Cork & Canvas (March 3 – 26) is the CPO’s annual Art and Wine Festival. There are six great events coming up, each featuring a silent auction. Paintings, photography and artwork provided by local artists are up for grabs, with all proceeds going towards supporting your CPO. We caught up with Calgarian Amy Dryer, who has been donating her paintings to Cork & Canvas for almost 10 years. Amy was named as one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, and her work is shown and sold in galleries in five Canadian cities: the Masters Gallery in Calgary, Elevation Gallery in Canmore, The Front Gallery in Edmonton, the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, and the Canvas Gallery in Toronto.

Why do you donate art to Cork and Canvas?

A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. I needed some photographs and reference material for my paintings so, with the help of the CPO administration, I was allowed to attend a rehearsal. I went in with my camera and witnessed the process of the music – the way it is worked out, discussed; the way the musicians explore their individual and their interwoven sound. I liked seeing the angles of the instruments – their wood, their movement, their edges. These are the tools of the trade, so to speak – albeit expensive tools. I feel a strong link between my own process and that of the CPO – the life dedication to one’s art. That is why I donate to the Calgary Philharmonic – because this group of individuals, this family of musicians, have committed their life to making music for us. That is such a gift.

Tell us about the two pieces of art you have donated.

I donated two works this year: Compose I and Compose II. One piece depicts the individual, poised with her violin; the other painting shows two musicians together. Although the paintings are inspired by certain individuals, they are meant to represent the whole. The paintings aim to capture the way a musician moves her fingers over the chords of her instrument; the way she holds a violin between her chin and shoulder; the way he looks at the notes – and possibly closes his eyes for just a moment.

What medium do you use?

I am an oil painter these days – the lush oil paint keeps calling me back. I like the way the paint moves around on the surface of my canvas; the way the cadmium orange sits with the turquoise; cadmium red accents the curve of an arm, the rim of a pair glasses, the musicians lips or cheekbones or violin. Colour is essential to these paintings: colour combinations, layers, parts of the painting that are covered and concealed and layered with other colours. My oil paints – moved like butter on the surface of my canvas – makes the work vivacious and full. This is how I can best capture the sound of the CPO.

What did you hope to “capture” through these paintings?

I have a strong memory of a childhood friend playing her violin. Only a small child, this girl would wake up every morning at 5 a.m. and practice before going to grade school. She now plays in orchestras throughout the world. What I remember about her – when she would play during school assemblies – was the way she would hold her instrument, tucking it, embracing it under her shoulder. It was so intimate; in grade school, the kids would sometimes snicker and sigh, but this young musician would continue on, standing on stage with her violin and filling the gymnasium with her sound. She inspired me – for her bravery and for following her calling. This is the feeling that I hope to capture in my paintings – the people who make the music, the way their hands and bodies embrace their instruments, the vibrancy, the singularity, the commonality, the poetry.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I think the people who organize this event deserve to be mentioned and thanked. The team of people behind the CPO, who make events run smoothly, who make sure I am contacted and that my work is picked up from my studio, who spend their working hours sending emails and making phone calls in preparation for the Cork and Canvas – on behalf of artists of all kinds (the CPO of course, but also myself, and many food/ wine/ whisky/ tea connoisseurs), those people and their commitment to this process deserved to be recognized. Thank you so much for making the Cork and Canvas happen every year. I’m so pleased to be involved.