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Local artists draw inspiration from landscapes in the region for their showcase

September 9, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter 

Artists find inspiration in their own passions and those passions sometimes lay in their own backyards. 

In an environmentally rich setting like Caledon, it’s not surprising to find that many artists in the area draw inspiration from nature. 

In the Headwaters Art Gallery at the Alton Mill Arts Centre, two artists have been showcasing their art, which has drawn from the Headwaters region with their use of textures and colourful landscapes. 

For the last month, painter Sherry Park and clay artists Ann Randeraad have worked together on an exhibit titled, “A Graphic Nature,” to share their connection with the natural world and their passion for art with the community. 

The show came together when the Headwaters Art Committee began planning out themed shows for the year by asking artists to submit proposals. 

The gallery always encourages and gives local member artists the opportunity to showcase their art. 

“It’s somewhat choreographed in the sense that at the beginning of the year we identify over a 10-month period themed shows for each month in the Headwaters Art Gallery,” said Sue Powell, Headwaters Art board member and Marketing Chair. “We then put out to our members to put together group proposal shows over three calls for entry of artists who want to put together a proposal for what they’d like to present in the gallery. 

“We encourage that by asking members to put proposals together and then we have the gallery committee work with the selection of those proposals. We give that opportunity for artist members to submit proposals every year, which is nice because they curate their own material for their own show.” 

Seeing Park and Randeraad come together to build a show based around the natural world and their own relationships with it, wasn’t a surprise to Powell who knows both have similar outlooks on the important role nature plays in art. 

“These two are quite prolific and they’re local artists—it’s such a nice show and they’ve done a great job,” said Powell. “This one is a featured members’ exhibition so it’s their own proposal and that’s one way we give yet another boost to local artists. There’s one submission each month for the themed shows, but you also can come together with another artist and do their own show and we let them run with that. With these two, they found a common ground, even though Sherry is an oil painter and Ann is a clay artist; they both connect on the same kind of level with their love of nature and the natural world outside in their own backyard. We thought this would be great combination and they went and put it together.  

“These two are experienced in exhibiting their work and it’s really not just about the tweaking and hanging to display the art, but even Ann has brought these fabulous azaleas for the showcase. Having those bouquets of flowers in the gallery next to her pottery and Sherry’s work is really cool. It’s such an aesthetically-pleasing experience, which is what should happen when you go into a gallery, and you take the time to walk through and immerse yourself in it.” 

Their familiarity with one another and the respect they have for each other’s art only made working together more of a no-brainer when factoring in their shared passions for nature.  

“I think because I was an artist here for 10 years, we met here for the first time, and I really liked her way of producing her work,” Randeraad said. “And we both thought our work would go really nicely together and complement one another.” 

“Last year I had my landscape show here and her ceramics were in a window just behind and I had always liked the patterns on her ceramics, and when I looked at my painting with her work there, I noticed they kind of went well together,” said Park. “They complimented each other with the textures, and we thought, ‘why not just have a full blown out show together?’” 

Powell is ecstatic to see two local artists work together on such a successful showcase because not only does it allow the Caledon community to see the talent in their own area, but it will show other local artists that they too could flourish given the opportunity. 

“It’s really exciting because you have a sense of the work they’re going to do, but to actually see it come together is really just awesome,” she said. “I think for me it was just a thought of, ‘wow, we really do have amazing talent and amazing artists who are so dedicated to their art.’ It just makes you feel pretty proud that we may not be in Toronto, but up here in Alton we have top quality and presentation with our artists.  

“I also think it shows other local member artists who have always wanted to collaborate with another artist in a show that they can do it because, in my mind, this really sets an example of how it should be done. It not only shows off the local talent, but it’s a learning opportunity because artists are always going in to look at other artists’ work. I think for other artists it can spur goals in their mind to work towards doing something similar. The beauty of being a member of Headwaters Art Gallery is that you really do have the opportunity to do this.” 

Both Park and Randeraad are from around the area and credit it partially for helping them with their creativity because they’re never lacking in natural beauty surrounding them. 

“We both have our own interpretation on art in the natural world, but I live in a rural area, and I’ve always been inspired by nature and obviously Sherry paints landscape which makes nature a natural go-to,” said Randeraad. “Some of Sherry’s work is inspired by the local [landscape] here because the area…in some ways is almost untouched. It means the inspiration comes easier because there’s more of this natural beauty around us all of the time. This area is so rich with nature and again, that makes it come naturally to us. It’s like osmosis.” 

Though Park is a painter and Randeraad a clay artist, they never thought their differing approaches wouldn’t work because the focus was always on their chemistry as artists birthed from having the same artistic muse.  

“It happened almost homogeneously,” Randeraad said. “It happened almost naturally because we’re both inspired by what’s around us. We both love what we do and we’re both immersed in nature and in developing our mediums.” 

Putting the show together wasn’t just a matter of teaming up, it’s taken an abundance of time. 

Park mentioned one painting even taking three months while Randeraad said it’s impossible to say how many hours went into her clay work because of the sheer length of the process, but both are delighted with how everything played out. 

“A fair bit of time has gone into it, meaning, that it’s called a graphic nature but that was almost a given because we really are both so inspired by nature and we work in colours that compliment one another’s work,” said Randeraad. “So, of course, time and work went into the paintings and clay work, but it all also has to be put together for the showcase.” 

“I’ve been working on this for almost a year,” Park said. “It feels good to finally be showcasing it. I think it’s been a huge success for the both of us.” 



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