June 14th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 24
Trans-Canada 150 x Two project
Capturing Canada on canvas
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Source: website
"km 2250, From the Overpass", acrylic on canvas, 24"x36"
Pass Herald Reporter
Best friends and artists Carol Loeb and Alison Grapes have embarked on a unique creative journey across the plains and peaks of Canada in celebration of her 150th, travelling coast to coast, stopping every 150 kilometres to document and paint her landscape, resulting in a birthday present of 104 original artworks, 52 paintings by each artist.

“Having lived overseas for 11 years, especially in third world countries, I don’t think people here really understand what we have as a country,” says Loeb, who has taught art across Canada and internationally in Singapore, New Zealand, Kuwait and the Philippines. “We are so, so fortunate. We have our problems, but not only is the country stable with a high standard of living, but the beauty that we have here should be celebrated.”

During the two years that straddle July 1 2017, Loeb and Grapes will be stopping every 150 kilometres to find the inspiration and subject for a painting to visually document Canada at that exact spot, at that exact time. So far, approximately one third of their paintings have been completed from stops in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
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“The series may include a few grand scenic vistas that Canada is known for, but we’ll focus mainly on the common things we often neglect to acknowledge as worthy subjects for painting,” says Loeb. “We’ll paint the everyday Canadian landscape in all its glorious, mundane character.”

Stopping at the same kilometre marks means Loeb and Grapes are surrounded by the same environs, but how they interpret and where they find inspiration is unique to themselves. They don’t share what they are painting so that they don’t influence each other and yet, Loeb says it’s funny how often the subject matters relate.

The artists tried to arrange to make the trips together for the entire project, but were unable to due to scheduling and timing difficulties. Two thirds of the project will be done together, and one third of the paintings will be on their own.

The idea to honour Canada’s 150 this way was an unexpected inspiration from a radio ad that played when Carol and her husband were on a mini vacation in Charlevoix, Quebec.
What was supposed to be a getaway of hiking, photography and plein air painting turned into a rainy, muddy week that interfered with these plans.

“We were in the car a lot. The rain was everywhere. We gave up on day five and on the radio, I heard, ‘What are you doing for Canada’s 150 birthday?’” says Loeb.
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And that was it. That’s what sparked the idea to stop every 150 kilometres from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador to Victoria, B.C. along Canada’s national highway to embark on a journey that documents and celebrates the country.

“I told my husband to pull over the next place where he could do so safely, and I had to find the subject and inspiration for a painting right then. If I could do it there, then I could do it anywhere on the way going across the country,” says Loeb.

The result was her inspiration painting for the project tilted “Roadside Turnout,” capturing the pattern created by water-filled tire tracks in the mud.

The artists are holding a launch exhibition of the paintings they’ve completed to date in Toronto on July 4. Right after, they are hitting the road west going to Victoria, continuing their journey together. They should reach Calgary around July 10.

The Trans-Canada Highway branches off in several areas, with the routes linking up along the line. Since Loeb and Grapes don’t have time to paint along all highway routes, they are inviting artists of all mediums to participate in the Trans-Canada 150 x Two project. Their work will be displayed digitally at the upcoming launch exhibition.

“Every now and then, you want to do a project that is bigger than you and that’s where inviting other artists came in. We just want people to be creative because personally, I’d like to see more than just two people’s interpretation and vision of the country. I’d like to see everybody’s,” says Loeb.

The project is also intended to encourage and support young and less experienced artists. At the launch exhibition in Toronto, 10% of profits will be donated to charities that promote visual art in youth.

A culminating exhibit is projected for July 2018 in Toronto showcasing all 52 paintings, as well as a guest portion that digitally showcases a slideshow of the works of all the artists that have joined.

“This gives them a chance to join the project and write that they were in a gallery show. This is to help emerging artists get established because having been there, it’s really tough, especially in the big centres,” says Loeb.

Loeb and Grapes are looking for sponsors to support the Trans-Canada 150 x Two project to help finance the trip. You can donate, view all the completed paintings to date and follow the journey at http://transcan150xtwo.weebly.com.
June 14th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 24
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