Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Big Ones - Part Three

My application for a second Leighton Artist's Colony studio resulted in a six week residency, early in 1995. Much of my time was spent creating commissioned serigraphs for The Gallery at Jasper Park Lodge (now Mountain Galleries). Two editions of 200 prints each, 11 colours each, but that is a story in itself for another day.

Standing on the summit of Mount Athabasca presented an entirely new painting perspective. Looking down to valleys below and out across to other peaks gives a God-like sensation which spurred a summit series of small watercolour paintings. I brought these two to the Banff Centre as studies for large oils ...

1994, 7" x 10", watercolours with the same titles as the 4 x 6 foot oils, below.  Both in my own collection 

THE ATHABASCA - ANDROMEDA COL oil   4 x 6 feet   sold through Wallace Galleries, collector unknown 

THE CURVE OF THE SUMMIT (from the Silverhorn)   oil   4 X 6 feet   Collection of Denise Scammell

The Curve of the Summit is somewhat abstracted and perhaps a difficult perspective for folks to comprehend. It did the gallery rounds and was never sold. In July 1997 a guide, whom Denise was dating then, took us and Bill up the face of the Silverhorn (the meringue shaped peak to the right of the actual summit). Standing on the vantage point of the painting I pointed out this perspective to Denise and she understood it completely. It was clear the painting ought to belong to her.

The day before I moved out of the studio I had a most unexpected visitor. He'd been in Banff, unaware that I was there, and had driven on to seek me out at the Mountain Avens Gallery. Owner, Arlene Curry, explained the situation and when he departed (supposedly for Calgary) she telephoned me. I remember willing him to turn back; to return to Banff. When he arrived at my Leighton studio he told me that he felt I had put a hex on him; he'd accidentally turned west, not east, after leaving Canmore. His flight back to Toronto was late that night and so we were able to spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening together.

With former Central Tech art teacher, Paul Summerskill, February 28th, 1995

This was the first time we'd seen each other since our art class' 20 year reunion in 1986.  He wrote these precious lines in my journal: Thanks for the happy visit. After all these years you have become the teacher and I have become your student and for this I am thankful. A decade later Bill and I would join him and his wife, Tina, at their retreat in Newfoundland.  A 100+ year old fisherman's house, at Twillingate.

Athabasca expedition snap shots

With Bill the first time I stood on the summit of Mount Athabasca, July 25th, 1994

Bill and me climbing the Silverhorn of Mount Athabasca, August 25th, 1997 ... I 'm somewhat terrified, does it show?
With Denise on the Silverhorn, the curve of the summit behind us, August 25th, 1997


  1. These stories (to say nothing of the paintings) are just wonderful Alice. Your 'painting dance' is such a lovely part of your journey.

    1. Many thanks Win. I would be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying the project!

  2. Alice, you amaze and inspire! I've been working all day feeling like I'm getting nowhere, but this!....has inspired. Again, you are too cool.

    1. Thanks, Janice. Some days at the easel are just painful while others are simply golden. May tomorrow, for you, be the latter!