Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Big Ones - Part Two

May 26th, 1994   working on SOMEWHERE TO ANYWHERE   oil   combined panels 4 x 12 feet

My fascination with Mount Athabasca began in September 1992 on my first stay at the Columbia Icefield. Brewster Transportation, who operate the glacier tours there, generously gifted to artists and researchers accommodations and meals, asking nothing in return. Over the next seven years I had eight remarkable residencies there. Certainly the most electric of them was in August 1993 when Katherine Lipsett, curator of art at the Whyte Museum, Banff, invited ten artists to spend a week together. In a summer of rain this was the only clear, beautiful week. The expedition was an opportunity to create plein air works and inspired studio paintings for a grand exhibition, REFRAMING THE LANDSCAPE held at the museum, June 4th to September 5th, 1994.  

Competition ran high both on the expedition and in the studio. My goal was to create the largest studio piece and, although it didn't guarantee me centre stage placement in the exhibition, I succeeded. SOMEWHERE TO ANYWHERE was painted in 14 days on my first residency at the Banff Centre's Leighton Artists Colony. In addition I also created the bulk of the paintings for a solo show on this six week residency. ALICE IN BADLAND opened, right in the middle of it, on May 14th, at New Image Gallery, Calgary.

SOMEWHERE, MOUNT ATHABASCA   left panel of diptych   oil   4 x 6 feet

ANYWHERE - MOUNT ANDROMEDA   right panel of diptych   oil   4 x 6 feet 

1994 was a year of exceptional thrills. I was back to the Icefield for a week in June. In July I realized a dream by climbing (it was actually a very long walk up the 5000 foot elevation gain) to summit Mount Athabasca. It was a summer/autumn of other bagged peaks, several trips into Lake O'Hara and my first trip to Mount Assiniboine. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in September and the Mountain Avens Gallery, Canmore, hosted MOUNTAIN INTIMACY, another solo show in November. But the crowning glory came December 30th the day we took my diptych into Calgary and waited for a decision. A Calgary art placement firm had recruited it along with paintings by David Pugh (1946 - 1994) Alan Collier (1911 - 1990) and my former art teacher Doris McCarthy (1910 -2010). It could have been that mine was the largest or that as the junior artist it was priced well below the others, but I prefer to think it was the painting itself and how it filled the boardroom that prompted Alberta Energy Company to select SOMEWHERE TO ANYWHERE. Imagine my delight! 

Snapshots from the Whyte Museum artists expedition

August 3rd, 1993 -  ON THE ICE - Athabasca Glacier, with Barbara Milne, David More and Peter von Tiesenhausen

Members of the Columbia Icefield Expedition, August 5th, 1993 

Back Row:  David More, Red Deer, Catherine Perehudoff, Saskatoon, Carol Perehudoff, Korea,
Dan Hudson, Canmore, Peter von Tiesenhausen, Demmitt, AB, Laura Millard, Calgary
Front Row: Greg Murphy, Toronto, Michael Cameron, Banff, Barbara Milne, Calgary, and yours truly


  1. A massive and beautifully done project Alice - that was a wonderful show in '94. I remember the feeling of awe it inspired.

  2. You are so cool, my fingers are getting icy typing this!

    I bow low to your brilliance.

  3. The Columbia Icefield Expedition was a great experience.Terrific art, wonderful people and a spectular setting - Katherine Lipsett

    1. Yes, Katherine, it was and remains a high point in my life. Thanks for including me in the expedition!