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Field Notes

Mapping Winter Light: Large Colour Studies at Seymour River

Marisa Pahl

There is a magic in the way light inhabits a place, today and over time. It can be familiar, comforting, dreamy, soft, bright, dark, haunting, all at once. When we come back to a place, we hold this knowledge of a place in our mind - of past colours + past light. In a way, it’s a map of what exists, what has been and what we know is possible. 

This experience and knowledge can shift entirely in a moment. That window of possibility is where the magic lies. In nature, new colours, new light, and new perspectives happen instantly, unexpectedly and without our input.

When the sun filters gently through a canopy of cedars, the world below changes in a moment. When the glow of dusk skips over white capped ocean waves, the rest of a landscape fades into darkness.

For me, these experiences are the opposite of boring.

If I'm not paying attention, I'm unaware of the magic unfolding all around me. This is especially true in remote wilderness locations. When I'm fully present, I feel tuned in to the subtle changes and dramatic shifts of the landscape. 

Maybe because I feel like I am part of it.

Painting outside gives me fresh eyes and an open mind. It's a pathway to new perspectives, a process worth playing with, an act where the product is secondary. Until I begin mapping colour with brushes and layers of paint and water, it’s unpredictable what colours might make their way onto the paper.

I think I know, but there are always surprises.

This colour inquiry is a pilgrimage that I come back to without hesitation. The process has become a spiritual practise. A way of being effortlessly present.

These abstract colour studies have no miniature landscape pair.  They are something all their own.

I hope you enjoy the palette of Seymour River in January. It's all bluesey, inky greys, bright greens and deep dark foliage.

xo