The Colors of Canada’s Passion
Artist Profile — Carole Spandau
Sparks fly from the keyboard when two of my interests intersect. It’s happening today as I write about art and ice hockey. Yup — this lover of art and design teared up Friday when Bobby Orr carried the Olympic flag, and has been known to wake her babies when Joe Thornton scores a goal.
With the Olympics in Canada, I thought it a perfect opportunity to introduce you to Canadian artist Carole Spandau who—with brush and pigment—tells the story of Canada’s national winter sport.
In her Canadian hometown, affection for the sport is hereditary. “Montreal is now, and basically has forever been referred to as Hockey Town,” said Carole.
“I grew up in the sixties, watching the great Maurice Richard score goals for the Montreal Canadiens—the Habs—as they are also called. I love to paint his famed #9 on the red sweaters of my hockey heroes in tribute to him and the passionate way he played the game.”
Carole’s years as an art teacher led her to document the spirit of the game in and around her scenic city. “I credit finding my artistic vision, voice and subject matter, with the 15 years I spent teaching and mentoring the inner-city kids of Thomas Darcy McGee High,” said Carole.
“The school was located in the heart of the old culturally rich part of Montreal, where the majority of my visual story-telling takes place. Surrounded by magnificent outdoor spiral staircases, old historical and Victorian architecture, quaint little mom-and-pop shops and great eateries, my muse was found.”
Carole finds ample inspiration from little ‘Rockets‘ on all manner of makeshift rinks. “Though technically we have 4 seasons in Quebec, our winters take on epic proportions, lasting seemingly forever,” said Carole.
“Kids actually still play street hockey, rink hockey, hockey near corner stores, and if they are lucky, pond hockey, all the while dreaming of playing in the NHL or becoming the next Wayne Gretzky, carrying the Olympic Torch all the way to the top of the world…going for
Carole’s rich appreciation of art and color started early. “I grew up an only child in a bustling household filled with six adults,” said Carole. “Luckily for me, my uncle was an avid book collector, and I remember many joyful hours spent pouring through his magnificent Art Books, the summer I turned five.”
“Receiving my cherished box of 64 Crayolas, I devoured those colors – broke them into pieces, using the broad sides as well as the tips, dotting and dashing, slashing and crashing about the papers and shirt cardboards my mother gave me, creating my own happy little color-filled world.”
The pressure to be a good artist also came early. “In Kindergarten, the art teacher told my parents that my paintings were advanced, and that I was not a flash in the pan, her actual words about a five year old – what a lot to live up to.”
Classically trained at Montreal’s Ecole Des Beaux Arts and McGill University, Carole’s formal art education began at age nine, when her grandmother treated her to Saturday morning lessons at the famed Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, under the direction of Arthur Lismer, the celebrated painter and founder of Canada’s Group of Seven.
“After class, my mother, grandmother and I would wander the massive halls of the museum, discovering the great masterpieces previously only glimpsed in those precious art books.
“As well, I was totally captivated by the most colorful, exciting and striking paintings that I had ever seen…by Canada’s Group of Seven, my favorites being my great mentor and teacher Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson and Tom Thompson.”
“I was commissioned by an elderly lady to paint her late husband’s Butcher Shop, complete with kids playing hockey in the laneway,” said Carole. “Her family had owned the place during the 1940′s-1950′s before selling out. I completed the piece only to discover that the woman had passed away.
“Later that summer, while preparing for my show in a local mall, a girl that I had gone to high school with, recognized me, and asked if she could visit my show prior to opening. Rummaging through my canvases, she suddenly exclaimed, oh my goodness, I can’t believe this – you have a painting of my father-in-law’s Butcher Shop. (He had purchased it from my original customer in the 1960′s, and worked there until its closing some 25 years later.)
“I was totally flabbergasted – what are the odds?? Several days later, on Father’s Day weekend, Adele phoned to tell me how she had just surprised her husband and in-laws with the painting. Each man tried to talk to me over the phone, but they were too emotional and moved to say anything but thank you. No, it is I who must thank them for having given me the opportunity to enter into their lives and to share such a personal memory with this hard-working family. “
- Her Web site
- Her Fine Art America page
- Her Artist Rising Page
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone message: 514-486-0731