|Forest Pond - acrylic - 27" x 42" - 2011|
As I continued to study reflections in different bodies of water--pools, streams, lakes--I became engrossed in the shifting, unstable, looking-glass world beneath my feet. Anything could happen down there: there was no need for rational explanations. This was very liberating, since I was free to imagine and invent. After all, nothing was "real"--it was just an image, and an unreliable one at that, subject to fragmentation by a sudden gust of wind or sprinkle of rain. On the other hand, standing on the edge of water and gazing down was somewhat dizzying. I suppose it induced a kind of vertigo. I thought it might be a challenge to paint reflections without making a viewer feel queasy and disoriented. At first I myself kept getting confused about which way was up! As I continued, however, I sought out the little cues that differentiate a reflection from above-water reality--the surface ripple, the sky poking through at the bottom of the composition, things on the bed of the pond or stream intruding into the reflections.
|Watery World 2 - acrylic - 24" x 30" - 2011|
|Watery World 3 - acrylic - 24" x 30" - 2011|
I began with three variations on a pond in Stanley Park in Vancouver. It was a summer day, and the pond was in a wooded area, with dappled sunlight catching some of the branches. A little waterfall trickled over a rock, wiggling the reflected conifer needles and crinkling hard edges, but the surface was still enough to make an almost perfect mirror image.
Next I tackled two images of reflections in moving water. These turned into more abstract compositions because the wind on the lake, in one case, and the swift current of the river in the other, splintered and distorted the image.
|Watery World 5 - acrylic - 24" x 30" - 2011|
|Watery World 4 - acrylic - 30" x 24" - 2011|
These two paintings happen to be based on photos I took in different places in England, but with a project like this one the geography hardly matters. These are not site-specific landscapes. Reflections presumably behave the same way the world over! (Here I go off into a reverie about bath water spiralling in opposite directions in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. What would that do to reflections? And then there's that perplexing question: where is the dividing line where the water starts to swirl the other way . . . ? Having spent two weeks in Quito I can attest to the fact that nothing dramatic happens right on the equator.)
|Watery World 6 - acrylic - 24" x 30" - 2011|
|Watery World 7 - acrylic - 24" x 30" - 2011|
|Watery World 8 - acrylic - 30" x 24" - 2011|
Nos. 8, 9 and 10 are back in Stanley Park. They are all reflections in the ornamental pool in the garden outside the dining pavilion. There are tall conifers growing there but also more exotic plants like the giant gunnera in No. 8 and the red-leaved plant in No. 10. On this occasion the sun was shining, creating yellow bars on the water which faded out the reflections and let the bed of the pool show through.
|Watery World 10 - acrylic - 24" x 30" - 2011|
Next blog post will be in June