Yesterday I applied the final varnish to my last “Swiss” painting. While it was drying and waiting for its new owner (the lovely Canadian family across the way) I cleaned, sorted, culled and packed my supplies. I will not use these again until our cargo container makes it through the Panama canal to Vancouver and then overland to the Okanagan. So, autumn, I guess.
It got me to thinking how Switzerland supplied me with the conditions needed to become an artist. Time, the inspiration of the landscape here, a bit of social isolation to begin with, family and financial conditions which allowed for it, and a society that considers art (and music, and sport, and learning) to be an integral, ongoing part of a healthy life and not just a potential means to make money or a device for those wanting to shirk life’s more important responsibilities. I have only felt that art, even that of an amateur, is important here. There is no shame in being a dauber in Switzerland.
And so I am heading back to my country 10 years later an artist. Not a particularly good one nor a commercially viable one, but an artist by virtue of being compelled, daily, to create art. How will this colour my experience as a Canadian? How will the new landscape and the “Canadian-ness” of it all change my paintings? I am really eager to find out. I hope, however, that there will always be a trace of green rolling hills and cowbells of my old swiss home to be found in them.