Arctic Quest
In 2006, twenty-five artists marked the 100th anniversary of Amundsen’s 1906 navigation through the Northwest passage with a journey of their own.
Painting shown is part of the Vancouver Maritime Museum's permanent collection.
Rhonda McDonald
Painting by Rhonda McDonaldArtist's statement

During my explorations throughout the Arctic, I have, on occasion, taken for granted many of the impacts that Global Warming has had on this region. In 2003, I was guilty of scouring the landscape with only an artistic eye, selfishly starving for the next scene to grace my canvas. Today, my interpretations of how I translate the Arctic onto canvas is revealed in my painting titled "On Thin Ice, Baffin Island". When I first photographed this scene, I was drawn by the strength and courage of this polar bear having travelled an incredible distance, hunting for it's favorite meal - the seal - often found on the sea ice. Reflecting back with heightened scientific awareness on Global Warming, this polar bear that I first marvelled over has now become a very poignant scene with emphasizes solely on the bear's survival. I am hopeful that my painting "On Thin Ice, Baffin Island" will serve as an educational awareness and leave each viewer with a strong statement on the effects of Global Warming.

On Thin Ice, Baffin Island
12" x 24"


Rhonda McDonald

Rhonda McDonald was born in Oshawa, Ontario and now resides in Barrie, Ontario where she runs her own successful business Everlasting, Letting In The Light Studio.

Rhonda’s artistic talents became apparent at the early age of five and by the age of sixteen, she was exhibiting her work at juried art shows in southern Ontario. Rhonda continued her art career studying under famous Key West Artist, Belanti. Upon her return in 1984, Rhonda learned about her late great grandfather, Hugh Robertson Shaw’s accomplished art career and history of inventions after attending an exhibition of his work, organized by family member, Roy Shaw. Rhonda also learned that Hugh Robertson Shaw and his brother, Donald Alexander Shaw, ran a number of art studios throughout Ontario. With this knowledge, Rhonda quickly realized that her mother, Eleanor, was one of many accomplished artist that dated back to the early 1800’s. The extensive history of her family’s art career had inspired Rhonda to continue in her Great Grandfather’s footsteps.

Rhonda is a professional artist and photographer, exhibiting her artwork for the past 26 years. With her extensive experience, Rhonda continues to exhibit and accept commission pieces in a variety of mediums, including, oils, acrylics, watercolour, pen and ink, pastel and conte crayon. Combining her eye for detail and artistic diversities, Rhonda adds 16 years of experience freelancing her AutoCAD Technical Services to companies throughout Ontario. Rhonda has successfully designed over 70 subdivisions adding council’s stamp of approval. Rhonda also offers Architectural Renderings after studying under Mike Lin, a famous artist and architect from Kansas. Rhonda’s award winning rendering won her first place out of the 75 enrolled professionals. Rhonda’s most recent endeavor has been teaching art within the Simcoe County School Board. Rhonda’s curriculum includes exposing the children to her fine art paintings and photography of the Arctic combined with Rhonda’s private collection of Inuit art, sculptures and artifacts. The combination of reference material teaches the children about the Inuit’s art, culture and customs.

At each of Rhonda’s art classes or presentations, she repeatedly gives thanks to the Inuit artists who have made their paintings, tapestries and carvings available to purchase in order for Rhonda to inspire and expose each person to the wide range of Inuit artistic talents. Rhonda transforms her photography of eleven remote villages throughout the Arctic and Greenland into a Power Point Presentation and shares this presentation with her students. Rhonda’s presentation allows the children to visually experience first hand the Arctic’s weather, landscape, wildlife, remote communities, including the Inuit people, without leaving the classroom. Rhonda has also accepted roles as guest speaker at annual art association dinners and galleries where she displays her private collections of Inuit artifacts, her art work, photography and includes her personal Power Point Presentation.

Rhonda has exhibited at The Club At Bond Head, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie City Hall, Mill Pond Gallery, Simcoe County Museum, Laurentian Bank of Canada, Wye Marsh Wildlife Show, Killarney Lodge, including commercial galleries throughout Ontario. Since Rhonda’s attendance at the launch of Arctic Quest, held at the First Canadian Place on January 12th 2005, Rhonda has participated with Arctic Quests 2006 group exhibitions at The Bond Head Gallery, The Arts and Letters Club Toronto, Win Henstock Gallery, Georgina Arts Centre & Gallery, TD Centre’s “The Linkway”, Gallery On The Grand, and Vancouver Maritime Museum BC, home to Rhonda’s permanent collection painting. Rhonda is proud to announce the official kick off to Arctic Quest’s Traveling Exhibition, which begins in Iqaluit, Nunavut on June 18th and runs until August 2007. Updates of future exhibitions and locations can be reviewed by visiting the Arctic Quest 2006 website at Rhonda’s work is in the collections of corporate and private collectors in the U.S., Australia, Germany, England and Canada.

Rhonda is a member of the Canadian Arts Foundation, MacLaren Art Centre, and Barrie Art Club Gallery, having served on the executive as treasurer and a member/sponsor of Ducks Unlimited of Canada. A strong supporter of conservation projects, charitable events, Rhonda has donated works of art and photography to Ducks Unlimited Canada, Canadian Cancer Society’s, including numerous Churches and Hospitals.

Rhonda’s paintings show her love of early morning or evening light, illuminating and capturing the viewer’s eye as they explore each piece. Her subject material varies from people of all nationalities and ages, wildlife in their natural environment, to early morning and late afternoon scenes while kayaking or hiking. Seventeen years traveling within Algonquin Park’s interior, two years painting in the Arctic and recently in Italy, including Venice, where she traveled to the Venice Biennale Celebrations with The Canadian Art Foundation, have proven to be favorite sites of subject material for Rhonda to paint. She enjoys retracing the footsteps of the Group of Seven when she is sketching, painting or photographing in the Arctic, Algonquin Park and Georgian Bay. Rhonda is pleased to announce her association with Arctic Quest 2006 as they focus on the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first successful crossing of Canada’s Northwest Passage by Norwegian Explorer, Roald Amundsen.

On January 29, 2007, Rhonda met with committee members to review the details regarding her invitation to be the next Agricultural Hall of Fame Portrait Artist at the Simcoe County Museum, Minesing. This opportunity allows Rhonda to once again, follow in her Great Grandfathers footsteps, as he too was recognized as an accomplished portrait artist, in his day.

Rhonda McDonald’s fine art paintings depict scenes of freedom and tranquility. She is pleased to share her experiences with nature and people as she unveils her lifelike interpretations on canvas.

Letting In The Light Studio
Barrie, ON L4M 2Z9
Tel: 705-715-7833
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