Rare Beasts Exhibition at Fairbairn House

Saturday, June 22, 2019, was the official launch of the Rare Beasts exhibition at the lovely Fairbairn House Heritage Centre in the town of Wakefield, Quebec. The Beasts will be on display in the main building until October 2019. Fairbairn House is open daily until August 18th from 9 am – 5 pm, and then weekends only until October 13th. More information is available here.

Fairbairn House, 45 Chemin Wakefield Heights, Wakefield QC. Photo by the artist.


Photo by Pam Heath of Heritage Livestock Canada


Beasts on display. Photo by Pam Heath of Heritage Livestock Canada


Wakefield, Quebec, is a little town tucked into a valley on the Gatineau River. Although I have been to Ottawa plenty of times, I had never been up north to the Outaouais Hills before.  I was surprised by the rugged, picturesque landscape of deep-green forested hills, rushing rivers, and granite cliffs. I was only able to stay for a short time, but I hope to go back to explore some more as there was no shortage of inspiration.


Covered Bridge, Wakefield, QC. Photo by the artist.

And while we are on the topic of Rare Beasts, I have recently been getting into linocut printmaking and thought a good project would be to produce a small series of Rare Beast-related original, hand-made prints. The first one is the Clydesdale Horse, a limited, signed and numbered edition of 15 prints on white Printmaster paper. The image size is 8 inches by 5 inches. $15 each print plus shipping. Let me know if you want one!

Clydesdale Horse linocut 8 x 5

Fundraising Auction

As many of you no doubt know, I am busy at work on an extended art project called Rare Beasts. This  project is a series of collages centred around the theme of rare and endangered farm animals. Click here to read more about the project.


In course of working on such an extended series, I have made a lot of unexpected connections with people who are actively involved in the preservation of rare breeds.

This is George the Newfoundland Pony. Newfoundland Ponies are critically endangered ponies native to the province of Newfoundland, Canada. George’s owner, Nathalie, kindly got in touch with me about my


my project and gave me a fine selection of reference photos to work from when making the collage. As I was working on the collage, I found out that George was ill with severe laminitis (an inflammatory condition) in all four feet and would need to be relocated to a Newfoundland Pony refuge in New Hampshire. You can read about the refuge, Villi Poni Farm, here.

Because George’s owner was so nice and George is SO VERY CUTE, and because the Villi Poni Farm does such good and important work in preserving these critically endangered ponies, I wanted to help George and the refuge in some way.

Tomorrow, October 1st, Villi Poni is holding an online auction on their Facebook page to raise funds for the refuge. I donated this charcoal drawing of George for the auction.

The portrait of George is 12 x 9 inches, unframed, charcoal and white chalk on blue paper. I hope you will consider helping out the sanctuary – and George! – by making a bid!

Oil Painting

Since switching over to collage full time eight years ago, it’s like a mini vacation for my brain whenever I get a commission to do an oil painting.

I recently had the pleasure of immortalizing a Canadian stallion (yes, Canadian IS a breed of horse) who belongs to a friend of mine. He is a beauty and a true gentleman, so the job was a pleasure.

First I gridded up a drawing from a photo that my friend and I selected as our best portrait reference option.

To avoid unnecessary labour, the drawing was transferred to the panel via tracing paper and then drawn over with thinned oil paint to preserve the lines.

Then comes the  blocking in the major colour and value areas. The finishing of a painting is – for me at least- a process of gradual refinement.

I always marvel at artists who can work on isolated areas of a painting at a time. I need to bring the whole picture along simultaneously so I can see how all the parts relate to each other. I was taught to do this, and as I work, I can still hear one of my old painting instructors shouting to the class, “Start everything at the same time; finish everything at the same time.” I guess that advice stuck!
Here is a detail of the portrait near completion, and the finished product below.

Avery, 14×18 oil on panel

In Like a Lion and Out Like a…?

March arrived roaring in our little corner of La Belle Province and it shows little sign of quieting down. Here we are, the first official day of Spring, and it is snowing. Again. Apparently Mother Nature wanted to celebrate the Vernal Equinox this way:

More snow is announced for Saturday. I hope wherever you are there are daffodils. 
The only place on our farm where you can catch a glimpse of spring is out in the barn. Yes, we have lambs!
Now if that doesn’t cheer you up, I don’t know what will.  Cheers me up. There aren’t too many things more fun to watch than a baby animal experiencing the world for the first time. This little girl is getting acquainted with her Auntie Violaine. 
Tempted as I am to spend the day watching lambs frolic, I do actually get some real work done. Even when it looks like this outside my studio.
It’s always bright and comfortable inside. With some music on and a collage on my work table, I can forget about our lousy weather.
I finished a new collage just this afternoon. “Carriage Parade”  is slated for Mackinac’s Little Gallery for the seasonal re-opening in May. A big thank you goes out to Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog for the reference photo.
“Carriage Parade” 8X10 painted paper collage on panel.
I really like the green collage paper in this one. Sigh. I remember green.

Order from Disorder?

Right now my studio looks like this:

I’m really happy to be getting walls at last, but not so happy with the chaos and dust. I can’t even get at my collage supplies at the moment. Fortunately, I could lay my hands on my old portable easel which I dragged into the house so I could start something at least resembling work.
Today I started an oil painting, something I haven’t done in a while. I have a total of FOUR commissioned oil paintings to execute in the next little while, and I feel very out of practice since I haven’t held a brush for that purpose in over a year. I thought I needed a  warm up instead of diving right into the commissioned work, something to take the pressure off a little.

I spotted the photo of a pretty pony filly on a friend’s Facebook page a while ago and asked if I could use the picture as a reference. I made the drawing a couple of weeks ago.

This morning I transferred the drawing to a small, square panel.
First, I like to figure out where the main dark areas will be. 

Then I do a general “blocking in” of basic colours in the dark to mid value range. I always marvel at painters who can finsh a painting in sections.  I was taught to bring all the parts of a painting along at the same rate.
I can still hear one of my old painting teachers bellowing, “START EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME; FINISH EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME!” Or maybe it’s just because I am using his old portable Jullian easel and it’s HAUNTED!

Having hit the point where I am simply moving paint around, this is as far as I could get today. I will try to get her finished tomorrow.

Good News

2013 is certainly off to a good start!

Word came to me yesterday that my collage “Saratoga” was sold by the Art Rental and Sales Service of the Stewart Hall Art Gallery, Pointe-Claire, Quebec. I was happy to have two collages included in the 2012/2013 collection, and now I’m doubly chuffed that one of my collages has sold. A big thank you to the gallery staff for making the sale!

Another little surprise that arrived in the mail was a letter of invitation from The American Academy of Equine Art to participate in their “The Horse in Fine Art, 2013” exhibition. The exhibition will run concurrently in two venues: At the Anne Wright Wilson Gallery of Georgetown College, in Georgetown KY, and at The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art in Marietta GA, which is near Atlanta. The Horse in Fine Art Exhibition will be on display during the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington, the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, and the spring season of Thoroughbred racing at Keeneland.

Now a word of caution, being invited IS NOT the same as being IN. My work still might not make the cut. However, as they say in Hollywood about the Oscars, it’s an honour just to be nominated!

For more information about the AAEA, just click the link here.

I’d better get working!

Winter Wonderland

A couple of weeks ago it looked like winter was gone from Southwest Quebec. The snow had melted, the days were warm, the sap was running in the maple trees, I started letting the chickens outside: all the harbingers of spring.

Then….BOOM….winter came back with a vengeance.

Hmmm…is spring coming? (Photo by Anna Kiraly)

Two snow storms in less than a week has left the landscape looking more like mid-January than early March. But, hey, I’m not complaining! I actually like the snow! For me it means more cross country skiing, and (as I have just discovered) more opportunities for sleigh rides courtesy of our neighbour and his horses.

Ti-Gars hitched, Yvon, and friend. (Photo by the artist)

Pine cone (Photo by Anna Kiraly)

If you have never had the opportunity to travel by horse power along forest trails dappled in sunlight and violet shadows, I urge you to add it to your bucket list. Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh!

And oh what fun it is to make sleigh ride collages!

Ti-Gars – 5×7 painted paper collage on panel, © 2012 Alyson Champ

Sleigh Ride – 8×10 painted paper collage on panel, © 2012 Alyson Champ

Your Art Here

Photo courtesy of Line Thibault

No, this isn’t a picture of my living room. This is the Bruno Delgrange Saddles sales booth at the WEF in Wellington, Florida. Four of my recently completed collages are on display there. Three are shown below.

Photo courtesy of Line Thibault

This is by no means the strangest place I have shown my art. At various times I have tried restaurants,race tracks, banks, municipal spaces, private businesses, public libraries, and once (and only once) at a prestigious one of a kind craft show which had me showing my work in a barn – next to a pig pen! It’s one thing to have your work come home smelling like food and coffee…

I thought the Bruno Delgrange booth might be a natural fit for my horse themed collages. And as my friend Line had graciously offered to supervise the whole endeavour, I figured it was worth a try. It’s certainly a beautiful place. And no pigs!

Harmony – 6×8 painted paper collage on mdf panel, ©2011 Alyson Champ

Corgi – 8×6 painted paper collage on mdf panel ©2011 Alyson Champ

The Dance – 6×8 painted paper collage on panel, © 2011 Alyson Champ

Surf, Sun, Saddles and …Art?

Halt – Sandy Spicer and McGill, photo courtesy of Line Thibault

Every now and then a business opportunity arises which is just too good to pass up. No matter how frantically busy I think I already am, I can see I would be a fool to squander such a chance to expand the audience for my art.

I am fortunate to have a collector of my work who is not only a cherished client of long standing, but who, over many years, has also become a good friend. It is through my friend Line Thibault that I have recently been given the opportunity to send some of my collages down to Florida- to the winter horse capital of North America, in fact. Yes, my art is going to Wellington, Palm Beach County!

My friend’s horse trainer partner, Jacques Ferland, is the North American sales representative for French saddle maker Bruno Delgrange and they have a booth at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington. The booth needs decorating, so…..

What this means, of course, is that I have to stop what I was doing (Well Dressed Dogs, etc.) and concentrate on collages of horse-related subjects. The collages must be finished, varnished and framed, ready to go to Florida by the second week of March. Enough blogging! I have to get to work. Here is a recently finished horse collage called simply “White Horse”

White Horse – 7×5, painted paper collage on panel, ©2011 Alyson Champ

and some photos of Wellington for you to drool over. Yes folks, this is a barn(!)…..

White Fences Barn – photo by Sandy Spicer, courtesy of Line Thibault

An indoor riding arena…

A White Fences Arena – photo by Sandy Spicer, courtesy of Line Thibault

The grounds…..

Horse Paradise, White Fences Equestrian Community – photo by Sandy Spicer, courtesy of Line Thibault.

Are you drooling yet?