Joie Paré
The Art of Loving Nature

Shadow and Light (2015)

Wolves in old growth forest

Acrylic on canvas

16” X 20”


Canadian Dollars

I wanted to play with a strong light source with something big to create a penumbra and strong reflected highlights. A moist environment creates a bright glare of the reflecting light off leaves and surfaces. The delicate textures of the mosses and ferns create a repeating pattern throughout the picture as well as the layers of tree trunks in the background. I sat for four days just painting all the moss, ferns and lilies in this painting. The forests of my childhood were deep in moss and shadows. The light streaming through the tall trees as big around as a Buick. I spent so much time in the woods of our land growing up. Even though I knew wolves and cougar were in these forests sometimes, I never saw any. The pair of wolves in my painting are just passing through this forest on their long meanderings. Being there is not much of a food source for large carnivores in forests like this, wolves will travel for miles in search of a meal. They are my favourite of the bigger animals of the woods, always a mysterious creature that to date have continued to evade my sights. It is that mystery that I wanted to capture to create a mood to this painting. To come across such beasts in woods like this would be an experience indeed. Like shadow and light, they glide silently through the trees. There one second and gone the next.

Deer, bear, coyotes, fox, raccoons, opossums and other smaller animals are more abundant than one realizes in these wild places. Most of what interested me however, lay under rotting logs and deep in the quilts of moss that covered everything in sight. Frogs and salamanders (and all manner of insects) were a great treasure to find. With their delicate skin and nocturnal eyes, I almost always just looked for them and let them be. But sometimes I would gather one to take home to my terrarium for a week or so, only to release it back where I found it. In tribute to the precious forests of my youth, there is a tree frog hidden in the moss of this painting. Waiting for dark, to sing his pacific amphibious song of love.