Story by the artist.
Beverly Swamp Series #5: One of the works in my first solo show. I had joined the Hamilton Artists Inc. right after graduation from McMaster University. Bryce Kanbara is a family friend who encouraged my art aspirations, including getting involved with the Inc. and volunteering for the board from almost day 1. Emboldened, I presented my first solo show in this very welcoming space. I also married right after graduation. That, as it turned out, was not a good idea. My husband ended that in less than two years. Every time I look at this work I remember the pain of that failed marriage, as well at the wonderful excitement and celebration of achievement in putting this show together so shortly afterwards. But, right after the opening, alone in my apartment, the feeling of loss crept in again. Accomplishment is best shared.
Farm Nocturnal #1: I was a baby when we moved to the farm, which was an old fashion mix of animals, pasture, hay field, woods, vegetables and raspberries. Nothing intensive, no chemicals – simple and rich in nature. I spent years making chalk pastel landscapes, many were images from my travels. I met and married wonderful Ernst. A few years later, my mother died while in recovery from surgery. It was a shock. My father welcomed Ernst and I moving to the farm to help out. A short time later, the National Energy Board decided to approve a major propane rail transfer station next to our farm, even though the local public school (over a mile away) was in the “explosion zone”. The Farm Nocturnal Series was a memorial to my mother and the farm. When I wanted to quietly morn my mother, I walked the farm. Now, the farm itself was in danger of disappearing into an industrial energy depot. It became clear to me that land is memory.
Farm Nocturnal #8: I walked the farm at night. I would carry my sketch book as well as one light, one dark and one mid tone pastel. I sketched in the dark, then quickly moved into the house to apply colours. The sketches were the basis of the final works, all large pastel pieces on paper. The Farm Nocturnal Series became my second solo show at the Hamilton Artists’ Inc. This image is a view of the pipeline 9b which ran through our Hamilton farm.
The Hamilton Spectator printed a review by Kate Taylor on July 9, 1988. titled: “The banal sandwiches the pleasant at the Inc.” My work was the “pleasant” filling. I remember saying to Bryce: “So is it worse being the banal or the pleasant?”
Oak on Louisa Street Nocturnal: Still working in pastel, still working large, I found myself shifting from landscapes to single trees – tree portraits. I spent a lot of time with trees, embracing them as I drew them, the drawings became the trees hugging back.
Wreath: The Hamilton Artists’ Inc. would often have group shows, sometimes themed shows, all open to members. The openings were often lively gatherings. I really enjoyed them, both as a fun night out and because these shows were often a spark to create something I might not normally make. Ernst and I were off the farm, but still living quite close in Freelton. My father still had the farm, and I still spent a lot of time there, often walking the woods. I gathered a very mature grapevine, soaked it and shaped it into a wreath. I collected thorns from the woods near our house in Freelton. The Gulf War had just started. A wreath of thorns was my response.
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