History,  Personal

Portrait of an Artist – Gertrude Cecilia Thibert, 1904-2005

“The Thibert family was pleased to present the art of Gertrude Thibert at Salamanders of Kemptville on 27 and 28 May, 2017.

“Gertrude was born the oldest of then children, on the River Road farm to Timothy and Mary McGahey of South Gower Township, Ontario in 1904. As a young woman she obtained her teaching diploma in North Bay as she was too young to attend University. Gertrude was a founding teacher and the first principal of Holy Cross Separate School in Kemptville, Ontario. The school started out as a four room school house in September 1961. Alongside her were the sister-in-law Theresa McGahey and her friend Mary Beach. She retired from her role as teacher and principal in 1971.

“Gertrude’s love of nature was depicted in her many paintings. She would go on to travel extensively throughout Europe in her retirement where she sketched, painted, took photos and kept diaries of her travels and the nature she found there. In her cottage on the Rideau River, Gertrude spent an immeasurable amount of time using the ideas found in her own luxurious gardens of roses and flowers. The flowers were popular natural subjects that she used in her paintings.

“Many of Gertrude’s significant landscape paintings invite us into a relationship with the view she had created from her memory and notes; are all recognisable with her brush styles and her personal stroke techniques using the media of oils, some acrylic and in later years water colour. Gertrude became an authority in water colour, depicting her beloved flowers and bringing them to life for us to gaze upon. This was truly a gift she had in the face of a challenging technique. Gertrude’s eyesight began failing her in her eighties and though unable to see colour well she could still make out shadows and continued to pain until she no longer could. Gertrude was still interested in her craft and was happy to share technique applications, hatching and cross-hatching for sketches. She also taught the arrangement of light and how it should be placed in painting and drawing. Gertrude gifted her art to close friends and family and her works hang in many of our homes; in a way, they have become memorable centrepieces reminding us of how many of us came to be here. When we rest our eyes on these beautiful pieces she’s created, it reminds us of the artist behind the eyes that saw to making the images we are so fortunate to own.”

 ~ Julia Catherine Thibert – Granddaughter to Gertrude

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