Wrapping up the Year

It is not easy to summarize a year without getting trapped by either too much detail or forgetting major events entirely, but here is my attempt. 2018 has been a whirlwind of a year having had 2 solo exhibitions including my 25th Annual, and one group exhibition, as well as several trips to the Rockies and further afield.

“Wildlight,” my second solo and fourth major exhibition at Canada House Gallery in Banff, opened in the spring and was very well received. The work explored how light changes our perception and experience of landscape and architecture.

Light sculpts the landscape with shadow, gradation and highlight, paints surfaces with unexpected colour, softens edges and sharpens lines. It can transform a cold winter’s day to golden warmth, or illuminate hidden detail in dark interiors, forests or river beds. Light can change the unremarkable into the unforgettable.
“Lightshow” Watercolour | 26 x 38” | Private Collection

“Lightshow” Watercolour | 26 x 38” | Private Collection

I pushed the tolerances of watercolour in pieces such as “Lightshow” with an array of warm dark shades and intense colours at the very limits of saturation.

The wonderful window seats at Rundle Lounge at the Fairmont Banff Springs remind me of a loge at an Opera House, with your own private view of the stage. The show here is the sun rise painting Cascade with warm light, a row of light posts outside like footlights on a stage, and the viewer has the best seat in the house to watch the unfolding scene. Warm leather and wood contrast with cool snow, the order and elegance of the architecture are a foil to the wilds outside the window.

Something I’ve been experimenting with over the past several years is combining watercolour and charcoal, a technically difficult and unconventional technique that solves a number of visual issues. Both mediums have always been central to my work, but I hadn’t endeavoured to mix them until about 5 years ago when I took the risk (there is no going back or erasing colour from a charcoal drawing in my experience) on a nearly - complete charcoal drawing and have been enamoured with the technique and aesthetic ever since. It is now an established and recognizable part of my “toolbox” resulting in pieces such as “Wildlight” and “Crimson Castle.”

“Wildlight” | Charcoal & Watercolour  42 x 28” | Private Collection

“Wildlight” | Charcoal & Watercolour

42 x 28” | Private Collection

“Crimson Castle” | Charcoal & Watercolour  43 x 30” | Private Collection

“Crimson Castle” | Charcoal & Watercolour

43 x 30” | Private Collection

We travelled to New Orleans after the Wildlight Exhibition, then I needed to finish the paintings for The TREX exhibition. At the same time I was planning and working on my 25th Annual Exhibition, “Silver” held in November. The landscape, architectural and still life paintings were based on 25 years of travel at home in Canada and abroad. I certainly felt the import and significance and yes - pressure, of the twenty-fifth annual. To do anything for 25 years in a row is probably not too common, but to do it on the same night at the same venue with many of the same volunteers and guests is an entirely different thing, a bit of a unicorn. Many guests express their gratitude and appreciation for the consistency of the show, something they enjoy and anticipate each year, and I am grateful in return for the enthusiastic support I have received over the years from my friends, family, volunteers and collectors. Thank you. Looking forward to what next year brings!

“Morning Light” (Watercolour) 25 years ago we chose the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald as the venue for my annual exhibition for its architectural beauty, historical and personal significance and location atop Edmonton’s river valley.

“Morning Light” (Watercolour) 25 years ago we chose the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald as the venue for my annual exhibition for its architectural beauty, historical and personal significance and location atop Edmonton’s river valley.

We were fortunate as well to undertake 2 back country trips with dear friends, canoeing Maligne Lake in Jasper, and backpacking into a remote part of the Canadian Rockies. Not only do these adventures challenge and strengthen mind, body and friendships, they provide fire and fuel for new paintings. At the moment we are planning our winter adventures in the Rockies, with new work to follow in the spring.

As the year comes to a close, I would like to wish everyone the best of the season. May you celebrate what is important to you with those most important to you. See you in 2019!

“The Backcountry” Watercolour 21 x 7” (Private Collection)

“The Backcountry” Watercolour 21 x 7” (Private Collection)