Wendy Whitemore has lived alone on the land in Ontario for 10 years before embarking on about 10 years of solo travel. During those travels she explored Canada’s North, ranging over the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
Being alone suits Whitemore: “I don’t feel alone when I’m on the Dempster. I feel totally connected to the land and the Creator.”
In 2007 she made the move to Whitehorse, drawn by the land and her desire to belong to an artistic community.
During the month of November, Whitemore will show her paintings to her new community. Reflections, A Retrospective, her paintings in water-based media, will open at the solo showroom at the Yukon Artists@Work Gallery Friday, Nov. 7.
Whitemore’s work has been becoming more and more intuitive over the years. She finds her work has changed quite radically over the course of the last six years. It was hard to put a title to the show as its theme is personal and related to her spiritual process.
Whitemore explores the spiritual through a path called The Red Road. It draws from First Nations’ nature-based practices.
Over the past six to 10 years, Whitemore’s connection to her Higher Power has taken over her artistic process most of the time.
When Whitemore was working in pure transparent watercolours, which have very little room for correction, she found the process to be very premeditated. Also, over the years working as an illustrator and graphic designer, it was rational, planned-out, creative work.
Now she works more from her subconscious. She finds she has banked her artistic experience over the years in her head. She also stores up moments of connection out on the land.
Then they come together in flashes of inspiration, which she identifies as messages from her Higher Power. She finds they can be triggered by music or meditation. But, “I have to be in a quiet solitary space for this to become meaningful, to develop into a concept I can use as an artist.”
Paintings in the show will include images of Dene drummers, bears and other wild animals, landscapes and floral subjects. All of them use Whitemore’s rhythmic mark making, which she uses to “connect the different plans of perspective.”
For example, if she’s painting about a connection between the land and the sky, the marks convey this rhythmically: “It comes out as a design element.”
Whitemore is committed to experimenting with her work. She’s always trying something new. She paints primarily for herself, for her own process.
On the other hand, she’s finding her concern for the environment coming out in her depictions of polar bears melting out of icebergs and polar bears in warm colours.
“I’m very seriously concerned with what’s happening in the environment. I’m influenced by my surroundings, especially my natural surroundings.
“I feel as though I’ve become a mirror, a vehicle, a tool of the Creator for reflecting back some of the beauty, the spirit of the land and animals. A visual voice.”
The opening reception for Reflections will take place at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7 at the Yukon Artists@Work Gallery out in McCrae. The show will be open for viewing for the month of November during gallery hours, Friday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.