The Geography of Home and My Obsession With the Notion of Place

Presently reading, Geography of Home: writings on where we live by Akiko Busch and have always had quite a thing for thinking about space/place/where I live.  At this very moment, I am rearranging/sorting/cleaning out the studio.  The weather can only be described as  ‘autumn’ here in Calgary, so this is the perfect time!  I found this photo reference in a box in the studio…a photo of Angel Glacier up Edith Cavell-way back in 2004.  Now, there’s a place that, even as I think about it, gives me chills.  It is such a mystical experience to do the alpine hike and to hear huge chunks of the glacier crash down into the milky green water below.

At the same time as thinking about this place, I move my painting of Angel Glacier onto my back deck, as I sort and stack.  There it is leaning against the bench, beside a snow shovel.  It is an interesting thing how paintings attempt to give some impression of PLACE, but can only succeed to a point.  Landscape paintings, I think, are about inheritance and about leaving future generations with some sense of how beautiful our world is/was.  At least, this was something really on my mind as I approached landscape painting.  Who knows.  I first thought about this when the protagonist, Morag, of Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners explained to her metis daughter, Piquette, what a buffalo was.  It’s interesting, but from one generation to the next, something is lost.  I think artists of all kinds, try to capture a bit of the sense of ‘the dance’ once the audience goes home.  I love typewriters and old records for just this reason.  They remind me of another place, as much as another time.


Some people travel long distances to see beautiful places…I travel inside my head mostly.  I’ve been very challenged the past three months with a painting…just some issues of composition that kept annoying me.  I couldn’t even close my eyes at night, without seeing it…trying to resolve it.  Well, tonight I sipped some lemon-flavoured water, turned on an old Joni Mitchell cd, talked to my daughter briefly about the troubling place on the canvas….and went forward with courage!  I’ve traveled to and from this glacier a thousand times this past three months…and now I can put her to rest.  I’m celebrating and ready to go on with my Christmas time in the studio!  Time to plug in some coloured lights out there!  Take a look at ‘her’ in my most recent photo album!  Welcome to my world!

Angel Glacier