Artist Statement

nancy_mcleanWhenever I am planning a painting or creating a piece of jewellery, contrast is an underlining concept in my work. As I seek contrast of light and dark, smooth and textured surfaces, or clustered detail and open space, I strive to find a balance for these elements in a composition or design.

In painting, watercolour has become my medium of choice. I appreciate the colour transparency that can be achieved with watercolour and find that the spontaneous nature of the paint adds to the challenge of my creative journey.

Through my Cape Breton views, I wish to share glimpses of the island I am so proud to call ‘home’. Like so many growing up on Cape Breton Island, I have a strong connection to water which appears frequently in my work. I am drawn to pounding surf, calm reflections of shoreline foliage, and shimmering light over a lake. My recent series, Seashore Treasures, came about while preparing a collection of work for my latest Sketchbook Project 2013, Seashore Sampler. As I explore local beaches, I am especially intrigued with the seaglass and china chip findings, clues from another time. These artifacts are reminiscent of when, as a student, I was employed one summer in the archeological digs at the Fortress of Louisbourg. The paintings are my way to record the sheer delight in seashore discoveries.

“Perhaps I owe having become a painter to flowers.”  – Claude Monet

Like Monet, my ever changing gardens have been a continuing source of inspiration for my paintings. I often find a plant will evoke memories of a person, place or event in my life and therefore the artworks take on a personal meaning for me. As an avid gardener, I feel compelled to capture my garden in all its beauty in order to share with those who have missed the moment.

Several of my art works were influenced by my travels to Italy. Through these paintings I wish to convey the fascination I feel for the stone architecture, shuttered windows, and elaborate and well worn doorways. Some works portray the sense of time and detail through watercolour; others use pen and wash to give initial impressions. All are an invitation to explore.