Sunday, March 11, 2012

Temagami and Me

(An Artist Should I Learn To Be)
Part IV

Forest Breathing – A Detail
36” x 48”
Acrylic Paint on Canvas

Alan and I had decided to create a walk throughout Southern Ontario to raise awareness about the Temagami forestland and the threat to its survival. This walk became known as The Temagami Trail Tribute!

Since Alan and I had never done anything like this before we first had to create a plan of action. We decided to focus our action on education. To do this we created a forty-five minute long presentation, using slides and music, to tell the story of how this problem came to exist and our hopes for a peaceful solution. The Klienburg Art Gallery donated many slides of the artworks created be THE GROUP OF SEVEN artists which were used in our presentation to showcase the beauty of our Northern forestlands.

Next we had to figure out how long our walk would be and where it would take us. Many days were spent looking at maps of Southern Ontario as we calculated how far we could walk in a day and where we would be spending our nights sleeping. We decided that a ten-day walk, visiting ten communities between London and Toronto would be a challenge that we could accomplish.

After communities were chosen, we began contacting people within each community to arrange venues for our presentations. We received support and encouragement from everyone we spoke with. Every venue was donated to our cause and soon other businesses were helping us reach our goal. Novack's donated rain gear and hiking boots and Stan C. Reade donated film and camera equipment. Ecosource Paper, from British Columbia, donated all the hemp paper we needed for our promotional needs.

One day I was making photocopies on the 'tree-free' paper and a gentleman inquired about what my partner and I were doing. He was so impressed with our dedication to such a noble cause that he paid for all of our flyers. All of this support was very encouraging and inspirational, but we still had a lot of work ahead of us…

(to be continued…)

+ + +

My favourite subjects in high school and college were designing and drafting. In these courses we learned how valuable it is to create ‘detail’ drawings. A detail is like a zoomed in look at a particular area of a previous drawing. That was my inspiration for creating ‘Forest Breathing – A Detail’.

I really enjoyed creating the canvas ‘Forest Breathing’ and I knew that there were more ideas in that painting that my brushes couldn’t explore the first time around. I wanted to explore different colours and different ways of applying my brush strokes. I didn’t want to recreate the same painting, so I thought of ideas that I had learned while I was in college studying architecture.

I bought a different sized canvas – larger this time – and although I used the same colour slide image to create this painting, I zoomed in on just one smaller area, creating my detail.

+ + +

As I mentioned, in my last blog, I decided that I didn’t want to sell this group of artworks, after my year long tour through Southern Ontario was finished. I had decided to give them away, to family and close friends.

This artwork was given to a friend who I have known since Kindergarten – almost my whole life.

Mary-Jane S. lives close to the town where we went to high school and she is now a teacher in a local elementary school. Joanne and I have visited with her and her family on several occasions while enroute to my parents’ house.

I often wonder if Mary-Jane has ever used this painting to teach her students about the Temagami forestland, and the importance of preserving natural environments.


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