Whether From The Centre

Fresh AiR! (Artist in Residence) 2015

 

For the months of June and July 2015 I was invited to be a Fresh AiR! (Artist in Residence) at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, which is in partnership with the Caetani Cultural Centre in Vernon, BC.

It was my intention to paint sixteen 18” x 24” canvases during the duration of the project and hang them in a grid formation – like a weather grid. My modus operandi was to use the weather and/or skyscape formations particular to the moments in time when I was present at the nature centre to work. My paintings would be informed by either my en plein air sketches or photographs, or a weather related notion/idea, which would then unveil itself more fully as I began to work. This was unpremeditated work and styles that reflected the immediacy of being present, as well as the movement from one moment to the next, much in the same way the sky is a constant yet the weather continually changes through time.

On June 22, 2015, Brian Taylor of En Queue Film filmed me sketching outdoors and then making my ninth painting entitled, Flight Path. His illuminating short documentary, A Day at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre with Destanne Norris, captures the creative process in flowing sequences and time lapse photography set to a tranquil sound track. On the very heels of such a wonderful experience, unexpectedly, the following day I was stunned to learn that a close friend had been on his own flight path, symbolically speaking. He died the day I painted Flight Path and left behind his wife, two grown children, family and friends. I didn't have the heart to give my presentation scheduled for the following day or paint for two weeks. When I returned to my project everything had changed - nothing was the same. I truly felt the weather from the center. A storm had come; a storm had passed.

I carried on making the last four paintings that were no longer part of the grid. I inverted the canvases and for the first two of them I used heavy textured paint, a monochromatic color scheme and photographic images I'd taken during a storm at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre. The first one, The Bird Has Flown, shows a lone bird in flight while rays of white light pierce through the darkened sky. In the final painting of the project, a four-part painting or quadriptych, my perspective altered significantly. I painted, imagining a view from above, looking back on a cloud scattered earth, and considered the question, which also became the title of this last painting in the project, Where There Are No Edges?

The Caetani Cultural Centre and Allan Brooks Nature Centre hosted an evening for the public on July 24, 2015 where I gave a visual presentation and talk about my life/work and held a studio exhibition of paintings from my project, Whether from the Centre.