Mirroring the Landscape

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I’ve been reconnecting with nature – at least through art. Nature has always been a key source of inspiration, and during my Mixed Media Painting II course with Diana Kubicek, I had the chance to explore some abstract landscape concepts.

Mirroring the Landscape
I have never really delved into landscape painting, despite my early infatuation with watercolour. I didn’t appreciate the simplicity of landscapes, thinking them plain. But the process of achieving tonal variation is more difficult than it appears.  Anne Stahl has a great collection that shows the type of paintings I’m talking about (like Roscommon – Anne Stahl, 1999).

It’s been a delight to use painting to process my seasonal melancholy. Winter is a time of stripping away – a time of withdrawal, bareness. Two of my painting exercises contrasted Canadian winter landscapes:

To the left, I am creating a very bleak, windswept field, where you can see the soil through the snow, and a heavy sky.  It speaks of my childhood in Ontario, where it didn’t snow much but it was cold in November. (I always felt betrayed by this weather – if it was going to be cold, couldn’t we at least have snow to play in?)  As children, we had to walk across the frozen ruts, stumbling over corn stalks down our half-mile lane way to the bus.  We had a tin hut to huddle in on the windiest of days.

In the painting to the right, a lush, green forest scene emerged from the (originally horizontal) mixed media surface. The forests in British Columbia boast many huge old growth stumps like the one featured here.  The moss, like fur, covers everything even in winter. While very different from the other painting, this depicts a winter scene – one that I have become familiar with in the last six years on the coast.

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