Newfoundland; sun rising over the vast Atlantic Ocean. A seagull crying at the start of a new day. Trigger mitts on the line swing in the brisk “nor’easter” wind. A humpback whale breaches with a thunderous splash. These sights and sounds flood the senses, and feed directly into my creative process.
That process begins with thumbnail sketches. Compositions are developed to showcase elements of Newfoundland from a unique perspective. Preliminary drawings may be more detailed, depending on how much is needed to develop the story before painting begins. In some cases, small watercolor studies may be completed to get a greater sense of colour pairings. A painting begins with a light sketch for accurate composition, and placement of elements in the painting. Layer upon layer is developed with colours and textures created with combinations of salt, alcohol and brush strokes. Developing a sense of light is also particularly important in my work to accurately present the story being told in the final product.
My art is synonymous with visual storytelling of Newfoundland’s magnificence; its bleak, vast and steadfast resilience. Growing up in the vibrant fishing village of Wesleyville afforded me a great sense of wonder and imagination. I felt a “connectedness” to the ocean at a very young age; watching the sun glistening on its crests or listening to its thunderous roar as its unmatched power hit the rocky shoreline. There wasn’t and still isn’t anything that could compare to this experience.
Today, frequent visits “back home” to the Island allow me to truly appreciate my heritage and deep roots. Newfoundland feeds my soul and in turn, my art. Images, dreams and reflections of historical Newfoundland, the Newfoundland of my childhood and collections of objects and pictures taken on my visits, trigger many visual ideas that come to the surface in my artwork. When people view my artwork, I want them to have a sense of wonder, to delve into the visual story and connect to Newfoundland in that present moment.
~ Tracy Blackwood