Susan Levesque: The Images of the Land
Up in Northern Ontario, located between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, is a small community called Elliot Lake. It is here, surrounded by rock, forest, water and wildlife, that this month's featured artist Susan Levesque lives. It is here, amid this stark beauty, where Susan Levesque gets her inspiration for her art.
As a young child Susan was always doodling and as she got older would draw horses; only horses, until her mother encouraged her to try sketching other subjects. She turned to wildlife and still stays with that theme today. Of course she has not forsaken the majestic horse and as you can see in the photo above, it is still part of her artistic repertoire.
At school Art and Drafting were her favorite subjects and years later her drafting pens found a new purpose; to create wonderful images on gourds. Susan also carves antlers and old cedar rails but she is quick to point out that gourds are by far her favorite art medium.
One question we asked is how did someone like Susan; who lives in a northern town, discover gourds? Well, way back when, a few years ago in fact, Susan had purchased some small ornamental gourds for Thanksgiving. Curiosity aroused she decided to Google the word gourd. She came across a web site called The Gourd Patch where a group of people from the US, Canada and Australia used gourds as their art canvas. After this her curiosity was really aroused.
She had always loved the American Southwest and was impressed with the art of Robert Rivera, Bonnie Gibson and Gary Devine. It was their art that convinced her to order her first box of gourds to see what she could do with them.
In the beginning she started with ink pens on transfer paper and then moved to using them directly on gourds. She then added a bit of simple carving. Now the carvings have become more elaborate and often Susan will incorporate paint to brighten things up.
Susan Levesque is well known throughout Canada
and the US. She was featured in The Complete Book of Gourd Carving by Jim Widess and Ginger Summit, a book that is a staple in the gourd and art world. She has also been published in Our Home magazine in the 2011 Fall issue and in The Country Connection magazine.
Trade shows and exhibits also keep her busy. She has taken part in the Muskoka Arts Festival in Barrie, Ontario, The Carmel Fine Art and Music Festival in Niagara Falls where she received an honorable mention for a piece titled Africa and the Sylvan Circle in Echo Bay.
She has participated in the Deer Trail Studio Tour in Elliot Lake and sat on that committee for eight years. Art At The Dock at Hilton Beach was a fun show to be an artist/vendor not to mention the International Gourd Show.
Susan now has her own show; a collaboration with two other artists called Art Among Friends. Eleven other artists will join Susan at the Laurentian Lodge just north of Elliot Lake the last week of September.
Susan stated that she loves where she lives and is inspired every day by the images that surround her. She enjoys canoeing, hiking and camping regardless of the season.
In closing it should be said that art runs in Susan's blood as her family history shows. Her mother was an artist as was her Grandmother. 'Grandma was very adventuresome in her art...she would try everything; even taxidermy, and she did a wonderful job of it.'
Both Susan and her husband John have motorcycles and can often be found exploring new paths through the wonders of Northern Ontario. And who knows; right around that next corner may be the image that Susan has been seeking for that perfect gourd sitting in her studio just waiting.
To learn more about Art Among Friends Exhibition and Sale, a show hosted by Susan Levesque and friends, click here:
Out Of The Mailbag
Here is a photo of Linda (second from the right), along with her co-workers after their Mud Hero Run. Not only is it a heck of a lot of fun, it is team-building and a fund raiser. The money raised by this group went to Camp Oochigeas, a camp for kids with cancer and to the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. To learn more about the Mud Hero Run click here:
It is me Catherine, a budding gourd artist. I am progressing in leaps and bounds thanks to the many Northern Dipper workshops I have attended. I have quite a stressful job and find that working with gourds is the ultimate de-stressor. Here is my pink garden flamingo which has received many compliments by passer-byers.
Thanks for everything, Catherine
Hello there Carolyn and Linda,
I attended your Fall Beauty workshop and loved the project. I decided to try a red version at home.
I prefer the black bottom but I thought the red was reminiscent of the red fury of leaves surrounding my house. I do love fall...the colours, the smoky scent in the autumn air, the warm days and cool nights...definitely my favorite season.
See you again soon...Kathy
And now...the latest member of the Northern Dipper family!
Lastly we would like to introduce the latest addition to the Northern Dipper family. The little pup on the right is Hannah, 8 weeks old and weighing in at 2.8 pounds. A sister for Poquito (on the left) who has been with us for a few years now. Hannah is funny, charming and a real cuddly pet. We love her to bits!
Carolyn and Linda
The Blue Dot Movement is sweeping across Canada ranging from B.C to Newfoundland. Created by David Suzuki, this movement states that every Canadian deserves the right to a healthy environment - fresh air, clean water and healthy food. There is also participation in government decisions that will affect the environment.
This movement has already been taken up by more than 110 nations who recognize the right to live in a healthy environment. So stand up, join your friends, neighbours and communities and get involved. Become a Blue Dot volunteer. Make a difference.
The Last Word...
"Don't worry if you are making waves by being yourself. The moon does it all the time."
"Looking Ahead" - January 2016
We are honoured to have with us Claudia Joseph, a multi-media artist who delves into the world of gourds, stone, ceramics and paper. Born in Switzerland, Claudia grew up surrounded by paint and sculpture; her love of artistic expression is built into her genetic profile.
In her early 20's she moved to Israel, a country which could not be more different than Switzerland. Here her creativity flourished and now; a few years later, Claudia is the owner of Holyland Art and is making her mark in the international art scene. Please welcome Claudia Joseph, a vibrant and personable woman who is guaranteed to fascinate you.
It is hard to believe that we will be beginning a new year in a couple of months. January is a wonderful time to cozy up at the kitchen table or in your studio and begin those art projects that you have been thinking about for awhile.
There are lots of tutorials on the Internet that will give you ideas and for a hands - on approach and personalized attention, take advantage of any workshops being offered in your area. They are always a lot of fun and opens the door for making new friends and acquaintances.
As you can see we have a heavy craft show schedule coming up and we are busy. Make sure to stop by and say hello if you do attend the shows...we love meeting new people. So until next time, have a safe peaceful holiday season and we'll see you all again in the grand new year of 2016!
Carolyn Cooper and Linda Bond