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Rebecca Dufton Visual Artist

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Rebecca Dufton with her dog, Toby. Cumberland, Ontario, Canada

Rebecca Dufton with her dog, Toby. Cumberland, Ontario, Canada

 

I am inspired by animals and the beauty of nature. My work expresses the connection I feel to animals and the natural environment. I depict animals as individuals, striving to capture their unique energy and behaviour. Farms, fields and forests are an important element of my work. Whether I work in pencil, paint or fibre, I want my art to be compelling, honest and authentic.

My home and studio are in a rural village outside Ottawa, Canada. I enjoy the plants, animals and open countryside around me. My primary subjects are dogs, birds, and farm animals. Pigs are an endless source of fascination. I visit small farms and spend time getting to know the animals; returning to my studio with my own sketches and photos.

Although I was initially self-taught, I have taken several painting courses and workshops. I continue to participate in regular coaching and periodic critiques of my work by respected mentors. For over 25 years, I worked independently in pastel, coloured pencil, and ink. In 2005, I enrolled in a painting course and began working with acrylic. Shortly afterwards, I joined a group of landscape painters, travelling to rural Quebec for spring and fall paint-outs. The challenge of capturing scenes outdoors and the companionship of fellow artists improved my painting skills rapidly.

In 2008, I returned to drawing, using thin glazes of acrylic on paper, with water soluble pencils and ink. In 2010, I also began using mixed yarns to “draw” and “paint” on cloth using a punch needle on rug warp in the tradition of folk art hooked rugs, but with a painterly approach. Yarn is an exciting medium for exploring line, texture and colour. I use a wide mix of fibres, including silk, alpaca and hand-spun wool from artisans. There’s a sense of serendipity in finding yarn that is both unique and in limited supply.

Hooking is a slow, contemplative process. It takes me several months to complete each piece. I work intuitively, letting the abstract patterns and textures guide me. Each hooked “rug” is an original design.

In 2014, I began making needle felt sculptures as a further exploration of animals’ physical form and character. I use a mix of alpaca, heritage breed wool fibres and coloured roving. The sculptures range in size from six to twelve inches high.

I have completed a number of commissions for clients. The projects have included paintings of historic homes, pet portraits and original art for children’s rooms. For pet portraits, I meet the animal, take my own photos and observe them in a relaxed, natural setting. I provide digital images for the client and discuss my portrait concept in advance. In some cases, I’ve also reproduced the portrait as a set of custom note cards. More recently, I have begun accepting commissions for needle felt animal portraits.

I am currently working towards a solo exhibition of my drawings, paintings and fibre works and seeking gallery representation.

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