opened up.  Kyle Brooke has certainly lifted this art to a new level.

Upon graduation Kyle spent over a year traveling across Canada and the United States attending various art conferences and exhibits.  She settled in Oregon and worked for the Bullseye Glass Company and the Eugene Glass School. This experience helped to enhance her knowledge, contacts and techniques. As well as keeping her current on important industry trends, events, artists and opportunities.

In early 2009 Kyle took that experience and resettled in Canada where she became a part of a movement in contemporary art.  Kyle continues her journey creating, teaching and promoting glass art in her community.  She has honed her skills as a professional well-rounded glass artist while energetically promoting glass as a contemporary art form

In the past 3 years, Kyle has been a resident artist at the Living Arts Centre on Ontario Canada and continues her education by attending courses and conferences all across North America. Her work ranges from bold sand castings and blown forms to elegant jewellery. She is an ambitious self-motivated individual who is passionate and dedicated to furthering her growth and development as a glass artist.

In 2011 Kyle Brooke and her partner Matt Robertson opened their own studio/gallery, The Edy Roy Glass Gallery in Burlington, Ontario, where she creates, teaches and showcases both functional and non-functional glass art.



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