My landscape paintings are based on photographs that I have taken on both day and multiday trips into the backcountry with my son ranging from British Columbia north to Alaska, the Yukon and North West Territories.
Because of the ever present challenges presented by adventuring in the wilderness alone with a young person, pack weight, ever dwindling daylight, bugs and often uncooperative weather my camera has become my sketch book and an important part of my art practice. I always hike with it out, photographing the moments I want to paint and recording the landscapes we travel through. I mostly use a fixed length 50mm lens with my camera so that the moments I’m recording are as similar to what my eyes are seeing as possible. Shooting raw I do much of my pre painting studies through processing my photographs in adobe lightroom and then once I am happy with them taking them into the studio to do large loose gestural charcoal sketches on paper before starting painting.
Working primarily in watercolour, my paintings are loose and spontaneous in feeling. I love the unpredictable nature of the medium, to me it is reminiscent of travel in the landscapes I paint and the illusion of control we have over them. More recently I have been introducing graphite and soft pastel drawing and mark making into my landscapes by layering them over top of the finished painting. This brings more depth and texture into parts of the piece, making specific features more representational than others. Like memories, my paintings are impressions of a place and a moment in time. Some things standing out more than others and others fading, becoming more abstract the closer you look.
My sons presence has had a huge impact on my work. The moments my paintings depict and the stories behind those moments often revolve around the memories, challenges, hazards, and the rewards of traveling alone with him in the wilderness.
Working in series, the paintings as a whole are a cumulative landscape of a particular trip into the backcountry and each individual painting is a moment from that trip. Not all the moments painted are perfect or pretty. Each exist somewhere between fiction and reality, like a great fishing story.