Northland Canada Landscapes
Venture into the scenic views of Canada’s pristine wilderness with Alan Bain’s watercolour exhibition Northland Canada Landscapes at the AOE Gallery. Immersing the audience into his unique watercolour landscapes, Alan offers an experiential perspective of his adventures in forests and lakes of Canada’s boreal forest.
In this series of watercolours Alan seeks to portray, in grand scale, the grandeur and solemnity of our land along with more intimate vignettes of ponds, creeks and woodland groves. As a trained geologist and outdoorsman Alan has travelled through his northlands most of his life. His experiences are distilled into the aweing landscapes of Canada’s vast natural environments.
Painting ‘plein aire’ is working outdoors on location. The approach is not only to see and select natural composition, but also to meet the challenge that every artist must rise to – to successfully capture a moment of mood. In his search for peace, serenity, and solitude, Alan enjoys being outside to feel the soft winds, to hear the sounds, to see the light dance along water, to be again in a land that talks to him. Painting “plein aire” subjects the artist to changes of situation that you cannot foresee – shifts in light, shadow, temperature and obviously rain alter the outcome. However there is truthfulness to painting outdoors, which results in a purist style that values honest representation.
Alan’s unique style of painting results in vivid compositions of colour, movement, and sensation. Alan describes his paintings as “abstracted-realism”. While he acknowledges the two opposing styles of visual representation he does blend them seamlessly into landscapes that transport the viewer to his reflected moments. Upon closer inspection, the viewer will notice that the landscapes are composed of swatches and strokes of colour that, when viewed from a step back, come together to create the vistas for which the artist is well-known.
While Alan does remain dedicated to the medium of watercolour painting, he is also introducing non-traditional surfaces, such as switching from paper to a more substantive base as a foundation. Using wood panels, Alan takes on a modern approach to the medium that allows him to create larger paintings that are more durable without need of further framing. The final product without glass or frame allows the viewer to appreciate detail and colour as intended and is therefore more compatible with modern light interiors. This contemporary practice is an example of how the medium is maturing, and is a method that suits Alan’s ‘living in the moment’ style.
Alan’s experience as a geologist is an important factor to his practice as an artist. He comments, on the topic of his expertise in the field and its influence on his artwork, “you’ve got to walk for years on rocks before you can paint them”. Involved with the outdoors since his youth, Alan is also influenced by the iconic landscape paintings of the Group of Seven. In 1974 Alan took art lessons with watercolourist Morton Baslaw at the Ottawa Municipal School of Art, now OSA. He has continued since then to develop his unique style and process of watercolour painting.
Alan, and his artist wife Audrey, live in Ingleside, Ontario where they operate the Winddrift Studio and Gallery. He is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, the Society of Canadian Artists, and is a fellow and Past President of the Ottawa Watercolour Society.
In this exhibition, Alan hopes the viewers will be able to appreciate his paintings as “visual tape recordings” that will replay for them the sounds, feelings, and sense of enjoyment that he himself felt so strongly in his inspiring landscapes.
Exhibition dates: September 11 – October 14
Vernissage: September 28, 2014
Location: AOE Gallery, 245 Centrum Blvd. Ottawa (Ontario)
N.B There is free parking at the Shenkman Arts Centre
Annie has been involved with AOE Arts Council as a Programs Assistant and now as a the youth representative on the Board of Directors. She has developed a passion for connecting and contributing to the arts community . Her involvement with the AOE Gallery has given her the opportunity to connect with artists directly, and glean their interesting inspirations, influences, and intentions that she shares as a contributor to Accolade. Currently studying Fine Arts at the University of Ottawa, Annie is a practicing photo-based artist with an interest in analog processes. As an artist, she approaches each project knowledgeably, with creativity, and an openness to the variety of what the Ottawa arts scene has to offer.