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Artist Statement

When I find myself in Northern Ontario I feel a constant stirring of emotion. In the wilderness I pay quiet homage to the spirits and forces that allow me passage along a trail. The wilderness is both a place of beauty and respite from the chaotic world but also a place that humbles and taunts me. My oil paintings are filled with movement and energy and at times are whimsical as my impressionistic expression of the Canadian north. Beginning with a toned canvas then quickly painting a loose sketch of my composition, my paintings come to life for me in the negative spaces that I fill with thick, often vibrant paint. Using a variety of brush sizes with an emphasis on bold brush marks, the piece comes together while I ensure the original, toned canvas remains visible throughout, thus becoming an integral part of the finished piece. This technique helps me to convey the life force in all things and creates a vitality and texture throughout the painting that I hope the viewer finds intriguing.

For about 25 years my focus had been realism but over time I began to yearn for a freer style of painting. I wanted to see brush marks and use thick paint. When I moved to my Williams Mill Studio I made the decision to shake loose from the past and began painting the way I had desired. As I progressed I found that I was able to tap into my knowledge of composition, values, effects of chroma, and use of warms and cools. I also discovered that I was no longer tied to a photograph as reference. My work is inspired by actual places that I have been to, but I am free to paint what I feel not necessarily what I see. My work is representational but is quite abstracted. Leaves are no longer leaves, rock is no longer rock, water is no longer water; but rather, shapes, colours, forms and textures. This has become my new ‘reality’ and I am now able to paint from my innermost passion.


Shelley Newman

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