Italian trip inspired winning artist to return to painting

John Lightfoot and his award-winning painting, “Camlachie Shores.” Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

The Lloyd Gibson Juried Exhibition on now at the Lawrence House offers a glimpse of work by some artists new to our area.

This year’s winner moved to Camlachie from Mississauga in 2017 and is slowly being introduced to the local arts scene.

John Lightfoot is a professional illustrator and graphic designer who picked up a paintbrush four years ago and is creating vibrant landscapes and streetscapes at his home studio.

Lightfoot’s “Camlachie Shores” was chosen by the show’s three judges – Jane Hunter, Glenn Ogilvie and Ian McLean – for its ability to balance technical control and unexpected moments of colour, light and brushwork.

“We were intrigued by the sense of mystery in this landscape,” wrote the judges.

Lightfoot’s acrylic on canvas features a lot of reds, oranges and greens. It’s impressionistic and measures 24” X 48.” The large size is typical, said Lightfoot who is represented by Crescent Hill Gallery in Mississauga and Artopia in Sarnia.

A trip to Italy inspired him to resume painting after a 25-year hiatus, he said. Even before he and his wife made their move to Camlachie, he entered a painting in a juried show at the Gallery in the Grove and won an award of merit.

That was enough to encourage him to continue painting and enter another juried show, Lightfoot said.

“I’d like to be known in the community and get to know the other local artists,” he added.

The Lloyd Gibson Show is named for the late educator and watercolour artist who volunteered at the Lawrence House until his death in 2008.

It’s the only juried show mounted by the arts centre each year and draws a range of professional, amateur and emerging artists, says board member Leonard Segall.

The City of Sarnia provides cash prizes of $250 to the winner, $150 for second prize, and $100 for third.

“The prizes often draw out the best of Sarnia’s artistic community,” said Segall. “It’s important to show the breadth of this community and provide a venue to show their work.”

The winners were announced during First Friday festivities on Jan. 4. Lightfoot placed first; Cathy Earle placed second for her watercolour “Market Day Bouquet;” Regina Gudelis placed third for “Melissa’s Horse,” and Laura Manzano Arias earned an honourable mention for her mixed media “From the Air.”

All 29 pieces in the show are available for sale, with the Lawrence House taking a 25% commission.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Annual Lloyd Gibson Juried Show

WHERE:  The Lawrence House Centre for the Arts, 127 Christina St. South.

WHEN: Jan. 4 – Jan. 25

Judges Ian McLean and Jane Hunter view a watercolour by Cathy Earle, “Market Day Bouquet,” that was the second-place winner in the juried show.
Glenn Ogilvie