Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Niagara Falls Suite

Niagara Falls Suite # 2
22" x 30"
Ink, acrylic and watercolor on paper

Niagara Falls Suite # 3
22" x 30"
Ink, acrylic and watercolor on paper

Niagara Falls Suite # 1
22" x 30"
Ink, acrylic and watercolor on paper

Niagara Falls #4
22" x 30"
Ink, acrylic and watercolor on paper

I could have spend hours at Niagara Falls however, our visit was sandwiched in between two 18 hour car rides with Derek's commencement ceremony being the real filling. Although there was a bit of grumbling from the family about adding more driving hours on to the trip, when we all got there, we all felt overwhelmed by the grandeur, power and visual impact of the falls. As you can hear from the short video, it's also very loud.

The Canadian Side

View Larger Map

I madly scribbled in my sketchbook as we strolled along both the American and Canadian side. We'd been warned about the honky tonk atmosphere on both sides of the falls, but we tried to close our eyes going through these areas. The American side has a nice park that goes along the edges of both Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls. But the Canadians have, hands down, the most beautiful, if soggy view. You can see from the video above that the lens was getting a dusting of droplets during the filming.

I have about 12 sketches for a series of paintings, I was so profoundly moved. The scale, volume of water just sucked me in, so to speak. These large drawings feel more like sketches to me. The drawing at the top could only end up on a full sheet of watercolor. Anything smaller and I would loose the feel of the place. What I feel working this big is a huge amount of freedom and I find by working on 3 at once, I'm less likely to tighten up by being afraid of messing up.

I'm working toward applying the paint with reckless abandon...working to express the headlong rush of the water over the falls. However, it is possible that I'm going over the edge in a barrel: blind and out of control creatively. Also, the white on white does not read very well on screen.

If you'd like to see more still photos, you can see them here.

Here is anothervideo from the American side if you'd like to take a look and also, my initial sketchbook drawings are here.

You can find a brief history of the falls and other interesting facts (like what happens to the falls in the dead of winter here.

Ronell was kind enough to send methis link for a group of plein air artist's working at the falls.


Pam Johnson Brickell said...

WooHoo! You've got the crashing water working! We used to live about an hour east of the falls. It is an amazing feeling to experience the shear force. Can't wait to see the entire series.

Patricia said...

There is something visceral about these images. Fabulous work!

muddy red shoes said...

Wow, very zen like. I love then, simple yet complex all at the same time

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Gosh it looks amazing - and well worth the trip - and aren't you glad you all took your passports! The Canadian side looks absolutely amazing

That photo on the facts site gives me an appreciation of them I'd never had before plus it's really weird to see them on Google Maps

I think you're right - you can't do big subjects small - they demand to be big.

I do like the monochrome with colour approach - except I'm rather surprised you saw so much blue in the falls as I'd always thought of them as being surges of white with streaks of green! But you were there!

Tina Mammoser said...

Very interesting captures, the first is my favourite. These remind me a lot of Japanese drawings (and even made me think of quick sketches I made of Mt Fuji when I was there).

Love the blue! Even if it isn't true it gives the paintings that touch of life and extreme that probably reflects the real experience.

vivien said...

I love the minimalism and economy of these

This is going to be a really interesting series and I agree - BIG :>)

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

Love this series Lindsay! the third one from the top keeps tagging me back to it...I think it that wild splash on the bottom that does it.
This is going to make such a great series, having the sketches, the drawings, the memories, videos and photomaterial - worth taking tour time with it and let it all come back to you!

Lindsay said...

Thanks very much for all your feed back.
I was going for more internal expression than actual "what I saw". I wanted to free myself from all that white and add drama, and more movement....hard to do with white alone. I also wanted to use the media in a way that mimiced the falls themselves. I loved using the DR acrylic inks on some of them too.

I'm going to go for more use of the paper white and not so much white paint in the next ones.

Funny how Google earth's map makes it look so ordinary.

Cathy Gatland said...

These are terrific - in the third one it looks like the water's coming right at you. I tried to paint the Victoria Falls (between Zimbabwe and Zambia) a few years ago, fairly realistically, and was frustrated - I think this 'internal' interpretation is so exciting.

Lindsay said...

Thanks very much Cathy. If I tried to use the real "white" of the falls, they ended up being too fluffy.

annie said...

I hit both your posts in one evening--or rather THEY hit ME. This is rather a lot of wonderful all at one time, Lindsay. I love the Suites. And the name fits so well because the sketches ARE musical to me, such rhythm and motion and force.
Each one sings a different tune. As Sarah and Tina implied, very zen and Japanese. As Vivien wrote, such economy and so minimalist. And that cascade of white, that "wild splash," as Ronell described it. I think I prefer one, and then another tugs at me to look, again.
And I am going back and forth.

PS Beautiful videos and great to see both sides.

Lindsay said...

Thanks for the compliments Annie :>)
My brother-in-law takes really great shots!

Lindsay said...

Annie, when are you going to have a blog?

annie said...

Ulp...Thanks for asking, Lindsay.
Several kind people have asked me that, this week...Second ulp... I think that's what I get for talking too much on these comment pages, but you folks fascinate me and I can't contain myself. I'm still very much a beginner, and, on the whole, I haven't a clue. I use these lovely blogs that you all have as my tutorials. I spend a lot of time studying them, though probably not enough time practicing what I see. I have books and videos but it is really the blogs from which I learn the most.
Some of your blogs-- Watermarks, especially--are most helpful because you discuss so much on the comment page.
I don't think it's blog time yet,for me, though this encouragement from all of you makes me consider finding a way to learn to scan,use a digital camera and a cell phone camera. Practically speaking, what I need to do is practice sketch and wash, instead, and practice more often.

Laureline said...

Exciting stuff, Lindsay! Glad you got so much out of your trip to the falls. More, more!

Lindsay said...

Thanks Laura! I want to try something in oil too.