Jane and Karen Gray are showing their paintings and pottery in the
exhibition, Sunflowers and Shorelines.
inspiration for this exhibition came from their time living on the
Canadian Shield. For three seasons, Jane lives in Algonquin Park
while her sister, Karen, now lives on the west side of the park
where she has her own pottery studio.
sisters spend a lot of time outdoors and are avid paddlers, on the
water in sight of shorelines as much
as possible. Many of Jane’s oil paintings are based on her time
spent in Algonquin Park, a place she describes a having thousands
of shorelines. Sunflowers as well as windswept pine trees, loons,
poppies and cottage docks find their way onto Karen’s functional
pottery that is also inspired by the provincial park.
create her paintings, Jane’s uses oil on raw masonite. She
paints in the black areas to find the “bones” of the painting.
“I let it sit for a day while I procrastinate getting back to
it,” Jane admits. “By the time I am back in front of the
easel, the painting flows out as if it has been subconsciously
worked out.” Jane enjoys that moment when she has wrestled a
seemingly impossible mess of oil paint into an image that engages
her. “The work is usually on the edge of chaos and I think the
more out of control it is, the better the end result. Therefore,
it is the lack of control or the ability to let loose and see how
it goes. In the end, feeling something is right is a joyful
likes strong images and colours, which creates excitement in her
paintings. “I like some of the odd but beautiful images that are
rare or fleeting,” remarks Jane who attended the Ontario College
of Art and Design, graduating in 1981 from the fine arts program.
“Things like rainbows, lightning bolts, northern lights, stars,
sunrises and cloud shadows. While these things are fleeting, they
are also powerful. If the images seem exaggerated, it is because I
felt that way about the experience. If the painting goes well, a
bit of my life experience remains alive and shared.”
full-time potter since 2009, Karen started to make pottery as a
hobby in 2001. She signed up for a four week Sunday afternoon
course at a small studio in Kearney. That led to another session,
then more sessions. Later that year, Karen attended the
Halliburton School of Art, earning a ceramic certificate after
three months of study.
work has dramatically changed since she began. At first, her
pottery was decorated by dipping it into one or two colours of
overlapping layers of glaze. In 2012, Karen broke her leg and the
cast forced this active woman to stay seated for long periods.
During this interlude of inactivity, Karen started to carve images
into the clay. Now, most of her work involves carving, a technique
known as sgraffito. Most of the pottery is finished in black and
white, but colour is used.
her sister, Karen’s imagery for her pottery comes from many
sources. Sometimes it is her surroundings, an image from a
newspaper, a customer’s request or just looking out the back
door of her studio. She enjoys carving images that create an
emotional response in the viewer that remind them of a time or
place in their own lives.
exhibition is the first time that Jane and Karen have shown their
work together in a gallery setting. “We are looking forward to
our show at the Chapel Gallery because it is an interesting space
in which to exhibition, set in an area of Canada we love,”
remarks Jane. “We feel our work is complimentary and it is a
pleasure to work with another artist whose vision is compatible
with your own, and of course, working with my sister is always
& Shorelines opens with a reception on Saturday, July 25
between 1pm and 4pm. The exhibition continues until August 15.