Embedded Rock, Acrylic on Canvas, 30" X 24"
This painting, Embedded Rock, was inspired by a small rock embedded in sandstone at the Provincial Dinosaur Park, Alberta, Canada. When I paint images from this incredible landscape, its not only the amazing formations and exposed layers of history that inspire me but the personal connection that I have to this particular part of the world. My grandfather was the first park ranger when it was officially designated a provincial park. I spent I lot of time there as a child wandering around the surreal landscape. Now when I return I have the memories both visual, in my minds eye, and visceral, a body memory. My grandparent ashes are scattered there and this makes for yet another layer that merge and informs my approach to the badland paintings. I don’t always need to have such a personal connection for my inspirations, but I do need a connection. This convergence, for me, is a combination of the magic and wild part of life, a feel of a place, person or object and spirit. Much of the impetus behind my abstract paintings comes from this converging of energies.
This is an image from the Dinosour Park
As an abstract painter I draw from at least two forms of inspiration, one being my environment, from my studio to the city to the landscape of ocean and mountains. In the landscape I see different layers of colours, shapes, lines and textures. When I work this way I feel myself connected to the scene I am painting. I feel the roots of the tree growing, the steadfastness of the rock, and the energy of a building. And it is this connection that I translate to the canvas expressing another layer of our multifaceted existence.
Another form of inspiration comes from an internal source, but more about this at another time.
We had a small show at the Banff Centre, here's the work I put up in the show.
working in the vertical.
Here I am working on large canvases, 12' long, at the Glyde Hall studio. I have northern light,which is fairly consistant through out the day and a real pleasure to work with.
Valley of the Moons, 18" X 72" from the badlands in southern Alberta.
The way I work
I often start with sketches some from nature some from my urban environment. The sketch inspires the composition. I will then gernerally work on several paintings at once, usually three or four. I apply washes for backgrounds and continue layering washes and glazes until the spaces and colour saturations reach a certain point. Then I focus on one canvas at a time and start painting the details. I will then start the same steps with the next set of canvases.
Later I step back and look at the series as a whole, seeing how they relate to one another. Some usually need changes or additions; others are complete, while one or two may need to take a different direction all together. The process is a continuous translation of emotion and psyche into composition, colour and line. The intended outcome of the series is to reveal different aspects of my connection with the Badlands.
As a scenic painter for theatre ( I work at the GNW scene shop in Vancovuer, BC) I work in a large scale 50' by 30’ drops, using acrylic scenic paints and paint elevation plans from the designer. As a fine arts abstract painter I draw on my traditional training, working from sketches that translate to canvas, creating a composition, incorporating colour and line. These two ways of working inform one another in creating various sized works with their different execution techniques.