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Artist Statement: Where I am Now

I returned to painting in 2015, and it was the lure, drawing me towards early retirement a year later.  Since then, I have been a full time painter, working in my home studio in Toronto.  My work appears in private collections in Ottawa, Ontario and in the Cotswolds, UK.     

I currently use acrylic paints exclusively to create landscapes on canvas. I focus on small details, sharp contrast, and merging positive and negative space to enhance the perception of depth and to evoke emotion.  I find that working from my own photographs of gardens, taken on cottage walks and when we travel, contributes to my ability to achieve these desired results.

My paintings are “tweaked landscapes” – I’m more of an impressionist than a realist. Rather than trying to recreate in a realist way precisely what I saw, I seek to convey to my viewer how what I saw made me feel. In effect, I try to capture an emotional moment in paint so I can share it.  I therefore take liberties with what I’ve shot, which may involve heightening colour saturation or contrast, or adding or removing elements – essentially, I do what is needed to make the composition work in a way that  achieves my goal. Considerable layering is involved in the process, which is very labour intensive and takes considerable time. 

In my recent work, I’ve been trying to eliminate the barrier between positive and negative space. By moving across both spatial fields with light and shadow, instead of within each, I can better unite them visually. Adding interest to what is normally viewed as negative space enhances the illusion of depth, as it invites a viewer to look “deeper” into a 2-dimensional space on the canvas. Thus, instead of simply framing the positive space, negative space can be an active participant in and contributor to the composition in its own right. 

In my forest and garden pieces, the dark dense areas are broken up by subtle hints of shapes and dots and dashes of colours that also pull your eye in to explore them further, much as would occur when one views a landscape in nature.  I want my viewers to be curious about what they think they may be seeing behind and between the trees, to come up close and peer at the details, thereby finding themselves on the cusp of being “in” the painting. I hope that viewers who engage with my work in this way come away with a sense of having “been” there.

ARTIST STATEMENT: Where I am Now: About
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