“My heart is on an island in Georgian Bay.”Martha Davis, Artist
That’s how artist Martha Davis describes her summer-cottage studio in a place that most inspires her. Having spent childhood summers on Georgian Bay, she’s moved to create impressionistic, up-close-and-personal work drawn from the natural world: sun rising in the east, dew settling on Junipers, spider webs hanging like hammocks from the tops of trees. With brush and palette knife, Davis creates texture and gestures bringing her subjects to life.
When something stirs her with a fleeting, floating feeling, she takes a photo, knowing she’s captured the material for a new painting. “I prefer asymmetry, diagonals and an edgy balance,” the artists says. “What grabs me is what I want to accentuate or dramatize, whether it is a line, an angle, a colour, a mass of colours, contrast, or a wonky perspective.” Her off-centre style fills her paintings with drama and motion. “Motion evokes emotion,” she says.
“Martha’s off-centre style fills her paintings with drama and motion…”
While Davis’ love of music and dance bring a lyrical, rhythmic quality to her creations, travel also provides inspiration for her paintings. While on a trip to Austria, the artist lay down in a field of wildflowers looking up at the sky which led to ‘Upwards’. Viewing the dramatic structure of Antelope Canyon in Arizona from a kayak resulted in her painting of the same name.
Pat Fairhead, the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, and Cezanne are major influences in her artistic development. She also mentions Alex Colville, whose paintings she finds both unnerving and exciting. “As a competitive athlete (latterly in masters’ rowing),” says Davis, “I see most paintings as a challenge. I like to be able to solve painting issues, rather than give up or start again.”
Now a Bracebridge resident, Davis began her art journey twenty-five years ago while living in Toronto. She caught the ‘painting bug’ after viewing the work of renowned Canadian artist Pat Fairhead, and began her training with classes at Sheridan College and Dundas School of Art. However, it was Fairhead she wanted as a teacher. So Davis would travel to Muskoka to take lessons from her. The classes and love of the region motivated Martha and her husband to move to the area in 2006.
An ongoing collection of Martha Davis’ paintings are available at Fine Thymes on Taylor Road in Bracebridge and directly from the artist. Contact: 705-394-7474 or see Martha’s work on instagram: @marthadavis2045
About the Author: Muskoka writer and visual artist Wendie Donabie paints pictures with words and flavours her creations with alliteration, similes and metaphors. When words won’t do the job, she turns to her easel and paints what stirs her heart and soul – most often her love of the natural world. Wendie has published work in magazines and in poetry and literary collections. At this time, she is working on a murder mystery set in a forested resort area somewhere in North America. Wendie is co-founder of Muskoka Authors Association, operates Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery and is one of the organizers of ARTrail Muskoka. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and www.WendieDonabie.com.