Grayce’s Opening Reception a vibrant evening of art, poetry and music

A wonderful “vibe” took over the Whitestone Gallery for Grayce Perry’s “These Women I Know” Art Opening. From the excitement of seeing Grayce’s lyrical artwork creations, poetry by Birgit Elston, and toe-tapping music by Robert Norris and Terry Allan, the visitors thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The show runs until April 26 so be sure and drop by. A member of the Whitestone Artist Collective is on hand on Fridays and Saturdays every week to show you Grayce’s artwork as well as the terrific work by the other members of the Collective. 11-5 at 80 Norfolk St, Guelph
WHT April 2014-02 IMG_4064 IMG_4067 IMG_4070 IMG_4071 IMG_4078








Grayce and Robert







“These Women I Know” Solo Show












Heather Wood, Vicky Dietrich & Mary Karavos


Kelly, Noella Upitis, Deb Dryden, Laurie Skantzos, Michelle Lawrence, Rachelle Smith










Poet Birgit Elston, Grayce Perry



















Larry Lawrence, Nancy Farrell, Tom Dietrich







Musicians Terry Allan and Robert Norris

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New Show – These Women I Know – by Whitestone member Grayce Perry

March 29th – April 26th

O P E N I N G   R E C E P T I O N
(Live Music and Original Poetry)
Thur. Apr 3rd
7-9pm  •  80 Norfolk St., Guelph


Those familiar with Grayce’s work over the last few years know her artwork on mylar to be intuitive, energetic and playful. Following her inner muse Grayce has continued to evolve and has recently been delighted to welcome the female form back into her work. The pieces in the show “These Women I Know” are an exciting new direction for Grayce.

To quote an admirer, “these images are beautiful – somber AND full of whimsy. I like the solitary figures – before a cliff, sending an envelope, about to shoot an arrow – women on the brink of change. And I love the sociability of the multiple women – they are so character driven – like we are witnessing them at a moment in a larger plot. So great!”



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Welcome New Member Sarah Palmer

Like breathing, making ART just is! Forever in a day, pencils, crayons, pastels, paints, paper and canvas have been my way of being.Image

 And in my childhood, creating detailed worlds of adventure out of cardboard boxes, tape and string, writing and directing plays for a cast of younger siblings and an audience of suffering family members and being sure that I was another Isadora Duncan as I slid and danced across my linoleum bedroom floor in the wee hour of the night were my other artistic outlets.

 Growing up in Parry Sound, where art stores were an anomaly, I saved my hard earned monies and sent away in the mail for my first wooden paint box filled with oil paints.  Another world was opened.

 And my father has been forever my artistic mentor and inspiration. For him as well, making ART just is. Throughout his working life, his down time was art. And now retired for many years, painting has been his daily focus. Bizarre looking characters juxtaposed in weird often morbid environments cover many a canvas and the walls and ceilings of a past owned barn aptly named the “Sistine Barn”. And cut out painted plywood characters decorated former gardens and now mine.

 My life’s direction has never been a “direct line of fire”; often the circuitous routes have been my path. The idea or awareness that anyone goes to school to specialize in the arts was not a part of my family’s consciousness, let alone mine.

 After high school, I studied History and English at Trent University with no idea where that was going to lead. Luckily, a few years later, I met someone who recommended that I apply for Art College. And of course needing to make money to live, I chose and studied Graphic Design at George Brown College in Toronto and went on to work in this field for many years.Image

 And then one day a number of years ago, I found paint or paint found me again and the rest is history. I found Graphic Design was not my passion and I was able to make social work my vocation in order to pay the bills and every morning paint before work and on weekends.

Like my father, people are my muse. Through the use of symbolism and the interplay of colour, pattern and texture, I explore something of the enigma and wonder they arouse in me. The eccentrics and misfits of our world hold a continual fascintation: incongruous characters, placed within an everyday setting, portray an episode that appears to be part of a more complex narrative. The figures frequently take the form of caricature. People in period dress, heightened through the use of exaggeration, evoke a place out of time. The surface humour featured in many of my paintings belies an undercurrent of melancholy that often emerges upon extended viewings.


Sarah Palmer




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Michelle Leblanc Lawrence

An interview with Michelle Leblanc Lawrence by Rachelle Smith


Tell me a bit about yourself. Where you were born? What are your roots? 

I was born in Kapuskasing, a smallish town in Northern Ontario. My twin sister and I are the youngest of a very large French Canadian family. I lived in Kap until the age of 17 when I left to go to OCA. Many years later, in 1989, I came to Guelph. I attended U of G, where I graduated with an honours BA in French. I loved it here so I stayed.

When did you know yourself to be an artist?

 ImageI knew myself to be an artist at around age 13 or 14. I just couldn’t get enough of drawing. I dreamt about drawing (literally) and in all my daydreams I pictured myself living the bohemian life of an artist. My parents didn’t support my decision to go to art school and so I was on my own financially. I got a part-time job as a bilingual operator for American Express and supported myself that way. It was evidence of my need and dedication to pursue Art. OCA as it was known in the 70s, was smaller back then; there were only about 700 of us in the whole school. It was the best experience of my life.

 Whose art and style has influenced you the most? 

There are many artists whom I love and whose body of works has influenced me over the years. Most are contemporary. My favourites at the moment include Motherwell, Rothko and Twombly but I also love Pollock, Pratt, Coughtry, Bush, Riopelle, Frankenthaler… I admire their use of colour, lines, marks, detail, colour fields, texture…and what their respective art evokes in me.

The stark landscape of the North has always had an influence on my work. I’m also from an artistic family. One of my fondest memories is of sitting on my mom’s knee watching as she drew a horse and thinking how magical it was that she could do that and that I could recognize the image as a horse.

What can you tell me about the creative process

The works spring from my vision and my ideas, but it the process comes down to understanding the elements of composition and understanding colour. I paint to music mostly but I find silence to be just as evocative. I like having incense burning too…. So I guess many senses guide me and stimulate my creative psyche and facilitate the process.

The title of the show you’re having at Whitestone in May is Un temps vécu : vestiges de mon passé.  How is this title significant?

ImageWith this show I am going back to my roots. I have been focusing on those significant experiences in my life in order to create the pieces. Most are on paper, which is fitting for a girl from a pulp and paper town. I have used words in these works as well. Un temps vécu literally means Moments Lived. Vestiges de mon passé means the Traces of my Past. There is a play on words in there as well about the literal marks/traces that I leave on the works, whether with the brush, my fingers or the charcoal.

You have a show scheduled with other francophone artists in the fall?

Yes with Richard Pilon and Daniel Durocher, good friends and excellent artists who also live in Guelph. The show will be at the Bartlett Gallery in Alton Mills in September, 2014.

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New Show – Cause and Effect – By Whitestone Member Heather Wood

March 1st – March 29th

Opening Reception – Friday March 7 from 7-9pm

The notion of cause and effect is one that I recognize daily.  My walks through the woods, the news of the day, my interactions with man, beasts and plants constantly remind me of the concept of one.  Reciprocity, wonder, and respect are the themes I wish to acknowledge and share through my drawings, paintings and glasswork.


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Welcome New Member Noella Upitis

As an only child in a family of graphic designers (the infamous Ralph Tibbles who designed the Canada Wordmark, my uncle), I was driven to create.

ImageAs a teen, it appeared to me that graphic design was a viable way to make a living, so with no hesitation I set off to OCAD at 17 (known as OCA at the time).  I wasn’t there long before, in my 2nd year, I discovered that I was NOT a graphic designer.  However, the feasibility of being a fine artist seemed unconscionable to my young mind.  So I completed my four years there and left that dream behind.

Next, I set off to the University of Guelph to pursue a bachelor’s degree, which my Latvian father viewed as my ticket to all things stable and good.  I graduated with an honours degree in Fine Art and Psychology.

Time passed and I became the proud mother of two sons, Max and Noah.  When they were very young I attended teachers college, and in 2002 entered the field of teaching. Over the years I have had the pleasure to learn from, and with, aspiring artists in their pre-teen to teen years.

In 2011, I was ecstatic to find a home in Guelph with a separate studio at the back of the property.  Now I was out of excuses as to why I wasn’t painting, and it was at this time that my journey as an artist truly began.  So much time had passed and so many questions remained unanswered.  Who was I as a painter? What did I want to express?

So I started my journey exploring my abstract side, painting exclusively on canvas using acrylic as my medium.  I had a solo show in Toronto at Bending Spoons Gallery, and sold most of my work in the first night.  This both surprised and motivated me to keep moving forward!


2012 became the pursuit of all things decorative.  Having always been fascinated with design and interiors, I experimented with damasks and my work became highly detailed. William Morris was my muse.  This detailed work led me to a switch in mediums moving to painting on board, as canvas was too bouncy for the amount of detail I was trying to achieve.  This was also the year that I became a member of the Guelph Studio Tour.

In 2013 further discoveries took place.  Yoga found me, and I believe that this kick started a deeper, intentional process of understanding who I am becoming.  I spent a great deal of time painting and drawing pieces that represented the natural world. Trees, flowers, insects, amphibians and organic form became my focus.  I also switched to pen and ink as my detail intensified.


Finding myself in 2014, I am extremely excited about creating a new body of work, which I believe will be truest to my core.  An environmentalist at heart, I am deeply troubled with the state of the natural world around us.  It is from this environmental perspective that I will be painting this year.  Frustration, wonder, anger, awe are all subjects that I will be pursuing.  The environment is such a passion of mine that it cannot help but spill out onto my boards.  I am looking forward to what will manifest as a more concrete expression of my passion in the coming year.  As a new member of the Whitestone, I can’t think of a better place to present this.

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Welcome Whitestone Member & Glass Artist Barbara Bryce

Interviewed by Whitestone member Nancy Farrell

Sitting down to chat with glass artist Barbara Bryce, I became exhausted just listening to her busy creative schedule.Image

 As a youngster Barb enjoyed exploring the local bush, fields, ravines of her native Thornhill; she became fascinated by discarded objects…bits of junk, including glass.  At an early age Barb also had a natural inclination for drawing as well as tinkering, taking things apart and then reassembling and repurposing them.  Her natural curiosity, and the presence of her dad’s power tools, provided the opportunity to create by manipulating objects. 

  Barb is strongly driven to create in glass, enjoying the colour, texture, sparkle, and fragility of the material.  She is drawn to the stories that lie behind each particular glass shard, who owned it and what it meant.     Her degree in Landscape Architecture in1983 stimulated an increased awareness of all the design elements which she then applied to her glass work.  Initially, Barb worked in the more traditional methods of stained glass, but she quickly moved to using both found glass and found objects in her work.  She particularly enjoys commissions, using objects and glass that have a history with the owner and manipulating and repurposing them into treasured keepsakes. 


  Among her other pursuits, Barb is active with local theatre groups, designing masks, costumes, props and sets for the Guelph Little Theatre. And every year she works with Sue Smith helping to design, organize and stage a local children’s show.  She is also active in the Tai Chi community, helping to teach four days a week.  She has recently travelled to Madrid and Vancouver to improve her skill level with various forms.   And I forgot to add that that she has lived on several continents. 

An individual driven to create…….we will see her latest endeavors at her solo show with Whitestone Gallery in July.  The show will contain both masks and glass and will be especially child friendly!  I Can’t wait to see it.     


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