Andrew Cheddie Sookrah – Friday Night Guest – May 13, 2022
(Submitted by Katherine Bellomo)
Part 1: May 13.
Andrew began his talk with a retrospective film of his art practice and works as exhibited in various art shows and painting excursions—including to Sable Island, Gros Morne, and Algonquin Park. The video included haunting images of the Canadian landscape and evocative music (thanks to L. Cohen among others). I particularly liked the time lapse photography, midway, of a figure that seems to materialize from the canvas rather than being painted onto it. Andrew described his dual passions: creative expression and teaching, and told us that he believes that, when painting, there is an ongoing interview with the artist and the subject. The video was followed with a PowerPoint presentation about Plein-air painting strategies, equipment, and general advice.
Plein-air painting, he feels, has a quality of immediacy by being emersed in the scene you are painting, and can be more fun when we are aware of obstacles and challenges: some practical some more subtle. Careful planning with respect to supplies, food, water, weather appropriate clothing, as well as a camera or iPhone to capture the image you are painting, can all make plein- air experiences more productive and pleasant. Other supplies such as a buggy to carry equipment, an easel and chair, and some method of carrying away all wastewater and paint are key for environmental safety and personal comfort. Choosing a location and then choosing what to paint from a myriad of vistas and composition choices can be a challenge. Still, we must choose what we will paint and at the same time consider the fact that the light source (the sun) is constantly moving. He encouraged us to take a photo and to make a tonal value sketch, as a means of preserving the light in our image and of capturing the shadows. From a sample photo, he showed us how he considers different possible vistas and then makes a choice based on composition that is most interesting and appealing. He chose a scene that had both drama and serenity; it had trees in the distance, yet you could feel the immediacy of the rocks you are standing upon. Finally, start painting (!) and enjoy being emersed in the light, textures, and qualities of the landscape.
In conclusion Andrew shared with us his impressive sketch book of portraits: he has been doing one a day from images in the newspaper. We thank him for his inspiring video, good advice, and affirming energy.