Elgin-based artist and teacher Pat Walsh will open her new exhibition, Flow, on November 12 at the Salle Culturelle Alfred-Langevin in Huntingdon. Presented in collaboration with the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, the series of works on display reflect on water as a metaphor for the changing, fragile, and ephemeral nature of our existence.
Walsh is known for a particular approach to her paintings, which are most often produced outdoors and on the spot. “I started painting outdoors as a child. I often accompanied my father, artist John Walsh, on trips devoted to drawing,” she recalls. “Over the past four decades, I have painted outdoors throughout the region, as well as in Mexico, the United States, and England,” she adds. Lately, and specifically during the pandemic, she turned her focus to the ponds and streams running through her property, as well Lake Saint-François, and the Trout, Hinchinbrooke, and Chateauguay Rivers as inspiration for her unique landscapes.
“Water is always changing. Consequently, each stroke of colour captures only a very specific moment, and any change in humidity or light alters the subject,” Walsh explains. “Every nuance, shape, movement, reflection, or ripple is visible for only an instant. The painting thus becomes the reflection of a constantly evolving reality, rather than a snapshot of a place at a precise moment in time.”
Walsh admits her approach is not always the most practical. A sudden gust of wind has claimed a few paintings, she says with a laugh. She has been rained on, suffered from heat stroke, fallen into the water, and has mastered the technique of mixing glycerine and alcohol so her water doesn’t freeze while painting in the winter. “If I am going to work with a landscape, I have to be there,” she states, while admitting she can then spend hours over several weeks tweaking the paintings in her studio.
The vernissage will take place on November 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. and the exhibition will run from to December 10. A preview of Walsh’s recent work is available online at patwalshart.com.
The Alfred Langevin Cultural Hall is open on weekends between 1 and 4 p.m. and by request during the week by calling 450-264-5411, ext. 238.