To ensure that Muskoka Arts & Crafts continues to provide a safe experience for all our artists, visitors, volunteers and staff, recent developments relating to COVID-19 has resulted in closing the Chapel Gallery to all visitors until further notice. Staff are available by telephone and email during regular business hours - Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 1pm and 2pm until 5pm. Thank you for your understanding and support. These are difficult times. Muskoka Arts & Crafts urges you to stay healthy and do whatever you can to help one another and to make this a better world.

Here's how to contact Muskoka Arts & Crafts during our temporary closure:



Marike MacDonald

Roxanne Driedger

Paintings by Roxanne Driedger & Marike MacDonald
March 7 - March 28
Public Reception: Saturday, March 7, 1pm-4pm

Robert Frost’s iconic poem, The Road Not Taken, was the inspiration for Roxanne Driedger and Marike MacDonald’s paintings that will be on display at the Chapel Gallery starting on March 7. The poem’s central theme is the divergence of paths, literal yet also figurative, although its interpretation is noted for being complex and, like the fork in the road itself, potentially different. Such is the life of an artist.

“To choose the path of an artist is to live with uncertainty in many ways, making it a difficult decision,” explains artist Roxanne. “At some point, I think every artist wonder why they chose an art path as it can be filled with frustration, doubt and many challenges. When I was confronted at the fork and looked down the path, I contemplated my investments and sacrifices and considered the potential for adventures, challenges and personal reward. To be an artist has made all the difference in my life. It’s been an incredible journey of learning.”

For Roxanne and Marike their exhibition is about celebrating their life path of making art. Their oil and acrylic paintings are mainly landscapes inspired by Muskoka, the north shore of Lake Superior, national parks and some other parts of Canada. It’s their first exhibition in a gallery setting. “I feel that this step is important in branching out to a greater world,” says Marike who worked as an accountant for twenty-five years and about five years ago picked up her art again when her job became redundant. “I’m very excited to show my art in a gallery setting,” adds Roxanne who has worked as a decorator in a furniture store for the past twenty-three years. “The Chapel Gallery has been very supportive to local artists and has a great community feel to it.”

Preparing for their joint exhibition has been filled with challenges such as juggling time to paint with time for household tasks, family and jobs. Its also been filled with hours of enjoyment as the two friends collaborated, painted together and decided which paintings to display.

When painting, Roxanne and Marike share nature as a common source for inspiration. The beauty of their surroundings, water, rocks, trees, flowers, light, colour and the mood of a landscape find ways onto the blank canvas.

Marike was first introduced to art as a child of six when she was snooping around her dairy father’s school books from his middle school days in the Netherlands. “They were watercolour cameos and done with an expert hand, particularly for his age,” says Marike who took some training at college as well as workshops from painters she admired. “At the time, I thought they were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. At the same time, I had a school friend who had the most beautiful colouring abilities. These two events combined to direct my future.” When she begins a painting, the first step is to immerse herself in nature by sketching, painting en plein air or taking reference photographs. “As a landscape painter, being outdoors makes it possible to understand the nuances of light and shadow in its various forms.” Then, a thumbnail sketch of the painting is completed. “This can be either a short or long process as sometimes the design of the painting is forthright. Other times, it is an onerous process of trial and error. However, this step is vitally important to complete prior to putting paint and bush to canvas,” explains Marike. “Once I start applying the paint, because of my prior planning, the painting usually comes together with very little angst.”

Roxanne’s involvement with art also began in her youth when her mother would take her to galleries near her home in Windsor. “Both my parents had an appreciation for artwork and they passed that onto me,” states Roxanne who didn’t start painting until she was 51 and her children were away at university. Self-taught, Roxanne gleaned most of her knowledge from books, videos and one week-long workshop. She paints in a traditional way using oil paint on stretched canvas. An underpainting is first applied using a wash of mineral spirits spread with a rag over her finger. “I then apply the darkest value colours and work up to the lightest,” explains Roxanne. “I use directional brushwork and try to be very intentional about each stroke. When I think I’m close to completion, I let it sit for a few days and then make any final adjustments.” It’s the mood, brush work, subject matter and colour that appeals the most to Roxanne who also likes her paintings because they are the places she has been to and love to visit.

Marike and Roxanne both hope that people who see their paintings will experience their joy when experiencing nature then recording it in their paintings. “We would like people to feel a connection and pick up on the essence of a place,” says Roxanne. “It’s exciting to hear or see people respond about a particular painting. Sometimes it’s as simple as the mood or vibe that a person feels drawn to, and other times, it runs deeper. Paintings can trigger memories that stir an emotional reaction. Our other hope is that they think about our exhibition after they have left and that it lingers in their minds awhile.”

Two Roads Diverged opens with a public reception on Saturday, March 7 from 2pm until 4pm. It continues at the Chapel Gallery until March 28. The Chapel Gallery is located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission by donation. 

        If you would like to receive e-mail notices of our upcoming exhibitions and shows, 
please send an e-mail with your request including your full name and e-mail address.

Located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge, the gallery is open year-round, Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. It is closed during the last week of September and the second week of October as well as between Christmas and New Year’s Days. Please check the Calendar of Events for the actual dates. For a map, please follow this link.

Exhibitions are booked one year in advance.  To learn how to apply for a show, please follow this link: Exhibition Application.

The Chapel Gallery was opened in September, 1989. Housed in a reconstruction of the first Presbyterian Church in Bracebridge, the Chapel Gallery hosts exhibitions of art and craft by our members and other local and provincial artists. Exhibitions are selected by the Gallery Committee and change every three to four weeks.

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