Get Your Greens

Whet your appetite for lunch on Lillian Loponen’s new canvases at the Yukon College Hilltop Bistro this fall.

The show, called Touch of Green: Enchanted Places, explores the colour green in washes and gestural brushstrokes. The show will be on display at the College’s fine dining lunch restaurant until mid December.

Jacqueline Bedard, the Director of College Relations, explained that Culinary Arts Students at the College make the menu and prep and cook the food. The servers are drawn from students in the College’s Food and Beverage Operations program. These programs attract many international students, as it’s a field in which they can get employment. Often this includes a post-graduate work permit for the same amount of time they spent studying at Yukon College. Certainly the menus often reflect international influences.

Followers of Loponen’s work will be familiar with her winter watercolours dominated by blue and violet. Loponen has shifted to green and to acrylic for these works. While there is one 5 foot by 7 foot winter canvas called “Enchanted Woods,” most of the scenes show summer.

Green, drooping spruce boughs create depth in “Enchanted Woods,” the warmer colour moving forward, creating more mystery for the wolf silhouette among the tree trunks. Both the trees and the wolf seem to be created by applying an opaque whitish colour to the negative space around the darker forms, with the darkness stained deeply into the canvas.

This work is flanked left and right by abstracts in green and blue. Here Loponen applies the paint thinly, like a watercolour wash. In one of these abstracts she creates leaf-like patterns by using Saran Wrap applied to the wet paint. This piece has figures in the foreground looking at a map. Like these figures, Loponen is exploring.

On either side of these abstracts, a pair of 5 inch by 7 inch canvases rounds out the symmetry. The size range in this show makes part of its interest and variety, spanning the range from 5 by 7 feet to 5 by 7 inches. Loponen uses the acrylic more thickly in these smaller pieces. Dark green tree forms are again defined by the light between them in the negative space. You can see her gestures in the paint. Mountains and hills appear in the layers through a screen of trees.

On the opposite wall, two landscapes, more photographic in quality, though still very loose, seem to be drawn from particular places rather than memory and imagination. In these Loponen uses a range from thick to thin paint. A thin white wash veils the background, imitating rain. In the same way as rain, it greys out the landscape, creating depth by using atmospheric perspective.

To the right, “Silence of Green” uses the acrylic very thinly, its technique close to watercolour. It evokes a lake or pond. A bird flies through the upper part of the shoreline trees. The lighter area of the trees where the sun would hit is washed out, perhaps by taking paint away, to make their brightness.

Many plant species appear in this show. Berries, cattails and dwarf fireweed make an appearance among the green.

The Hilltop Bistro is open with seatings from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until mid-December. The Bistro serves a fixed menu with two main options, which change every two weeks. To make a reservation send an email to [email protected].

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