Magical impressions of the beauty & mystery of nature through an original technique which fluidly melds paper texture with many hued intricately layered lines of ink.
It was early in January of 2008 when serendipity brought me to my current practice of pen and ink on sculpted paper. Inspiration struck at a paper on canvas workshop spurring me to deviate from the instruction to deliberately form a recognizable subject, a tree. Fortuitously, a week previously I had purchased a medium new to me (acrylic inks), untried, but perfectly suited to work with this new surface I had made — a tree formed out of a single medium weight sheet with a delicate and judicious application of tissue. Had I chose to use the paper in another manner I am certain I would not have made the pivotal discovery of material interaction, which influences the outcome of every piece I make. This fortunate happenstance cracked my creative world wide open with possibilities involving paper.
Enchanted, I began experimenting with subject matter — from Heath Ledger’s iconic Joker face to a seven foot tall tree trunk, and a curated 8 foot by 6 foot twelve paneled themed exhibition piece. I explored, and continue to explore, my limitations working with pen nibs and their gravity dependant dipping inks, and how different papers influenced the outcome. It wasn’t long before I realized I needed to identify which elements of my exploration could define a technique.
Within my technique it was four years before I could form my smallest bird of three inches, and five years before I attempted a furred animal — a piece that went on to win an award.
In my fifth year I also began exploring how I fit into this dance of mediums. For every piece, before the pen and ink work begins, the interaction of the materials is a source of inspiration, but what also pushes my pen? The final pen and ink stage is especially meditative, and it is there that I found my answers.
It is my memories and my experiences I reach for when art making. Specifically, the summers I spent immersed in the magnificent natural surroundings of Algonquin Park, where the too few amenities of the cottage my grandfather built on Smoke Lake in 1931 meant nature was a strong presence, very much “in my face.” No electricity, and therefore no television, Gameboys or iPhones meant imagination was King. My siblings and I planned our entertainment, invented games played on both land and water. We spent time still and enveloped in lush expansive views, or crouched in intense contemplation of tiny life forms or fauna; tickled or bitten by insects, entranced or startled by sound, buffeted or soothed by wind, warmed or burned by sun.
My art reflects my process of viewing and experiencing nature as I remember it, that random pendulum of intensity and tranquility, the shape, colour, line, and texture I associate with nature’s wonders, beauty and complexity . . . coloured by an adult’s remembrance of childhood imagination and fancy.
Col Mitchell operates a working studio & boutique in Bracebridge, part of the "Heart of Muskoka", Ontario. Her originals are showcased along with creative goods inspired by select original works & limited edition Giclée reproductions.
Canadian Contemporary Paper Artist Col Mitchell is a Fine Art Maker working from the Heart of Muskoka. Through her original technique of pen & ink on sculpted paper she fluidly melds texture with intricately layered lines of colour, creating magical impressions of the beauty and mystery of nature and wildlife.
An international award winning paper artist Mitchell’s work has featured in CBC Arts Paper Cuts video series; Times Square digital exhibition, NYC; the 2010 G8/G20 Summit Media Centre, Toronto; online & print magazines; art publications; popular art blogs; and juried global exhibitions.
Selected Professional Practice and Independent Projects
2015 • June/July; Look Again-Perception, Imagination & Nature's Magic, Chapel Gallery, Bracebridge
2012 • June 8-10; Col Mitchell: Contemporary Paper Artist, Claustro Studios & Gallery, Midland, ON
2011 • October 1- December 1; Out of Trees, The Framing Place and Gallery, Huntsville, ON
2019 • February 18; Through Her Eyes In Her hands-A Celebration of Women in the Arts, Group Exhibition, Organized by the YWCA Muskoka, Chapel Gallery, Bracebridge
2011 • February 18; Something Along Those Lines, Group Exhibition, Bohemian Cafe & Gallery Opening Exhibition, Bracebridge
2010 • June 30 - Sept 20; Muskoka Tourism: A Birds Eye View, A Sense of Place group exhibit, curated by Mary Rashleigh, Canada Summit Centre Exhibition Hall, Huntsville
2009 • Sept 3 - 15; Second Chances Exhibition, Group Exhibition, Six Degrees Gallery, Bracebridge
G8 | G20 Summit 2010
July 24- August 29; Eight Back From The Lake Exhibition Group Exhibition curated by Suzann Greenaway, The Art Space Gallery-Workshops, Huntsville
June 26; Muskoka Tourism’s G8/G20 Muskoka Corridor, Direct Energy Centre, Toronto
June 18-27; Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce G8 Exhibit, Algonquin Theatre, Huntsville
Jan 30; Muskoka Tourism’s Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce G8 Media Familiarization Tour Exhibit, Mark O’Meara Club House, Huntsville
Curatorial Projects | Installation Work
2012 • July; A Bloomin’ Palette for Tom Thomson, Nuit Blanche North, Interactive public installation, Huntsville
2010 • October 29; ArtSHIFT: An exhibition partnering 5 artists with 5 local industries to explore creativity and innovation in local industry, and showcased works which incorporate those concepts, utilizing related raw materials supplied by each local industry sponsor. Conceptualized and curated by Col Mitchell, CreativeSHIFT Symposium, Rene Caisse Theatre & Sportsplex, Bracebridge ON
2010 • Nov 5- 28 - ArtSHIFT Exhibit, The Art Space Gallery, Huntsville
2010 • The Pachter Factor, an month long art exhibition by Contemporary Canadian Icon Charles Pachter, opening as a Nuit Blanche North Extravaganza event including a VIP pre-event with presentation by the Mayor of Huntsville, a paparazzi lined red carpet arrival complete with volunteers portraying the Queen, Prince William, princess Kate, a "Buttertart Honour Guard," an evening of limo exit public photo op, including exterior entrance wall slide show projection of selected works, and a Projection Injection live feed onto opposite exterior entrance wall of red carpet arrivals onto projected images of Pachter's paintings; Project manger, Huntsville
2019 • Best in Show, Ruth Upjohn Memorial/Judges Award, Muskoka Arts and Crafts 41st Annual Spring Members’ Show.
2019, 2017, 2016 • Best 2D Work in the Show, Jeanne Webb Wasylkiw/Judges Award, Muskoka Arts and Crafts Annual Spring Members’ Show,
2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 • Best in Show People’s Choice Award, Muskoka Arts and Crafts 41st Annual Spring Members’ Show.
2018 • Excellence and Mastery of Technique, Muskoka Conservancy Award, Muskoka Arts and Crafts 41st Annual Spring Members’ Show
2018 • Judges award of Excellence in Pen & Ink, Muskoka Arts and Crafts 41st Annual Spring Members’ Show
2017 • Special Merit, Light Space & Time global exhibition “Animals
2016 • Special Merit, Light Space & Time global exhibition “Animals”
2015, 2012, 2010 • Excellence in Mixed Media, Judges award, Muskoka Arts and Crafts Annual Spring Members’ Show
2013 • Special Merit, Light Space & Time juried global Online Gallery exhibition "Animals"
2012 • Special Recognition, Painting and Other Category, Light Space & Time juried global Online Gallery exhibition "Animals"
2012 • Best in Show, Doug Gatcke Award /Members' Choice, Muskoka Arts and Crafts 35th Annual Spring Members' Show
2012, 2009 • Best in Theme 2D, Judges Award of Excellence , Huntsville Art Society
2009 • Best in Show, June Best Memorial Award/Member’s Choice, Huntsville Art Society
Present: Noodle Galley, Alton Mills Arts Centre, Caledon, Canada
2017 • Sept; Minnesota State University Passion Project group exhibition,
2017, 2013 • Oct; Light Space & Time juried Online Gallery group exhibition "Animals"
2014 • July 31; SEE | ME Takes Times Square, See | Me digital group exhibition Times Square NYC
2012 • Aug 1 - Nov 9; Elements of Art: Texture, Still Point Art Gallery, juried online group exhibition
Festivals | Marketplace
2019 • Dec; Noel North, Bracebridge
2019 - 2018 • Nov; Muskoka Arts & Crafts Christmas Show, Bracebridge
2019 - 2017 • Nov/Dec; Huntsville Art Society Christmas Marketplace, Huntsville
2019 - 2017 • August; Buckhorn Fine Art Festival, Buckhorn
2019 - 2018 • July; Muskoka Arts & Crafts Summer Show, Bracebridge
2016 - 2013 • Nov/Dec ; One of A Kind Christmas Show, Toronto
2014- 2012 • August; The Enchanted Forest Art Experience, Kilworthy
2013- 2012 • July; Nuit Blanche North, Huntsville
2011 - 2009 • July, Art in the Heart, Bracebridge
2015 - 2014 • June; Coldwater Studio Tour, Midland
2014 - 2013 • Aug; Artists of the Limberlost, Limberlost
2014 - 2012 • Barrie Spring Art Tour, Barrie
Art Org Member Shows
2019 - 2014 • March; Annual Spring Members Show, Muskoka Art and Crafts, Sportsplex, Bracebridge
2018 - 2012 • Muskoka Art and Crafts Member Exhibit, Canada Summit Centre, Huntsville
2018 - 2012 • Huntsville Art Society Member Show, Canada Summit Centre, Huntsville
2013 - 2010 • HAS Member Show, The Art Space Gallery & Workshops, Huntsville
2012 - 2008 • Spring Ahead, Huntsville Art Society's Annual Themed Exhibition, Show & Sale, Huntsville
Publications | Online Magazines
2014 • The Art of Business , Issue 13, pgs 3, 47, 55 (one page feature), 74, Mixed Media (online) Magazine, Editor Luisa Nims
2014 • Working Girl, May/June 2013, pgs 3-8, 103-108, Diva Mystic (online) Magazine, Editor Romy Maillard
Publications | Print
2019 • Oct/Sept; All in the Details, Muskoka Life Magazine
2016 • August edition; "Found" section of Muskoka Life Magazine, pg 28
2013 • The Artists of Muskoka: Contemporary artists wild with passion (book) by Andrea Hillo
2013 • May Issue; Discovery Through Play, Muskoka Magazine pg 30, 31, 32, 33, 34
2012 • Fall Issue No. 7; Elements of Art: Texture, Still Point Arts Quarterly
2011 • November/December; From tree to paper and back again, Muskoka Life
2010 • May/June; The ABCs of ATCs: Artist trading cards go global, Beyond the City
2009 • Muskoka Visitor Guide, Muskoka Tourism
2009 • Winter Issue; Beyond The City’s “The Last Word”
Publications | Blog
2019 • June; 2 Vibrant Canadian Female Painters Guaranteed To Inspire You, Author Serena West
2016 • June; Creative Spirit Featured Artist, Artist Strong Blog, Author Carrie Brummer
2015 • Feb 16; Featured Artist, Becoming Who You Are Blog, Author Hannah Braime
2013 • May 31; Featured Artist, Artsy Shark Blog, Author, Editor Carolyn Edlund
Cable TV | Video | Radio Interviews
2020 • March; Paper Cuts series; CBC Arts
2016 • July; Arts R Us series; Hunters Bay Radio
2012 • September 18-19; Artifacts; CogecoTV series
2012 • April 24; Live demonstration,
Rogers' Daytime TV Barrie
2012 • March 23 - Muskoka Technology Achievement Awards - Innovative Use of Technology for Innovation, Digital Inclusion, Marketing and Advocacy
2010 • YWCA Woman of Distinction Awards - in Arts, Culture and Creative Energy
2016 • Artbiz Incubator, Alyson B. Stanfield, Art Marketing Consultant
2015 - 2013 • Progress Lounge with Cigdem Kobu, Business Builder & Strategist
2014 • Make Money Making Art, Ann Rea, artist, coach, author
2013 - 2011 • Artist Conspiracy with Alyson B. Stanfield, Art Marketing Consultant
1984 - 1987 • Fine Art, Fanshaw College, London
1984 • Graphic Arts, H.B. Beal, London, Canada