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Simone Bos’s calming cubes of color

Ahmic Lake Island II
“This painting features a bird’s eye view of the island just outside of Bells Bay on Ahmic Lake in Magnetawan, ON. This particular island finds itself in many of my lake paintings. The walleye fishing near this island is pretty good too.”

Thank you, dear readers, for all your suggestions of artists to profile in this column. One name that has been shared repeatedly with me is Simone Bos – a landscape painter from Cambridge, Ontario.

Simone Bos has been painting seriously since 2017 and has been showing her artwork in local galleries since 2019. She currently works full-time as an artist, a dream she has had for over a decade. Simone admits that making her dream a reality has also meant accepting certain challenges. Working as a full-time artist involves long hours, significant risks and learning new skills required to successfully operate a business. All this “pushes me out of my comfort zone,” says Simone, “but I am growing and learning!”

Simone is also grateful for the meaningful help she’s received along the way. Simone’s parents recently gifted her space in an extra garage which she transformed into a beautiful artist studio complete with plenty of natural light. Her new garage-studio is now used as a workspace, a showroom for her artwork and, at times, a classroom.

Like many other Canadian artists, including some of those profiled in this column, Simone has been influenced by the Group of Seven and finds her inspiration in the wild Canadian landscape. She is particularly drawn to scenes in and around Ahmic Lake in Magnetawan, Ontario, as well as the local fields, farms, and country roads near her home in rural Cambridge, Ontario. “I paint places I know/love, which helps me to pull the feeling of the place from the photograph references I work from.”

Simone uses “layered cubes of color” to evoke emotion. She explains: “the intentional use of brushstrokes as cubes and shapes gives rhythm and interest to the paintings, and allows for a calming, art-making experience.”

Simone follows a rather structured process expressing her understanding of the “Master Artist’s” love for beauty and order.

“The finished paintings capture the essence of the landscape featured in a unique, energetic, and yet orderly way. I believe that the viewers who connect with my artwork see this and the sense of calm that comes with experiencing a beautiful scene in nature is evoked also.”

How Majestic
“The sunsets on Ahmic Lake are always spectacular, but this one was particularly dramatic. A peaceful lake, with heavy clouds scattering the final sun rays. As the song of the same name by Citizens & Saints recognizes, ‘how majestic is Your (God’s) name in all the earth.’”

Simone has also been exploring art on a deeper level – understanding the structure and source of beauty and asking what it means to “engage with God in a meaningful way through [my work].” A verse from Ecclesiastes is of particular interest to her.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Ecc. 3:11)

Simone believes that all beauty is from God and wants to encourage viewers of her work to reflect on this too.

“The more I paint, the more my observational skills grow. I am able to notice more and more beauty in the natural world around me, which points back to a detail oriented, creative God. I am also learning to trust that God is the Lord of my business and has full control over it: over my sales, my opportunities, my successes, and failures. He is teaching me to trust Him.”

You can see more of Simone’s beautiful work and connect with the artist on her website, and you can follow Simone at and

If you have a suggestion for an artist you’d like to see profiled in RP please email Jason Bouwman at [email protected]. In the picture above, Simone is displaying “Beauty Untamed” which she details is: “Old Man’s River Falls is a beautiful waterfall in Magnetawan, ON, near Ahmic Lake. In Autumn this scene is particularly spectacular, with white water rushing over black rocks, all framed by orange maples. I could sit and stare at this view for hours!

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Articles, Book Reviews, Interview with an artist

Stephanie Vanderpol has a zoologist in the house

Interview with an artist Stephanie Vanderpol is the author and artist behind RP’s “Come and Explore” children’s pages, and she’s also the author of a new picture book, "Cheetahs Eat Cantaloupe." If this title sounds a bit odd to you, that’s because it’s an example of the various other animal “facts” that you’ll find inside. I had a chance, recently, to ask the author how her book came about. – JD ***** Jon Dykstra: In the opening of “Cheetahs Eat Cantaloupe” you explain that it was “inspired by the comical ‘animal facts’ as stated by my daughter Scarlett.” It sounds like you had a zoological expert in the house. What sorts of animal facts was she sharing? The author and her inspiration Stephanie Vanderpol: Scarlett has always been interested in animals. When she was two, she had a pet spider, a bucket of worms, and a collection of snails that she would play with on the regular. Outside, of course! Between the ages of six and seven she started sharing animal “facts” like in the book, things like “chipmunks stuff their cheeks because they cannot climb when their hands are full.”  The facts were mainly born out of curiosity, sort of her way of answering her own questions of “why does that animal do that?” Sometimes she would write them down and I would find them, or I would overhear her teaching her brother the ways of these animals, or, sometimes, she would outright just tell me. JD: What prompted you to turn it into a book? SV: I had been illustrating my daughter's animal facts and posting them to Instagram at the beginning of COVID thinking that people could use a little bit of joy in their day. A few months in, the winter was looming over me and I knew I needed some sort of project to keep me sane through the winter. I actually got on my knees and asked God to direct my ways, to give me a project that would give Him glory and keep my head above water. He led my heart to the book project. It was initially just for my daughter Scarlett's 8th birthday, one copy, just for her. But as I posted about it, people got excited and by printing date I had a fair amount of pre-orders. I never would have thought! JD: What did Scarlett think of how you illustrated each of her “facts”? SV: Either she would giggle, at which point I knew she liked it, or she'd critique it and tell me what to change. She was very involved in the sketching stage, so it was a cool bonding moment. Maybe I hit the "cool mom" stage with her…though, of course, she never said that out loud. JD: What was involved to turn this from idea to finished book? SV: It took over a year to go from the first sketch until I held the final copy in my hands. During the day I would be doing my regular mom job, folding laundry, making meals, keeping the house clean, and then once my kids were tucked into bed at night, I’d whip out all my art supplies, sit on the couch, open up my folding table and get to work. My husband is a school teacher so it worked out well. He’d be sitting with me, marking tests and prepping for the next day, and I’d be playing with my pencils and watercolors, with baby no. 4 kicking away in my belly. JD: What was the process for a single two-page spread?  SV: Each page had a similar process: Take one of Scarlett’s animal facts and imagine what it could look like. Sketch the image onto paper until it came out right (sometimes this took up to 15 different tries). Run the sketch for approval under the careful eye of Scarlett for laughability, my husband, for common sense and continuity, and my best friend Breanna for accuracy in facial expressions and other artistic critiques. Trace the sketch onto watercolor paper using a lightpad and a waterproof pen. Using my watercolors, paint the image. This was my favorite part! Scan the images into the computer and arrange them and the text in Photoshop, creating the pages as they are in the book. Once all the pages were done, I ordered a proof copy of the book to go through final edits, including text, done by my editor, Julia. After many edits and proof copies, I ended up with the final copy! Snuggle up on the couch and read the final book to my kids! JD: We’ve got your book in the school library down here in Lynden, WA. Where else has it reached? And how can people get a copy? SV: Cheetahs Eat Cantaloupe has made it all across Canada and into the United States, and there’s even a copy in Scotland, too, which is pretty cool. I have a few copies left of the first print run that can be purchased through my website,, or on Instagram @stephanielorinda. And if I run out, I’m happy to take pre-orders for the second edition....