Explore Art and Fall on Images Tour
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Every Thanksgiving local studios and artists throw open their doors to showcase masterpieces as part of the Images Studio Tour.
One of Ontario's longest running studio tours, Images is an artist-run, juried event during which visitors can discover art and enjoy the beautiful fall colours of Simcoe County.
The self-guided tour features painters, potters, sculptors, photographers, wood turners, jewellery and clothing makers at stops in Barrie, Horseshoe Valley and along the shores of Lake Simcoe up to Orillia.
This year, more than 30 artists and craftspeople will exhibit their work over the four days at 16 different studios.
Jan Novak is one of those artists.
The artist is an award-winning photographer with a unique collection of landscapes, architecture and nature from around the globe.
Novak discovered a passion for photography at an early age.
“My mom worked for a publisher in Prague and there was a photographer who took me from the basics up,” he said. “It was fortunate that there was a doctor that lived on the same block as us that had a dark room. It just became my life.”
After taking a break from photography for awhile, he turned up the volume on his passion when he moved to Horseshoe Valley 14 years ago.
“I didn't want to do weddings or babies. Everyone has a niche and I love to travel,” he said. “We are getting to places most people don't get to see, whether we are hiking, kayaking or canoeing. These trips provide my artwork.”
Novak's focus is on capturing the image that tells a story, inspiring you to envision that moment.
Novak custom produces his photos to match the décor and size of your home.
“If a client has an opening above their fireplace, we can help them fill that space,” he said. ‘We have a catalogue of more than 300 images to pull from.”
His latest creations feature selected photographs printed on travertine and tumbled marble stone tiles, which will be on display during the tour.
Jimi McKee is also one of the can't-miss artists on this year's tour.
McKee started his art career as an estimator for mechanical and sheet metal contractors in Toronto in 1959.
He worked on the sites of many large office buildings at that time. He would paint watercolors of these projects, which were used before the use of the computers to show what the final project would look like.
His first show was in the Kar Gallery in the colonnade, where he painted more than 30 of Norman Rockwell's illustrations.
“One day, I had a phone call and the person on the other line said ‘Hi, I'm Norman Rockwell,'” McKee said. “He was in town and had seen the exhibit. He gave me his blessing. He gave me some of his drawings. Today I have done more than 60 paintings of his work.”
For years, he has had a restoration business and repairs and re-carves pieces of art and sculpture.
The last three years he has been creating Steamunk pieces and has 10 major sculptures that he displays in his gallery.
“Right now I am doing a series on cubism,” McKee said.
He added that he's looking forward to this year's tour.
“It's probably the best in Ontario. There are just some amazing artists.”

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