Alice Vandervennen

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Footprints in the snow

Posted by on Mar 17, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

In winter when snow lays thick on the ground, the simple line of a tree can create a striking contrast to the white ground. Or the harvested corn leaving patterned traces in the fields. The shape of the flying geese overhead. Chipmunk tracks in the snow. These fleeting images seem to lodge themselves in our minds, and while they may not amount to something concrete enough to be called inspiration or idea, I often find that they do find a home in the final art piece. I realized that especially once I finished this piece, called “Ice Fields,” where the pattern of the stitches echo all those little patterns that we find in nature. The clear quartz hearkening to the frozen lake. Where hints of colour take on an extraordinary amount of importance in what some might call a colourless landscape. Though I’ve just finished this piece in the late winter of 2021, I painted the acrylic on canvas on a campsite in northern Ontario back in August. While it was drying, a chipmunk ran through the wet paint. As I’m layering the paint on canvas, I like to do lines of script. In this piece, I had just added a yellow line when a chipmunk ran through it, adding their own line of script to the painting. I left it, for I was curious to see how these marks, these actual marks of nature’s, would find their way into an art piece. I wondered: where would these footprints travel...

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Savouring the shadows

Posted by on Mar 10, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

Recently, after a Sunday afternoon skate, I posted to my Facebook page (do you follow along there?) I wrote: “March sun, shadows stretching. Though nearly finished, the ice still holds the secret movements of the snowshoe hare, followed close behind by coyote. A lively ecosystem working together, like an art piece — each colour working together, shape taking on the shadow in another form. Despite the less-than-smooth surface, I love how skating over these traces tells a narrative that belongs only to winter.” Looking at these tracks, these stories in the snow, you get a sense of both how fragile, and yet how strong, the whole ecosystem is. One thing really depends on another, and that strength is found in weaving together those parts into the whole. I find the same with art. In creating a piece of art, if you change one detail—even though it might seem an insignificant little detail— the whole piece has changed. I find inspiration from nature, but I learn from it too; from the limits and edges that are simply part of the way life is. Branches and trees seem to dance in sunlight, the shadow lines intersect and weave together, creating something real, for a moment, as the sun shifts. Sometimes what nature has to offer is a lesson in appreciating the unattainable: those beautiful, impermanent visions that the human artist can only store away and...

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