Introducing OWC Blogger Barbara Amos

Hello - my name is Barbara Amos and this is my story of how I am connected to the Oldman Watershed and the OWC.

I am an artist and after many years of working a studio in the urban centre, I felt a need to reconnect to the land. The insistence of the urban grid was beginning to feel overwhelming.   I spent a month in the Crowsnest Pass. When I was there, I felt as if something invisible but powerful was having a  soothing effect on me. I began to understand the power of place. While this was a long way from where I grew up, and in many ways a foreign land to me, the sense of being in the right place was quite profound. Six months later, I had found a way to move my studio to the edge of the Pass. I look out onto a horizon that can both humble and awe the spirit.

To paint the landscape is to study it visually and perceptually. Artists study it with a sense of history, as we look back on how other artists have voiced their interest in the land. We try to add something new to that conversation, and in doing so, we ask how we make our work relevant to the world  today. The artistic effort is one of inquiry, one of curiosity - a series of questions about our place in the world and our effect upon it.

As I work, I am gathering information about the area and I become more engaged with the local community. Their concerns become mine. I find myself amazed at the amount of work that a small group of people are doing to try to create a voice for the watersheds and the wild lands that they sustain. I learn about the headwaters and how their degradation has enormous impact. All land use issues eventually come back to the watershed.  This land is so striking, so huge and yet it is also silent.  The land does not have a voice that is heard easily in the urban setting.  We have to create that voice.

As I studied the traditions of Canadian landscape painting, I began to ask: How does an artist today create a voice for the land for the watershed, for all that it supports? Perhaps there are other artists who would like to consider this as an opening for a conversation?

I share an image of an oil painting of part of our watershed: "Fields and Sky"... and look forward to this new conversation.

Barbara Amos