Back yards in Montreal have always intrigued me even when I first encountered them in 1958 while living on University near Prince Arthur. Walking to and from work at Northern Electric (recently Nortel) on La Gauchetière provided unique visual experiences in terms of building designs, womens’ fashions, and the hustle and bustle of Montreal life.
In the Plateau area, I encountered back alleys, garbage storage, clothes lines, private gardens and spaces, local bagels and hot smoked meat sandwiches. I could feel and share the living experience of my neighbouring Montrealers. I felt part of the surroundings.
In later years, I would occasionally cycle the alleyways and photograph eye catching scenes that reminded me of the feelings and memories of past encounters. A number of these photos subsequently became the inspiration for a series of oil paintings.
My early work was more stylistic and interpretive, focusing on colour, roof lines, and garbage cans from the perspective of back alleys. Snow was usually present as it provided a powerful contrast of the golden glows in sunlight and the purple/blue lights in shadows.
The set of 10 paintings recently completed for, “Affaire de famille” the Galerie le 1040 show in Montreal from June 4 to 16, 2013 are more representational as they depict scenes in the neighbourhood of the Galerie. View the set of paintings here.
“Le linge, Montréal”, one of the 10, captures for me the everyday life one encounters in back yards…a lonely clothes line, packed garbage pails, fence line flowers, trees and multi- level living in red brick buildings. I love the ambience and the feelings this painting creates in me. Each time I look at “Le ligne, Montréal”, memories of my time in Montréal return.
“Le linge, Montréal”
Oil Painting, 24″ x 30″