Painting on a black canvas

Ray Martin, Cambridge Times
Thu July 11 2013

Painting on a black canvas

For artist Bill Schwarz, his next painting is always “just around the corner.”

The same can be said for the latest exhibition of his work.

This summer, 14 pieces of Schwarz’s work are featured at Doon’s Homer Watson House & Gallery. His exhibit is titled Bill Schwarz: The Way I see it – part of a four-painter show dubbed Reflections, running June 29 to Aug. 17.

The opening reception is this Sunday, from 2 to 4 p.m.

“The way I see things is in black and white,” Schwarz admits, but his painting style makes bold use of colour.

Unlike many artists who start out with a blank white canvas, he prefers to paint his canvases black, or grey.

“It’s something I picked up while visiting the Museum of Art in Montreal. … It’s where everything came together for me.”

For Schwarz, the process is more important than the finished product.

Working from his black canvas, Schwarz uses chalk to sketch out his colourful, whimsical, eclectic landscapes. His works are often compilations of things he has seen on his wide-ranging travels.

As an example, in one of his latest works he pulls together a line of sail boats he saw in two harbours he visited with backdrop of industrial buildings in Hamilton.

In several others, silos from Toronto’s Christie Cookie plant have been incorporated into scenes that borrow the Hamilton industrial buildings and houses from Quebec, or the Maritimes.

For Reflections, Schwarz’s works come together with those of Homer Watson and Fredrick Varley, another well-known painter who helped develop the gallery, and fellow contemporary artist Barry Smylie.

In addition to Sunday’s opening reception, Schwarz is part of the gallery’s Artist Talks series and will speak about his work tomorrow, from 1-3 p.m. On July 27, Barry Smylie will be featured from 1 to 3 p.m.