"Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things."
Catherine Beverly Rodin is an internationally collected Canadian artist known for her accomplished, contemporary and distinctive paintings of light and atmosphere interpreted both on large-scale canvases and in watercolour. Bev exhibits her works in galleries across Canada and her paintings can be found in public, corporate and private collections in North America, Australia, Japan, Mexico, France, Luxembourg, Barbados, Bermuda, Shanghai and the UK.
Bev began her art career in the village, Port Cartier, Quebec at the age of nine under the tutelage of the internationally celebrated Mme Francoise Drolet. Always the last family member to linger in the museum or gallery, Bev was always soaking in the colours, shapes and images from the exhibitions. Bev has experienced the exceptional variety, magnitude and ruggedness of the landscape while residing in Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Colorado, and Alberta as well as traveling overseas. Her three main series, Forest Light, Shorelines and City and Country Gardens trace back to the dramatic icy shorelines of the St. Lawrence river, the sturdy hollyhocks and peonies of her grandparent’s prairie homestead garden and the vibrant autumn trees of Ontario country lanes.
Always eager to learn, Bev experiments with small and large custom canvases, up to 7 ft x 8 ft, has studied with prominent North American artists, graduated with an M.A., in visual communication and a PhD from OISE, U of T, worked with international artists at the Atelier du Seguret, Provence and was awarded an artist residency at the Leighton Studios at the Banff Centre.
Bev’s current acrylic painting technique springs from her award winning experience as a watercolourist, oil painting technique, the study of Japanese brush painting, painting large scale backdrops for film post production, illustration work for children’s books and sketching on location, combined with the use of extensive glazing, abstraction, negative and positive space, bold brushstrokes, Munsell colour theory, bravado, curiosity, intuition and a generous dose of serendipity.
Over the course of her career, Bev has worked with a number of charities in support of both humanitarian and conservation initiatives including COSTI Immigrant services, Sunnybrook Cancer Centre, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hope Air, National Dog Service, Kortright Wildlife Centre and Earth Rangers.
Bev currently resides in Ontario with her husband Jim Mellard and close to her two grown children Sean and Adele. Bev divides her time between an old stone house and studio and a northern Ontario retreat, Minwashin, along the Magnetewan river waterway.
“My predominantly large scale acrylic paintings on canvas, explore unusual lighting, transparency, abstraction, universality, movement, colour and connections between them. I am also interested in the universal human responses and relationships to natural landscapes, water and the beauty of natural geometries. I am well known for three dominant themes, Forest Light Series, Shorelines Series and City and Country Gardens. ”
C. B. Rodin 2011
The Meaning of Forests
The forest paintings that I am developing are a dialogue of the experience of being in a forest. Through careful observation and interpretation on location as well as experimentation in the studio I am exploring various seasons and light conditions. Location experience is essential as authenticity is an essential aspect in developing a satisfying and imaginative body of artwork.
Forests and more simply trees are an ancient archetypal image with the glades or openings in the forest as magical and full of possibilities as the trees themselves. Trees, one of the oldest living things, have played a part in the histories of countless generations and are embedded within the histories of the Canadian people. The various meanings of the forest and trail I hope to communicate through my work are hope, silence, patience, stoicism, universal intelligence, safety, growth, imagination, wildness, freedom, time, space, memories, resilience, hospitality, strength, comfort, endless possibilities, individuality and home.
Three specific approaches to research and creation are currently expanding my work. First, I am interested in observing and documenting the subtle differences between twelve calendar months rather than just a season. This observation naturally leads to distinctly different colour palettes, distance, texture and depth. Second, I propose to research and develop paintings within each month that concentrate upon subtle and unique lighting and atmospheric conditions. The focus of my fieldwork includes not only photography but also the on location creation of large gestural charcoal drawings and painting studies and notes on light effects. Thirdly, the series must be enriched by more research into the layering, textures, density, growth rhythms and depth of a variety of hardwood and softwood forests found primarily in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta. This creative endeavor I believe will be a multi year project ands possibly life long project, developing a significant body of large paintings.
I am inspired by the modern landscape tradition of Gerhardt Richter, although he is less known for these works, Walter J Phillips, Peter London, John Dewey (Art as Experience) and Rudolf Steiner. Richter’s works attract me for their large scale, as well as the successful combination of authenticity and layered abstracted over-painting.
My current work also explores backlighting effects in various subjects including the forest light series, gardens, peonies, orchids, figurative work and interiors. My painting practice includes digital and slide reference as well as sketches and notes on impressions. As a watercolorist I include both oil and watercolour painting techniques in my acrylic paintings. I often lay out the works in a value scale with large brushes on a tinted ground in order to capture depth and composition prior to refining the colour palette.
All of my paintings in both watercolour and acrylic on canvas are in response to my experiences in natural surroundings and everyone is invited to encounter and interpret the paintings with their own meanings. Although nature based the forest paintings and gardens are illusionary spaces, abstracted, haunting, quiet, at times thoughtful, at times energized and occasionally magical.
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