I just watched one of a television series, “Spirit of the Art” (2006) and am reminded just how much I enjoy the work of artist, John Hartman. Again, I think of my journey tucked in against the shores of Georgian Bay this summer and as I look at his canvases, John Hartman’s work reaches into my heart.
It’s really impossible to describe the painterly surfaces of his images, but suffice it to say that they are lush, with both smooth quiet places interspersed with yummy thick applications. His marks are varied and in most pieces, it is possible to find depictions of figures, drawn loosely and in contrasted colour, figures that in themselves, convey a narrative. For the most part, the viewer has the feeling of floating above a surreal landscape of both warm and cool colour, water and sky elements. I treasure my hardcover book Big North, the Paintings of John Hartman, …always will! The following video can be found on John Hartman’s website listed under Projects: Columbia River.
The drive along the Georgian Bay, heading north, was absolutely beautiful! Cottage country! Every third vehicle was topped with a red canoe. I, all of a sudden, wanted a red canoe! The vehicles on the road represented vacations and family and the last week at the lake! The views were spectacular. From the beginning, to the left and right of me was farmland, sprawling colour…barns of every sort, tall corn, dairy cows…everything was pastoral and heart-warming; to the end, rugged coastlines, rock, lush trees showing early encounters with cool air. Autumn was evidenced. My window was rolled down to let it all in.
At Parry Sound, I first saw the Westward sign for the 400. I didn’t pull over when I cried…I just drove as I cried. I don’t know that that is a safe thing to do, but I thought it best not to pull over when everyone was moving along so fast. These tears were the sort that just fall down your cheeks in a stream. I hadn’t much of an idea where they came from. I didn’t think about them until later.
My thoughts, at the time, were about military moves and the east-west migration that my family found itself taking. Going west meant leaving Ontario behind.