Manfred May

Et in Arcadia, Ego: Manfred May

I was sorry to learn that Manfred May has died. (Read his obituary here).

This is one of his pieces; it almost directly inspired the name of my website. Manfred lived a few blocks away from me, in this incredibly interesting house that he designed – see below (he was an architect).

He’s known for designing the St. Joseph’s Mother House, and a church-in-the-round on Manitoulin Island, which I’m very interested in taking a road trip to visit.

I didn’t know Manfred well, but I had a few very interesting conversations with him after I stumbled across his property while out on a walk. He displayed his sculptures all over the property, and at the time (2014) he was still allowing people to photograph them.

Later on he became worried about theft, but now it seems all but the heaviest pieces have been removed, and I have no idea where they’ve gone now that his house has been sold.

Manfred's House on 3rd Ave

Here are a few photos of the pieces that really struck me when I first explored his property:

There’s almost no information about Manfred available online; I’m interested in finding out more about him, as well as his sculptural and architectural work. If anybody local has any information or stories please contact me.

Walking into the back yard was like going into a sun-dappled fairyland. The place was overgrown and wild, and the art was almost unearthly. I hope the new owners of the property do the house justice, with the restoration it badly needs.

An Update at High Summer

Here’s my most recent work; a portrait of my friend, Michael:

I finished this piece at the end of May and submitted it to an art show at Mansfield Outdoor Centre in June, where it was voted People’s Choice winner. I’m very pleased with how the painting turned out, and flattered that my fellow festival-goers liked it as well.

Since May I’ve been absent from my studio quite a bit. There was a lot of travelling in June, and again in July (including a trip to Vancouver), so I haven’t been keen to start any projects. I think I need to spend some time looking for inspiration. This painting rattled around in the back of my head for about 5 months before it started to come through into real life; I’m hoping to incubate some more ideas during the heat of the summer.

Current Work in Progress

This is a portrait of my friend, Michael, whom I managed to photograph in a quiet moment last fall. He looked so regal that he reminded me of a saint in a stained-glass window. Since he’s a stained-glass artist himself, it seemed like the photo was screaming to be made into a painting with a stained-glass theme.

This is my most recent finished piece, which I was thrilled to exhibit at the Novah Gallery for International Women’s Day:

Work for January 2019

This year I’m working on blogging more often, and I thought monthly progress reports might be a good way to do that, if only to document what I’m working on, to help me date my own art later on.

Also, as of yesterday a selection of my paintings is available for sale at North Bay Oddfellows’ store, at 126 McIntyre Street East in North Bay, across from Alger Furniture.

Here are the two pieces I worked on last night:

The Day of the Dead painting is one of the largest ones I’ve painted to date, at about 2 feet by 3 feet. The stitching in the fabric is turning out to be quite a challenge, since I’m used to painting more loosely.

The fighting fish has been interesting, in that I’m using a modelling paste for texture and am having to add the pigment layers on top. If I were to start this one over again, I’d get some cake-decorating nozzles to control the flow a bit better, but overall I’m happy with how this one is coming out.

2019: More Ambition!

As of January 1st, I’ve had dedicated studio space for four years. It’s really helped me paint more, and improve my skills. Before, I would paint in a corner of my small living room, and it was a real challenge to keep the space tidy (in case clients dropped in), and to keep my cats out of my supplies.

Going into year 4, my goal is to complete a couple of really large, detailed canvases and to keep working on my realism and general painting skills. Here are a few pieces from the end of 2018 that I’m really proud of:

And this is the piece I started over my holidays, which is the most finicky thing I’ve ever attempted:

Wish me luck!