Candas Jane Dorsey

Find Candas in front of The Cat Cafe on Whyte at 10111 82 ave.

Find her on Facebook: Candas Jane Dorsey at art

Although I am known far and wide as a writer, editor and community activist, it's less well knwn that I have been a visual artist all my life and have been actively practicing this part of my creative expression for about ten years. What initially started as a break from words proved to reconnect me with the words but also to give me a new way to express my vision of the world.

I enjoy watercolour for the discipline and the opportunity to master a difficult medium. I'm inspired by Vivian Thierfelder, Robert Sinclair, Karen Bishop, Harry Savage and many other consummate watercolourists from other parts of the world, and I enjoy taking on the challenge of a superrealist still life from time to time. And, of course, the flowers...for those of us who matured on Georgia O'Keeffe and Judy Chicago, flowers seem to become a central part of art practice! I'm also inspired by the drawings and paintings of Joanne Oldring Sydiaha, whose mixed media work inspires me to be bold even in watercolour--or especially in watercolour.

Acrylics have been the place where my love of colour and landscape best interact. I'm interested in what is the irreducable amount of visual information that needs to be there in a painting to give it the feel of the original experience. We all know photos aren't the same as being there--because they capture only a part of the experience. In a painting, colour and brushstrokes can evoke wind or calm, majesty or detail, the essence of trees or clouds, the motion of light on water. I'm not an abstract artist because no matter how I try, a subject always inserts itself into the riot of colour. Often, that subject is a horizon line.

On the prairies, the horizon is low and far away, and the land (what W.O.Mitchell once called "the great taupe saucer of the prairie") is a carpet of willow and grass that holds up a bold and decorated sky. So the prairie artists who boldly dropped the horizon line and who extracted and intensified the sometimes-subtle colours and shapes of the parkland and prairie are my role models and admired artists, from Illingworth Kerr, Thelma Manarey, and d Alex Janvier to David Shkolny and Samantha Williams-Chapelsky. Closer to home: in her later life, my mother Marie Dorsey returned to her visual art, as did my friend Betty Gibbs in mid-life, and what I learned from both of them is that while good paint and confident brushstrokes are vital and mastery is desirable, still, at the root, one first paints from love.

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