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 -Virginia Woolf


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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.
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In Homer Watson’s Foot Steps Opening Today 2-4 pm

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 19 2015 200pmMarch 19, 2015 2:00pm
I appreciate the support of the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund and and the Ontario Arts Council.
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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.
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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 5

In Doon there is a wooded area called Tilt’s bush, a woodlot and a large marsh. It is surrounded by houses and is newly acquired by the City of Kitchener. I have enjoyed many walks here and love that there are no trails and there are old trees. Lots of hemlock fir trees that cast a wonderful light green glow on the snow. This first image was painted outdoors using vodka and water and the paint did not freeze until it was on the paper. It looked like an encaustic painting with snow flakes sitting on the paper when I finished. I brought it to the car and drove off only to see after 10 minutes that it had puddled and was moving around. When it dried it looked more like the snowing scene I was witnessing.
January 9 2015 315 pmJanuary 9, 2015 3:15 pm
January 2 2015 400 pm cJanuary 2, 2015 4:00 pm
January 4 2015 330 pmJanuary 4, 2015 3:30 pm
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Orienteering Homer Watson’s painting sites 3

I found Tilt’s Bush in Doon and it is fabulously natural, has a short gravel trail into the bush. Then its just bush in hills and you can see why this area was first called Sandhills. Can see this element in some of Homer’s paintings. The old trees were easier to see as much of the leaves were gone, allowing you see well into the bush. Great fir trees. This bush is surrounded by new housing developments. They sure made ugly houses out here, over and over again. Beige is my new to-do. Another to-do is to paint the chickens at Tilt’s farm – brown ones and black ones.
This painting was the day after the first snow. The weeds were holding aloft the fine snow that had fallen on their seed heads, wind, a bit of blue sky and trees. You could see white and green stripes on the ground that were the grasses under a layer of snow.
Isabella, thanks for some of the thinnest washi yet.
November 13 2014 230pmNovember 13, 2014 2:30pm wc on washi 43.3877,-804393
Painting during October was very comfortable. No mosquitos at last.The fall colours were fantasitic as always. I spent a Sunday in Steckle Woods and this was one from that day. Had a few from this series at Tri-City Stopgap exhibition in Kitchener.
October 19 2014 430pmOctober 19, 2014 4:30 pm wc on washi 43.4086,-80.4636

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