Rosemary Scanlon grew up in Montreal and turned to art for expression in her teen years.
“I was a pretty shy kid so I did a lot of drawing,” she says.
Then in high school she did a large-scale portraiture project and art became her passion.
She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Concordia University, and produced many striking, large-scale oil paintings. But upon completion of her degree, she was tired of the art scene and began doing odd jobs. One such stint of employment took place in an art auction house. It was here that she had a “eureka” moment.
“It was a wake up call,” says Scanlon. “The people there didn’t care about artwork, they cared about money, and I didn’t want to take advantage of the arts that way.”
So she enrolled in a Master’s program in Glasgow, Scotland, and jumped back in with both feet.
This time she concentrated on watercolours instead of oils. It was largely a practical decision.
“(Watercolours are) really manageable, you can do it on your kitchen table,” says Scanlon.
But Scanlon also saw potential in the medium that extended beyond the almost clichéd landscapes with which watercolours are often associated.
Consider her painting, “Shadows of the Alaska Highway #1.” It is her attempt to capture the hallucinatory aspects of a long road trip.
“When you drive for a really long time you start seeing things,” says Scanlon. “You wonder, ‘did I see that or am I going crazy?'”
The painting is challenging, creepy, and also austerely beautiful — not your grandfather’s watercolour.
Now Scanlon, a permanent Yukon resident since 2010, is heading to Northern Scene in Ottawa and is excited about local artists entering the national dialogue on art.
“People will come to see a lot of artists a get a sense of what is going on up here,” she says.