Interview: Rosemarie Armstrong
Luca Curci talks with Rosemarie Armstrong during ROME INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021, at Medina Art Gallery, and VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021, at Misericordia Archives.
“Atmosphere, earth, and water are the elements which inspire my artistic practice. My oil paintings depict the constant transformation of the natural world. The creative process begins in nature through plein air studies, sketches, and experiences which build the foundation for my studio work.”
Canadian artist Rosemarie Armstrong has been painting for over four decades. Her seascape and landscape paintings reflect her artistic soul and her professional caliber. The masterful use of light, colour and composition is deliberate; her process of layering the oil paint results in an illuminated quality of the atmosphere, earth and water. Rosemarie’s paintings are representational yet imaginative; they celebrate movement, textures and images abundant in nature but often unseen due to their fleeting nature. The opportunity to witness nature’s majesty draws Rosemarie to explore Canada’s majestic and often remote locations. Contrasting themes of turbulence, serenity, darkness and illumination underscore Rosemarie’s emotional connection to our environment. She believes that through artists and their work, people can envision the best of our world and the human spirit. Rosemarie is a Signature Member of Artists for Conservation International (AFC), the world’s leading artist group supporting the environment, representing 500 of the world’s leading nature/wildlife artists from 30 countries. AFC’s mission is to support wildlife and habitat conservation and environmental education through art that celebrates nature. Rosemarie Armstrong is an artist creating work of immense artistic interest. Her paintings are enjoyed in over eighty private collections around the globe. Associate Member of Oil Painters of America and National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society and recently inducted to the Art Renewal Centre as a Living Artist (ARCLA).
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Rosemarie Armstrong – Currently I am working on a river series, the movement of water is complex and challenging to paint but it is exciting to build the depth and translucence through layers of oil paint. Concurrently I am also working on atmospheric seascapes; there are always several paintings on the go at one time, as the layers of oil paint need time to dry in between sessions. But always, it is the elements and forces of the earth.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
RA – My background story is in my full biography but in a nutshell, my mother Helga was a very fine oil painter born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated to Canada. As a child, I spent many hours sitting at her side simply watching her paint epic scenes, some biblical, others architectural, and many landscapes. My father Hermann born in Switzerland was a commercial painter so I began even as a preschooler, to mix paints and later to decorate. My skill base and a strong intuitive sense of colour and form, I would attribute to my upbringing. In my mid-thirties I crossed paths with a Master artist who had just moved from China to Canada and who would become my lifelong mentor. His vision, spirit and mastery fuel my desire to grow as an artist.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
RA – The subject matter for my paintings is rarely planned. An individual painting, or a series, results from an experience or an emotional response. As an example, I will paint en plein air for consecutive days or weeks with no plan or destination, simply stopping on locations, or working a particular region such as a stretch of coastline. These paintings are small to medium in size, on an archival panel or archival claybord. I am traveling in my car, at times zigzagging across Canada, so I store the wet oil paintings in adaptable cardboard shelving in my trunk. Quite often, a painting that I’ve started on location, I will finish over time in various other locations in the evenings or early mornings. This is a necessary process in the way I create with layers and glazes. It means that a painting is conceived during the original experience on location but later completed intuitively. When working in my studio, I use the plein air studies, memories and reference photos, to create larger works.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
RA – Yes. Light. Movement. I endeavor to express a three-dimensional aspect in a two-dimensional format, striving for depth and illumination. Atmosphere, earth and water are my favorite subjects, the earth is a living entity, I love the challenge inherent in trying to bring a landscape or seascape alive.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
RA – There is such joy in the process of painting. Every time I touch a new canvas it is an exciting event! The blank space will become a vision that did not exist beforehand. Often I wonder at the gift that allows me to create.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
RA – No, this artwork was recently created as part of my river series.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
RA – I commend the efforts of your group to organize events for artists in various international locations. Mixing Identities and Future Landscapes themes…I feel these themes are general enough to be inclusive of many genres of art. As a painter of landscapes and seascapes, I am naturally exploring my relationship with the earth and though I am primarily a representational painter, there is an ethereal aspect to my work.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
RA – The preliminary details were clear and the process so far has been efficient thank you.