Prestigious new award graces La Cloche Art Show accolades

Ivan Wheale with artist Kathy Dolan who Mr. Wheale selected to receive his new award at the Annual La Cloche Art Show in memory of his late wife Jean for Ms. Dolan’s painting ‘Tucked Away.’ photo by Michael Erskine

WHITEFISH FALLS—The works of Ivan Wheale have become almost synonymous with the shorelines of Georgian Bay and Manitoulin, capturing the wild and rugged landscape with his intricate brushstrokes in oil while leaving his subjects untamed upon the canvas.

Mr. Wheale surprised just about everyone at the La Cloche Art Show this year when he announced a new award, a memoriam in part of his late wife Jean, putting in place a long-talked about dream the couple shared.

“Jean and I talked about it for a few years,” said Mr. Wheale. “This year I decided to make it happen—but although a delightful excuse to look at all of the exhibits, it wasn’t an easy thing to just choose one.”

The artist walked among the various exhibits at the 38th Annual La Cloche Art Show “for ages,” trying to make a very challenging decision. “There were so many that I could have selected,” he said. “But in the end you have to make a choice.”

So, in the end, it was Kathy Dolan’s ‘Tucked Away’ that received the august nod—and Ms. Dolan was totally taken by surprise.

“Normally, if you are winning an award, you would get a call the day of the show from the committee,” she said. “That way the winners can decide if they want to travel a long way to the ceremony. I always go to each show anyway, so I was there at the back of the crowd when I heard my name being called. It was a total surprise.”

Ms. Dolan has had a long line of achievements over the past four years on both the national and international art scenes, including awards in juried competitions, publications in three different art magazines; achieving Master signature status with Pastel Artists Canada and an invitation from an international art magazine to do an exclusive eight-page feature article and video demonstrations on her process of making art.

But through all of those achievements, Ms. Dolan said that she feels “most humbled and thrilled with this most recent. To receive an award from such an inspirational and well respected artist (La Cloche Art Show artist emeritus Ivan Wheale) is the ultimate.”

Adding a little bit of sweetness to the award was the fact that Ms. Dolan usually works in pastels, having only recently taken up oil painting. “This was the first oil painting that I have entered in a show,” she said. “Winning an award hadn’t even entered my thoughts.” Competition for a space on the walls of the juried show is intense, so even being selected for the La Cloche Art Show is quite an accomplishment.