I'm thrilled to finally pull back the curtain on my second collection of 2023—Puddle Jump. This release features 11 new original paintings based on my road trip down the Oregon Coast.
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Once a year, I create a smaller, more intimate collection of landscapes based on a location I haven't painted before. If you're an Oregonian, you might recognise the name of the collection—Puddle Jump. For everyone else, locals use this phrase to describe a short road trip around Oregon, an adventure off the beaten path to explore new places. I couldn't think of a better way to describe my time there.
The Oregon Coast, like my home in Cape Breton, is a contrast of well-manicured beaches, trails, and roadways, and wilder, untamed stretches of sand, forest, ocean, and dusty roads. The weather is moody one moment and cheery the next (it was always a struggle to know what to wear)! And no matter where we visited, a small surf town built for tourists or a hamlet still hanging on to former glory, the people were kind, quirky, and full of spirit.
I could tell you that Puddle Jump is a continuation of my exploration of the west coast, having previously painted Vancouver Island and California, and that the most inspiring landscapes from our trip appeared just before or after the rain, when the colours pop and everything is glassy and bright, and that would all be true.
But I'd rather tell you about a woman I met there, one who reminded me why art is crucial and why its creation is an intrinsically human endeavour.
At one point during the journey, we stopped in a small town that couldn't have been home to more than a dozen people. Rusted, no longer used train tracks crisscrossed through the centre of it and most of the shops along the main road—the only road—were closed.
All except one—an art gallery.
We'd passed by dozens of art galleries on the drive, but something pulled me into this one. Stepping inside, I was treated to hundreds of pieces of local art, all painted by a single artist. The gallery curator explained to me that she had opened the gallery 14 years ago and every piece inside was painted by her husband. There were paintings of snowy forests, raging oceans, couples playing on the beach, and even a semi-truck. This last one had won first prize in the local art fair. It was one of two submissions, but a win is a win 😊
She stood behind the counter, beaming with pride at the vast collection surrounding her. I was probably her first customer in weeks, but perhaps not. You don't run a gallery for 14 years without selling a few paintings.
Driving away, the beauty of the moment struck me. A small town down on its luck, was held together by a single art gallery, a single artist, who did nothing more than paint their home, put paint to canvas to capture what they saw on their small piece of this planet.
This was their home. It was beautiful. And it was worth sharing.
Is there anything more human than that?
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- (3) 48x36
- (1) 60x36