I spent my money on “How To” art books and dabbled in oil painting on cheap paper and the back of vinyl wallpaper samples. As a young adult I was intrigued by the watercolour practice of my aunt and began to explore this medium for a couple of decades. My love for drawing, painting and colour were intrinsically woven into my fabric as a person that I recognized that life and painting were not separate.
What are the inspirations or influences that are involved in your work and are there any specific themes that you choose to focus on?
I am a faith filled person. I believe in God. This belief has a profound effect on my life and my practice as an artist. My work is influenced by the struggles and imperfections of our lives and the pursuit of coming to a resolution or acceptance of our surroundings. The struggle between chaos and order, light and dark, is profoundly manifested when I encounter and contemplate a landscape. The layering of paint on my canvas is a slow meditative process that considers all the parts, ever changing but still offering a glimpse into what is hidden.
How has your practice developed over your career?
As a self-taught artist, I have always challenged myself to study, learn, and practice art. I started with oil painting but when life became busy with raising a family, I switched to using watercolour because it suited my lifestyle. Although landscape was predominant in my work I dabbled in still life and figures. I painted small intimate watercolours for many years. I began to teach art and explored many mediums in the classroom while concentrating on painting at home. Gradually my small paintings grew in size and when my desire to paint larger than watercolour paper would allow, I switched to acrylic painting. My youngest daughter, while in university introduced me to building frames and stretching my own canvas. This opened up a world of possibility for me and set me on a journey of painting on large canvas which I continue to do to this day.
The way you layer organic forms is so captivating, can you tell me more about your process? Do your compositions come about intuitively?
My compositions are contemplatively planned. I strive to be purposeful and direct. The landscape provides me with visual prompts that engage my thoughts and struggles. I photograph what I see, I remember what I experience. When there is an experience, there is a story to tell. I record thoughts in a journal and work out details of my process and colour theory before I put a mark on canvas. I graph my canvas and meticulously begin to draw my shapes. I fill in the spaces with codes that only I understand, basically I create a visual map to keep me organized when I am ready to apply paint. I project my image on a screen for inspiration. I begin by laying my canvas flat and applying a watery layer of paint, often laying down various colours referring to my inspiration photo often. When dry, I place my canvas on an easel and make more marks and begin to paint very slowly with one colour or area at a time. Slowly shapes and patterns emerge as I intuitively move away from referring to my photo. Each layer provides new life but simultaneously reveals small glimpses of what lies underneath.
What ideas or projects have you been currently working on for the upcoming show? Have the events of the past year affected your art in any way?
The pandemic coincided with a purposeful plan I had for 2020 and onward. I realize for many that the pandemic altered life dramatically but for me it assisted my goals of spending more time in my studio and stepping back from my work as a volunteer and advocate in the community. I am accustomed to creating bodies of work while working on one theme with great intent on purpose. In the past year I have given myself permission to honour my mark-making and see value in every work that I create. I’m actually surprised when I look back at my present body of work as I perceive changes in the way I paint. I recognize that what I experience, my contentment along with distress has translated more onto canvas this year than ever before. It is very apparent in my body of work. One will note conspicuous differences between the work as I communicated very strongly through colour and mark-making.