The Eye, the Sky:

Friendship and the Art of Outdoor Painting

August 4th - September 29th, 2022

Pat Aldred, Lynne Howes and Wendy Parsons have known each other for decades, but they first came together as artists in life drawing sessions at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery about ten years ago. When the sessions and models were no longer available, they decided to continue meeting weekly to advance their study of technique and support one another in their art practices. Over several years, they worked methodically through the books The Natural Way to Draw and The Fundamentals of Watercolour Painting. In the summer of 2019, they began to meet outdoors in various locations around Moose Jaw, applying their knowledge of gesture and watercolour technique to the practice of plein air painting. When Covid19 struck, this practice allowed them to continue their weekly meetings in spite of the pandemic.


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Artists working outdoors need to adapt continuously to shifts in light, wind and sky. Perhaps the movement encountered in an everchanging landscape is the reason so many plein air painters turn to watercolour. There is an organic, fluid relationship between paint, water and paper, one that makes advantageous a confidence with gesture and the ability to work quickly. As the landscape changes before one’s eyes, so paint and water arrange themselves in sometimes surprising ways before the pigment stabilizes on the paper. It's interesting to think of three artists working together but apart from one another in the same outdoor space, three sets of eyes simultaneously studying different planes in the landscape. One might ask, why work together when art-making is such a solitary act? For these artists, there is no question of the value of their weekly sessions, which they describe as a serious commitment to both friendship and critical learning, and an affirming part of their ongoing art practice.


Dianne Warren, Curator