CAMP :: The Lodge Series - "All Family Lodges" ©2012 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 40"x72"

CAMP :: The Lodge Series — “All Fam­ily Lodges” ©2012 Jan­ice Tan­ton. Oil on linen. 40“x72”

Art Mat­ters. It has a way of cre­at­ing bonds between human beings that is beyond words. On those rare occa­sions when it hap­pens with impact, it’s a soul-filling expe­ri­ence for everyone.

Some­times it’s just not pos­si­ble or desir­able when you’re deal­ing through an agent  but a great gallery will fos­ter a bril­liant three-way rela­tion­ship. With the mid­dle man, you’re one step removed  from the rela­tion­ship. Those new adop­tive par­ents of that baby you’ve spent months nur­tur­ing, grow­ing and cre­at­ing are just a lit­tle bit fur­ther away.

Like all great par­ents, you raise those babies right so they go out and stand on their own. You send them off into the world not always know­ing where they’ll end up. It’s a great priv­i­lege to know when they’ve found a new home where they’re cared for, loved and cherished…and it’s lovely to know where they live.

I care that the col­lec­tor has as much infor­ma­tion about my process in cre­at­ing the work, the thought and mate­ri­als that go into it, and the per­son that cre­ated it. That’s more than 80% of the rea­son why I write this blog..the other 20% is obvi­ously ther­apy. Ha. Giv­ing that back-story makes it all some­how more rel­e­vant from my point of view.  There are spe­cial moments and con­nec­tions that I cherish.

About five years ago, I was out paint­ing at Spray Lake, and while I was work­ing on the piece, my fam­ily was play­ing on the shore of the lake — a large fam­ily gath­ered at the point near my paint­ing loca­tion, and their lives lit­er­ally walked into the paint­ing and into ours.

Their pur­pose that day was to hon­our the life of a hus­band, a grandfather…a father. They spent awhile on the point in ser­vice and then scat­tered his ashes. That’s a moment in my paint­ing life that I will never for­get. I painted all of that in — I was sud­denly a part of all of their lives and this event. When a young girl from the fam­ily wan­dered down to see what I was doing, she told me that it was her grand­fa­ther, and that this had been his favourite place on the planet. It’s pretty much one of our favourite places on the planet too. I fin­ished the work, gave it to her and asked that she give it to her grandma. A few weeks later, I received the most beau­ti­ful note from the fam­ily but more impor­tantly, it was the day and the con­nec­tiv­ity through art to life and death that mattered.

The New Parents

Jeff Kovitz, QC with his Janice Tanton painting

Jeff with the newest addi­tion to his collection.

Last week­end, Kevin and I were thrilled to con­nect again with Jeff Kovitz, who chose CAMP :: Lodge Series — “All Fam­ily Lodges” to grace his residence.

Jeff had been search­ing for six years to find a piece that fit into his col­lec­tion in a cer­tain spot in his home, and was struck by the image of this work in progress that I’d posted on Face­book. That’s an early stage to feel those heart­strings pull. Six weeks later, when the paint­ing was com­pleted, I sent Jeff a jpeg of it. He wasn’t sure that it had “grown up” to be the piece for the two spots he thought it would work so we thought it would be worth­while to at least try it out in the space and see.

Deliv­er­ing the piece over to the house to see if it was a fit, my son Jacob and I were in for a treat as Jeff so gra­ciously toured us through his home and intro­duced us to his mag­nif­i­cent col­lec­tion and his lovely daugh­ter Jodi who was visiting.

I knew Jeff as a friend and a col­league from his role as the Chair of the Board of Gov­er­nors of The Banff Cen­tre when I worked there as Pro­gram Man­ager for Abo­rig­i­nal Lead­er­ship. We’d had occa­sion to have lunch together after he learned of The Com­mu­nity Fusion project and he gra­ciously opened the film and exhi­bi­tion for the project on it’s launch.

Jeff ‘s enthu­si­asm and care for artists, the artis­tic process and the state of the world is evi­dent in his sup­port of every facet of dis­ci­pli­nary study in the arts, and we’re grate­ful to know him. His love for the arts is evi­dent, not only in his ser­vice and lead­er­ship capac­ity but in the beau­ti­ful and superbly self-curated works that hang in his res­i­dence, from the thought­fully sit­u­ated sculp­tures… to the music  by the invis­i­ble piano player on a won­drous grand (player) piano that plays mag­i­cally through­out his home — a work of art in itself. Every piece has a story and a provenance.

This .…is art-full living!

Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir in Janice Tanton's studio

We so enjoyed this wine together in the studio.

Hold­ing up the paint­ing in the selected spot, I think we were all sur­prised at how well it fit — that it belonged right there in that very spot — no other home…no other place. If I had tried to cre­ate a work specif­i­cally for the place­ment, I’m not cer­tain that I would have been suc­cess­ful — it was some­how meant deep-down for Jeff. Art finds it’s own way. My baby had found it’s place in the world and I’ve extended my family.

Kevin and I hung the paint­ing for Jeff. It was the first time that we’d ever done this together and it was a spe­cial expe­ri­ence for both of us. There were a few laughs along the way, that’s for sure! Kevin makes the stretch­ers and stretches the linen for me so it was fit­ting for him and mean­ing­ful for us both to be a part of the final process of see­ing it where it belonged. To cel­e­brate the work, Jeff gave us a lovely bot­tle of wine. We enjoyed it together in the stu­dio that evening, toast­ing our baby into the world and wish­ing well to those who would encounter it as well as it’s new care­taker. I have to say that I am truly more pleased that this piece is with our friend who has it, than I am that the paint­ing has been sold. It’s good to know and serves my heart well.

The Rela­tion­ship of Art To Life To Art To Life…

"Lie To Me"

Lie To Me” ©2010 Jan­ice Tan­ton. Oil on linen. 40“x60”

This is what I love so much about art and it’s many forms — there are rela­tion­ships every­where. I have a rela­tion­ship with the work as I think about it, watch it become real­ity before my eyes and cre­ate it. There are times when I can look at a piece that I’ve done, and remem­ber the con­ver­sa­tions I had, the meals, the music I lis­tened to and the times and events in my life while I worked on it — those are the sto­ries that are embed­ded in the work. For instance, the work above, “Lie To Me” was cre­ated while lis­ten­ing to Jonny Lang’s music and named for the same song, “Lie To Me”. His music inspired me and by a freak chance (or per­haps NOT such a freak chance…) we met Jonny and his backup singer Jason Eskridge and had the oppor­tu­nity to share a cof­fee and talk about the paint­ing, the song and the con­nec­tiv­ity between artforms.

I have a lovely client now who was so moved by this work, that she’s com­mis­sioned a sim­i­lar piece…and I’m thrilled to work with her, because it’s the rela­tion­ships that I know will grow as she sits for this work that will matter.

There is a rela­tion­ship now with the expe­ri­ence we had while plac­ing the work with Jeff, and there will be new rela­tion­ships formed for him while it lives in his home. Art con­nects us and cre­ates space for new expe­ri­ences and dia­logue. This is the true value of a work, whether it is a piece of the­atre, music, writ­ing, sculp­ture, dance or a paint­ing that some­how moves us.

Oh yes. Art Matters.


Related Links and Articles:

Keep­ing Gallery Rela­tions On The Up and Up — Alyson Stanfield

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  • Nancy Jack­son

    Beau­ti­ful, Beau­ti­ful Such a mean­ing­ful piece of art and the story of new sur­round­ings has cap­tured my heart. Thank you for your won­der­ful blog and sig­nif­i­cant words. Nancy Jackson

    • Jan­ice Tanton

      Thank you, Nancy — I’m very happy it struck a chord for you.

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