Joie Paré
The Art of Loving Nature

What Was (2015)

Stellar’s Jay

Acrylic on canvas

16” x 20”

This was my first real painting. After moving from the city to the temperate pine forests of the West Kootenays, I began to seriously add acrylic painting to my preferred mediums. With more time and space and less distractions and stresses, I could focus and “zen-out” to the level I need to be in to create what I set out to. Compiling all the right elements in my minds eye until everything slides into place like the tumblers and pins in an intricate lock. Once everything is right, it opens to the full picture I “see”.

This painting was a huge keystone in my growth as an artist. Selecting the right subjects in the right colours with the right background and the textures and positions. I was flipping through a picture book on British Columbia, I came upon a photo of the remains of old coastal Indigenous village. The totem poles, in their various stages of age and patinas looked like something I wanted to attempt. The thought of a whole scene involving more variety of background as well as more poles was a little more than I wanted to try for the fist time. I really wanted to capture the warmth and movement of the weathered cedar wood, so I chose a close up of one element on the totem, and lied it down in the salal to limit the background. I added a few lower branches of spruce in the the upper left to gauge the angle. The Stellar’s jay is a common sight along the coast of BC, always curious and moving about. So I placed as if paused in the warmth of the sun for a brief moment of silence. Honouring the fallen guardian of this settlement of an age past that will one day fade, and the land will reclaim. Like it always does. But for now it is a reminder of What Was.