I am busy getting ready for the solo show at AyrSpace Gallery in Ayr , Ontario opening on January 28th. The theme for that show is Painting In Four Seasons... and will feature a combination of plein air sketches and studio paintings that chronicle my impressions of the Ontario landscape... as it passes from season to season.
Each season will occupy a single wall and each wall will contain at least one large painting as a main focus... with other smaller paintings and sketches grouped around the central work to give the flavour of the season.
Painting outdoors in all seasons has always been part of my method dating back to the very beginning of my painting journey. While I enjoy painting in all seasons and in all weather... strange as it may seem... I prefer painting in winter. Winter is a time when light is the most varied... shadows the most beautifully raking and transparent. Colour is pure and objects that are normally overlooked during other parts of the year... stand out starkly against the whites and blues of winter. Even the wind takes a hand in sculpting marvellous snow patterns and deeply enhances movement and light and shadow.
I decided to attempt a major piece for the show that would embrace my joy of all seasons and in particular... my great love and affinity for the northern wilderness aspect of Algonquin Park. I have painted for close to thirty years in the Park and always look forward to my forays at various times to that inspiring painting destination.
One particular part of the Park holds special significance for "Me" because on most of those occasions I have been in the company of a group of fine painting companions... some of whom are no longer with us. This part of the Park centers upon the area around Opeongo Lake Road and Costello Creek. In the last few years, this particular area has become very "homogenized" really... due to the Ministry's efforts to improve the Park and thereby increase tourism and use. Not a bad thing... on the surface. However... on the other side of the coin... this new influx of tourists and the impact they have on the landscape and the wildlife takes away from the original raw wilderness attributes. Increased access... particularly to bus tours in the high seasons makes being in this part of the Park or the Highway 60 corridor through the Park... very difficult to enjoy... either as an artist or a hiker.
I decided to create a challenge for my Self ... to create a single canvas that demonstrated the changes in seasons in this particular place. In other words... one will have the sense of passing from spring through summer and fall... back to winter on that single canvas. Doing that has required a lot of thought and planning... frustration... and uncertainty! Achieving that goal is far from being accomplished... but the task is underway. "The Devil hates a coward!"... the old saying goes!
It began by deciding upon the actual dimensions and format for the painting. I have decided on a painting (on canvas) format that is composed of four equal panels of 36x72 inches. That makes the entire project 12 feet wide x 6 feet tall. ... and believe me... that's a TALL order!!! The painting will be painted on the floor and on box horses because of weight and height factors... and because I hate ladders! I further decided to tone the whole canvas... BLACK. The effect of this toning will make the piece crisp and bright.... much like the recent Birch Copse piece... I hope!
Today's jpegs show my sketch and photo references developed to begin the planning... as well as the scale of the work... the "loose"white chalk line drawing guide to allow the actual painting to commence... and the "concept". Tomorrow... the fun begins! Stay tuned!
Wish "Me" luck!
Good Painting to All!