The nature of her art

Fran Roelands is ABCA feature artist

21st annual Conservation Dinner
Thursday, April 15
South Huron Rec. Centre, Exeter
Tickets: $50
Phone: 1-888-286-2610

West McGillivray watercolour painter Fran Roelands is this year’s Ausable Bayfield Conservation Dinner feature artist, and is offering her painting, Along the Banks of Mud Creek (above), to this year’s auction. The painting depicts a late winter scene at the back of her family farm on Creamery Road, where she has lived for 30 years with her husband, Matt.
Casey Lessard visited her home studio and gallery to discuss art and conservation.

As told to Casey Lessard

I’m an outdoors type of person. I enjoy the scenery and we’re blessed to have this beautiful climate we live in with all its seasons. I enjoy every kind of weather.
We live on the land. We appreciate the beauty that we’re surrounded by. We appreciate the clean water and clean air and try to keep it that way for generations to come. We tap into all the resources we can to do things properly.
I was inspired (to pursue art) years ago when I was young. My dad had a lot of books with drawings and I felt someday I could do that.

The artist’s way
My approach is very simple. If I’m driving around, I always have my camera with me, and if I see something interesting from a different angle, I like to capture that. I’m also interested in our modern agriculture. As much as I like the older antique nostalgic feeling, I appreciate the newer, more modern ways of farming as well. I’m interested in painting what I see as the way our future generations will be farming.
It all starts with the initial drawings, figuring out what lines of direction you’re going to use to get your viewer into the picture and to what you want them to see. You do a light and dark value sketch to make sure that image is going to work. You don’t want something that is off-balance or boring. Contrasting colours are huge; everything you do, you try to create conflict. You try to just bring that emotion out in the painting. That’s my goal.
I take lots of photographs and sometimes combine different images from different photographs. I’m very particular about the design and composition. I