My studio sits beside a beautiful lake and the sunsets and sunrises on the lake are amazing. Every day I feel blessed when I see the sky constantly changing, the reflections in the lake go from bright oranges to midnight blues, and the leaves in the fall pop to reds and oranges. I can understand why artists in the Group of Seven were drawn to the landscapes around Algonquin Park. I, on the other hand, have a love – hate relationship with painting landscapes. I have tried painting realistically. Six years ago I did a few paintings of water plants by the shores of the lake. Below are examples.
I had positive reviews but did not see my future as a realistic landscape painter. I have always been drawn to the non-representational and have predominately painted in that style. Yet, every now and then, when I need a break from the Interlaced series, I try to paint realistic lake views. And, every time the landscape is finished I disrupt the pretty realism by painting my woven structure over it. I can’t leave that painting as a realisitc landscape.
While staying in Florida, for the month of January (2017), I went to an art store to buy myself a few tubes of watercolour paint, paper, some sewing needles and yarn. Utilizing the idea of barriers, since I was so against Trump’s idea of building a wall along the Mexican and USA border, I created these small watercolour paintings and used my needle and thread and wove a weaving on top of the landscape. When I got home I put them away.
Every month I take a few days off from the series that I am working on and shift my thoughts to experimenting on other ideas. On one of those days I decided to take a photograph from the edge of our lake and then, in the studio, paint those reflections on the lake with the horizon line and distant hills. When it was finished I saw another pretty landscape which I just could not relate to. The image of my weaving materialized and I added a woven overlay on top of the blue water and fused it. This time, by accident, I over fused the lines so the wax melted and created lacy lines over the water. It felt like I had added a warm woven blanket onto the surface and then it sank in some parts and raised to the surface in other areas. I just loved the affect. Then, I remembered the watercolour painting that I did of the barrier in Florida and began adding a fence on the horizon line. As I was painting the fence it reminded me of a lines of trees so I shifted the fence to trees with spaces in between. I included colours of reds and yellows peaking through those trees. It became a tree fence blocking the views beyond the horizon line.
I was so excited with that landscape because it was still realistic yet it was also an abstraction – it had a twist when I fused the water and added the running tree fence. Below is the first painting in the series.
My intent of using barriers or coverings was still in that first painting and became the catalyst for the next series. I continued to paint three more variations focusing on lake views from the water’s edge and included a running tree fence blocking the views.