In the Studio


I’m busy painting for my upcoming solo show (details at the end of this post). It’s meant some long days in the studio creating pieces to support my theme of “Flow”. It’s a reference to water but also a nod to the creative process.

Water, water everywhere?

A few years back I took a trip with friends to Arizona. One of the things that struck me was how much I took water for granted in my home environment. Back in Ontario, it was everywhere.

I basically grew up as a water baby, spending almost my whole summer vacation at the lake. As an adult, my first choice is always to be near water. We lived in our home by Lake Scugog for almost 20 years and then chose a home by the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia when we retired. Water impacts me physically, emotionally, spiritually and creatively.

View from the cliff

Creative impact

Being by water feeds me creatively. I can spend long periods of time just watching the movement of waves or listening to a babbling brook. I like to start my day with a cup of coffee, looking out the living room window to watch the waves on the Bay. And when I’m in the studio, my painting area is between two windows overlooking the water. 

After settling on the theme of Flow, I spent some time researching facts about water to help inform and inspire the pieces I’m painting. 

Did you know that water is one of the few elements that exists in both liquid, solid and gaseous form? And that ice is less dense than liquid water? (That’s why it floats!)

So I added clouds, fog and ice to my list of subjects to paint. 

Did you also know that surface tension happens because water is a polar element? That simply means the hydrogen atoms are positively charged and the oxygen molecules are negatively charged. So dew drops and rain went on my list. 

Diving deeper

I soon realized that water is not a simple subject at all. While it’s critical to life, it also possesses the power to destroy. The movement of water may be soothing to our spirits but it also breaks down rocks. (I may have to add a few of my cobblestone beach paintings to the mix.)

Hidden Treasure, watercolour, 12x9"
Hidden Treasure

The idea of water is filled with contradictions. It holds both positive and negative energies. Beauty and power, life and destruction. While it can unnerve us at times, it can also feed creative flow. 

Creative flow is best described as being so engaged in an activity that time seems to melt into the background. The concept of water challenges me in all its forms and beauty and I’ve been so engaged in the process of understanding and depicting it that creativity is definitely flowing in the studio. I may not have all the things on my list in this show but it will certainly give me subjects to paint for quite awhile.

I hope you’ll come out and see the show. It starts on June 18 and runs to July 30 at Artsplace, 396 St. George St, Annapolis Royal, NS. I suggest checking their website for open hours. 

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