For this month, the Winnipeg River Arts Council features Cathie Brereton, a wood carver from RM of Lac du Bonnet. Born and raised in Ottawa, she’s been coming out to the family cottage since 1990. After retirement from Winnipeg careers in 1994, Cathie and husband Rick became year-round residents.
When Cathie saw how much Rick enjoyed carving, she tried it. In Winnipeg, they belonged to a group called “Les Gens du Bois.” This name means “people of the wood” and is taken from the title of a book by Benoit Des Chenes, whose carvings can be found in St. Boniface churches, hospitals, and many other places. In June, the Breretons plan to visit him in his home town, Ste. Jean Port Jolie, Quebec – “The Carving Capital of Canada.”
Brereton’s passion for wood and wildlife drive her art. She says, “I also love it because I get to spend time with Rick, carving and going to shows. Also, I like the creative process, the freedom of forgetting about perfection.”
She has won various acclamations, including “Best of Show” and “People’s Choice” in Lake Bronson, Minnesota, and also awards from Prairie Canada Competition in Winnipeg. She loves classes and shows, and says, “The people we meet are so interesting, a whole different culture, getting together and sharing secrets.”
The preferred material is basswood, from Minnesota. It is a hardwood and holds details, but doesn’t chip or crumble.
The Breretons host informal classes at their Cape Coppermine home. About twenty-seven adults attend, (but not all at once) to learn about reading grains and handling tools. Brereton says “People just throw in a few bucks to pay for materials. I’m always amazed by how quickly people learn and how projects turn out.”
Brereton also quilts and belongs to the Riverside Quilters, and enjoys creating beaded bracelets. Along with her work as reeve, she has more than enough to keep herself occupied.
For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council features Pinawa writer Michael Luke. Born in England, he came to Canada at age ten and grew up in the Montreal area, on the banks of the beautiful Richelieu River. After graduating with a B.Sc. he did research at a major pharmaceutical company in Montreal for several years before moving with his wife, Anna, and newborn son to Pinawa to take up a job with AECL. Apart from two years in Victoria and two years in Deep River, Ontario, Luke has lived in Pinawa ever since.
He says, “Writing for me has been an ever-present hobby, something I’ve enjoyed for as long as I can remember. I can recall as a teenager buying thirty-five cent paperbacks and thinking to myself that one day I’d like to see my name on a book.”
It took over fifty years, and retirement, but Luke finally made it with his first novel, The Perfect Candidate, a self-published murder mystery set in and around the Whiteshell area. The most gratifying aspect of getting into print has been the reaction of local readers who have told Luke how much they enjoyed his novel.
The Perfect Candidate is the first book of a trilogy. Book 2, The Morning Light Conspiracy, will be available in June. For both books, the many moods of the Winnipeg River, at times scintillating and joyful, at others dark and moody, have been both an inspiration and an effective backdrop. Luke is keen to encourage others with a story to tell or a history to recount to get into print or to go the eBook route. These days, for anyone interested, a range of helpful tools can assist in producing this kind of self-expression.
Luke also serves as chair of Pinawa Library Board and would like to see rural libraries take a bigger role in facilitating authorship.
For this month, the Winnipeg River Arts Council features the Edgewater Recreation Commission, with its goal of providing quality recreation and opportunities that encourage and promote healthy living.
Although it is located in Powerview-Pine Falls, it also serves people from adjoining regions: the Beaches, Great Falls, Stead, St. Georges, and other areas on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. In fact, forty to fifty per cent of participants in their programs come from outside the town.
Edgewater Recreation Commission started out on July 30, 1981, as the Pine Falls Recreation Association. The present Recreation Director, Lori Vialoux, has worked for the commission since 2007. She lives in Traverse Bay, and her family ran the Birchwood Motor Hotel for twenty years, so she knows the people and the area well.
Edgewater Recreation joined WRAC because many of their programs include arts activities. They hold PHAT Camp for kids, with dance, theatre, and creative movement. At various times, they’ve offered guitar and fiddle lessons. In the annual Fall Fest, they hold photography and scarecrow decorating contests. In summer day camps, the kids make lots of art, mixed in with exercise and competitions.
Edgewater also offered a special program called “Creative Families,” in partnership with Wings of Power. Every week, adults and kids of various ages got together to work on a specific art project. One week, they took water colour lessons from Victoria Beach artist, Nancy Lou Ateah. In other sessions, they created tie-dye tee-shirts, beaded necklaces, soap, and lamps.
Vialoux also helped organize the Beaches Drama Club. Actors of all ages would meet at the Victoria Beach Sports Club, start rehearsing in January, and put on productions in June. Vialoux says, “This group is still interested in performing, but we haven’t got the energy to put on a show right now.”
In 2014, Edgewater Recreation organized “Fall in Love with Art.” For four weeks in the fall, students met in Powerview School art room, after regular classes ended, and worked with visual artist, Roberta Laliberte, creating mini-collages (“Junk Journaling”) in old books. For another four weeks, they worked with Nancy Lou Ateah.
For 2015 Winter Fest, Vialoux hired a professional snow sculptor to give lessons. He carved a giant snow horse for the festival and taught kids how to make snow sculptures.
In addition to arts, Edgewater coordinates and promotes local sports, recreation, and fitness programs. Examples of their unique programs include: dog obedience, Kids in the Kitchen, Earth Day activities, Growing Your Own Mushrooms, science camps. They distribute a wide-ranging annual publication listing dozens of activities, events, and groups.
Please note an upcoming opportunity to make art with Edgewater – on April 18, Nancy Lou Ateah will be teaching a water colour workshop from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The venue will be announced at a later date.
An exciting opportunity is coming for all artists and art lovers in the Eastman region!
Tap into your creativity and share your talent! You are invited to participate in the Eastman Judged Art Exhibition 2015 which will be taking place in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba from July 31 to August 2.
Artists will be able to showcase and sell work and also have their pieces adjudicated by three professional judges. Categories for entry include painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, ceramics, sculpture, fibre arts, mixed media and digital art.
If you do not have e-mail, contact Del Lion, Entry Coordinator at 204-345-6443
This month, the Winnipeg River Arts Council features Bernice Phillips, a visual artist from Powereview-Pine Falls. Although she has lived there for thirty-nine years, she still feels inspired by the beauty of the river and surrounding forests.
Phillips grew up in Rivers, Manitoba, but moved to the area in grade ten. After marriage, she lived in Toronto for two years, but returned to be closer to her family and nature.
Phillips paints mostly with acrylics, on various surfaces, and likes to decorate useable objects such as glass blocks and furniture. She also learned how to use water colours and airbrush, and paints murals on walls of all kinds.
Like many artists, she took up painting after attending a workshop. Since then, she has taken many classes and gone on to instruct other artists. She notes two workshops which especially influenced her, one with Nancy Lou Ateah from Victoria Beach, and another with Roberta Laliberte from Powerview-Pine Falls.
Phillips likes experimenting, and reads to learn more about brushes, paint and other products. She says, “I look at growing things, to see how they’re put together. I try to replicate that.”
In 2013, she exhibited her work at Eastman Judged Art Exhibition in Pinawa. During March, her paintings will be displayed at Gwen Fox Gallery in Selkirk, which will also showcase the art of her sister, Emily De Groot. Phillips used to sell her work, along with forty other artists, at the Artists’ Coop near Grand Beach. She also served on the Winnipeg River Arts Council board.
For twelve years, Phillips sold local artists’ work in her store, “Through the Arbour,” in downtown Pine Falls. This store also carried coffee, chocolates, handicrafts, health foods and herbal products. Her husband, Jon Phillips, does massage therapy in a room in the back and proudly shows visitors examples of his wife’s art.
Recently, Phillips downsized her business but the store is still open and the massage therapy continues. She says, “I am grateful; my family has always supported my art. It means a lot to me.”
For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council features woodcarver Rick Brereton from Lac du Bonnet.
Brereton’s work is known throughout western Canada and the north central USA. His highly skilled knowledge and passion for his craft has him much in demand on both sides of the border. As an accomplished carver, he has won many best of show awards. He is also an experienced and knowledgeable competition judge and a sought-after instructor, teaching woodcarving throughout the year in Canada and the USA.
Brereton grew up on a farm near Birtle, Manitoba where he developed a love of wildlife and a passion for working with wood from his father, a carpenter and farmer. During a thirty-five year career with the Winnipeg Police Service, he honed his skills of working with people and developed a strong background as a qualified hands-on instructor.
He joined a woodcarving club twenty-three years ago and has continued developing his skills and sharing them with others. Brereton and his wife Cathie, also an accomplished woodcarver and crafter, have spent a great deal of time promoting their passion for woodcarving, and working for the woodcarving community to help it grow and develop.
Brereton has worked with many of the world`s top woodcarving instructors, but credits his early local mentors for the true inspiration for his work. In the early years, he fell in love with relief style woodcarving, which led to many commissioned carvings, including a large buffalo relief at the University of Manitoba and a series of large historical panels in Minnesota.
Retirement brought the Rick and Cathie Brereton to their lakeside home in Coppermine. Their woodcarving shop, on the second floor of their garage, is the weekly gathering place for over twenty-five people learning the craft. Brereton believes that encouraging new carvers to share in his passion provides him a wealth of satisfaction.
The accompanying picture shows him with what he considers one of his best relief carvings, The Wizard, which has earned him a number of Best of Show awards.
For this month, Winnipeg River Arts council features quilter and fibre artist, Karen Munn. With her husband, she moved from Winnipeg to work as Pinawa Golf Club’s chef and manager but, in 2006, she retired from this job.
Munn is now the owner of Karen’s Market and Quilt Stop in Pinawa. She says, “If someone had told me forty years ago that I’d quilting and doing fibre art, I wouldn’t have believed them.”
In 1959, she joined the Navy but left after three years, married and moved to Edmonton. After her son was born, she worked as a server but found she liked the kitchen better. It was where she discovered the joy of cooking different ethnic foods and inventing recipes. There were not many women chefs around in the sixties but she managed to take cooking lessons. Although she spent several years doing other jobs, she eventually opened a company in Winnipeg called Tasty Vittles. For almost ten years, she supplied frozen meals to seniors.
After retiring from the golf course kitchen, Munn wrote cookbooks and spoke about wellness to groups around Manitoba but soon realized there was still something missing. Then she discovered quilting and learned how to co-ordinate colours, putting them together to make something unique and beautiful. She says, “It was the hobby that got away. Like cooking, my imagination went to work and it seems that I could not learn enough.”
After Winnipeg fibre artist, Pat Findley, came to Pinawa to teach about fibre art, this class unleashed Munn’s other fabric talents. Now she adds buttons, beads and other items to her quilted backgrounds. She says, “If I had more time, I’d have so many pieces that there would no place to store them.”
The public can view one of her pieces at the recently opened WRAC office, at 4 Park Avenue, Lac du Bonnet, or visit Karen’s Market & Quilt Stop, S20 – 24 Aberdeen in Pinawa. If you go there, you might catch her making another picture in fibre art.
In the accompanying picture, you can see Karen Munn seated beside the beautiful “Love Quilt” she made and donated to the Winnipeg River Arts Council for a raffle to raise funds for the upcoming Manitoba Theatre Centre’s touring presentation of “Armstrong’s War” on February 14, 2015.
For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council features photographer Stu Iverson from Pinawa. He has been taking pictures all my life, progressing from a black and white darkroom he built as a teenager to his present digital color “darkroom.”
Iverson’s training and career were in science so only recently in his retirement has he found the time, energy, and opportunity to devote to the serious study of photography including color printing. The combination of digital cameras, which allow easy experimentation, with the internet, which provides an incredible information resource, has allowed him to progress at a rate which would have been unthinkable only twenty years ago.
He shoots mainly nature and landscape scenes from across Canada, from Newfoundland to British Columbia and the Yukon, and in Manitoba from the southern regions to Churchill. He has also travelled further afield.
He says that his best pictures have a kind of simplicity where the elements in the frame all work together. His style is naturalistic, similar to the pictures found in National Geographic, and he likes the subject of the photo to be the centre of attention without adding distracting styles or techniques.
He states, “Of course, the real world is far from simple. The greatest challenges are to select and fine-tune the view through the lens and then seize the critical moment to click the shutter. The next challenge is translating the digital image into a print on paper while maintaining the impact of the original scene.”
Although he finds inspiration in new and exotic locations, he finds plenty of subjects and inspiration hiking on the Trans-Canada Trail or at Old Pinawa, waiting for the sun to set or the fog to start to clear.
Iverson is also a member of Pinawa Art 211. A collection of his photography will be exhibited for the general public at the Pinawa Art Gallery in the Lewis Centre – November 27, 28, 29 and December 4 and 5, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
For this month, the Winnipeg River Arts Council would like to feature visual artist, Marilyn McNish, who lives on the shores of the beautiful Manigotagan River. Manigotagan is one of the smaller communities in the north Eastman region. It is located at the mouth of the river, east of the Manigotagan Provincial Park, a popular and accessible destination for whitewater canoeists.
Following many years in the corporate environment, semi-retirement finally provided McNish the freedom to focus on her true passion – painting. She now has the time and energy to dedicate herself to this art form, and has created a new art career.
She is a self-taught artist who paints vibrant and colorful paintings from photographs or memory, with her most popular medium being acrylic.
Recently, she participated in the Manitoba Art Expo where she displayed her artwork and created a themed art piece and video called, “Missing Children,” for the special Showcase Gallery for Human Rights. She also teaches art classes from her home, displays her artwork in corporate offices, and participates in various art shows and juried events, including the Eastman Judged Art Exhibit in Pinawa.
Her subjects and interests vary, allowing McNish to paint many interesting compositions, which she feels diversifies and challenges her skills. Her artistic themes include local wilderness, prairie vistas, farmyard animals, birds, flowers, trees, winter scenes, wildlife, boats, planes, beaches, oceans, images from her travels, and various illustrations intended to evoke thought and contemplation.
The Winnipeg River Arts Council features Eastern Manitoba Concert Association (EMCA).
For over four decades, the Eastern Manitoba Concert Association (EMCA) has presented professional entertainment, providing a venue for talented artists and enriching cultural life in Eastman.
The idea originated in the laundry room of a Pinawa apartment block. In 1971, two young mothers, Yvonne Oldaker (ballet tutor/examiner) and Joyce Hart (formerly with Winnipeg Art Gallery) met while folding diapers. Both lamented the loss of their previous artsy lifestyles. To fill this gap, they decided to hire artists to perform in Pinawa. Neither had money, but they agreed to risk it.
The first concert, a quartet, was held in Kelsey House (now Wilderness Edge) and sold enough tickets to convince the women to continue. A second concert, at F.W. Gilbert School, featured Winnipeg dancers. A third event showcased George Swinton (artist and historian) and was allegedly held in Pinawa Public Library.
The EMCA formula is simple: quality concerts and a rewarding volunteer experience. It has hosted hundreds of Manitoban, Canadian and international artists. Winners of Junos, Prairie and East Coast Music Awards and even Grammy and Oscars have appeared on the Pinawa stage. Some examples: Buffy Ste. Marie, Leona Boyd, Ian Tyson, Stan Rogers, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Natalie McMaster.
With volunteer production and local sponsors, EMCA gives Eastern Manitobans A-list performances at affordable prices. Subscribers come from Pinawa, Lac du Bonnet, Whitemouth, Seven Sisters, Powerview-Pine Falls, Beausejour, Nopiming and Whiteshell Parks.
The Winnipeg River Arts Council features Sculptor Paul Lussier.
Sculptor Paul Lussier was born into a creative St. Boniface family. At a young age, he and his siblings spent hours playing with plasticene. They created anything their imaginations could conjure – towns and forts and fantastic creatures.
They also spent many days at his aunt and uncle’s home. His uncle was a famous St Boniface architect (Etienne Gaboury) and his aunt was a reputable potter. Their house was filled with sculptures and modern art. This exposure encouraged Lussier to enter an art contest at school. He went to a construction site, gathered clay, created an old man in Québec city’s “artisanat” style and placed second in the contest.
Lussier left Winnipeg to teach at Powerview School where he met gifted art teacher, Sister Pauline Ménard. He took her pottery classes and discovered he liked working on the wheel but his real inspiration lay in formed structures.
Later on, he took an “attelier” with Saskatchewan sculptor Joe Fafard whose colourful caricatures led him into the style he loves today.
After thirty-one years of teaching, he retired and then decided to refocus on his artistic side. He took a course at Winnipeg Art Gallery with Nancy Litchfield-Hutchison, a ceramic instructor with over thirty years of experience. She taught him different techniques, emphasized putting emotions into clay and encouraged him to take time on details.
He has exhibited his sculptures at St. Boniface Cultural Centre and, in August of 2014, he participated in the ArtWave show in Lac du Bonnet. He’s currently doing a project inspired by photos of John Paskievich (The North End) and also enjoys sculpting local people.
Lussier says, “Even though I prefer doing older people, I am fascinated by the human form. I like to capture certain emotions in the clay … a look of struggle and despair, yet hope… a look of joy at seeing a friend. I hope to continue to do sculptures that capture our humanness.”