Saturday, February 4, 2012

Call to Artists: I HAVE ISSUES




Submissions Due Date: February 12th, 2012

The Gallery is seeking inspired artists with high quality, turbulent art relating to deep rooted issues like obsessive compulsive behavior, admiration and adoration, unrequited love, narcissism, political and religious experiences, workaholics, self-destruction, celebrations, traumas, habits and rituals, women’s issues, daddy issues and familial issues, insomnia, and any other ticks or obsessions with a need for expression. This group show aims to balance the positive and negative effects that unique compulsions and obsessions create; and the drive and creativity that can become the product of these issues. The Gallery is particularly interested in those unique individuals who are able to channel their issues into a productive force. An example would be an artist who experienced a traumatic car accident and now deconstructs cars and makes the materials into beautiful sculptural pieces in order to deal with their new found aversion to vehicles. These art works should be authentic to the individual and their experiences while maintaining the quality expected in a contemporary fine art gallery. Art can include paintings, sculptures, video, photo, words, performance and any other creative outlets possible. Please include artist CV as well as an Artist Statement with photos or CD labeled with the title, size and materials.

Send Submissions and Confessions to: with the title I Have Issues or by post with a stamped self-return address for return of work to: Patrick John Mills Contemporary Fine Art Gallery
286 Hinchey Ave. Ottawa, Ontario. K1Y 1M2.

Only Artists chosen will be contacted

For more information and past exhibitions visit:

Thank you, Patrick

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ottawa Artists - Call for Submissions - Direct Purchase

Another wonderful opportunity.

The City of Ottawa is encouraging submissions from artists who reside in Ottawa or who have lived within the 150 km radius of Ottawa. There are criteria to be met and an application to submit which includes a CD of 10 works.

But there are almost four weeks in which to do this so get going! 

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: City of Ottawa 2012 Direct Purchase
The City of Ottawa is seeking to purchase artworks by professional artists in all visual arts media.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ottawa-based Guerilla Mag going BIG

Yes, Guerilla Magazine is going national! Input from across Canada is being sought. 

 It's announcements such as this that the arts and cultural community love to hear. 

Tony Martins, publisher of Guerilla, is asking for input, be it articles/profiles, photographs or illustrations. He's looking for suggestions on what to put in the magazine, who to feature, offered/written at an absolutely grassroots or "culture at ground level" as he puts it.

Very exciting! If there's something that has caught your eye on this blog that you'd like to hear more about, please contact Tony and ask him to look into it. Or, better yet, investigate for yourself and write an article. Ask him first, if he thinks that it's what Guerilla is looking for.

Here's the announcement as it appeared in Artengine this morn. 

Dear Guerilla readers and supporters:

You may have heard the news that starting with our March 2012 quarterly edition, Guerilla magazine will begin reaching far beyond Ottawa to explore "Canadian culture at ground level." The publishing philosophy hasn't changed, but the story possibilities have grown immensely.

Like any organism, to thrive we need to grow. And despite a proliferation of technologies and new media forms, grassroots Canadian culture remains a woefully underexposed natural phenomenon.

Yes, expanding to a cross-Canada scope is somewhat daunting, but at Guerilla we know that we're not in this alone. From the outset in March of 2004, the magazine has been a collaboration with passionate supporters whose contributions have been fundamental to our longevity. That's why we're not hesitating to ask for your help again now.

Please consider sharing your knowledge of and contact information for:

1. Artists and cultural groups to potentially profile or feature in the magazine
2. Freelance writers, photographers, and illustrators who might like to contribute
3. Cultural scene authorities and insiders with in-depth knowledge of their respective communities

What's appropriate? Our tag "culture at ground level" remains firmly in place. As such, the magazine will continue to favour stories set in a community context. We'll publish in-depth, illuminating, and sometimes experimental pieces that present subjects as the naturally occurring and defining features of Canadian communities.

Though we aim to print the magazine again in the future, our ongoing web publishing includes two core content streams:

1. Quarterly editions published in March, June, September, and December
2. Shorter and newsier content published weekly on our g-Gallery page and several times per week on our Blog and Video pages

(Guerilla pays a $50 honorarium to writers, photographers, and graphic artists who make original contributions to our quarterly editions.)

With equal emphasis on the celebrated and the unknown, the historic and avant-garde, we'll continue to offer profiles, Q&A interviews, essays, analysis and criticism, fiction and poetry, pictorials, transcripts and dialogues, and other emerging forms of material.

By presenting all subject matter with an inclusive and approachable tone, we'll both engage and challenge with eye-opening stories rooted in a country of untold cultural breadth and depth.

To put the mission more simply, we're looking for local arts stories from clear across Canada.

Got ideas? Drop us a line at
Guerilla Magazine
102-145 Clarence Street
Ottawa Ontario K1N 1B7

Painting outside... it starts to Snow... Smile

Bank and Laurier. January 31st, 2012. - Painting Outside in the Winter... and it starts to snow.
Some days you just do not want to work. You just want to sink into doing nothing. The gravity pulls you into wishing to waste the day. My mind was parked. My soul pushed. With a lot of motivation I managed to get all my equipment into my car.

I knew the weather was going to be temperamental. As it was announced on CBC Radio One the night before and again in the morning. I drove into the city and the song, "I Love Rock n Roll" started to play. Perfect. I was pumped. In the zone.

The parking lot was FULL. So I had to use coin meter parking. I was not thrilled about this. I do not own a watch, nor a phone, no electronic devices. So not way to tell time. So I had to keep mental time. The parking space was 1 hour painting. Enough said. You get the idea.

While unpacking the equipment from the car the bottle of mixing medium broke. So I walked over to the Art Supply store to pick up some linseed oil.

The sky was filled with yellow. Just before it started to snow the sky warmed with this stuffed yellow glow. The clouds were like pillows. A blanket. I did not wish to use yellow. Winter is blue and gray. Spring is yellow. But the sky had this pillow of sunshine. The gaze or abundance of clouds made the buildings seem pastel. With the light being filtered. No direct light. The buildings seemed soft.

I managed to complete 75% of the painting. It started to snow. The wind was strong. It was - 16 degree Celsius with the wind chill. I kept painting as the snow continued to fall.

One of the joys of having so many completed paintings is that you feel no pressure to create anything. You have this sense of liberation. If you make a mess and everything fails. It does not matter. You have more than enough paintings. The creative process can be absorbed in tangents. If the experiment floods, crashes, spoils... little matters. The chance has been taken and the painting embraces risk.

As the snow started falling. The light started to changed again. It was more gray and less yellow. The soft blue / white light with the pillow yellow. The sunshine behind the blanket sky started to lose its effect. The falling sky, falling snow, everything was moving.

It was snowing. And the snow was falling in much. My painting was getting pretty messy. I was going to pack it all in and put everything back in the car. But I really wanted to complete this painting. I felt that there was something really special about this moment. So I moved all my painting equipment over to the Canadian Government Building. There was a shelter. So I moved my setup over there.

I was not sure if the security would have a problem with this. But I did not really care if they did. As you might anticipate or expect from me. So I continued to paint. And managed to complete the painting 100% outside on location. Or should I say two locations.

Thank you

NB - sorry the images or photographs taken are not the best. I did not realize that the camera was not on Auto Focus. So they are all a little poor in quality. It was cold and my brain was not thinking much outside of the canvas. I was in a different head space. (gallery website) (artist website)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rekindling His Artistic Fire
New chapter for Renfrew artist Jack Stekelenburg

Renfrew artist Jack Stekelenburg stands beside Speak No Evil, one of his works on display at the Patrick John Mills Contemporary Fine Art Gallery in Ottawa.

A framing contractor by trade, Jack Stekelenburg anticipates the day he’s a full-time artist.

Like many artists, he has faced stumbling blocks, challenges that left him wondering where his art was headed.

His shaggy blonde hair and dancing eyes leave the impression he’s younger than his real age of 59. As an artist he’s even younger, but confident he’s finding his artistic way.

Interested in art for years, he didn’t formally pursue art until 2005, when he took a welding course with Bob Nigro in the Burnstown area. Most of Stekelenburg’s work is now sculpturing with steel, although he also does abstract work on canvas.

He went to the welding course thinking about making garden sculptures; he left realizing he had the soul of a true abstract artist, and was soon creating most of his work from a wide selection of industrial and farm implements.

He has garnered major inspiration from Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali and David Smith, who’s generally regarded as the greatest American sculptor of the 20th century, and many friends and critics.

But 2010 and 2011 were quieter for Stekelenburg on the artistic front.

His marriage ended a few years ago, as his art took a backseat.

“I was the one who abdicated. I put my friends and my art on the backburner.”

However, he was recently encouraged by an artist-friend to show his work to an Ottawa art gallery.

The move paid off. Stekelenburg now has about 20 sculptures or paintings at Patrick John Mills Contemporary Fine Art Gallery in Ottawa and a small number of pieces at Brushstrokes Gallery in Carleton Place.

Steel is often a centrepiece of his work, but not in steely, static ways.

For example, many of his sculptures present human faces and emotion, including The Beautiful Lady with the Bright Red Lips, which is at Mills’ gallery. There’s also his outdoor sculpture of a young, happy youngster with jelled hair that the Renfrew-area owner calls The Brylcreem Boy.

But everyone appreciates art, even if some people tell you otherwise, says Stekelenburg.

“We all see and recognize art in our own way, whether it’s snow on a tree, a poem on the radio, or a children’s play on stage.”

That’s why parents should give their children’s art the same precious attention they give any other art works at home. Frame your children’s work and put them in a special place, he says, because that acceptance represents the essence of love.

Stekelenburg grew up in Renfrew, before moving to southwestern Ontario in 1969 and raising a family. He came back to the Ottawa Valley several years later.

Some of the first ideas for his own art work came while living west of Ottawa, in Munster, where the Stekelenburg household had a property with perennial gardens and fish ponds.

After returning to Renfrew in 2003, he thought he wanted to do garden sculptures. After taking the welding course with Nigro, his art production took off in other directions, in keeping with his new identity as an abstract artist.

“My sculptures, at the beginning, weren’t great,” he admits.

“They were clumsy, perhaps, but they grew,” he adds, giving credit to the Renfrew Art Gallery and family members for their feedback. He gained particular motivation from Hugh Malcolm, who continues to paint despite his own battle with Parkinson’s.

Stekelenburg didn’t renew his own artistic enthusiasm in 2011, but he says he always retained the belief system that he read about, as a teenager, in Ralph Emerson’s essay on self-reliance. Emerson wrote about the need for each person to avoid conformity and false consistency, and to follow his or her own instincts and ideas.

John Patrick Mills, owner of John Patrick Mills Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, likes how many of the Renfrew artist’s ideas have materialized.

Mills says Stekelenburg’s art possesses that purity and integrity. “He’s a good artist. He’s got a lot of talent.

“The economy is not the hottest right now, but I know his work will sell,” says Mills. He says Stekelenburg’s work, unlike that of many artists, isn’t pretentious and it’s very diverse.

Stekelenburg sure hopes so, as he works on his 15 Faces, Mountain, Yin-Yang and Love series. The first in the Love series is a metal sculpture depicting the word for love in Chinese calligraphy.

The Mountain series will garner motivation from his visit to Nepal in 2008, and possibly from a planned trip to the mountains of Argentina later this year.

“I have ideas for series to work on, major pieces that are in my head waiting to be created, and pieces that have been started and need to be finished; some are small and some are quite large,” says Stekelenburg.

His large completed pieces, Speak No Evil and Blue Eye, stand in Mills’ outdoor sculpture garden. Stekelenburg will also be profiled in the gallery’s I Love You show that runs Jan. 19 to Feb. 25.

The vermissage is Feb. 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. The Ottawa gallery, at 286 Hinchey Ave., is open noon to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. For more information, visit

This article appeared in Your Ottawa Region