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This oil painting, 24 by 24 inches on a wood panel supplied by the gallery, was chosen by the Saint-Denis St. gallery for its annual juried exhibition in November and December 2019.

The painting was named The Gift of Colour, partly in response to the theme of the exhibition, which was The Gift.

The Gift of Colour was made with a glazing technique I have often used over the years, and is the starting point for a series of paintings I expect to show at MTL en Arts in 2020.

In this painting, I covered a colourful underpainting with a mixed black paint and then scraped parts of it away with a spatula, a brush and other tools, producing these delicate abstract and organic shapes.

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The oil painting on wood panel, shown with the photograph that inspired it below), was one of two 16 by 16 inch paintings among the five I presented at the invitational two-day event in late August, organized by the Friends of Mount Royal Cemetery. I titled it Life in the Cemetery, and later renamed it Life Among the Dead.

It turns out that the event in August 2019 was my first and last participation. The cemetery cancelled the annual event following the retirement of the employee who organized it with the Friends.

At least one of the paintings on display had to be inspired by a scene inside the cemetery on "the Mountain," Montreal's iconic hill that also has room for the upper residential sections of Westmount and Outremont, a large park designed by Frederick Olmstead, Mount Royal Cemetery is one of three on the mountain, the other cemeteries being Catholic and Jewish.

Atop the mountain, which is an extinct volcano, is the Mount Royal Cross, whose top sets the limit of how high downtown skyscrapers can be built.

  • Writer's pictureJohn Pohl

I had a kiosk in MTL en Arts, a street festival along Sainte-Catherine St. E., stretching from near the Berri-UQAM métro station to Papineau St., two métro stops to the east.

I showed more than 30 works in my 8 x 8 foot tent and sold three, just breaking even on the venture. But I won an honourable mention for my work, giving me access to this juried festival at half the cost as 2019! So I will be back in 2020 with a new set of paintings, fewer but larger and hopefully more cohesive as an exhibition.

The most enjoyable aspect of the festival was conversing with art lovers. I talked to more people about my art than in all the venues I ever showed in I ever showed in.

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