“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” ~Marcel Proust
"Return To Farewell", oil on panel, 18"x24" is a play on words. At the top of Newfoundland's north coast there lies Change Islands and Fogo Island. Each of these places have their own unique character and charm. Both destinations can be reached by ferries which leave and return multiple times each day. While in Newfoundland I was staying in Twillingate, an exceptionally beautiful area of the province where most people go to see whales and icebergs. David Blackwood had encouraged me to try to get to Tilting, a beautiful little town on Fogo Island. I knew I couldn't visit Change Islands and Fogo in one day so I opted for Fogo. If you wish to read about my experience there you can read it here, on my Paintings and Musings blog.
After an exciting and windswept day visiting Fogo Island we jumped on the last ferry back to Farewell. As the ferry crossed the water en route back to Farwell the sun slid behind the horizon. The atmosphere is so clear in Newfoundland that everything was blue, so blue that the world turned quite monochromatic as a result. I remember seeing the large, elongated masses of land moving past us like large, prehistoric creatures and being struck by how almost abstract the scene was.
It is amazing to me how many colours exist within objects. This might sound trite but really, it blows my mind how no naturally-occurring colour is one hue but a collection of different hues mingling together to form one overall visual effect. This phenomenon becomes more apparent when I am at the easel and really have to deconstruct the different colours within objects, be it eyes, clouds or sheets. So it was with this painting. The water had a different quality than the sky, even though they were quite analogous to one another. It was as though I was back in college, completing an exercise in painting with a limited palette.
There is a time of day, twilight and dawn specifically, when the sun seems to race to or from the horizon rather than appearing to hang in the sky perpetually during the heat of the day. So it was on this day. It was as though a blue filter had been thrown across my eyes and I knew I wanted to paint it-a simple landscape that was almost abstract in its appearance.
I find that in paintings such as this subtlety is key. In order to reduce the intensity of the blue it is imperative to temper it with its compliment, orange, or some similarly contrasting colour. Otherwise it would just be a riot of cobalt and ultramarine, a visual toothache.
This painting was intended to be an exploration of how abstract the natural word can be. I wanted to work with limits and simplicity, to convey shapes and forms with minimal fuss and yet still achieve perspective and atmosphere. Most importantly it is a memory of that cool, windy ferry ride from Fogo Island to Farewell, in magical Newfoundland.
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” ~E.E. Cummings
Here again are the details for my solo exhibition about Newfoundland. I have a dozen paintings completed so far and I cannot wait to see them all together in the gallery!
Have a wonderful day and glorify the moment,
November 5-22nd, 2009
Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, Ontario
Opening Reception November 6th, 7-10pm