Julie Clark has developed a unique photographic medium that combines her first love, photography, with encaustic, which is applying hot wax to art works. It’s a technique that has garnered her plenty of attention in the art world.
“I first print the photograph on fine, archival quality photo rag paper,” Clark explains. “Then I mount the photo on a thick artist board. Then I apply the hot wax, and use a brush to get the texture the way I want it.”
Unless you are familiar with encaustic, it may seem like a strange technique to you. I mean, how do you heat the wax? “I have a hotplate downstairs,” Clark says. “It’s always on with a kettle of wax simmering.”
Julie Clark will open her studio at 166 Bellefair Ave. the weekend of Oct. 21 through 23 as part of Beach Fall Studio Tour. She is one of 23 local and visiting artists that you will be able to visit during this year’s tour.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Julie Clark came with her family to Canada in 1967, and grew up in Don Mills. After studying Film Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, and Broadcasting at Mohawk College, she finally, in 1987, settled in the Beach.
“I don’t want to move again,” she said.
She took up photography seriously after a brief layoff from her job (she is currently a video news editor at Global TV). In 2009 she packed up and headed west to Missoula, Montana, to attend the Rocky Mountain School of Photography.
“It is a five-month intensive crash course in photography,” Clark recalled. “You attend six days a week, nine to nine each day. It’s the equivalent of a three-year community college course here. I drove out and back myself. It was quite an adventure.” When she got back from Montana she took a course in encaustic in Toronto’s Distillery District, married the two art forms, and was on her way. As far as she knows, she is the only photographer that combines encaustic with her photos. This summer she won the DECA Danforth East Arts Fair’s People’s Choice Award, as well as the Best in Show at the Niagara on the Lake Art Fair.
This appearance marks Clark’s third with the Beach Studio Tour. She is also a member of the Beach Photo Club, and has two photos as part of the club’s annual calendar (December 2011, and October 2012). She belongs to The Artists’ Network which sponsors the annual Riverdale Art Walk, and plans on participating in Movies and Makers, a craft show held in December at The Fox theatre.
When you enter Clark’s studio/home, you are met with a wall of beautiful photos of her native Scotland. “I call it my Scottish Wall.” She returns every so often to Scotland, and was there last summer. She showed me a stunning photo of majestic Duart Castle, the seat of the Clan MacLean, which conjured up memories of my trip there in 1977. She also showed us an eerie photo of a weathered stone skull on a gravestone near Stonehaven. “My father used to tell me this was a pirate’s grave,” Clark said.
“I take a lot of photos of flowers,” she said. “I like gardening.” The front yard of her home is an example of that. “And now I like to go to larger public gardens like the Horticultural Gardens in Niagara on the Lake.” It’s mostly the photos of flowers to which she applies her encaustic technique. “I take images of things like rusty objects, a crack in a wall, an old baking screen, and Photoshop them into my original photo until I have several layers. Then I apply the wax.” The resulting piece of art is often mistaken for a painting.
You can see many different examples of her work at www.julieclarkphotography.com.
Clark will be sharing her studio/home space for the Beach Fall Studio Tour with jeweler, Lara Bazant. They will be two of 23 artists displaying their work in 14 different locations across the Beach. Other artists include jeweler Gill Birol, hand weaver Lucille Creighton, photographer John Dowding, and fine artist Nathalie Vachon, all of whom we have featured in the Beach Arts Scene column at one time or another as part of the Beach Studio Tour.
The tour is self guided, so be sure to pick up a brochure available at many businesses and libraries in the Beach. At each studio you will be treated to light refreshments, and have a chance to win a piece of art donated by each of the participating artists. It’s a wonderful way to spend a fall weekend, taking in the colours of both the leaves, and the work of these fine artists.
For more information, and to print out a map, visit www.beachstudiotour.ca.
Beach artist and writer Chinkok Tan is having an exhibition of his recent works Oct. 19 through 30, at Todmorden Mills Gallery, 67 Pottery Rd. Tan has been one of the country’s most prolific painters with a career spanning more than 40 years. His large scale pieces “evoke the quiet, serene beauty of landscapes.” He has a talent for capturing the essence of light and colour on canvas. For more information visit his website at www.chinkoktan.com.
There will be an opening reception Oct. 22 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. with Tan available for discussions. For more information call the Todmorden Mills Gallery at 416-396-2819.
SALON 3 X 3 is a special event featuring three local poets and three local artists in conversation about their work and the relationships between art and poetry. This is not just a “show and read.” The artists and poets will talk about the “cross-pollination” that happens when artists and writers of different media “pay attention to each others’ works.”
Participating artists are Tina Conlon, Patsy Berton and Grethe Jensen. The poets are Ann Elizabeth Carson, Gianna Patriarca, and Donna Langevin. Not only will each participant discuss the inspirations they find in the opposing media, but they will engage the audience in “cross-talk” and invite them to create card poems and crayon drawings.
SALON 3 X 3 takes place Oct.30, 2 p.m., at The Merchants of Green Coffee, 2 Matilda St., near Queen and Broadview. Artwork and books will be on display and for sale.
Danielle Ward currently has some examples of her work on display at Life Is Sweet Bakery, 2328 Queen St. E. Ward reports that bakery owner, Clare Sutton is a “very kind supporter.”
Danielle Ward is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design. She uses art now as an escape “to tune out the mayhem of a crazy household.”
“I simply like to follow my heart,” Ward says. “I tend to paint what I want, when I want, in the style I want as the mood grabs me.” She is currently very busy with commissioned children’s portraits.
For more information call Life Is Sweet at 416-698-0555, or visit www.lifeissweet.ca.