Goin’ Out West

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I had really high hopes for how St. Maarten would affect me creatively.  Being Ontarian from birth, and having never lived anywhere else, I figured a transplant to a tropical country would really boost my sense of colour, sense of place, give me a strong urge to go out and paint scenes of marketplaces and the people around me.  Strangely enough, in a whole year of St. Maarten living, I did almost none of that.  I thought about it a lot, but in what little time for painting I had I found myself going back to photos from Canada I’d taken over the last few years.  So while I basked in the tropical sun, I painted Gros Morne, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia… and only completed a few small sketches of St. Maarten’s landscape.  Here’s one of the two or three finished paintings of St. Maarten itself:

Acrylic on canvas, 22 x 28
Acrylic on canvas, 22 x 28

Being a total noob about ocean paintings, I floundered for months trying to get this right.  I have to admit, sometimes I just give up and abandon paintings like this, but I was able to press onward with my wife’s excellent advice and figure out just the right look.  Once this one was all done I moved on to something distinctly more Canadian:

Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30
Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30

Now that the summer is almost over, we are looking forward to another big move, this time out to Alberta.  Should be some excellent opportunities for landscapes, though I’ll miss being in Ontario for the time being.  Although Stan Rogers’ The Idiot seems to sum up how young teachers like myself have to shuffle around to find anything, I think this little diddy is the most apropos.

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