Two four-weekend shows lead up to Christmas
CECILIA NASMITH Northumberland Today Getting ready for December, from left, artists Michiko Nakamura, Heather Cooper and Pamela Tate are looking forward to having their works in two Northumberland galleries for four weekends in December.
It all adds up to three artists, two shows and four weekends.
Three artists, who happen to be good friends, will display their work in two different galleries over the four weekends leading up to Christmas.
The artists are Heather Cooper of Alnwick-Haldimand Township, and Pamela Tate and Michiko Nakamura of rural Port Hope.
The galleries are the Heather Cooper Studio Gallery (506 Bowmanton Rd.) and The Tate Gallery (4599 Massey Rd.).
The four weekends means, obviously, that the shows will kick off Dec. 1.
The Tate show focuses on Art Inspired By The Arts, brought to life through Cooper's and Tate's paintings and Nakamura's porcelain-clay sculpture.
"Inspired by dance, by theatre, by performance, by movement," Cooper explained.
"Even Michiko's sculpture is inspired by movement.
"Pam's history is dance and music, so it works well for her, and I have a huge history in performing arts," Cooper added, pointing to her original painting that was made into a popular poster for the Stratford Festival's production of The Mikado.
"I have a collaboration with modern-dance artists, so I was inspired by their movement," Nakamura added.
Cooper's gallery will host Christmas Gifts Great & Small, with paintings and sculpture by the three artists and photography by Eric Graham.
"We tried to keep everything small, so it's like a miniature show — little paintings, little drawings, even some little people with folded hands that Pam created," Cooper listed.
Nakamura considers art a gift that keeps giving.
When you give someone a piece you have selected with thought and care, she said, "they love it, they own it, they enjoy it their whole lives. Then they pass it on."
As well, she is creating some functional items for the show as well, like ornaments and centrepieces.
While you'd think making a small painting is a shortcut, Tate said, it's not. There is still the creative process, the rethinking, the artistic adjustments — about the only difference for her is using a smaller brush.
The three women make up a very enjoyable partnership, Nakamura said.
"And it's not competitive, because we are all so different," Cooper added.
"We get very attached to each other's art," Tate stated.
"When I have their work in my gallery, it's such an honour. It enhances my gallery and makes it take on a whole other energy.
"The three of us do such different work, but it really works well together."
It was their art that brought them together, Tate recalled. She met Nakamura through the annual Ganaraska Studio tour, and found Cooper through a mutual friend. Then she introduced them to each other.
They are different people. Cooper creates best in the morning, when she's fresh. Tate comes to life at night, when she puts the music on and feels inspired. Nakamura sometimes finds herself working round the clock, with her meals and her sleeping just an interruption.
They do share the physical approach to art — the dancing to the music that inspires them as they create, the swooping brush strokes, the prancing around a piece to get different views of a work in progress.
All share a pet peeve: when someone asks how long it took to create a painting or sculpture.
It's not just a matter of standing there and applying paint to an easel, Tate said.
"We are constantly looking and taking note and thinking and wondering — all the time, all the time, all the time. And that's part of the time it takes to make that piece."
Most importantly, they share the need to create.
"We work well together because we all put our heart in it. We don't just make pieces to sell," Tate said.
"To create art — I do it for me. It's for my life," Nakamura agreed.
If she never sold another piece, Cooper said, she would be creating art anyway. It's something she just has to do.
But you might like to buy a piece anyway — from Cooper or any of the artists — at either show. Both run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekend until Christmas.