|The unveiling in Jasper - photo by Jim Dobie|
This weekend I drove the spectacular road to Jasper, past glaciers, mountain goats, mountain sheep and even a grizzly, to attend the unveiling of a painting that I did for the Alberta Pharmacists' Association. The association is celebrating its 100th year, and they had decided to commission a painting to mark the event.
Using the Alberta Foundation for the Arts as a advisers, the Pharmacists' Centennial committee had selected a group of painters whose work interested them, and invited them to apply. We submitted CV's and portfolios.
From there, the committee chose 5 artists to paint maquettes and send those along with a written explanation of the work. I was one of the painters chosen, but, when I read the commission requirements, I was daunted. The committee wanted to show both the history and the future of pharmacy in Alberta, as well as the collaboration of pharmacy and other professions such as nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, nutritionists and pharmacy technicians. And the work could not exceed 24" in either dimension.
It took some thinking!
Finally, I settled on a circular composition and placed the figures along it using stock images from the Internet to find poses. Then I played with colour schemes a bit like Goldilocks checked out bowls of porridge: too hot, too cold, just right. In all, I painted the maquette 4 times in one week until one satisfied me. The painting was still a bit sticky in spots when it was delivered, but I did make the deadline.
Happily, my work was chosen for the final commission.
With the help of a lab coat and using myself, my husband, and a friend, who is a nurse, as models, I got photos of all of the poses that I needed and the painting came together over about a month. Because of the complexity of all of those figures, I worked slowly and let it dry many times along the way. It was delivered in October but the identity of the chosen artist was kept secret until this weekend's unveiling.
The painting will hang in the reception office of the Alberta Pharmacists' Association, and prints of it have gone to diverse locations such as pharmacies and associated offices around Alberta. I even had the pleasure of handing a signed print to the Honourable Gene Zwozdesky, the Minister of Health and Wellness.
I've said it in past blogs, but it bears repeating: it's important to join professional associations. Had I not been a member of the Alberta Society of Artists and the Federation of Canadian Artists ,it's unlikely that the AFA could have found my work and brought it forth for this commission. Those memberships have brought me great opportunities and, as artists, we need every opportunity that we can get!