Port Hope, ON
About the Gros Morne Experience:
The experience of the Gros Morne Residency was wonderful. From the time I left home I was thinking and breathing and talking art. I shared the residence with long time printmaking and camping buddy Brian Kelley. Our conversation was an ecstatic blur of "did you see that's" to convoluted art tangents that we returned to again and again over the month, picking at an idea and its permutations until we reached some semblance of understanding, then working on it again.
One conversation often returned to, dealt with our differing visions of the park and the world in general, made visible in our artwork. Brian looks to the horizon-the far view, analyzing and abstracting the landscape into composition. I, by contrast, am interested in the minutiae found within the landscape--the near view. I wander, constantly stopping to stoop; to pickup and examine, drop in my pocket or photograph the twisted leaf, the bright striped stone, the ocean washed plastic toy. In this way I move through the landscape gathering information and constructing a particular understanding of it. What is wonderful and surprising about the art friendship that Brian and I have developed over the years is that we can work together hiking off to look out over the far view, discussing our delight in the changing light over the massive land forms, as well as poking along the shore, heads down showing each other treasures found at the water line.
From our arrival in the Woody Point house we settled into an easy routine: I, the morning person was up to see the Moose grazing in the yard while I made coffee and made my way to the studio for a few quiet hours of work. Brian made a second pot of coffee much later, having been up working late into the night. Afternoons on these days we might decide on a hike--or not--and return to the studio to work side by side listening to the vagaries of CBC. In between we scoured the maps and planned day trips-and thermoses of coffee- exploring various areas of the park-rain or shine--or returning shine or rain, to the same spot and a very different landscape. There was just so much to try to inhale everywhere.
The highlight of our trip was a call from Anne the park artist coordinator asking us if we'd like to go by helicopter into the Long Range Mountains with park personnel doing specific studies. We leapt at the chance. After an anxious early morning hour when we drank more coffee waiting for the sky to clear, Brian headed off with a group counting fish in mountain streams. I had the opportunity to accompany a group searching for instances of a rare fern in specific locations in the Long Range Mountains. It was breathtaking flying up and into the range, and exhausting and totally breathtaking in another way slogging through brush, down cliff edges and through streambeds looking for the right fern. We never did find what we were looking for, but we saw alot of country from the air as well as plunging through the brush. Brian had several wonderful drawings to show for his quiet day produced between naps in the sunshine. I had no drawings but numerous photos from the helicopter and lots of prickly sweat, muddy boots and sore muscles from my happy day 'hiking' with the pros.
Selected Exhibitions, Achievements
- 2004 - "Popular Nature Project", work from Gros Morne Residency exhibited in Mexico and around Ontario including the Loop Gallery, Toronto
- 1st place winner of the Ernst and Young/Canadian Art Magazine Great Canadian Printmaking Competition.
- prints and painted monoprints are found in many important collections throughout Canada as well as in Canadian Embassies throughout the world