Category Archives: Film & Books

Bo Bartlett Talks About Art, Life and How To Be – Dowling Walsh Gallery 2010

American artist Bo Bartlett is a human being I admire greatly for his vision and skill at equal levels with his beautiful perception of life. I had planned to attend a Master Class this fall with him at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, but a busy residency at The Banff Centre kept me from it…..(this time!) I’m hoping that the opportunity will be there again soon.



Bo Bartlett Artist Talk 2010 from Dowling Walsh Gallery on Vimeo.

Alberta Light, A Retrospective :: Neel deWit-Wibaut at Bluerock Gallery

This article, courtesy of BlueRock Gallery::

2-5pm, Saturday, May 5, 2012
Artist in attendance.
Neel de Wit-Wibaut pictured here with one of the winter scenes she is so fond of painting. Neel maintains a simple lifestyle in the country to support her connection to nature.

Neel de Wit-Wibaut pictured here with one of the winter scenes she is so fond of painting. Neel maintains a simple lifestyle in the country to support her connection to nature.

IN THE NEWS:  Global TV in Calgary did a story about Neel which aired 4/30/12.

Neel de Wit-Wibaut is a painter who splits her time between Calgary and a remote location in the Alberta foothills. Devoted to her work, she has been painting faithfully for decades. Her paintings express her deep appreciation of nature and invite the viewer to join her in a reflection on light. Working primarily in oils on wood, her subjects are inspired moments of illumination—sunlight, moonlight and the colors in shadows. This retrospective is a tribute to Neel’s remarkable career and an homage to the Alberta foothills where she has lived for more than half her life.

Still painting at the age of 97, she is deeply inspiring. Here is a short video introduction to Neel and her work in her own words.

Hope to see you at the opening!

Video created by Shelley Whitehead for Bluerock Gallery. Special thanks to Mady Thiel-Kopstein, Marika d’Ailly, Sandra Wiebe, and Anna Carnell. The still photos of Neel’s paintings are courtesy of Edith Vanderkloot.

Want to know more about Neel? We invite you to read Hope in the Color of Orange: Dutch Civilian Memories of War and Liberation. In the chapter titled “Sonja Mathilde,” Neel tells her story about being a wife and mother during WWII in Holland. This locally produced, independently published book (published by MMWG) is available for purchase in the Bluerock Gallery online store by clicking the link above.

A Delicate Art – An Illustrated Talk by Mary-Beth Laviolette

Author and Curator, Mary-Beth Laviolette

Author and Curator, Mary-Beth Laviolette

If you are in Canmore on Thursday, May 3rd, you must take the time to attend this talk by independent curator and writer, Mary-Beth Laviolette.

Mary-Beth will be doing an illustrated talk at the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre at 902B 7th Avenue in Canmore, AB and launching her book, “A Delicate Art”.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with Mary-Beth and seeing this wonderful book first-hand. Mary-Beth’s account of these six artists’ work, focussing on the wildflowers they have chosen as their subject matter is a beautiful testament to the art and development of this delicate form of observation and well worth hearing this writer’s view on the intricate details of the practice, focus and framework of this art form. Mary-Beth’s talk will be engaging, informative and enlightening and I plan to be there!

A Delicate Art - Mary-Beth Laviolette

Here is more information on “A Delicate Art”:

Delicate Art - Mary-Beth Laviolette

When A River Runs Through It…

A River Runs Through It - The Bow River with Grace

Grace at The Bow River, Canmore, AB

I listen to a lot of movies while I’m painting.

I’m more familiar with the soundtracks than I am with the imagery.
I’ve got my eyes on the palette and the canvas while my thoughts and my ears are on the soundscape.

There is so much richness in the auditory narrative. The clink of a teacup on a saucer, running brooks, rattling papers…..I’d have loved old-tyme radio where my visual imagination could be free to run it’s wildest course. I love writers who can weave a story that stirs my heart and touches my soul. I wish I were so gifted with this talent.

The Artist's Daughter - ©2012 Janice Tanton. Graphite on paper. 18"x14"

The Artist's Daughter - ©2012 Janice Tanton. Graphite on paper. 18"x14"

One of my favourite movies is “A River Runs Through It”. Made in 1992, when my oldest son was just a baby, this poetic Montana story sends shivers down my spine with this beautiful quote in the opening moments of the film:

“All good things……come by grace….. and grace comes by art…. and art does not come easily.”

How can you not love that? How can that not inspire me again and again to make art?

Another “love” from this same graceful movie….

“The Lord has blessed us all today. It’s just that he’s been particularly good to me.”

Robert Redford, as President and founder of The Sundance Institute is quoted as saying, “Storytellers broaden our minds, engage, provoke, inspire and ultimately, connect us.”

“We can love completely….without complete understanding.”

My heartfelt gratitude to Norman Maclean (d. 1990) who wrote the story that Redford directed a whole twenty years ago about an age when my grandfather lived. The timeless grace of this narrative has guided me through many artful painting moments, three children, three moves and three careers…….. and the river continues to run through it.

“Now, nearly all those I love and did not understand in my youth are dead, but I still reach out to them. Of course now I am too old to be much of a fisherman and now I usually fish the big waters alone although some friends think I shouldn’t. But when I’m alone in the half light of the canyon, all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one…and a river runs through it.

The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops and under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.”

…and I am haunted by waters & barns.

William's Ride - ©2011 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 40x72

"William's Ride" - ©2011 Janice Tanton. Oil on linen. 40x72

TEDxCalgary – Janice Tanton :: The Language of the Creator

The fine folks at TEDxCalgary have done a wonderful job making me look good on film, and I want to thank them for the opportunity and challenge. An extra special thank you to some inspiring Full Time Human Beings who helped me find my voice: Donna Kennedy-Glans, Elder Tom Crane Bear, Dr. Laura Brearley and to Dr. Nick Nissley. Thank you all so much for modelling bravery and respect in such human ways and action.

I hope you enjoy this presentation, take some time to think about how you can develop your own relationships and language of creativity to build stronger communities and organizations. Sing, dance….paint…..create! Be a human being.



“I’d Rather Be In The Studio”…wouldn’t you?

Cover of Alyson B. Stanfield's Book, "I'd Rather Be In The Studio"

Who’s got the map?

Vision and goal-setting for my art career was at the top of my priority list when I retired as Program Manager at Aboriginal Leadership at The Banff Centre in late December, 2010.

I started by asking myself:

  • “Okay – you did it. You made the leap.
  • You GOT that wish that you’d “rather be in the studio.”
  • Now what are you going to do?

That has to be one of the biggest and most important challenges for any artist or organization. Even on a personal level, it’s quite something to really think about what you want from life, succinctly define it and take the action to get there. It’s another thing to get to the action of visioning, getting organized, planning it out and doing it.

I realized that I needed some help, guidance and support in this endeavour, despite my years of experience as an artist, entrepreneur and project/program manager. It’s totally another thing when you are the head of  your own organization, and I took the advice I had been giving out for years to others but was so bad at taking myself when it came down to it.

Get help.

Find a coach that you respect and who has more experience than you, to help you focus, move into action and achieve your vision. Find someone you can relate to. Now…where would I find such a generous coach who really understood me as an artist and what the specific challenges may be in a cultural industry in a bad economy? There are business coaches out there who are a dime a dozen, all peddling the same wares. WHO is focussed specifically on us creatives?

In December, I started scouring the art book and business sections of Chapters, Indigo and Amazon to find some useful resources and read up on the literature out there with the purpose of designing my own plan of action. After all, hanging out with some hefty academics after six years, you learn to do the lit review first!

Before  Santa even finished his last toy and got into his big red flying vehicle, I had a pile of shiny, freshly printed new books sitting on the coffee table in my studio. Merry Christmas to ME! I began to read, looking for that one Secret that would motivate me to successful action.

The “One True Ring” …and my Gandalf!

While some of the books were excellent, none of them stood high above the others and shone with the same practical advice and personal manner as “I’d Rather Be In The Studio”, by Alyson Stanfield.

From chapter to chapter, this no-nonsense approach, jam-packed with valuable tools for organization and business strategies were familiar and yet seemed personally tailored for my own art practice and style. This chick is up to date! She blogs voraciously and well on Art Biz Blog with even more tips and content than I could absorb in years and she is generous with

Alyson B. Stanfield

Alyson B. Stanfield - photo credit: Ellen Nelson

her advice, adored by her followers and “gets” the social media scene. You really feel that she is involved and personally driven to help you succeed as an artist.

I’d found my coach!….and then the hard work began.

Find out how I start the journey and set my own Big Hairy Audacious Art Goals for 2011 in an upcoming blogpost by subscribing to the Janice Tanton Blog.

P.S. – HOT OFF THE PRESS – Alyson’s first edition is completely sold out. However, she has an e-book version is you just can’t wait for that spanking new edition release in April 2011  for “I’d Rather Be In The Studio” (which include new chapters on social media!)

Thanks Alyson. I’m in your debt.


Genius Teacher and Guru, Artist Jerry Fresia

Cover shot - Jerry Fresia - The Practice and Philosophy of French Impressionism

The Practice and Philosophy of French Impressionism by Jerry Fresia

Right then. Let’s make this simple. You NEED to have this book.

If you are an artist in the true sense of the word, you owe it to yourself to give this a thorough read and practice with intention, the philosophy and methods.

Jerry Fresia is an expert in “becoming” a painter’s painter. His approach in tackling French Impressionism is a must-know tool in every artist’s arsenal, no matter the genre, medium or intent of your own personal work. Everyone can take away something of value and learn from this kind, intelligent painter’s guru. I have personally learned more from Jerry than I ever could have hoped for. He is a gracious man, willing to give his time and knowledge and engage you in the philosophy as well as the skills of this method.

If you are looking for a hands-on experience with Jerry, you can pack your smock and straw hat and head to Lenno, Italy, on the shores of beautiful Lake Como to indulge yourself with some one on one instruction.

Jerry and his wife, Conchitina, host (and I mean HOST – she’s a gourmet cook!) workshops at their gorgeous lakeside Villa de Herraro. One and two week courses are scheduled in April, May, September and October of 2011. Running  Sunday through Saturday with all of your painting materials supplied, you will be wined, dined and turpentined to your heart’s content.

They offer accommodation in their villa (a studio apartment with a private bath, kitchenette and 2 French double beds as well as a Mac laptop and WiFi…….I want this one!) Accommodation can also be arranged at San Giorgio Hotel and Albergo Lenno, both looking on the internet like they are well worth the relaxing Italian stay on the shores of Lago Di Como. Did I mention George Clooney is a neighbour?

If you’re interested in picking up a copy of Jerry’s book, (and you should be!), you can order and view it HERE . At only $44.95 CDN, that’s a whole lotta art education on the topic.

For the chance to learn from the master himself, visit Fresia Studios or email Jerry or Conchitina directly from their site.


Janice Tanton – "Self Portrait In Canoe"

[vsw id=”nsIA12Ej3yE” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]This video piece was part of an installation for the exhibition “Yours, Mine, The Other” with friend, Anishnabe artist Don Ahnahnsisi McIntyre in May, 2010 at Elevation Gallery in Canmore, AB.

Designed to contain artifacts and imagery from my childhood as it related to the canoe, it looped on a Mac laptop inside a canoe, also containing things about me….my life. Photographs of my children and husband, loved ones, paints, paintbrushes and cherished objects all occupied space in the “Journey Vessel for My Soul”.

The Community Fusion Project – Janice Tanton

This is the preview of the film made for The Community Fusion Project. Check out the full website and online movie at the Community Fusion Website or drop me a line and I’ll send you your own DVD copy for a nominal fee + postage.

This project could only have happened through the generous grant I received from the Canada Council. Thanks again, Canada Council! The support really has changed a lot of folks lives, including mine!

In 2011, we will be hosting sessions in several communities across Canada and the United States. If you are interested in hosting a workshop in your community, please give me a shout!