Autumn Art Sale 2012 a Great Success!

Thanks to everyone who visited the McMichael Canadian Art Collection for our 22nd Annual Autumn Art Sale 2012. Fifty talented Canadian artists and sculptors descended on the McMichael for the weekend and sold over 160 works of art. Our annual Fundraiser was a huge success, selling over $90,000 worth of great art, and raising $30,000 for volunteer initiatives at the McMichael. It was wonderful to see so many talented emerging artists.

This year’s Top Artist was Doris Pontieri, and Top Sculptor was Bev Stewart. The Top Ten was rounded out by Peter Rotter, Larry Deacon, Joe Sampson, Floyd Elzinga, Mark Berens, Lynda Cunningham, Lloyd Wilson, Jamie Maclean, and Michele Van Maurik.

Funds raised help support children’s education programs, our popular Sunday Concert Series, and special exhibitions at the McMichael.

Stay tuned for information on next year’s sale, October 18-20, 2013. The application deadline will be May 31, 2013. If you would like to be added to the application notification list, click here.


The Artists & Sculptors of the 22nd Annual McMichael Autumn Art Sale

Over 180 Artists & Sculptors applied to be a part of this year’s Volunteer run Art Sale, and it’s gratifying to see how many talented individuals there are out there. Our jury had the unbelievably difficult task of selecting the cream of the crop, and these are the successful applicants. Thanks to all those who applied, and congratulations to those who made it in.

This year’s sale takes place the weekend of October 19 – 21, 2012. The Opening Night Gala is on Friday, Oct. 19 from 6 – 10 pm, and the sale continues Saturday and Sunday from 10 – 5 pm.

Congratulations to last year’s top artists, who are automatically invited back. Mark Berens was Best in Show, and Beverley Stewart was our Top Sculptor. and our Top Ten group included Janet Bailey, Jeremy Browne, Larry Deacon, Susan Gosevitz, Dianne Green, Doris Pontieri, Peter Rotter, Joe Sampson, and Michael Zarowsky.

See the full list here

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Volunteers sell over $130,000 of art at 2011 Autumn Art Sale

Volunteers celebrate after 2011 Autumn Art Sale
Volunteers celebrate after 2011 Autumn Art Sale

Thanks to everyone who helped make the 21st Annual Autumn Art Sale a great success. Our 50 artists and sculptors sold over $133,000 worth of art, raising over $40,000 for volunteer initiatives.

Browse our pages to find out more about the McMichael Volunteer Committee, our programs and initiatives, and how you can become involved.

The Artists & Sculptors of the 2011 McMichael Autumn Art Sale

Over 210 Artists & Sculptors applied to be a part of this year’s 21st Annual Volunteer run Art Sale, and it’s gratifying to see how many talented individuals there are out there. Our jury had the unbelievably difficult task of selecting the cream of the crop, and these are the successful applicants. Thanks to all those who applied, and congratulations to those who made it in.

Congratulations to this year’s top artists. Peter Rotter was Best in Show (for the second year in a row), Florence Chik-Lau was our Top Sculptor, and our Top Ten group included Mike Smalley, Jeremy Browne, Tim Packer (Best in Show 2007/2008), Deborah Gibson, Janet Bailey, Lorne Winters, Doris Pontieri (Best in Show 2006), Stephen Yau, and Jamie MacLean.


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Name Desc Website
Janet Bailey Top 10 Artist
Allan Beckley Returning Artist
Mark Berens Returning Artist
Sheila Britton New Artist
Jeremy Browne Top 10 Artist
Florence Chik-Lau Top Sculptor
Claustro (Carol Currie and Stuart Leggett) Returning Artist
Lynda Cunningham Returning Artist
Alan Darling New Artist
Jerre Davidson New Artist
John Day New Artist
Larry Deacon Returning Artist
Martin Foley Returning Artist
Gretta Gibney New Artist
Deborah Gibson Top 10 Artist
Susan Gosevitz New Artist
Margo Gracey New Artist
Dianne Green New Artist
Robert Hinves New Artist
Elva Hook Returning Artist
Clint Jammer New Artist
Jamie Jardine New Artist
Jon Jarro New Artist
Roxanne Jervis Returning Artist
Yaeyul Kim New Artist
Kenneth Kirsch Returning Artist
Anna Kutishcheva Returning Artist
Sabine Liva New Artist
Jamie Maclean Top 10 Artist
Hugh McKenzie Returning Artist
Billy-Jack Milligan New Artist
Catherine Mills New Artist
Joanne Mitchell Returning Artist
Sylvia Naylor New Artist
Tim Packer Top 10 Artist
Christine Paige New Artist
Doris Pontieri Top 10 Artist
Peter Rotter Top Artist
Joe Sampson Returning Artist
Teresa Seaton Returning Artist
Mike Smalley Top 10 Artist
Mike Smith New Artist
Beverly Stewart Returning Artist
Glenna Treasure New Artist
Margarethe Vanderpas Returning Artist
Lorne Winters Top 10 Artist
A Wishart New Artist
Stephen Yau Top 10 Artist
Michael Zarowsky Returning Artist
Jack Zhou New Artist

Top artist (twice) Peter Rotter returns to McMichael for 2011 Autumn Art Sale

Peter Rotter - Deep Snow

Rural landscapes with an urban eye

Realist painter Peter Rotter discusses his lifelong passion

By Lina Nijmeh

In Peter Rotter’s brightly lit basement studio stands an easel where his latest canvass sits. Below is a large bin filled with tubes of oil paint, while scattered on a white futon are dozens of bent and wrinkled photos he’s taken of the area surrounding his cottage. This is where he conceptualizes the landscape he’s going to paint, incorporating elements from one or more photos.

Although half of Rotter’s landscapes are made this way, his vision is only realized once it’s finished. “You can say I Frankenstein them together,” he said of his style. “I don’t need to go far. I love light, and I love lack of light.”

At his cottage in the Kawartha Lakes region and in his home studio in downtown Toronto is where the Scarborough native documents Ontario’s beautiful scenery on canvass. This dichotomy is not obvious looking at his paintings: A young urban dweller who exclusively paints landscapes and has no interest in painting anything city-oriented.  

The recent move to the basement from the main floor of his house was, in his words, to spare his wife and new baby from the paint fumes – and to avoid distraction. Leaning on the basement walls are empty canvasses awaiting his attention, including a partially painted one he lost interest in and abandoned in 1990. He won’t dispose of it because he thinks he just might get back to it one day, while the paintings he outright doesn’t like find a home at his mother’s house.

“I still haven’t mastered oils yet so I still got to keep working on it,” Rotter humbly admits. “And I just like the feeling of them. I like how they’re not dry the next day. In a way they’re messy, but in a way they’re not messy.”  

For admirers of his work, Rotter believes it’s a subconscious familiarity with the scenery that grabs their interest. “I think people are drawn to my work because of the sensitivity of it. I think they like the way I design it,” said the realist painter. I think they know it’s not fake and it comes from a place.”

Rotter was just 12-years old when people began to take notice of his talent. His summers were spent at art camp in Bancroft, Ontario where his teachers recognized the quality of his work.

“They wanted you to draw the scenery. I was really good at it and the teachers were impressed and wanted to see more. I stuck out. I always did it [landscapes] after that,” Rotter muses. “I used to do them for Christmas presents.”

While the photos he takes allow him to sketch out his subjects, Rotter uses his iPad to keep the images organized and to narrow in on the details.

“It actually helps me make it simple instead of guessing and actually overworking,” Rotter explains. “Seeing more detail actually makes me do less detail – it’s nice. It’s a weird thing my head does. I don’t have to fake it.”

In his current piece, inspired by the work of Jackson Pollack, lines he calls “spaghetti” are spread in different directions. But he sees similar design elements in other artists’ work, like Gustav Klimt, that guide his hand. “He influences me a lot. He was the same way; he didn’t have to go far–right out of his backyard–to get inspiration. I take what I see around me,” Rotter explains. “The Group of Seven is always an inspiration, too.”

One can draw parallels between Rotter and the Group of Seven. He is part of the artist collective City Field North Shore–a group of friends he occasionally exhibits with and who serve as support for one another. Rotter fulfills the North, while Stewart Jones (City), David Grieve (Field), Joe Sampson (Shore) complete the group.

“Being fulltime artists is kind of lonely, so we need to have a network, but we don’t need to be in the same room together,” Rotter said, pausing. “You just get lonely.” The group all paint individually but speak regularly to break the solitude and keep each other motivated. Rotter also regularly visits galleries to recharge after a show. “I kinda need to be alone,” he said.

After studying design at the Ontario College of Art and Design and computer animation at Sheraton College, Rotter worked as an illustrator for the award-winning preschool TV program Hoobs, which was created and produced by The Jim Henson Company between 2000 and 2002. “It was the best. They still play the crap out of it,” Rotter said excitedly.

Since then he’s been a dedicated artist, working six-hour days­–painting winter landscapes in the summer, and fall and summer landscapes in the winter. “I think what it is with my work is, I still have that illustrator mentally in my head of everything has to be organized so I design everything. I think it’s subconscious,” he muses. “There are certain things that I have to organize and that’s the obsessive compulsive part of me. Everything has to be in threes. I like three.”

He points to the trees on his canvass, ones he obsessively counts to ensure they aren’t even in number. As he’s describing his technique, the painting doesn’t look so abstract anymore but carries a sense of design and structure.

Although he’s been painting for most of his life, he never loses passion for painting landscapes. “I would be doing this even if I had a fulltime job; I’d be doing it at night,” he said passionately. “And I’d be working so hard, that I’d want to quit my fulltime job. That’s the way it’s always gonna be with me, it’s never gonna change. I’ll keep doing landscapes until they’re irresistible.“