Back in the winter of 2018, I spent several weeks in Southern Alberta with my Dad while he was in hospice. He would often wake up early and we’d talk while the sun rose. His hospice room had a beautiful view to the East and perfectly framed the late winter sunrise. I have a collection of beautiful photos from this time and intend to turn them into a series of paintings. I hope to express some aspect of those memories into these paintings. Turning a heartfelt memory into a tangible painting is whole new level of challenge for me.
I usually start a painting by toning my canvases with the left-over paint on my Staywet palette. I don’t feel like I’m wasting precious paint and yet each new painting starts with a fresh palette. It was different this time. I painted 90% of this painting with a mix of colours that were left on my palette, painting wet on wet (or as close as possible with acrylic paints), making creative choices quickly and doing none of the pre-planning that I normally do with my paintings. I also used a very old, scruffy brush for almost all the entire painting. This brush blends better than anything else I have in the studio. Lastly, I simplified and slightly changed the composition (I’ve included the reference photo for comparison).
This painting represents a struggle between happy and sad memories for me. The land in the foreground is a mix of browns that accurately reflects the wind-blown winter landscape of Southern Alberta and my own sense of melancholy. By contrast, the sky is full of energy, with bright colours where the sun is trying to fight its way through the morning clouds. If you look closely, the sky is made up of a very colourful mix of purples, blues, greens, yellows and off-whites. Overall, I look at this as an uplifting painting.