Medium: Pen & Ink, Acrylic, Watercolour, Mixed Media
EcoArtist, Gwen Frankton’s deep engagement with the natural world profoundly influences her work at all levels. Her works in acrylic, watercolour and pen-and-ink are lush and vibrant depictions of a variety of environments including the Canadian tundra in Nunavut, naturally occurring and urban forests (trees, plants and the forest floor), marshlands, and various other watery places.
Currently, Gwen is working on a “Blue Mind” series of art pieces which take a variety of forms. One of her pieces, Wave Tryptich: Wave Approaching, Wave Cresting, Wave Breaking, is hanging in Bing’s Eatery in Maitland, Nova Scotia. Three pieces are at Gallery 215 in Selma, near Maitland: Blue Mind: Wave Coming, Blue Mind: Bonavista Wave, and Blue Mind: River over Rocks. A fourth piece is underway, on her easel, in her studio in Maitland. As part of this “Blue Mind” project, Gwen is also working on a series of illustrations for her Cabinet of Curiosities, Things the Tide Brought In. Visitors can watch her working on them, often at Gallery 215, as one of our “Artists in Studio.”
In 2015, Gwen created an art installation, Marked with an ’X’, consisting of hundreds of tiny tree portraits, using the positive aspects of the hype-space to draw attention to the plight of Ottawa’s diminishing urban-forest canopy due to the predations of the emerald ash borer. The installation encouraged visitors to plant a tree and contribute to Tree Ottawa’s goal of planting 1,000,000 trees (one per Ottawa resident) by 2017 in order to restore the urban-forest, just in time for Ottawa’s celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation. It was created originally for Ottawa’s Nuit Blanche night, where it was shown in her studio at The Rectory Art House in the Market. It was later reprised for Tree Ottawa’s 2015 Christmas Gala Event.
Earlier in 2015, Gwen’s third art show, Every Green Tree, was on exhibit at MERA – the McDonalds Corners / Elphin Recreation & Arts centre in McDonalds Corners, Lanark Highlands, Ontario. Every Green Tree was an exhibition of large tree portraits.
If you missed her first two shows, which were examinations of the plants and landscapes of the tundra, it’s because they took place in Iqaluit, Nunavut, a place she called home for 13 years.
She now lives with one foot on sea and one on shore, dividing her time between Maitland, NS and Ottawa, ON. Gwen is a graduate of the University of Windsor Art History Program. She has two wonderful, grown children, is married to a professional writer, and has a golden retriever named Rosie with whom she walks over hill, over dale, thorough bush, thorough forest, over park, over tundra; they do wander everywhere.