Art Outdoors - McCrae Lake, Ontario
Updated: May 27, 2021
An edgeland is the liminal space between a developed and an undeveloped landscape. This is the story of how a very intense night of camping inspired the show piece for my latest exhibit. #art #nature #camping #ontariooutdoors #inspiration #lovenature #natureart
Edgeland, Oil on Canvas, 36x60 #symbolism #landscapepainting
Two years ago, mid-October of 2018, I decided to go for one last solo camping trip of the season, before the ground froze and the nights would be too cold. I'm not saying you can't go camping after that happens - just that I, specifically, WON'T go camping after that happens. I hate being cold, and I vastly prefer weather that is considered too hot over weather that is even a little chilly.
The first day was fine, a perfectly sunny fall day, and I set my tent up overlooking the beautifully quiet Six Mile Lake. What I hadn't anticipated, was that a cold front was coming in that night, that would put me in a state nearing hypothermia. (Stay tuned for more on this trip in an upcoming trip report.)
Needless to say, I survived the very cold night, but it was one of the most visceral and cautionary experiences I had ever had. The next day was raining off and on, but I surprisingly had the energy to do a short hike, and made it to this vista over McCrae Lake.
Having made it to this rocky escarpment after the night I'd had, I ended up spending about an hour just sitting on these rocks, feeling them with my hands, feeling them beneath me, watching the water lap up against them about 100 feet down. I watched two trad climbers making their way up the bolted route on the rock face to my left, and crawl over the top and into the trees. It was boring and fascinating, and I felt strange and exhausted yet energized and enlivened: all the great things about camping and hiking by yourself.
Going out into the wilderness by alone is a gift you give yourself. It can be scary, and humbling, and deeply educational. This is what inspired me to paint Edgeland.
The edgeland to me is the space between comfort, and the desire to seek out danger. The bare legs are symbolic of my intense feeling of connectedness and fragility in nature, and the hare, a favourite recurring image of mine, represents duality. The hare has always fascinated me because of its representation of the ultimate prey. At the same time, it embodies a magical and profound experience: the hare lives above and underground, indicating both a vertical and horizontal split, a paradox of an existence. This is why the painting appears to be split in two and misaligned.
Being able to experience this gift of nature and connectedness has been pivotal in my life, and the strange lure of recognizing yourself in the wilderness is something that I strive to express in my art.