Com­mit­ted to her Craft

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE -

Vic­to­ria Vanier, Ge­orgeville

“Ev­ery­thing I do is re­lated to my art,” said Cather­ine Young Bates, an artist in ev­ery sense of the word who di­vides her time be­tween the East­ern Town­ships and Mon­treal, when she’s not off ‘plein air’ paint­ing spec­tac­u­lar land­scapes in

re­gions as far north as the Arc­tic and as far south as New Mex­ico. “I like that bet­ter than call­ing my­self a pro­fes­sional artist,” added Ms. Bates in the in­ter­view at her home in Ge­orgeville, where beau­ti­ful and imag­i­na­tive works of art adorn ev­ery shelf and wall, some of them her own.

An ac­com­plished artist and a mem

ber of the Royal Cana­dian Academy

of the Arts who has had over thirty solo ex­hi­bi­tions across the coun­try, Cather­ine had been com­ing to the Town­ships to paint for sev­eral years, of­ten exchanging paint­ings for room and board. “I stayed at a cabin in the woods once and even rented the build­ing where Stu­dio Ge­orgeville is now as a stu­dio, but I al­ways wanted a place of my own. I bought this house the same day the For Sale sign went up. Peo­ple in this area have been very sup­port­ive of my art.”

I asked Ms. Bates, a na­tive of Wind­sor, On­tario, what brought her to Que­bec. Of­ten look­ing at the ‘big pic­ture’, both in her art and in her life, she an­swered: “One grows. You have to grow all your life. If an op­por­tu­nity comes up, you take it! At the open­ing speech of my ex­hibit at the Cen­tre Cul­turel

Yvonne L. Bom­bardier, ev­ery­one ap­plauded when I told them that I wasn’t born in Que­bec, but that Que­bec adopted me!”

Ded­i­cated to her craft, Ms. Bates has been a pro­lific painter, or­ga­niz­ing her life around her art. “When I taught, I taught for 80 % of my salary so I could take six months off to paint, with pay, ev­ery five or six years,” said the artist who has had artist res­i­den­cies at Pouch Cove, in New­found­land, and at Taos and Ar­royo Seco, New Mex­ico. Her present solo ex­hi­bi­tion at the Cen­tre Cul­turel Yvonne L. Bom­bardier, which has been guest cu­rated by Monique Nadeau-Sau­mier, fea­tures no less than sixty-five of her re­cent works.

“It’s im­por­tant for an in­di­vid­ual to be cre­ative, and cre­ativ­ity is con­ta­gious! I was al­ways cre­ative; my mother would show peo­ple what I did in my sand­box!” she men­tioned en­thu­si­as­ti­cally.

Owl’s Head, that grace­ful, soli­tary peak, fig­ures promi­nently in many of Ms. Bates’ dra­matic land­scapes. “When paint­ing out­side in this area, you see it all the time, swirling skies at sun­set. Moun­tains are very sym­bolic; they take us up­wards. We see the ski trails, the scars. One rea­son I’ve painted land­scapes is to show the beauty of them. Let’s not wreck it please!”

Ms. Bates’ Icarus Se­ries also has an en­vi­ron­men­tal as­pect. “My Icarus Se­ries is a sym­bol for the over­reach of man into the en­vi­ron­ment.” That se­ries, how- ever, has been evolv­ing. “I didn’t like the end­ing of the Icarus myth, so I’m chang­ing it. The fig­ure has be­come fe­male and she knows what she’s do­ing. She’s not go­ing to get burnt.”

“I’m con­cerned about the en­vi­ron­ment, but I’m more con­cerned still about the cre­ative at­ti­tude in our­selves. We must keep the cre­ative at­ti­tude alive and thriv­ing – it’s the health­i­est thing we can do,” she com­mented.

It’s im­por­tant to men­tion that the rea­son I was able to have a ca­sual chat with the artist over a pot of Lady Grey tea was be­cause, just a few years ago, Ms. Bates re­ceived a cochlear im­plant so she could hear again.

Both her loss of hear­ing and the re­gain­ing of that sense through the im­plant have im­pacted her cre­ative process im­mensely. “I had be­gun do­ing many monochro­matic works and I won­dered if it was be­cause I was los­ing my hear­ing. Then, af­ter the op­er­a­tion, colours started com­ing back; I’m now do­ing a se­ries of red land­scapes. Maybe it’s be­cause I’m hap­pier, but I think that colour is more than just colour. It per­me­ates me and I feel I can al­most hear it.”

Ms. Bates couldn’t be hap­pier about her ex­hi­bi­tion in Val­court. “I’m so pleased with the pro­fes­sional level of at­ten­tion that was given by the Bom­bardier peo­ple. Monique Nadeau-Sau­mier and An­drée Bilodeau, who works at the Bom­bardier Cen­tre, came first to choose the works, then they came back with a truck and took the works from my home, from my apart­ment in Mon­treal, and from my stu­dio.” The artist was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed with how the gallery work­ers grouped the paint­ings, even paint­ing the cen­tre’s walls to ac­cen­tu­ate the works.

This ex­ten­sive ex­hi­bi­tion con­tin­ues un­til De­cem­ber 15th, 2013. Ms. Bates and art his­to­rian and cu­ra­tor Ms. Nadeau-Sau­mier will host a guided visit of the En­ten­dre la Couleur ex­hibit fol­lowed by a talk about Mount Owl’s Head on Novem­ber 3rd. For more in­for­ma­tion call the Cen­tre Cul­turel Yvonne L. Bom­bardier at

450 532-3033.

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

pho­tos Vic­to­ria Vanier

Re­cent works by painter Cather­ine Young Bates, seen here at her home in Ge­orgeville, are fea­tured in an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Cen­tre Cul­turel Yvonne L. Bom­bardier un­til De­cem­ber 15th, 2013.

Cather­ine Young Bates poses be­side one of her paint­ings of Mt. Owl’s Head, this one en­ti­tled “Trails”.

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