I’ve been working with the image of a single cloud looming on the horizon for a long time. It speaks to me as a simplified, graphic, iconic representation of landscape – it could be any place, yet a very specific and special place all at once. I take much inspiration from travel, and the memories and experiences built into that process.
I don’t really paint scenes, I paint the experience and memory that I return with after having been somewhere, hence the basic compositional foundation upon which I construct every painting; foreground, horizon and sky. With these as a constant, I can explore an unlimited number of interests in colour, texture, pattern, and form to create an atmosphere and mood.
I name paintings for the places and experiences I’ve had while traveling, although there often isn’t anything in the image to point directly to a particular location. A recent painting, Holiday Harbour View, is St. John’s Harbour, completed after a recent trip to Newfoundland with my daughter. Another recent painting, Port Elgin Marina Tour, references an evening walk with a friend in a small town on Lake Huron, in a part of the province where I lived for many years. These specific memories notwithstanding, I enjoy that each viewer will interpret the painting through their own lens.
I should note that I paint from memory. These are remembered and imagined landscapes. I don’t want to be burdened by reproducing something faithfully, which would then take me into an area of representation that wouldn’t describe what I’m after. I’m not primarily interested in painting clouds or landscapes – I’m interested in what the image of the cloud and landscape, the simplified representation of those forms, describes in terms of mood and memory. I utilize colour and pattern in describing the geography, and include some information to point to a place, but in a much-reduced and highly-stylized form.
There are unlimited possibilities for me to explore in these paintings, both in terms of the fundamental elements of artistic expression, and of places and experiences from which to draw.
Oil on birch panel