I am a progressive artist working in gouaches, watercolors, acrylic and gold leaf. I studied paper making and marbling, together with calligraphy while living in Singapore in the early 90’s. I was instantly captured by the silky flow of gouaches and inks applied to the picture plane, using various nibs and brushes. My fascination for the feel and texture of paper led me to study the techniques of handmade paper making and in turn produce handmade books.
I returned to Northern Ontario in 1995 and my growing interest in a wide range of art forms guided me to expand my knowledge and applications. Since that time I have studied at Canadore College, Nipissing University Bachelor of Arts program and taken numerous courses and workshops from well renowned Canadian (Johannes Vloothius, Robert McAffee, Gordon Harrison…) and/or international (Richard Robinson), (Richard Claremont) artists. My studies will remain an ongoing project as I continue to interpret the landscape through my paintings. My studio holds a substantial library of art books and art videos as I am forever reading and studying to appease my insatiable hunger for knowledge.
I work on canvas, some of which I wrap myself, and/or some that are good quality ready to paint. Once painted the canvases are ready to hang as is. The frameless canvas adds to the peaceful, tranquil times that we can experience while living, visiting or travelling throughout the north. I paint on other high quality surfaces such as acid free canvas boards, mahogany, masonite, tree free paper and other specialty artist surfaces.
The last fifteen years has been spent specializing in acrylic paints. Good quality acrylics such as Winsor Newton, Golden and Liquitex have enough of an expanded drying time to give it a similar feel to oil paints. My representational style satisfies my view of this beautiful environment I live in, inside and out.
My work attempts to capture the serenity of Northern Ontario’s meditative landscape. The strength of the windswept pine parallels the intensity of human beings encountering life’s many challenges. The openness of our lakes and rivers allows us to absorb the quietude which we so desperately desire and need. The vastness of our forests reminds us that there are still countless unexplored territories in a world that seems to be getting smaller and smaller with the passing years. I do not strive for perfection in my paintings because as we all know life is not perfect and to pretend that it is would be a fool’s errand. I like to portray simple yet refined paintings because life is better understood by each and every one of us when all the cacophony and materialism of our societies are removed. Only then can we truly see ourselves as intrinsic individuals who can stand tall and proud in the face of adversity – our strength can take us to the highest point in togetherness with the beautiful windswept pine and its encompassing environment.
My original works are painted on a wide array of sized canvasses. My paintings are shown in several northern and southern Ontario galleries together with my own Cockburnstudio summer gallery which is located at Northland Traders in Temagami, Ontario. I paint year long in my small home studio in Sturgeon Falls and summer studio in Temagami. My shirleyrosecockburn website shows my original paintings, while my Cockburnstudio Etsy shop carries prints and cards from my original works. My long term plan is to grow my art business well into my 90's. Nothing could be more fulfilling.
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