Pines and Sassafras McDowell E and Charlotteville W 1/4 Line Rd gouache on
washi 27 x 26 cm
Walnut tree in Lynedock 2017 gouache on washi 32 x 32 cm
Honey Locust on #24 2017 gouache on washi 34 x 26 cm
Butternut in Dover 2017 gouache on washi 35 x 26 cm
Hackberry on Lake Erie shore 2017 gouache on washi 45 x 30 cm
Oak in Lynn Park 2017 gouache on paper 33 x 27 cm
Oak on Lynn Drive 2017 gouache on washi 20 x 18 cm
Black Cherry on HWY #3 2017 gouache on washi 34 x 30 cm
Cedar at St John’s Church 2017 gouache on washi 49 x 40 cm
Hemlock on Jenkins Road 2017 gouache on washi 55 x 27 cm
The Cantelon Trail – Norfolk Arts Centre November 17, 2017 to January 27, 2018
“Algunos dicen: Nunca segundas partes fueron buenas.”
Don Quixote 11.4 Quoted in The School Days of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee
Edgar Cantelon documented places and people and his meticulous paintings give us a detailed visual history of the Norfolk County. I find an affinity with Cantelon’s paintings of the roadside houses and mills with trees. I like his picket fences.
Cantelon painted only a few tree groups. One of the paintings is of a large oak in the middle of it all, like what I hear was once at St. John’s corner. Wouldn’t it be great to see a large oak there now, so that we had to drive around it?
This project gave me the opportunity to visit the famed Carolinian forests of Norfolk. I experienced the reforestation started by Zavitz in the last century. Trees were given to anyone who would plant and care for them. I was fortunate to drive around the county with Adam Biddle, Norfolk County Superintendent of Forestry and together we created a list of older indigenous trees from our wanderings, trees that where special to this region – for him an inventory, an update to the county’s holdings; for me an exciting moment of orienteering. I painted a few of these older survivors as tree portraits, as individuals, and as groups, documenting the passage of time.
My work is about evoking the presence of trees – the light, the time of day; the wind, the weather, the season – what am I experiencing at the moment of painting. This is what the pre-Impressionists referred to as plein air painting. As artist I discovered that the spontaneity of first impressions is better than second tries. In my previous project on night time urban landscape painting I painted mostly from memory.
Whenever memory plays a large part, as in this case, great care must be exercised because if things go wrong and events are placed in a wrong sequence, then there is no correction possible except to tear up all the papers written on and begin again. And I want to avoid such a course – a real danger – because seconds are never as good as firsts. – Camilo Jose Cela, The Family of Emil Durate
Recently I heard a quote on Sheila Roger’s The Next Chapter: “The hardest journey is from the head to the heart,” said the Ojbwe elder James Dumont. Working with memory or in plein air has brought me a poetic understanding of the painting experience. We all have memories of common experiences, and I try to use these memories to make my paintings. – Robert Achtemichuk 2017
I appreciate support though Exhibition Assistance at