(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)
Record attendance of approx. 65 people for the September 28th Friday Night Club, all to see the much-anticipated presentation by world-renowned, award-winning watercolourist David McEown and he did not disappoint.
David attended OCAD and has focused his artistic efforts painting in watercolour for the past 25 years. His paintings are represented in collections worldwide and he is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour which, in 2005 and this year, 2018, awarded him the prestigious A.J. Casson Medal. David now spends most of his time in B.C. but also has a home in Richmond Hill where he grew up. As his time is stretched between traveling, painting, workshops and shows we were very lucky to squeeze a few hours out of his very busy schedule.
After a brief introduction, David launched the evening narrating his very entertaining digital show Water and Light: an Artist’s Journey from The North Pole to Antarctica. The show merges painting, video and photography inspired from his travels in the Great Bear Rainforest, Africa, Antarctica and the North Pole. The audience was entirely enthralled by his humorous anecdotes about encounters with a variety of creatures (depending upon his location) that include polar bears, emperor penguins and lions. “The entire presentation was woven together with reflections about the environment and the inner creative process of painting with watercolour.” His enthusiasm for the medium and his passion for the environment made his demonstration about painting an aurora borealis very special, and he did it all within 20 minutes.
Some of the materials used were a 1” wolf hair Chinese brush, a 4” paint brush, 140lb. cold press watercolour paper. The easel he used is unique for plein air and allows for flexibility and stability, although he uses something a little sturdier depending upon where he is. Plein air in the Arctic and Antarctic is much more extreme than Centre Island. David likes to paint wet on wet, so he coated his paper a few times with water and adjusted the clips to allow for stretching. He suggested that particularly for skies, he likes to start with a light wash of violet. David uses a paint scraper available at any hardware store that allows him to achieve hard lines and definition.
When not painting penguins in the Antarctic or filming grizzlies in Alaska, David can be found in Pacific Spirit Park close to his home in Vancouver.
You can see the vast array of his work and learn about his journeys at his website www.davidmceown.com