2017 – A Year in Review – Marianne Vander Dussen

2017 – A Year in Review

Marianne Vander Dussen - Visiting the Mona Lisa
Visiting Mona Lisa in the Louvre

Wow. What a year.

Between getting married, backpacking around Europe, and creating 10 new original oil paintings, 2017 set the stage for a fabulous 2018. As I look ahead to my 2018 goals, I figured it was worth sharing some really noteworthy things that happened in 2017, that wouldn't have been possible without your steadfast support. I am grateful beyond words to have been able to bring the joy of painting into the community, and honoured to have been asked to run so many wonderful events that brought much-needed funds into the hands of worthy local organizations.

Paint Nights - A Summary

1,516 people taught, 74 events
and $10,950 raised for local charities.

Of all the things I did in 2017, I think I'm most proud of that last part. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that involving people in an art journey would result in so many dollars raised for deserving causes, and I've been honoured beyond words to be involved in the process of fundraising.

Marianne Vander Dussen - Summer in the Park Paintings
Summer in the Park Paintings

Funnily enough, doing my paint night classes started somewhat accidentally. One of my friends suggested that I start teaching paint nights out of my newly acquired studio in the former Tweedsmuir Public School. After some coaxing, I decided to give it a shot, and it snowballed from there. Many things have changed since then; I closed my studio in December 2017 to move to a fully mobile business model, and in this year alone I have taught students as young as 5 and as old as 93. What a ride it's been! 

Oil Paintings - My Work as a Fine Artist

This year was a year of incredible firsts; I participated in my first group show at the Alex Dufresne Gallery in Callander, had my first dual exhibition at the WKP Kennedy Gallery in the Capitol Centre with renowned artist Arlie Hoffman (you can check out the BayToday article here), and participated in the Petit Noel exhibition at the Alex Dufresne. In each of these three shows, work successfully sold to new buyers, and I'm thrilled to know that my pieces are now hanging in these new collectors' homes. 

Below are all the pieces I completed in 2017. I am so incredibly excited for the new projects and commissions that are on the horizon for 2018! I will be focusing the majority of my subject matter (which a few exceptions) on the landscapes and wildlife of Northern Ontario. I've partnered with some outstanding photographers to get incredible reference photos, and I can't wait to see how these new pieces will turn out.

Marianne Vander Dussen - The Town that Silver Built
Marianne Vander Dussen - Opalescent Lake
Marianne Vander Dussen - King's Landing
Marianne Vander Dussen - Farmhouse Sunrise
Marianne Vander Dussen - Tulips for Grandpa
Marianne Vander Dussen - Home for the Night
Marianne Vander Dussen - Crash
Marianne Vander Dussen - Nuthatch
Marianne Vander Dussen - Lake Nosbonsing - Fire and Ice
Marianne Vander Dussen - Lake of Healing Waters

Finally, a Huge Thank You
to the Community of North Bay

North Bay, I absolutely love you. Some of my family and friends in the south think that the city should be paying me some sort of tourism-supporting salary (oh okay, if you insist) for the amount that I rave about this wonderful place. I can't stop talking about the beautiful scenery, the unparalleled sense of neighbourly support and community care, and the incredible opportunities that exist here. I have been positively overwhelmed by the amount of support I've received from the people of North Bay. You've been brave enough to come out and try a class, you've attended paint night fundraisers (despite coming up to me and telling me you can't even draw a stick figure), and you've brought me into your homes, offices, and festivals to teach my beloved art of painting. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Where Next? 

2018 is going to be ushered in on a bit of a whisper; I'm currently taking a break from paint nights in January to focus on completing some paintings for clients and exhibitions. I have the ambitious goal of doubling my paintings output; I created 10 original works this year, and in 2018 I'd like to create 20. This scares the living daylights out of me, because it's a painting every 18 days. I'm hoping that with some focus and determination, it'll be manageable.

I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions; I think the power to be better is within our grasp every single day. But, that being said, I truly believe that 2018 will be an incredible year for my family and I. As both my husband and I continue to work towards our individual and collective goals, we are lucky to have each other as partners and teammates, to cheer and support as we trundle along.

It was so easy to get depressed looking at the headlines of 2017, but the best thing any of us can do is to try and live lives of integrity, despite all of the madness. It's inspiring to live in a community where my friends, neighbours, and paint night guests are all visibly volunteering to make the world a better place; being a part of so many fundraisers made me realize the depth of the commitment so many of you have to improving our city and our world. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 

Happy New Year, North Bay!

Marianne Vander Dussen - Kashe in Progress

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