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Cootes: The Art of James Gummerson
BY James Gummerson
ON November 1, 2016
Over the last two years or so I spent a lot of time hiking through the area. I began painting there as well. I loved the rich diversity of the land and the story it told. It's a really great place paint. Cootes has become a beautiful gem of the city and everyone should visit it... to me it's a spiritual place. Seeing the water and how it feeds the land is very intriguing to me.
 
I have always been drawn to nature so when I moved to Hamilton 15 years ago, naturally I was drawn to Cootes Paradise. Since then I have spent much time throughout Cootes and the region, researching, hiking, drawing and painting.

This current Exhibit features paintings focusing on a large nature reserve in Hamilton Poignantly named “COOTES PARADISE”. The area has gone through many vicissitudes of decay and regeneration. Its past is scarred with destructive irrigation, and urban pollution as well the destruction of the ecosystem from invasive species. In recent years thanks to the Royal Botanical Gardens, City of Hamilton, and BARC (the Bay Area Restoration Council), the area has undergone dramatic regrowth and regeneration and is beginning to flourish as a beautiful ecosystem. Signs that the area is coming back are everywhere such as, a Bald eagle who has made her home and family here (rarely seen in Ontario), as well many species of birds and wildlife that have made their home once more in Cootes.
Cootes #7 (Grow wild according to thy nature, like these sedges and brakes, which will never become English hay.) Acrylic 24x37 2016
 
 Cootes #10 (As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.) Acrylic 40x52 2016
 
I want people to become aware of the history of Cootes as well the relationship we share with it as an urban city. Thousands of people enjoy a lot of time cruising its paths and walkways and may not be aware of the unique diversity and the cost on its ecosystem to get to this point.
Cootes #11 (If you close your eyes and listen, you can hear that mother is coming.) Acrylic 24x24 2016
 
The paintings can be described as “impasto”, stylistically defined with thick applications of paint.

When I created these paintings, I wanted to make sure they just weren’t “pretty paintings”. I want people to see Cootes as it really is. Not the romanticized version of nature that we may think of as big coloured skies and lots of light. I try to show it in an ordinary way so that you see the struggle underneath the soil. Life struggling to come back.
 Cootes #14 (There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.) Acrylic 60x40 2016
 
 Cootes #14 (There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.) Acrylic 60x40 2016
 
The show runs from October 13th to November 12th at the Focus Gallery in Hamilton.
 
Visit James' website here.
 
Author Bio - James Gummerson
Born and raised in southern Ontario, James Gummerson has devoted the majority of his life to drawing and painting. For over twenty years, he has depicted the natural and rural landscapes of Canada. He has won numerous awards with most recently winning the 2014 landscape excellence award at AIRS.
He is a respected teacher of Art at Mohawk College and is appreciated by many children he teaches throughout the public school system. He also speaks out regularly against environmental issues that face us today.
He continues to travel throughout Canada and spends most of his time painting in and around the rural area of Hamilton and the Niagara Escarpment where he lives with his wife and 2 children.
Born and raised in southern Ontario, James Gummerson has devoted the majority of his life to drawing and painting. For over twenty years, he has depicted the natural and rural landscapes of Canada. He has won numerous awards with most recently winning the 2014 landscape excellence award at AIRS.
He is a respected teacher of Art at Mohawk College and is appreciated by many children he teaches throughout the public school system. He also speaks out regularly against environmental issues that face us today.
He continues to travel throughout Canada and spends most of his time painting in and around the rural area of Hamilton and the Niagara Escarpment where he lives with his wife and 2 children.

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