Today we walked the length and breadth of Revelstoke, exploring every street for visual potential. It was Art and Gardens day, but we weren’t able to follow the whole trail as we couldn’t find anywhere to buy tickets. As it was it took us the whole afternoon to visit the Museum’s garden and the Art Gallery, stopping to photograph the brilliant coloured flowers that flourish in all the gardens, as well as another squirrel who seemed to be deliberately posing for us. This sketch was made at the end of the day, only a few metres away from yesterday’s sketch of the river and the white lady. This house is apparently not the oldest house in Revelstoke but I think it has possibly the most character. I used Prismacolour water based pencils for the first time combined with my fine waterproof pen, and graphite pencil for the overcast sky. Mt Revelstoke looms in the background.
I had an inspiring conversation with Jo Willems, the artist in residence at the Museum garden. Her work is strangely arresting; it never has people in it, yet there is a feeling of a presence in each image. The titles make you look more deeply into the picture. As I started talking to her I began to understand more of what her work is about: she spoke fervently of the importance of integrity, and this extract from her own blog eloquently develops this theme.
Jo went on to say that she had developed an art course in Revelstoke called The Fierce Art Project. She strove to teach the fundamentals that motivated her own approach to painting and drawing, hoping to instil confidence in her students by encouraging constant practice with the most basic ‘ways of seeing’. Her method was displayed at the Art Gallery, together with some of her students’ work. I realised that she was using the same empirical, intuitive way of teaching that I learned from Betty Edwards and continue to apply, deriving as much insight from listening to my students as from practising the skills myself. Here are some pictures of Jo’s installation at the Gallery.
Jo only paints in watercolour and gouache as she is allergic to oils and acrylics. The colours are intense and the detail is mesmerising.
This is a pencil drawing by one of her students:
Jo is only five feet tall but she is an avid biker and skier, and over the years has walked many arduous trails, which are themselves an integral part of her artwork. Instead of taking photos on these trips she has used an iPad as a sketchbook. This article tells you more about Jo’s unique vision. Go and visit Jo’s website for further inspiration and information.
Jo’s parting words to me were’keep drawing!’ I fully intend to.