September 28 - October 19
Public Reception: Saturday, September 28, 1pm-3pm

Margarethe Vanderpas is fascinated by the powerful forces that have shaped the landscape and the effects that time and weather have had upon the earth’s surface.  

“The Canadian Shield is one of North America’s most exquisite and distinctive landscapes and I delight, not only in the discovery of exceptional locations while on hiking and kayaking journeys but also in translating my experiences of these landscapes onto canvas in bold and vivid colours,” says Margarethe who is a Signature Member of the Artists for Conversation. This non-profit group of nature artists from around the world works collectively to promote their work and, at the same time, to promote the conservation of our natural heritage. “For me, spending time in nature has an invigorating rejuvenating effect and I want my work to convey this. In essence, I am paying homage to nature with each painting I create.”  

In 1988, Margarethe experienced her first kayaking trip along the shore of Georgian Bay and this would have a profound effect on her art. “I believe there is a turning point in every artist’s evolution, for me it was experiencing nature in a new way, immersing myself in it for days at a time,” says Margarethe. “It was then that I began to notice nature’s rhythms. The scenery was spectacular and I was hooked.” Many of Margarethe’s paintings depict views from her kayak looking towards the shoreline.  

The oil on canvas paintings in this exhibition are based on Margarethe’s kayaking and hiking expeditions along the shores of Georgian Bay that include incredible views of the Canadian Shield. The paintings are of locations along the eastern and northern shores of Georgian Bay as well as Fraser Bay, which lies north of the village of Killarney.  

Each painting begins from a reference photograph taken by Margarethe or a sketch using pencil, pen and ink or soft pastels to capture the colours and moods of a particular location. These are brought back to her studio in Lion’s Head, Ontario, where they are worked into large paintings. Sometimes, she will start by painting a small sketch before embarking on a larger piece. This allows Margarethe to work out just the right colour scheme for a painting in advance. “This is particularly important in my work as I often use complimentary colours and they cannot intermix or the result is mud. I select my colour schemes carefully in an attempt to capture the true spirit of the place.” In preparing for this one-woman exhibition, Margarethe discovered a new colour palette for her paintings.  

Margarethe was born in the Netherlands and her family immigrated to Canada when she was six years old. She spent most of her childhood growing up on farms in southwestern Ontario with a great deal of time outdoors. Every autumn, after the harvest was done, her family would travel to Muskoka for a four-day camping adventure. It was the highlight of their year.  

Her parents encouraged Margarethe’s early interest in art and on trips to Europe, would take her to art galleries and museums, her favourite being the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam where she was drawn to the work of the artists of the Dutch Golden Age, particularly Vermeer and Rembrandt for their attention to detail and dramatic use of light. On subsequent trips to the Netherlands, she was introduced to the post-impressionist work of Vincent Van Gogh who she admired for his use of bold colours and vigorous brushwork.  

Margarethe studied fine art at the University of Western Ontario then transferred to Queen’s University into the art history program. She received a Bachelor of Arts, Honours degree in 1987 and a Bachelor of Education degree in the Artist in Community Education Program the following year. Upon graduating, she taught secondary school for several years then transitioned careers in 1996, moving to London to pursue painting and to start a graphic design business. She began selling paintings from her home, participating in art shows and secured gallery representation. As the demand for her art increased, she devoted more time to painting.  

In the beginning, Margarethe’s work was photo realistic then becoming much more interpretive with bolder use of colour and greater emphasis on line and shape. “I consciously try and create pieces that glow from within and do this by keeping my colours as clean and intense as possible. In doing so, I have developed a signature style of painting,” remarks Margarethe. For the past fifteen years, Margarethe has been painting the Canadian landscape, exploring new regions of Ontario, aiming to capture the water and worn, weathered rock formations of the Canadian Shield.  

Margarethe’s hope that when people look at her paintings that they will have a renewed appreciation for the beauty of the Canadian landscape and experience it as a living entity that we need to protect and respect. Wind, Water, Rock and Trees opens with a public reception on Saturday, September 28 between 1pm and 4pm.

        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.