Written by Victoria Pearce
There are always challenges an artist faces when creating, but covid has fashioned a whole new game. Studios are closed, paint and canvases are in short supply, shows are cancelled and galleries are locked down. It has been a time to get creative in a whole new way.
Artists and writers perhaps have advice for the general public. We need isolation in some form in order to create. We wander around our “inner continents”, ( Chicago Artist Thester Gates) consolidating and focusing on what realy moves us. But then to put it down on paper or canvas or carve it out of clay I, like many of us, are finding the settling part hard right now. In my wanderings, I turned to Instagram’s McMicheal gallery for soothing. There I found a wonderful series of curatorial talks including one by Executive Direstor Ian Dejardin. The exploration of a little painting by Arthur Lismer, “View on to the Street”. It struck me that this is the view most seen during Covid 19 times. It is the physical looking out from isolation, but perhaps also a looking at the world from our own view point, our own emotional and spirtiual state of mind. Note the small VanGogh on the sill. He too was longing for the warmth of spring and sunnier days.
View on the Street by Arthur Lismer
Artists love to challenge themselves with an unusual palette, composition or size or shape. For example, a small piece offers less opportunity to solve the complexities of an image and lacks the impact yet it offers a precious image that insists you view it close up with no room for error. A large piece can be overwhelming and the mistakes are bigger and timelier to correct, but wow, it offers both the big impression and the opportunity to wander, as well as push the viewer take time to fully absorb it’s impact.
Travel, an important part of a landscape artists’ process is hampered now, so artists like myself turn to our files of “painting possibilities”. Where to start? I think the attachment to subject is so much more important now. The love of a place, a person or thing can sustain and inspire a project. There are always more possibilities than time to paint, so careful consideration narrows the field.
Screen shot from Victoria Pearce's Instagram.
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And of course the painting environment is new. For me it was hauling boxes of paint and canvases home from my 40” x 25” studio in the James Street North district and taking over the family space. Who needs a dining room during the age of stay home and “the small bubble”. When spring came, I was still unable to visit many of my regular waterfall haunts. But I did manage slightly farther afield visits to feed my hiking soul. And then there is the delight of painting outside. The warmer weather, when it finally came was soothing to our indoor souls. But there were new challenges. Painting at the cottage was a thrill until a pine tree spewed its life source all down the edge of a 4 x 6 painting. Varsol, being the only solution to remove sap is not kind to already painted surfaces. And wind, wind can be most unkind to canvas. And there are the black flies, mosquitoes and bird droppings tinted with mulberries to test your mettle.
“*Paddling Thru The Morning,” a 48” x 72” triptych, went thru all these challenges but it was the love of the time and place that pushed me to try a new palette and tackle the atmosphere of an early morning paddle on the edge of Algonquin. There was a lot of to and froing to capture the fading effects of mist on forest not easily accessible in my labyrinth style. I hope you feel the cool quiet of this much loved place.
*$5,900 Painting is available but is off site. Email the Gallery for a Request to view the artwork at Earls Court Gallery, upon its arrival.