Art reference

“Connection” to the natural elements, wildlife and indigenous life presented at the art exhibition

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The In the Spirit of the Land art exhibit and sale will return to the Old Town Hall in Richards Landing on St. Joseph’s Island for Labor Day weekend . The event takes place on September 2, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., September 3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and September 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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This is the second year that the event has been held, which is destined to become a not-to-be-missed annual event for art lovers of all disciplines. This special exhibit, exhibit and group sale honors the legacy of the late Doug Hook, as well as the northern landscape and Indigenous culture.

Hook died in April 2021 at the age of 77. He left a legacy that will continue to be loved and respected by so many. The internationally acclaimed watercolourist was a longtime resident of St. Joseph Island and was known for his paintings of northern landscape and wildlife.

Shortly after Hook’s passing, Poldmaa, who has known this distinguished artist since she was 17, sat down with fellow visual artist Warren Peterson and chatted about her friend.

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“Doug Hook was a true friend and gentleman,” she told the Sault Star.

In the Spirit of the Land emerged from that conversation, and the show will now be an annual Labor Day weekend event, just as Hook had done for decades. This will serve to keep Hook’s dedication and spirit alive.

Last year’s hosts Taimi Poldmaa, Zoey Wood-Salomon and Warren Peterson will be joined this year by Duff Jennings and Errol Caldwell. Each has their own artistic discipline that reveals their inherent connections to the natural elements and spiritual messages at the heart of their work.

Unfortunately, Warren Peterson has informed his fellow ‘In the Spirit of the Earth’ that due to last minute unforeseen circumstances he will be unable to attend this year’s event.

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Poldmaa is a landscape oil painter whose work is contemporary and figurative with abstractions of color, line and form.

“My art represents my adventurous nature established in early childhood by exploring the wilderness.”

Poldmaa is working on a new project that also involves a book, which could take two years to complete. It won’t be part of the show. But a taste reveals it’s wild, edible plants and the flavors of Northern Ontario.

She took nature walks with her grandchildren to discover the intricacies and simplicities of nature that support our daily lives. They would bring things back to research. They learned to make a flower press and a herbarium.

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Paintings will be woven into the project with inherent connections to nature and she is very enthusiastic about this evolving project. It started with COVID-19 which kept people isolated from each other, but the outdoors presented itself as a reasonable escape, even temporarily.

In the Spirit of the Land will be his only show this year.

Errol Caldwell, owner-operator of The Turning Point Woodworking and Photography, appreciates the invitation to join In the Spirit of the Land as a group partner.

He uses Ontario wood 95% of the time to create woodturnings such as plates, bowls, platters, cutting and charcuterie boards, tealights and tables. He likes to use burls for added effects as they have a nice grain. Maple, yellow birch, walnut are some of his favorites.

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Many of his clientele will be familiar with his booth at Mill Market, but he feels being asked to partner with In the Spirit of the Land gives him an opportunity to be optimistic again.

COVID has wreaked havoc on all things social, and many have paid the price.

He dabbled in photography for years, but took a professional approach to landscape and wildlife photography about five years ago. His originals come in prints, cards and calendars.

He is looking forward to reuniting with his clients after a long break.

“If anyone has seen a piece from previous shows, message me to bring it, if it’s still available,” Caldwell said.

Zoey Wood-Salomon’s art is in the traditional woodwind style that reflects her Odawa heritage. A self-taught artist, his original paintings are a combination of daily life and traditional legends of his heritage and culture.

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She attended Indian Day School in Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, Manitoulin Island, the lands of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi peoples. They are known as the Three Fires Confederacy.

Her teachers had told her at the time that she didn’t know what she was doing in art or what it was about.

Just recently, she was offered an art exhibit at the Thunderbird Gallery in Alpena, Michigan, for November and December 2023. She said he was excited about it and thought it was something to look forward to.

Most recently, Wood-Salomon was commissioned by Wawa Family Health Team Nurse Practitioner Julie Hunter to create a painting that reflects their involvement in reconciliation with members of their Indigenous community.

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“The concepts were put together by our Indigenous elders and committee members,” Wood-Salomon said in a text message.

The work measures 36 inches by 48 inches and it has humorously questioned itself more than once; “What have I gotten myself into?” But she persevered, completing it after working six hours a day for six weeks, ironically proving her Indian Day School teachers dead wrong.

Warren Peterson is a contemporary realist who paints in acrylics. It uses multiple layers and glazes of color to create and reflect the beauty of nature.

He is a self-taught artist who has been painting for 50 years and never tires of the challenge and inspiration of nature. His images draw the viewer into his works. Her emotional attachment to the land is conveyed through the painting. Viewers feel they are in that exact place.

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His permanent exposure to the works of the Group of Seven and their painting expeditions to the Algoma region reflects some of their influence in his paintings. He teaches landscape painting and drawing with workshops and carries out commissions.

Her works are available at the Ethel Curry Gallery in Haliburton, Ontario and in private collections in Canada, the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

He uses his own spectacular photographic images as reference material for his paintings and the results capture nature at its best. He also teaches landscape painting techniques.

Duff Jennings is an emerging artist and new to the scene. Although she has had a long interest in art, she had to choose a career where she could feed herself.

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During the Covid-19, she went to the studio to pursue an artistic path. She now works in colored pencil and pastel which are two dry mediums. She likes colored pencils on drawing paper, pastel paper for multiple layers and subtle color changes.

Although she admits that she has not yet found her niche, Art and Photography express the simple curiosity of light and color. His most recent work follows a common thread of color and realism. She prefers realism to simplicity of communication because she understands herself and does not need translation.

Her rewarding career in pharmacy met her artistic calling in 2019, where a journey was launched into the wonderful world of art, currently creating pet portraits.

A member of the Algoma Art Society, one of his paintings earned entry into the Northern Ontario Art Association (NOAA). She is especially thrilled to be invited to join this show.

“I feel like I’m in the shadow of the giants, they’re the mentors.”

Visitors to the exhibition and sale will be able to choose from a wide range of unique, professionally created artistic treasures.

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