I was thrilled to be spending a week as part of an Artist Residency at the Banff Boutique Inn in the stunning Rocky Mountains. It is a gorgeous historical home set across the Bow River just a few minutes walk from downtown Banff. I spent the first day planning & prepping for the days ahead and was so excited...the way the sunlight was hitting the mountains was incredible...and that balmy Chinook weather continued most of the week.
I ended up finding tiny tubes of Liquitex Heavy Body acrylic so instead of packing 3 primaries (my usual are napthol red, pthalo blue & Indian yellow) plus titanium white, I decided to bring split primaries (warm & cool):
• yellow oxide
• yellow medium azo
• napthol red light
• quinacridone crimson
• cerulean blue hue
• ultramarine blue
I also toned one side of the panels in yellow oxide, napthol red or quin crimson. The opposite side of each I used a grey gesso as a neutral since I want to paint both sides of each panel...my plan was en plein air (painting outside) on one side & an inside on the other.
I also used a View Catcher (the little grey square that I can use to crop & select my view), Princeton & Royal Langnickel paint brushes, a little spray bottle of water, a stay wet palette, a brush washer with a couple of drops of flow medium, a rag and, always my Judson's Guerilla painter pochade box. I like to pack pretty light.
Each painting is double-sided, painted on 6x8 inch panels that I prepared prior to leaving for Banff. I had planned for the front of each to be a landscape painting and the back (well, the opposite side) to be something from an interior. I had an incredible view of the Cascade Mountains from the Inn's great room and our bedroom had beautiful wainscotting that became a lovely backdrop.
I was so grateful for all the benches in & around around Banff as it meant that I didn't even need to take a tripod...less to carry is always better. The sky cleared up after a snow-laden but still warm Chinook day and the mountains were glorious. It was kind of in-between seasons so it was very quiet, which was lovely.
My husband & I were married in my hometown in northern Manitoba 33 years ago and then moved to his hometown in southeastern Manitoba. We spent our honeymoon in Banff (it's my absolute favourite place), bought a Ricoh camera & took photographs of each other on this bridge at night.
When I was a young girl, about 5 years old, we drove from our northern town of Leaf Rapids, Manitoba all the way to Banff, Alberta. My Dad & I took a little hike up the mountains to see the snow in summertime...needless to say, I was fascinated. He taught me how to use a camera & I took my first photo of him standing in the snow.
So, this place is very important to me...it reminds me of my best friend and also of my father, whom I have missed terribly these past few years. I was so grateful for this time to reminisce & to capture little vignettes of this place that means so much to me.
I had such wonderful days..while out painting as part of the artist-in-residence program I ended up having a nice chat with two exchange students from Europe (Switzerland & Germany). They asked if we could take a selfie together as part of a school project. I gave them my card & was later thrilled to find an email from them with the photo. Thank you so much Amelie & Hanne! 💕
Each day I got out at the break of dawn to begin work but one morning it started to rain so I headed back to the Inn to complete the back of this piece which ended up being our tea on the terrace overlooking the Cascade Mountains. It didn't take long before the sun shone through again and though there were still heavy clouds in the sky, the Chinook winds were so warm. Everything was melting rapidly. Another amazing day in Banff. I will miss this very much. 💕
When I visited the Banff Trading Post I knew I wanted to pick up something with the work of Norval Morriseau which I incorporated onto the 'back' of 2 paintings. The painting is not an exact replica, but rather inspired by it, and I did that with a second piece as well.
Norval Morriseau (1932-2007) was known as the 'Picasso of the North'. I first saw his work at the Exhibition Centre in my northern Manitoba hometown as he was the founder of the Woodlands School of Canadian Art that included Benjamin Chee Chee, another one of my childhood favourites.
On the opposite side of the panel is the Trading Post which has been operating in Banff for 118 years...I remember visiting it is a very young girl. My dad bought me a little doll.
On the opposite of the second is the original homestead of Banff artist Charlie Beil (1894-1976). I found out that he actually designed the @banffboutiqueinn where I've been working as the artist-in-residence this week. A drawing of his is located on the wall just outside my suite.
I really love creating these 2-sided pieces as they tell a bigger story & can be changed by the owner...it feels a little collaborative that way. Swipe through to see the actual Norval Morriseau mug...it's been great for tea breaks.
My dad took photographs of my brother & I in the Cascade of Time Gardens when we were young and I remember thinking that the historic Parks Canada Building was a castle. It was awe-inspiring, especially for a little girl from a very tiny northern town. In all the years I've been visiting Banff I haven't stopped by this place again until this Residency...I think I'll pack a picnic when I return in the summer as I'd love to capture this place when there are flowers in bloom.
The view down Main Street in Banff towards the Cascade Mountains and then champagne flutes on the back now lives at the Banff Boutique Inn. It seemed like a fitting celebration.
The time passed so quickly & I've been sad to say goodbye. When I was planning how I would spend my time during this Artist Residency at the Banff Boutiqie Inn I decided on two things.
The first was that I wanted to create 8-6x8 double-sided acrylic paintings on panels...small so that I could spend a lot of time walking & set up my pochade quickly. This meant creating 16 paintings in a short period of time and I wanted both sides of each of connect in some way...hoping to create an inside/out theme as it reflects the past two years for me. Lots of walks & lots of time at home.
The second was to focus on the things that have always been important to me in this place. I am a fair-weather outdoor enthusiast so I was fortunate to experiece incredible Chinook weather. Also, when I'm in the mountains I'm not really concerned about the names of the mountains, especially since they have been changed from their original, but rather about how they make me feel.
I have also learned over time that creating a body of work helps me to improve my skillset & confirms what is important in the work that I choose to create & how I create it. The story behind my work is as important to me as the work itself.
Thank you so much for having me Lee & Becky...the Banff Boutique Inn is lovely, the location was so quiet & peaceful, and the staff so friendly. We'll definitely be back.