Sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering of others.
The body of work in which I am currently engaged speaks to current international human migration issues and it’s effects on the migrants and on the communities to which, and through which, they move.
The small, idyllic-seeming community in which I live sponsored forty-five Syrian immigrants during 2016. Sadly, the undercurrents of xenophobia and intolerance for the other are present in the beautiful natural setting of our town. The first few paintings in the series deal with this ugly underbelly of ignorant sentiment. The next few refer to the plight of the immigrant having arrived in a strange land with the attendant wounds, mental and physical, accrued in desperate lives, and the various challenges that lay ahead, the apprehension of the language being the most pressing. The following paintings deal with the stories of loss and tribulation of the various families on their journeys to our community.
My aim is to arouse interest in and compassion for the immigrant in our midst and raise awareness of their stories in the general population, in order to ease the immigrants’ transition to contributing members of Canada.
Using paint and the traditional components of painting, including text , to draw attention to these issues , I am counting on the initial response to the beautiful to lead the viewer to take a longer look at the work and discover for themselves the embedded message in each work . Having taken the time to do so, I hope to lessen any prejudice the viewer may have harboured.
I recently built a house in town ……I say “ built “, but of course, I didn’t swing a hammer, or climb onto the roof to install the venting. No. That work was done by a talented group of people, each a specialist in his or her field. I have long been a construction groupie, interested in design, land-development and innovative building practices. While observing the work being done on my house, I developed a deeper appreciation and respect for the craftspeople that worked on it.
Because one of my languages is paint, I wanted to use paint to celebrate these professionals who seemed to me to be the unsung heroes of our economy. My objective was to focus attention on the human body in working mode, and to extol the virtues of the ingenious ways in which the body and the mind are brought together in the building process.
This series of working bodies, exhibited as a group, illustrate the high degree of collaboration needed in construction. The paintings have been produced using a limited palette, as is my usual practice, and at times include slightly surreal references or non-objective background elements.
I still say that whoever said “ boring as watching paint dry “ had no understanding of the immense satisfaction of watching a painting unfold on the canvas. For me, painting is a wondrous adventure of discovery, using shape, value , colour and texture as my vehicles.
I live in the wetland on Shuswap Lake, next to a nature preserve , and am very familiar with the spring inundation that brings the water level up by an average of 15 feet each spring. In May the reeds and rushes are preceded by swaths of Forget-Me-Nots , creating a liquid blue counterpane over the waiting greenery. As they fade, the reeds and rushes push up from the peat and protect the young fry and provide a feast for the ducklings and goslings that arrive, watched over by vigilant adult birds. As the lake recedes, the small creatures that live in the grasses and drying vegetation provide great interest for the hunting hawks that glide over the foreshore.
These wetlands clean and filter upland run-off water and provide habitat for 140 species of birds along with the various mammals. Wetlands are at risk in many parts of our community and are so very important to the ecology of our region.
The surrounding wetland of my home provides constant and ever changing images for many of my paintings .
During the isolation of Covid 2020-2021 I searched for a print medium that I could use in the home studio , without a press. The process lent itself to a series depicting the old ( 100years +/- ) homes in Salmon Arm. As an architectural designer for many years , I appreciate the efforts homeowners have made to preserve the character of their homes and hope through my work to contribute to the appreciation of the history of the early immigrants to the Secwepmculecw area, ( the traditional land of the Shuswap People).