Dyment celebrates the adventure with solo show
For Canmore artist Patti Dyment, painting in the Rocky Mountains offers two types of adventure – physical and intellectual.
The physical side is represented in hiking trips to Lake McArthur and days spent in the hot sun painting and sketching in an effort to capture a sense of the landscape, the light and the shadow.
The physical side also taps into the tradition and history of painting in the Rockies and the romance of it.
“Hiking has its own intrinsic value, but when you are out there you are treasure hunting for those wonderful landscape images that you know you are going to want to go home and paint. It seems to add an extra layer of gratification,” Dyment said, Monday (Sept. 24).
“When I am out hiking I absolutely want to be collecting that imagery. It is a gift that you develop naturally as you become an artist. You look at the world in a different way.”
Among those physical adventures, along with hiking and road trips along the Icefields Parkway, come Dyment’s first trip to Assiniboine and a pack-pony trip into the Windy Valley.
“Now the painting didn’t turn out that well, but I was just so tickled to be having such a romantic adventure in a Rocky Mountain landscape painting tradition,” Dyment said.
The intellectual side, meanwhile, comes into play as Dyment, who has lived in the Bow Valley for 27 years now, strives to keep learning and growing as an artist and a painter.
“The second half of the painting adventure is the learning experience,” she said. “The learning curve. Becoming a better painter is its own experience; its own end, just like each painting is its own end, its own means and its own goal.”
The result of her physical and intellectual adventure will be celebrated beginning Saturday (Sept. 29) with the opening of Patti Dyment: Celebrating the Adventure, art show and sale. A reception will be held from 1-4 p.m.
Dyment fits nicely in the realism tradition, or creating a convincing illusion. She will work from photographs, if need be, but prefers being outside – en plein air – as a means to better capture the nuances in light and shadow.
“How do you do that without going into photographic realism?” she asked. “It’s a very convincing illusion that is still painterly and still has a convincing sense of light and depth and atmosphere and you can walk into the painting and wander through it without over defining it.
“You can’t get a clear understanding of how the light affects the landscape in photographs. It distorts the light and the atmosphere so much you can learn to compensate for that when you are painting, but only if you have been out there to see what the light and shadows can do.
“In the realist tradition, the way you get good at that is by painting from life as much as possible; just taking the evidence with your own eyes.”
And Dyment’s approach is working, as it has been a good year. In July, Dyment had six pieces in the Calgary Stampede Western Art New Artist Gallery, followed, of course, by a solo show at the Whyte Museum, which has been one of her goals for some time now.
“I didn’t achieve all of my goals for this year, but I’ve been knocking them off. I’ve been very pleased with the way my art practice is growing,” she said.
On Sept. 10, she was filmed painting at Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country as part of an Alberta Blue Cross TV commercial.
“To me, it exemplifies the unusual things that come at you when you are out trying to create your painting practice,” she said.
As she further builds her practice, Dyment continues to paint landscapes and children, but is now studying wildlife, adding local animals to her paintings, as well.
Next, she plans on going big, taking her canvas size up to 48 inches.
“Big is fun, big is looser. It’s not any harder or take any longer. I just had to wrap my head around it and get the confidence to move forward. It has more impact,” she said.
All told, Dyment is planning to keep doing what she’s doing: painting landscape, wildlife and children and learning as much as she can at the same time.
“You’d just have to roll it onto the ball of more painting. It’s its own reward, it really is, especially when you are progressing and understanding a lot more.
“This is the highest level of sophistication I have achieved in my life in terms of understanding of the goals, what makes a good painting, and I look forward to learning more about painting for the rest of my life. There’s no end.”
For those seeking to improve their painting techniques, the Whyte Museum is hosting two workshops led by Dyment: Mountain Landscape: Fundamentals Oct. 27 and Light & Atmosphere in the Landscape, Nov. 10. For more information on Dyment’s workshop go to www.whyte.org Each workshop runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $65.
Patti Dyment: Celebrating the Adventure, ends Nov. 27.
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