Forging the Land

Commotion by the Ocean, Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 36" x 72" 2010

This September marks the 10 year anniversary of my moving to Vancouver. I moved from Montreal just into my 20’s. A Montreal-er to the core, I was following love and opportunity to a city I knew very little about. Already absorbed by painting, I was fueled by the energy of my urban environment and the community of Montreal artists around me. I was afraid, that the move to green and rainy Vancouver would somehow make me soft. To friends, I promised I would be back. Secretly to myself however, I made what I thought were far more important vows. I swore I would never become a landscape painter.

What a mistake that would have been. I have since come to appreciate landscape painting for it’s history, it’s versatility and it’s potential. I employ the idea of landscape not in the traditional sense, representing our natural surroundings, but rather as a composition referring to and inspired by the many environments we experience.

Landscape is a powerful compositional tool, bring the eye out of disorientation to land on a horizon. So describes my painting process. I begin very loosely, building up the canvas with a conversation of marks, colours and line. Like walking through a labyrinth, I am searching to find my way through the world I am depicting by moving paint around, overprinting and exploring. There is a transformative moment in the process of making a painting when a metaphorical horizon emerges. Suddenly the painting has direction and the mess of colours and shapes begin to function in relation to one and other.

It is these relationships, between colours and form, land to sky, that express the complexities of our experience. It is in so many landscapes that out stories unfold, and our lives are staged.