Lindsay Grater

Painter, Printmaker & Illustrator


indsay Grater was born in Cambridge, England. She has known since childhood that she was destined for the reclusive life of an artist. Lindsay recalls spending time alone with a pencil and paper, perfectly content to draw. Little did she know then that her “drawings” would capture the imagination of children and adults alike.

She came to Toronto in 1972 in search of a new environment. Working as a production assistant for The Canadian Magazine, her destiny became clear. “Working on the edge of the art department brought out the frustrated artist in me.” She took some courses and time to assemble a portfolio and applied to the Ontario College of Art. She was accepted into the Fine Art department in 1976 and graduated with her diploma in 1980. Meanwhile, she married and started a family (she has two sons, Toby and Ben).

Although her studies at OCA were focused mainly in the field of drawing, painting and print making, she did take a few illustration courses. This came in handy because she was able to work at home as a book illustrator. This is a difficult field to break into. Just because many children’s books are appealing in their simplicity, doesn’t mean that illustrating them is an easy job. One look at her intriguing illustrations and it is obvious that a great deal of research and thought goes into each page. She provided the art for 10 children’s books including “Cat and Mom’s “, published by Scholastic and Annick’s “Anna’s Red Sled”. In addition to these, there are four titles for which she is credited as author and illustrator. Her pictures are bright, colourful and the result is a perfect marriage of text and illustration. She is represented by The Transatlantic Literary Agency.

As her children became more independent, she attended Sheridan College. Lindsay has always had a fascination with textiles as evidenced by her beautiful quilts, which hang on her walls. “Fabric is like paint you can cut out and hand-stitching is like drawing.” Indeed, she considers each project a unique challenge presented by particular materials – like a mini personal battle. “You can’t move on to the next until you pass the test.”

As her domestic responsibilities subsided, Lindsay felt the increasing need to produce a creative body of work. “It’s not impossible to combine family tasks with serious artistic endeavours, but it is very difficult.” Stimulated by the need to work privately, she purposefully sought out this geographical area. “I realized that I didn’t need to live in Toronto to do what I do.” She has a great appreciation for quiet time and intentionally embraces a simpler, slower-paced lifestyle. Lindsay has resided in Fergus since January 2001. She enjoys the artistic community but mostly loves it because it is her arts refuge. “A perfect day for me is one where I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything.” When asked how she would spend her day, she smiles and admits that she always has several projects on the go. As she prefers natural light, light levels often dictate her agenda.

Lindsay enjoys working in watercolours, and etching, and has recently become interested in oil painting. “Working with oils is spontaneous, far more forgiving – a whole new toy to play with!” She searches for something real as a departure point (often using still life subjects) and then allows the images to evolve. She has shown at INSIGHTS and was the 2001 winner of the Breadalbane Inn Award. Currently, her work can be purchased at the MacDonald-Stewart Gallery in Guelph, at “Siren” in Elora and at “Davis Wood Sculpture” in Elora and soon Stratford.

Although Lindsay thrives on long stretches of uninterrupted time, she also feels the need to “exercise my social muscles”. She is a successful teacher/workshop leader and enjoys the challenge of inspiring new groups of people. This summer she will be one of the featured instructors at the Southampton School of Art, the Tom Thomson Gallery in Owen Sound, and our own Wellington County Museum Art Workshops.

Lindsay is a no-nonsense, down-to-earth person who is motivated by a genuine need to create. While she believes that “doing it” is as important as the final product, for her, unfinished work represents a kind of failure. She acknowledges the fact that in the grand scheme of things, the creative process is non-essential and, in a way, self-indulgent, but feels a personal need to do it anyway. “There is an addictive quality to my artistic output.” She never apologizes for her work and resists the urge to explain it. Her drawings are filled with skilled detail and her painting is rich in texture and colour; they completely lack the need to be intellectualized. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the artist in her own setting and view her work at the Studio Tour, October 5-6, 2002.

by Patricia Reimer, Spring 2002

UPDATE – 2005

Lindsay is now living in a converted rural schoolhouse east of Mount Forest with Christopher Andrew. Enjoying the tranquillity of Grey County. She has illustrated several more books, including “One Hundred Shining Candles” by Janet Lunn, and a book on the history and lore of bells: “And Rouby Patricia Reimer, Spring 2002nd Me Rings” by Ann Spencer. She has been teaching some drawing classes at the Durham Art Gallery.

Lindsay has discovered new opportunities, including having a show of prints and paintings at Left Side Gallery in Flesherton. She took part in the 2004 Autumn Leaves Studio Tour, but retains links with Fergus and Elora, participating in Art By The Yard at the Elora Centre for the Arts, and giving a talk with illustrations at the CANSCAIP show at the Centre in 2004.