Sqft Show 2/12 - Winterlight – Marianne Vander Dussen

Sqft Show 2/12 - Winterlight

Something Old, Something New

I'd like to steer away from talking about Winterlight purely from a technical standpoint, and instead talk about the doors that it has reopened. 

A few months ago, I asked friends of mine to suggest some fantasy books, particularly ones that had a fairytale-like feeling to them, or took place in a northern setting. I was seeking inspiration for new works that had a bit of a fantastical twist, that felt like they could've been set in a landscape similar to Northern Ontario. I received a bunch of wonderful suggestions, but the one that stayed with me the most was the The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

I'm going somewhere with this, I promise. 

The suggestion came from my friend, Katrina. Katrina and I had done the Bachelor of Education program together at Nipissing, and although we remained friends and stayed on each other's radar through social media, we weren't actively communicating.

The Bear and the Nightingale opened the floodgates, and since then it's been like having an old friend back in my life. Despite living in two different cities, we've both gotten married and had two boys in the time that's passed since we were teachers in training. Rediscovering an old friendship in a new context has been nothing short of wonderful, and I am in awe of the woman she has become in the time that has passed. I'm grateful to call her my good friend once again. 

Why share this? 

Reason number one: Katrina is the photographer behind Winterlight. This is a somewhat iconic view near her home in Muskoka Ontario, featuring an ice climbing route known as "the Crown of Thorns." The view is of the Little East River, which is apparently the true geographic delineation separating northern and southern Ontario. North Bay is called the Gateway to the North, but this river is where the true border lies. 

Reason number two: the book that Katrina suggested is part of a trilogy, called The Winternight Trilogy.

Winternight inspired Winterlight. 

Working with Themes

Although I had the reference photo in hand before reading the novel, I wanted to do something meaningful with the pieces in this show. The Winternight trilogy wove together mythology, Russian history, religion, and folklore into one glorious story. So before I chose my references for this series, I sat down to think about what kind of images would be able to work together to tell a story.

I chose pieces that took place during a winter sunset, each featuring water to reflect the changing skies. I limited the palette of colours, and used the same colours throughout all three works. Each painting goes through the stages of the setting sun, from the bright, sharp colours of Landing Light, to the warmth of Marshlight with the sun tucking itself behind the trees, to the moonrise of Winterlight, with the wintry afterglow in full display.

Afterglow, by the way, is a technical term for that band of light that sits on the horizon after the sun has set. You see it most clearly in Winterlight, with the layer of green resting between the peach and the blue. 

There's another theme at work here, though it's a bit more subtle, and that's the theme of gateways. Sunsets are gateways between day and night. Landing Light features one of the most iconic views in the Gateway city. Winterlight shows the true gateway to the north. Marshlight was photographed over a culvert, and is the gateway into the marsh and the snowmobile trails that run just beyond this point. Each painting was designed to freeze an otherwise transitory moment, and painted with saturated colours to pull the viewer into a heightened experience. 

Whether you know it's there or not, seeing all three works sitting side by side is powerful, and together they make an impact that they would not make individually.

I am so excited for next week's reveal, where you'll be able to see the trilogy of paintings as a collection. 

Will These Be Available for Sale?

Yes. But not yet.

I will be releasing the Square Foot Show all at once, when all 12 paintings are done. I'm not doing any holds on any paintings, and it will be first come first serve.

Why? Because I know what's coming. And I'd hate for someone to put a hold on a specific painting right at the beginning of the show, only to fall in love with a different painting a few weeks later. We still have florals, still life, and wildlife to go! I just had the floral references printed, and ooooooh are they ever pretty. 

All of the paintings will be offered for sale at $750.00 all inclusive (includes shipping to anywhere in Canada and the US). $50.00 from each sale will go to support a local charity (just hammering out final details, but it'll go directly to kids). I'll give plenty of notice before sales open, and email subscribers will get a reminder on the day of the drop. 

Thank you for your continued support, onwards to painting 3/12!



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