To me, it sounds "so old". But I don’t feel that way. As long as I can paint, I suppose age means nothing. Then again, it does give one cause for pause, to reflect upon what took place from those years in Fred Ross’ and Ted Campbell’s art classes in Saint John Vocational School, Class of ’61 and the present day. A lot of water under the Reversing Falls bridge.
My first shows were with the Maritime Art Association exhibitions, where Bruno Bobak and Molly Lamb were showing. Alex Colville was in those shows too. I was just starting out. The Beaverbrook Gallery was just new. It was a start some 60 years ago.
My career took me across Canada, deliberately moving to paint all of Canada from New Brunswick to Vancouver, Ontario several times, onto the Prairies, mostly Alberta, then finally Winnipeg. I find myself “Back East” now, living in Laval, Québec for the past three years, for family reasons, and living smaller, a small room that doubles as a studio and office. And painting smaller, no room for larger than 16x20”. No more wandering. But what a life!
Because of both age and studio size, I find window views and off-deck views to be the nearest I get to outdoor painting. And I’ve made the best of these “View Paintings”. First from the vantage point overlooking the north side of Mount Royal in Montréal and now the views afforded me west and south from a sunny top floor apartment overlooking what I call “The Village”, one street in the trees below me.
I have several views of “The Village" and I’ve painted it many times now. All I have to do these days is consider painting. Luckily, I have these views as I can paint them over and over again much as Cézanne, Monet, Matisse and others painted a single view in all its varieties, spring to winter.
If shapes and spaces, light and dark contrasts, large and small areas are to be considered (and it’s always been my aim, even in my figurative work), then these new paintings have bent over backwards in reaching that. Not only that, but now painting more of "what I feel and less what I see" has become the new mark of what I’m after: “essence, simplicity and flatness”, abstracting, if you like. I have always pushed parameters, and this is the biggest push yet. At 80, what do you have to lose? It’s all part of my philosophy (theory) of art process. Like life itself, true art is a process not a product.
- RFM McInnis, 2022
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