The Focus is on Painting and more Painting!

Posted by Susan Stanley on

This past month's focus has really been on painting.
It was a beautiful month in Dawson City. The colours turning from summer to fall are always glorious and this year was no exception.
Fall colours in Tombstone Territorial Park just an hours drive from Dawson city - Jeff Bartel picture.


I was able to get outside and paint Plein Air, which is always a pleasure because it’s always a challenge. For me the light is key. Its presence or absence make for interesting subject matter, and capturing the light as it appears for such a small window of time is difficult but fun. It pushes me in a way I would struggle to do on my own. 

This year my landscapes were being pulled towards the mountains, and the colours that play out on the mountainside.
This year's series ended up focusing on the passage of time on those mountainsides. There’s always a story, but I never know what it is until the last painting is done and I can take in the entire body of work.

Above a very recent and wet painting, I was showing this to my manager when she visited my studio this past August in Dawson City, my home town.

I was able to play around with a much larger scale which was neat. In using bigger canvasses it really pushed me out of my comfort zone as my time frame was the same, basically until the light changes, but the surface I had to cover was much more. The end result was a sense of urgency in the paintings and I think it’s a quality that works well. It ends up almost more about emotion and colour than technicalities and detail.  

Another painting, again very wet - on my easel in my studio
Still, My time painting outdoors was small. As beautiful as the Yukon is, it’s almost impossible to paint the bush in the summer as it ends up looking like a salad with no contrast.  And as our shoulder seasons are so short this far north, it’s not long before the colours are gone and all we’re left with is muted neutrals until the snow starts to fall.

 Luckily I still have a studio to paint in. I kind of got a little hooked on the immediacy of Plein Air painting and it just felt wrong to continue with landscapes indoors away from the action. That was fine though, I still had memories of our time in Mexico, this past winter and really wanted to revisit what I had started while there. 

 I found myself approaching paint as a more creative outlet than I had here. It’s hard to explain, but when I paint landscapes everything is already there, I just have to find it. In Mexico I started creating as opposed to recording and my art took a more abstract turn in content. Their cultural relationship with death was something that moved me and death juxtaposed with life has become a fun theme for me to experiment with. Inside my studio I can go back to that place and reach further into it and see what comes out. 
Here: you can see what you think. These are images of what I saw at the Museum of the Mummies of Guanajuato.

You’ll have to stay tuned to see what happens next, I hope you stick around to find out.
À plus tard.


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