Louise Hale

"Tobacco Kills"

Louise Hale was born in Montréal, where she lived until she moved to Toronto in 1990. She now lives with her musician husband, Brodie Lodge, and two "Border Collies Plus" in a circa 1840 farmhouse in a village near Delhi, in southern Ontario. Her never-ceasing creativity finds an outlet in music as well as art; Louise has sung with Brodie's band, the Corndogs, and later formed her own group, the Sweet Janes.

A self-taught artist with an unerring innate sense of colour and form, Louise creates stained glass pieces that are more akin to paintings than to conventional glass panels. The foremost landscape painter in the country, Doris McCarthy, has characterised her work as painterly, with pieces of glass taking the place of brushstrokes.

At first meeting, Louise can seem a bit otherworldly, even fey.... like the girl who ran away to join the circus. In fact, that is exactly what she did when she was a teenager, working as the Elephant Girl until an injury forced her retirement. Her beloved elephants are a recurrent image in her work.

Love of nature and rural architecture informs the art of Louise Hale. The tobacco kilns on the farms where she works during the summer to supplement her income are another frequent theme. Even her dogs, Luna and Peanut, have found their way into stained glass pieces!

Perhaps the most unusual feature of her technique is the inclusion of natural materials, such as leaves and flowers. Sandwiched between pieces of glass are entire beech leaves, Queen Anne's lace, even strips of tobacco leaves forming a border for a panel depicting old-fashioned kilns. Living not far from Lake Erie, Louise also makes extensive use of driftglass, sometimes creating entire pieces from bottle glass she has found on the beach.

From spare, monochrome panels reminiscent of quilt blocks to lush, exuberant paintings-in-glass of gardens peopled by elephants, butterflies, or birds of paradise, Louise Hale's stained glass pieces are expressions of abounding love of life, of nature, of colour, of balance.

A retrospective of Louise's work forms part of a current exhibition at the Norfolk Arts Centre in Simcoe.


"The Secret Garden"

Gallery Artists