Well, it is all up and looking good. I am appropriately nervous about tomorrows opening event. Everything looks different in the larger space than it does in my home. That and not having done much painting for the past week while I have been framing and packaging, unpacking and hanging the works. Thanks to Gerald G for purchasing Morning Light, Ivvavik so I can go into tomorrow with the first red dot already up.
In my newsletter I said that Knockan Hill Camas bloom would be in the exhibition and it isn't. It misbehaved and drew all the attention to itself, so I have it at home now, in the corner until it learns to share the space with greens, or until it gets a room of it's own. It looked quite wonderful in the living room without any forest pieces near it! I will take the two small camas and sea blush paintings I did from field drawings at Cairn Park in Esquimalt though, and put them in the window (just in case you really wanted to see camas). They are just 7" X 7" so easy on the pocketbook at $120.00 each. Above is a preview of them and the Knockan hill painting is below. (It really is that bright!)
New Years Day 2018. I had a wonderful walk at Goldstream Park today. I thought perhaps the greens in my painting were unrealistic and after the walk am thinking that I didn't make them bright enough! This is a painting I just finished based on a sketch I made a few years ago. The trees are still there, but even more green now with Winter mosses. (Not a great photo as I just did it in artificial light- the original will be at the Martin Bachelor Gallery during the exhibition). The river is high now, with lots of runoff filling the streams. There is even a bit of snow left in the shady places.
I have been very busy painting and sorting and packing. I sent the list of images in to Martin yesterday. Now just one more large painting to finish and I'll be ready for your visit to the exhibition in January. The show will have more new paintings than I thought possible. It has been quite wonderful working with this theme. I found myself acknowledging my purpose as an artist at a much deeper level which has brought lovely quiet feelings to contentment to my every day. Now with the new large works off to be photographed, the new small works wrapped and stacked there is time to pause for a bit and enjoy some space between thoughts.
2018 is going to be busy with four exhibitions. One at the Unitarian Church of large works on canvas in April. The Mason Jar project will be heading to Kerrobert Saskatchewan June - August and then to Port Alberni October- November. In June-July three friends and I will have a little show on Mayne Island at Shavasana Gallery. None of this stresses me.
I seem to have passed some sort of milestone in this past year. Maybe I have reached 50,000 hours in my career as an artist? Maybe it is just the wisdom of age? Yet, I have more confidence than I would have thought possible 10 years ago. It is wonderful to know that what I want to accomplish I can. Somehow I have come to aligned what I want with what I am capable of. This is not to say that I am becoming complacent. Rather I am able to challenge myself in ways that align with my beliefs and capabilities and yet move me forward to the unexplored. I think for a large part I have my students to thank for prodding me with questions. Recently Pat Wiltshire brought me some flowers to celebrate the 'breakthroughs' she has seen in my work this past season. (thank you Pat). I didn't recognize that my work has moved forward again, in ways that could be described as 'breakthroughs' I was too busy moving forward. Now that I have had a few days of contemplation I see the difference. I hope you will too.
NATURAL HISTORY NIGHT
The ‘wild’ we know is not the wild our ancestors knew. Artist Joanne Thomson has a deep appreciation for the wisdom and efforts of those anticipating the need to preserve wild places. This presentation offers homage to that wisdom through stories, photographs, and paintings from some of those places to inspire the active appreciator and conservationist in you. Come and learn more about Ivvavik National Park, Grasslands National Park, Francis King CRD Park, Wildwood Ecoforestry Institute, Goldstream Provincial Park, and St. John’s Point Mayne Island Conservation Society. Joanne will bring some of the paintings to be featured in her solo exhibition at the Martin Bachelor Gallery,
712 Cormorant St.,
January 5–February 1, 2018.
Join us in Room 159 of the Fraser Building, UVic at 7:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Note: UVic parking is $3.
WhenTue Nov 14, 2017 7:30pm – 9:30pm Pacific Time - Vancouver
WhereFraser Building, University of Victoria (map)
The pileated woodpeckers had been turning the tree behind me into sawdust and scolded me as I drew, but after a few moments flew off to another location. The cedar stump was another experience entirely. I was nicely settled drawing this stump and the beautiful turquoise lichens (which reminded me of the dawn I had seen in August with the sky turquoise and the clouds orange- turn your head to the side and see if it doesn't work for you too) when a squirrel arrived chattering and scolding. Then the flickers arrived creating a racket in the trees above me. It reminded me of a time near Canmore Alberta when as squirrel threw cones at me to get me to leave. This squirrel did not do that, however, he/she was certainly determined to distract me. Calm assurances that I would leave soon did nothing to slow the scold. Then when I did leave and was walking out of the woods I disturbed the raven pair lunching on termites and was resoundingly scolded again. Seems they had had enough of human interference for the day. And in some ways I was flattered by the attention. Usually they just ignore me.
I have spent some time this summer revisiting my drawings and sketches from past travels to wild spaces. Above is a painting that was begun in 2009 and finished this summer. It is full sheet watercolour started at Ivvavik National Park during an Artist in the Park experience with Parks Canada. I had concentrated on capturing the colours of the frost shattered rock on the near mountain because I didn't trust my memory to believe in the beauty and intensity of the colour.
This summer has seen me stay in Victoria. I have spent time exploring what is really important for me and how I want to contribute to community as I rested to heal from wrist surgery once again. The initial surgery happened after an accident at the start of a busy teaching season and this time the surgery was in the middle of the summer, traditionally my time to get outside to draw and to complete large canvas works studio. This year I took the time to heal, and rest and sleep and contemplate, reassess goals and also to rediscover a richness that was hidden in drawers full of unfinished paintings and sketchbooks full of undeveloped drawings. Without my wrist surgery making hiking uncomfortable I may not have taken the time to finish these until my dotage.
I finished this painting of Wildwood that was begun in 2008 when I was more involved with the efforts to preserve that beautiful working forest. It is also a full sheet watercolour painting. The young firs precariously growing in the darkness beneath cedar on a fallen tree. Chances of them surviving to rival the others in the painting are slim, but something about their determination and fragility, make their efforts admirable and eminently worthwhile.
I have been re-reading some books by John Berger as well. I love his prose. His words make me think deeply about the purpose of art and why I feel the strong need to communicate with art. Not a new impulse for artists, or for me. He suggests it has been an impulse that has existed since humans first breathed air, and long before language.
"Art, it would seem, is born like a foal who can walk straight away. The talent to make art accompanies the need for that art; they arrive together." (from 'here is where we meet' 2005, page 135)
I like the thought of need and talent (though I'd rather call it impulse) arriving together.
I hope you got out to see the eclipse. One of the wonders was the shadows cast by the holes between the leaves on the trees. This was pointed out to me by a young woman who also showed how to make a pinhole camera with her hands. Here are a few images I took of the projections. You can see the shadows change as the eclipse comes to an end. I wish someone had told us of this way to see the shape of the eclipse. Please help spread the word for next time!
This lovely little dragonfly was on the sidewalk near a friend's home. Most of the 'cellophane' had gone from it's wings so it could not fly, even with a launch, so I brought it home. It sits on my dining room table breathing quietly. I have never watched a dragonfly breathe before. The blue tail expands and contracts rhythmically. I took a short video and have posted it on my www.joannethomson.com home page. This site doesn't take videos...
Wishing you dragonfly encounters of your own. j
Another tree portrait: Hemlock this time. At least it was in a hemlock grove and had young hemlocks growing from it. So I think it was hemlock. It is such a busy place, Cathedral Grove, but quiets down wonderfully when you enter a conversation with one tree. People walk past without interrupting, even ask their children to be quiet and not disturb 'the artist'. Quite lovely, and worth remembering. If you want to sit quietly and be undisturbed, just open a book and hold a pencil. You need not draw. Looking is enough and almost as profound as drawing.
On Tuesday past I went for a walk in Francis King Park and drew this wonderful cedar stump. I went back today and did two more drawings, one of two spires of cedar scarred by the same fire and one of an ancient Douglas fir. The mosses and lichens were bright greens and soft turquoises with the recent rains and the spotted coralroot wild orchids are in bloom. There were hummingbirds, junco's, ravens and I startled one robin who had her nest in the hollow of a huge Douglas fir tree. Wonderful to sit smell the air. j