Well, we may have finished singing Santa Claus is coming to town, but we sure aren’t tired of singing Walter Campbell is back in town. That’s right, Walter Campbell and his lovely wife Lynn have moved back to Sunderland after an 8 year sojourn to Niagara on the Lake. As happy as we are to welcome them back, it appears no one is happier than they are.
Walter explains their move; “In life you often find yourself at a fork in the road. You see an opportunity but you are always seconding guessing your decision.” That is what happened when they moved to Niagara. “But we always kept our attachments and connections to Sunderland. We always came back for the Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival, for birthdays and special occasions.” Father of 4 and grandfather of six most of whom live in the area and feeling homesick they made the decision to “come home”. Walter explains there is a wonderful sense of community and an artistic spirit here in Sunderland. “One doesn’t always see that until you leave it. It became clear where we belonged. In a sense we never really left”.
Walter describes his style, “I try to take my painting to the next level, to express what I want the viewer to see. My paintings tell a story. I don’t just see a house. There is usually an anecdote or reason for painting them. It is often a memory of the way it was, something that is not there anymore. I paint to express that. My kids were often inspiration, either for a skating pond or a special occasion. My paintings are always of a real place, I just embellish the story with people.”
Not every painting is successful according to Walter. Sometimes he finds a painting is not expressing what he wanted to say to the viewer. Walter has worked in many mediums over the years but his first choice is watercolours. They react for me and help me with what I want to achieve. Walter is still producing new work. “I have a lot of ideas for paintings. I don’t think that will ever go away. The struggle now is to compete with myself. There are so many paintings and so many memories. The paintings are very personal and meaningful to me. When people purchase them I am always so gratified that they enjoy them. I don’t ever want to let them down.”
Now that they have resettled, Walter’s home studio is open to the public by appointment. He also has teaching workshops starting in January. He has taught for many years. “I am not going to teach you how to paint like me. What I will do is show you some of the ways you can express yourself and how to go about it, because you are your own painter.”
Welcome home Walter! We are so thrilled to have you back. For further information on upcoming shows and events check out Walter Campbell’s website at www.artofwaltercampbell.com/
As published in the January issue of CAPS newspaper
What a pleasure and delight it is to spend time with local Port Perry artist Joanna Malcolm. She is a bundle of talent, energy and optimism. Joanna had a late start in the art world. She actually only started painting seriously 10 years ago. That being the case she is a very quick study. Her talent, knowledge and skill are very apparent.
I thought the title of our article was apropos. After a twenty year career as a nurse at Port Perry Hospital, Joanna was left flapping in the wind when a major restructuring in 2005 left her without a job. A job she had loved and spent her whole life doing. A job that she felt defined part of who she was. After the initial shock and mourning, the wife and mother decided to take those lemons and turn them into lemonade. Joanna felt she had been channelled to this place for a reason and signed up for a summer of week long art courses at The Haliburton School of Fine Art. Joanna now looks back at the wreckage realising this was meant to happen. “I loved nursing but I now love what I am doing as an artist full time.” She describes what happened with her work as an awakening of sensations to see. “I was too busy to see before.”
We still are not sure how she does it all. Mother of six, some of whom are still at home and grandmother of 7 Joanna somehow manages to find time enough to paint, take courses and have two very successful shows each year at her home studio, The Studio by the Green in Nestleton. She also sells her art year round at Meta4 Gallery in Port Perry.
Not one to be labelled and restricted to one style, Joanna breaks all the rules of art and embraces many different styles. She says she just paints the way she feels that day. Her style varies from whimsical watercolours to big acrylic abstracts and all the way to wonderfully executed landscapes. She describes herself as an eclectic painter. Joanna says she is always evolving and trying new things. She says she never wants to stop changing and growing as an artist.
I asked Joanna how she felt about being an artist in this area. She says it is the most wonderful artistic community. She felt very strongly that she could not stand in isolation. She wanted to become part of the artistic community, to be part of something so much bigger. Joanna says it opened a whole new world when she joined The Scugog Council for the Arts and The Port Perry Artists Association.
So Joanna, what is your advice to those that are reading this with envy and struggling along their own artistic path? “Form relationships with other artists. You can learn so much from people who have already walked the walk. Above all, just keep at it and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”
If that isn’t enough Joanna is also slated to start teaching at Meta4 in the new year. She is also in the process of writing and illustrating a book. You can catch her 8th annual Christmas Art Show on December 2nd, 3rd and 4th, from 10 to 5 each day at her home studio. For more details and directions check out Joanna’s website at; http://www.joannamalcolm.com/
So the next time life turns you on your head, just remember what Joanna did when that happened to her. Try to see that when one door closes, another is surely opening. Thank you so much Joanna for your uplifting and brave look at life and at art.