Yesterday, I drove across the Province of British Columbia. A trip literally from the shoreline of Georgia Straight to the Great Divide at the Alberta border, and then I continued to Calgary. It took 13+ hours for the journey including stops for fuel, road coffee and a bowl of chilli.

Darkness at the beginning and darkness at the end brought definition to full grey tones of a day filled with slush, compact snow and clouds of dirty road spray on the windshield. Only once did the sky open, allowing sunshine to touch the earth as a breathless whisper of light at the summit of Rogers Pass.

The moment seems so very paintable. But painting isn’t possible. There is nowhere to park: nowhere to open the paint box. Not enough time either.

The alternative is to stop to take a photo. A quick shot with my phone camera as I stand beside the car. “Click”, and at once the moment spoils: I get back into my car just as a large truck passes spraying a monsoon over everything.

The grandeur, simply the grandeur, makes the camera image: snow white brilliance with blue sky showcasing magnificence. Dazzling.
Don’t know if the mountain has a name. Certainly, the mountain won’t know my name. Simply a connection during a flash of sunshine.

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Painting On The Fly

June 12, 2012

I’m now home from about six weeks of travel. The journey took me to Toronto, Ontario, Vancouver, British Columbia, Ferrara, Italy, and a wonderful ten days in Arkansas. Most of the journey involved exhibitions with my paintings but I painted lots while travelling as well.

Painting on the fly makes for some fun logistics. Finding art supplies is often an adventure. And managing canvases on a journey back to my studio is a primary need. Painting like this also means working in varying climatic conditions: the impact of humidity on the impact on drying time of water based paint is interesting.

Being in new locations brings insights and experiences that inevitably transcribe to the canvas. Sunlight, and shadows, vary so much from place to place. And the trees are different: where I live the trees are mostly poplars and their variations. In Arkansas I never saw an aspen. And what would Italy be without the cypress. Here’s an interesting link to images of many, many trees of the world to share just a little of what exists when one travels.

While I paint lots of trees, there are often other subjects within the theme. So reflect on how buildings differ in places like Toronto, Vancouver, Italy and Arkansas. In Italy I was especially drawn to people.

To paint when I travel means I may not see two dozen tourist highlights over seven days: it does mean I’ve engaged the places I’ve seen in very intimate ways.

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Jim Pescott is an international contemporary artist who lives and creates in Calgary, Alberta. His studio-gallery is available to view by appointment: please call 403-870-0591 or email paintwithdots@shaw.ca. Jim’s website is http://www.jimpescott.com