Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Plein Air

Dwarfed by boulders, set in a landscape of stone and wood, the beach looks out onto the waters of Georgian Bay where the Giants Tomb stands in stark relief against the sky. It is the resting place of the spirit Kitchikewana. Blue shadows chase each other across its surface, quick and silent as if at any moment the giant could  be awakened. As fast as they are gone, they are replaced, a constantly shifting mass that seems to bring the island to life under my very eyes. The wind is a perpetual, ever growing presence, playfully lifting the waves into white caps that dance around the rocks on shore. The trees wave back in response, only just beginning to show the brazen colours that will soon adorn them, as yet revealing only a hint of what is to come.

Plein air painting at Awenda Provincial Park
Painting a picture with words is harder than painting with a brush, but neither of them do the reality justice.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Any landscape is a condition of the spirit."

Henri Frederic Amiel

"Your rocky spine"
acrylic on canvas, 2011

Friday, September 7, 2012

Gallery Visit

I was recently able to visit the McMichael Collection of Art which features a permanent collection of many works from Tom Thompson, the Group of Seven, and their contemporaries, Inuit and first Nations artists, as well as changing exhibitions from other Canadian artists.
Formerly the home of Robert and Signe McMichael, the buildings have expanded to house over 5000 works of art. Their private art collection was dedicated to the works of Canadian artists, especially those who were inspired by the beauty of the natural landscape.

As their mass of paintings accumulated through purchases and donations, their private gallery received hundreds of visitors and the McMichaels eventually decided to donate their entire collection, as well as their home and land, to the province of Ontario. The gallery has continued to grow and is now also home to the cemetery where the McMichaels and six of the Group of Seven are buried.

I love the location of the gallery. Surrounded by forest, it is reminiscent of the scenery that inspired the artists within.

The exhibitions I saw included "Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Canadian Art" which had some beautiful and interesting works-some that I loved were by Nicole Dextras, who's pieces in the show are based around transience and environmental sustainability within fashion.  I also loved the encaustic paintings by Jacques Payette, they had a beautiful ethereal and romantic quality which I find fits in greatly with encaustic. Something about the texture and light qualities of beeswax.

McMichael gallery is definitely worth a visit and I look forward to seeing their next exhibition!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wax On Wax Off

      My infatuation with encaustic began when my high school art teacher brought in her paints for the class to try out. I was immediately sucked in by the rich smells of the wax, the fluidity of the medium and the endless opportunities for ways of using the wax. From painting to embedding or even more sculptural works, encaustic is extremely versatile and can be used in just about any way. Because it must be fused, or melted, in between layers, encaustic tends to yield results that are often different from what is expected. But this is something beautiful about the medium, the unintended mistakes that result in new possibilities.

encaustic on panel, 2012

Because lately I have been working mostly with embedding objects or paper within the wax, I decided to try a more traditional painting approach with this piece.

Saturday, September 1, 2012