Audrey's family at a Tribute held at
the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto on May 2, 2004.
In 1953, Audrey Garwood graduated from the College of Art in Toronto with an Honours Diploma and a Scholarship to the Rijks Academie in Amsterdam, Holldand. From there, she attended La Grande Chaumiere in Paris, France.
Returning to Toronto to live and work, she began immediately sending her work to major juried exhibtions. In the late '50s, as the youngest artist, as the first woman artist, Audrey won the prestigious J.W.L. Forester Award in the Ontario Society of Artists annual juried exhibition at the Ontario Gallery of Art.
Virtually, from that major recognition onward, her painting career became established. She began having exhibitions where she featured wood-cuts, mono-prints, serigraphs, watercolours and (her most favourite medium) oil on canvas.
In her early years, Audrey married a young write. They had three children and when she was pregnant with the fourth, her husband unexpectedly died. Somehow, coupled with her valient, little bull-dog tenacity and the financial assistance from a very dear artist firiend, Audrey was able to manage a houseful of young children to teach printmaking and drawing in the art department of Central Technical School, Toronto where, in fact, she continued throughout her career to teach until retirement.
Astoundingly, through all those years, she continued to paint, exhibit, teach and raise a family! Creating a most positive and highly respected art career, she was invited to her peers to become a member of: the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA); the Royal Canadian Academy of Art (RCA); the Women's Caucus of the Arts and The Arts & Letters Club of Toronto. She served them all with energy, enthusiasm and paintings.
Audrey Garwood had well over 25 major solo exhibitions on this continent and participated in multiple juried, invitational group shows in both Canada and the U.S.A. Her work is represented in numerous Public Art Museums, Corporate and Private collections.
As a human being, Audrey earned a multitude of loving friends. She was funny, warm, generous and endowed with the spirited curiosity of a wonderfully precocious child. When I think of Audrey, I will always remember her eagerness to explore places or anything life had to offer and her contagious giggle of sheer delight.
She was brave, had strong convictions and took chances to travel to remote places and dared to experiment in her work.
With Audrey's all-too-soon passing, many of us (as fellow associates and/or friends) have lost an exceptionally fine individual we dearly loved and respected. We have to find our solace in that she clearly lived a Big Life.
Virginia Kieran, RCA