Whilst in St.John's my painting group and I were lucky enough to catch the last day of a massive retrospective of Mary Pratt at the Rooms Art Gallery/Museum.
Luckier still, was the opportunity to meet the artist herself and talk art and be enchanted by her wit, charm and eloquence. (see image below)
As a realist artist, I was familiar with her work, but never quite gave it the attention it deserved. She is equally prolific in oil as in watercolour. Her sense of light, mood composition and most of all her love for painting is inescapable. Texture and surface are impeccably rendered. Glass, foil, wood, lace, linen, cotton, flesh, water. There is seemingly nothing this woman can't capture with paint but it is the moments captured in everyday life that really draw you in. In her figures, she extracts tension in a glance, a stare, a gesture, a moment of fidgeting that tells a story. In her still life works a fish is left on a piece of foil, a toast half eaten, a turkey roasts in the oven, a bed sheet is lit on fire…powerful documentation strung together to create a lifetime of work and the sublime beauty of the world that is Mary Pratt.
I was so inspired by the expereince of seeing Mary's work and meeting her in person that one of my most recent watercolour courses is dedicated entirely to her. This is the first piece we've done so far….her infamous jam jars:
Here is the final reproduction:
In the fall term, immediately after my return from Newfoundland, we also completed this pastel portrait of Mary.