Marta Stares is an artist and educator interested in painting the outdoors, especially the Northern Ontario landscape. Her work has been exhibited throughout the Toronto area including Gallery 1313, Black Cat Artspace and Ontario Legislative Assembly. Marta was the inaugural Artist in Residence at Lake Superior Provincial Park in 2021. She works primarily in oils and uses bold, vibrant colours in her work. After receiving her BFA from OCAD University, Marta has established an art program for young children at York University Daycare and featured children’s work at Gales Gallery. She has worked as an educator at McMichael Canadian Art Collection and Visual Arts Mississauga. Marta currently teaches Visual Art in Peel District School Board, where she organizes Peel’s annual student art exhibition called Walk the Art.
The inspiration for my work comes from extended canoe and backcountry camping trips in Northern Ontario. During these remote excursions I find a deep sense of connection to water and land. Being in wilderness has a profound effect on my psyche and is directly tied to my wellbeing.
Exploration by canoe is a delicate yet powerful experience. To put a paddle in the water is to still the mind - a meditative experience so quiet it allows you to tune into the environment - much like dipping a brush into paint. To put a paddle in the water is to feel exhilarated and energized - the whole body is activated each time the canoe is propelled. To canoe is to engage in an ancient dance - a momentum that can only be achieved through a connection to mind, body and place.
This series of paintings are moments experienced in places where stillness and movement are strongly intertwined. The vibrant, often saturated colours and bold brush strokes communicate the energy of each place. I work primarily with oils on canvas and use my own photographs as reference. My paintings are often framed from the canoeist’s perspective, offering viewers a glimpse into what it feels like to paddle through remote places in Ontario.
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I painted this paddle a few years ago. It has accompanied me on countless adventures and has seen many beautiful lakes in Ontario. It has even made an appearance in a few of my oil paintings, including this recent one. This painting is my final tribute.
Not only have I used this paddle to propel the canoe, but also to push off rocks, as a balancing stick while portaging across muddy areas, to draw pictures in the sand... I lost count how many times it has been scraped, banged in shallow water or tangled in lily pads. On my last canoe trip the blade finally split. It is now officially retired from canoe tripping but it will be proudly displayed in my home. Time to paint a new one…