I have recently traded my barn boots for town shoes – newly planted in Orangeville; I am looking forward to meeting friends of the Arts.
A dozen years on a farm in the beautiful Grey Bruce has left an indelible mark on my spirit. I felt the skies were wide, textured and painted differently every day – what a canvas! I felt rich indeed when I managed to catch a shooting star; and the Big Dipper became my favourite array of diamonds. Coyote, beaver and deer were frequent visitors. and the hawk always brought me joy. The heralding of each new season became a veritable feast for my senses. I have known the gladness of a bountiful harvest and heartsick worry that comes with not enough rain – or too much rain.
Thus, my work is inspired by the natural world. And since art and nature have been inseparable since the first artist, I feel I am in good company.
My recent work is certainly not of camera realism, nor does is fit within an Impressionist definition. Abstract naturalism, to use a term from the artist, Maxine Masterfield, would best describe my style.
This approach comes out of much experimentation with paint, inks and other solid materials, natural and human-made. There is initially a fair amount of play and spontaneity, layering, printing and stamping, moving the paint and inks up and under papers, leaves and fabric. I call this Part I, the “Right Brain” segment of my process. After the piece is dry enough, and the plastic sheet is lifted, it is time for Part II, the “Left Brain” chapter, as it were. Here, choices are made with mindful consideration to composition and design. What stays, what doesn’t? What lines, shapes, colours should be repeated or extended. What needs to be changed? What is highlighted, what is muted? Sometimes the Part I version sits in my kitchen (where I can look at it at various times of the day) for months before I can discern my next steps and so resolve the composition. I hope to capture an illusion, or a sensation of Beauty or Mystery.
I hope in some way, my work serves to increase the viewer’s awareness of our natural world. If my art somehow serves to remind one of our shared responsibilities to Nature, then… I’ve done well.