I am just packing to drive up to Edmonton for my exhibition there, "Totems", opening July 9, this Saturday at the Scott Gallery. There will be lots to see on the way, some of my favourite scenery and sources of inspiration.
To elaborate on how 'trees' can become paintings, here is an example of what can happen.
Recently someone asked me who were the artists I looked back on; which were the ones who had influenced me. There are so many that I can't even begin to say this one or that one was crucial to the course I took in my work. Here are a few who are presently tacked to my studio wall:
Agnes Martin; Georges Braque; Paul Cezanne; and Paul Flandrin. You can what they have taught me, whether it be in the trees I have painted, the road trips, the lakes, or anything else.
Several years ago I met Nikola Rukaj at
the retrospective for William Perehudoff’s paintings in Saskatoon. Later on when I met him at the Toronto Art Fair, Nikola asked if I would like to show
some paintings in his gallery in Toronto. Miriam Shiell started showing my paintings in Toronto in the 1980's, and Gallery One under Goldie Konopny and Sharon Fischtein carried on with that until 2008. This seemed like a wonderful opportunity, especially to show with a gallery that appreciated the work of a great artist like William Perehudoff.
Now I am pleased to announce the opening of a solo exhibition of my paintings at the Nikola Rukaj Gallery:
This is one of the paintings in my coming exhibition, 'Less & More", at The Gallery/art placement inc., in Saskatoon.
"Turnaround", 2015, 42 x 42 inches. acrylic on canvas
Levi Nicholat, one of the new owners of the gallery, has written an essay about the paintings, showing an understanding of where I started from in my painting, how I have progressed over the years, and where I am now. The whole essay is available on their website, but I quote from it here:
"Interestingly, while Service has spent more than a decade exploring a simplified aesthetic, her very recent paintings demonstrate a swing of the pendulum back towards a more lushly impressionistic approach. Features in the landscape are once again more detailed, space is more complex, and there is generally more going on; however, these elements are now contrasted against areas of flat colour and crisp, graphic lines--the signatures of her reduced works. Rather than a return to a previous style, these paintings are actually a complex synthesis of stylistic idioms in the continuing evolution of Service's artistic practice."
Although we haven't been in each others' studio for many years, it is curious that my friend Loraine Stephanson and I are both putting roads in our paintings. Roads are something I used to ignore because they seemed hard to integrate into the composition and also because they are man-made, uninteresting. Now roads are almost central to the painting. Here are two small paintings from a few years ago, while the two bigger ones that you can't see properly are from this year. Sorry that they are upside down and partially out of the picture.
Yesterday there was a memorial gathering at the Art Gallery of Alberta for the artist Douglas Haynes, who passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago. I wish I could have been there to join the others in remembering the many ways in which Doug was a part of our lives. He gave me so very much encouragement when I first met him at Emma Lake in 1980, and in subsequent years. Even today when I am working on a painting, I wonder, what would Doug think of this?
In those days we used to have great studio visits. This is Doug, myself, and Scott Plear on Thormanby Island studying some watercolours painted that day. The photo is a bit fuzzy, but it was 35 years ago!
It was a nice surprise recently to learn that two of my paintings are hanging in the renovated residence for the president on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon. This is a link to the article in the Star/Phoenix newspaper:
The big landscape "Whereas", 55 x 80", was painted in 1994. At that time I was starting my canvases in acrylic paint and finishing them with oil paint. I liked to get a big start with the acrylic, but could achieve more subtlety with the colour by finishing with oil. (Technically, you cannot start with oil and finish with acrylic because the paint would not hold very well. But as long as you gesso the canvas first, the reverse is fine.) Here is my photo of it:
When you scroll through the video, you will catch a glimpse of another painting I donated to the university, my "Far Out Chickens". I don't have a proper photo of it, so here is a photo from the video:
This acrylic is 42 x 56 inches and was painted in 1986. For a few years I had a lot of fun using animals as subject matter.