Mountain Spirit

by

Alberta is a crazy place.  Not in the really-crazy sense, but in the how-are-there-so-many-incredible-things-here sense of crazy.  All of those amazing scenes, like the one immortalized on the twenty dollar bill (the old one at least)?  Just a scant two hour drive, from where we are at least.  There are places here so beautiful they almost shouldn’t be allowed.  How can anyone expect to sit around in an office all day after being exposed to such things?  It’s a hard thing to do – probably why working outdoors here is such an attractive career.  As a bonafide indoorsman, I have to be content with enjoying these things in fits and spurts.  No biggie.

New paintings.  First is a little one I worked on over the summer, a scene from Point Pleasant Park in Halifax.  The scene looks like a deep forest in Northern Ontario, but it’s actually just a copse of trees surrounding by clear-cut parkland.  Pretty funny, that.  I tried to pay special attention to limiting the contrast, restricting the use of white to keep everything in a very narrow colour range.

Acrylic on canvas, 14 x 18
Acrylic on canvas, 14 x 18

Also recently completed a painting I started in July, of one of my favourite places (Chance Harbour).  This scene was inspired by a jog along the beach on a foggy morning.  I opted for very high-key colours, but honestly it’s not that far off from what it really looked like (okay, maybe a bit).

Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24
Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24

Finally, I sloughed through this mightily large painting in a mere four days’ time.  Last weekend Sydney and I headed off to Lake Louise, where we (obviously) saw some amazing stuff.  Together we snapped at least a thousand shots (WARNING: Digression: that’s a lot of photos, and I remember being in France in 1994 with my family, using a Minolta SLR with a roll of 40 shots.  I can’t imagine being limited to that today, or dragging around 30 rolls of film in my bag, but it goes to show that people just don’t know how to use cameras properly these days [obviously professionals do, I mean the people who buy a Nikon D3 because it’s ‘cool’ and they have disposable income].  For me, I take all those shots so that I can piece together just the image I want for a painting, but sometimes I’m content just to snap one shot of one thing and let it be).  Anyway, out of those thousand shots, it was the very last two that ended up becoming my first, bonafide paintings of the Rocky Mountains:

Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 60 (available)
Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 60 (available)

This is either Bow lake or Bear lake… can’t remember now, so I just titled it “Icefield Lake”.  Creative, no?  Anyway, I worked hard at incorporating a wide range of colours for this one, not just the typical cad red/ult blue/ochre… probably used about 15 different colours in all.  It came together pretty quick, and the photo isn’t great because I was in a rush to get it snapped to put online.  But it’s a good start, and I’m feeling damned excited to get to some new work.

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