Bev Clark

Joanne Contant


June 25 - July 16
Public Reception: Saturday, June 25, 12noon-4pm

During the early 1900s, regattas in Muskoka were a popular pastime for the wealthy who flocked from southern Ontario and northern U.S.A. to vacation at the many resorts that lined the lakes. Dressed in their finest attire, men in dark suits and women wearing long gowns and large hats, learned how to paddle a canoe or chase the wind in a sailboat for the first time. Considered as the highlight of the summer season, such regattas were held for the joy of amateur competition and camaraderie.   

Using period photographs taken more than 100 years ago, Bev Clark and Joanne Contant recreate in paint the activities and people who participated in regattas, what they wore and how they travelled to the grand resorts. Their paintings will be on display at the Chapel Gallery in an exhibition titled Regatta Memories.  

In preparing for this exhibition, both Bev and Joanne had to step outside of their “comfort zone.” As landscape and still life painters, painting figures and faces was challenging. “Painting faces is just not in my bag of tricks,” admits Bev. Many of the photographs that were used for reference were small and blurry. “I had difficulty interpreting what I was seeing,” adds Joanne. For both artists, working in colour from black and white images was easier said than done, as they had no way to be sure what the original colour was so the artists had to use their imaginations and researched potential colours of the day. According to Joanne, such creative problem solving ends up being the most valuable learning experience. “You can’t have growth without challenges,” she says. “Partnering with Bev was a great experience. We paint with different media and techniques yet it was a successful collaboration that included sharing research, ideas and providing support when needed. The advantage of working with a partner is how you can inspire or motivate each other.”  

Both Bev and Joanne are self-taught artists, learning through trial and error, taking workshops along the way or studying the art of much admired painters. They are happiest when sitting in front of a canvas and with a paintbrush in hand.  

In the past decade, Bev, an aquatic scientist, has swung the focus of his work from science to art. Art, for Joanne, helps to balance her life. A professional accountant involved with detail and order, art allows Joanne to experiment, ignore details and more importantly, not to have expected outcomes that have to conform to rules.  

The artists hope that viewers to their exhibition will travel back in time and experience this romanticized and elegant period in time. “I also hope it conjures memories from their past,” states Joanne. “For the younger viewers, this show might be informative. They may be surprised at the dresses women wore and how it limited their movements yet they were boarding boats and trains in these long, heavy dresses. The most fascinating aspect is the formal dress worn to events for both women and men.”  

Regatta Memories opens on Saturday, June 25 with a reception from 12noon until 4pm.

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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.