Roberts Gallery Blog

Roberts Gallery Blog

FRAGMENTS OF THE DAY… by Susan Oomen

Often in the course of a day I find myself captivated by an image. It is usually a brief moment, when light and circumstance come together to create something that is unforgettable. It may somehow be linked to an event, or person, but often it is random. It was about 14 years ago when I was first captivated by a reflection of a red boat on still waters. Since then I find myself on the water whenever possible. It is a time of complete escape, when I can shut out everything, and lose myself in the visual.

When I am painting images from water excursions, it is more than an attempt to capture visual moments on a canvas; it is a desire to relive the experience. The challenge is usually in describing the light that was particular to a certain experience. I often revisit a subject hoping to get the feeling of light a little further to what is in my mind’s eye. The light is significant to the time of day, as afternoon and morning light create quite different effects on water. One such experience produced a painting titled ‘Island at Twilight’. This painting recalls a late afternoon outing on a lake near Algonquin. After an evening cookout, we walked in near darkness to shore. Coming out of darkened woods it was stunning to see the evening light on the water. An island floated in front of us in the mist, surrounded by the multi colours of a twilight sky, and perfectly reflected on a still lake. On the paddle back, floating on this completely still lake with sky reflection all around us, if you have experienced it, you will know that there is the sensation of flying.

An experience that was the inspiration for ‘Father, Daughter’ occurred just before sunset last fall. It was on Mazinaw Lake and I came across a young family in two canoes. The first canoe held what I assumed was the father and the oldest child, a girl of about five or six. The second canoe held the mother, and three smaller children. As they passed by they were framed by evening light. Their faces were mostly hidden in shadow. It was a fleeting moment, figures fringed by warm light, with a backdrop of sparkling water and darkening horizon….an arresting image. It also recalled my own memories of outings with family, and is a reminder to me of the passing of time, how these moments so quickly become memories.

Each painting in this show ‘fragments of the day’ recalls a moment on the water, a memory, an image that has stayed with me. The fragments are not all from one day, but from many days, random moments….afternoon light on dock chairs, boathouses lit by late morning light, images of canoes just after sunrise. They are images that linger, and recall joyful experiences.