July 28, 2015

The Illusionist

Kayaker's Delight 8x10" oil on canvas panel

I have just spent a delightful two weeks up in Georgian Bay, southern Ontario.  Georgian Bay is a part of Lake Huron...and it was NOT what I expected.

My gracious host, Patricia Cuddy owns the most charming rock cottage on the waterfront of Georgian Bay.  She had  often talked to me about the water and rocks there, and insisted I really should come and see it for myself.   I'm from BC and figured I had seen the best that mother nature had to offer up, at least in that regard.   But I was just gobsmacked by this natural wonder.  The blue of the lake was reminiscent of the Adriatic Sea, only more pure, more crystal - and it's fresh water - clean enough to drink -  to scoop up in your hand and drink, for heaven's sake!

I spent most of my two weeks kayaking about with my plein air gear.  What a joy.  I don't think I have yet done it justice, but this was my first effort.  The day kept hazing over, then burning off - like lather, rinse, repeat.  The surface tension on the water changed as the breeze would come and go.

I often remind my students, and myself, that you can only ever paint four things: shapes, values, colors and edges.  So I did my best with that.  

I often feel humbled and sometimes stymied as I attempt to imitate the relationships created in nature.  I feel like an illusionist, attempting with mere paint  to create the impression of distance, atmosphere, transparency and light.  Maybe that's what we painters are - illusionists.  It feels a bit like magic, and I feel like one lucky duck.

Happy painting everyone.  Get out there and attempt some magic.



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Contact:  sthiessen@artswhistler.com
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