Inspiration comes from close up or far away. In the last year my close up inspirations have been found in backyard gardens and beautiful planters in cities we have visited. The distant inspirations are the old elevators, barns and houses that we all see as we drive around our province. I’m not usually driving so I bring my camera and it is amazing what I can catch in these “drive-by-pictures”. I wonder about our ancestors, what lives were really like when these structures were built. So, flowers to bring cheer into my studio and old architecture to make me reflect on our history.
“Shirley’s Poppies” – Watercolour Batik
“Apple Blossom Amarylis” – Watercolour Batik
“Gull Lake Pool Elevator” – Watercolour Batik
One of my favourite things to do is set out on a road trip just as the sun is coming up and photograph the ever changing landscape as the sunlight spills over it. Then I can’t wait to honour that beauty in a painting back in the studio. My photos are snapshots used as a reference point to start the artwork from rather than something to copy directly. In my lifetime, it will be impossible for me to use all of my paint-worthy images. There are thousands. Each time I choose a scene to paint from, I relive the feeling I had standing in that spot or driving through that countryside. I hope that my paintings will remind people of a time when they enjoyed something similar.
Our group is working away, getting ready for our 28th annual Show and Sale, which will happen this April 13 – 15, so you can mark your calendars now! The paints, brushes, pastels, pencils, paper, canvases, threads are all being put to use as we all get busy making wonderful new pieces to show everyone this spring.
And threads you might ask? Well, we have the great pleasure to welcome a new member to our group. Monika Kinner-Whalen is a well-known fibre artist here in Saskatoon, and she has joined us to expand our happy collective and to add even more diverse creativity to our group.
So mark your calendars, and we will soon have more specific show details. Also, watch our Facebook page and our blog here for our weekly Spotlights, highlighting the work and inspirations of each member of our group as we work our way to April.
Reds and magentas – these are the colours that underpin much of Marilyn’s art works. You will see hints in a boreal forest scene or the sky above a Nutana alley, or front and centre in one of her well-known poppy paintings. Marilyn takes regular sketching trips and painting trips to northern Saskatchewan and other wilderness locations, especially in the fall and spring, her favourite times of the year. The sketches she makes on site serve as a foundation for new works completed in her studio.
I feel more attached to the group this year. Our fall show was great fun and I appreciated the willingness on everyone’s part to try a new format. I enjoyed meeting people, talking about art and showing people the use of bamboo sticks and ink. It was a friendly day and the turnout was marvelous for a Monday in winter!
I have painted very little this fall but have been enjoying drawing again and working in ink. I committed to Inktober and managed to post an ink drawing every day that month. My dilemma of being an ‘en plein air’ painter and living in Saskatchewan stays with me. I did get out, however, on one of those days that hovered around the 0 degree mark. I set up in Diefenbaker Park, unknowingly close to a Frisbee Golf Target. I was trying to get out of the wind, but the players thought it was quite funny and were all good sports about it. I still miss Kenderdine Campus, and although I tried a couple of new adventures last summer, nothing has come close to spurring me on as those classes did. The environment at Kenderdine, the facilities, the instruction, the fellow painters all combined to create an atmosphere the both challenged and supported each of us. The search continues.
Jean painting at Marr House
‘Kenderdine’ Acrylic on canvas
Occasionally, I venture into other styles and mediums, then default to painting landscapes in oil. I feel lucky to be a returning member of Artists’ Workshop where I enjoy working in our shared space every Monday. I look forward to reconnecting with old acquaintances and making new ones at our Open Studio Show and Sale Monday, November 27 in the studio space we share, Grace Westminster United Church, 505 – 10th Street East in Saskatoon, from 11 am to 9 pm. I’ll be showing a little bit of everything, both old and new.
My first love as a painter is the countless possible processes of applying paint to a surface. I use a variety of techniques to hover between abstract and representational elements. Landscape offers a spectacular source of inspiration as a subject. I look forward to seeing you and talking about my work at our Open Studio on November 27, at Grace Westminster Auditorium.
Kathleen at work
‘Monet’s Garden 2’, watercolour on paper
‘By the Pond’, Oil over gesso monotype on canvas