Katherine Muir Miller — Falling in Love with Art - theHumm March 2021

Katherine Muir Miller — Falling in Love with Art - theHumm March 2021

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

Landscape artist Katherine Muir Miller’s brilliant paintings tap into the same subject matter that inspired Canada’s beloved Group of Seven artists — the great northern Canadian landscape in all its seasonal glories. This is where she finds her inspiration — rooted in her mother’s deep love of trees and fostered by her own and her five children’s passion for the magnificent and wild Canadian outdoors.

Many Canadians can’t look at a painting of stark pines outlined against the sky at the edge of a northern lake without thinking of Tom Thomson or A. Y. Jackson. The Group of Seven clearly succeeded in realizing their stated ambition back in the 1920s to create a fertile ground from which a new generation of uniquely Canadian art would grow. For Katherine Muir Miller, their success is a double-edged sword. Newcomers to the eponymous founder’s stunning new art gallery in Perth frequently react with comments comparing her vibrant landscapes to those painted by our best-known national art figures.

What sets her work apart is her unique use of their established language. Her playful, experimental use of colour, the textures she builds, the gestures, and the freedom of her brushstrokes combine to produce her fresh take on a familiar natural world. A literary analogy comes to mind. Many writers use the same language to explore similar subject matter. Some produce literature that is mundane; others achieve the sublime. Muir Miller’s landscapes have the power to transport you to a sublime place.

What she loves most about her paintings is the stories they represent. Katherine bases her landscapes on memories of cross-country travel, and on photos her adult kids and friends take on their harrowing canoeing and hiking and skiing trips across Canada’s incredible rugged outdoors. Photographers claim that looking at an image they have taken transports them back to the time and place and circumstances of the shoot. Katherine’s impressionistic realism paintings evoke and intensify the same response for viewers and clients who are fortunate enough to reconnect with the scenes she celebrates.

Falling Headfirst

Katherine’s own story is one of reinvention — her art is her salvation. Six years ago a catastrophic fall caused serious damage to her face and head; broken bones resulted in vestibular damage, visual damage, and neurocognitive damage that permanently ended her career as an ER nurse at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital in Ottawa. It also put an end to all of the sports activities that had characterized her exceptionally active role as a mother — hockey, skating, skiing, running — even walking was out of the question for quite a while.

Her healing process included physical therapy, chiropractic care, vision and balance therapy, and rebuilding torn neck muscles. The most important part of her healing didn’t start until several months after her traumatic accident. In an attempt to cope with the devastating losses to her sense of identity and purpose, Muir Miller pulled out a canvas and decided to paint. She had dabbled in art before, but never seriously. Six hours later she realized she had been symptom-free for the entire time — no dizziness, no headache, no pain. “And from then on, I never even looked back.”

The injuries to her head obviously did not quench her “just do it” spirit. As she puts it, “I’m a highly motivated person. When I dive into something I do it 110%.” At first she painted therapeutically, but then she embarked on an energetic and targeted path to pursue her passion to paint Canadian landscapes. She started taking lessons at the Ottawa School of Art in 2014, and from 2015 to 2018 she studied with Ottawa artist Gordon Harrison.

Katherine credits Harrison with encouraging her to tap into her own creativity and find her own path to expressing her passion for the Canadian wilderness. Her fascination with colour is the key to her success and her greatest pleasure. Sometimes she spends as much time “making” her oil paint colours as she does painting the scene she has been visualizing in her mind’s eye for days. Her most successful paintings are those she has thought about for the longest time. Her least favourite question is “How long did it take you to paint that?”. Her advice to novice painters is to be patient; creativity will come “all in the goodness of time.”

Eventually, as their home was filling up with her exuberant art works, she sought independent validation beyond the growing encouragement from family and friends. In 2018 she applied for the “Artist Project” show in Toronto and was thrilled to be waitlisted. As a result, the “One of a Kind” show in Toronto invited her to exhibit her works, and with her family’s help and support, her professional career was off and running. For three years she participated in a growing variety of shows, but early in 2020, Covid put an abrupt end to all her exciting new show plans. She isn’t sure how the stars aligned to present her with her newest opportunity, but a walk in Perth with a friend resulted in her current reinvention of herself. At her companion’s urging, Katherine checked out a “For Lease” sign at 22 Gore St. East, and, with her supportive family’s urging and help, created the Katherine Muir Miller Gallery.

Muir Miller is a realist — she knew she was and wanted to be a painter, not a businessperson. So she listened to her life coach and friend Darlene Kelly, and has hired the business and technical support she needs to stay focused on her painting. During Gallery hours you can drop in at 22 Gore St. East and catch her painting with her dog Meeko at her side. Her coordinates are listed on the back of her Artist Trading Card in the righthand corner above, and her Virtual Assistant keeps her information current on her website at katherinemuirmiller.com and all her other social media. Katherine thanks her fantastic family for their support in enabling her to turn a catastrophe into a gift.

 

Katherine Muir Miller — Falling in Love with Art - theHumm March 2021

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

Landscape artist Katherine Muir Miller’s brilliant paintings tap into the same subject matter that inspired Canada’s beloved Group of Seven artists — the great northern Canadian landscape in all its seasonal glories. This is where she finds her inspiration — rooted in her mother’s deep love of trees and fostered by her own and her five children’s passion for the magnificent and wild Canadian outdoors.

Many Canadians can’t look at a painting of stark pines outlined ag......

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Winterwords Café #3
Keep Calm and Write On
- theHumm March 2021

On Tuesday, March 23, theHumm invites you to Zoom in from 7–9:30pm for a conversation with Robynne Eagan, writer Jacob Berkowitz and associate professor Sophie Tamas. This will be the third in our series of Winterwords Cafés, and is open to everyone!

Speaking on the topic of “writing in challenging times”, Jacob will share his creative experience during the pandemic of writing a play, a non-fiction book, and working at his day job as a science writer.

Sophie will talk about “the (mis)use......

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More Fun, Less Stuff - theHumm March 2021

By Mike Nickerson lives near Lanark, Ontario, and is the author of Life, Money & Illusion: Living on Earth as if we want to stay.

A meme to remember when the challenges of climate and inequality get you down: MORE FUN, LESS STUFF.

On a good day one can sense, through the fog of our world’s problems, a faint light. A glimmer of a place where humans live in balance with the Earth and with each other.

Viewed from the challenges of today, that place seems to be another dimension. And it is. The values by which people manage themselves are dimensions of worlds we might build, and this alternate dim......

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Living on Earth as ifWe Want to Stay:
A Discussion with Mike Nickerson
- theHumm March 2021

As we emerge from the Covid lull, we have an opportunity to recreate our world.

On Tuesday, March 16 at 7pm, theHumm presents a Zoom discussion with Mike Nickerson, author of Living on Earth as if We Want to Stay.

The story about work, pay, investment, profit, living off other’s efforts, and perpetual economic Growth is running out of room on our finite planet — Mike will discuss changing the cultural narrative. What are the economic myths that keep us captivated in the money paradigm?......

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The John Muir Trust
MMLT Presents John Muir’s Legacy in the Land of his Birth
- theHumm March 2021

By Bob Betcher is the president of the MMLT

Each year the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, in association with its Annual General Meeting, has a guest speaker who entertains and informs us on nature or other issues associated with the preservation of wild land. On March 31 the talk will be a little unusual for the Land Trust, but a very special event for our members and the general public.

Our guest speaker will be Mike Daniels, Head of Policy and Land Management at the John Muir Trust based in Pitlochry, Scotland, not......

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We All Belong — Mississippi Mills - theHumm March 2021

By The WABMM Team

Would you like to be part of a new video project in Mississippi Mills? We All Belong — Mississippi Mills (WABMM) is a fledgling group started in response to acts of intolerance in our community. It plans to offer projects through which people can feel supported to share their stories, knowledge, and perspectives, in order to increase understanding and acceptance in our community. We hope to share projects that illuminate and celebrate our existing and growing diversity in Mississippi Mills. We a......

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Reimagining Maple
An Interview with Shirley Fulton-Deugo
- theHumm March 2021

The first Covid lockdown hit pretty much right in the middle of maple season in 2020. Here we are almost a full year later, and local sugar bushes are still dealing with pandemic pressures. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Shirley Fulton-Deugo — with help from her family and Fulton’s “Team Awesome” — has been pivoting like crazy to open their 400-acre property to the public and get maple products safely into the hands of all of us who are starved for a taste of Spring.

theHumm: We are so gl......

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Tackling Menstrual Inequality —One Tampon at a Time - theHumm March 2021

By Jessie Carson

On July 1, 2015, the federal government removed the “luxury” tax (GST) from all menstrual products. This was a monumental shift in beginning to combat period poverty in Canada. Many provinces followed suit and exempted menstrual products from provincial sales tax as well. Prior to this, householders already saved GST on items like cocktail cherries, wedding cakes and products required for incontinence. What was monumental was not the 27 cents saved on a $5.49 box of 16 tampons; it was the recognition that menstrual products are not a luxury but an essential item for all menstruators in Ca......

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Step Out of the River - theHumm March 2021

By Vickie Walsh

Is it me, or does the pandemic bring the term “March madness” to a whole new level?! Even with some solid positive coping strategies, I still feel it.

This feeling reminds me of the Paulo Coelho quote: “You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.” Let’s step out of the river.

In 1999, I was 21 years old, relatively new in the military, and on my first deployment to East Timor. Two years prior to that I had a tank accident that left me wearing dentures for a few yea......

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The Ground Beneath Our Feet - theHumm March 2021

By Chandler Swain

This month’s focus is on a small group in our community called the Farm Working Group, one of nine working groups within the Climate Network Lanark (CNL).

For a taste of what they are doing, let me introduce three members to talk about why they are participating to bring farms into the conversation about their important role in Climate Action.

Scott Hortop

Scott, you are the facilitator of the Farm Working Group for CNL. I know the group is still in its f......

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Who Ya Gonna Call? - theHumm March 2021

By David Hinks

As someone who is intensely interested in local gardening, particularly vegetable gardening, I frequently peruse local gardening Facebook groups. Some of my favourites are Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton, Almonte and Carleton Place Gardeners, Edible Ottawa Gardens, and Eat Local, Buy Local in Lanark County. I often find that there are some really good responses from the Ottawa Master Gardeners.

What strikes me about posts this time of year is the number of questions and comments about starti......

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Jim Hake: Ladies Night - theHumm March 2021

Sivarulrasa Gallery is delighted to launch a program of simultaneous exhibitions this year! A solo exhibition of paintings by Almonte-based artist Mary Pfaff entitled Mary Pfaff: Companions is currently running in Gallery I, where it will continue until March 26. For the inaugural show in Gallery II, they are pleased to present Jim Hake: Ladies Night, an immersive solo installation of sculpture by Toronto-based artist Jim Hake. This show will run from March 10 to April 16.

......

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Happiness is a Good Book
Meet Ann Shea, Almonte’s Newest Bookseller
- theHumm March 2021

By John Pigeau

 In the strangest of times, Ann Shea’s happy story just seemed to fall into place, neatly if unexpectedly — rather like chapters in a good book.

Once upon a time, she found herself shoe shopping with her sisters in Almonte.

“I grew up in Aylmer, and my three sisters still live in Ottawa and the Valley,” Ann explains. “They are frequent visitors to Almonte, particularly drawn to the shoe selection at Crush Marketplace. In August, I was in the area and they invited me along for t......

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Online Drama Studio with Carolee Mason - theHumm March 2021

Calling all thespians and dramatic artists! Are you feeling deprived of the opportunity to pursue your passion during this pandemic? Are you looking for ways to connect with like-minded souls and engage in the creative exploration that is part of working together to put on plays? Do you miss the performance, the social interaction, the intellectual and creative "buzz" that comes from the rehearsal process itself?

If so, the Studio Theatre Perth has a solution for you! They ......

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Mindfulness Mini-Course - theHumm March 2021

These days, over 80% of Ontario’s health services are being delivered remotely. When asked by the United Way of Leeds and Grenville how Country Roads Community Health Centre could help more people in their homes, a video program seemed a logical idea. “We have had tremendous success with our Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program,” says CRCHC Executive Director Marty Crapper. “Traditionally, this has been an in-person, ten-week program. We asked our instructor, Sandy Prentice, and John Pringle of Westport Video, to come up with ideas on how we could take the core elements and present ......

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Poetry Reading and Discussion - theHumm March 2021

On Friday, March 26 at 7pm, the Carleton Place Library will present Park Ex Girl: Life with Gasometer — a poetry reading and discussion via Facebook with Claudia Coutu Radmore. 

Here is Claudia’s twentieth-century life in Montreal’s Park Extension, characteristic of how suburbs grow. Looming over her on Beaumont Street is a seventeen-storey gasometer that casts a spell over her early life. Her poems include depictions of how gas-powered electric lighting snaked ......

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MERA Spring Speaker Series - theHumm March 2021

Brighten up your early spring by Zooming in for an exciting series of talks presented by MERA. Taking place on Thursday evenings from 7–8:30pm, the topics include art in the community, hiking, writing, and Lanark wild places. Organizers have tried to plan something for everyone!

The series of four talks starts on March 11 and runs until April 1. Admission is by donation to MERA by sending an e-transfer to meraschoolhouse@gmail.com .......

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Self-Compassion - theHumm March 2021

By Glenda Jones

I saw this on a sign last week: “Be kind, Practice self-compassion”.

Well now, that sounds like a regimen I can adopt pretty easily, ridding myself of guilt and angst all in one step. Someone is giving us permission to indulge in inner pleasures. Don’t go crazy languishing on the couch with chocolates and pulp novels, or become a hermit watching old movies and eating popcorn. You still have to keep up some modicum of decent appearance and health. However, a teensy bit of self-indulgence w......

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Fueled by Plants - theHumm March 2021

By Jaaron Hamilton

During a time when it’s difficult to go out, many people are looking inward to find inspiration and motivation to eat and create good food. Fueled by Plants author Stéfany Oliver has used the pandemic to harness her passion and put together her first recipe book, with the goal of bringing health and happiness to her community. 

Fueled by Plants is a collection of Oliver’s own vegan and gluten-free recipes, featuring local foods from throughout the Ottawa Valley and Ottawa area. ......

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An Ode to the Maple Tree - theHumm March 2021

By Ray Fortune, Fortune Farms Maple Sugar Bush

Have you hugged a maple tree today? I know not everyone can do this, but it’s the thought that counts. And here’s why…

We are so fortunate at Fortune Farms fortunefarms.ca to have two majestic sugar bushes, both of which have been tapped for well over one hundred years. The picture shows one of our largest trees, which we have named the Fortune Giant. We have others larger but not as close to a trail. Sadly, we lost several of our large......

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A Small Town During Pandemic:
an Interview with Ryan Gordon
- theHumm March 2021

The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum mvtm.ca and Ryan Gordon Photography ryangordonphotography.com have partnered to create a timely exhibit of photographs entitled “Faces & Fabric of a Small Town During Pandemic”. Curator Michael Rikley-Lancaster and artist Ryan Gordon write: “As the community grapples with a pandemic that is radically reshaping every aspect of public and......

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CFUW “Staycation” Raffle - theHumm March 2021

CFUW Perth and District is raffling off a “Staycation” gift basket worth over $1,000, with contents generously donated by local businesses. The prize includes a two-night stay at Clyde Hall B&......

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No Maple Weekend;Lots of Maple Syrup!
- theHumm March 2021

The Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association (OMSPA) is disappointed to announce that Maple Weekend has been cancelled for 2021. The event, which takes place the first weekend of April each yea......

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Maple Run Tour Cancelled for 2021
- theHumm March 2021

The organizers of the Pakenham Maple Run Tour are very sorry to announce the tour is reluctantly cancelled for this year. We are so disappointed that we will not be welcoming enthusiastic visitor......

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theHumm in print March 2021 (pdf)

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