I n my work I am always trying to find new ways to interpret how we see. We look at life through windscreens, computer screens, cell phones and selfies and we rarely examine the whole vista. We just see portions – fragments of life. The frame of a screen not only focuses our attention on only a portion of the ‘big picture’, but also lifts the screen’s content out of context. The background or surround blur to irrelevance. In this series of pastels I have been exploring new ways of depicting landscapes – finding a different way to present them based on my feelings about how we extend and distort what we see around us.
These pastels are views from a drive across Canada from Ontario to British Columbia and of the scenery of Salt Spring Island and my fascination with chickens – their shapes and colours.
I have always loved Degas’ work in pastel and it is a medium that I have used frequently for my theatre designs. I have not used pastels for larger scale work before creating this series of pastels. The malleability and softness of the chalks has allowed me to explore the shapes and colours of the subjects in a different way. Colour has always been important to me and the layering of colours – sometimes intense but at other times muted – has been a major part of my exploration of the scenery.