JAMIE MCGILLSolo Exhibition – ” Listening for the Landscape”
Feb. 12-18, 2015
Opening Reception: Thurs. Feb. 12th, 6-10 (artist in attendance) RSVP
“Much of painting is about learning this visual language -this means of expression: analyzing, interpreting, simplifying. It’s more than mastering the tools and the technique – reading shapes, values, colours, edges. Above all else, it is a state of mind that is achieved when you finally stop ‘looking’ and learn to truly see the beauty that is all around us.” – Jamie McGill
Jamie McGill is primarily a landscape painter, working both in watercolour and oils. Largely self-taught he has attended classes at Humber College, Haliburton School of Fine Arts, Neilson Park Creative Centre, Blue Mountain School of Landscape Painting and Atelier St.Luc in Provence. He has studied under some of North Americas leading painters. The majority of Jamie’s paintings begin as plein air sketches which provide the basis for larger works completed in his West Toronto studio. This exhibition, “Listening for the Landscape” is a survey of recent works.
Q & A with Jamie McGill:
Brief intro to who you are / what you do?
“I am basically a representational landscape painter working both in watercolours and oils. I started painting full-time about 15 years ago when I decided that if not now, when? So I’ve spent a decade or so learning some things about paint and the tools and what they can do. Along the way I’ve come to appreciate that all the good technique in the world won’t make a good painting if you don’t have something to say. As a representational painter I struggle with creating work that supersedes the subject and touches the viewer at a more basic level through strong composition and the conscious manipulation of shapes, values, colours and edges. A career milestone for me was when I finally realized that I could paint outside the lines.”
What is your favourite subject, artwork or place to paint?
“If it is true that we paint what we know, then I am drawn to paint rural and wilderness Ontario — meadows, trees, rocks, water. But these familiar elements of the landscape are never the subject of a painting. It sounds a cliché, but it’s true — light is always the subject of a painting. I am happiest when I am painting outside — plein air — and pushing paint around on a 9 x 12 panel. This typically takes me to the Headwaters area NW of Toronto, i.e. Albion Hills, Caledon, Mulmur, and up towards the Big Head River valley. Further afield I like to canoe into Algonquin, Temagami and Killarney — which I have been doing pretty much all my life.”
What are you working on at the moment?
“I am in the studio this week working up watercolour sketches from a trip to Newfoundland last summer. Newfoundland is such a fantastic place to paint — those big strong shapes and pearly even light. It’s sad that many novice painters give up on watercolour because they say they find it too difficult, and there is some merit to that. But in truth, watercolour at it’s best, is active, alive and has to be given the freedom to do it’s own thing. Painting with watercolour is more a partnership than a command/control thing. And I guess that frightens a lot of folks who are just learning. After all these years of watercolouring, I still struggle to find a consistent approach. With watercolour you want to let the natural flow of the paint take over — working with whatever those early washes give you. I still believe that watercolour is the most exciting — and certainly the most expressive medium in which to work. “
Which artists are you most inspired by?
“Right off the top — I am inspired by any and every painter who picks up a brush and tries to express something personal. Because really, as I understand it, painting really is all about communicating. You may hate what I do, you may love what I do — but just react. The very worse thing that an audience can say about my work (or any painter’s work) is “so what”.
There is such a broad continuum of painting genres and styles, from the magic hyper realists such as Colville, right through to the non-objective abstract expressionists such as Motherwell. I try to stay open and receptive to any work and give the time necessary to let that work speak to me. But, I guess I have a particular attraction to the Impressionists — Thomson, Levitan, Sargent. Current painters whose work fascinates me include Trevor Chamberlain, Tim Lawson, Skip Whitcomb, and Kathleen Dunphy. There are so very many really good painters out there today.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
(1) Try to paint every day. It really is true — practice makes perfect.
(2) Never forget what it is that you are trying to say in your painting. This is why you picked up the brush.
(3) Never give up on a painting. It’s all about problem solving. Be patient and figure it out
1. Caledon Sideroad, oil paint on canvas, 12″x12″, 2012
2. Above the Big Head RIver, oil paint on canvas, 12″x16″, 2012
3. Ice Out on the Big Head River, oil paint on canvas, 18″x24″, 2013
4.High Park Oak, oil on canvas, 18″x24″, 2014
5. Petawawa River, oil paint on canvas, 12″x16″, 2012