Imagine my surprise when I was sent the link to the current art exhibit at the Stanley Milner Gallery. It was a sketch of EALT’s Ministik conservation lands, and part of an exhibit called “Images of Nature: A series of local and Western Canadian monoprints/monotypes”.
Further investigation showed it was a sketch by artist Raymond Thériault, one of EALT’s supporters and volunteers. The very interesting thing is that Thériault is well known in Western Canada for his paintings of the urban landscape, and especially for the effects of night light on the spectator. Whereas the Milner exhibition is a series of monoprints and monotypes based on plein air drawings done on location with the main focus on EALT lands.
I chatted with Raymond about this exhibit, and found that for some time he had felt overwhelmed by all kinds of negative environmental news and problems, feeling helpless to do anything about distant problems. However, when he heard a discussion about conservation starting at home, he began to think that he might be able to do something through his own talents, and in his own backyard.
He heard about the Edmonton and Area Land Trust, and started by visiting one of the properties, Glory Hills. As he said, “The first thing that struck me was the peace, calm, and quiet at Glory Hills, and that there was no one else there. I visited in September, so all the birds were getting ready to migrate – and I had glorious views, so I was watching waterfowl, listening to them, and communing with nature – it really had an impact.”
Then he visited all the other EALT natural areas and was struck by how each is unique. They might have spectacular vistas and mini-panoramas, such as at Pipestone Creek; or lakes set in hummocky terrain such as at Ministik; or form valuable islands of nature in a cultivated landscape, such as at Boisvert. As he said, “Even if you can’t see all the wildlife, you can imagine the deer, the moose and the other animals that call these places home.”
Thériault said, “It was when I visited the Glory Hills that I got the wacky idea of drawing a few of the properties.” He then systematically visited all 7 EALT properties, sketching at various times of the year. He had been exploring the medium of monoprints and monotypes, and approached the Stanley Milner Library with a proposal to hold an exhibit, using these and other prints of natural areas, as a vehicle to raise awareness and funds for conservation.
This was an exciting new piece of information: all the artwork is for sale. Anyone interested may contact the artist, and he will be giving a significant portion of the proceeds to EALT! However, at the very least, Thériault said “I hope that the exhibition helps increase the profile of the Land Trust!” With support like this, how can we fail?
The current show is here, and Thériault’s website is here, but of course, the entire show which features EALT properties can be seen until the 30th of June in the gallery at the front entrance of the Stanley Milner Library – why not get the full impact of the art work, and see it for yourself?!