Sandra Woods
Art despite pain

In the news

(posted on 18 Feb 2024)

Something exciting is coming up! My first solo show as an emerging artist is slated to begin in just two months, on April 15, 2024.
The exhibition, "Watercolours on Two Wheels", will be presented in the The MCLL Lounge at McGill University, here in Montréal. The MCLL is the McGill Community for Lifelong Learning, housed in the University's School of Continuing Studies.
Founded by Royal Charter in 1821, this University was named for James McGill; the Scottish merchant whose 1813 bequest established what was then called the University of McGill College.
This University has been an important part of Montréal's history, but also of mine. McGill is where I began my undergraduate degree in the late 80s, and where I later completed a Certificate in Human Resources Management - with honours and the prize for Top Student in the program for our graduating year.

I even had the honour of attending a reception at the spectacular McGill Faculty Club, with my husband and parents, for that award ceremony. Originally called Baumgarten House, this extraordinary 1886 building was aquired by McGill in the 1920s.
My Scottish grandmother was very proud when I was accepted to McGill, with an academic scholarship, and told me that she'd begun secretly teaching me to say "mac-gill" when I was a toddler - because she had hoped even then that her first grandchild would someday study at what she called  "Canada’s Scottish University".
She'd have been absolutely thrilled that my first solo exhibition will take place at McGill, and I'm quite pleased about it myself!

"Watercolours on Two Wheels" will feature pieces originating from my bicycle rides around the western portion of Montréal Island. Because of chronic pain in my right hand and arm, and other symptoms of my two rare diseases, I now need to take rest stops during my bike rides. Rather than viewing these stops as a waste of time, I pack watercolour painting or sketching supplies into my bike-pack and seek out natural areas accessible only by bike or hike. Using my bicycle as my easel, I paint or sketch - usually for about an hour - while my husband continues his ride.
When he's ready for a snack, about halfway through his 75 to 100 km rides, we'll coordinate by text message to meet up on our bikes. With several cafés in the area, we can always find somewhere to stop together.

This exhibition will include pieces that I've painted en plein-air (outdoors), with my bike-as-easel set-up, as well as studio paintings based on sketches that I've done while cycling. A mix of florals, landscapes, waterscapes, and wildlife, these paintings reflect the beauty and diversity of this area; farms, historic buildings, lakes, nature parks, rivers, streams, and even a vineyard.
This is my first draft of the exhibition poster, and you may notice that it doesn't show any paintings! I'm trying to decide whether it'd be more interesting, and more appropriate, to instead show how I use my bicycle as an easel.
I'll have to wait for the opinion of the event organizer at McGill, but wanted to share this with you today while it's 'hot off the press' so to speak.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and stay tuned for more information about this upcoming art show.