U8 at Sopa Fine Art in Kelowna, BC



Tues – Sat 11– 5 Sun – 12 – 4
T. 250.763.5088

U8 eventSopa announces our 5th annual juried exhibition, the ‘U8’ Event. Beginning April 1st (opening night) the gallery will be exhibiting over 350 original art works priced Under Eight Hundred dollars.

The goal of this event is two fold: to promote appreciation of original art to the public by making it affordable; and to promote the exceptional work of many local artists, as well as introduce artwork from selected international artists. This show features a wide range of mediums, from over 80 talented artists. It's also become a great opportunity for the gallery to discover new artists as well!

This once a year Affordable Art Exhibition is one of the largest of its kind in Canada with over 100 artists works on display. Artists and collectors alike have helped spread the word, and popularity has turned ‘U8’ into the most unique opportunity for buying original artwork in one space. Sopa Fine Arts is located in Kelowna's popular South Pandosy Shopping District.

This show only runs for a total of 10 days each year, so be sure to stop by early to select your artwork!

April 1st (opening night)
Show opens April 2 – 12th

For more information please contact the gallery or online at www.sopafinearts.com

Collaborative painting with Zoe Pawlak at our show CLEARLY SEEN at On the Rise in Vancouver

For the month of February Zoe Pawlak and I have the On the Rise Gallery on South Granville. Though its nice to spend some time wearing high heals, we decided to get our hands dirty and painted a new piece together, in front of the gallery over the span of a few chilly afternoons.

Collaborating with someone on a painting for the first time is a delicate experience. It's sort of like having a conversation with someone who's name you forget. You feel you know the other person's painting so well, yet you just can't find your way in. Sometimes it ends badly, or at least awkwardly and others it finally clicks and you wish you could start back at the beginning. This time it clicked. Sure, the painting itself is no masterpiece, but I now look at Zoe's painting totally differently. The experience was not the tentative "do you mind if I" that collaborative work often is. It opened a real conversation about painting. And we're anxious to start all over again with what we've learned.

Honorable mention, Kingston Prize

Acrylic on Canvas
30" x 40"

My painting Distraction received an honorable mention award of $1000 for the Kingston Prize. It is a portrait of my husband, my son and my painting.

Painting as a vocation is something that runs deeply through the core of my family relationships. I came to know my father as a teenager. A German painter himself, he had always been completely dedicated to his art, with family life often an unfortunate casualty. Meeting him was the beginning of a complete reformation of my own identity. More than just gaining a paternal history, I found the roots of my own creative drive.

Over several summers, he taught me not only to paint but how to be a painter, how to fine-tune a craft and build a career. But to follow his example would mean being a man ambitiously devoted to his art. Here I am at 31, not a man with ambition, but a woman with a baby – and still a painter.

This painting is a portrait of my husband and son sitting beneath one of my paintings. Titled Distraction, is about the delicate place painting holds in my family relationships now. As I look at my young family sitting for me to paint them, supporting my desire to paint, tolerating my desire to paint, I think about the example set by my father. I wonder if I can be wife, mother and painter. Will I succeed in dividing my devotion? Can I live it all fully, despite the distraction?

Kingston Prize Finalist

2009 Finalists announced for
Canada's National Portrait Competition

I am very pleased to have my painting chosen as a finalist for the Kingston Prize. The finalists were chosen from 471 entries by the jury consisting of Professor Robert Enright, art critic and writer, from the University of Guelph; Eliza Griffiths, painter and Assistant Professor at Concordia University in Montreal; and Dr Lilly Koltun, Director-General of the Portrait Gallery of Canada.

The portraits will be exhibited at the Grand Theatre in Kingston, Ontario, from October 9 - 25 2009. After its Kingston showing the exhibition will embark on a national tour lasting several months, heading to Wolfville, Nova Scotia; Toronto; and Calgary.

After a Montreal Rain

It is HOT in the studio.
By 3 pm I worry that the sun is burning a hole through the ceiling. Then I go outside and feel just a bit of ocean breeze and think this is pretty much perfect. I think back to the many suffocating summers in Montreal and wonder how I managed, and if I could handle that kind of heat now that I've been in Vancouver so long and have become kind of... soft. Then I panic and decide not to test the idea any time soon.

But there are those Montreal summer evenings when the heat and humidity explode into a huge rain storm. Bare feet rush out into the streets and the whole city takes a deep breath. The rain sizzles on the streets like poring water on a hot frying pan. After the rain, the gardens come alive again, and the city finally sleeps.

This Painting is called Rooftop Eden

The Title Piece

The title piece for the exhibition, this one is about stepping out of my comfort zone to experiment with untried colours and explore different ways of painting. The escapade refers to my creative adventure. I use the word harlequin here not only as the adjective ‘varied in colour and having pattern of irregular shapes’, but to evoke the nimble acrobat from the Commedia dell’arte tradition, and the importance of improvisation. Incidentally, an ironic nod to the Harlequin romance novels. Using lush, warm colour, these paintings are for me very seductive.

A Harlequin Escapade

Paintings by Fiona Ackerman
May 14 - 30

Diane Farris Gallery
1590 W. 7th Avenue
Vancouver, Canada
V6J 1S2
tel (604) 737-2629

View exhibition at on the DFG website

During the past ten years, I have produced a body of figurative as well as abstract paintings, often combining the two forms. I have been told many of my paintings are quite dark, that even the lightest, most colourful portraits seem ominous or sorrowful. A Harlequin Escapade is a departure conveying joy and playfulness seldom found in my previous work. Why any artist’s work changes is often quite personal, even unexplainable but in this case, change was inspired by a conscious decision which may have had its origins long ago.

Growing up in Montreal, I went to F.A.C.E., an elementary and high school emphasizing the fine arts. Theatre, art and music were part of the core curriculum with the same importance as math and science. I loved music and was very shy. For the first few years I sat among 10 other flutists and safely played as part of a group. As a teenager, I found a burst of courage and asked to switch to the French horn. I practiced like mad to be able to rejoin the group and when I did, I was no longer safe in a wash of whistling flutes. I now sat alone with my strange, awkward and loud new instrument, fully exposed.

This was a big step outside of my comfort zone. The instrument itself is a cumbersome mess of awkward metal tubing. Becoming proficient enough to hold my own in the band meant learning how to turn a challenge into something quite beautiful. As I was no longer sitting among the flutes but off to the other side with trumpets and tubas, I was able to hear the music from an entirely new perspective. This was a rediscovery of something I’d thought I knew quite well.

I mention all of this because these paintings are in a way my new French horn. Over the past decade, I have developed a certain style, established a palette of colours that seem to work within the safety zone of experience. These new paintings represent a conscious challenge to face the unfamiliar. I made a decision to reach for colours that I would normally have shied away from. Standing over a blank canvas or an unfinished painting at the studio, I would often ask myself “what wouldn’t I normally do now?” – then do it. As with learning the French horn, I sought out what I would previously have considered too loud or awkward, and tried to tame or craft it into a satisfying composition. By changing my approach, changing perspective, I was able to rediscover painting.

This conscious exercise in being bold not only expanded the visual vocabulary I now work from, but as importantly, it was fun! I think some of the joy of this experience comes through in these bright and playful paintings; I hope the warmth may carry through to my next work.