Robert Achtemichuk

What I see becomes a sort of visual illumination, like a match struck unexpectedly in the dark, a gift, lighting my path into wonder.


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“In Homer Watson’s Foot Steps”

10 paintings from the exhibition are now at the Kitchener Downtown Business Improvement Association office, in Kitchener across the street from Queen Street Commons. Open between 10am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

March 19 2015 400pm

Following Homer Watson’ footsteps I found images like his – riverside views, trails in the woods, individual trees, stands of trees. The paintings were done on the spot, following Homer Watson’s method of “plein air” painting, a method that he himself borrowed from the painters he admired, precursors of the Impressionist movement such as Constable, Corot, and the painters of the Barbizon. Like Homer Watson, I wanted these paintings to raise our awareness that we all need these natural wooded areas, these landscapes and these points of view to be preserved for our collective health and spiritual well being.

Thanks to the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund for a grant in 2014 to make these paintings possible.

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In Homer Watson’s Foot Steps ends August 16

The exhibition, In Homer Watson’s Foot Steps will be open all this week ending Sunday, August 16th. I will be present at the gallery on Sunday. Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, Noon – 4:30 pm
September 28 2014 330 2September 28, 2014 3:30 pm
I appreciate the support of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and and the Ontario Arts Council.
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Artist Talk August 13

There will be an artist talk about the project In Homer Watson’s Foot Steps this Thursday, August 13 from noon to 1pm at Homer Watson House & Gallery.

Homer Watson House & Gallery
1754 Old Mill Road, Kitchener, ON N2P 1H7
Phone: 519-748-4377 Fax: 519-748-6808
October 19 2014 430pmOctober 19, 2014 4:30 pm
I appreciate the support of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and and the Ontario Arts Council.
Square logo colour2014 OAC logo RGB JPG


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In Homer Watson’s Foot Steps Exhibition

Opening Sunday, June 21 from 2 to 4 pm
at the Homer Watson House & Gallery
1754 Old Mill Road, Kitchener 519.748.43.77
homerwatson.on.ca

March 12 2015 200pmMarch 12, 2015 2:00pm wc/washi

In Homer Watson’s Foot Steps

This project is an attempt to follow in Homer Watson’s steps, and locate the sites from which he made his many paintings of landscapes around Doon. In my research I collected images of successive seasons in the woods near the house in which Homer Watson was born, just down the road from the Homer Watson House & Gallery; the marsh area where the Speed River and the Grand River meet; and down the Grand River into Cambridge and Paris. Homer Watson could walk from field to field across private property looking for painting subjects. He painted woods, trails, farm buildings, cows, streams and rivers.

I found images like his – riverside views, trails in the woods, individual trees, stands of trees. The paintings I made were done on the spot, following Watson’s method of “plein air” painting, a method that he himself borrowed from the painters he admired, precursors of the Impressionist movement such as Constable, Corot, and the painters of the Barbizon School (to whom he paid such affectionate homage in the ceiling frieze of his studio). Yet unlike them I used watercolour and gouache in my explorations, looking to record the fleeting light, clouds and movement in the spontaneous gestures of a fluid and quick drying medium.

Following in Homer Watson’s steps encouraged my love of old trees and showed me their cramped and dwindling environment. Gone are the huge old-growth trees of his time. What we now have, especially in Cressman Woods, are trees that were seedlings in Homer Watson’s lifetime. New private property signs multiply with the urban sprawl – no trespassing – emphatic frontiers limiting public access to woods, trail and river. I documented what I found, but I did not include new buildings or commercial developments.

Homer Watson saw the beginning of the city’s assault on the countryside and the natural environment, and the danger urban encroachment posed to the groves of old trees. His concern for his local landscape went beyond painting: it took him 25 years of work and lobbying to garner support from municipal councillors and business people to establishing Cressman Woods as a publicly accessible nature reserve, now part of Homer Watson Park.

Like Homer Watson, I want my paintings to raise our awareness that we all need these natural wooded areas, these landscapes and these points of view to be preserved for our collective health and spiritual wellbeing.

Robert Achtemichuk
Spring, 2015

I appreciate the support of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and and the Ontario Arts Council.
Square logo colour2014 OAC logo RGB JPG


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Orienteering Homer Watson’s painting sites 7

This painting is of a maple tree that was planted in 1857. It is missing a few limbs and has a few growths on it. The yellow house beyond the trees was Homer Watson’s birth place on Tilt drive in Doon. This watercolour painting is on Inshu gampi, about as thick as cigarette paper and looks a bit like wax paper but has much more sheen. Amazingly it holds paint, in a most wonderful manner. Come see it in the exhibition of this project, In Homer Watson’s Footsteps opening June 21 from 2-4.

May 16 2015 530pm May 16, 2015 5:30pm

I appreciate the support of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.
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Orienteering Homer Watson’s painting sites 6

Sandhill, Oregon Hill, Pinnacle Hill are names that I have found to designate the hill that is located at the corner of Homer Watson Blvd and 401 Hwy in Kitchener. There is a transmission tower located on it along with may fine homes. It is hard to get a view from the top because of the method used in the private property development. Climbing from the bottom on the east side maybe the only option to get up the hill without venturing on to private property. There is a painting of Homer’s that is from the hill looking over a pond in Doon. His view is probably north-west and there are a number of ponds that it could have been. It feels foreshortened to me and could be what used to be Mill Pond on Schneider Creek. I guess knowing which church that is in the painting would help us. The painting referenced here is in the collection of Homer Watson House and Gallery.

March 12 2015 3 pmMarch 12, 2015 3pm

Doon at Oregon HillDoon at Oregon Hill – Homer Watson
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Orienteering Homer Watson’s painting sites 4

On November 23 and a few subsequent visits I garnered memories and sketches to paint the grey Ontario November skies and the yard where chickens scratch for food and splash in the creek running through the yard. In the background are included the beige townhouses that surround this pastoral for miles.
November 23 2014 2pmNovember 23, 2014 2 pm 43.3880,-80.4354
In Doon (Kitchener) Ontario, on Tilt’s Drive is a chicken farm where you can buy eggs. As I have not seen any cows in the landscape that I have walked so far, I decided to paint these chickens. The farm is across the street from Homer Watson’s birthplace. His family house is still there. In Tilt’s front yard is a maple that was planted in 1857. In this sketch you can see the maple and an outline of the house in the lower right.
January 4 2015 4pm1857 tree Tilt farm
As a person under six years old I lived on a farm, where animals and chickens were in the barn and around the yard. Tilt’s farm brought back many memories of watching chicks grow up, walking around or through them and staying away from the roosters until they were soup.
chicken 1
chicken 3
chicken 4

I appreciate the support of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.
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