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Atkins Point, Northern Shore

Dimensions in centimetres height122 × width153 cm / Dimensions in inches height48 × width60 ¼″
Medium oil on canvas
Dark landscape of a house next to the sea.

Both the woodcut and the  painting came out of an amalgam of visits to  friends. Three in the Maritimes: the artist Alex Livingston, the poet James Warner and the curator/artist Gordon Laurin, in Nova Scotia on the Northern Shore outside Halifax. And  Stewart and Cecile Tucker on their island off Port Clyde in Maine. I miss all of these old mates and our trips together, so I painted the kind of wooden house they live in, imagining  us playing cards all cosy inside. I found myself reducing the image in both mediums by removing narrative details that would indicate a personal story. The painting became even starker, as a reminder of that edge-land living and pioneering spirit of the frontier that is particularly North American and for this artist, intoxicating.  I reduced the foreground tree to an Avery-like silhouette shape without the Christmas lights all over the foliage, and  skumbled the paint as flat as possible with little brushes.  Milton Avery and Marsden Hartley and the westerns of John Ford  were whispering in my ears in the studio as I painted and printed these images and in the end, the Christmas tree all lit up like a Roman candle remained as a more postmodern  nod to Christmas kitsch and contemporary popular culture
- TH