2017 Artist in Residence Post #5

By Talia Peckel

Some of you Haven-comers and goers may have noticed a bright and colourful burst of cloud-like formations on the fence near the front entrance to the property. Some of you have even taken a closer look and asked yourself what these painted images are all about. And now that it has been completed for over a week, I am ready to recount the story of this mural to you.

The day I started to paint I had no idea or plan yet. I took the intuitive approach and laid down a few dreamy washes of colour, hoping a clearer vision might emerge out of this primordial fog of latex paint. No immediate luck. It was more like 6 hours of straight, yet directionless painting. However, I managed to successfully cover the entire 7 x 50 ft. area of the fence that day with a 2 ½ inch brush. That night, lying in bed resting mostly my right arm, I was struck by inspiration in a manner so cliché it’s hard to believe. Upon entering the space right in between waking life and the dream world, my vision emerged.

If you have read my previous blog posts, I have written about Colombia and the Magic Realism genre, which has influenced my approach to art-making. Another south American concept I will introduce to you now is the Pachamama. Mother Nature. She is the most ancient earth goddess of the Andean mountains, a vessel of fertility, of life, depicted here as the central figure in my mural.

So proceeding this apparition of inspiration, a process of embracing the unpredictable and volatile ways of the Pachamama began, as she continuously poured showers and showers and monsoons of rain on Gabriola island. But more importantly, on my mural. You might even say she decided to collaborate with me on her own portrait, as her relentless downpour soaked into my birds; their wet, yellow feathers sliding and dripping down the wooden boards. It was at this point that I made the conscious decision to surrender to her uncontrollable forces. The message was becoming clearer: surrender to the rain, because it will fall, whether I want it to or not. And after all, she is my muse in this venture.

Eventually, I gathered enough dry moments here and there to finish the painting. Along the way I actually started to really love the rain, be it a delicate sprinkling or a passionate and furious torrential downpour. As I came to be informed by the feminine nature of the earth goddess, I chose to portray only female figures. I believe they have also been inspired by the many creative women I have encountered on this Island. What came through in the end are the female figures you see in the mural: positioned in reverence to one another, in a confluence of generations, and in a state of peaceful surrender.


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