Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday greetings!


In 2011, I spent time learning a more accurate version of Canadian social history than we were all taught in high school. This new learning created many opportunities for reflection which, inevitably, shifted my way of thinking but also reaffirmed my personal values and ethics. The impact also allowed me to grow professionally as an artist. These are just some of the reasons why I support those who are working inclusively to bridge the gap between our First Nations, Inuit, Metis and Canadians across the country.

As I contemplate my long-held traditions, I realize that my life is much richer for knowing the traditions of others. On that note, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and healthy, happy, prosperous New Year.

Joyeux Noël et meilleurs voeux pour la santé, la prospérité,
et beaucoup de joie tout au long de cette Nouvelle Année!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Xmas project just for fun

Every once in a while I like to do a project that is out of my comfort zone or realm of skills. It helps to respark the creative flow when the well seems to have run dry. This time, I created this xmas stocking out of leather, fur and a sash I had in my stock of materials initially intended for artwork, and left over material from a dress I made a couple summers ago. (OK, so I know the material for the lining isn't very xmassy but, overall, the stocking is a bit of a mish-mash of cultures anyway.) I painted the florals on the front in acrylic. Anyway, for someone with less than adequate sewing skills, I think I pulled this one off quite nicely and I like it. It's now hanging on my front door. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Beothuk: A Face from Extinction"

I'm deeply humbled and very proud that the Beothuk Institute in Newfoundland will be accepting my painting "Beothuk: A Face From Extinction". During her telephone call on December 5, Teresa Greene, the President of the Institute, also confirmed that my research was correct and that the portrait is an accurate depiction of a male Beothuk. I get to hang on to it for a little while though because they want to ensure they have a safe place for it where the public can also see it.

The story of the Beothuk is a dark tragedy in Canada's history. The Beothuk, who had lived in Newfoundland for thousands of years, were effectively encroached upon by European fishermen and settlers. Not only did the Europeans force the Beothuk away from their traditional fishing and hunting economies, they also pushed them into the interior of Newfoundland. Groups of Europeans would often go off on murderous rampages in search of the Beothuk whom they accused of stealing their fishing gear that had been left behind at the end of the fishing season. As with other First Nations groups, contact with Europeans also led to the spread of tuberculosis and influenza among the Beothuk who had no immunity against the foreign diseases. By 1829, between the encroachment onto their traditional lands, the loss of economic base, racist and lawless behaviour among the new settlers, disease and war, the Beothuk eventually became extinct.

The portrait I painted was inspired when I read the history about the Beothuk. Since Europeans hadn't really taken the time to know and understand them, there is very little information about the Beothuk except for a few annotated illustrations and accounts from the diaries of Europeans. (Some illustrations were created by Shanawdithit, the last living Beothuk who was held captive in the final months before her death from tuberculosis.) In my research, I found out about a British company who had recreated a forensic reconstruction of one of two complete skulls that were found in a Beothuk burial ground. I was able to create my portrait using the reconstruction images for the basis of the facial structures and descriptive clues from historical texts for the colours and textures for skin, eyes, hair and clothing.

The story of the Beothuk is a painful one but still a story that must be taught. Canadian history is rich with victories and grand accomplishment but also stained with atrocities that must never be repeated again. I am proud that my painting is accurate and deemed appropriate by the Beothuk Institute for display in one of their public settings. I hope the portrait will help people gain a deeper understanding of this historical tragedy when they are able to put a face to the Beothuk.

To learn more about the Beothuk, visit The Beothuk Institute or check out this page on Wikipedia.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Imitation really can be best form of flattery

I popped in to the Aurora Cultural Centre today to tour my exhibition with a visiting friend from Seattle. While I was there, Clare Bolton, the centre's gallery coordinator showed me the art that some of the 5-7 year olds from the Saturday art workshops did after viewing my exhibition. I was so thrilled! It's incredible how much young minds can open up and soak in what they are looking at. I'm amazed at how much they really saw in my artwork to be able to go back to their classes to continue on the sketches they'd started in the Great Hall Gallery. To think I may have inspired a new generation of artists is humbling. They've also inspired me, in turn, to continue my own progression.

Friday, September 30, 2011

"Being Metis" art exhibition dates extended at the Aurora Cultural Centre

I'm pleased to announce that the exhibition at The Aurora Cultural Centre has been EXTENDED TO TWO FULL MONTHS, starting October 4 through to November 27, 2011. Opening reception: October 12, 7-9PM.

Featuring guest fiddler, Alicia Blore! 
We're thrilled to have Alicia play traditional Metis fiddle music at the opening reception on October 12. Alicia is one of the talented young aboriginal fiddlers in the Fiddle Stories Elder Youth Ensemble and performed at NAFCO in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Aberdeen, Scotland. She has been studying the fiddle for eleven years and has knowledge of the traditional Métis repertoires. Alicia has also performed at many Métis events across Ontario including Discovery Harbour Métis Festival, Welland Métis Rendez Vous, Oshawa Métis Festival, as well as working to revive traditional fiddling in the Ojibwa community of Garden River, Ontario.

The
Aurora Cultural Centre is located at 22 Church Street, Aurora, ON

Tel: 905-713-1818, www.auroraculturalcentre.com
Regular gallery hours:Tuesday to Saturday, 1-4PM


For more information about Nathalie Bertin and a show schedule, visit www.nathaliebertin.com.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Thought-provoking"

Comments from the guest book for "On Being Métis" at The Art Space, Huntsville, ON, June 3-July 3, 2011

People from all over signed the guest book including Ottawa, Toronto, New York, Georgia, Scotland and South Africa. Here are just some of the comments received...

"Truly inspiring work! Powerful images, and great use of colour." - L. Walton, Port Carling, ON

"I stop[ed] by the gallery on Thursday to see your work. I hadn't seen it before and was so happy that I had the chance to. I was really very moved by it. I loved the subject matter and the bold colours were breathtaking. I have a similar heritage discovery and your story really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing, I will be poring over your website!" - L. Lutrell, Huntsville, ON

"Beautiful, unique and informative." - B. Wainmann-Goulet, Huntsville, ON

"Remarkable colours and heart in the art. My Hudson descendents would be proud." - C. A., East Avery, NY

"Breautiful and striking." - R. Miller

"Powerful messages." - A. Schumacher, Dorset, ON

"Great history" - G. Grimer, Ottawa, ON

"Vibrant!" - S. Houle

"Very Canadian." - R. L.

"Strong and passionate work - I very much liked it." - J. Shillolo

"Excellent presentation and work." - G. Cenetti

"Vivid, textile-like, provocative." - N. Mitchell

"Great stuff... almost 3 dimentional... awesome! Fantastic showing, thank you!" - Sarah Soberg

"Lovely colours!" - A. Yusuf, Burlington, ON

"Awesome." - N. Mohamed, Hamilton, ON

Visit http://www.nathaliebertin.com/ to see photos and a price list of available art work too!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Press and Promo

From Cottage Country Now and The Huntsville Forester:
http://www.cottagecountrynow.ca/community/northmuskoka/article/1018106

The Metis Voyageur, see page 14:
http://www.metisnation.org/media/131127/mv_11apr_low-res.pdf

"Powerful... Passionate... Excellent!" -- Some of the guest comments on opening night

"On Béing Metis" Art Exhibition at The Art Space

 
View of a portion of the exhibition inside The Art Space.

"On Being Métis" opened at The Art Space on June 3, 2011 to a small but engaged crowd. I am thrilled to show these works in my first official gallery show in Huntsville. Although I'm virtually unknown here, Muskoka has provided me with so much opportunity and inspiration in the last couple of years that it feels like the best place to share my soul with those who come to see the exhibition.

About the exhibition: I was in my twenties before it was confirmed that my family had First Nations ancestry. This started a long search for information about our heritage that led me to seek more indepth knowledge into the social history of Canada. The works exhibited were inspired by the stories, both anecdotal and historical, and the art -- specifically the art of the Métis -- that I learned of in recent years. My goal with the exhibition is to share something of what I've learned about Canadian culture, including my personal, in-depth feelings about my own place within my Canadian heritage and my belief that art is the key to really understanding any society.

Join me at The Art Space on June 18, 2011 from 2-3PM for my Artist Talk. The exhibition runs to July 3, 2011. Gallery hours are Thursday to Sunday, from 11AM to 4PM.

For more information, visit my web site at http://www.nathaliebertin.com/ or The Art Space.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

2011 Show Schedule Update

April 1, 2011
Arts Exposed Group Feature Showcase
York Region Arts Council 2011 Conference, Seneca College, Markham, Ontario

June 3 - July 3, 2011
On Being Métis (solo exhibition)
The Art Space, 2 - 58 Main St East, Huntsville, Ontario

Opening reception: Friday, June 3, 5-8PM
Artist Talk: Saturday, June 18, 2-3PM
Special thanks to Springhill Fresh Water Co. for sponsoring a portion of the opening reception and the artist talk.

August 6, 2011
6th Annual Métis Day Celebrations (resident artist)
Discovery Harbour, 93 Jury Drive, Penetanguishene, Ontario

October 3 - November 5, 2011
On Being Métis (solo exhibition)
Aurora Cultural Centre, 22 Church Street, Aurora, Ontario
Reception and Walk & Talk: Wednesday, October 12, 7-9PM

December 1 - 30, 2011
Les Habitants (solo showcase)
AFAC Rainbow Gallery, Rainbow Market Square (Across from St. Lawrence Market)
Toronto, ON

Monday, February 28, 2011

Pics from the HAS Heart show, The Art Space, Huntsville, ON


Various works from the HAS Heart show
at The Art Space, Huntsville, ON
HAS Heart was an "exhibition of selected works created by over 25 Huntsville Art Society members, exploring through various media their heartfelt, heartbreaking and heart-warming discoveries." The show opened on Friday February 4th and ran to February 26, 2011.

Curated by renowned local sculptor  Brenda Wainman Goulet.
My piece: "Torment of The Heart's Desires", 2010
About “Torment of the Heart’s Desires”

When we desire, our hearts ache. When we understand the consequences that sometimes must occur for us to obtain our heart’s desires, we can become tormented. Do we really want what we desire? Is there value in it? Is it worth killing for?

This work is not meant to be a pro or anti fur comment. Rather, it would be best used as a point of discussion about the reality that we humans have killed animals, trees, entire ecosystems and even other humans to obtain our hearts’ desires. However, this piece isn't about what's right or wrong. It's about attempting to understand and reconcile our feelings toward these things we desire.

From a personal standpoint, as a hunter, I am tormented with guilt each time I kill an animal. On the other hand, I do it so that I can have a clean, non-genetically modified, steroid-free food source for myself and my family. We also make full use the whole animal including the fur. Although my survival counts on this food-source and justifies my reasons for hunting, it doesn't absolve me from the emotional feelings I get each and every time I act on my desire to be self-sustaining.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My application to Artists Wanted is in!

Artists Wanted : A Year In Review is an international open call for art in all mediums. Artists have a chance at $10,000 in grants, international publicity and a feature exhibition in the Scope Art Show during Armory Week in New York City. Although I don't have any notions of winning, I entered this competition thinking that even just a little exposure with the chance of being seen by top judges was worth the entry fee. There is also a popular vote with prize so if you feel inclined to do it, check out my entry at: http://www.artistswanted.org/NBertin and click on the stars to vote for my work.

PS: Thank you to Col Mitchell for sharing your entry and informing us of this great opportunity!

Monday, January 24, 2011

My first fused glass project completed!

And here it is, my first fused glass art piece! Other than me being my usual overly-critical self about my own work, I'm really happy with it. Now that I have a better understanding of how glass and frit work together, I may even consider creating a few more pieces with a refined version of the moss flower pattern. I still have a lot to learn about glass and kilns though. It's a really fascinating art and science.

If you'd like to learn how to make fused glass art, check out http://www.gothamglassworks.com/.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My first fused glass art piece!

This winter, I had a chance to take a workshop in fused glass art. Although it was a lot of fun and provides me a new, valued skill, it was also a challenge. Glass is a material I’ve never used except to look at or through. I’ve often gazed longingly at stained glass windows and multitudes of glass art, in awe at the beauty and wondering about the process. I finally had my chance to learn! And I found out that it takes patience, firm skill and a delicate hand.

For my first fused glass art project, I decided to try and recreate one of my paintings from the Moss Flower series. It's an image I know well and I felt I could better understand the entire process of fusing glass if I had something familiar to work from. The photos below show the piece in progress. As I write this, I am waiting for it to be kiln-fired (a 24-hour process in itself). Stay tuned for a photo of the finished piece.

Left to right: cut glass pieces are placed onto a clear sheet of glass; frit is added for the background and highlights; Greg (owner of Gotham Glassworks) places the glass in the kiln; the final piece in the kiln ready to be fired.
  
By the way, if you’re in the Schomberg area and are interested in taking a workshop in fused glass, visit www.gothamglassworks.com. Greg Locke, who also sells his works, will be happy to provide all the details.

Sneak Preview

  
"Torment of the Heart's Desires"2010
22" x 11"
Mixed media on wrapped canvas

This winter has found me exploring with different materials and learning new techniques to express ideas and concepts. Among them are glass beads, silk embroidery and furs. The concept-based works speak to my thoughts on the fur trade and my feelings toward our collective Canadian social history. They are also quite personal and link to my feelings about hunting, trapping and patriotism. The series is not yet complete but I’ve attached one piece here for your perusal. It is the first one to be "unveiled". The remaining works are tentatively slated for a future solo show (details forthcoming).

HAS HEART - February 4-26

Opening Night Friday, February 4th from 6-8pm
HAS Heart is an exhibition of selected works created by over 25 Huntsville Art Society members, exploring through various media their heartfelt, heartbreaking and heart warming discoveries.
The following local and area artist exhibitors are Heather Aycan, Debbie Bradley, Nathalie Bertin, Joyce Butler, Pam Carnochan, Emerald Chamberlain, Roxanne Driedger, Vicki Dodds, Janice Feist, Carol Ferris, Diane Finlayson, Tammy Gravina, Mandy Higgs, Marilyn Hozack, Patricia Lalonde, Catherine Luce, Laurie Luttrell, Brian Markham, Col Mitchell, Wendy Oke, Geraldine O'Meara, Kathy Reid, Marilyn Smith, Rudi Stade, Shannon Stark, Diane Thoms, Roberta Twaddle, Pat Whittle, Elspeth Wright, and Gill Young.

Click here for more details.