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Paintings of Icebergs That Capture the Spirit of the Landscape

At the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, in the Photography wing of the museum you will find some gems. One such gem is a photo of two men resting near an iceberg during the Terra Nova Expedition to Anatarctica, led by Robert Falcon Scott. The photograph by Herbet Ponting was taken in 1910 and makes me think of Lawren Harris and Rockwell Kent iceberg paintings. Painters, explorers and photographers have been drawn to these glacial giants for hundreds of years. Paintings of icebergs will always reflect more than the ethereal beauty of these essential landscapes, for what they capture is more than just a landscape, they capture something that gives and sustains life itself.

iconic iceberg photos

Capturing the spirit of the landscape, transcendental and other worldly. These original acrylic paintings collage together landscapes, people, nature, shapes and vivid colours. Weaving new visual stories on canvas that have a distinctly Canadian pop art style. I have been drawn to the works of Lawren Harris from his Group of Seven period, but also love how he evolved his work into more abstract realms with the Transcendental Painting Group. When it comes to colour play, I often think of ‘Squares with Concentric Circles’ by Kandinsky. maybe this is where the circles are coming from in my recent work.

lawren harris paintings

When I decide on what I am painting, I begin with a central character. Whether that character is a mountain, a moose, or a human matters not, I’m looking for a starting point to my visual story on canvas. These days I rely heavily on intuition to guide me, and even I discover things within my work years down the road, that I did not see when I was creating the piece. I think this is what makes great art, the ability to see new things in the work for years to come. With the heat rising here this summer, and little to no sign of icebergs off Twillingate, Newfoundland, known for it’s famous ‘Iceberg Alley’, I felt compelled to tell a visual tale about icebergs. My contemporary take on landscape paintings of icebergs. Beginning with a painting that features a woman in a bikini, between two icebergs. A polar bear seems to be flying as he leaps from iceberg to iceberg. This is, ‘When Polar Bears Fly’.

spirit landscapes paintings

The second painting about icebergs features a trifecta of bergs, three sisters of ice on the ocean. A woman in a tilley-esque hat, and red coat, scans the horizon for bergs as they continue to evade her view. This is, ‘Looking for The Bergs’.

iceberg paintings

These paintings of icebergs are the two most recent in a body of work that captures the ‘spirit of the landscape’ – these paintings offer visual stories of the landscapes that inspired the art. Here you will find paintings with iconic Canadian imagery such as mountains, oceans and icebergs; set against vivid and playful backgrounds that are sometimes otherworldly. These original acrylic paintings collage together landscapes, people, nature, shapes and vivid colours. Weaving new visual stories on canvas that have a distinctly Canadian pop art style, the vision of a Canadian artist known as the ‘Iconic Canuck’.

Brandy Saturley Canadian Artist

Watch behind the scenes video of these paintings in process, a peek inside this iconic Canadian Artist’s studio.

Celebrating 15 years, 400 paintings – Making Art in Canada

Fifteen years ago I committed to my Art career full-time, and I have made over 400 paintings informed by my travels and obsession with my country, Canada. Reflecting the collective Canadian consciousness, filtered through my eyes and ears, and brush to canvas. July 1st marks a very important day in my life and the collective consciousness of Canadians. Celebrating 15 years, making Art in Canada.

In 2019, I spent the summer studying contemporary art practices at the Royal College of Art in London, UK. This year I joined the artist roster at Adele Campbell Fine Art in Whistler, Canada.

Recently I spoke with YAM Magazine Victoria about about my distinctive style of Canadian Pop Art and what original art adds to a home.

The Peninsula News Review Sidney and North Saanich, popped into my studio and I shared some of the paintings I made during 2020, and the initial COVID-19 shutdown.

In support of the annual Art Gallery of Greater Victoria fundraiser, the TD Canada Trust Paint-In, you will find my work in this year’s virtual guide.

For the 35th Anniversary of the Sooke Fine Arts – my hometown, I will be showing two paintings as part of this years’ virtual programming. This show has become a world-class annual exhibition of Vancouver Island and coastal artists of British Columbia.

More to come!

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley (a.k.a #iconiccanuck)

Making a Canadian Christmas Painting That Sums Up 2020

Every December I set aside some time to create my interpretation of a Canadian Christmas Painting. While the world is shopping, organizing and hanging Christmas lights; I am enjoying the warmth and mood of my studio. Passionately painting, preparing mail outs, and reviewing the year that is; I am fully immersed in the work and the sounds of the Sonos speaker pumping out colourful tunes. Where this Christmas painting began and where it ended, I think may be interesting to you. It may be one of the most wild ride’s my mind has been on, before landing on the canvas. In late October I made my monthly run to Opus, a place in Victoria where I buy some of my supplies, and always my canvas. All year I have had circles on my mind, maybe brought on by the social bubbles Dr. Bonnie Henry has been speaking of since the pandemic took hold of our news, online and broadcast. With this in mind I walked into my art supplier with one mission, come home with a round canvas, of wooden panel. This beauty was waiting for me, and I swiftly scooped her up, and headed home.  It has been a while since I painted on wood panel, I think the last piece was this self-portrait with Lawren Harris Mountain Forms from 2017. The beautiful thing about painting on a smooth and mostly uniform surface of wood, details can be pin sharp or muted soft, depending on how much gesso (primer) you lay down, and how many times you sand each layer, or not at all. I don’t like too much gesso, I like the muted softness created by a surface that absorbs and is pretty flat.

Having just finished a self-portrait about Remembrance Day 2020, I felt it was important to continue with this theme of self. Carrying the weight of the times and processing my role as a leading Canadian Artist, who has carved my own path, independently.

Staring at this round canvas, and thinking of my Canadian upbringing I began with thinking about round things in Canada. When asking the question of others, ‘What is round and Canadian’ the answer time and time again was, ‘hockey puck’. I actually thought long and hard about making an epic realistic painting in various tones of black to grey, literally making the canvas into a giant dimensional black puck. An epic black hole, kind of fitting in this pandemic year. But I wasn’t willing to give this beautiful new wood canvas to the absence of colour.

My brain kept going and then I received email from Alanis Morissette, well her fan club, telling me about the anniversary of Jagged Little Pill and her new album, “such pretty forks in the road”

alanis-morissette-jagged-little-pill

Then music, the medium in general and the message, and how vinyl has made a huge re-appearance. Yes, that’s it a giant turntable with Jagged Little Pill playing on it, I will paint that, it’s perfect.

turntable

The brain kept going, for weeks I kept staring at this beautiful round canvas of wood, with my painting of Remembrance, and thought where do I want to go from here…what makes sense in this body of work and this year, what am I trying to convey through the work. I grabbed a Hudson’s Bay point blanket throw I had sitting on my studio couch. I threw the wood tondo (round) onto the floor and I wrapped the blanket round the edge and started taking photos. I began to see a wreath, a Christmas wreath.

bay blanket wrapped around tondo

Ok, so the outside of this wreath painting will be an HBC point blanket, what will the inside be, what’s the story? What am I trying to convey? What if I were in the center of the wreath, but you couldn’t see my face, like I am looking at you through the wreath, and my nose and mouth are covered, like they are masked? What if I was wearing a really pointy red toque, like the toque Alanis is wearing in the ‘Ironic’ video?

brandysaturley_1

Now we are talking, here we go….and the rest happened on the canvas, without premeditations.

Beginning with a sketch on the wood tondo I picked up from my local art supply, OPUS.

sketch on canvas

Then some neon gouache colour blocking.

colour blocking gouache

Then some more colour blocking and underpainting. The blueprint of this painting is well underway.

making a Canadian Christmas painting

painting in progress

Over the course of two weeks and daily painting, this painting is realized and the tondo becomes more than a round panel of primed wood. What once was a panel of wood, is now a work of art. Marking history, telling a story, and asking the viewer to SEE. To look at the world through another set of eyes, the eyes of the artist, who makes their full-time business watching and seeing. The things you have not time for, the artist sees and puts into their work. That is my job, for lack of a better word. I know it is my duty, my solace, and my purpose. It has been as long as I can remember.

Brandy Saturley with her art in her studio

Please enjoy this ‘Canadian Christmas 2020’ painting. This is ‘Wreath of Irony‘. Isn’t it a wee bit Ironic?

Canadian Christmas Painting

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley (#ironiccanuck)

What is Canadian Pop Art? art made by a Canadian Artist that includes imagery from popular culture.

In order to explain what ‘Canadian Pop Art’ is, we must first look at what Pop Art is and when it began as a movement within the historical context of Art. The ‘Pop Art’ movement began in the United Kingdom and the United States (primarily NYC) during the mid to late 1950’s. The movement challenged the tradition’s of fine art by including imagery from popular or mass culture. This style of art often removed or isolated objects and material by placing them in new contexts and new environments. Most famously, the icon of the Pop Art movement in the US was NYC art star, Andy Warhol. Along with artists Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Robert Indiana and Jasper Johns, the movement exploded the art world and status quo.

famous Canadian pop art painting - Brandy Saturley

With Hearts On Our Sleeves – painting by Brandy Saturley 2017

What is Canadian Pop Art? well, take the pop art movements begun in the UK and the USA and add a maple leaf in front. Canadian Pop Art is artwork that is inspired by the Pop Art movement, that has taken on it’s own distinctive maple syrup flare and sassy commentary on stereotypical hockey loving Canada. Not to confuse this with ‘Canadian Pop Artists’ which are those of the musician kind, like Justin Bieber. Canada’s Pop Art is made up of visual artists who are painters, sculptors, printmakers and graphic artists.

Canadian Pop Art comes with biting humour and commentary about being Canadian, it blurs the boundaries between ‘high art’ and themes of mythology and classical history. Pop Art as painted by Canada’s pop artists elevates commonplace objects or everyday Canadian life, like Tim Horton’s Coffee or a toque, to the level of high art. Pop Art attracts the viewer with it’s commonplace objects and vivid palettes and asks the viewer to look more intently at everyday life in Canada.

examples of Canadian Pop Art paintings

Four paintings about Canada: snow, beer, hockey, and Tim Hortons

I met with another famous Canadian pop art painter, the ‘King of Canadian Pop Art’ when I flew out to for the Art Toronto annual art fair. Charles Pachter (now in his late 70’s) is undoubtedly Canada’s Andy Warhol and his legacy in and outside of the studio is no doubt ‘iconic’ in every sense of the word. Pachter graciously toured me around his home and shared his studio where I peeked into the inner workings of another famous self-representing Canadian artist.

Famous Canadian Pop Art painters

Famous Canadian Pop Art painters: Brandy Saturley and Charles Pachter at the Moose Factory in Toronto

Developing my commentary on all things Canadian and adding my voice to the Pop Art landscapes of Canadian Art. Whitehot Magazine published this piece written by Andrea Bell,  “In her most recent work, Saturley has turned once again to the landscape, never really having left. Her new, visionary paintings collage different, unexpected elements of Canadiana rendered in her characteristic pop aesthetic. They oscillate between a graphic realism used for Canada’s famous mountain peaks or views of forest lakes, and the abstractness of the colorful, even psychedelic backgrounds. The sincerity of their celebration keeps them from tripping over into kitsch. Instead they are otherworldly and transportive, playful and humorous.”

In the bigger sense, on some level, I am engaging everyone in the discussion and appreciation of Art in Canada, and the best way I know how is to poke a little fun at Canada, using our iconography and in turn creating my own brand of Pop Art made in Canada.

Sincerely Yours

Brandy Saturley (a.k.a #ICONICCANUCK)