An artist’s life can be a lonely one, but a group of them will soon be opening up their houses and studios, or joining in a group show, so the public may enjoy their work.
The 11th annual South of the Lakes Art Tour will be taking place on Sept. 21 and 22. Over 20 painters, photographers, potters, jewellers and other artists are participating in the event, which is organized by the Prairie Oak Regional Arts Council.
The artists are located in the RM of Rosser, Warren, Balmoral, Stonewall and Selkirk, with group shows at the Rosser Community Centre, Alive! Family Church in Stonewall and Gwen Fox Gallery in Selkirk. The tour’s hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Dolly Dennis is opening her home situated a few minutes northwest of Rosser to display the paintings she creates on canvas, wood, seashells, glass and magnets. Self-taught, Dolly’s work features scenes from her childhood, past travels and the countryside around her home.
"I like to paint what I see," she said.
Ready to quickly sketch her surroundings, she carries watercolour pencils on trips and also takes photos that she can work from at a later time.
Dennis said she began painting with her sister at her own kitchen table many years ago. Since then, she has belonged to art groups and participated in demonstrations at Polo Park, the Red River Exhibition and other locations.
She first used oil paint, but now favours acrylic because it dries more quickly. She typically has a few paintings on the go and will accept commissions as well. She is sometimes inspired by the natural grain in a piece of wood, then uses her brush to bring out the hidden figures in the grain.
Dennis has always been part of the annual South of the Lakes Art Tour and enjoys welcoming visitors to her home.
"We’ve had people from the States participating," she said, adding that usually a few hundred people take part in the tour.
While Dennis is showing her work in her home, Laurie Potovsky-Beachell is joining six other local artists for a central show in the Rosser Community Centre on PR 221 in the Village of Rosser. This is the third year she has displayed her work during the art tour.
"It’s a way of getting feedback on how people view my work," Potovsky-Beachell said. She also enjoys the camaraderie with other local artists in the group show.
Potovsky-Beachell specializes in encaustic work — a technique that combines hot beeswax with coloured pigments.
"It’s (the beeswax is) a wonderful medium to work in," she said, adding she loves the smell of the wax and the smooth finished texture of her work.
Potovsky-Beachell is now experimenting with various types of paper to make encaustic mono-prints.
She also uses a charcoal wash technique that involves erasure to create a picture. "It’s impossible to pre-compose a picture," she said.
Originally from California, Potovsky-Beachell has lived in Rosser for 25 years, and says she’s inspired by nature. She found that her artwork helped to keep her focused, and lifted her spirit, when she was undergoing chemotherapy a few years ago. She believes the process of creating art holds restorative powers.
Maps showing the South of the Lakes Art Tour stops are available at Winnipeg Hallmark stores, Artists Emporium (1610 St. James St. in Winnipeg), the Manitoba Tourism booth at The Forks and at businesses in Stonewall, Selkirk, Warren and Balmoral.
For more information, call Dennis at 204-467-2766 or Bev Galbraith at 204-467-9991.