It’s Christmas Day. All our festivities are over, when everyone else’s seem to be beginning. I have the afternoon and evening to myself, and (perhaps it’s the artist in me?) I relish in this peaceful time of solitude. The last two days have felt magical. The Light! The earth, water and skies just seem to have this lovely glow around them. Extremely inspiring.
This year I gifted myself some fresh canvases, in a variety of sizes, with some new ideas in my mind and heart (I plan to paint later, if I don’t drink too much wine hehe). Last week I went to the Art Gallery of Ontario, and also gifted myself the Lawren Harris video “Where The Universe Sings” and the book “Rocks” by Joan Murray. Greatness overload!
These books and videos motivate me beyond words. What these men did (The Group of Seven) was break away from the European standard of art and brought forward an artistic expression of Canada no one else had done before.
In the video Steve Martin states “Artists are always striving. The moment they are satisfied, they are done.” And I think he’s right. I know, personally at least, I constantly see room for learning, exploring, growing and perfecting. Every series I have finished over the last two years, has shown shifts in my art (not necessarily better or worse). The first Jasper series (2015) was very simple, and almost flat and geometric. Simple. The North West project from last year (2016), started to incorporate more blending, depth and a new variety of lines. It was more challenging and in some ways more exciting, because I was pushing myself beyond past expectations. This year the Canada Project (2017) propelled me into new territory in landscape, colour exploration, blending and dimensions of my work.
I was reflecting on this Group of Seven: Men with family money, expensive art educations, and then jobs as graphic artists and journalists, they all had their foot in the door of the art world early in life. All with a passion for the Canadian Wilderness. Stories of them jumping out of trains along Lake Superior before the highway was there, are fun to imagine (having done the scenic highway drive, with so many stop overs dedicated to the artists themselves). Taking their oil sets out into the cold winter landscapes. Will I ever get to that point? I hope so.
Yet, as a woman, a mother, with very little money and even less education, I have to be grateful for what I have already managed to accomplish. I dream of the day I will have the time, space and money to travel at my leisure and paint in a spacious studio equipped for oils and giant canvases. In the meantime, I will keep working away with my acrylics at my dining room table, plotting the next series after series…
2018 | WHAT’S NEXT?
This year I have really come to appreciate my home, and my daily view of Lake Ontario. It’s no Lake Superior, but it sure does have a magic all it’s own. During the autumn, there were so many spectacular sun rises over the water, absolutely breath-taking. Driving around Northumberland, and it’s rolling hills of changing moods and colours. In the summer the fields of colourful wildflowers. And it seems it’s been a year of fantastic skies- so many unusual clouds and sunsets and rays of sun on the water. It’s inspired me to paint “home.”
When I was painting “Ontario Summer” I found myself wanting to paint more skies and fields of greens and colourful flowers. This is a canvas I could have repainted many times, I was continuously getting new ideas for colours, brushstrokes, and flow. Lawren Harris would work out an image in 3 or 4 canvases before it was perfected and (in his mind) completed. That just might happen for me, with this Ontario Summer painting. I’m excited to study a variety of seasons and landscapes of Ontario.
I’ve painted Alberta, I’ve painted Northern Ontario, and I’ve painted Canada. But I have never focused on my home-front. The place I have grown up and grown to love.
I still have a few “loose ends” to tie up with other art projects: The two large hoo-doos have been in the works for a year now, and I’ve also started a large-scale painting of the Rockies (yes again!)…because besides the next series of “home” I want to have work to share in some juried shows this coming year, and offer to other group shows. I’m super excited to get these four small canvases completed though, from my summer trip to Killarney. Over due!