Garth Armstrong – Friday Night Guest Nov. 20, 2020
(Submitted by Hanifa Mamujee)
Fifty-one DVACers (now Zoom experts thanks to Sylvia) tuned in to Garth’s presentation on November 20th. Giddy from the pre-presentation breakouts of social interaction, everyone settled in to hear about Garth’s journey – curious about his work, what inspired him and his approaches to painting.
Garth Armstrong is a father of three kids, married to Sandra and has a father who was in advertising. He is an outdoorsy person who loves fishing, hiking and making connections with nature creating memories in his head.
Garth is a graduate of Ontario College of Art & Design (OCADU) in the communication and design program. He started painting in the late 70s – working with watercolours and limited edition of prints. He switched mediums in the 90s after being inspired by the Group of Seven emulating some of their small sketches located at the McMichael Art Gallery. In December of 2018 Garth was chosen to be part of the Canadian delegation of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts’ Salon des Beaux-Arts at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. In August of 2019, Garth participated in the McMichael Gallery’s annual Plein Air painting competition and his entry was awarded Artist Merit of Distinction. Garth’s artwork is represented exclusively by Artworld (Fine Art) and has a worldwide audience. He recalls his first art venture when a friend who had an antique store did a pop-up store and he sold all his paintings.
Garth paints things that make him “happy” – a moment of attraction that is locked in image and emotion inside his head – painting to bring it alive on canvas. He believes that great artists have a consistent ability to evoke emotion. He sketches two to three sketches everyday truly believing that practice makes a good artist. He uses sketches as a tool to get to the end painting spending 45 minutes to an hour on each sketch. Garth tends to do his on-the-spot sketches on 8×10 masonite boards.
Then we were treated to an interactive exercise to understand the words that come up when one is looking at images … here’s what popped up in my mind…
He noticed that sometimes his composition reflects art he viewed from the Group of Seven – the colouring, the composition. He then walked us through his art process – being captured by a moment, seeing and feeling the moment and transferring image and emotion to canvas…
After the break (and a flurry of Q&As), we learned about Garth’s process of going from a small sketch to a larger painting (generally large being 40”x30” somewhat). Continuing to be authentic to his emotions, Garth translates the simplicity in the sketch to the larger painting. He paints using six colours – cadmium red, alizarin crimson (cool), cobalt blue (cool), ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow and titanium white.Garth does not use any solvents, and paints using brushes looking for rhythm in the brush strokes and colour to catch the viewer’s eyes setting up shadows and light for spaces that allow the eye to settle into.
What a stunning art experience! Thank You Garth for an amazing evening.