Adding a sculptural element to Beach garden tour

Visitors to the Gardens of the Beach Tour, organized by the Beach Garden Society, might have noticed some interesting sculptures over the past seven years.

Pensive, by Marilyn Walsh
Pensive, by Marilyn Walsh

Society member and artist Marilyn Walsh has been placing her ciment fondu sculptures in gardens on the tour during that time, adding an artistic element to the popular tour.

Walsh took up art upon retirement, though she’s been creating art in one form or another since drawing on a chalkboard wall in her childhood home.

She attended Central Tech’s adult art program, learning painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics and more. She took a shine to sculpture, and discovered a love for the bronze-like colour of polished ciment fondu.

The material, high in aluminum content, is particularly suited to garden sculptures, as it’s extremely durable. The material is resistant to wear from chemicals or exposure to the elements, and isn’t impacted by extremes of heat or cold.

She’s constantly experimenting with the limitations of the medium, building custom armatures to support wings, outstretched arms and other aspects beyond a standard bust-type sculpture.

“I’m always trying to go beyond the boundaries of what I’ve been taught,” said Walsh. “I usually start from the absolute realistic standpoint, and then I decide how does this sculpture speak to me, what do I want to say with it, how do I want to tweak it so that it’s not just going to be a head?”

Ici, by Marilyn Walsh
Ici, by Marilyn Walsh

The wings, arms and other additions are usually added to an initial workup done from a live model. Walsh said her imagination drives her to do something different with each one of a kind piece.

“The work that I do is basically figurative, and more or less realistic, however I do sort of add an imaginative mythological twist to things,” she said. “I always try to do something a little different.”

The Gardens of the Beach tour runs from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 22 at various locations. Tickets are $10, available from East of Eliza, 1960 Gerrard St. E.; Trinity Gallery, 920 Kingston Rd. and 149 Main St.; Cool, Green and Shady, 601 Kingston Rd.; and Pet Valu, 2210 Queen St. E.

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