Sue Shirley's Statement
All my watercolours are done ‘on site’. The oil paintings are based on the watercolours. I don’t use photographs – although occasionally, I work from my visual memories.
The untouched and unusual arctic landscape along the shores of Hudson Bay has absorbed me for over 25 years. It is my home and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to experience this remarkable place first hand, as part of my life, and to explore some of its essence through my watercolours and oils. This is an artistic relationship in which the subject is the determining energy...I could never impose a ‘concept’ or ‘idea’ on so abstract and extraordinary a collection of shapes, color and space as this multi-detailed land around the Hudson Bay. It shows me the way.
The winds, the tides, the cold air - all give an edge and an immediacy to the experience of painting on site which influences the final work and which I love. The land and conditions limit my access and my painting time. When I get out of town, brush and paint in hand, I am always welcomed by the transcendent vastness of the barrenlands, the sky and the expanse of Hudson Bay.
These paintings represent many years of seeing the world. Wherever I have lived, the powerful beauty of nature has inspired me to witness and explore it by painting the miracle before me. Each work represents a truly joyous time as I came alone to the natural world and absorbed, in my way, all that was there. Whether I sat under green and leafy trees or on the shores of an ice-filled sea, the centering forces of our lovely planet gave inspiration for the works represented here.