Enjoy Holly Friesen’s large-scale painted landscapes. See more from this talented Canadian artist by visiting her website.
My work revolves around earth images that reflect and honour our connection to local bio-regions. These images internalize a reverence for the earth and shift the intent from harming the world to living in a mutually life enhancing manner.
After 30 years of painting from close observation of the forests, rocks and rivers, I feel I am no longer observing the natural world around me but rather, in a reversal of roles, the natural world seems to be observing me.
Direct and spontaneous brushstrokes become intuitive movements that follow breath and echo emotional responses to this living, breathing vitality. Through a dynamic energetic exchange I feel as though I am being held within an intelligent, sentient field that expresses itself through colors, shapes and movement. I am both humbled and awed by this process.
I particularly enjoy the physicality of painting, the intuitive mark making, the hands-on application of collage and sometimes carving directly into the panel board bring me even closer to the work. I enter an unconscious wilderness through my hands and body; a primal, non-verbal process that is rich with metaphor & images.
Often as I work vivid dream images arise and replace my rational, thinking brain with sensations and feelings that are experienced physically in my body.
I learn what I need to know by painting. The more I paint the less separation there is between inner and outer ecologies.
Recently I drove across Canada, 5000 Km, alone with a van full of paintings. I stopped in towns along the way to hold “pop up galleries”. It was a remarkable journey. I met many people, who were as diverse and varied as the landscapes that I drove through. I gathered images and stories from across the country and am still absorbing these but most recently they have started to emerge onto the canvas in a whole new way.
I am also deeply moved and impressed by the rising “Idle No More” movement which seems to be evolving in tandem with a shifting world view. The combination of these two events is changing my painting in a powerful way.
As the zen poet, Thich Nhat Hanh says, “What we most need to hear within us is the sound of the earth crying.” This is the luminous landscape that I feel shimmering within and without.
For me, painting is like deep prayer awakening a reverence for the earth’s inner landscape; the image is in you and you are in the image.
Painting is my breath, beauty my compass, and the earth my body.