Owl Ridge Acres Artist Residency

IMG_1497In Autumn of 2014 I received a commission to complete a large painting for the lobby of a new condo building the newly redeveloped Regent Park. The canvas, measuring 60×120 was too big for my Toronto studio, so I connected with a fellow artist, Joey Bruni, who had recent bought seventy acres of property in Bancroft, Ontario. Bruni is ambitious! He is turning the six bedroom farmhouse into artist accommodations and the barn into multi-purpose studio spaces.

I spend most of the early winter there, helping to prepare the farmhouse for guests, piling up wood and feeding an outdoor furnace that heated the house. The furnace became affectionately known as Baby because it had to be fed twice a day; in the morning and in the evening before bed. Failing to do so resulted in the fire going out and having to get the outhouse-sized furnace going again. Not fun at 11pm or 6 am.

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I worked on my painting most days, walking the three kilometers into town by foot or with the Neighbor, Bam (yes, thats really his name), in his truck. Because the barn wasn’t ready for artists yet, I was using a space in town called A Place For The Arts. It is an artist collective made of some of the most interesting people I’ve met in my life. Full of creativity, a love for the arts, spirit, enthusiasm and a fair helping of country wisdom. Cidiots, they called those from the city, but it wasn’t long before I fit in.

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In addition to the the artwork, I wanted to respond to the local community and since I was there during hunting season, I work on some small projects to responded to the local culture. Hunting proved to be fertile ground for creative output.

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February came around quickly enough and I was due back in Toronto for other work so we shipped back the painting to be installed and bid my winter friends farewell.

I am planning to return again this Winter, in January,  for a couple of video projects. One using drones and the other for an installation using images of nature and video glitching. If you are visiting Bancroft in January, please send me an email.

You can find out more about Owl Ridge Acres, the Artist Residency and other programs by visiting the website and to learn about A Place for the Arts, please contact them through their Facebook Page.