Summer Drawings 2014
These works on paper originated in a series of cloud studies I completed at our cottage earlier this year. Looking out over Georgian Bay I noticed that the clouds ringing the horizon line to the east often appeared to be suspended in space. Rather than moving across the sky as agents of the wind they were stationary for long periods of time, for entire days in fact. This quality of stillness in suspension was intriguing as was the quality of the clouds themselves which appeared to be soft and dry, billowing brilliant white alternating with shades of grey agate-like banding. Furthermore, these clouds seemed to have transferred the watery element which prefaced their existence to the bay below which often took on a delicate opalescent aspect reminiscent of mother of pearl.
I eventually credited the clouds at rest phenomenon to the presence of land on the other side, the shores of Pointe au Baril, Parry Sound and all points in between 60 miles away. In my mind I saw the clouds pause as they encountered the Muskoka land mass before moving on the next day. And this was it: I was given one day of looking at the same cloud formations and absorbing what I needed to know. Come morning an entirely new configuration would appear and the process could be repeated again. Did the changeup occur during the night? Apparently, and this brought me to include another interest of mine in the finished drawings, the night sky. The age-old magic of the constellations and wonder in the presence of celestial phenomena had to be part of the work.
In a couple of the drawings, ‘Still I Wonder’ and ‘How to Know’ the clouds become visages responsible for ensuring that we continue to notice and appreciate the many wonderful things of the natural environment that surround us day and night, particularly the plants and animals of this part of the world and also the light, colors and textures that surround us even when we are sleeping. I used acrylic paint along with chalk pastel and pencil in these drawings — the wet and the dry — the bay and the clouds. In the case of ‘In the Beginning’ golden pollen from the broad-leafed cattail plant was dusted on the paper as a first step to completing this work about origins. ‘The Finer Points of Floating’ attempts to capture the quality of suspended stillness that I first perceived in the clouds and that is present in all life forms including ourselves. We have only to pause and experience it to understand its value.