JOANNE KELLS CHALMERS
Award-winning Napanee artist Joanne Kells Chalmers declares art provides the perfect outlet when life starts to feel a little overwhelming. Once a shy kid, Kells (her “art name”) notes painting gives her a bolder voice and greatly extends the ability to share what’s on her mind.
“If I’d had this voice back then, I would have spoken up more,” she explains, adding art also offers up excellent right brain/left brain balance.
And while this journey of self-expression through art might have taken a while to evolve, Kells’ love for all things creative started early. The artist recalls a childhood filled with weekend visits from her paternal grandmother, who always arrived with new craft activities in tow.
“Do you remember doodle art posters?” she laughs, explaining her grandmother also imparted much technical know-how, from knitting and crochet basics to sewing and quilting tips.
Frequently employing collage in her art, Kells likes to work on multiple pieces at a time. Acknowledging the layering technique serves as a great metaphor, she points out her subjects come in multi-faceted packages.
“It’s hard to depict a person in just flat surfaces,” she chuckles.
When not painting, Kells holds down a day job as a massage therapist. She also likes to get outside to enjoy the natural beauty of the Bay of Quinte area.
“We’re out on the water a lot,” she exclaims enthusiastically. “And if I’m not fishing, I’m sketching or compulsively looking at art or reading art history.”
If you’re interested in checking out some of Kells’ handiwork, browse online and shop on her website.
When Tim Nimigan began publishing cartoons in the local Napanee newspaper nearly twenty years ago, he made a conscious choice to avoid the harsh sort of critical content typically seen in editorial illustrations. Mindful of his day job as art teacher at a local high school, Nimigan deliberately aimed for a kinder sort of humour, gently poking fun at the everyday happenings of small town Canada.
“Sometimes people will come up to me with an idea and say you should do a cartoon about this,” explains Nimigan, who retired from teaching in 2006, “but I never wanted to alienate the parent of a student or lambaste some local politician.”
In fact, the artist seems to enjoy contributing to community life in the same kind of light and positive way he composes cartoons. Active with the Greater Napanee Municipal Arts and Culture Advisory Committee, he played a pivotal role in organizing the ‘Pallet’able Art Program, a project involving sponsored street art painted on wooden pallets that brightens the community year round. And though he’s no longer involved with the committee in a leadership role, he’s happy to be part of their latest art assignment: an Implemental Garden. This time community artists will use the business end of various gardening tools as their canvas.
When not busy with art, Nimigan enjoys devoting time to the auction circuit. Comfortable performing whatever job’s needed, from clerking to holding up the goods on the auction block, Nimigan even studied to acquire his own auctioneer’s certification.
“I like to find things at thrift stores for ten cents and sell them for twenty-five,” chuckles the soft-spoken artist. “Although I guess the numbers would have to be a bit higher than that.”
Looking for a copy of Nimigan’s latest collection of cartoons? Contact him at [email protected]