Bancroft Studio Tour


When she was 12 years old, Ketha Newman was given a lesson in watercolour painting by her mother’s second cousin, well-know Toronto-based watercolourist, Elizabeth Berry (while Berry was visiting the Newman family home in the local Monteagle area) and Ketha impressed herself with the quality of the painting she easily and immediately produced. And further help and time spent with her mentor over her young years furthered her skills and interest in watercolour explorations.

She would see Berry once a year in the summer and when a little older, helped her at show events at her home in the Beaches area of T.O. And even got to go with her on a painting holiday in the Bahamas. And when Ketha’s father passed away when she was 18, Berry’s encouragement to her to dive into making art helped her get through a very difficult time.

Newman was born in Waterloo but started school in Maynooth when her United Church-ordained dad was assigned the parish there in 1976. After a year she continued her schooling in Toronto and spent summers at the property acquired by the family in Monteagle. Following high school graduation, Ketha entered the humanities undergrad program at U of T with secondary studies in art history and with some studio training. She initially worked in an art studio on Bathurst and at arts and crafts shows in the Annex area. And followed up by involving herself in numerous group and solo shows including the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and at various Toronto galleries in the early 2000s.

After meeting and marrying husband, Tim and then having daughter, Sophia they moved permanently to the Monteagle property in 2006. She had already joined the studio tour and soon began having solo shows and joining and group shows in the area—including a solo show at the Art Gallery of Bancroft and in their juried shows. And helped out around the Bancroft area with involvement in various community art projects.

Her early beautifully simple “illustration-like” (her words) watercolour painting style “emphasizing pattern and luminous colour” of landscape and still life and animals/insects imagery eventually morphed into a more sophisticated/realistic style over time. And then, more recently, she shifted to and engaged in larger acrylic paint on wood panel works with a more relaxed form of realism—sometimes even leaning towards the abstract—with all of her works conveying the sense of peace and tranquility that the Ontario environment evokes.

Make the trip to her iconic hilltop log house at 488 East Road Loop in Musclow-Greenview during the Bancroft and Area Studio Tour that takes place the last two weeks of September. And get in touch with her at

(Profile writing and photo by Allan O’Marra)