SAANICH LANDSCAPE SUITE
IN 1987 Yehudi Menuhin wrote of Myfanwy Pavelic's work: "The fluency and assurance in the way she works, that creative ability to translate an image, a mood , a state of being, an action , directly and without hesitation into colour and shape on paper is astonishing. Her drawing is superb, her use of colour impressionistic - so vivid and intensely expressive".
While Menuhin was referring to Pavelic's figurative work, in particular the portraiture, these sentiments apply equally to this suite of landscape paintings. A departure from the artist's usual subject matter, the landscapes immediately betray her hand. She has said herself "When I am close to what I am, when all pretense or effort is gone, the line seems to come directly. I don't want to sound sloppy, but the line comes from heart or mind through one's hand. No trying. It just comes and I am so involved there is nothing else." Painted during 1996 and early 1997, many during the "big snow", these works are bold in colour, yet meticulous in detail. The subject matter has been found in the Saanich farmland near her Ardmore home.
Pavelic's rediscovery of the landscape was prompted by a particular need. "At eighty-one my bones just don't hold up through the arduous sittings which portrait commissions require," she says. "But I must paint. I need to work." Previously she had avoided landscape as a subject. "People and things have edges. They begin and end," she notes. "Landscapes always seem so limitless." Oddly enough it was a light dusting of snow in the rows of some kiwi arbors in late 1996 that prompted her to see anew the "edges" or "bones" that structure the views across her local country-side. Quickly this suite of paintings developed. Some record multiple visits to the same scene over a period of two or three months as winter snows give way to spring thaw and first flowers. Others are just brilliant exercises demonstrating delight in her favourite media: pastel, charcoal, graphite and acrylic. The Cornstalk series in particular allowed an exploration of her own self-confessed love of drawing.
There is incredible variety in this group of paintings. Yet, from delicate grey and white symphonies of the snowscapes or the bold somber tones of the fruit arbor rows demonstrate the confidence of an accomplished artist where hand and eye both seem to respond effortlessly to the vision of a powerful personal aesthetic.