Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kej Woodland

Kej Woodland (acrylic on canvas, 36"x 60") interprets the damp mossy woods of October in Nova Scotia. The patterns of the leaves drift across the trunks of uprooted trees, the ferns turn golden with the shorter days, and grasses lose the strength to stand upright at the end of the growing season.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cove at High Head, Lower Prospect

Another spot on the High Head hike is this incredible cove, filled with rocks tumbled into spheres by the tide.  As the tide rises, a spout of water is forced through the granite formations, lending itself to be christened by Richard and me as Spittle Cove.  It is also the location of one of my early paintings entitled "Fifteen", after my daughter, Amy, who posed as a figure in the landscape.  27 years separate these two paintings.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Inlet at High Head

One of my favourite hikes is the High Head Trail, Lower Prospect, NS.
Near the beginning of the hike, a stream courses through rocks, just stepping stones at high tide, but as seen here at low tide, a trickle of water is trapped until the surge of the next tide releases it.
Inlet at High Head, acrylic on wood panel, 36" x 48"

Monday, October 17, 2011


A waterfall within a damp ravine of the rainforest in Goldstream Provincial Park, BC, I worked from a study done on site.  By further simplifying and abstracting the image, I drew the lines of movement and the exaggerated angles formed as rock and trees collapse toward the forest floor.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Motion Activated ( Page One)

Veronique MacKenzie (dancer/choreographer), Lukas Pearse (sound designer) and I have been working on a collaborative project involving movement, animation, and sound, with each of these elements responding and interacting with the other.  Last night at Nocturne in Halifax, we presented our explorations  to the public.  A truly absorbing and expanding experience, working with these two great professionals in other disciplines.  Thanks to Richard Rudnicki for help with set up, take down and photography.  Here are some images from last night.
View of crowd at gate with one of the projections above.

Looking down Granville Street with projection down the block.

Lukas Pearse, with his complex technical setup was the master puppeteer.
At 9, Lukas went off to another gig, after instructing me on how to run the sound, blend the videos with the live dance. 

View from Granville Street with all three projections. 
 All of the projections were manipulated from a master
 control program installed on Lukas's computer.

Veronique MacKenzie provided live movement for the grueling
 duration of the performance.   She was captured on infrared cameras
and her choreography interacted with the projected animations. 

My view for the night, Lukas' hand on the controls, 
Veronique  performing, and the crowd at the gates.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Daybreak/lily pond

A lily pond at midsummer:  how do you paint this subject without the cloying sweetness that florals often have, and yet maintain the feeling of 'pond'?  The dominant blue green suggests a gentler landscape; in the stillness of dawn wet grasses and lily pads balance in damp air and pond water.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tidal pools at Pennant Point

The south shore of Nova Scotia -- the spruce trees clinging to the rocky ground, the tidal pools left behind amid the worn granite of the shoreline.  My solo exhibition at Gallery Page and Strange continues through August 26.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Transformation: New paintings by Susan Tooke

             Please join me Friday, August 5th between 6-8 p.m.  

Gallery Page and Strange
1869 Granville St.
Halifax, NS
B3J 1Y1

Susan Tooke
August 5 - 26, 2011
Opening August 5th from 6PM to 8PM - Artist in Attendance

Susan Tooke is a Halifax artist with a rich background in art making.  The first twenty years of her practice focused on social realism, with photographic reference and precise representation.  This led to ten years of  book illustration during which time she created a number of award winning picture books for various national publishers.

In 2009 Susan traveled to Sable Island.  "Frustrated with the limits of my style, I began to work toward a more expressive abstraction of the landscape, using it as a point of departure for work based on my emotional response to the energy of the environment around me."

The result is very powerful and emotional works representing our familiar landscapes.  Evocative of Anne Meredith Barry, the skies are electrified and the colours jarring.  At first glance the paintings make you think of the emotion in the work of Emily Carr, or early panel paintings by the Group of Seven.  This work is really embracing, full  of energy and love for our beautiful province.  

Susan Tooke has been a practicing artist for over thirty years.  Susan holds a BFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia and attended NSCAD University in 1996.  McLean's Magazine named her book Full Moon Rising one of the top 12 Canadian Picture books for 2002.  Susan has a staggering number of awards including Best Children's Book of the Year, Atlantic Bookseller's Choice Award, the Lillian Sheppard Memorial Award for excellence in illustration and the Mayor's Award for Excellence in Book Illustration.  Selected artist by the TD Canadian Children's Book Week National Tour (2005), Susan's work is held in the collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Parks Canada, The National Library of Canada and St. Francis Xavier University Art Gallery.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rocks near Crystal Crescent

Patterns formed in rock stressed by the elements,  the Nova Scotian South Shore is pounded by the North Atlantic. In various stages of deconstruction, and construction, the landscape is most dramatic where sky, sea and earth meet.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Herd at Pond, Sable Island

My trip to Sable, and friendship with Zoe Lucas has moved my studio painting into fresh ground with room for imagination and experimentation.  Discovering the feeling of a place, and examining my own emotional response while experiencing an environment has led me to a new way of seeing the world. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Summer on Sable Island

Richard and I spent a week on Sable Island in August, 2009.  While there, we spent all of our time painting the landscape en plein air.  This was to be a pivotal experience for me.. I was pressed to find a way of expressing the landscape in a more immediate way.  Working on illustrations for Free as the Wind, written by Jamie Bastedo, Red Deer Press, I came to know Zoe Lucas.  Her friendship has opened up the world of Sable Island to me, and I am grateful for this.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Old pilings/Fundy mud flats

Large canvases are crowding the studio.  Enormous skies, open views are demanding space.  So much action above affecting the earth, the earth reflects the activity in the sky, the sea pulling back and rushing in--the Fundy shore near Great Village, Nova Scotia.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Red Canoe

When I was in Goose Bay, Labrador, at the Arts Festival, I did get out briefly into the country.  The red canoe, stashed above the tideline, the driftwood angled against the solitary stone, the November snow and far shore made a lasting impression.  The silence of winter.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cloud and Fundy Mud Flats

My latest in expressive landscape painting.  The dynamic movement of the tides in the Bay of Fundy near Great Village, Nova Scotia is a subject of epic proportions.  The sky and the water of the bay are constantly changing with the ebb and flow of the ocean as it is funneled into the valleys of the stream beds and rivers.  The challenge is to paint this energy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter field near Enfield

Richard and I were driving on the highway, when we decided to take the back roads.  The land was covered with snow, the stubble poking through the icy crust.  An isolated farmhouse stood on the hill against a late afternoon grey sky.  There was something iconic about it as it stood on its pedestal of last summer's cornrows. As I painted, the feeling of the land and enormous sky enveloped me.  I was drawn into the universe by the mystery surrounding the old homestead.