January 21 - February 11
Public Reception: Saturday, January 21, 1pm-4pm with an artist's talk at 1:30pm

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Tom Thomson, Janine Marson set out to create 100 paintings by following in the pursuit of truth that he had set for himself. “More than ever, I feel compelled to paint and document this place I call home,” says Janine. “Nowhere else do I know of where one could find, a hundred years later, the same rugged idyllic landscape as it was in the day that Tom and the Group of Seven set out to paint the wilderness.”  

All of the paintings are 8”x10” oil on birch panels and framed in a simply designed espresso dark brown frames. Predominately, the paintings are landscapes created en plein air in all seasons and in all types of weather. Other paintings are of flora and fauna, as well as buildings and portraits of significant people who touched Tom’s life in some way. There is a raw edge and energy to the paintings with expressive brushwork capturing the fleeting effects of light and colour.  

Janine spent considerable time researching the life and art of Tom to help her gain a sense of the places that he would have seen and experienced. “Standing on the same spot where Tom painted the Jack Pine and where he had worked as a fire ranger at Grand Lake at Achray or to go on a five day canoe trip into the backcountry all allowed me to advance beyond my comfort zone and to paint with passion, purpose and vigor as Tom would have done in his time,” remarks Janine who is excited about her upcoming exhibition as it will be the first showing of the complete series of paintings. “The open concept of the gallery will give people the ability to stand back and take in all the boards as a cohesive body of work and also get up close for an intimate interaction with the small paintings,” Janine comments.  

The biggest challenge Janine faced in preparing for her solo exhibition was time. “I work full-time and teach art on my days off so trying to incorporate a painting regime around all of this required a lot of discipline and commitment to the project,” reveals Janine who said that one of the greatest joys associated with this project was being outdoors and painting no matter what the weather. “Painting with friends made it even more fun and the camaraderie between us made me feel what it must have been like for Tom Thomson and his painting friends who later formed the Group of Seven.”  

For these paintings, Janine returned to working with oils. “The joy of rediscovering oils has brought a new energy to my work and a refinement of brushwork that is becoming my signature style and developing a mature style,” discloses Janine. “Following in the steps of Thomson and the Group of Seven tested my mettle as it did them to let go of the known in order to paint with fresh eyes the truth of what is seen.”  

Janine’s hope is that people will look at her artwork and reconnect with their own memories and experiences of being in nature that may be tucked away deep inside them. “I also hope that my work will help people to feel inspired and stirred to go and experience the beauty of the land for themselves as well as help instill a need to protect and preserve the wilderness of Algonquin Park for another 100 years and beyond.”

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Muskoka Arts & Crafts Inc. is located in the District Municipality of  Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.